If we had time, the idea was to visit the library, trying to find (and to buy if possible) any good book about glass.
We arrived there early (the library was still closed) and time was exactly what we needed to move to Corning.
(Where we bought several good books and DVDs).
I'll put in my agenda - "Time to Pittsburgh"Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Just Ducky Tours
It's a truck, it's a boat, it's a duck!! I've never actually seen one of these "boat+truck=duck" vehicles in the water but I've seen quite a few of them on the streets full of sightseers in several cities! What I can see is that the people aboard look like they're having a marvelous time!
Station Square in Pittsburgh is also the starting point for the "Just Ducky Tours" which state that they visit Pittsburgh's "past and present" by land or sea by traveling from Grant Street by the William Penn Hotel, the Theater District, the North Side where the PNC Park and Heinz Field are situated and anywhere you can see from the rivers.
We could see the booth selling "Ducky" tours from where we were enjoying our al fresco lunch, and tours were selling out quickly during this beautiful, sunny morning. Reservations are recommended, but most people were just walking up to the booth to purchase tickets for the same day. As the temperatures were rising, those 'ducks' were looking cooler, and cooler!
The tours begin and end at Station Square (they really have everything here!). All tours are approximately 1 hour and tickets must be picked up 30 minutes prior to boarding your 'duck.' The 'ducks' are wheelchair accessible, but previous arrangements must be made to accommodate these types of passengers.
"Duck Season": April through October.
Posted hours for "Just Ducky Tours" are 10:30; 12:00; 1:30; 3:00; 4:30; 6:00.
2008 prices are $19 for adults; $15 children 3 to 12; $5 children 2 and under.
George Washington's "Point of View"
As we were leaving the Duquesne Incline and making our way along Grandview Avenue on Mt. Washington, we saw a sculpture of two men which caught our eye because someone had placed what looked like a Pittsburgh sports jersey on one character, and a baseball cap on the other!
The sculpture named "Point of View," which is on a high bluff overlooking the 3 rivers of Pittsburgh and the Golden Triangle, is a monument to George Washington and the native-American Seneca tribal leader, Guyasuta. The sculpture commemorates a pivotal point in Pittsburgh history, because the meeting of the two men resulted in negotiated trade and land agreements. At the time it is said that Washington was a commander of British forces who were encamped at Ft. Pitt, which this sculpture now overlooks at Point State Park.
The sculpture, cast by James West, is important not only because it commemorates an historical agreement but it is a major component of a new Pittsburgh city park called the "Grand View Scenic Byways Park." The park is made up of 280 acres which includes a good deal of land that is literally 'around' Mt. Washington, Duquesne Heights and other spaces. The new park apparently will address some of the problems with previously existing parks and playgrounds which were possibly neglected or ill-used by the public but how it will accomplish that was not immediately discernable.
The 750-pound bronze "Point of View" sculpture was given as a gift to the City of Pittsburgh by its creator, West, and a public dedication ceremony was held in October, 2006.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Other Options for Sightseeing
Pittsburgh offered lots of opportunities for sightseeing and things to do---our spirit was willing but the availability of more free time was not. Here are some additional options for your time in Pittsburgh:
"National Aviary --- The Nation's Only Bird Zoo!" - "Over 600 exotic and endangered birds from around the world!" Enjoy the penguins, raptor encounter, shows, feeding times, and a Tropical indoor rainforest not to mention Tropical Rainstorm!
Adults: $6; Children 2-12: $6.50; under age 2: free; seniors: $7.
Location: North Side Pittsburgh close to Allegheny Center, PNC Park and Heinz Field.
"Middletown & Hummelstown Railroad" - Off the beaten track but lots of fun for train lovers and the whole family. Just about every type of entertaining train ride you can imagine: Murder Mystery Dinner Train; Hobo Campfire Train rides; special holiday dinner train rides; the annual "Civil War Remembered" (Steam weekend) rides; and lots more.
