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VICTORII REBUILD, artist San Priest.

Made from remnants of the World Trade Center

There are few events as heartbreaking as the death of a child, even in the eyes of strangers some 246 years later.

Welcome to the final installment of our Pennsylvania road trip! The above photos are from Bethlehem, another town with a steel industry that bit the dust, the old mill doing it’s beautiful best to rust across the ages. Bethlehem was founded on Christmas Eve in 1741 by a group of Moravian Missionaries (creators of beautiful stars and ultra thin and delicious cookies). The third photo down is the building where the first water works for public use dates to 1762. The thrilling luxury of pumped water. History in combination with beautiful buildings gets me jazzy-jazzed!

Speaking of jazzy-jazzed, I love a rolling landscape. This photo is the tip of the iceberg, or perhaps I should say top of the hill, my friends. You’ll see.

Our brief foray into Pottsville included driving some 45 degree angle streets, zipping past the Yuengling Brewery (the oldest in the country) too fast to snap a photo, and lunch. What a lunch it was. Tex-Mex in an old diner, that, in front of which, back in it’s diner heyday, presidential candidate John F. Kennedy gave a speech to some 12,000 people. There’s a lovely photo right above the counter. More history! And that was the hubster’s pulled pork torta. Good to the very last, he said.

Centralia – The Town that Was. A few roads, a few houses, and a few stubborn and sentimental residents are all that remain of a once thriving town. The mine on which the majority of its citizens made their living caught fire in 1962 and has been burning ever since. If, like me, you read A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson (Egads! This was in 1998?), it probably rings a bell. Though I think it is much more deserted since his visit. Learn the history in this interesting documentary.

We toured, with our expert and quite amusing guide, Joe, a coal mine! the Pioneer Tunnel is absolutely fascinating, beautiful in its own way, and terrifying, too. The second picture of the mine? Twenty minutes straight up that ladder was our escape hatch. Some people do this every day. Bless them.


I never tire of pastoral landscapes. Never.

Millheim, happily sated after a meal at the Elk Creek Cafe, mere seconds before a storm.

It followed us all the way to State College.

A liege waffle at Sadie’s. Mmmm…

Penn State


Dean’s Diner (about an hour east of Pittsburgh) has got to be coolest looking, ever. Their baker arrives at 3 am to make marvels of the simplest ingredients, thirty pies on weekdays, fifty on weekends. The selection is phenomenal. The taste even better.

Thank you, Pennsylvania, for a tremendous trip!


Marvelous light of spring and new wingback chairs, I love their acid green, tall backed comfort, perfect for reading and nodding off. There’s a new lamp on the way, a replacement for the one on the right, which will be quite at home in the T.V. room. Then, and only then, will it be ready for your eyes. The dining room fixture is new and  already well loved. The table, our first piece of grown-up newlywed furniture, and thusly clocking in at more than twenty years old, was a desk for ages but is a table once again. Shuffle-shuffle-shuffle. Let’s make the most of what we have, shall we? One fine breezy day, we will open the windows and paint the walls that perfect shade of white.


Spring is on the verge, with budding trees and blossoming crocus and snowdrops, too. Our first Pittsburgh spring! So often, I think of how improbable this all was one year ago. Pittsburgh and a 109 year old house, my Grandmother gone, the cats too, how quickly a life can change!

Strolling the South Side Flats yesterday afternoon. A precocious teen, spying the hubster’s rather fashionable spectacles, asked, “Are you a hipster?” We laughed, and I said that we’re probably far too old and nerdy for such declarations, before discussing cameras and skateboards and money, and he wished us a blessed day. These are the moments that enrich our lives.

The bright sun belies a bitterly cold wind. We walked quickly, hands deep in our pockets, wishing for warmth in between a fabulous lunch at La Palapa and treats at The Milkshake Factory. Zooming off to our next destination, we played what the hubster and I not-so-fondly call the Pittsburgh Slalom, a.k.a. dodging pot holes. Jeepers!

Greetings from Mt. Washington! My Grandma Frances lived in Pittsburgh as a girl and relayed such fantastical tales of the funicular and uber-super steep hills that they screamed fiction. Even these photos do such little justice to the city’s rolling and rollicking hills. Alas, you truly have to visit to believe it (our guest room will be ready soon!). Grandma lived somewhere near the Duquesne (dew-cane) Incline, and I cannot help but look for traces of her as I wander the nearby streets, decades and decades after her departure. Was this her church? Did she live in this house? Did she scramble, bare-legged and laughing, up this old tree? I don’t suppose I will ever know, which saddens me some.

