Tuesday, December 11, 2007
The top 11 reasons to visit Pittsburgh
In light of the decision by the editorial staff of Frommer's to rank the unlikely city of Pittsburgh among the 13 hottest travel destinations for 2008, Travel with a Beveridge has come up with its list of places that make the region special. This list includes 13 offbeat journies rather than focus on such attractions as Fallingwater or the Carnegie Museums that helped to make Pittsburgh one of Frommer's fantastic cities.
In no particular order:
1. No other city in the world has a statue of the godfather of pop music, Stephen Foster, and his slave with a big bronze toe that people rub for good luck. The sculpture can be found on Forbes Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Oakland section, right next door to the Carnegie Music Hall.
2. The Strip District is just a fun experience, even for the person who doesn’t like to go shopping. Here you will find Steelers merchandise galore along with the freshest meats and produce that are sold on the cheap in no frills shops with concrete floors and hand painted signs. If you love a fine cup of Joe, Prestogeorge Fine Foods sells so much Sumatra that the beans are still warm from roasting when you leave the tiny store on Penn Avenue. It’s deli sandwiches are the closest thing in the Burg to those sold in New York.
3. The South Side and its historic buildings along a level main drag known as Carson Street is a hip place to take in the Scottish parade. You will see all sorts of characters, ranging from oddball Goths to a bare-chested guy hanging out at a tattoo parlor.
4. Pittsburgh surely has the most Thai restaurants per capita in the Western world. The Silk Elephant on Murray Avenue in Squirrel Hill is the best. It’s a cozy little place with great coconut soup and rack of lamb.
5. The region’s rust belt along the Monongahela and Ohio rivers is a great place to take a driving tour through towns with severe blight that civic leaders have referred to as America’s Third World. There are crumbling buildings and decaying industrial sites from Aliquippa to Monessen that will tickle the senses of any photographer who likes to seek out such places.
6. The Bloomfield Bridge Tavern – a party house with Polish food just south of The Strip – is dough heaven. You can stuff your belly to a bigger belt size with the best pierogis this side of Poland or select from steeping platters of klushki noodles and cabbage with kielbasa while listening to polka music blaring from the sound system.
7. Take a stroll through the narrow streets of city’s Mexican War Streets, where neighbors go out of their way to gussy up the doors and windows to their row houses. Dating to 1848, the area was initially used for raising horses, pigs, chickens and cows. Today it’s on the National Registry of Historic Districts because of its well-preserved Victorian architecture.
8. Tourists from across the nation swing over to the Borough of Canonsburg in Washington County to pay tribute to its native son and crooner Perry Como. There is even a statue of him outside the borough building on Pike Street, where Como songs continuously fill the air. Hey mambo mambo…
9. The Yough River Trail. We’re so lucky to have it in our backyard, even though a freaky semi-nude man is known to jog near an abandoned coal mine in Rostraver Township.
10. Take the four-hour and nearly 50 mile drive on Route 88 south of the city through at least 150 traffic signals to experience the thrill of Ferry Boat Frederick in the village Fredericktown. You can pull your car onto the little barge and ride back and forth across the Monongahela River. For added adventure, you could encounter a mad man who chases speeders on the Fayette County side of the Mon and yells at those drivers while they wait for the boat. They call him the troll of the ferry.
11. Your tour is not complete without a stop at the monumental Joe Montana Bridges along the road to nowhere otherwise known as the Mon-Fayette Expressway in Washington County. The 250-foot span was built a few miles from where the football legend tossed footballs through the ring of a car tire while growing up in Monongahela.