Check website for dates, times & prices. Website: www.mhrailroad.com
"Pennsylvania Trolley Museum" - A 30-minute ride from Pittsburgh located in Washington, PA, the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum beckons you to "Climb Aboard for a Ride into the Past!" Take a trolley ride on the restored trolleys to the sounds of clanging bells and the clickity-clack rhythmic sound of the tracks. The Visitor Education Center features a video presentation, exhibits & Museum store. Tour trolley barns and learn about the restoration process. Special tours available and picnic areas for visitors are available. Free parking. Open every day from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Weekdays - 10am to 4pm; Weekends - 11am to 5pm. March through December opens Fridays through Mondays only. Closed Dec. 24 & 25, 31 and Jan. 1. Adults: $8; Children 3 - 15: $5; Seniors 62+: $7.
Website: www.pa-trolley.org. Check website or call PH: 724-228-9256 to learn about special events throughout the year.
"Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens"
www.phipps.conservatory.org PH: 412-622-6914
"Underground Railroad: Journey to Freedom" Self-Guided Tour - contact the Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center" PH: 412-454-6304
The Fort Pitt Museum: more info. soon!
Gateway Clipper Fleet Cruises
The year 2008 marked the 50th Anniversary of the operation of Gateway Clipper Cruises on the rivers surrounding Pittsburgh and it stands to reason that any attraction that has been in business for 50 years must be doing something that people really like!
A family-run business, Gateway Clipper Cruises now has 5 ships, with an extensive schedule of cruises nearly all year round. I really, really wish we had time to have taken even a one-hour sightseeing cruise on the three rivers--Ohio, Allegheny and Monongahela--not only for the beautiful views but surely for the interesting narratives about the sights as well. I really enjoy these types of boats and being on the water.
If we had been in Pittsburgh on a longer trip, I definitely would have been interested in taking one of their lunch or dinner cruises, with themes such as the "Captain's Dinner Dance Cruise," "Hawaiian Dinner Cruise," the "Saturday Family Picnic Cruise," "Old Economy Village Cruise," and particularly the Murder Mystery Cruise. They offer cruises for nearly every holiday too including Thanksgiving Dinner cruises, cruises with Santa and New Year's Eve cruises. Virtually every cruise except the sightseeing cruises includes a sit-down meal or buffet, and all entertainment. Gateway Clipper Cruises probably has the best line up of river cruises I've ever seen offered for local waterways.
The Gateway Clipper ships can be booked for special events too: weddings, school events, corporate events and other social events such as anniversary parties--great idea I think!
A singularly unique service that Gateway offers is a shuttle service from Station Square to either the Pittsburgh Steeler games or University of Pittsburgh football games at Heinz Field. If you're a Pirates fan, they offer the same service to PNC Park. Each way $5 pp/$10(2008 prices) roundtrip. Shuttle runs begin 2-3 hrs. prior to the games and for 1 hour after games. Sounds like a much more enjoyable way to leave the stadiums than fighting the backups in stadium parking lots.
Gateway Clipper Cruises slogan is "Great Cruises...Great Memories...A Great Fifty Years!" and it must be true!
One-hour sightseeing cruises run about $11 for adults.
Lunch themed-cruises begin at approx. $25 and up for some themed lunches.
Themed-dinner cruises begin about $40 - $45 and go as high as $75 for special cruises which include buffets with a stopover and admission to special events. A 4-hr cruise with an overnight package at the Mountaineer Casino (with several extra, nice features) is $150.
Consult their website for exact details or pick up one of their excellent schedule brochures. There is a discount coupon for sightseeing cruises in their schedule brochure. Tickets can be purchased online or at Station SquareRelated to:
Visit an Old Polish Church
After stopping at the local Sam's Club near our hotel to pick up a few things we headed back down into the city (about a 11 mile, 14 minute trip) to the Strip District. Turning into the Strip District on the back side street (Smallman) of the main street (Penn) a church loomed up at the end of the Strip. After finding a free place to park about a block away we ventured into the area. The Saint Stanislaus Kostka Church was our first stop. Interestingly enough the only other SSK Church I found while looking some information up on the internet is in the Polish section of Chicago where I'm from.
We talked to the lady outside and bought a raffle ticket, were tempted to buy some local Pierogi's but didn't and then ventured inside the church for a look around and some pictures. After a short while a man inside the church began talking to us and told us a little bit about the latest history of the church and the clean up efforts. Because no one else was into the church at the time he told us to go upstairs which was closed for repairs and have a look around. I was able to take a couple of pictures up there to share.
