Travel

Ricky Romero / Flickr

Kyle Bibby, a University of Pittsburgh professor of civil and environmental engineering  has been studying the microorganisms in Pittsburgh's drinking water. He's received some help in this endeavor from students at the Pittsburgh Gifted Center and the Carnegie Science Center. Professor Bibby explains what we may, or may not want to know about the microbes in our tap water.

"We like to think of water as "sterile," but really nothing is sterile, in the sense that microorganisms exist everywhere. Understanding what's there is essential to understanding why it's safe. It's also just very scientifically interesting." - Professor Kyle Bibby

Also in this hour, the once in a lifetime date Super Pi Day arrives, host Guy Raz of the TED Radio Hour stops by, and the New Girl gives a guide to traveling the States with the luck of the Irish.


AP Photo/Chris Tilley

Topics on today's Essential Pittsburgh include the West Virginia train derailment, and ski resorts near and far  

Oil Train Safety   

An oil tanker derailment and fire in West Virginia is raising questions about the apparent failure of safer tank cars to prevent an explosion. 

Dave Mistich, Digital Editor/Coordinator for West Virginia Public Broadcasting offers an update on how residents have been effected by the derailment,

President's Day Weekend Getaways

Feb 13, 2015
Esther Dyson / Flickr

President’s Day weekend is upon us which means a three-day weekend for some. If you plan to get out of town, contributor Elaine Labalme who tweets about food and travel under the twitter handle New Girl In Town, is here with a few travel suggestions .

Elaine tells us about one of her favorite Pennsylvania getaways: The Nature Inn at Bald Eagle

“It’s right in the middle of Bald Eagle State Park on a beautiful lake. This is a twenty room inn. It's a sustainable property. It’s going to be a bit on the chilly side, but this place is just so snug and so cozy. The property is a play of wood and glass, lots of cozy seating areas, you can great games, read a book, [and] they do an amazing gourmet breakfast."

While you are there don't miss out on The Great Backyard Bird Count

If you want to travel to other locations outside Pennsylvania, Elaine recommends:

Mount VernonLas VegasChicago and The Inn at Perry Cabin.

Winter Travel Destinations

Jan 8, 2015
Elaine Labalme / WESA

As the temperatures plummet, how many of us don’t pass some of our time dreaming of relaxing on a warm, sandy beach?

Elaine Labalme, who tweets about food and travel under the Twitter handle New Girl in Town, joins us to suggest beach destinations you can escape to this winter.

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

Dec 19, 2014
Anthony Quintano / Flickr

With the year coming to a close and holiday celebrations abounding, travel contributor Elaine Labalme stops by with suggestions to help you answer the musical question, "What are you doing New Year's Eve?"

Finding Winter Warmth in a Bed and Breakfast Getaway

Dec 11, 2014
Jon-Mark Davey / Flickr

Looking for a way to de-stress from the holidays? Travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggests some bed and breakfast getaways in the Commonwealth. 

Leigh Kelsey / Flickr

Congratulations, you just made it through the biggest eating holiday of the year!

With the fridge full of leftovers, the last thing you probably want to talk about is food, right? Well, travel contributor Elaine Labalme, is here to talk about some food destinations in the region worth visiting.

City Sidewalks Dressed in Holiday Style

Nov 20, 2014
Vlasta Juricek / Flickr

The holiday season is here. To help you get in the spirit, travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggests some destinations, within driving distance, where you can see city sidewalks dressed in holiday style.

Traveling in winter time requires some extra preparation when it comes to packing and planning for the weather, Labalme explains, but it’s well worth the effort.

Take a Hike

Nov 13, 2014
Nicholas A. Tonelli / Flickr

If you’ve ever been told to “take a hike,” that might not be a bad idea. This week travel contributor Elaine Labalme, who tweets about food and travel under the twitter handle New Girl in Town, suggests some great places for hiking -- some close, some farther away.

Traveling to Haunted Attractions

Oct 30, 2014
MacKensie Cornelius / Flickr

From Salem to Savannah, there are a number of sites across America that are home to things that go bump in the night. If you're in the mood for a little ghost hunting, travel contributor Elaine Labalme recommends some of her favorite haunts.

Fall Getaways

Oct 23, 2014
Willscrlt / Flickr

Are you feeling an overwhelming need to get away? Would a quick autumnal excursion sate your wanderlust? This week travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggests five quick fall getaways.

