The East Coast is famous for bright red, burnt-orange and golden colors
during the fall, thanks to weather changes and the biological processes of its
deciduous trees. The fall color season varies depending on the area: the
northern reaches of Maine see colors beginning to change in September, while
Vermont, New Hampshire and northern New York peak in early October.
Massachusetts and southern New York usually peak in mid-October, and Connecticut,
and Pennsylvania have the season ranging from mid-October to early-November,
while the Washington D.C. area and Virginia are aflame in late October.
Getting there ...
We decided to have a trip to visit Linus and Iris in late October to
combine the fall foliage tour and the school family weekend. We flew to Pittsburgh to see Iris
on the first weekend, then spent a few days to
drive to Gettysburg and Philadelphia, and went to New Haven to see Linus on the
second weekend. We started to prepare this trip a few weeks before when
Iris began to send us her shopping list. We filled up the
entire luggage with stuffs (snacks,
clothes, blanket, whatever stuffs...) requested by Iris while Linus only asked
us to bring one book.
Day 1 (10/28) Pittsburgh ...
We had a red-eye flight on Friday evening (10/27) and arrived
in Pittsburgh in the early morning when it was still dark. The timing was
perfect when we drove to the Grandview Ave across the Monongahela River from
the Pittsburgh downtown. The weather forecast was not good, and it turned
out it had less than 10 minutes of window before the sun was behind the
thick cloud for the next 2 days.
- Carnegie Museum
still very early (we could not call Iris since she would not get up yet...)
when we went to the Carnegie Museum after a hearty breakfast at Pamela's on
the Forbes Ave. We took a
break in the parking lot to recover from the long red-eye flight before
the museum was open.
Two of the Carnegie museums, the Carnegie Museum of
Natural History and the Carnegie Museum of Art, are located in the
Carnegie Institute and Library complex close to the CMU campus.
Carnegie Museum of Art is arguably the first museum of contemporary art in
the United States, collecting the “Old Masters of tomorrow” since the
inception of the Carnegie International in 1896, and it continues showcasing
contemporary art with expanded collection acquired over years.
We finally waited till noon to contact Iris and picked
her up to have a lunch (a
Thai place at Squirrel Hill) together.
We passed by the campus after lunch to drop off Iris for her club
meeting. It was raining hard (and getting cold) so we did not spend
too much time on campus.
We went back to take Iris to a Chinese restaurant for
dinner (obviously Iris missed Chinese/Asian food a lot). After dinner,
it's time to take Iris to a nearby
Target for shopping!
Day 2 (10/29) ...
- Fall Color
We went to northern Pittsburgh suburban to have a brunch with a
friend whom we met back in April. We saw quite a few spots
with nice fall color along the way that I decided to detour to some forest
country roads on our way back to city after the brunch.
- Heinz Hall
Originally built in 1927 as Loew's Penn Theatre, the
former movie palace was renovated and reopened as Heinz Hall in 1971.
Home to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO) and the Pittsburgh Youth
Symphony Orchestra, the 2,676 seat hall presents about 200 performances each
year. The program for today: James MacMillan:
Larghetto for Orchestra (world premiere); Robert Schumann: Concerto in A
minor for Cello and Orchestra, Op 129, Alisa Weilerstein, cello; Ludwig van
Beethoven: Symphony No.3 in E-flat major, Op 55 "Eroica"; Pittsburgh
Symphony Orchestra conducted by Manfred Honeck.
We had a dinner with Iris at the school cafeteria where it was
packed with students even for Sunday evening. Iris had an orchestra
rehearsal afterwards and we took a quick peek at the door.
Day 3 (10/30) ...
- Flight 93 National Memorial
The Flight 93 National Memorial is
located at the site of the crash of United Airlines Flight 93, which
was hijacked in the September 11 attacks, in Stonycreek Township, Somerset
County, Pennsylvania, about 60 miles (97 km) southeast of Pittsburgh.
The memorial was made to honor the passengers and crew of Flight 93, who
stopped the terrorists from reaching their target by fighting the hijackers.
- Gettysburg National
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought July 1–3, 1863, in
and around the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, by Union
and Confederate forces during the American Civil War. The battle involved
the largest number of casualties of the entire war and is often described as
the war's turning point, the Union victory that ended General Robert E.
Lee's second and most ambitious invasion of the North.
Before the trip I
watched the movie
"Gettysburg" (1993) to get myself familiar with the history, people, and
places. It is a good movie with real stories like the defense of the
Little Round Top and Pickett's Charge although I had to take a few breaks
during this 4.5-hour movie.
The 24-mile self-guided Auto Tour starts at
the visitor center and includes 16 tour stops with clear route information.
It traces the 3-day battle chronologically and has many monuments and
statues along the way to mark and honor the historical events.
It is also a good time to explore the shrine to
the monumental Civil War battle in late October to see more than 1,400
monuments and memorials outlined with multicolored shrubbery and fall foliage.
Day 4 (10/31) ...
I got up early and went to Auto Tour stop #5 (Virginia
Memorial) for the sunrise. The large open field to the east is where
the last Confederate assault, known as "Pickett's Charge", occurred July 3,
I used the long lens (100-400mm) and stepped back to isolate the
canon and horizon, and found a perfect angle for the sunrise.
After we checked out the hotel, we went back to the
National Cemetery (Auto tour stop #16). This was the setting for Lincoln's
famous Gettysburg Address, delivered at the cemetery's dedication on Nov 19,
- Amish House and Farm
We drove toward east and stopped by
Amish House and Farm in
Lancaster. The Amish are a group of traditionalist Christian church
fellowships with Swiss Anabaptist origins, and the Amish are known
for simple living, plain dress, and reluctance to adopt many conveniences of
modern technology. In the early 18th century, many Amish and
Mennonites emigrated to Pennsylvania for a variety of reasons. Today, the
most traditional descendants of the Amish continue to speak Pennsylvania
German, also known as "Pennsylvania Dutch".
>> Next Destination: Philadelphia
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