The Perfect Place for a Stay-Cation

Before I get to my blog for today, two quick comments:

This morning, there are reports that there are credible threats against Senator Barack Obama as he arrives in Denver to accept his nomination as the Democratic choice for President. While it’s sad, it’s not surprising. To be honest, I wonder how many dozens of threats he has received during his 19-months on the campaign trail. Racism, still alive and well in this country.

Second, a new survey by Forbes.com ranks Pittsburgh as the 5th best commute in the country. They cite that one out of every ten commuters uses a method of transportation other than their car and that we average only 16 hours per year in traffic. They must be talking about Pittsburg, Kansas.

Have any of the people in this survey ever been on the parkway East? The traffic in this city is not only bad, it maybe worse than many major cities because unlike Atlanta, New York or Chicago, there is no by-pass or secondary option available to avoid the parkways.

Now, onto why I’m writing this morning. Kelly and I walked into work today and were actually surprised to learn that Labor Day is this weekend. Where did the summer go? As I think about the last three months, I realize I didn’t travel ( thanks to airline prices ) or do many get-away weekends ( sure, we went to Seven Spring and Penn National in Gettysburg for my birthday ).

However, I don’t look at this last three months as a lost summer. For all the non-traveling I did, this may have been my best summer ever … because I spent it enjoying the weather, warmth and sites of western Pennsylvania. Kelly Frey has a term for it when you choose to spend the summer in your backyard – literally. It’s called stay-cation.

Sure economic conditions dictated that many of us cut back on our travel plans, but I found that there was no need for me to leave the Three Rivers to experience a vacation. Whether it was touring out museums, taking in a ball game or heading to the mountains, I could find it all right here.

Perhaps the best moment of my summer stay was what I found on Saturday. I walked down the path that runs along the North Shore. I found hundreds of people biking, I saw folks piling into kayaks and paddling down the Allegheny and I saw parents watching their little children splash in the waterfall in front of PNC Park. I looked out onto the pier and could see people lounging around the waterfall at the point.

It all reminded me that while the world has plenty to offer us, some of greatest treasures on the planet are the simplest ones … and can be found in our own backyard.

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