Taking a Jet Ski for a Spin With Steel City Jet Ski Rentals

When we started our quest to do everything in Pittsburgh, if someone would've said that one of the most enjoyable river activities is taking out a jet ski, I would've had some contrarian thoughts.

But after taking a jet ski for a spin on the Allegheny River and around Point State Park as guests of Steel City Jet Ski Rentals, I have to admit, I'm a convert.

Not only is riding a jet ski immensely fun, but it is also a great way to see a number of river highlights in a craft that you are able to control outright. The adrenaline junkie in me was thrilled with the speed element, and the photographer in me even more so as it made for wonderful city photography too!

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The Armstrong Trail Offers 35 Miles on the Allegheny River

The aptly named Armstrong Trail in Armstrong County is a 35-mile rail-trail that runs north to south along the eastern bank of the Allegheny River.

During our first visit, we biked half of the trail (approximately 16 miles one-way out of Ford City) and were able to see many highlights including river views and adjunct river developments like power stations, dams, an iron furnace, and more.

So in this one we wanted to share a bit about what you can see when exploring the Armstrong Trail and also give some tips for making the most out of your ride on this exceptionally flat trail.

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Kayak Pittsburgh Brings Fun to the Allegheny River in Sharpsburg

For many years, Kayak Pittsburgh operated a rental location right on the Allegheny River just below the Roberto Clemente Bridge on the North Side. We always tried to get a rental here, but the days we were free often were met with extreme heat or super high river levels (read: incredibly fast flow) such that we missed our chance before they closed.

So when the company moved upstream to a new location at the James Sharp Landing in Sharpsburg in 2022, we knew we had to go as soon as it opened.

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Lucky Sign Spirits Brings a Large Portfolio to a Small Space

In 2023, Lucky Sign Spirits moved to Gibsonia, PA. We visited their former Millvale location which we are told is now closed.

Lucky Sign Spirits opened in the heart of Millvale in 2020 and quickly grew its portfolio to include an array of conventional and non-conventional spirits alike.

While the distillery's space can only be described as small, and they presently are only open for quick tastings, bottle sales, and cocktails to go, this one packs a punch and has a bright future ahead of it!

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Steel City Garage Brings Epic Pittsburgh Gear to Cranberry

You know we are suckers for a good Pittsburgh t-shirt, one of our favorite stores in the area is the downtown-based Steel City as many of their shirts capture what it means to truly be a proud Pittsburgher. The “I'm Just Here for the Pierogies” shirt is a great one to wear at PNC Park and the “Pittsburgh – So Many Rings it Should Be a Planet” shirt we could wear just about everywhere to name a few.

As this one has been selling its gear online and downtown for over 15 years, we were delighted to find out that they are now expanding to its second location, the aptly named Steel City Garage, to the Streets of Cranberry in Cranberry Township.

We were able to check out this store for a sneak preview and wanted to share more about what you can find here!

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Mandy’s Pizza Review – An Allergy Conscious Pizza Joint in West View

Mandy's Pizza in West View is a popular pizza joint that has a robust menu of appetizers, sandwiches, salads, pizza, and more.

But where most pizza shops would simply thrive on a vast menu alone, Mandy's goes one step further with being incredibly flexible with customer requests- especially around dietary restrictions. Gluten-free? You got it. Allergies? They can handle it. Vegan? That too. 

In fact, Mandy's is probably the most vocal business we've seen in Pittsburgh when it comes to catering to dietary restrictions, so if you fall into this category but still crave pizza, this should be great news to you (but as always, pending the severity of restriction it is always best to call and talk with them about their practices).

But during our first visit, we stuck with a fairly traditional order of pizza and fries. So let's share what it was like!

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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: 2023's sunflower dates are July 21st through 30th with varying times by day.

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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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