A little bit of information now from the brochure we received. Saint Stanislaus Kostka and its fellow strip district church St. Patrick have been combined due to the dwindling Catholic church going population in the area. We didn't get to visit St. Patrick, but its original church is the oldest Catholic Church in Pittsburgh having been established in 1808. SSK was founded in 1875 as the first ethnic Polish parish in the diocese of Pittsburgh. The current building is its 3rd location and was dedicated on July 31, 1892. The architectural style is a combination of Baroque and Romanesque. Many comment on how "European" it looks. This was done to remind the parishioners of the churches left behind in Poland.
The magnificent figure windows all came from the Royal Bavarian Art Institute in Munich, Germany and date to 1891. The Rose Window is 26 feet in diameter and was restored in 2000. The Stations of the Cross, captioned in Polish, are from the 2nd church (1877). The 14 stations were just restored in 2011.
In 1969 Cardinal Karol Wotija, the future Pope John Paul II, visited the church. In 1972 the church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Walking atop the bluff above the Monongahela River between the Monongahela and Dusquesne Inclines takes along Grandview Avenue. The view over downtown Pittsburgh is super the whole way along. Housing extends south from the bluff edge making up the neighborhoods of Mount Washington and Dusquesne Heights. Mount Washington sits atop early coal mines which existed at the base. The neighborhoods atop are somewhat isolated from the rest of the city - not unlike many neighborhoods in geographically stressed Pittsburgh - and a series of four inclines, two survive, were installed to haul freight and people up and down. A trip to Pittsburgh should include a stroll along Grandview. Easiest access from downtown is provided by the Monongahela Incline though you can walk across the Fort Pitt Bridge with its roaring freeway traffic to the Duquesne Incline, as well.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Food and Dining
- Hiking and Walking
The Fort Pitt Museum--Early Pittsburgh History
Our children's love of history began after seeing some of Pittsburgh's noteworthy sites, such as The Fort Pitt Museum. The entire family will find something interesting about this stop!
The museum is at Point State Park and located in a 'recreated 18th century bastion of the fort that Great Britain built in 1759'. It was constructed in 1969 and expanded to 27,000 square feet in order to 'depict the region's history from the early French expeditions to the beginning of Pittsburgh's industrial age before 1800'.
pic #2 footprint of Fort Pitt
Displays of significance are a scale model of the Point and Fort Pitt detailing what the area looked like in 1765 with accompanying narration; a peek at the colonial barracks and the lives of the soldiers; dioramas and exhibits illustrating the history of Pittsburgh; a replica of a fur trader's cabin, many original documents and artifacts from the time.
After visiting the museum, be sure to see the Block House nearby and stroll along the river walk which leads to the lovely fountain at the very tip of the Point.
The museum recommends 1-3 hours for your visit. Admission is $5 for adults; $4 for seniors; $4 for AAA members; $2 for students; $2 for children 6-12 and free for children 5 and under.
Hours are Wednesday-Sunday from 9am-5pm. Closed on most holidays and Mon. and Tues.Related to:
- Museum Visits
- Historical Travel
- Family Travel
Renovating The Golden Triangle
Another name for Point State Park is The Golden Triangle. This 36 acre state park is located at the point of three of Pittsburgh's rivers (pics 1 & 2).
It's time for renovation, so the park will soon be spiffied up and improved upon in three stages. Let's just call it a 250th birthday present to the city.
