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Travel

The ease and élan of Ireland

I can’t really recall why we chose Ireland for our honeymoon 27 years ago. Neither of us is Irish. Maybe it was the writers—Yeats, Wilde and Joyce. Maybe the fishing (not for my wife). It certainly wasn’t the weather or, back then, the food. My wife noted that the same boiled potato and chicken meal …

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Hiking Boots & Shamrocks

While most travelers to the west of Ireland enjoy golfing, visiting castles or fishing, my wife and I hit the hiking trails. We rewarded ourselves for all the hoofing by staying in two quaint Irish hotels with great food and above average hospitality. Before leaving, we invested in L.L. Bean hiking gear—boots, pants, socks, rain …

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Days of Wine and Music

There are few things more enjoyable during beautiful weather than sitting outside with family or friends, listening to live music while sipping on wine. Fortunately, there is a charming, local, Tuscan-themed venue where one can do just that. Narcisi Winery, on route 910 in Gibsonia, is a family-owned endeavor that began in Italy generations ago. …

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Remembering the Great One

Walking into The Clemente Museum at Engine House No. 25 in Lawrenceville, one word comes to mind: passion. The athletic passion of one of baseball’s greatest players, his passion for helping the less fortunate and making the world better for his and all children, and the passion of the man who created this moving monument …

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Howard Hanna: Buy and sell with confidence.

Giddy up, let’s go!

Horse-drawn sleigh rides. These icons of old-fashioned winter are lauded in carols and featured in Currier and Ives lithographs. And a great one is available just northeast of Kittanning, in Cowansville. Denise and Flavius Brinsfield grew up with a love of horses. Denise enjoyed an equine way of life, both riding and driving horses. Flavius …

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Chagrin Falls

Sometimes it’s nice to escape to a place with a slower, more relaxed pace—a quaint community that isn’t teeming with chain stores and traffic, where kids ride their bikes into town to have a cone and hang out with friends. There is a town, just this side of Cleveland, that fits the bill—Chagrin Falls, Ohio. …

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Eurotrip revisited

Seven months after JFK was assassinated and four months after the Beatles played Ed Sullivan, 100,000 American students (I was one) became the first generation of middle-class American college kids who could afford to travel to Europe. That summer of ’64, thousands of us crossed the pond thanks to larger jets, cheap tickets and Arthur …

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Learning by the lake

The motto painted on the wall of Chautauqua Institution’s outdoor amphitheater exhorts the audience to “Share Your Light.” It’s a message that Chautauquans take seriously, returning annually to the lakeshore community to debate, learn and generally immerse themselves in ethics, arts, music and current events. But as the lakeside institution just over the New York …

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North by northwest

Summer has finally arrived, and there is no better time for a weekend (or mid-week) getaway. McKean County is a few hours from Pittsburgh and a great area to explore, play, relax and have fun. Whether your interests are historic, outdoorsy, culinary or sporty, you will find no lack of things to do. For the …

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Bon appétit!

Who wouldn’t love to spend April in Paris? However, if France isn’t in your immediate future, you can still enjoy its delectable treats right here in Pittsburgh. These three patisseries are like children; you love them all, but each has its own special talent. The granddaddy, and the one that has proven that this region …

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The Motel Era

It was then that began our extensive travels all over the states,” said Humbert Humbert in Vladimir Nabokov’s novel, “Lolita.” “To any other type of tourist accommodation I soon grew to prefer the Functional Motel—clean, neat, safe nooks, ideal places for sleep, argument, reconciliation, insatiable illicit love.” Poet and fiction writer James Agee ghostwrote a …

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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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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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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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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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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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Take a Turn…

Does the end of gray winter days remind you how it felt to get your bike back out of the garage and cruise the streets with your friends after school? With a visit to Bicycle Heaven, you can rekindle that excitement on a trip down memory lane. After overexposure to paint fumes forced Craig Morrow …

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Road Trip

In May, my wife, Cindy, and I became the first Americans to drive from coast-to-coast in a natural-gas-powered vehicle. The idea first occurred to me last fall after retiring from EQT. I had the time, and the project intrigued me. First, I’m a believer in energy independence for America. We import more than 65 percent of …

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Wall of Water

On May 31, 1889, 20 million tons of water broke through the South Fork Fishing & Hunting Club’s earthen dam on Lake Conemaugh and destroyed almost everything in its path. Hardest hit was the city of Johnstown, 14 miles downstream. When the waters (and ensuing fires) abated, the toll included 2,209 dead with countless homes …

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