Wednesday, October 13, 2010
A weekend back home
I've traveled a lot in the past few months. There was a trip to Chicago, my vacation in Europe, and my infamous trip to Pittsburgh in August for Walkoff Walk's HEIST that featured a flight attendant's bizarre behavior on my way home. And I threw in a quick visit to see my family in Maryland for good measure. But I hadn't been back to Johnstown in almost two years, so when I saw an opportunity to go home for a weekend, I booked another JetBlue flight to Pittsburgh.
I knew that we'd have trouble with the traffic in Pittsburgh, but I wasn't quite prepared for the 90 minutes it took us to get from the airport to Monroeville. We became increasingly annoyed with the GPS receiver's (nicknamed "Carol") constant updates on our ETA and reminders that "you are still on the shortest route" so we turned her off and decided to navigate from memory. Both of us grew up in Johnstown (we went to school together) and we assumed we'd know the way home. However, in the dark we got a little confused, made a wrong turn, and we wound up going the wrong way for about 15 miles. We gave up and let Carol guide us back to town. And we let her direct us back to the airport on Sunday afternoon.
Since the weather was gorgeous, we looked for outdoor activities for Saturday. Neither of us had been to Ligonier in years so we drove over to walk around and explore Fort Ligonier, an old British outpost from the French & Indian War. On the way, we realized it was Fort Ligonier Days, an annual festival scheduled around the date of the Battle of Fort Ligonier. While the festival meant we'd have lots of company in town, it also meant we'd have arts, crafts, and food options. Nearly every little kid we saw had a hand-carved pop-gun, many of which I assume wound up "lost" in the back of a closet at home once the kids fell asleep.
The highlights of the visit to the fort included a cast of re-enactors dressed as soldiers (British and French), Native Americans, and civilians. Inside the fort, meat roasted over open pits and the re-enactors looked like they were prepared to camp out all weekend. They fired off several cannons, each one louder and smokier than the last. Then they re-enacted the battle, though with a much smaller cast than was present in 1758. I did appreciate the re-enactors' commitment to the costumes. Despite the sunny weather and temperatures in the upper 70s, they all wore wool coats and vests and long socks. But I can't explain why one guy wore what looked like a Civil War-era Union uniform. Maybe it was "dress in period costume, get in free" day.