Category Archives: Pennsylvania
We did a lot in Pittsburgh but not everything our Pittsburgh enthusiast friends recommended so including here for the next trip! (Some places were also closed due to the pandemic.)
North Side – there is a homey German restaurant that’s been there forever. Max’s Allegheny Tavern at 537 Suisman Street. They have pretty good schnitzel on the menu.
Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh campus – the nationality rooms. We walked around on our own. Would be much better with a tour. They are just amazing and are used as classrooms and study rooms.
Heinz History museum – if you love/d Mister Rogers, you have to see the display from the show.
Primanti Brothers is famous in the Strip – where you get french fries on your sandwich along with coleslaw.
Phipps Conservatory – our indoor botanical garden in Schenley Park close to the Pitt campus.
In the strip district— the original Pirmanti brothers location is there, home to the famous cheesesteak sandwichtopped with French fries
Penn Avenue Fish company fir great seafood in a casual atmosphere. Your order from counter with all selections on a big chalkboard
And you need to have some polish food of course. The S&D deli fits the bill nicely. Traditional cheap polish delights that your Bubba used to make.
The best periogies are made by the parishioners at St. Stanislaus kostka church tucked away on a side street in the strip. Probably not selling them now due to pandemic. But the church is worth visiting anyway
Closer to downtown also on penn avenue in the cultural district there are a number of places where you can eat outside on the street. One of our favorites is Emporio: A Meatball Place. They also have rooftop seating. You order one or more meatballs of different persuasions
Other places: The Pleasure Bar in the Bloomfield neighborhood has great Italian food but is best known for its French bread pizza. Its less than a mile from Lawrenceville
You have to ride one of the inclines-up mount Washington. The Duquesne Incline’s entrance is right near Station Square an old train station that’s been gentrified and is full of sho ps and restaurants. The mon incline is usually less busy. Both feature great views of downtown. The night view is spectacular
I assume you already know about the Warhol museum on the north side. The senator john Heinz History Center on smallman street in the cultural center is a terrific place.
About 1.5 hours south of Pittsburgh, we stopped at the site of the flight that crashed into farm land on 9/11/01, averting even more devastation in Washington D.C. (The terrorists were likely targeting the U.S. Capitol, or maybe the White House.)
The weather was fittingly gloomy, cold and rainy. The hardest part of the visit was listening to telephone messages that three passengers made to their families from the plane when they knew they would likely die. The plane had been hijacked by suicide terrorists, other planes had already crashed into the world trade Center Towers and the crew and passengers of flight 93 decided to thwart the hijackers plan to crash into the U.S. Capitol …which is a stone’s throw from where we are sleeping tonight, in an Airbnb carriage house in the Capitol East neighborhood, around the block from our son’s apartment. Flight 93 crashed in the tiny rural hamlet of Shanksville, killing all 40 passengers and crew aboard.
Bethlehem has two interesting and very different attractions – the lovely old campus of Moravian College, with fieldstone and red brick buildings and gravestones dating back to the mid 1700’s and Steel Stacks, the former Bethlehem Steel factory — a massive hulking pile of rusted steel stacks and crumbling brick buildings that has been transformed into a destination with a hotel/casino, movie theaters, event space, tours, a local PBS station headquarters. I’d love to return and take the steel tour.
We drove through grey skies and drizzle north thru the Poconos to Scranton so my aunt could visit an old friend from college. The drive was pretty, weather notwithstanding, and the leaves are starting to change. (I am told they are late this year.)
I did a little exploring on my own, driving through downtown Scranton which I know little about except that it was the fictional location of the classic TV comedy, The Office. There are some great old hulking stone and brick buildings but didn’t see much reason to stop so I went to nearby Nay Aug (that’s not a typo) park, which has a waterfall and gorge. I met a nice young woman who was hiking around and she led me along the muddy trail to the falls, which were impressive, especially since there has been so much rain in the area. It wasn’t quite Ithaca quality but not bad. Ithaca was only 2 hours north (so near and yet so far….)
I also stopped at the lackawanna coal mine museum which has a rustic tour down into a mine that one website described as a good way to learn about how terrible coal miners lives were. No thank you. Too claustrophobia- inducing but did look like a cool attraction and is a biggie here.
Easton is looking pretty good. Always a little ragged around the edges even though I love it dearly, (this is, after all, my mother’s hometown and where I spent summers with my grandma at her red brick row house), Easton seems to be remaking itself as a funky arts and culinary destination. So much so that we won’t be going to the farmers market around the circle downtown tomorrow because the annual garlic fest is on tap and draws some 20,000 people. Too many for us.
Aunt MAT and I dropped by the family touchstones – 101 N. 8th Street (Grama Betty’s house which still isn’t looking so good), my Great-Grandfather Louis’s house (and later my Great Aunt Sylvia’s house) on 2nd Street, which still looks lovely.
We finally found my grandparents’ gravestones, along with many great aunts and uncles (Sylvia, Nathan, Jeanette, Libby…) in a remote corner of the Easton cemetery. We could see cars whizzing by on RT. 22). We spotted the new Easton Public Market on Northampton Street, which looks pretty cool, and some vintage clothing shops and boutiques. The Caramel Corn Shop is still on the circle.
We drove along the river road, RT 611, that curves along the Delaware, past the occasional lovely stone house and barn. Also drove along an interior country road trying to find remnants of the summer camp I went to as a kids — Camptown. I love the countryside here. Very rolling, winding and green, with the leaves starting to change.
We had a delicious lunch at an Italian import store run by one of my aunt’s former 3rd grade students, now age 68, called Pastaceria, which has a chef recently arrived from Rome who made delicious fresh pasta — Ravioli stuffed with ricotta and spinach, with a butter sage sauce.
Tonight we went to an old club, The Pomfret in downtown Easton with 5 of my aunts former students and some spouses. They came from Kansas , Oregon, Florida. Alabama and made a big fuss over my aunt, which was really sweet. My aunt was really touched. Special night for us all.
I walked along Main Street in Bethlehem, which has some interesting shops including The Steel Beam, with industrial chic artwork. The city is wisely marketing its faded industrial era, with lots of odes to Bethlehem Steel. Then there are the charming 18th. Century stone buildings, many part of Moravian College.