Elaine Labalme

Essential Pittsburgh
1:55 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

State Parks Remain Open & Ready for Visitors

Ohiopyle State Park on an autumn day
Credit Brook Ward / flickr

While Washington remains at a standstill and many national parks have closed their gates, travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggests an alternative trip to the many American state parks. She says autumn is the perfect season to see some beautiful nature only a short drive away!

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:09 pm
Thu October 3, 2013

Fall Festivals Lineup Includes Fire Truck Pull & Apple Pancakes

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme shares five of her favorite upcoming fall festivals.
Credit Sophia Greco / flickr

As autumn arrives and trees transform their tint, fall festivals appear throughout the region. Travel contributor Elaine Labalme shares some of her favorites of the season.

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:34 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

The "Keys to the City" in Alexandria, Virginia

For a weekend trip to Alexandria, Virginia, take some advice from the New Girl!
Credit Jeanette Runyon / flickr

Visitors to vibrant Alexandria, Virginia will find a city painted with history and proud to show it off.

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme finds the waterfront town both scenic and accessible, especially to visitors with dogs.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:24 pm
Thu September 12, 2013

Traveling to Oktoberfest Celebrations With the New Girl

Contrary to popular belief, Oktoberfest starts in the month of September, not October.
Credit Paul Vincent / Flickr

From the wurst to the brats, Oktoberfest celebrations are just around the corner. Travel contributor Elaine Labalme tours festivals from Ohio to Texas, recommending the best and most entertaining German heritage festivities.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:23 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

End of Summer Getaways

Shopping area in Cape May, NJ
Credit Rick Scully / flickr

With the arrival of Labor Day weekend, summer will soon be coming to an end. Travel contributor Elaine Labalme says forecasts call for good weather over the next few days, and families should take full advantage.

Luckily for Pittsburghers, there are a variety of activities nearby for families to check out this holiday weekend.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:07 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Elaine Labalme's Midwest Adventure Continues

The Gateway Arch is just one of the many treasures of the Midwest.
Credit Steven Martin / Flickr

As great as the ballparks of the midwest may be, Essential Pittsburgh travel contributor Elaine Labalme found that there was much more to the cities that housed them than just baseball.

From the amazing Nelson-Atkins Art Museum in Kansas City to Milwaukee’s historic third ward, to the “photographer’s dream” that is the Gateway arch in St. Louis, Labalme quickly learned that the cultural happenings of the midwest were manifold.

As an added bonus, much of this art and culture is paired up with some of the tastiest eateries these cities have to offer. As Labalme puts it, “I would say food meets art is all over the midwest.”

Essential Pittsburgh
2:44 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

The New Girl Explores the Nation's Midwest Ballparks

Bernie Brewer's trips down the slide are a highlight of any trip to a Milwaukee Brewers home game.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

For many, the summer months usher in the long standing tradition of a baseball pilgrimage. Baseball lovers roam the nation soaking up the atmosphere of the nation’s many ballparks.

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme undertook such a pilgrimage, exploring the midwest’s best ballyards. From singing the Beer Barrel Polka with Brewers fans, to enjoying Minneapolis’s artist designed mini-golf and St. Louis’s amazing barbecue which she describes as “an 11 on a scale of one to ten,” Labalme has plenty to say about her wonderful experiences in each town.

As for where the parks stack up, Labalme says Kansas City comes out on top, adding that “the fans had a lot to do with it.”

Essential Pittsburgh
4:00 pm
Thu August 8, 2013

The New Girl Takes on Water Parks

The Typhoon Lagoon in Disney World
Credit Auntie Rain / Flickr

With the dog days of summer upon us, and the thermostat rising, travel contributor Elaine Labalme has a family friendly suggestion for beating the heat and getting out of town all in one go: water parks. It’s not just the classic lazy river amusement anymore, either. More complex water park rides are now as fast paced and exciting as those in traditional theme parks. As Lebalme puts it, “If you’re a roller coaster person, you’re gonna have a blast in one of these water parks.”

