Thursday, October 02, 2008

Applefest Visitors' Guide

(News-Herald, October 2) Welcome to Applefest, visitors to Venangoland! Maybe you’re here nice and early, or maybe it’s Friday and you’ve picked up yesterday’s paper. Either way, let me answer some of your common questions.

Where’s a good place to eat?

This is a tough choice. Presumably you’re not blind to the great variety of Fair Food available right in the main maw of Applefest. If you’re asking because you’d like to get out of the crush and eat a sit down meal like a grown up, pretty much everything on Liberty Street is good. We have nice coffeehouse food, classy dining at Bella’s, the world’s best bread at Leonardo’s, and sports grill dining al fresco at Oskies, as well as some other great options.

Thing is, the best part of most of these places is the atmosphere, which will be completely shot as long as you’re here. You can get in your car in the middle of the day to drive just a few miles out of town for other options (family, fancy-ish, Chinese buffet), but if you do, you might as well just leave your car in that parking lot and walk back to town.

What about the parking, anyway?

We have no idea—this mess traumatizes us locals as much as it does you. But we’re not good judges of this. You can drive down to the lower end of town and there will be lots of street parking. The distance back to the main stuff is what we locals would call “a long way” but any city dweller would call “just around the corner.” The only really practical choice is the option I exercised years ago—buy a house in town.

Can’t I just pull in over here?

No.

What about over—

No, really. And please don’t stop in the middle of the street to think about it. Just keep moving. Something will turn up eventually.

Goodness gracious! Why can’t I find accommodations that measure up to fine establishments I stay at in Pittsburgh?

Duh—because you’re not in Pittsburgh.

Fortunately, few Applefest visitors ask some version of this question. For that handful of cranky rich travelers, let me try to explain.

From ancient Egypt to modern metropolises, deluxe luxury accommodations depend upon one factor—a group of laborers who are willing to be paid peanuts in turn for devoting themselves to the comfort of their betters.

I suppose our problem here is that not many of us think we have betters (though we certainly have people who think they are betters). We’re not really up for treating you like visiting royalty. However, we will be happy to treat you like family (the part that we get along with). If that’s not good enough, may I recommend the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh.

Why don’t these people in front of me on the sidewalk MOVE already?

I don’t know, either. But, look—you wanted to come out to small town, get out of life in the fast lane, and enjoy the slow pace. Here it is.

I was imagining placid cow in peaceful field, not squished sardine trapped in tiny can. What else have you got?

Within walking distance (because, really, you don’t want to give up that parking space unless money is changing hands) you can find a peaceful riverfront park. Across the river there’s a very nice, quiet bike trail. Or step inside DeBence’s for a tour; it’s much cooler than you expect.

I don’t want to wander off too far. We might get lost.

If you can get lost in Franklin, you can get lost in your own home. If this is a real concern, it was a grave mistake for you to drive yourself here.

What about all the bags of quaint stuff I’ve bought?

I’ve said for years that someone could make a mint with a package-minding booth. Maybe this year someone will finally cash in. If not, I recommend a backpack, or a really big cart that you can use to clear a path for yourself.

What’s up with the one-way streets?

We prefer to only have to check one direction when we make sure you’re not going to drive over us while you search for a parking place. If you can manage Forbes and Fifth Avenue in Pittsburgh, you can deal with Elk and Buffalo Streets. If that’s too tough for you, head upriver to Oil City and we’ll show you how to get real mileage out of one-way streets.

1 comment:

condatis said...

Bwahahahaha. Was this really in the paper?

You know, I might just have to succumb to buying the News Herald just to read you....nah, yay for blogs!

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