Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls
Next, I found the Italian market. It had any Italian food item you could ever want including large metal vats with spouts that were filled with different types of olive oil. Everyone just brough their own container and took what they needed. When I walked into the biscotti bakery, I found myself surrounded by glass jars and cases filled with every flavor of biscotti imaginable. I could have stayed there all day just inhaling the wonderfulness of it all. Of course, a bag full came home with me. When in Rome.
Then there was breakfast. It was an experience onto itself. Everyone told me before I arrived that I had to have breakfast at Pamela’s Diner on the Strip. I honestly wondered; just how different can a diner really be? Well, it certainly was! Where else can you find chorizo hash made with lyonnaise potatoes (fried potatoes with lots of butter and sliced onions), chorizo sausage, and jalapenos? Or how about the Pittsburg hash made with kielbasa and sauerkraut? Those are just some of the savory choices. Then we have the sweet ones such as their famous crepe-style hotcakes, and the mile-high croissant French toast soaked in cinnamon-vanilla egg batter and topped with caramel sauce and walnuts. If your mouth is not watering at this point, you may want to get that checked.
After eating all that food, I needed to walk it off, so I found Point Park. It is in the heart of the city where three rivers converge, the Allegheny, Monongahela and the Ohio. It is a beautiful park with walking paths, the Fort Pitt Museum, an immense fountain, and a great view of Acrisure Stadium (the former Heinz Field), the home of the Pittsburgh Steelers. After that stop I made my way up Mt. Washington for the best views of the city. I can honestly say, even though it wasn’t my first experience, the panoramic cityscape still took my beath away.
Just when I thought I had experienced all I possibly could for one weekend, I discovered that there are several waterfalls near Pittsburgh and since we had experienced recent rain, knew they should be flowing nicely. Since I am a real sucker for waterfalls, I started putting addresses into my GPS and began a waterfall tour of sorts.
My first stop was Fall Run Park. It is located just a few miles outside of Pittsburgh and after just a short hike, there it was, a stunning waterfall with a 25-foot drop. After a few oohs and aahs and the obligatory photo, it was back to the car and on to waterfall number two, Buttermilk Falls. Located in Beaver Falls, the unique thing about this waterfall is that you can walk behind it and look through the curtain of falling water. It was absolutely beautiful.
Feeling as though it couldn’t possibly get any better, I was about to be proven wrong. The best was yet to come. My next stop was McConnells Mill State Park and Hells Hollow Falls. McConnells Mills has been referred to as the most beautiful state park in Pennsylvania and it is easy to see why. It features a charming, covered bridge, as well as a restored mill and dam which dates back to the 1860’s. The park also has wonderful walking trails, but dusk was quickly approaching, and I had one more waterfall to locate, Hells Hollow.
After much twisting and turning through backroads, I found it! The best way to view this humongous waterfall is to stand in the middle of the stream just below it. Even though it was quite chilly, I was not about to miss out on the best view of the best waterfall of the day, so out I went sloshing through the frigid water. The view was well worth it! The water elegantly thundered its way down the rocks, and I stood there for several minutes completely spellbound.
I removed my sopping wet socks and forever ruined boots and climbed into the car. All the way home the lyrics to “Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls” kept running through my head. I realize that those words were meant as a metaphor for staying safe, and held the warning that waterfalls are beautiful, but can be dangerous. Wise words if the waterfalls you are chasing are hypothetical, but for me I believe I will keep chasing the literal ones.
Rhonda S. Kelley, Executive Director
Juniata River Valley Chamber of Commerce