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:51 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Say Nice Things About Detroit

There's still plenty of things happening in Detroit, including both great art and plenty of sports teams.
Credit Flickr

It might be troubled, but the Motor City still has a sort of beauty all its own, reports travel contributor Elaine Labalme. Citing the amazing parks, sports teams and art galleries, Labalme tells us that the Big D has some serious offerings for Pittsburghers interested in taking a short trip.

While the Detroit Tigers’ Comerica Park is “an absolutely fantastic facility” to see a game, one of the most impressive locations in the city, says Labalme, is “The Joe,” or the Joe Louis Arena, where the Red Wings currently play. It’s a historic arena with stories in every wall and seat. And if you’re looking to grab a bite after the game, try Cliff Bells, where, according to Labalme, “You’re always made to feel welcome.”

Essential Pittsburgh
4:06 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

The New Girl Goes to the Outer Banks

The Outer Banks, N.C.
Credit James Willamor / Flickr

For travel contributor Elaine Lebalme, a trip to the Outer Banks, North Carolina, is a nearly perfect summer getaway. It’s the land of windswept beaches, wild horses, lighthouses and quaint seaside towns.

If this sounds like something out of a romantic novel, that’s because it is. The region’s become famous thanks to Nicholas Sparks’ novels, and according to Lebalme the reputation it’s gotten is well deserved. Plus, there are plenty of beach homes to rent throughout the summer, so “you’re bound to find a house either on the beach or close to the beach,” Lebalme says.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:17 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Central New York State of Mind

Keuka Lake is one of the many bodies of water that makes up the Finger Lakes region of New York State
Credit Darren McGee / Finger Lakes Region

Upstate New York covers a lot of territory. From the Adirondacks to the Thousand Islands there's a lot to see in the Empire State. Travel contributor Elaine Labalme scopes out the central New York region, from Cooperstown to the Finger Lakes.

“The Finger Lakes region is fairly close to western Pennsylvania and there’s lots of arts and recreation you’ll want to access there and it’s an easy trip from Pittsburgh,” says Labalme.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:42 pm
Thu June 27, 2013

Visiting Disney with the New Girl

Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World in Florida
Credit Wikipedia

Each year millions of tourists flock to Florida to soak up the sun on the beach or visit one of its many family friendly destinations. Trips to Disney World have become time honored trips for many families across the nation, and Essential Pittsburgh travel contributor Elaine Labalme is no exception. According to the seasoned traveler, Disney World always has plenty to offer, and has continued to impress throughout her many trips.

What is it about Disney World that keeps her coming back?

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:00 am
Thu June 20, 2013

New Girl in Town Enjoys Sunshine State

Bahia Honda State Park
Credit tripadvisor.com

How many of us don’t pass some of our time dreaming of relaxing on a warm, sandy beach? Would you like to kick back with a cool, refreshing drink, a good book and listen to the waves with few people around? Travel contributor Elaine Labalme is back from a recent visit to the sunshine state with the lowdown on secluded beaches.

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:54 pm
Wed June 5, 2013

The New Girl Visits America's National Parks Part Two: Western Parks

Take a long scenic hike through Yellowstone National Park
Credit Kim Seng / Flickr

Ever think of spending your summer vacation visiting America’s national parks? Last week travel contributor Elaine Labalme focused on national parks in the eastern half of the United States. This week we’re heading west to Yellowstone, Yosemite, Zion, Glacier and Rocky Mountain National Parks. Take in the sights, get active outdoors, and guard your picnic baskets!

Essential Pittsburgh
6:53 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

The New Girl Visits America's National Parks Part One: Eastern Parks

The New Girl gives you a taste of the National Parks, including the scenic Everglades.
Credit Matthew Paulson / Flickr

Now that summer’s here, one of the best places to go and explore the great outdoors is a national park. With so many parks in the U.S. we begin a two part look, focusing on the eastern half of the country including The Everglades, The Great Smoky Mountains, Acadia, Shenandoah, and 
 Cuyahoga Valley

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Essential Pittsburgh
5:51 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

The New Girl in Town is Hitting the Beach

It's Memorial Day, time to hit kick off your shoes and get some sand between your toes.
Credit Heather McClain / WESA

Memorial Day is the official start to the summer season and many people will be headed to the beach. One shore town you may want to visit is Rehoboth Beach in Delaware. You'll find something for nature lovers at Prime Hook, something for sports adventurers, and for those who just want to stroll along the Boardwalk.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:26 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

The New Girl in Town Talks Travel, With A Pet

Don't we all love fresh hotel linens?
Credit Matt DeTurck / Flickr

If you own a pet chances are you consider them a member of the family. So why wouldn’t you take them on the family vacation? This week contributor Elaine Labalme offers tips on traveling with your pet.

