Essential Pittsburgh
4:15 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Quebec City Embodies the Picturesque Winter

Credit Michael McDonough / flickr

Our intrepid travel contributor Elaine Labalme continues her trek through the great white north.

This week she talks about Quebec City, capital of the province, where the old buildings reflect classic architecture and vibrant culture.  “It’s very welcoming and it’s a great respite for a few days,” says Labalme.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:59 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Terrifically Cosmopolitan Montreal

Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal was established in 1860, making it Canada's oldest art institution.
Credit Daryl Mitchell / flickr

Combining the best of old-world charm and modern sophistication, travel contributor Elaine Labalme finds Canada’s second largest city, Montreal to be “terrifically cosmopolitan.”

She suggests her favorite spots for food, arts and rest in this northern city.

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3:30 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Over the River and Through the Woods: Holiday Travel Season Expected to be Busiest on Record

Approximately 94.5 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home this week for the Christmas and New Year holidays, according to AAA East Central. That’s a half a million more travelers than the Christmas travel season last year and the highest number ever recorded for the season.

“The Mid-Atlantic region there’s expected to 10.5 million travelers and most of those will be driving,” said AAA East Central’s Bevi Powell. “There will be about 9.49 million drivers on the road. The Mid-Atlantic region includes New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.”

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3:47 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Pittsburgh International Airport Ready to Battle Snow

With a winter storm warning in effect until 1 p.m. Wednesday and one of the year's busiest travel days ahead, Pittsburgh International is getting ready to do battle with the ice and snow.

“They start planning for this back in September,” said Pittsburgh Airport Authority spokesman Jeff Martinelli. “When they snow storm started getting reported that it was a possibility they started going over some plans, our operations staff was moving to 12-hour shifts, our snow removal crew is out their doing the best they can and pre-treating runways.”

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Economy & Business
3:30 am
Mon November 25, 2013

How Far Will You Go for Turkey this Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving week is one of the busiest when it comes to travel, and this year will be no exception. AAA forecasts that nationally 43.4 million people will travel during the holiday week. In the mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, 5.01 million people are expected to travel, a 2.4 percent decrease over last year.

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Essential Pittsburgh
3:29 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Getting Away With That Special Someone Before the Holidays

Find some relaxing and scenic places to visit before the hustle and bustle of the holidays. El Tovar Hotel is one of the premiere lodges in the Grand Canyon region.
Credit Dustin Williams / Flickr

With winter on the way, there’s no better time to escape the early snows by flying south, taking in gorgeous views, or embracing the snowy winter, with high alpine excursions.

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme shares her top four favorite pre-holiday destinations.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:41 pm
Thu November 7, 2013

Autumn Coastal Destinations with the New Girl

This is an ideal time of year to see the famous light houses of the Outer Banks.
Credit Nathan Adams / Flickr

Coastal Destinations make for the best fall travel, according to travel contributor Elaine Labalme.

With better prices on off-season and cozy spots for cuddling, Labalme outlines her top five waterfront excursions. 

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Essential Pittsburgh
6:34 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Haunted Travel with the New Girl

One of Pittsburgh's best haunted tourist attractions
Credit Scott / Flickr

For year-round chills and thrills, travel contributor Elaine Labalme offers her top five list for best spooky vacation spots.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:42 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Geeks on a Mission: CMU Grads Engage in Technological Humanitarian Work

Dr. Alex Hills talks about the challenges and rewards of bringing technological systems to NGOs in developing nations.
Credit Katie Blackley / 90.5WESA

At the Carnegie Mellon University Technology Consulting in the Global Community program, students are matched with worldwide non-governmental organizations to assist these humanitarian groups with technological support.

Dr. Alexander Hills, senior adviser for the program, has compiled a book of five essays by these young professionals. The book Geeks on a Mission: In Their Own Words, reflects the students amazing experiences and the impact on the global communities they aid.

“Yes, we help people and that’s a good thing, but what it does for the student is really, really impressive,” he says.

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Essential Pittsburgh
2:23 pm
Thu September 26, 2013

Pirates Post-Season Travel

From the home of Coca-Cola to the lightest fluffiest pancakes in the country. Find out where to visit while on the road with the Pirates.
Credit Cavalier92 / Flickr

After more than two decades, the Pirates will finally play in the post-season.

Travel contributor Elaine Labalme shares her favorite hangouts in potential Pirates playoff cities.

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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
4:10 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Traveling with the Steelers

Taking in a Steelers away game? Check out places to visit when they're on the road.
Credit James Willamor / Flickr

For devoted fans who follow the Pittsburgh Steelers when they're on the road, travel contributor Elaine Labalme suggests some places to check out while cheering on the black and gold.

From Otto Pizzeria in NYC, to the Harley Davidson Museum in Wisconsin, and Boston’s Freedom Trail, there are some great sights to take in outside the stadiums.

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
5:36 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Crowdsourcing Common Challenges with the Millennial Train Project

Patrick Dowd (not that Patrick Dowd) and Lindsay Patross stopping at WESA on the last leg of the Millenial Train Project
Credit Jessica Straus / Millenial Train Project

There’s a pervading image of those in the millennial generation being selfish, uncaring youths. With his Millennial Trains Project--in which 18- to 30-year-olds travel across the nation with the goal of aiding and understanding the cities they visit--founder Patrick Dowd hopes to battle that image.

“Young people have the most at stake and the most potential to be agents of change in our world,” says Dowd. “Millennials sometimes get a bad rap for being lazy and narcissistic…and we want to go against that.”

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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
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

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
10:29 pm
Wed June 12, 2013

Getting Where You're Going with the New Girl in Town

Exploring modes of travel with Pop City writer and travel contributor Elaine Labalme
Credit Ryan Lane / Flickr

Whether you’re traveling by plane, train or automobile, sometimes the journey is more fun than the destination. This week travel contributor Elaine Labalme looks at various modes of transportation.

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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10:55 am
Thu May 23, 2013

Hitting the Road this Memorial Day Weekend? You're Not Alone

The traditional kick-off to the summer driving season officially gets underway this weekend as millions of people travel for the Memorial Day weekend. According to AAA East Central, approximately 31.2 million motorists will hit the road starting Thursday.

“In the mid-Atlantic region, which includes Pennsylvania, there will be about 3.78 million drivers out on the roadways, so very busy if you’re heading out on a road trip,” said AAA spokeswoman Bevi Powell.

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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
8:29 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Images From the Silk Road

Spices sold in a market along the Silk Road
Christopher Rolinson Point Park University

In 1972, Alban and Virginia Curtze of Erie, PA traveled to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal and India in an area known as the Silk Road. Little did they know their vacation photos would become artifacts of world history. Thirty nine of the Curtze's images have been transferred from slides to 11-by-14-inch prints and are on display at an exhibition on the Point Park University campus. The exhibition curator and associate professor of photojournalism and photography, Christopher Rolinson gives us a tour of the Silk Road images.

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

Gas Prices
12:10 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Western PA Gas Prices Falling, Expected to Continue Downward Trend

Gasoline prices have fallen about 8 cents this week compared to last.

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.56 per gallon, while the national average is $3.52.

AAA East Central said there are several reasons for the price decline.

“One thing is they were very high coming into the winter season, and typically they’re lower during the winter,” said spokeswoman Bevi Powell. “We had a lot of refinery issues at that time that made the prices higher.”

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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
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.