Posted: 8:00 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013
Starting point: Pitt's campus
Ending point: Lane Stadium
Time: 5 hours, 14 minutes
Distance: 326 miles, or the number of consecutive games that Virginia Tech has lost to Pitt
Places to see along the way:
Mummies of the Insane, Philippi, West Virginia
The Hatfield Family Cemetery, Western, West Virginia
Udderly Chick, Paint Bank, Virginia
The Smithfield Plantation, Blacksburg, Virginia
Let me put it to you this way, if you’re now just looking into staying around Blacksburg on a gameday weekend, I hope you know a coed, have an RV or can sleep comfortably in your car. For planning purposes in 2015 there are a few nice hotels in Blacksburg to stay, but they fill up the day the schedule is released. Oh and it will be a two night minimum at outrageous prices, same for the hotels 10 minutes down the road in Christiansburg. In a perfect world, the Inn at Virginia Tech and the Hilton Garden Inn are the two best as they are closest to campus, i.e. close to tailgating and downtown.
The older I get, the less I venture downtown to eat or shuffle around like cattle to drink. There are numerous places that serve solid bar food and lots of drink, but I’ve always preferred The Cellar (with a solid beer list) in the heart of downtown, Mike’s Grill for your standard fare burgers and Cabo Fish Taco. Sadly, for me most of downtown Blacksburg is pretty meh, when it comes to really good craft beer, so you won't find a Fat Heads Saloon here.
The campus, while large please take about twenty minutes to walk around. Highlights are the Hokie Stone buildings, the Drill Field, War Memorial Chapel and the Duck Pond, but the most powerful spot for Virginia Tech Grads is the 4/16/07 memorial on the center edge of the drill field. You’ll see the crowd. Outside of the campus is downtown Blacksburg which is quintessential college downtown experience. It’s a very short walk from the heart of the campus, you are sure to see small shops, places to eat and especially drink.
Us VT fans take our tailgating seriously, we eat, we drink and we play cornhole. Rinse repeat, until about 30 minutes before kickoff. Also, I like to partake in communion with my friends at the Clubhouse Tailgate. It's a great bonding moment for Hokies and the visiting fan base alike. What goes down (Wild Turkey) stays down. After, you’ll see quite a few people set shop back up and reverse tailgate, as it beats sitting in traffic.
If you don’t plan to tailgate at your parking spot, parking on private properties off Southgate Drive, Edgewood Lane and Tech Center Drive (Airport RV Lot) is a lot better than the public parking lots VT offers near Prices Fork Road, but at twice the cost. VT fans are usually a very friendly bunch, hopefully they will seek you out and offer food and drink. However, if they don’t, strike up a conversation, crapping on the Mountaineers and laughing for 10 minutes about them is an excellent ice breaker. Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to be in the stadium to catch the Enter Sandman entrance even it's just to see 60 year olds jumping up and down to Metallica.
On your drive in (or out,) about 20 minutes west of campus is the Cascades. The Cascades is a nice little hike that ends with a 70 foot waterfall, made even better by the changing leaves of fall. It's about 5 minutes off 460 and the hike takes about 90 minutes to the waterfall and back.
Of all of the teams in the ACC, Virginia Tech is probably the one team that most Pitt fans desire to have a rivalry with. One thing to keep in mind, though. In order for it to be a rivalry, Virginia Tech would actually have to start winning some of the games.