A few weeks ago, we took a drive with some friends out to West Virginia (our first) to visit the West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville and the New Vrindaban intentional community, which is close by. I was sort of dumbfounded to find out that these places are so close to Pittsburgh, yet we -- nor anyone else we know -- had never heard about them. Our tour guide at the jail was super knowledgeable, explaining the history of the jail and it's inmates. We were hoping to check out the Native American burial grounds across the street, but they're closed on Sunday and our next destination, New Vrindaban and the Palace of Gold, awaited. This place was so beautiful, overlooking the West Virginia mountains and surrounded by rose gardens, with enormous statues rising out of the greenery. We took a quick tour of the Palace, and then walked around a bit. As beautiful as the shrines and palace were, I think my favorite aspect was the garden. There's a huge variety of plants grown, the product of which is used in the NV community and donated to local shelters. We had a great time exploring the area with our friends, and I can't wait to go back (and maybe take a night tour of the prison), I'm also really interested in reading up about both the prison and NV, which has a rather rocky history.
Anyway, it's been awhile since I've done any sort of update. The past few weeks have felt just short of insane as we leave summer behind and swing into fall. I'm doing my best to keep my head on my shoulders, here's what I've been up to:
I just finished reading 'Wild' by Cheryl Strayed, and I loved it. I'm looking forward to passing it on to my mom, who is an avid outdoors-woman, when she visits at the end of the month. After my trips to Seattle and San Francisco, and now that my brother has moved to the West Coast, I can't wait to go back and maybe do some hiking out there, maybe not the Pacific Crest Trail (ha!), but something. I can't wait to check out Strayed's other books. Now that I've finished that book, I'm switching between 'The Mysteries of Pittsburgh' by Michael Chabon, and 'The Omnivore's Dilemma' by Michael Pollan.
While driving home from Cleveland last weekend, I heard on the radio what I thought to be a song from the 60s, but it turned out to be Valerie June. And I've become a little obsessed. While definitely taking note from musicians of that era, June's music feels much more layered, making the sound undeniably retro, but fresh and modern at the same time. I've also been digging Niko Case's new album, and the single 'Man'. So, so good.
Responsible! For probably the first time ever, I'm thinking ahead and not waiting until the last minute in terms of...the holidays. You're probably thinking I'm crazy, but I'm speaking in terms of booking travel, so not crazy at all. Despite living here for almost two years, Chris and I still can't seem to get it into our heads that we actually have to plan ahead now. But, I'm so excited for my trip home and to actually be able to spend some time with people! Besides that brief feeling of responsibility, as I mentioned before, I've been feeling kind of crazy lately. Mostly, there's just so much I want to do, to write about, to photograph, but there always seems to be very little time to do it in and I have this obnoxious habit of either stepping on my own feet with distractions, or getting so overwhelmed with options for what can/could be done, that I end up doing nothing.
Chris and I attended Johnny Cash night this past weekend at the Elks Lodge, this was our second year going and it was great. It's a bunch of local bands covering...you guessed it: Johnny Cash. It was a very much needed date night, after a few weeks of crazy schedules, and a nice excuse to get dressed up. The weird weather last week- it's in the high 90's! It's a monsoon! It's freezing! It's raining sideways! Summer? Fall? - had us both in a funk, I think a date night is exactly what we needed.
My mom's visit! I've been making mental itineraries for what we'll do while she's here and I can't wait to show her around Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, and to show her our new apartment We've been saving certain attractions for when family comes to visit, like Falling Water, so I'm also looking forward to finally getting to do those things.