Exploring

You are currently browsing the archive for the Exploring category.

Happy Monday, dear reader! Welcome to the Allegheny Observatory, part of the University of Pittsburgh, and easily seen from our guest room window. As such, we had been itching to walk there practically since moving in. It’s about an hour each way, so it’s a nice way to build up an appetite before dinner and better acquaint ourselves with the neighborhood. It’s situated in Riverview Park, though the moniker makes absolutely no sense, as we saw not one glimpse of water, save at the drinking fountain. Anyhoo, we’re hoping to take one of their free tours this summer!

We decided that the couple on the lawn is future Colleen and Greg (as they had more gery hair and wrinkles than we do). They had four kites, three of which they had going at once, before she started with the bubbles. They kissed and laughed and were quite ebullient in their happiness. The best way to be, I think!

Sunset on a recent drive home…

this was part of a sound machine!

artist unknown

Dream City Art in Wilkinsburg a couple weekends ago, with different artists studios and events open to the public. Wilkinsburg, much like areas of Pittsburgh, is a place of contrasts, with newly restored homes and businesses next door to crumbling buildings and massive piles of illegally dumped garbage. Devastated by the loss of the steel industry some thirty years ago, it is making what seems to be even slower progress than Pittsburgh to re-establish itself. There is much work to be done and ambitious people working admirably to make it happen. My hat is off to them!

We went with our friends Ron & Janet (hi!), and enjoyed taking in the work of artists keen on being part and parcel of Wilkinsburg’s renaissance. Terry Boyd makes fun to watch art with his bow and arrow(!).  James Shipman makes fantastic scupltures on Rebecca avenue (the hanging basket is his), while Dee Briggs creates her work in an old fire station. A fun afternoon of discovery!

Whoa there. I missed a whole week of blogging, wiz-bam-flash gone. The hubster was in Portland on business, and I managed to keep busy with everything under the sun that did not include logging onto a computer. It was a rather surprising turn of events, to be sure!

Life continues to roll along here, as we learn and appreciate more about our new home. I don’t know what is typical, but the weather has been quite lovely, with open windows, the most raucous thunder and lightning laden storms we’ve seen since living in Colorado, and bright sunny days to make this body grateful.

The trees are bursting and frothy with blossoms, and our sepia-hued hills will soon be green and gorgeous. We can’t wait to see full spring!

These photos, however, are the warmest welcome we can muster to a cloudy day in Lawrenceville a few weeks back. We walked our legs off and oohed and ahhed at all we hadn’t seen before. The castle-like entrance is to the Allegheny Cemetery, one of the oldest and largest in the Pittsburgh area. There’s a bakery (La Gourmandine) we must try when the line is not twenty people out the door long. We bought dreamy scented soap from a kindly lady who kept sweet kitties and a dog at the old school cool shop. That coffee is the best we have yet to find in Pittsburgh, and my heart was happy for a fancy gew-gaw on top. It’s the little things!  Frankie’s was a heady temptress, the scent of franks wafting and that terrific neon, but we were gearing up for a fabulous lunch at Marty’s. It did not disappoint.

Off I am for more learning and scheming and hoping you have a most marvelous of Tuesdays.

Tags:

Marvelous light of spring and new wingback chairs, I love their acid green, tall backed comfort, perfect for reading and nodding off. There’s a new lamp on the way, a replacement for the one on the right, which will be quite at home in the T.V. room. Then, and only then, will it be ready for your eyes. The dining room fixture is new and  already well loved. The table, our first piece of grown-up newlywed furniture, and thusly clocking in at more than twenty years old, was a desk for ages but is a table once again. Shuffle-shuffle-shuffle. Let’s make the most of what we have, shall we? One fine breezy day, we will open the windows and paint the walls that perfect shade of white.

 

Spring is on the verge, with budding trees and blossoming crocus and snowdrops, too. Our first Pittsburgh spring! So often, I think of how improbable this all was one year ago. Pittsburgh and a 109 year old house, my Grandmother gone, the cats too, how quickly a life can change!

Strolling the South Side Flats yesterday afternoon. A precocious teen, spying the hubster’s rather fashionable spectacles, asked, “Are you a hipster?” We laughed, and I said that we’re probably far too old and nerdy for such declarations, before discussing cameras and skateboards and money, and he wished us a blessed day. These are the moments that enrich our lives.