West Virginia: From Cool Restaurants to the Thrill of a Lifetime

Oct 16, 2014
Jeremy Markovich / Flickr

West Virginia holds the distinction of being the only state formed by seceding from a confederate state.

The signs welcoming you to West Virginia proclaim it wild and wonderful. This week, the always wonderful Elaine Labalme, takes us to our neighboring state to the south.

She recommends some great restaurants in Morgantown and talks about the New River Gorge Bridge.  For the thrill seekers out there, base jumping off of the New River Gorge Bridge on Bridge Day may interest you.

Learn more about the 35th Anniversary of Bridge Day, happening this weekend. 

A Weekend in Cleveland

Oct 9, 2014
Dustin Jamison / Flickr

It seems Cleveland’s efforts to shed the image of “the mistake on the lake” are paying off. LeBron James has returned to the Cavaliers, the latest Captain America adventure was filmed in the city and the GOP has selected it for the next Republican convention. With the Steelers set to play the Browns, travel contributor Elaine Labalme takes another look at Cleveland.

Planning for the Holidays with Elaine Labalme

Oct 2, 2014
Flickr user Dale Beckett

While you may not want to think about it, the holidays will soon be upon us. If you’re thinking of getting away, now is the time to book your holiday travel plans. Contributor Elaine Labalme who tweets about food and travel under the twitter handle New Girl in Town, joins us to offer some pre-Thanksgiving and Christmas travel tips.

According to Labalme, if you’re planning to travel this holiday season, it’s important to plan and book early. People who are looking for snow should keep in mind that large ski resorts tend to get busy, so a smaller ski resort may be a better choice. The key to enjoying a holiday vacation, Labalme notes, is being grateful to get away.

It's That Time of Year: Upcoming Fall Festivals and Fairs

Sep 18, 2014

In case the football games, cooler weather and heralding of all things pumpkin flavored escaped your attention, the celebration of the autumn season has begun.

This week our woman for all seasons, travel contributor Elaine Labalme, joins us with a lineup of fall fairs and festivals you might enjoy. 

Check out the details about these upcoming events:

Fall Travel -- with a “Sports” Theme

Sep 4, 2014
Wally Gobetz / Flickr

Summer may be winding down, but with autumn comes plenty of fun for Pittsburgh sports fans. Travel contributor Elaine Labalme offers up some travel ideas for the fall with a distinctly “sports” theme.

Whether it’s a college football game, a little pre-season hockey, or taking a one-tank trip to follow the Pirates, she talks about travel destinations that are sure to please sports fans and their families.

Check out some of the highlights she suggests:

Traveling to Europe's Most Exciting Cities

Aug 28, 2014
Steven Labalme

While a Roman holiday wasn’t part of her trip, contributor Elaine Labalme did venture to London, Paris, Amsterdam and Madrid. She’s back in Studio A this week with a recap of European cities fall travelers may want to visit.

Pennsylvania Cautiously Boosts Speed Limit

Jul 29, 2014
Ann Rosener / Library of Congress/Wikipedia

The Pennsylvania Turnpike, like a young driver, has a history of suddenly speeding up and slowing down.

In the 1940’s, the speed limit was 70, which was dropped to 65 during World War II. It shot back up to 70 in the 1950’s but the gas shortage of the late 1970’s led the speed limit to be cut all the way down to 55 mph.

Now, the speed limit is 65 and will soon be boosted to 70 on interstate roads, following a trial period on carefully chosen roads, including a section of the turnpike between Blue Mountain exit 201, and Morgantown exit 298.

With a speed limit of 70 mph already in Ohio and West Virginia, is it about time for PA to match up with neighboring states? Renee Vid Colborn, Manager of Media and Public Relations at the PA Turnpike Commission and State Senator Jay Costa addressed the pros and cons of an increased speed limit for area highways.

Summer in the City of Brotherly Love

Jul 24, 2014
Gary McCabe / Flickr

Philadelphia is the largest and most populous city in the commonwealth. There’s a wealth of things to do as well as great things to eat. Travel contributor Elaine Labalme, who tweets about food and travel under the twitter handle New Girl in Town, takes us across the state to talk about enjoying summer in the city of brotherly love.

