Up Next: MBA School Summer Break

The first year of Alex’s MBA program has officially finished and he is on ‘summer break’! Kind of a misnomer because ‘summer break’ in business school is the time between school and internship. For Alex, he has a month off between classes ending to his internship beginning but other students had just a few days to get from Pittsburgh to their internship (but they have typically have a longer break at the end of their internship before classes start again in September).

Most of the first year of business school is focused on finding a summer internship and we always knew that for Alex, this likely meant not working in Pittsburgh. We spent many hours discussing cities, companies, lifestyles, future goals and more together as Alex identified his target companies for the summer. In many cases, the internship leads to a full time offer so we wanted to set ourselves up for the best post-MBA decision possible.

In March (on my birthday, in fact), Alex landed the best internship for his skills set and ambitions – it’s the perfect bridge between what he had been doing before school to what he wants to do after school. He’ll be working for a super cool media tech company, in Santa Monica/Los Angeles, and it certainly doesn’t hurt that his apartment will be 6 blocks from the beach. Homeboy is living the Summer Internship Dream!

Ibotta Entrance // lynnepetre.com

We also knew, before we even moved to Pittsburgh, that if Alex’s internship was not in Pittsburgh, I wanted to spend my summer in Denver. Working remotely is hard and working remotely and leading a team at an aggressively growing and extremely innovative company is even harder. While I’ve come to enjoy my personal life in Pittsburgh and feel like I am in a good ‘working remotely’ rhythm, I’m missing out on in-office collaboration and career growth opportunities. Plus, it’s lonely! I miss talking to my coworkers in person and socializing. Without Alex in Pittsburgh, I would surely become the crazy hermit lady who goes days without talking to anyone in real life and nobody (especially not me) wants that.

So, all this to say that Alex and I are en route across the country, wheels pointed west! We are spending a couple of days with our family in Cincinnati and then will drive to Denver. Alex doesn’t start work till early June so he’ll/we’ll have a few weeks of downtime in Colorado before he finishes the last, 17-hour leg from Denver to Los Angeles.

Petre Road Trips // lynnepetre.com

These next few months of Summer Break are sure to be chaotic with both of us working at companies we’re excited about and traveling/exploring on weekends and I couldn’t be more giddy. And bookended by a cross-country road trip?

Summer 2016, I already love you.

Pittsburgh Hike: McConnell’s Mill State Park

Trip Report: McConnell's Mill, PA // lgsmash.comSince moving to Pittsburgh, I’ve been slow to explore much outside the city. With weekend visitors, school commitments, travel and settling in, it’s been hard to get out and check out our surroundings. And frankly, despite having a super long list of things I want to be sure to do, it felt intimidating to know where to start. (note to self: just START.) 

Living in Denver, I hit the trails at least once a week either by trail running, camping, hiking or climbing and, a couple of weeks ago, I realized just how much the lack of nature was affecting me and did something about it. Of course, the forecast called for rain all day long but I loaded up a small day pack and hit the road for McConnell’s Mill State Park, fingers crossed for a break in the drops.

As luck would have it, the rain eased into a light drizzle as I pulled into the parking lot and had completely dissipated as I locked up my Subaru to explore.

I’d done only a little bit of research before my trip; I knew the gristmill was a short hike from the parking lot and I knew there was climbing somewhere in the park. My goal was to find both.

Trip Report: McConnell's Mill, PA // lgsmash.com

A short hike from Johnson Road/McConnell’s Mill Road parking lot, the trail to the mill is a packed dirt trail with rock obstacles throughout and full of lush greenery alongside. It was really beautiful and hard to believe the colors around me. I forgot just HOW green the midwest is!

The hike is maybe 1/2 mile from the parking lot and is marked with a blue reflector. It’s a well worth path and easy to follow along the river.
Trip Report: McConnell's Mill, PA // lgsmash.com Because it was a rainy afternoon, I enjoyed a very quiet day on the trail and inside the mill. I poked around inside and around, snapping photos and reading the plaques inside before deciding to continue further up the trail. (Note: there is also a parking lot right at the mill so visitors who don’t want to or can’t hike are still able to visit the mill!)

Trip Report: McConnell's Mill, PA // lgsmash.com

I ventured up another 1/2 mile southwest on the trail, past the Kildoo Bridge and falls; the trail follows the river the majority of the length of the park and, while there were no kayakers while I was hiking, I know it’s an option and I plan to come back and kayak along the trail I hiked.

Trip Report: McConnell's Mill, PA // lgsmash.com
Kildoo Bridge

Trip Report: McConnell's Mill, PA // lgsmash.com

I turned around and headed back towards the mill as darker clouds started rolling in above. I made it back to the parking just as the sky opened up and dropped big fat raindrops on my car, satisfied in my short afternoon jaunt in a Pennsylvania state park. While I didn’t see the climbing spots I’d hoped to scope out, I know exactly where to find them for the next trip out to McConnell’s Mill.

Trip Report: McConnell's Mill, PA // lgsmash.com

I drove back to Pittsburgh with a full heart; I’d found a small piece of what I’ve been missing so much in Pennsylvania. Trails and dirt; places to play outside. And over the coming weeks with no weekend plans, I’m penciling in a lot more park adventures to find beautiful vistas to view the fall colors. I can’t wait to see miles of reds, oranges and yellow; fall in the midwest can’t be beat.


Only 45 minutes away from Pittsburgh, this state park is an excellent choice for hiking, backpacking, camping and climbing. Hikes are available for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels of ability. The park is 2,500 acres and is situated next to a sister state park, Moraine State Park, that looks to have a beach(!).