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La Prima Espresso

October 2, 1988, was a brisk Sunday in Pittsburgh’s Strip District—then more a collection of warehouses than a bustling foodies’ mecca—and Sam and Debbie Patti were hoping the naysayers had been wrong. With their 12-year-old daughter, Jamie, they sat bundled on a bench in the chilly storefront that had just become La Prima Espresso, the …

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The Lincoln Highway at 100

Imagine the year is 1910. You are making the journey by automobile from suburban Pittsburgh to Gettysburg on winding roads made primarily of packed dirt. Dry weather makes for a dusty drive. When it rains, cars bottom out in pools of mud. Most roads are impassable in snow and ice. No restaurants or gas stations …

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Autumn Weekend

There are all sorts of iconic American highways that appear in song and lore—Route 66, the Pacific Coast Highway and the Blue Ridge Parkway, to name a few. But, according to National Geographic, “one of America’s most scenic drives” is right here in Pennsylvania: U.S. Route 6. Its long, local history began with an 1807 …

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Lofty Aspirations

When you have access to just about everything in the world of style and interior design, falling in love can be difficult. The sheer volume of merchandise, coupled with the insatiable hunger for the newest trends that drives the home furnishings market, could easily overwhelm an ordinary person. But Stacy Weiss is hardly ordinary. As …

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Howard Hanna: Buy and sell with confidence.

Rainy Nights in Paris

Just after midnight in Paris: The Left Bank boulevard glitters from a downpour. Street lamps, a white “HOTEL” sign at the end of the street by the Seine, a distant sing-song police siren. It’s mostly deserted. Two young women scoot by, then four guys. A few people slump on a bus. “A demain,” says a …

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The Century Inn

The national road, America’s first federally funded road, was built from 1811 to 1834 at the urging of former President George Washington and then-President Thomas Jefferson. It connected Cumberland, Md., and the Ohio River in Wheeling, W.Va., as a gateway to the West. The road was once a stagecoach route where towns had sprung up …

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Mateo’s

Grandson Mateo, now 8 years old, was a newborn when Franco and Lisa Gualtieri started cooking real Italian food in a small kitchen for pickup and delivery. When Mateo was 4, his grandparents opened the tiny restaurant they now operate on Brookline Boulevard and named it after him. Easy to pass before turning around, the …

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Just Ripe

Our little house in Pittsburgh was wedged between two widowers on the South Side slopes; John to the left, George to the right. George liked to wander out into his adjoining backyard and give me lawn cutting advice. John talked about tomatoes. John’s house shared a wall with ours, and sometimes we could hear his …

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The Smart House

When Peter Karlovich and Steve Herforth were searching for a site on which to build their new home, they could not have known that a decade later much of Pittsburgh would know it as the Smart House. Completed in 2003, the modern residence sits on the edge of Mt. Washington, but on a quiet street …

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Signs of Spring

Pittsburgh turns green in more ways than one come mid-March. Budding trees line the roads and crocuses pop up in sidewalk gardens. Along East Carson Street, the South Side’s main drag, drunken revelers laugh and shout, adjust their shamrock hats and “Kiss Me I’m Irish” T-shirts as they search out one more green beer. Up …

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The Maple

Long before Jim Pappas founded the Maple Restaurant in Ambridge, he and a partner ran an eatery that was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. One year they decided to close for Christmas and spend a few hours with their young families, but no one could find the key to the front …

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Choose your brews

The name alone is overwhelming. Yet intriguing. Go to 357 Freeport St. in New Kensington, and you will find everything from Allagash (Belgian-style stout from Portland, Maine) to Zywiec (from a Polish brewery founded in 1856 in Austria-Hungary and once owned by the Hapsburgs). The House of 1,000 Beers (HO1KB) is owned by Dave and …

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A Wheeling Wonder

There is nothing like a big light display to get you in the mood for the holidays, and the Winter Festival of Lights at Oglebay in Wheeling, W.Va., will put a smile on the grumpiest Scrooge! From its start in 1985 with five displays and some landscaping lighting, the festival now encompasses over 300 acres …

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Kar Hing

Since 1937, the world’s first atom smasher–perched above Ardmore Boulevard at the confluence of Forest Hills, East Pittsburgh and Chalfant–has been a source of mystery and intrigue. The once-gleaming six-story-high silver ball–with its faded, giant Westinghouse “W” still visible–is a relic of the atomic age, but it is not the only rare find along that …

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The Beginning

Mid October, 2012. The leaves shift into yellows and reds. I harvest the perky green Brussels sprouts and fill a basket with end-of-season tomatoes, a couple of late pattypan squashes, an armload of poblano peppers, parsley, kale, Swiss chard, heirloom carrots, and the last of the zinnias for the kitchen table. I live on the …

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Museum Quality

From the outside, the home is striking—a classic Georgian executed in subdued red brick. It looks neither new nor old, with immature landscaping the only hint that the owners have lived in it less than a year. The pleasantly symmetrical exterior sheathes a most extraordinary interior. More than a labor of love, the residence took …

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Fede Artisan Pasta

Cooling autumn temperatures call for a change in dinner palate from salads and grilled chicken to heartier fare. Pasta is perfect on a crisp fall evening… and perfect pasta is created daily at Fede Artisan Pasta in Banco Business Park in North Huntingdon, Pa. If you dine out in Pittsburgh, chances are you have already …

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The Bigham Tavern

In the early 20th century, weary men from Mount Washington finished their factory shifts on the banks of Pittsburgh’s three rivers and ascended the sharp cliff to Grandview Avenue on several inclines, disappearing above the cacophony and grime. Their throats were parched and burned from the dense smoke that led James Parton to describe Pittsburgh …

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A Peaceable Kingdom

A flock of picturesque suffolk sheep graze in the verdant pastures, and a bit farther down the long, empty road, a herd of Red Angus cattle stands lazily in the hot sun. Miles of split-rail fencing continues once you turn onto a drive that meanders uphill. Here there are horses, as if placed by a …

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The Box is Back

This was the first good sign: When I asked a group of friends to join me for a tasting of boxed wines, everyone thought it would be fun to participate. No “Ugh, boxed wines!” No questioning of my sanity. Once upon a time, these friends—wine aficionados all—would have been right to turn up their noses. …

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New Country Classic

Half of the charm of a new home in Sarver is getting there—it’s a 25-minute drive north from Fox Chapel, where the owners used to live. This stretch of Route 28 is downright bucolic, with hilly vistas, pretty pastures and none of the traffic that has given other parts of the highway a bad reputation. …

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Sit, Stay, Play

The “dog days of summer” means exceptionally steamy temperatures for us, but for our canine friends, every day is a “dog day.” Now, however, pet owners can give that phrase new meaning by paying a visit to Misty Pines Dog Park Company in Franklin Park. The son of a veterinarian, owner Jeff Woods made his …

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