Philadelphia has many charms and certainly where the arts are concerned. Check out Elaine's list of places to stay, eat, drink and explore:

Savannah: A Belle of Southern Charm

Jul 10, 2014
Dizzy Girl / Flickr

It’s the oldest city in Georgia and was once the state capital: Savannah. The city draws a number of tourists who come to look at its architecture and historic sites. One recent visitor to the city was travel contributor Elaine Labalme.

The charms and southern comfort found in Savannah make it a great place to visit for a summer trip. Labalme gives us her fabulous five lists of things to see, do and most importantly, where to eat in the city of Savannah.

Flickr user Dale Beckett

 

Fourth of July weekend travel is expected to reach pre-recession levels for the first time, even though gas prices are the highest they’ve been since 2008.

AAA is predicting that 41 million Americans will travel at least fifty miles this weekend, a 1.9 percent increase over last year, with 80 percent traveling by car.

In the Mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey, the number of people traveling to celebrate the holiday is expected increase by 1.3 percent.

A Summer Staple: 5 Outdoor Concert Venues to Visit

Jun 26, 2014
Heather Harvey / Flickr

One of the many joys of summer is listening to music at an outdoor venue. Whether you enjoy opera, jazz, rock or classical it somehow seems more enjoyable outdoors.

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme, suggests some famous performance spaces where you can enjoy an outdoor concert.

The Best Regional Beaches... Where to Get Away

Jun 12, 2014
Bruce Stockwell / Flickr

Grab the sunscreen, your favorite book and anything else you might need for fun in the sun.

This week travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggests regional beaches to visit from the Jersey Shore to Virginia.

Here’s her fabulous list of beaches to visit this summer.

Three State Parks You Need to Visit this Summer

Jun 5, 2014
Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

If you’re looking to explore the great outdoors this summer, you can’t go wrong visiting one of the Commonwealth’s many state parks. From Erie to Scranton and all points in between, our guide to some of Pennsylvania’s state parks is travel contributor Elaine Labalme.

State parks can be found in 61 of Pennsylvania's 66 counties. Cherry Springs, Ricketts Glen, and Pine Grove Furnace are among Labalme's favorites.  

With barbeques and picnics scheduled all throughout the Memorial Day weekend, the number of people traveling for the holiday is expected to increase, as are prices.

According to AAA, this year 36.1 million people are predicted to go at least 50 miles from their homes to celebrate the weekend. That is up 1.5 percent despite some travel costs rising: Average hotel prices have increased $3, rental car prices have risen 1 percent to $44, gas prices are expected to rise and airfare is up 6 percent.

Wikimedia

Dorney Park, Hershey Park, Dutch Wonderland, Lakemont Park, Idlewild, Kennywood... Pennsylvania has some of the most historic amusement parks, and roller coasters in the country.

As amusement parks start coming to life for the season, David Witoslawski, a McKeesport substitute school teacher and author of the book, Great Pennsylvania Amusement Parks Road Trip, gave us a guide to the state’s classic coasters and parks. The book is available in black and white as a paperback and in full color as an e-book.

"I love the matter of community spirit when it comes to going to amusement parks," Witoslawski said, "You go there and people just forget about all their problems in the world."

Take A Trip: Four Things To Do In Nashville, Tenn.

Apr 24, 2014
Timothy Wildey / flickr

Nine hours away from the Steel City is the Music City — Nashville, Tennessee. But there’s more to the city than country music. This week, contributor Elaine Labalme told us how to the get the most out of a visit to Nashville.

Spring Break With The New Girl

Apr 17, 2014
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters / flickr

A little madness in the spring is wholesome …even for the King, wrote Emily Dickinson. What better way to quell the madness caused by Spring fever than with a getaway? Travel contributor Elaine Labalme joined us this week with suggestions for Spring Break excursions.

After Checking out Pop Up Canada, Pop on Up to Niagara Falls

Apr 10, 2014
Helen Zhang / flickr

With the celebration of Canada taking place this week in the Steel City, Niagara Falls offers something for visitors on both the American and Canadian sides. 

Long regarded as a honeymoon destination, Niagara Falls is close enough for a long weekend getaway. Travel contributor Elaine Labalme offered suggestions for a trip to the falls.

4 Spring Festivals Worth Traveling To

Mar 27, 2014
Mark Peters / flickr

It’s officially spring, even if the weather may want to tell us otherwise. We’re going to remain optimistic and look forward to sunny and warm days spent outdoors.

This week travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggested spring festivals you might enjoy.

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