Behind the Scenes at ScareHouse – A Unique Halloween Tour

Note: ScareHouse is now located in the Pittsburgh Mills shopping mall. We were invited by ScareHouse for a behind-the-scenes tour in 2021 to update this article, but have paid for the tour in the past as well.

If you're looking to get scared silly during Halloween in Pittsburgh, the city has a number of options for you.

But we have to be honest in saying that we're not ones to get excited about haunted attractions. We can appreciate the work and attention to detail that goes into making a haunt, but we're not rushing to get in line to get spooked, either.

So when we found that ScareHouse offers behind the scenes, lights on tours on select days during their operating season, we were in.

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Public Lands in Cranberry Helps You Enjoy the Great Outdoors

If you explore outdoors as we do, odds are good you've shopped in outdoor specialty stores from time to time to pick up gear and supplies. One such chain you have likely visited is DICK's Sporting Goods as their stores are, well, seemingly everywhere.

But what you may not know is that DICK's Sporting Goods is now a Pittsburgh company as their headquarters can be found in Coraopolis (the company relocated their headquarters to the area in 1994).

As such, when DICK's decided to launch a new outdoor-oriented specialty store known as Public Lands, it should be no surprise that the very first location was announced to be right here in southwest Pennsylvania. We were fortunate enough to visit the store during its soft open in September 2021 and have a chance to share about what to expect when visiting the Cranberry Township location!

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Pick Your Own Sunflowers at Renshaw Farms in Freeport

There are two things we know about sunflowers. The first is that they're Angie's favorite flower, and the second is that they only bloom for roughly 10-14 days each July in southwest Pennsylvania*.

As such, during these brief blooms we rush to get out to as many places as we can to view these gorgeous flowers.

One such farm is Renshaw Farms just outside of Freeport, PA. While the sunflower field here is not terribly large, we'll take any opportunity we can to see thousands of flowers in a field. So in this one, we wanted to share more about what you can expect with a quick visit!

*Note: Some sunflowers also bloom in late August or early September, but most of the sunflower farms in PA tend to be open publicly for July blooms. Renshaw Farms is one of the only farms we know of that is open during both blooms; however, we've only visited for the July flowers.

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Take a Trip Around Lake Arthur on Preston’s Pearl

Lake Arthur at Moraine State Park is one of our favorite outdoor spots in southwest Pennsylvania. It is hard to ask for more than a beautiful lake with a number of fingers and inlets that just beg being explored.

We've featured many ways you can explore the lake including taking out kayaks from Bear Run Campground, standup paddleboarding with SurfSUP Adventures, and even enjoying Moraine State Park's bike trail which runs along the shoreline. But all of these activities required some degree of effort in order to enjoy. For something a bit more leisurely, the park offers boat tours on the resident pontoon boat from late spring to early fall. 

For many years, guests would enjoy the waters via the resident boat Nautical Nature, but in 2021 the Moraine Preservation Fund launched a new pontoon boat that offers 90-minute sightseeing tours, dinner/brunch cruises, and more.

I was fortunate enough to get out on the water for the ship's inaugural sailing as part of a media preview and share more about what you can expect on this one here!

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Taj Mahal Review – Indian Overload on McKnight Road

If you've ever driven up McKnight Road, you have likely noticed Taj Mahal and possibly did not give it a second thought. But this rather unassuming Indian restaurant in the North Hills is worth abandoning your original plans, pulling a u-turn, and stopping for a meal.

In fact, to say this particular spot has a die-hard following who would do just this is an understatement. It is incredibly popular, and whether you visit for their buffet or to place a dinner order for takeaway, be prepared for a crowd.

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Getting Holiday Cheer with Laser Lights at North Park

We've been to all manner of holiday experiences in Pittsburgh, but in 2020 it was Allegheny County's North Park that gave us a real holiday surprise- a laser light show!

When we first heard about the laser light show, taking place between December 10th and 20th in 2020, we knew we had to buy tickets for it right away. We snapped up a spot for opening night and eagerly awaited what was in store for us.

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Fet-Fisk Royal Market Review – A Smorgasbord Feast in Pittsburgh

Fet-Fisk started out as a pop-up dinner series in Pittsburgh. But thanks to the craziness that was 2020, the folks behind the series adapted it into a storefront known as the Fet-Fisk Royal Market just north of the city. But rather than offering in-house dining, they focused on producing Scandinavian smorgasbords to go!

We put an order in for one of their weekly smorgasbords shortly after this one opened, and it was one of those moments where we wondered why it took this long for this to be a thing.

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General Shu’s Review – Shubrew Opens a Chinese Restaurant

We're quite familiar with breweries expanding and adding a restaurant menu onto their repertoire. Shubrew in Zelienople is one such brewery and is known for having one of the best food menus of any in the region.

But one thing we're not used to seeing is a brewery opening its own standalone restaurant across the street from their main space. But in 2020 Shubrew did just that with their leap into the Chinese food market- the aptly named General Shu's.

We have to say, this one has some solid dishes.

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Farmer x Baker Review – Fresh Dining on the Allegheny River

Farmer x Baker is a unique restaurant housed in a shipping container along the riverfront in Aspinwall that offers fresh, local, and seasonal brunch fare (with the occasional dinner menu). We have long wished for better waterfront usage in Pittsburgh, and Farmer x Baker is a beautiful and delicious concept that we hope is the start of more great waterfront dining options for our city.

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Taking a Bike Ride Along the Lake at Moraine State Park

When we think of Moraine State Park, our first thought often goes to the gorgeous Lake Arthur that can be found right in the heart of the park. If we're not getting out on the lake to go kayak, stand up paddleboard, or simply be on a boat like Preston's Pearl, our next thought is often to hit up one of the many hiking trails along the shoreline.

But did you know that the park is also home to a 7-mile one-way bike trail on the north shore of the lake? We naturally took our bikes up to explore this one and wanted to share a bit about what the ride is like in this one!

Note: Moraine State Park also has a 6-mile mountain biking trail that is a loop. We hope to visit this one shortly; however, this article is only for the paved out-and-back bike trail at this time.

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