We left Pittsburgh this morning with the sun shining for the first morning since we left home on Saturday. Figures. Before I leave the topic of Pittsburgh, though, I do want to remark on the buildings in this city. While there are certainly a number of bright, shiny new glass & steel models, they have managed to keep a large number of older buildings that give a very historic feel to the city. The details in the architecture of the prior generations has a beauty all its own. Each building was an original piece of art, not a copy of any number of others to be found. Colors and embellishments allowed each building to be immediately identifiable.
We left via the Pennsylvania Turnpike – not one of my favorite roads in this country. It needs work and leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to sightseeing (at least on the Pittsburgh to Bedford, PA section). We got off for a break in Bedford, PA. This was a lovely small town with a number of stores and antique shops. We walked around the town and browsed through one of the shops. Then it was back to the turnpike.
We got off again in Breezewood, PA to grab a bite to eat. Unfortunately, a Hardee’s mushroom and swiss cheese burger had been calling my name since we got to PA (there are no Hardee’s around home) and we succumbed. It was good! While we ate, we talked about what route we wanted to take the rest of the way to Mechanicsburg, PA, where we’ll be staying the next few days. I was tired of the turnpike. My husband suggested that we follow Rt 30 (which goes through Breezewood) over to Gettysburg, then turn north on Rt 15 to Mechanicsburg. In essence, we would be taking the 2 sides of the right triangle instead of the hypotenuse. For those of you who recall high school geometry, that means a little longer distance – and time. I jumped for it.
Rt 30 is called the Lincoln Highway. Many Civil War battles took place along its length – Chambersburg, Gettysburg for example. You can tell that the road was originally a foot path. It meanders up and down the Allegheny Mountains with some hills that still challenge travelers. Big rigs are restricted to low gear and 10 mph! Otherwise, they’d likely become airborne at some of the tight curves! There are many buildings along the road that obviously date to the 1800’s. Small towns that started out before the Civil War continue to this day. It was a lovely change from the turnpike.
Rt 30 brings you into Gettysburg right in the midst of the National Battlefield. You see many monuments as you travel into town. We have visited Gettysburg more than once, but it always has a deep emotional effect on me because of our first visit. We visited a museum and the National Park Service visitor’s center before touring the battlefield the first time and I highly recommend that. It gives you an overview of the area and the battlefield before you go there yourself. When you do go, you are better oriented. We also purchased the Auto Tour CD that first visit and took the time to listen to it well as we drove the route. If you paid attention to the numbers it noted and the anecdotes it told, you were overwhelmed by the scope and suffering of the Battle of Gettysburg. We plan to do this again when we visit with my in-laws in May, since they’ve never been there before.
From Gettysburg, it was a quick ride up Rt 15 into Mechanicsburg. We checked in to the Homewood Suites and got settled. My husband and I both felt that the Hilton hotels and chains, like this one, seem to work harder to make you feel welcome. We’ve stayed at this particular hotel before and we’ve always been very pleased with our stays.
They have something available that we haven’t found anywhere else – their On Demand cable offers NHL Center Ice for $7/day. When my husband discovered that, you’d have thought we hit Powerball (which will be about $275 million on the next draw).
We had a light supper in our suite – it’s a complimentary meal offered Monday through Thursday by this chain. They also offer free breakfast that changes from day to day and included more than dry cereal and pastry. It’s great for the business travelers they target, but it’s also great for those of us who travel for fun!
Now it’s time for a little rest. We’ve got to plan for tomorrow and the early part of Saturday. My step-son and his girl will be arriving early Saturday afternoon. We’re taking them with us to the AHL Hershey Bears game vs the Manitoba Moose on Saturday night. They’ll stay over Saturday night and drive back to Delaware Sunday. We’ll head home to Massachusetts Sunday, too.
I wonder what tomorrow will bring.