DC Vacation: Days 6-8, Pittsburgh & Carnegie Mellon Spring Carnival

With my husband stranded in Ireland thanks to Eyjafjallajökull, I joined my father for a weekend in Pittsburgh for the always enjoyable Carnegie Mellon University Spring Carnival. The drive up on Friday was longer than usual due to three separate yet equally torrential rain storms. Upon arrival, we joined a reception for alumni and I had my first Yuengling in over 14 months. This is also when the Black Keys concert was being held. I did not go because other than it being sold out, there isn’t much I wanted to do besides listen to stories. The carnival was set up, but eerily quiet yet bright that evening, but held promise for the next day.

Carnival At Night

Saturday morning was the beginning of a 12-hour day on our feet on campus. Though the wind and air had a biting chill that reminded me a bit of standing on Griffith Bridge in December, it was a perfect excuse to duck into the Zebra Café in the Great Hall of CFA for a huge cup of hot chocolate between buggy races. In my dad’s days at Carnegie, he pushed his fraternity’s buggy on hill three (want to learn about the hills and their glory?), so it brought back so many memories for him. Somewhere in his fraternity archives there is a photo of this.


When the wind kicked up and between buggy races, we ducked inside Baker Hall. The architecture is one of my favorites on campus, particularly the sweeping brick staircases.

Staircase Swirl

We wandered around the Spring Carnival and peeked at the booths which in my dad’s day were actual booths but now are elaborate and well-constructed buildings with two levels and along a theme. This year’s theme was ‘History with a Twist’.

Phi Kappa Theta's Robo Rome

The Book Store was having a sidewalk sale though it was so cold it was almost worth paying more to be inside the warmth of the store. The campus was alive with events so it was only a matter of choosing those that interested us and would give my dad a chance to catch up with old friends. University Center had tables set up with alumni resources, group information, and directories as well as yearbooks from the celebrating years.

CMU University Center

Sunday, we brunched then drove home. Brunch was the first event we went to of the reunion weekend that did not serve alcohol. We hit the road mid-day after a brief driving tour of dad’s Pittsburgh landmarks, including old apartments and hangouts. Though the CMU branch of The Original Hot Dog Shop closed a few years ago, we stopped into the one by Pitt for old time’s sake.

The Original Hot Dog Shop

We stopped at a rest stop and I bought a huge soft pretzel with cheap yellow mustard. The weather and traffic were more agreeable so we were home before dinner.

Soft Pretzel

Curious what it costs to drive someplace on the Pennsylvania Turnpike from Pittsburgh? Here is a photo I took of the ticket.

Pennsylvania Turnpike Ticket from Pittsburgh

If you like these photos, you can see more in my Flickr Pittsburgh Set.


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