Checking Off Another State

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This post is slightly delayed as I’ve been busy, but I wanted to do a quick post about our recent trip to Morgantown, West Virginia earlier this month! It was a (very) quick trip, but a nice little drive to see family and always neat to check another state off my list. All in all, I feel like we packed a lot into a short time!

We hit the road shortly after 12:30 p.m. on a rainy Friday afternoon earlier in the month. Our first stop: lunch at Chick-fil-A in Erie, PA. The location in Erie is the closest to us and it was on our way, so it was the perfect lunch stop to stretch our legs and get some food.

From Erie, it was onto Pittsburgh, where we made several stops – including an unplanned detour to the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry, PA. It being a fairly new building, we hadn’t yet had the chance to visit, but it’s right off I-79 and made perfect sense for us to take a quick tour. What an incredible facility! Everything is so fresh and new and the Penguins really did a great job.

After a quick stop, we met up with friends for dinner at Pasta Too in Bethel Park, PA. Huge portions and delicious food! I tried the zucchini parm which was to die for. Add in bread and a salad and we were absolutely stuffed by the time we got back on the road. Before we set our GPS for Morgantown, however, it was time for one more pit stop: Sarris Candies in Canonsburg! It wasn’t too far out of the way for us and my husband had never been. I’ve been visiting there since I was a kid, and it’s like paradise when you’re young: all the chocolate and ice cream and candy you could think of. We didn’t get any ice cream, but I walked away with $60 worth of chocolate in the form of gifts for others (and, okay, a few things for myself.)

An incredibly rainy drive through the rest of PA and about an hour into WV put us at our hotel in Morgantown around 9 p.m. Well, we should’ve just kept driving, because I will never stay at that hotel again. The EconoLodge Coliseum seemed okay when we arrived, if a little sketchy and dimly-lit. We checked in – we had two rooms, conjoining, one for us, and one for my sister & nephews. I’ve always said I don’t like motels/hotels/whatever with rooms that open to the outside like that, but alas, here I was. After getting fairly comfortable in our room, we awaited the arrival of my sister and nephews. It was so good to see them again, and it had been a long drive for both of us.

Well, no sooner had we gotten the kids all settled into their beds… than did I find a live bedbug crawling around on a pillow in our room. I’m so glad I turned that pillow over when I did, because if I had found that AFTER sleeping there? Hoo boy. It wouldn’t have been pretty. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever left a hotel room so quickly. I mean, I was literally grabbing everything I could and throwing it in the car, in the pouring rain, just to get out of that room. The woman at the front desk seemed unbothered by my claim (which leads me to wonder if this happens often) and thankfully gave me a full refund for both rooms. Meanwhile, I was completely disgusted.

So there we were, 11:30 p.m. on a Friday in the pouring rain and after long drives, without a hotel – or at least, without one I was willing to stay in. Thankfully, we found a Holiday Inn Express about 15 minutes away that was able to accommodate us. This, in the end, would be a much better choice than the EconoLodge, and it’s definitely where I’ll stay again if I hit up Morgantown in the future.

We finally got to sleep, albeit late, and then had a lovely breakfast at the Holiday Inn Express that Saturday morning. We then visited the Spark! Imagination and Science Center, which was adorable! Only $6 admission for kids, $2 for adults, and we spent several hours there having a blast. There were stations on engineering, farming, music, medicine, virtual reality, magnets and more. Great for kids of many ages, and my nephews (ages 3 and 6) loved it! The only downfall is that they were only open till mid-afternoon on Saturdays. You’d think they’d be open all day on Saturdays and have perhaps lesser hours during the week, not the other way around.

We picked up lunch from Papa John’s and took it back to our hotel, which worked out really nicely. We spent most of the rest of the day just lounging around our hotel, watching TV and playing and just enjoying the time together. We topped off the evening with dinner at Bob Evans, a very short drive from the hotel. (We probably could’ve walked if it wasn’t raining.)

After breakfast on Sunday morning, we checked out of the hotel and it was time to go our separate ways. I was so sad to leave, but had a wonderful weekend seeing my sister and nephews for the first time in four months! It’s nice to know we have this meeting spot that we can possibly plan future trips to, and now we know NOT to book that EconoLodge.

My husband and I detoured and drove through downtown Pittsburgh on the way home (ugh, that beautiful skyline!) before making our way back to Erie for the Otters game! It honestly worked out so great, the game started at 4 p.m. and that’s about the time we would’ve been driving through anyways, so I figured… why not go? It was an OHL Finals game between Erie and Mississauga, and wow, am I glad we went. Erie ended up winning with a spectacular late finish, and it was a great atmosphere in the arena that Sunday evening.

Following the game and a quick stop at Country Fair (my favorite hot chocolate), it was time to head back to Buffalo. Indeed, it was a quick trip — we were back home by 9 p.m. even with a dinner stop at Jim’s Steakout – but I really feel like we were able to fit a lot into a short amount of time. Most importantly, we got to spend time with family, and it left me feeling fulfilled!

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