Worth the Drive

George Washington DID Sleep Here

Forbes. Grant. Braddock. Duquesne. Washington. While these read like a list of Pittsburgh streets, they have immense significance to both Pittsburgh and its place in American and world history. But that history began around 50 miles away in Westmoreland County, in what is now the borough of Ligonier. It’s been kept alive and can be …

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History, Charm and Vitality

Saxonburg was founded as a German farming settlement in 1832 by brothers Friedrich C. and John A. Roebling, immigrants from Mühlhausen, Prussia, who purchased 1,582 acres. Destined to become history’s most famous Saxonburg resident, John had studied surveying, engineering, architecture and hydraulics in Europe. He soon lost interest in farming and began developing a crucial …

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A Different Kind of Pharmacy

Susan Merenstein tells people that she has “pharmacy” in her blood. Her late father ran Drug Lane, a Washington, D.C. drugstore, and she spent lots of time there, working the cigar and candy counter at age 10 and, ultimately, being a technician. She attended the University of Pittsburgh and became a registered pharmacist, working at …

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Meadowcroft—Western Pennsylvania’s time machine

Most people are aware of western Pennsylvania’s rich history, but few know just how far back that history reaches. A trip to Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village in Avella in Washington County indicates how significant our region is. Meadowcroft comprises 275 acres on part of the former Miller farm, and is celebrating its 50th season …

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New Age Nuances

Spring. A time for renewal and rejuvenation, especially if you’re feeling tense. A great place to start your revival is with your body. The best defense against burnout is a peaceful, relaxed offense. There are several companies in the area that can help you reach nirvana naturally. Peace, Love & Zen Holistic Wellness Center is …

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The New Way to Entertain

As the holidays approach, so might a corresponding sense of dread—at the thought of entertaining. While enthusiastic hosts and hostesses can get lots of things ready in advance, preparing and serving a holiday meal or hors d’oeuvres at the last minute can be overwhelming. Some people choose to simply go to a restaurant or club, …

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Stepping Back with Local Ciders and Meads

Pittsburgh has been recognized as a top city for discerning foodies, but there is also a robust adult beverage industry. In addition to microbreweries, wineries, and distilleries, there’s a growing niche for hard cider and mead. These local ciders, some still, others carbonated, tend to be less sweet than commercial ciders; and the meads run …

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Bring on the Meat!

Years ago, the Sunday roast inevitably came from the neighborhood butcher. The relationship between the homemaker and butcher was once so significant, that the television series “The Brady Bunch” included “Sam the Butcher,” who was both meat purveyor and love interest for housekeeper Alice. This was before mega-grocery stores and warehouse clubs with inhouse butchers, …

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Secrets of Oakmont

With the gaslights along the brick-paved Allegheny River Boulevard, the small, independent shops and the 1889 Carnegie Library, visiting Oakmont can feel like a welcome trip back in time. That’s especially true if you walk into the Kerr Memorial Museum on Delaware Avenue. Dr. Thomas Kerr built the Queen Anne-style home in 1897 for his …

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Cleaner to the Stars

It’s time to don your best apparel for holiday parties, dinners and events. And then, of course, you’ll need to have those clothes cleaned. There are countless options, but Jerry Montesano’s Shadyside Valet is a standout. Jerry was born into the business—his father owned a dry cleaning company in Penn Hills and then sold dry …

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Now Entering “Happy Valley”

The Pennsylvania State University has more than 645,000 living alums. Obviously, they know about “Happy Valley,” as do the throngs who attend football games each fall. But if you’ve never visited Penn State, State College or Centre County, it’s well worth exploring, especially on a quieter, non-football weekend. While there are chain hotels available, go …

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Exploring the Maridon

Most people do not associate Asian art with Butler, Pa. However, the only museum dedicated to ancient and contemporary Chinese and Japanese art and culture in western Pennsylvania is tucked away on a residential street in this city of around 14,000 — epitomizing the concept of “hidden gem.” The Maridon Museum is home to the …

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Boom, bust and disaster

Located at a horseshoe bend of the Monongahela River in Washington County—the heart of today’s Rust Belt—what would become Donora, Pa.was a farming community of 12 people in 1900. Within one year, it exploded to 4,000—as hordes of workers built and manned numerous factories. Its population topped 14,000 by 1920, but today numbers only 5,500. …

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The shrine on Troy Hill

The story of how St. Anthony Chapel in Troy Hill came to house the largest collection of Christian relics outside of the Vatican begins in the 1850s with a young man from a wealthy Belgian family. After attending medical school, Suitbert Mollinger became a Catholic priest who followed his vocation to America. By 1868, he …

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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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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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Shopping in WashPa

With the holidays’ approach, a visit to The Shoppes at Quail Acres in Washington, Pa. will help you get presents, hostess gifts and decorations under control. Half a mile from The Meadows Casino & Racetrack and the Tanger Outlets, The Shoppes are on the grounds of the former Quail Acres estate, featuring the beautifully restored …

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A Gilded Age holiday

In 1882, Henry Clay Frick purchased an Italianate-style mansion on Penn Avenue in Point Breeze. The “Coke King” named it Clayton, commissioning two major renovations for his growing family. Within 10 years, though, Frick and his wife, Adelaide, suffered the loss of two of their four children, 8-year-old Martha and infant Henry Clay Frick, Jr., …

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The Jewels of Grove City

Say “grove city,” and most people think outlet shopping or the college. Few are aware that it is also the location of an outstanding jewelry store. Joden World Resources features a staggering array of antique, estate, and modern jewelry, tucked into an unassuming shop on South Broad Street. In the late 1960s, Joe Murawski was …

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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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A Passion for Baking

Mary-kay Fiore’s life turned out a little differently than she expected. But it sure has a sweet ending. In 2001, the single mother of three found herself downsized out of a corporate job and facing a crossroads. She had baked for years, as a way to pass the nervous hours until 11 p.m., when her …

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Prepping for Summer

Crocuses are peeking through the soil and the snow has melted, meaning just one thing—it’s finally spring! Those who love the outside might have spent the winter poring over seed catalogs and making big plans for their gardens. But for many, reemerging to the outdoors can be challenging. You can use the best landscape architects, …

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