No need to travel far to enjoy a vacation
By Michael O'Hare
Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
Sometimes, vacations just appear out of nowhere, when you least expect them. It happened to me last Saturday.
It didn't hurt that Saturday was a beautiful day, the calm before the Sunday-night snowstorm.
We went to Pittsburgh. Our primary destination was Carnegie Library's main branch in Oakland.
Some people like day trips in the country, and I have to say that I do, too. But I also like city day trips.
You can go to the woodlands in search of peace, but I agree with those who say you can be at peace in cities, too. One fades into the background of the city landscape.
Cities can't be beat for people-watching, the unexpected cultural events (especially in summer) and looking at the work of architects or parks planners, or finding an unusual restaurant, or art gallery, etc.
Here are some things that I remember from Saturday's part-of-a-day vacation:
• I planned a short stop to an office in the city's East End, and initially, I got a bit off track in the area around Penn Circle. But inasmuch as hurry was not an issue, it was OK; we found ourselves driving down a street that had some historical homes. They were made of gray stone with wooden trim and were beautiful. Don't ask me to take you there; I would have to make all the same wrong turns.
• I parked in front of a small bookstore, and I was getting out to head to my destination I saw an elderly woman sitting behind the large window glass on a chair in the sun. She wore a black eye patch, her hair was gray and wispy, and a cat was sitting on her lap. Were I a painter or even a photographer, I would have recorded the moment, but in some ways, I do because the picture in my minds eye is likely to remain.
This is what vacations (even one-day ones) do: They expand your awareness of things. You aren't looking for specific things, so you see lots more.
I saw some people sitting on benches along the sidewalks, and I wished I was sitting on one of them “shooting the breeze” with the locals, even the lady in the window. Maybe some day I will.
• On a day like last Saturday, there were loads of young people out jogging, even along some of the busiest highways in Oakland. They are a joy to watch. I might someday join the bench-sitters, I won't be joining the joggers.
• I have liked the main branch of Carnegie Library since I was a kid. All that information and entertainment in one place. But this Saturday, I noticed how peaceful everyone seemed. I suppose it happens, but I just can't see a fight breaking out in a library. Everyone seems to smile, and life moves at the pace of a turning page..
• There is nothing quite as delightful as watching city kids play on the equipment in a park, while their parents meander about. It seems they are having as much fun as if their folks had taken them to Disney World.
• We sat in a corner coffee shop, the sunshine filling the street outside as young people hustled about. Inside, most of the tables were taken up by college students and their laptops. The rooms and the streets seethed with energy, and I might just have been invigorated by it myself. I admire the discipline of the students at their laptops.
A day like our Saturday was made all the more special for the lack of real planning for it. Outside of the gasoline for the trip (not much), a $5 parking fee and a few coffees and a scone it was nearly free.
The weather is about to warm and eventually stay warm, and you needn't be a groundhog to know that, so you might want to “plan” a few surprise vacations for you and yours.
Meandering appears Fridays. To share your thoughts on this column (or on most anything) with News Editor Mike O'Hare, write to the Leader Times, P.O. Box 978, Kittanning, PA 16201 or via e-mail to email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Denver wife killed 12 minutes into 911 call, sparking inquiry
- Obama, House Republicans trade accusations in thwarting immigration reform
- Peduto says Penguins playoff series will be economic boon
- Q&A with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman
- Veteran North Huntingdon police officer fired
- Former Pitt captain Cavanaugh blazes trail as entrepreneur
- Reward offered in six-year-old homicide in Clairton
- Legal experts question prosecuting South Fayette boy for recording bullies
- Penguins notebook: Goc skates, tests ailing ankle
- Penguins rally to escape with victory in Game 1 vs. Columbus
- Legislative sting’s scope broad, diverse