The bright sun belies a bitterly cold wind. We walked quickly, hands deep in our pockets, wishing for warmth in between a fabulous lunch at La Palapa and treats at The Milkshake Factory. Zooming off to our next destination, we played what the hubster and I not-so-fondly call the Pittsburgh Slalom, a.k.a. dodging pot holes. Jeepers!

Greetings from Mt. Washington! My Grandma Frances lived in Pittsburgh as a girl and relayed such fantastical tales of the funicular and uber-super steep hills that they screamed fiction. Even these photos do such little justice to the city’s rolling and rollicking hills. Alas, you truly have to visit to believe it (our guest room will be ready soon!). Grandma lived somewhere near the Duquesne (dew-cane) Incline, and I cannot help but look for traces of her as I wander the nearby streets, decades and decades after her departure. Was this her church? Did she live in this house? Did she scramble, bare-legged and laughing, up this old tree? I don’t suppose I will ever know, which saddens me some.

Our neighborhood lies just beyond the top most bridge in the photo above. And in the photo just above that, on the left, is the PPG Building (Philip Johnson, Architect), my favorite in the Pittsburgh skyline, just in case you were wondering.

More marvelous murals to add to my collection and a sharp-edged building, too, circa 1893. The history in this town!

See you later, alligator. Don’t be an April fool…

Tags:

Wild and wonderful West Virginia fog. I love the way it whispers and hugs the landscape. We could not have asked for better weather on the first leg of our inaugural Pittsburgh based road trip. We left in darkness to beat the traffic, and boy, did we! There was hardly a soul on the road.  I still can’t believe my dumb luck to be born in this great nation, with beauty at every turn.

Lexington is a fun town, with much to admire and try. The Parkette has been on my list for some time, mostly because of that fabulous neon sign, though I was terribly sad not to see it in full regalia. In the sci-fi future of my mind, travelers will have the ability to see monuments just as they like, no matter the hour. Sunset? Yup! Bright neon? You got it! Without utility poles and wires? No problem! Anyhoo, the fried chicken, according to the hubster, is good, but not #1 in his book. He likes super duper extra crispy, and this wasn’t that. I can’t fault the man for knowing what he likes. I was charmed by the friendly and fast service, y’all. I must admit that I never imagined Kentucky would sound sooo Southern. Just look at it on the map, the way it skirts that center line.

Being westerners with few original reminders of just how old our relatively young nation is, the hubster and I find ourselves reeling at buildings well over the century mark, with the majority pictured in that category. This last one is also quite historical, being the home where Mary Todd Lincoln was born. Hello Abraham, let’s go back to my house… There’s another of her family homes a couple of blocks away, but, rather sadly, I could not get a decent photo without a garbage can in it, which seemed terribly unseemly, so you will not see it here. I’m sure Mary would approve.

Tomorrow, Louisville!

Tags:

The hubster and I are not at all religious, deeply spiritual, absolutely, yes, yes, yes. Coming from Portland, it was rare to encounter anyone overtly religious, but here in Pittsburgh we are blessed by God and passersby for offering a kindly hello, told by locals not to worry about getting lost as long as we know the way to church and the supermarket, utterly surprised to see Giant Eagle television commercials boasting low-low prices on Lenten favorites  and entire web pages dedicated to Friday Fish Fry guides. It is a different world, friends. Being of the adventurous, open-hearted, and open-minded ilk, we are rolling with it. When in Rome, right?

So, we walked in the frigid gleam of sunset (past our beloved library!) to the Assumption Catholic Church Fish Fry, descended into the bright basement, positively heady with the scent of fish, fried and baked, and were greeted and served by adorably nervous and charming middle schoolers. New to the business, I must admit that we didn’t have very high hopes. Much to our surprise, everything was tasty and very generously portioned. Never in my life have I seen a fish filet so large on a sandwich! The best bit, however, had to be the sweet service. Several adorable kids brought us food and beverages, but our favorite most definitely awaits an illustrious career in the service industry, enquiring, “Is everything to your liking?” And, “Are you satisfied with your meal?” As well as, “Please don’t forget about our delicious desserts!” Such fun, we’ll definitely be back!

The Bellevue Police Department, Mayberry is jealous, I’m sure.

Waffle and Fried Chicken Sandwich at Social. Yum…

Brrr…

Guacamole and apple-grapefruit-strawberry-ginger smoothies, the dinner of champions!

 Fire Roasted Veggie Wrap and Pulled Pork Sandwich at B Gourmet in Sewickley. Zehr gut!

A fine hello to March, don’t you think?

Tags: ,

« Older entries