Karyn Locke is the publisher of Sand and Snow, a magazine catering to travelers. Along with her husband, the enigmatic Mister Locke, they roam the open roads of North America in pursuit of the next town. After covering mountains, beaches, and the godless midwest, Karyn returned home to Pittsburgh where she recently published her first book, Secret Pittsburgh: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure.
I first met Karyn Locke as a fellow travel documentarian attending events in America’s City of Bridges – Pittsburgh. Before shows we’d swap travel stories like currency at a foreign exchange. Together we studied the hidden wiki of the steel valley. The oddities mount over a few drinks. Did you know Pittsburgh has wooden streets? Continental America’s steepest street? Or what is a House of Hades tile on Pittsburgh streets?
The Secret Pittsburgh contains around 70 entries for first time visitors and locals alike. Each chapter focuses on answers to help you with the next Pittsburgh trivia night. Even the oddities like Randyland which I ran for several years. From the obvious to the obscure, Karyn finds a good yinz yang balance between subjects. Yet, focusing on a single town for a book was a departure from her daily exploration.
“Writing a book is vastly different than the travel outlet. The process of push and pull with an editor was a unique experience for me.” Like many small outlets, Locke serves as her own editor. The initial refinement for Secret Pittsburgh came from the trove of articles she authored on the city over the years. Although it was her partnership with publisher, Reedy Press, which brought the book to its final form.
Her process of discovery is a combination of her own passion and working with tourism bureaus. Sand and Snow features listicles for those with a time limit looking to defeat each town’s bucket list. Her readers also find travel gifts and of course household items such as which bed to lay your head on after a long trip.
Let’s get back to trivia. Here is some about the newly published author. Karyn Locke loves the open road, “Everywhere we can go in a car, we certainly try.” she told me. Secondly, she’s knowledgable Disneyphile having mapped out many of the parks herself. “You can’t learn Disney in a day. There are subtle nuances to that world.” She goes on, “It’s like learning a new language. Parks, Food, and Tours. I can write about Walt Disney World with my eyes closed.”
Catching Karyn between cities is difficult. She’s always on the go. But if you have a chance to meet her, you’ll find she’s glowing, genuine, and most of all curious. Even in a venue she’s been to before, she’s constantly looking for secret passages.
If you’d like to discover secrets yourself, reading her book on Pittsburgh is a good start.