say, is that a dinosaur?

Thanksgiving was a blur.

High school reunion (excellent). Thanksgiving dinner (delicious). Two flights in the rain (less than perfect). 8 hours with my parents (not enough). Three days to drive back to IL (by choice). Two new cities to explore (with a friend). Strange foods & cool museums (see photos).

On Black Friday we hopped into Holly’s car for the 5 hour sprint to Pittsburgh. I’ve never been to the Steel City but have heard many things from many sources. Let me just say, it’s delightful. We had excellent food, although many establishments were closed for the Thanksgiving break. In the neighborhood of Oakland, we were nestled right next to the University — and it was positively empty. It seemed like everyone had gone home for turkey, and we were left to wander Forbes Ave on our own.

Pittsburgh highlights include: Spice Island Tea House (thanks, Jon) where we had some ridiculous deep-fried hardboiled eggs. I realize it sounds disgusting, but they were amazing. Pamela’s Diner – famous for their stuffed pancakes (I had mine with strawberries, sour cream & brown sugar). A note of warning: Pamela’s only accepts CASH. And a shout out to hotels.com for my welcomerewards evening: 1 free night valued at the average of 10 previous nights — in our case, we saved $100!

On Saturday morning it was a short drive to Cleveland. Why north? We had friends visiting family for the holidays, and had both previously zoomed through Columbus on other trips back and forth. The obvious highlight here is the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – currently running a special exhibition called Women Who Rock. I was more fond of the permanent exhibit, which traces the history of rock and roll from Elvis to Eminem and everything in between. Holly and I cataloged a long list of artists / groups we thought were notably absent from the exhibit. Is there a rhyme or reason to the selections? Who can say.

Cleveland highlights include: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – be advised that AAA discounts must be purchased online and must be SHIPPED to you (7 to 10 days or 2 days for an additional fee). We ate at Tommy’s – an excellent vegetarian friendly locale in Cleveland Heights, conveniently attached to used bookstore: Mac’s Backs (where I picked up the first book in the Hunger Games series). We met Sarah & John for a drink at La Cave du Vin – a sweet wine bar with really dim lighting and a hipster feel. Our hotel was a riot – half senior apartments, half hotel – not to mention half Spanish (with an indoor courtyard and tiles galore).

Sunday was hard. We drove approximately 500 miles from Cleveland down to Peoria, where I left my car at the airport. Another 100 miles brought me back to my doorstep in Charleston.

Only four weeks til Christmas!

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