It’s hard for me to believe that my Trip of a Lifetime has already come and gone! I still remember the time when my friend was recommending the Good Sam checklist, and now everything has come to an end, and I am back to the daily routine again. My mom and I had a blast and I will always cherish the time I got to spend with her. I know I won’t be able to give you a complete recap of our amazing week but I’ll do my best and fare warning, you’re about to see A LOT of pictures!
Mom and I have been planning this trip for years and since my parents are train buffs, we opted to take Amtrak from my hometown of McGregor, TX to Pittsburgh, PA. For those of you who have never ridden a train – DO IT! You’ll have the time of your life! Train travel is very relaxing and luckily for us, has awesome luggage requirements as compared to its airline counterpart.
Not much has changed about this old station since my childhood and I couldn’t love it more! I have so many memories of waiting in this station, to travel by train or just watch it go by.
Most trains consist of several coach cars, a few sleeper cars (where we traveled), a dining car, a lounge car (the one with the big windows) and of course, an engine.
Our sleeper car room had it’s own bathroom which is a huge luxury on the train and chairs that folded out into beds.
Coming and going from Pittsburgh we had a layover in Chicago so we took the opportunity to see a few sights! Chicago’s Union Station is beautiful and if filled with lots of classic architecture.
On our way home we stopped by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Museum where we found this Civil War era $500 from the National Bank of Lowell (MA) which also happens to be the name of my brother. Oh, and that large cube? That’s what $1million looks like in $1 bills!
In Pittsburgh, we rented a car and drove about 45 minutes to Newell, WV, home of Homer Laughlin China Company that makes Fiestware. The factory itself . . . .is little lack luster. . . .let’s just say it’s not exactly a tourist destination but since we were the only ones there at 9am and it didn’t open until 9:30am. . . . we had to find a few touristy photo ops. I mean, we came all the way from Texas for this!
Just down Fiesta Drive, there’s a bone yard of broken Fiestaware which we later found out has just recently been sold to a start-up company that wants to make concrete counter-tops with speckles of Fiestaware mixed in. I might have to look into that in the future!Needless to say, when 9:30am came, we were the first ones in the door.
It was every color of the rainbow we’d dreamed of AND more! I mean, eat your heart out!
At 10:30am we got to go on a tour of the factory and as luck would have it, mom and I were the only 2 on the tour! We weren’t allowed to take pictures but we did get to see the entire process from clay to the finished product and it was very fascinating. When I made the reservation I was told we were going to walk a mile and a half and they weren’t kidding, we definitely got our workout in! At the end of the tour we got to see the Fiestware museum, a small room off the factory that had shelf after shelf of every retired Fiesta color.
Just off the main show floor was the 2nds room which was filled with slightly blemished dishes that were a fraction of the price. We spent most of our time in this room, filling egg crates with stacks of colorful dishware. I mainly tried to buy pieces that you can’t regularly find in departments stores so I came home with several different types of serving bowls, a carafe, pie plates and loaf pans.
Once everything was said and done we had an entire trunk full of Fiestware!
We packed our dishes into our suitcases and headed home! I didn’t get a ton of pictures of my ‘loot’ but here’s a shot of my kitchen table as I was unpacking it.
Doesn’t it just make you happy? It’s like a rainbow of color everyday!
If you’re ever in the Pittsburgh area, I highly recommend you make the short trip out to Newell, WV, you won’t regret it! For my mom and I it truly was the trip of a lifetime!