Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania are great places to live and to visit. We hope you'll allow plenty of time to do other things before and after the wedding weekend. Here are some ideas to get you started. For a more complete list, try visitPA's site for southwestern Pennsylvania. If you're bringing children with you, check out the Family Fun | Kidsburgh Featured Getaway section of VisitPittsburgh, as they offer discounted admission packages to multiple family-friendly attractions. And Citysearch always has lists of things to do around town.
News: I will be working with the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation to create a walking tour of Regent Square and Edgewood! I am very excited about this, and I think they are, too. I'll post details here as I have them. In case of inclement weather and for folks who'd rather drive than walk, I'm also planning to put together a driving version :)
Airburst Helicopters (724.379.8004) gives aerial tours of Pittsburgh from Allegheny Airport.
Pittsburgh native Andy Warhol inspired the Andy Warhol Museum, the nation's largest museum dedicated to a single artist--second in the world only to the Rembrandt museum. If you have any free time here at all, this is a great way to spend it. But don't let your kids wander unaccompanied--there are some paintings you may not want them to see :)
Apple Castle is a fifth-generation family farm.
The Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania runs programs throughout the year at various locations in the area.
Baum Vivant is one of Pittsburgh Magazine's 25 best restaurants in Pittsburgh, and we agree. The magazine has also ranked it highly for seven consecutive years. It's an intimate little restaurant in a nondescript location. Not cheap; reservations suggested.
Bikki is another of Pittsburgh Magazine's 25 best Pittsburgh restaurants. It's changed ownership since we last went; when we were there, we liked the food but found the service lacking.
Bona Terra is another of Pittsburgh Magazine's 25 best Pittsburgh restaurants, and one of the few we haven't tried yet.
Cafe Asia is another of Pittsburgh Magazine's 25 best Pittsburgh restaurants, and yet another we haven't tried. Yikes.
Cafe Zinho is another of Pittsburgh Magazine's 25 best Pittsburgh restaurants. It's a funky little place in a converted garage near my friend Marcie's house.
The Carnegie Museum of Art is an impressive art museum, especially for a city this size.
The Carnegie Museum of Natural History is a great museum that's a great place to take your kids.
The Carnegie Science Center is also a fabulous kid-friendly place. It even has an Omnimax theatre.
Casbah is a favorite of ours and of Pittsburgh Magazine, named to its list of Pittsburgh's 25 best restaurants.
Climb the Climbing Wall.
Country Pedalers can hook you up with the perfect bicycling tour of the area.
If a group of 15 or more makes reservations at least two weeks in advance, Daffin's Candies will give you a tour of the factory, including, of course, a sample. Its nearby Chocolate Kingdom is in the world's largest candy store. Naturally, if you felt like bringing back some chocolate-covered pretzels, I wouldn't object :)
Dish Osteria is one of Pittsburgh Magazine's 25 best Pittsburgh restaurants of which I'd never even heard until researching restaurants to which to take Andrew for his birthday. Shame on me!
The Duquesne Incline is a unique experience that offers fantastic views of downtown--but it's definitely not for people with fears of heights or small places :)
Amid the strip malls and superstores of the eastern suburb of Monroeville lies Exkursion, where you can learn to climb, kayak, backpack, or orient yourself using a map and compass.
One of the must-see items on this list is Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Fallingwater. It takes a little planning, because it's about a two-hour country drive from Pittsburgh and the shortest tour itself lasts 45 minutes. You'll also want to allow time to explore the breathtaking grounds and the tempting gift shop. There are longer tours and a children's tour (new since my last visit). And if you're smart, you'll also plan the day to include a trip to Kentuck Knob.
Fort Necessity National Battlefield commemorates the opening battle of the French and Indian War.
The Fort Pitt Museum, near Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh at the point where the Allegheny, Monongahela (that's mon-on-ga-HEY-la), and Ohio Rivers join, interprets the French and Indian War, Pontiac's War, and Pennsylvania frontier history.
The Flight 93 Memorial Site commemorates the crash of that flight on September 11, 2001, after its hijacking and struggle.
Frick Art and Historical Center is reputed to have the best lunch in town.
Learn, play, or watch lawn bowling with the Frick Park Lawn Bowling Club.
A great way to see the city--and a fun way to get to a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game if there is one--is aboard the Gateway Clipper. The fleet offers a variety of sightseeing cruises.
