The Hoppy Okapi

Occasional posts about hiking and other stuff

How I Spent My Summer Vacation, Part 3 July 29, 2008

One of the themes of summer vacation in Pennsylvania was taking Chuck to all of the places of my youth, so after we dropped DJ and Adam off at the airport in State College, we headed to Black Moshannon State Park. When I was young we went to family picnics in Black Moshannon every summer, and it was always fun, except for the year when DJ and I stumbled into a swarm of bees while we were walking along the marsh. That was decidedly un-fun, although we did get to break open little bee sting capsules and apply them to our myriad stings.

We got to the park around 9 in the morning, before the Monday morning crowd shuffled in, and walked around a little bit before setting off on our hike.

We set off along the road toward the Bog Trail, taking advantage of the dramatic sky to get some fun pictures.


We passed some canoes along the way:

We saw a snake in the water:

And were attacked by a caterpillar:

On the Bog Boardwalk, Chuck interpreted the nature signs for us:

And we saw moss, lillies, and zillions of lilypads:

And then we walked back to the main park area through the woods, and we were attacked by zillions of flies, and also saw some mushrooms:

And then Chuck posed with the park sign:

 

How I Spent My Summer Vacation, Part 2 July 24, 2008

Filed under: Pennsylvania — Amanda @ 21:32
Tags: , , , ,

The Pennsylvania saga continues…

1) Taking Pictures of Butterflies (or, one butterfly, anyway…the other one flew away before I pictured it):

2) Picking Sour Cherries (and, Taking Pictures of Other People Who Are Picking Cherries):

3) Making Cherry Pie (Betty Crocker recipe FTW! Well, mostly. The crust was actually waaayyyyy too crumbly, so I made stars for the top instead of making a lattice as intended, but I think the stars were cuter anyway):

4) Drinking Vintage Whisky. (Chuck was scoping out the liquor cabinet in preparation for a long hard evening of Clue-playing, and uncovered some well-aged Canadian Club.  The vintage? 1982. Yep, this stuff has been sitting around since I was five years old. The funniest part? The current advertising tag at CandianClub.com:

Which is clearly just wrong, since if he HAD, we would not have been able to enjoy it now, in all its 26-year old splendor.)  For 26-year-old whisky, we broke out the fancy glasses…

vintage 1982

vintage 1982

mmmmmm, whisky...almostas good as bourbon

mmmmmm, whisky...almostas good as bourbon

He likes it!

He likes it!

So, 26 year old whisky? Is good. Note to self: begin whisky cellar now.

 

Manga-Me!

Filed under: vanity — Amanda @ 20:17
Tags: ,

Make yourself manga!

 

In Which We Eat Year-old Cake July 14, 2008

Filed under: Pennsylvania,vacation — Amanda @ 20:54
Tags: ,

Since we were all visiting Pennsylvania just after DJ and Adam’s first wedding anniversary, we got to participate in the eating of their year-old wedding cake, and we got to watch them reenact the cake cutting ceremony…

So the chocolate cake? Still good one year later. Rich fudge frosting, yummy raspberry filling…I think Adam even ate some for breakfast the next day.

Happy 13-month Anniversary DJ and Adam! :)

 

How I Spent My Summer Vacation, Part One July 13, 2008

On the first day of our summer vacation in Pennsylvania, we took advantage of our flight into Pittsburgh by visiting Fallingwater, the Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece. Before we got to Fallingwater though, we had to drive through Pittsburgh, and driving through Pittsburgh means driving through tunnels…and driving through tunnels means holding your breath! I, as the official trip photographer was exempt from this requirement (ok, really I was just laughing so hard at everyone else making eye-bulging faces that I only lasted about 10 seconds). Chuck, DJ, and Adam were all successful though – apparently nose-holding is the key:

(I don’t even remember WHY it’s a tradition to hold our breath through the tunnels, only that it is, and we try it every time)

So onto Fallingwater, where they have a very complicated tour group system (make a reservation, check in, receive buzzer; when summoned, receive group number; when group is called, hike a quarter mile through the woods to meet tour guide at the house), but somehow the whole thing works and our tour group of about 12 managed to meet up at the right time.

My favorite thing to do when visiting famous buildings is to try to image that I’m the one living there, and I would be fairly happy to take up residence at Fallingwater (the caveat being the low ceilings, and the cramped bedrooms! I guess I’m 21st Century urban-loft spoiled, but I like my ceilings high!). The house has an incredible number of details to revel in, like stairs that descend from the living room into the stream below, a wading pool on the lower level to complement the larger swimming pool near the guest house, boulders left in place to serve as walls, and spots where the house is built around trees.

On our way home from Fallingwater, we made a quick stop at another Pennsylvania icon, a covered bridge:

 

Brewpubs away from Home – Volume 2 July 7, 2008

Filed under: beer,restaurants — Amanda @ 21:22
Tags: , , , , ,

I just got back from my Summer Vacation week in Pennsylvania – first stop, the Rivertowne Pour House in Monroeville. There are three Rivertowne locations just east of Pittsburgh, so I chose Monroeville because it’s the site of the brewery. Having arrived on the red-eye from San Diego (by way of Boston), we arrived at the brewpub a few minutes before opening, giving me ample opportunity to appreciate the rotating messages on the sign:

Mmmmm, 19 handcrafted beers…since it was only about 11am when we arrived, there were only a handful of people at the restaurant, and our waitress was super friendly and sent the brewer over to chat with us. He mentioned that the pub’s first anniversary had just passed, and expressed his passion for brewing creative beers. So…19 beers, how to choose? I spent many minutes pondering the possibilities. The beers were listed on cute illustrated chalkboards:

Our waitress explained that there were two different seven-brew samplers offered, one of them featuring the stronger ales on the draught list, and I knew that destiny was calling me. With the sampler, I received tastes of: The Regulator Plum Ale, Highland Heather Scotch Ale, Spring Maibock, White Lightning, Sommer’s Espresso Stout, Old Wylie’s IPA, and Nobleman. I also got to taste Last Chance Vienna Lager, Shepard’s Crook Scottish Ale, Wicked West Coast Stout, and Perfectly Pomegranate – eleven beers tasted out of a possible 19 – not too bad for a Saturday morning!

So how did they measure up? I was actually surprised by some of my top picks! Breaking away from my traditional loves, I was quite smitten by some of the original flavors Rivertowne had to offer.

Nobleman – A German Alt Bier, with clean fresh hoppy flavor and a good level of bitterness, it struck me as an IPA-lite, in the best possible way – not overly thick or cloyingly bitter, this was refreshing and flavorful.

White Lightning – A spiced Belgium White, White Lightning also had a clean, fresh finish. This was a well-balanced beer – mildly fruity/flowery from the orange and grains of paradise, with just a hint of spiciness to tease the palate but not overwhelm.

Espresso Stout – Sweet and strong, with great coffee flavor, one of the best coffee beers I’ve ever tried.

Perfectly Pomegranate – Fruit beers are hard to get exactly right, but this is one of the exceptional ones – fruity and smooth, refreshing but not too sweet, this is a perfect summer beer.

The Plum Ale (a little bit of knock-you-over-the-head plum fun) and the IPA are also worth a shout out, though not quite as exceptional as the rest. Everything was actually quite pleasant and drinkable; the only one I probably wouldn’t drink again is the Lager – a fine example of its style, but not one of my favorite things. Also worth noting – the Pacino sandwich with homemade chips – yummy! Overall, Rivertowne was really great, and I’m happy that it was our first brewery visit of the trip.

 

 
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