Our neighborhood lies just beyond the top most bridge in the photo above. And in the photo just above that, on the left, is the PPG Building (Philip Johnson, Architect), my favorite in the Pittsburgh skyline, just in case you were wondering.

More marvelous murals to add to my collection and a sharp-edged building, too, circa 1893. The history in this town!

See you later, alligator. Don’t be an April fool…


Welcome to Cincinnati, “the best city in the world” according to an old friend (Mike, are you there?). I can’t really speak to it being the best, as our visit was only a few hours, but this, the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, was pretty snazzy. As our dumb luck would have it, as we were neither looking for cool or interesting, just eager for lunch, we found one special place, and quite important historically, with the majority of the buildings of Italianate Architecture, magnificently intact, and easy on the eyes.

Not the best idea I’ve ever had, but I couldn’t resist the temptation of the Holtman’s doughnut sign. BEFORE lunch. They were still warm!

The hubster going big at Pontiac (no website, sadly). Most excellent barbeque and a super friendly server, always a great combination. In keeping with my healthful doughnut before lunch choice, I noshed on pimento cheese. It was awesome. I do not regret it!

This neighborhood is chockablock with fabulous murals. Wowie!

He thought I was shopping…

Narrow. Very narrow.

Thanks for a terrific afternoon, Cincinnati!

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Friendship Way, 1998

Cork Marcheschi, Neon Sculptor

Zaharakos, largely unchanged since 1900, with stunning woodwork and marble, is the coolest ice cream parlor I have ever visited. Not only do they have delicious treats, a cherry float and hot fudge sundae for us, but they are also a museum dedicated to the mostly lost art of ice cream parlors. Utterly unique and wonderful with super friendly staff, this place is fun for the entire family.

Bartholomew County Courthouse, 1874

Isaac Hodgson, Architect

The Commons pictured in the foreground, 2011

Koetter Kim & Associates, Architects

Bartholomew County Memorial for Veterans, 1997

Thompson and Rose, Architects

Bring a tissue, friends. The monument has excerpts and entire letters written by fallen personnel carved into the stone.

Republic Newspaper, 1971

Myron Goldsmith, Architect

Columbus City Hall, 1981

Edward Charles Bassett, Architect

Bartholomew County Jail, 1990

Don M. Hisaka, Architect

Miller House, 1957

Eero Saarinen, Architect

Dan Kiley, Landscape Architect

Here we are. This is the house that gleefully sent me down the Columbus, Indiana architecture rabbit hole. Beautiful. The only way to see it is to take a tour, and, rather unfortunately, they do not allow any photographs of the interior, so if you would like a glimpse and don’t have time for a journey to Columbus, watch this short video. If you’re still intrigued and would like a more comprehensive look at the house, J. Irwin Miller, and the history of Columbus in regards to its marvelous buildings, here’s another video. As for the house, believe me when I say that it is an awe to behold and well worth the price of admission.

St. Bartholomew Catholic Church, 2002

William Browne, Jr. and Steven R. Ristling, Architects

North Christian Church, 1964

Eero Saarinen

Parkside Elementary School, 1962

Norman Fletcher, Architect

First Baptist Church, 1965

Harry Weese, Architect

After a long day of walking and photographing, and walking and photographing some more, our reward was a beyond delicious meal at the Henry Social Club. Everything was superb. We chatted it up with our neighbors; they shared their bread with us; and we discovered how small the world is when we realized we’d lived near each other decades apart.

Next up, Cincinnati!

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On our way to Columbus (Indiana, not Ohio) I spied a sign for Bloomington and went into paroxysms of glee. For, though I don’t recall if I have ever mentioned it here, the fine fil-um Breaking Away is among our favorites of all time, and was made in and around Bloomington. So seeing that sign, and taking that 45 minute diversion, was like winning a lottery I never even entered.

We tooled around, looking for places we remembered with fondness and finding other cool sights, too. Bloomington is a great town. We wandered the Indiana University Campus, admiring the beautiful buildings, many of which are made of limestone quarried locally (go Cutters!). We were mistaken for parents, which was fine by us, especially since we’d be super proud of our fictional son or daughter attending such a fine institution. They have an observatory! Any school equipped for serious star-gazing gets the Colleen Sohn stamp of approval. Yessiree.

Oh, and the yummy cupcakes, strawberry and chocolate, were from a most excellent bakery, The Scholars Inn. Do stop in if ever you find yourself in the neighborhood!


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