Framing the Dialogue

Travel Treasures and Travails

National Cemetery of the Alleghenies

I was recently driving to a business appointment and was slightly, briefly lost (mostly because rural roads are notoriously not consistently marked) and saw a sign for the National Cemetery of The Alleghenies. Having been to Arlington and Gettysburg I was intrigued at the thought of a National Cemetery in what is essentially my backyard. I was early for my meeting so I took the ¾ mile detour to the cemetery.

Vacation 2012 – Stage Four

The last stage was pretty much a travel stage. We decided to make a side trip to Richmond VA to visit family. The suburb of the city where they live is extremely confusing to traverse. We were trying to get to our hotel which we could see from the road, there just didn’t seem to be a way to get there. We did make it and were sneaky in that we had five in our room when only four were permitted. We are regular Bonnie and Clyde’s.

Vacation 2012 – Stage Three

Before I left for vacation I had printed directions for each leg of our trip. It didn’t take long to get tired of looking at the papers especially when driving at night with everybody else in the car fast asleep. I have an iPhone with unlimited data so why not use it. At first I compared the routes with the printed versions, but soon dumped them entirely.

Vacation 2012 – Stage Two

When we first arrived in Virginia my wife and I both thought that we’d need more than one day at Chincoteague. After one night we both had the same thought…that on day was enough. We would have high-tailed it at first light, but we wanted to sleep in and eat at a restaurant highly recommended…and worth the wait.

Vacation 2012 – First Stop

Around the lower East Coast in nine days. We have always talked about a driving vacation. Not one where you drive somewhere and stay for a week, but one with multiple destinations. The year our youngest became an adult (the day before we left) we finally did it starting at 0200 Saturday June 16, 2012. According to Bing the total trip would be tens of hours and just under 1,700 miles. That sounds daunting (it was), but there were five drivers in which to divide the time.


That’s the number of miles I traveled with my wife and daughter last weekend to “tour” two colleges in upstate New York.  We had originally planned the trip for October, but things came up and we had to postpone.  October would have been nice with sunny weather and beautiful fall foliage.  The first hour of our trip alternated between light snow, heavy snow, what they call a “wintry mix” (too pretty a name for freezing rain), and snow-covered roads.  It had been warm enough that I didn’t think the roads would be icy, but there is always that black ice to worry about. 

Travel Treasure – Slovak Folk Crafts

If the first, second, and third rules of starting a successful retail business are location, location, and location then the Slovak Folk Crafts store will close within the hour.  Located near (but in the opposite direction) as the Grove City Prime Outlet mall near Grove City, PA the small store features a selection of “Slovak” arts and craft items.  My favorite are the hand decorated Easter eggs or psyanky as we called it.  We learned to apply alternate layers of hot wax designs between dips of our eggs in different colors of dye when I was growing up.  The Slovak Folk Craft Store offers a wider variety of decorated eggs hand crafted in the “old country.” 

Travel Treasure – The Original Oyster House

There are still a few iconic restaurants in Pittsburgh that I enjoy. They are not the fancy, five-star tablecloth joints, but the kind of places that attract all types of people. Karma led me to one today that I had not been to in probably a decade. I had the dubious task of getting tires on one of our company vehicles. There were some “issues” with what work needed to be done and since our service approvals are centralized I was captive until the issue was resolved and the repairs complete.

Travel Treasure – Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor

Nestled in Pittsburgh’s famed Strip District is Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor. So what’s the big deal about another ice cream joint? Originally opened as a pharmacy in 1923 it also provided a place where folks could buy drinks and treats. I actually remember a local “drug store” where I grew up that offered the same fare. The grandchildren of the original owners, James and Mary Klavon, reopened the store a number of years ago. They serve food, but the main attraction is the soda fountain and ice cream.

Travel Treasure – Desert Flower

I have had many occasions recently to travel along Lincoln’s Highway (Rt. 30) on my way to visit Gettysburg.  I love the history of the place and have been taken with the majesty of the battlefield for the past ten years and probably haven’t seen every monument yet. 

There is this place west of Gettysburg on Route 30 that has this huge rooster that I’ve always admired.  When you look at the other statues they are to scale, but that rooster is something else.  I have always threatened my wife that I was going to buy that for our yard.  It makes me smile every time that I drive by…I don’t know why exactly; it just looks fun.  I have probably driven past Desert Flower Wholesale, Inc. at least fifty times and beside my rooster buddy it more or less looked like any other yard monuments store, although tremendously larger.