Home. Where you hang your hat, where the heart is, wherever I’m with you.
Or maybe it’s just where local food tastes like heaven and mom folds your laundry. Regardless how it’s relatively defined, home most importantly characterizes the place you can always come back to.
In the past three years I’ve set up camp in North Carolina, Ohio and New York City — with each and every experience + person I’ve encountered evolving me into who I am today. And while I wouldn’t change one second of my twenty-something wanderlust, a piece my heart continually resides in a little house in Pittsburgh.
New York is the greatest city on earth. Hands down, my number one. But if New York is my main chick, then Pittsburgh is my mistress.
They say you never forget your first love, and when that love comes with sandwiches with fries on them + a chill sending skyline through the Fort Pitt tunnels, they couldn’t be more right.
This weekend was exquisitely overloaded with hometown favorites in the form of familiar running routes + delish meals that made each steep upclimb worth it — not to mention a few reunions with the greatest friends on the planet to share it all with.
HOW I SWEAT:
In New York or Columbus, which are relatively flat, I can crank out at least five miles without much trouble. But Pittsburgh, more specifically the South Hills, is a completely different + inclined story.
Each time I return home, I always try to run my usual route. It is a perfect 3.83 miles each and every time. And perhaps you’re thinking I should just tough it out for the even 4.0, but through the St. Clair peaks and valleys, earning the extra .16 is much easier said than done.
I love this route because it challenges me in new ways. It forces to me to slow my pace + focus on climbing those tough hills while silently praying for the momentary reward of gravitational declines. Not to mention, I love the familiar scenery — the childhood parks + high school stadium provide a special nostalgia that makes this run particularly rewarding.
WHAT I ATE:
So Philly can have its cheesesteaks, and New York can have its pizza, but when it comes to sandwich innovation + deliciousness, Pittsburgh just wins. Which is why no trip home could be complete without a trip to the Pittsburgh sandwich mecca itself — Primanti Bros.
There’s no greater reward for a long run + walking in the city sun like eggs + cole slaw + fries between fresh bread. Straight up, I’d run back to Pittsburgh from Manhattan for another one of these bad boys.
So perhaps you’re sitting reading this thinking, yeah Primanti’s, yeah miles, but where’s the wine Molly? Where’s the wine?
Well, in perhaps my favorite discovery to date, the wine is in these PERFECT + CONVENIENT adult juice boxes. Because life couldn’t get much better than drinking a cold Pinot at Point State Park with some of my favorite people.
While a Primanti’s sandwich + wine by the river could easily be enough to fulfill my Pittsburgh food agenda, why not go big when you go home? Because life IS too short to pass up dessert — especially when the Pittsburgh favorite, Sarris Candy, is right around the corner.
And this black raspberry + choco-chip + peanut butter + dark chocolate bowl of heaven was the sweetest end to a extraordinary day in the Steel City.
The last three days were nothing short of perfect. But no matter the bliss a mistress can bring, you must always return home to your true + honest love. So we boarded the plane + two mimosas later, Manhattan welcomed us home.
The greatest part of home is that you know it will always be there. You know the life-long friends, the parents + the house you grew up in will forever remain despite how far you roam.
And in life, if you’re lucky, you’ll always be in love with the place you are. You’ll love the people you’re with + the adventures you have. But if you do it right, you’ll always know home will be there waiting for you.
Here’s to Pittsburgh, until we meet again.
Run far, eat well, drink better.