The Ghost Town Trail is one of many biking trails in the area. You can also hike or ride horses on it.
Girasole is one of those restaurants I pass all the time in Shadyside and never thought a thing about, but it turns out it's on Pittsburgh Magazine's list of the 25 best restaurants in Pittsburgh. Who knew? I'll have to try it now!
Idlewild is our very family-friendly amusement park, though I'm not sure if it will still be open in late September.
Isabela on Grandview is on Pittsburgh Magazine's list of the 25 best restaurants in Pittsburgh. Yet another I've never tried. And I thought we'd tried so many of them. Hm.
I highly recommend taking a Just Ducky Tour. This amphibious tour shows you lots of parts of town with little tidbits of information about each--nothing too in-depth, all for fun--including a jaunt in the rivers. Kids on board even get to take a turn driving.
Kennywood is a very famous old amusement park.
Kentuck Knob is the less famous but every bit as beautiful as Fallingwater (I know--blasphemy) Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Usonian house. It's just minutes from Fallingwater, so a great day would be to spend the morning at one house, have lunch at the cafe at Ohiopyle at Fallingwater, then see the other house in the afternoon. The tour itself is only about an hour long, but the grounds are worth that long on their own, with great outdoor sculpture and trails.
Laurel Highlands River Tours offers rock climbing, mountain biking, hiking, fishing, paintball, and white-water rafting.
The L.E. Smith Glass Company offers factory tours.
Lenzner Coach Lines offers multiple types of area tours: a two-hour historic neighborhood tour, a two-hour cultural neighborhood tour, a five-hour combination tour, and a variety of one- and multi-day tours. I've taken some of their tours before and been very impressed. Very informative, and a great way to spend the day if the weather is poor or if you're not feeling up to a lot of walking around.
It took me a few years to make my first trip to the Mattress Factory, and I should have gone sooner. This small, out-of-the-way art museum is swell!
Pittsburgh is home to the National Aviary. We took Andrew's parents there the first time they met Lisa, and Andrew took a beautiful photograph of a male toucan feeding a female toucan that is still one of Lisa's favorite photos.
Treat yourself to a day at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and Spa.
The Old Economy Village interprets the Harmony Society, a 19th-century religious society.
Pennsylvania's first microbrewery, Penn Brewery, is also a great place to eat traditional German brauhaus fare.
If you're into trolleys, make time for the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum while you're here.
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is a beautiful place that's near us and accessible via the bus.
Photography lovers will not want to miss Photo Antiquities, a museum of photographic history. On the north side, it's an easy side trip from the Andy Warhol Museum, the Carnegie Science Center, or Penn Brewery.
Tour the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, get a free sample, and check out the company store.
The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts often has a good exhibit, and the grounds are lovely.
The Pittsburgh Children's Museum has all sorts of fun exhibits and activities for you and your kids. Plus it's near the National Aviary.
Pittsburgh has a really nice zoo and aquarium.
Riversport rents kayaks, canoes, and rafts.
The Rodef Shalom Biblical Botanical Garden displays the agriculture, horticulture, and archeology of the ancient near east.
If you like history, the Senator John Heinz History Center is a great place.
Shadyside is a nice neighborhood for walking. It can be a fun neighborhood for shopping, but not as funky as it used to be. Lisa lived here the first two years she lived in Pittsburgh, when it had a mom-and-pop full-service-only gas station, mostly independently owned shops and restaurants, and everyone seemed to know everyone. Since then, Williams-Sonoma opened (and the neighborhood cookware store closed shortly thereafter), a two-story Pottery Barn replaced two independently owned restaurants, a three-story Gap replaced a small Pier One (also a chain, but at least it was small), and a three-story Banana Republic replaced the gas station. So...still practical, but more like going to a mall than to a hip little neighborhood. On the other hand, it still boasts a great collection of good small restaurants in a close proximity to one another, handy if you have, say, an indecisive crowd to please and you want to go to a neighborhood then decide what to eat. There's sushi, Thai, French (where we got engaged!), Peruvian, and several burger-salad-and-sandwich places. It also has some beautiful architecture; it's probably the most expensive neighborhood in the city in which to live, so if you like to walk around looking at beautiful homes, this is a great place to be.
The Shops at Station Square offer a twist on the usual shopping experience. This is also the departure point for Just Ducky Tours. There's also a comedy club where we've seen Jim Gaffigan and a couple of good restaurants, and an outdoor concert venue where we've seen Lyle Lovett.
