An Underwhelming Display at Overly’s Country Christmas in Greensburg

When it comes to Christmas displays in Pittsburgh, we're used to over the top and extravagant. It is just what we do during the holidays in southwestern Pennsylvania.

We visited Overly's Country Christmas in Greensburg with a great deal of excitement because of this, and ended up being, well, quite underwhelmed!

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Udipi Cafe Review – Southern Indian Cuisine at Its Finest

Udipi Cafe in Monroeville has been on our radar for quite some time as one of the only places in the area to get delicious and authentic Southern Indian cuisine. We finally recently ventured out to this spot and we have to say, it's worth the drive.

While it won't win any points for atmosphere, this all-vegetarian spot serves up traditional dishes like dosa and Thali sets that transport you straight to India. Southern India, that is.

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Flight 93 National Memorial – A Somber Memorial in Somerset County

Sometimes as travel writers there are just a few spots we visit that are impossible to put into words. Destinations so sobering about the low points in human history that I simply cannot do justice in any one article.

I've found myself in this particular spot in many places around the world- be it Dachau in Germany, the ground zero spots of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, and the 9/11 Memorial in New York City to name a few.

In these particular cases I've tried time and time again to write about them, but end up being at a loss for words. Rather than ignoring the topic altogether, I ultimately end up only sharing photos as a means to try and provide a visual understanding of the experience.

So it should be no surprise that my visit to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, is no different. Today, I wanted to share a few photos from the memorial to encourage everyone to visit.

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Kennywood Holiday Lights – A Christmas Tradition for Families

When it comes to Kennywood, Pittsburgh's nearest theme park, we often visit in the summer months to ride as many roller coasters and eat as many potato patch fries as we can stomach.

One thing we never experienced was the park's annual Holiday Lights display. So you know when our friends at Kennywood invited us to check them out that we jumped at the chance.

Fast forward a few days to our visit, and it only took a few minutes in the park to realize something very important- it is the perfect Christmas outing for families.

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Blue Dust Review – A Gastropub Celebrating the Steel City

The term blue dust may not be one you know of unless you grew up in and around the steel industry. This is the term for hematite-rich iron ore which was known for covering worker's clothing with a blue hue from a long day's work in the mill.

In fact, we did not know about this term until visiting the Carrie Furnaces in Rankin, PA, where our tour guide recommended us to visit a little gastropub nearby with the same name of this colorful material.

Not being one to turn down a recommendation when given to us, we decided to continue our Steel City experience with a visit to the Blue Dust gastropub across the river in Homestead.

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Halloween in Pittsburgh at Kennywood Phantom Fright Nights

Kennywood absolutely loves going all out around the holidays, and no event is perhaps more extreme than the Phantom Fright Nights in the month of October.

During this event, Kennywood transforms itself into a theme park of horrors with several haunted houses, many scare zones, and several of the park's best rides open to enjoy.

When our friends at the park invited us out to enjoy the scares, you know we had to go.

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Carrie Furnace Tour – Finding the Steel City’s Roots

Throughout its history, Pittsburgh has been known for a lot of things. The city was host to George Washington on multiple occasions, the departure point of Lewis and Clark on their famous expedition, home to America's early glass industry, and the world's leading supplier of iron and steel- and that is before even getting to the 20th century.

Although these are all incredible in their own right, it is the steel industry in Pittsburgh that made the city famous the world over.

In its prime, Pittsburgh was producing thousands of tons of steel per day- more than half of the entire output of all factories in the United States combined- and boasted a staggering number of mills located along the city's rivers. But by the 1980s this all changed- the steel industry went bust, nearly all of the factories were shut down, and Pittsburgh went through one of the largest depressions from which it only recently emerged.

Since then, most of the factories have been demolished and replaced with new industries. But a small portion of one massive factory, the iron-producing Carrie Furnaces, was rescued by the Rivers of Steel Heritage Foundation and turned into a historical site for future generations to come and learn about how the Steel City got its name.

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Kennywood – A Visit to Pittsburgh’s Closest Amusement Park

As far as day trips from Pittsburgh are concerned, perhaps the most popular of all is visiting our regional theme park: Kennywood!

When the folks at Kennywood invited us out for a visit during the 2016 season, we jumped on the opportunity. I am a roller coaster enthusiast who loves the most extreme experiences imaginable and Angie, well, she agreed to join me with the promise of potato patch fries- something she has been craving since her last visit several years prior. So on a gorgeous July day we made the trip out of the city to take in as many flips, dips, spins, and fries as possible.

But why should you make the trip out to this park? We share our favorite reasons below.

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Trundle Manor – Pittsburgh’s Most Unique Collection of Oddities

It would be quite difficult to come up with just one sentence that describes the private collection at Trundle Manor better than the current slogan: “The most unusual tourist trap in the world meets the most bizarre private collection on public display.”

This residence in Swissvale is the home of Mr. Arm and Velda von Minx, a couple whose personal collection of unusual antiques and oddities is second to none.

They have something for everyone, but only those with a unique (and slightly twisted) sense of humor will get the full benefit of their collection.

Thankfully, we are those people.

Disclaimer: Some of the images featured in this post contain taxidermy animals, tumors in a jar, cleavers, disturbing medical antiques, and other oddities that some may find offensive. If this is you, click here to read our review of the Heinz History Center or the Duquesne Incline instead. For those that continue reading on, be sure to hover over the images if you want to learn more about what is in the image!

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Harrison Hills Park – An Easy River View Hike Outside of Pittsburgh

Harrison Hills Park is a 500 acre park on the edge of the Allegheny River in Natrona Heights. Thanks to its relatively close proximity to the city it is the perfect spot for those looking for a half-day out to explore nature.

On our recent visit we hiked the out-and-back Rachel Carson trail (one of approximately eight trails within the park) which is known for having stunning overlooks of the river and surrounding region.

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