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:40 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

The New Girl in Town on Planning a Boys Night Out

Local white water rafting with the guys, in the Laurel Highlands
Credit Nick Knouse / Flickr

Travel writer and contributor Elaine Labalme has many bits of advice for traveling alone, and for the ladies, "traveling with the girls." Now she's got some advice for the gents. 

For even the most laid back guys, planning the perfect weekend bachelor party or reunion of college buddies can be both fun and daunting. Consider some different angles when plotting out your next trip with the guys.

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Essential Pittsburgh
8:09 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Girlfriend Getaways with the New Girl in Town

Enjoy a weekend away with the girls at he Waldorf Astoria in NYC
Credit Chris Breeze / Flickr

Bachelorette weekends, reunions spa retreats or the need to simply get out of town. Those are some of the reasons you and your best girlfriends may want to plan a weekend away. This week travel contributor Elaine Labalme offers up some suggestions for girlfriend getaways.

Start planning your own getaway with these recommendations from Elaine Labalme:

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

The New Girl in Town, Vacationing for a Cause

A Habitat for Humanity Global Village in the Dominican Republic
Credit Dave Bezaire & Susi Havens-Bezaire / Flickr

While many people use their vacation to get away, soak up the sun and forget about the cares of the world, others vacation for a cause, such as Habitat for Humanity. If a trip like this is in your future, travel contributor Elaine Labalme offers tips for foreign travel including visas, health/safety precautions and more.

For travel volunteerism opportunities with some Pittsburgh based groups check out:

Global Links Pittsburgh

Amizade Global Service Learning

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

The New Girl in Town Travels to the Brandywine Valley

Longwood Gardens is just one of the horticultural and historical gems that can be found in the Brandywine Valley
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

There’s so much to do and see in Pennsylvania’s Brandywine Region you may run out of time before you run out of things to do. The area has been immortalized on canvas by artist N.C. Wyeth and  is home to museums, public gardens and more. Travel contributor Elaine Labalme ventures to this area just below Philadelphia.

Find out more about some of the places mentioned in this segment:

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed April 3, 2013

The New Girl in Town Discovers Columbus, OH

The night skyline of Columbus, Ohio
Credit John Mueller / Wikipedia

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme paraphrases the title of a Philip Roth novella and says, "Hello, Columbus." Just a short drive away, she'll tell us what the intrepid traveler can discover in Columbus, Ohio, the capital city of the Buckeye State.

Find out more about the places Elaine has visited in Columbus:

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Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

The New Girl in Town on Eco-Friendly Traveling

The Hotel Felix is a Silver LEED Certified boutique hotel in downtown Chicago
Credit Charles & Hudson / Flickr

From buildings to household products we're finding more and more ways to be environmentally conscious. So why not extend our sustainable lifestyles to our vacations?  Travel contributor Elaine Labalme tells us how we can apply eco-friendly awareness to our travels. 

Take a look at some green travel options:

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Essential Pittsburgh
4:30 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

The New Girl in Town on Traveling Alone

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme explains why "lonely can be sweet" when traveling
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

It's been said, "He travels fastest, who travels alone" as long as you know all of the good spots to visit.  This week our travel contributor Elaine Labalme discusses the joys of going solo when it comes to traveling.

Essential Pittsburgh
9:00 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Spa Day with the New Girl

Our Travel Contributor, Elaine Labalme also writes for the e-zine Pop City
Credit Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

Whether it’s an exotic locale or a local day spa, a massage, facial and aromatherapy could be just what the doctor ordered. Travel contibutor Elaine Labalme offers some tempting spa suggestions.