Attention weavers and knitters: Silverbrook Fiber Meadows and Heritage Tours offers tours by appointment.
Soba Lounge is one of Pittsburgh Magazine's 25 best Pittsburgh restaurants. Yummy on the eyes and on the tummy.
Pittsburgh's South Side has vintage clothing, tattoo parlors, art supplies, restaurants, theatres, used books, anything you can imagine wanting and things you might not want. Much of our courtship and dating was spent here, actually; we went to the City Theatre about every six weeks for the first several years, dining before each show at Chiarina's or Old Europe and spending a little too much at Eljay's Used Books. We've seen klezmer and Eddie from Ohio at Club Cafe.
Squirrel Hill is where Andrew lived when we met, and where the restaurant is where we met. It was also Mister Rogers' neighborhood when he was living. Andrew bought Lisa's engagement ring from a jewelry store there, we've seen movies at the theatres there, and of course spent plenty of time at the coffee shops and book stores there.
Rowers will enjoy the Three Rivers Rowing Association's tours and trips.
Interested in the mining history of western Pennsylvania? Check out the Tour-Ed Mine and Museum.
These are things going on the weekend of the wedding. We'll fill in details as we know them. If you don't see anything on the schedule for yourself, look in the left column for ideas of things to do with your free time! The map below shows where the significant events will take place as well as the lodgings that are closest to them. (Yes, there are more direct routes between Regent Square and Edgewood to the southeast and Shadyside to the northwest, but we've routed you around traffic and congested intersections. Trust us!)
Quaker weddings are really beautiful; most people I've met who've attended them say they’re the most moving and personal weddings they’ve ever attended. But because this will differ pretty much from what you'll have seen at other weddings, we'll give you some idea here.
Beginning: Mark and Sharlotte will be playing music to welcome people into the living room, where they'll take a seat among the guest chairs arranged in concentric squares surrounding our chairs, which will face each other in the center of the room, symbolically surrounded by our family and friends.
After people are seated, including Andrew and me, Jennifer will stand and explain briefly what people should expect. Then people will fall into silence for a bit. There will be children in the room for all of this part—about one in six of the people on our possible guest list is a child, many young, many babies.
Vows: Fifteen or twenty minutes into it, Andrew and I will decide that we're ready. We will stand, holding hands, in place. He’ll say his vows: “In the presence of our family and friends, I take you to be my wife, promising to be your loving and faithful husband as long as we both shall live.” Then I’ll say mine: “In the presence of our family and friends, I take you to be my husband, promising to be your loving and faithful wife as long as we both shall live.” We’ll exchange rings, kiss, and sit down.
Certificate: Some combination of friends will
stand and read from a marriage certificate (something like
these): “On this the
24th day of September, 2005, Andrew Bennett Bernard and Lisa Michelle Price
appeared together. Andrew, taking Lisa by the hand, on this solemn and
joyous occasion, declared that he took Lisa to be his wife, promising to be
her loving and faithful husband. Then, in the same assembly, Lisa in like
manner declared that she took Andrew to be her husband, promising to be his
loving and faithful wife. Moreover, Andrew and Lisa did, as further
confirmation thereof, then and there, to this certificate set their hands.”
Children: After we and the readers have signed the certificate, the child-care folks will take all the children from the living room down the hall to a fun room on the other side of the building, where they can have fun, make a racket, nosh, and change their clothes.
The rest of the hour: The rest of us will settle back into silence as well as we can. We wait for The Light (which for some people is God, for others is Jesus, for me is just wisdom or enlightenment), and we speak if we feel compelled to do so. It isn’t supposed to be us talking, but The Light delivering its message through us as its conduit. It’s a little mystical sounding, but it works for some folks.
The end: After *about* an hour has passed--though by no means exactly, as it really will be about the clerk (in this case, Jennifer) determining that an appropriate amount of time has passed for the last message to have sunken in--Jennifer will decide that it is time to end the meeting. She will cue the DJ to play Great Day. It’s a beautiful gospel song by one of my favorite bands (Eddie from Ohio) that begins very softly and has perfect lyrics.
Thereafter, it’s all about the fun. The French doors will open to the ballroom, people will be congratulating, hugging, kissing, signing the certificate if we have one, milling about, and slowly moving into the ballroom for the reception.
Last updated 4 June 2005
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