West Virginia 2010 - Andy Warhol, Lunatic Asylums And Appalachian Weddings
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I have a girlfriend from Appalachia. Yes, that's right. She used to live in West Virginia. And almost every year, we travel back to see her family. I like them. Good people.

We usually start off with a road trip with her friend, journalist Mary Wade, typically somewhere in West Virginia or neighboring states, just about everywhere except the world's largest teapot in Chester, WV. 

This year, we drove to Pittsburgh to see the Andy Warhol Museum. 

But this year would also be a little different.  We'd visit a mysterious and haunted lunatic asylum in Weston, WV.

This trip was also featured my debut as a wedding photographer, photographing Lisa's cousin Carrie wedding David at an hundred year old wooden church in downtown Charleston.  I had never been a wedding photographer before, and had just purchased my new camera, a Nikon D90, two months ago, and my first flash, a Nikon SB-600 speedlight, two weeks prior to going on the trip (in fact, the flash was purchased largely for the wedding).  I took a crash course on wedding photography, reading up on it on the internet, figuring out what my flash did and how to use it, what the logistics were of capturing memories of a wedding, organizing people, everything.  I was a bundle of nerves, thinking that people would be viewing these photographs for the next hundred years.

31 July 2010: Skateboards at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.  Photography was not allowed in the exhibit areas, so you get photos of skateboards. 

Inside the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, located near where he grew up. The museum was extensive, a good overview of Warhol's work.  I liked it.  I found it interesting that numerous paintings that used urine as a medium still smelled funny.

Sign across the street from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

After visiting the Andy Warhol Museum, we decided to drive to the Duquesne Incline.  However, the tunnel was closed, causing massive traffic.  An hour later, after driving maybe a couple of miles, we arrived at the Duquesne Incline, old rail cars which has been serving residents in the most livable city in the United States since 1877. 

A view of downtown Pittsburgh from the top of the windy and slightly rainy Duquesne Incline.  The two cars, which run on funicular railroad tracks, have been operating since 1877.

My Appalachian girlfriend and Mary Wade inside the historic Duquesne Incline car.

1 Aug 2010:  The next day, we went to the Heinz History Center on Smallman, which has a number of exhibits about Pittsburgh's history as well as a sports museum. including this antique bus.

Stainless steel car, Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh, PA. We walked around the center, and then walked down to The Strip nearby.

There are many legends about George Washington.  Not all are true. Sure, he did have rolling fields of waving hemp.  He owned slaves.

But some are false.  He did not, for instance, chop down the cherry tree.  And he did not have wood teeth.  He did have false teeth.  Just not ones made of wood. Here's a photo of them right here.  These are on display at the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, PA.

Pittsburgh, PA at The Strip, with a fun photo that's all about symmetry, shape, and a balcony that doesn't seem to go anywhere.

After walking around The Strip and shopping for munchies, we drove back down to West Virginia, eventually getting some delicious Italian food at Muriale's in Fairmont.

2 August 2010:  I am friends with a labradoodle named Bert on FaceBook, so I was excited to actually meet him.  He lives in Mary Wade's parents' home.  To my surprise, I found that he didn't type or use the internet.  No, Kate, Mary Wade's sister, types as Bert.  Still, though, it was good to see Bert.

3 August 2010:  The next day, my Appalachian girlfriend (may I refer to her as "Lisa" from now on?  Thank you!) went to Weston?  What's in Weston, you might ask?  The Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.  And it's allegedly haunted, the ghosts of tormented inmates still roaming the halls.

But how could we gain admission to the lunatic asylum?  We could be admitted for...imaginary female trouble.  Or superstition.  Or masturbation for 30 years.  Or perhaps doubt about mother's ancestors.  Or even bad whiskey.

But no, we chose, instead, to purchase tickets, daring to walk the enormous halls shared by ghosts.

Here's an old, old television at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, also known as the Weston State Hospital.

But....but this television still works, yes it does. 

Go ahead, reach over with your mouse and turn the knob on.  I'll wait.

You'll probably get an interesting episode of Chief Editor Mary Wade discussing the latest issue of Corridor Magazine.

West Virginia 2010 - Andy Warhol, Lunatic Asylums and Appalachian Weddings
Page 1 of 4

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