Worth the Drive

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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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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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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An Autumn Excursion to Bedford Springs

Nothing screams ”road trip” like a crisp autumn day, and nothing whispers “history” like the Omni Bedford Springs Resort and Spa in Bedford, Pa. Combine them, and you have a fabulous getaway 90 minutes from Pittsburgh. Drawn to its mineral springs and their healing properties, Dr. John Anderson purchased the 2,200-acre property in 1796. Guest …

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All for Fun

If summer in the city has lost its luster, and you are ready to ditch that hot suit or itchy hose for some fresh country air, Butler County has just the ticket—the 155th Big Butler Fair, July 2–10 at the fairgrounds in Prospect. While there are loads of county fairs, fire department carnivals and church …

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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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Pen to Paper

In this age of emailing, texting, and tweeting, the art of letter writing could be lost. Fortunately, many people still enjoy holding a real book or magazine in their hands—and putting pen to paper for correspondence. Anyone who has ever packed up the belongings of an elderly relative or friend has likely found a pile …

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Eins, Zwei, G’suffa!

Turning leaves are a sure harbinger of Oktoberfest! If you can’t make it to Germany, several local options may do. Grab your designated driver and hit the road for a tour of western Pennsylvania’s microbreweries, each of which offers a twist on the annual tradition. East End Brewing Company is the only true microbrewery in …

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Close Getaway: Sharon, Pa.

Sharon, Pa is a “winner” of a place. Instead of being devastated by the demise of its primary industry (in this case, steel), Sharon thrives, largely due to Jim and Donna Winner. Winner invented the auto anti-theft device, The Club, and the couple has made major investments in their native Mercer County. Among them are …

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Nemacolin Woodlands

The bear market might have you reconsidering a spring-break trip to Vail or Aruba, and you might forgo that trip just to avoid the painful wait at the airport. In less time than you have to wait for a plane, you could drive to the perfect getaway—Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa in Fayette County. The …

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Soup’s on Downtown

As winter wraps its icy fingers around us, there is a no-fail way to fight back—comfort food. The ultimate chill-buster is a steaming bowl of hearty soup. If you have evolved past the canned variety, but don’t have time to make your own, visit The Original SoupMan in downtown Pittsburgh. While many people are familiar …

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Smicksburg, Pa.

Soaring gas prices might have you reconsidering autumn travel, but much of it can be duplicated within an hour’s drive of Pittsburgh. If you are yearning for New England’s fall colors, Lancaster’s Amish countryside, a vineyard’s fall glory or a small town’s welcome, try a visit to Smicksburg, in northern Indiana County. The drive to …

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Moundsville, W. Va.

As the holidays approach, frantic parents stand in endless lines or buy online, getting the hottest high-tech “made in China” toys. If that seems overwhelming, try visiting the Official Marx Toy Museum of Glen Dale, W.Va. Located in Moundsville, just south of Wheeling, the museum takes visitors down memory lane as they enjoy Louis Marx …

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The Pie Place

It’s a gift to be able to do one thing really well, and The Pie Place in the Norman Centre 2 in Bethel Park has that gift. The little shop is tucked in a strip mall dominated by Borders and Louis Anthony Jewelers. It’s been there for over four years, but many locals have never …

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Putnam Place

Few things satisfy more on a warm summer day than strolling through a beautiful garden and then selecting and cutting flowers for a perfect arrangement. If you don’t have the time, space or talent to cultivate and tend a cutting garden, The Putnam Place, about a mile from Bakersfield (in the Laurel Highlands), is a …

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Crate: Gifts and Commercial Cookware

When Linda Wernikoff moved to Pittsburgh from Chicago in 1977, she was disappointed by the housewares departments at Horne’s, Kaufmann’s, and Gimbel’s. She felt they lacked inspiration and were predictable. So the next year, she opened Crate in Mt. Lebanon, a tiny, second-story store on Beverly Road that specialized in gifts and commercial cookware that …

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Fire & Ice Festival, Laurel Highlands Model Railroad Club

For those who enjoy the kinship, shopping and food at community celebrations, summer brings the mother lode with its county fairs, pie eating contests, town carnivals, cotton candy and dunk tanks. Fall brings harvest celebrations with apple cider, pumpkin picking, hayrides and candy apples. Even March and April have their Friday fish fries at churches …

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Izzazu International Salon

Most men have no problem using a bar of Irish Spring to shower, shampoo and shave, all in about five minutes. A trend is growing, though. Izzazu International Salon has a service for men who want the same pampering traditionally reserved for women — a facial and (for men only!) a shave. In a private …

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Creative Dinners and More

With careers, carpooling and volunteer work, making dinner can be a challenge for busy families! If Stouffer’s is “home cooking” and at tax time you can claim the pizza deliveryman as a dependant, it might be time for a change. Enter a new concept in cooking — meal preparation centers. Creative Dinners and More provides …

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Mon Aimee Chocolate & CleanTown USA

Is winter getting to you? How about taking time for the perfect cup of hot chocolate? Drive to 2101 Penn Avenue in the Strip and enter Mon Aimee Chocolate, most simply described as the chocolate lover’s dream. What’s better than being a kid in a candy store? Being an adult in one, with no one …

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