Travel

Stepping Back with Local Ciders and Meads

by Barbara Eichenlaub
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…

From Pittsburgh to Venice, Through the Looking Glass

Maybe my 6th or 7th Biennale. I can’t remember anymore. The art, the parties, the timeless beauty of this most impractical, magical city blurs my vision, my memories.

Bring on the Meat!

by Barbara Eichenlaub
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…

Antarctica, Wonder that Inspires

by James Hilliard
There are times in your life that mark changes in your composition. Our trip to Antarctica was one of those times. It’s a continent without native people, but where wildlife thrives in an unpredictable environment. It’s a world without infrastructure. The scale is otherworldly and the landscape staggeringly, breathlessly beautiful.…

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.

Glendorn Aglow

On a pristine morning after the season’s first snowfall, determined anglers cast their flies into streams not yet frozen. Eight inches of snow blanketed the landscape, but inside the Big House a fire crackled as guests enjoyed a hearty breakfast and the view through giant windows. Or they could look…

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.

The Kindness Meter in Various Cities

Returning home last Monday from a weekend trip to visit our newly transplanted daughter and her family in Seattle, we had a delightful conversation with our Uber driver, a native Pittsburgher, on the way back from the airport. He had recently retired from his full time job, but enjoys meeting…

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.

Sail Away to Annapolis

Just about every place in Annapolis will tell you it has the best crab cakes in town, and they’re all right. The Chesapeake is famous for its blue crabs, plucked daily from the bay and served any number of ways, but always with abundance. There is so much crab in…

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,…

New Zealand

Like everyone else who saw the “Lord of the Rings” film trilogy, I was somewhat stunned by the dramatic beauty of New Zealand. But I’d never seriously considered visiting until Christmas 2014, when my oldest son was home from Shanghai and said, “Let’s go fly-​fishing together in New Zealand.” I’ve…

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.

Having a great time in Beaver, Pa.

Rudyard Kipling visited Beaver, Pa, during the summer of 1889 and referred to it fondly in “Sea to Sea: Letters of Travel.” Spend a day or two there, and you’ll understand why.

Ireland: Mind Your Manors

Whether you spend the day on Dublin’s bustling Grafton Street or peering over the Cliffs of Moher, odds are good you will encounter some sort of precipitation accompanied by a chill wind and gray sky. It’s what makes stopping by the pub at the end of the day such an…
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