Here is some information I culled from the park's website, which detailed the three stages:
PHASE 1:FESTIVAL GROUNDS The large expanse of lawn will be enhanced so that special events could be comfortably (and impressively) held here;
Pedestrian pathways, walkways and ramps will be 'regraded or redesigned'
PHASE 2: THE FOUNTAIN AREA is to be restored, seating added and touch pool constructed;
Install lighting and furniture;
Water Steps built to the river
MON WHARF CONNECTION; Bike path and pedestrian causeway connecting Point State Park to the Mon Wharf and eventually to Eliza Furnace Trail will be built;
Water landing and plaza for small non-motorized and motorized craft
ALLEGHENY RIVER CONNECTION A Riverfront Landing and Viewing Stand will be created to connect Point State Park to the Allegheny Riverfront Park, Convention Center Riverfront Park, the Strip District and bridges to the North Shore;
Water landing and plaza for boaters
PHASE 3:WATER SIDE INTERIOR/PARKWIDE
Complete final landscape;
Add remaining lighting, signage, furniture
I salute Pittsburgh for protecting one of it's most valuable attractions! The renovation is both ambitious and necessary!Related to:
- Sailing and Boating
- Hiking and Walking
At one corner of the Pittsburgh Zoo is the PPG Aquarium. This is home to thousands of sea creatures, including corals, sharks, sea otters, jellyfish, and many more. With over 40 exhibits containing 380,000 gallons of water, there's easily enough for a few hours of viewing.
Together with the Zoo, you have enough for nearly an entire day of sightseeing. Not to be missed.Related to:
- Family Travel
House of Huang Xiang
Huang Xiang, a Chinese poet who was exiled from his home in China, moved to Pittsburgh with the help of City of Asylum. Here, Huang Xiang was able to continue writing his poetry. One of the interesting things about his poetry, is that he has actually written some of it on the outside of his house. Visitors can go there and view the poetry written on his home. It is quite an interesting and inspiring sight.
Not only did Huang Xiang write poetry, but he also used to do poetry readings where he "performed" his poetry (I say "performs" because he is very animated and expressive when reading his poetry). I was fortunate enough to go and see him on two separate occasions. He also taught special classes at the University of Pittsburgh. He no longer lives there, because the city only promises 2 years of housing while the individuals transition into their lives of exile. There are others living here today.Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Arts and Culture
US Steel Tower
Constructed in 1970, the US Steel Tower is Pittsburgh's tallest building at 62 floors and 841 feet. This triangular building has a beautiful open glass lobby on the first several floors, then rises to its height in solid black Pittsburgh steel. Today it is still the 33rd tallest building in the world and home to the US Steel Corporation.
US Steel, after its planned purchase of Canada's Stelco, will become the world's fifth largest steel manufacturer.Related to:
- Road Trip
The South Side is a historic neighborhood filled with Victorian architecture, local shops, and unique entertainment. Numerous theaters and art galleries are housed in the area, and the small shops are offer things like antiques, books, cigars, tattoos, and a variety of other odds and ends you can't find elsewhere. Multi-cultural restaurants run the gamut from European, French, Italian, Japanese, Lebanese, Mexican, and Thai to traditional American cuisine. Nightlife here is known more for small, relaxed pubs and bars rather than the large clubs of the Strip District.Related to:
- Road Trip
A rickety, but unique, ride......
A unique way to get up to Mount Washington and see the bird's eye view of Pittsburgh is on either the Duquesne or Monogohela Inclines.
The old cable cars that climb a small moutain at a relatively steep angle on a rickety wooden track take you from Carson St. (which runs along the Monogohela River) up to Grandview Ave. on Mt. Washington, where you can look over the City and surroundings from an observation deck that hangs over the cliff, or from one of many restaurants within walking distance that are built along side the cliff.
The inclines were built in the late 1800s, so don't expect a maglev smooth ride. If you've never ridden one before, especially if you have children, there aren't too many places other than Pittsburgh where you'll have an opportunity - so I would recommend just one ride (up & down) for fun.
I can guarantee you that you (and most definitely your children) will never forget it. Make sure you bring your camera so you can show your friends and family you survived the ride !Related to:
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
Experiencing the Just Ducky Tours
Since our trip was a short duration, we availed of Just Ducky Tours, the vintage WWII amphibious boats that depart from Station Square daily, and are approximately one hour apart.
Although we had to wait for the next boat for almost 1 hour, we did not get bored. Even while standing in the line for waiting, several of us kept going in and out to shop and window shop around. There were plenty of friendly kiosks nearby and the place was crowded (picture 2).
It turned out to be both educating and enjoying (picture 3 and 4).
The amphibious nature of the boat can be seen in picture 1 and 5.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
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