What is PAweekendfun?

I started this blog five years ago, four years after graduating college. At that point in my life, I seemed to average two weekends a month on the road. That mainly started because I still wished I was in college and my friends were scattered around the tri-state area, but also because I’ve always enjoyed traveling, trying new things, and going new places.

Out of my group of friends, I’m one of the “planners.” I enjoy (and like to think I’m good at) coming up with ideas, trips, mapping out the itineraries, and doing all the preliminary research, planning, and reserving that needs to be done.

I mention this because it’s how the idea for this blog came to be.  I wanted to break into the blogging world for some time but couldn’t figure out what niche to choose.  I finally relied on the whole “write what you love” adage, and what I like to do, and what I’m good at, is planning fun stuff for the weekends.

There are plenty of travel sites out there; I use them when planning out excursions. The one problem I have with them is that for the most part, they are geared towards either families or world travelers. I’m neither one of those. I’m not married. I don’t have kids, and to be perfectly honest with you, the second something is described as “fun for the whole family,” I start rolling my eyes. At the same time, my traveling in limited by my job and income, a limitation I feel the average person shares.

I wanted to write for people like me: those who like to travel/have a good time, but are relegated mostly, to weekend sized chunks of time, can’t be maxing out credit cards constantly, AND who agree that the perfect weekend getaway involve something touristy, something athletic, and drinks.

I’m also a firm believer that “travel” doesn’t have to be distant or obscure to be interesting. While I’d love to go to Norway, or backpack through Croatia, there’s enough to do right here in the US, and specifically here in the northeast, to keep you busy for years.  I’m not even being hyperbolic here.

I’m always pretty incredulous when I hear people complaining about living in PA. The most common complaints are that it’s “boring” and “they’d rather be in Florida or California.” Here’s my retort:

A) No offense to the residents there, or my grandmother, but Florida is overrated and borderline awful. Let’s just get that out of the way. Yes, it has Disneyworld, but it also has a high population of people who enjoy taking bath salts and eating their own faces.

B) If you’re a history nerd (which I am), you really can’t get better than Pennsylvania (and our neighboring states, and New England) EVERYTHING HAPPENED HERE.

C) We’re in the heart of one of my favorite words that I never get to use: the “megalopolis” (the large populated area of the USA linking the Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and DC urban sprawls, plus all of New Jersey which in itself is one giant urban sprawl). It’s an easy drive from PA to arguably some of the most important and dynamic cultural hubs in the country. Throw in some of the more “secondary” or “smaller” cities like Scranton, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Atlantic City, Providence, Rochester, etc, and you have more than enough weekend travel to keep you busy for a long time.

D) We have four proper seasons. Not only does it get hot in the summer, but we’re close to the magnificence that is the Jersey shore (I say this with complete, complete sincerity-I’m never happier than a Sunday Funday in Sea Isle City), with easy enough access to Maryland, Virginia, and Cape Cod. We have legitimate foliage, and we have (or, HAD) solid snowfalls. ASIDE: That’s the other thing people complain about PA for: the weather. I’m firmly in the snow-is-awesome camp.

E) Say all you want about Colorado, Vermont or Oregon, if you’re a beer person, PA is awesome-with a thriving craft beer scene, particularly around Philly, in Lancaster County, and out around Pittsburgh.

F) SCRANTON IS HERE. Should I stop?

You get the point. I legitimately think Pennsylvania is an awesome place to live (and apparently think legitimately is an awesome word to overuse), and travel around. I could go on and on if I wanted, but I think you get the gist.

I’ve entitled this blog PAweekendfun, simply because it’s where I live, work, went to school, drink, and primarily travel, but I hope it turns out useful for those living and having fun in the northeast region, along with any of those who are thinking of visiting any of the locales mentioned.

So, you’ve stopped here.  What can you expect?

Here you’ll find my own travels, trip ideas, itineraries, and ideas, with an emphasis on being PA based.

I’m not a relaxing traveler-I don’t spend a lot of time in the hotel room, and lounging by a pool or beach isn’t my favorite thing to do. I like activities, and try to fill most my trips up with as many as possible. Because of this, just FYI, my hotel rooms are normally just somewhere to sleep and keep my stuff.  In fact, I’d much rather just stay somewhere ok, and spend the bulk of my money on food, beverages, and experiences.

I like to throw a couple back, so be warned, most of my posts will have drink/bar recommendations.  My perfect Saturday involves something athletic during the day, followed by some libations-if those libations are near a body of water or on a boat, well then you’ve really hit a sweet spot). I consider myself to be a “beer enthusiast.” There’s nothing snobby about my drinking habits. While I do enjoy trying new local and craft beers (and build quite a few itineraries around brewery hopping), my top 2 favorite beers will forever be Coors Light and Bud Light Lime (I know, I know, I really love it though), and I’m hoping that the whole IPA’s-are-king trend starts waning a bit, and people start giving stouts the love they so deserve.

I do not do clubs, I don’t wait in line for most places, and have an undying allegiance to dive bars. Outside of our home state, I try to go up to the Adirondacks at least twice a year, and have recently become enamored with the Catskills (I’m an upstate New York enthusiast in general).  I also really love small cities, which is why my current US travel bucket list includes places like Asheville, St. Paul, and Missoula. I mean, I’ve even pitched a trip to Utica to some friends before (they said no).

As referenced, I do trek down to the sweet shores of New Jersey every summer, and spend a decent amount of time in Philly. I’m from Scranton, and lived in Lancaster, so will devote much more time and energy to both of them, because I seriously do believe that both are underrated as travel destinations. I’m sincerely trying to show western PA more love and attention this year.

I don’t like super touristy things, but I love a good tour. I’m not a big bike rider, however biking around a new city is currently my number one way to explore. I’m guaranteed to love anything New England related (especially if it makes me feel like I’m a Kennedy for the day) and if it were healthy for me to only eat meat and dairy, I’d be down. I’m a big hiker, but like, actual hikes that make you sweat, get out of breath, and really make you work for the view.

My blog’s secondary goal is to make people appreciate the joy that is cross-country skiing. It’s one of the best workouts there is, it’s a great social sport, a great way to take in scenic views, and could be made into a barcrawl! Plus, it’s so much better on the wallet then downhill skiing, and the chances of you Sonny Bonoing yourself are slim to none. I actually don’t downhill ski, despite being surrounded by great places to do so.

I like to consider myself a pretty open guy though, and am game for trying MOST* things once.

*Editor’s note: I will never try bungee jumping, hang gliding, or visit any sort of snake exhibit.

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