Whew! Last week was hectic. I do get bored easily so while I was in the midst of all the crazy, I was fine. It was the transition back into reality that was difficult, especially since classes started back up this week and so towards the end of last week I was trying to recover from the exhaustion of AAI, finish up some stuff in lab, and also prepare for the kind of awful class schedule I have this summer.
Luckily, in a way, I had a vacation planned this past weekend. Though if I were home I certainly would have used the days to get work and reading done and clean my apartment, I booked the vacation a while ago and so took advantage of the forced break to relax, stop thinking about school and science, and rejuvenate. I headed out to the beautiful Berkeley Springs, WV/Cacapon State Park for a few days of green.
Berkely Springs and Cacapon are about a 2.5-3 hour drive from Pittsburgh, but what a difference that drive makes in terms of the scenery! It was my first time in West Virginia, and also my first vacation out of Pittsburgh (besides going home, which I don’t think counts!). Here are some pictures I took while I was away. The views were gorgeous!
It really was difficult to “turn my brain off” for the weekend- even though I was barely away for two days! Every time I found myself thinking of science, or worrying about lab, or making mental lists of the papers and experiments I need to get through, I had to actually force myself to put those thoughts out of my head and instead just appreciate the chance to get away. Once I did, I really enjoyed the scenery- the sheer fact that there was so much green was enough to make me smile; Pittsburgh has parks but it’s been a while since I have seen anything like this!
I stayed in the lodge at Cacapon State Park, but just a short drive up the road is the town of Berkeley Springs which is home to another state park that is the location of America’s first spa. It was also my main intended destination for the trip (the decision to stay at Cacapon came later when I was looking for a hotel). I figured there couldn’t be anything much more relaxing than going to a spa, which is why I chose Berkeley Springs for my vacation. The waters there are natural warm mineral waters which fill a bathhouse; the park also offers also do massages; I did both! Berkeley Springs also had a little farmers market while I was there; the town in general has a handful of cute shops and restaurants. I ate a delicious sandwich of fried morel mushrooms with ramp mayonnaise (no, I’d never heard of ramps before, either- apparently they are related to onions/garlic) at Tari’s Premier Cafe that was so memorable it deserves this shoutout. 😉 It really was a great weekend getaway. I definitely would like to go back to Cacapon during the “on-season” when more activities in the park, such as the beach and the lake, are open. That doesn’t start until after Memorial Day, though, and I didn’t want to wait that long to get away.
Pittsburgh (or nearby) folks: Do you have any suggestions for good weekend getaways within driving distance of the city? Let me know in the comments!