We both needed a vacation. I needed to be surrounded by something a little more urban and Mark probably needed to be someplace a little less, well, San Francisco. We had a new (to us) Buick to break in. Charleston and Pittsburgh proved to be the perfect choice.
I’ve had a fetish for Pittsburgh since my very first visit in 1997. Even then, I thought it was both more aesthetically pleasing than San Francisco and also a more realistic place for mere mortals to live. I love the diners, the variety of neighborhoods, the fact that a viable working class coexists with a major collegiate presence, and that whole Rust Belt vibe. Pittsburgh has a very undeserved bad reputation as an ugly, grim, depressed sort of place. It’s not. It is, however, one of my favorite cities, and it’s probably the most likely big city I’d ever consider relocating to.
But the trip started in Charleston, following a drive up a series of back roads that took us through Mt. Airy, Princeton, Beckley, and the Kanawha River Valley,a nd offered several Kroger locations for our convenience. Once in Charleston, we found an ancient Italian restaurant and had dinner before retiring to out stylish accommodations at the Kanawha City Red Roof Inn.