The Christmas season chills your lungs with the crisp cold air and warms you up with warm spiced fresh apple cider. On the last leg of our train journey, we went from Chicago, IL, to Harrisburg, PA, with a one-day stop in Pittsburgh, PA. It was only a day, but we really enjoyed Pittsburgh. We ate breakfast at a great neighborhood diner where everybody knew everyone’s name (except for us) and our breakfast, coffee and tea totaled $11 including tip.
I went for a run along the river, going by the old Heinz 57 varieties factory. Then we both went for a long walk from the Bloomfield neighborhood to downtown all the way to the joining of rivers at Fort Pitt.
On the way to downtown, we passed through The Strip district where we found many old specialty shops, selling meats, cheese, produce, biscotti, candy, and most any other food you could think of. It must be nice living in this area, and probably expensive, too, since it is right next to downtown.
We appreciate friends of a friend Jordan, Boback, and Kathryn letting us stay at their home with their dog-like cats. And thanks to Dan for helping us arrange this stay!
We hop back on the train for our last 6 hours to Harrisburg and had lunch with Rich, Wendy, Mom, and Dan.
The next day was Christmas Eve and in this family that means making Welsh cookies and going to see Dad’s side of the family at Aunt Elaine’s. Anna is now old enough to help make the cookies. It is a family recipe that seems to be the only remnant of our Welsh heritage.
We’ve had a great time with family. Christmas eve was at Aunt Elaine’s home in Maryland. Every year we exchange gifts, eat cheese crackers, ham, and lots of sweets, and take lots of pictures.
Mom and Dan came to visit on the 26th. We exchanged gifts and they got to play with the kids.
A couple days after Christmas, we took a day trip to Philadelphia where Mags and cousin Jodi saw each other for the first time in eight years!
We walked from Philly City Hall to touristy-but-fun South Street. We stopped at a vegetarian restaurant for lunch and to wait out the pouring rain. We looked through windows at the Magic Garden, browsed Wooden Shoe Books, a nice anarchist bookstore, then saw The Descendants, which was a great movie! For dinner we stopped by Jim’s Steaks. It is a very famous place for Philly Cheesesteaks. It is traditional to get Cheez Whiz on your steak.
We then had a day in Maryland. We saw Berger at George’s Restaurant. I worked at George’s for 3.5 years. Rich also worked there for a year+. As far as I am concerned, they have the best pizza around. We also got to walk around the neighborhood I grew up in and even play a game of basketball on the court Berger and I have played on hundreds of times.
We finished Maryland day by visiting family at Kim and Chi’s house. They have two kids, Sammy and Ben. Uncle Henry, Aunt Barb, and Keith were also there. It is always nice seeing them and catching up.
We will be celebrating New Years Eve at Rich and Wendy’s home with champagne and board games. Then we are off to Southern Maryland for a few days to visit an intentional community.
Happy New Year to all!