Customized Helicopter Tours of Pittsburgh With Vortex Helicopter Services

It really is hard to beat any view you can get of the Pittsburgh skyline. We've found views of our gorgeous city from just about every angle you can think of from on the hills, along the river trails, on the water, and more.

But there is one view that is hard to get without some extra assistance, and that is seeing the skyline from the air. When we fly in and out of Pittsburgh International Airport, we always hope for a quick flyby of the city to capture some photos, but the quality of which is often hit-or-miss from our cell phones (and of course, a flyby is never guaranteed, either).

Thankfully, in 2021 a new tour company opened offering customized helicopter flights over Pittsburgh- Vortex Helicopter Services operating out of Finleyville Airport. If you are looking to capture a unique vantage point over the city, this tour is a must.

Note: I was invited to fly as a guest of Vortex Helicopter Services as part of a 30-minute media tour over the city. As always, all opinions are my own.

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Quantum Spirits Review – Delicious Libations and Food in Carnegie

With the liquor laws easing in Pennyslvania, many brewers, distillers, and alcohol aficionados have been looking at getting into the business of helping appease a thirsty population.

In Carnegie, Quantum Spirits has been improving the libations game one spirit and cocktail at a time.

While this one is still young by distillery standards, with each passing year they are getting better and better with their spirits, bar program, and now even a full kitchen with a stellar food menu as well!

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Schwirian Farm Sunflower Festival is a Must Visit in July

Our visit to Schwirian Farm for their annual sunflower festival at their farm just outside of Elizabeth, PA, was a few years in the making. 

The reason for this is that prior to 2021, the annual festival was brief- just a day or so (the rest of the season the farm would be closed to the public). As such, it shouldn't be a surprise that we simply missed it by either being out of town or not being on top of tracking when that exact date would be.

But starting in 2021, the festival changed. Instead of being just a single day, it runs for a full week thanks to its incredible popularity (in 2021 the festival runs from 17th-25th). Since I had this one on my calendar for a full year to ensure I didn't miss it when it came back, we made sure to go on the very first day and were very glad we did.

In this one, we wanted to share a bit more about what you can expect when visiting the Schwirian Farm Sunflower Festival!

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Rockaway Pizzeria Review – Monster NY Style Pizzas in White Oak

You may know about our love affair with NY-style pizza in Pittsburgh. Whenever we hear about a shop serving up monster pies and slices to-go, we try and get there as soon as possible.

Rockaway Pizzeria in White Oak (about 30 minutes southeast of the city) is no different.

Normally, when we visit pizza shops, odds are good we'll visit once for a whole pie and again later on for pieces by the slice (if available). But because we had a 30-minute drive home ahead of us before enjoying this pizza, for this particular visit we did both.

Pizza for now and pizza for later? This really is the best approach when visiting Rockaway Pizzeria anyway.

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Boyce Mayview Park – Numerous Trails Here (So Have a Map Handy)

It took us three tries to properly hike Boyce Mayview Park. 

The first time we went, the access point we selected was overgrown and we had many ticks jump on us (and our dog) in just a few feet. We decided to explore the more accessible northern end of the park during this visit. 

The second time, the road going to the parking area I had intended to visit was closed and the detour to get there was sufficiently long that I gave up (this was on me).

But the third try, I made it, and after exploring this one properly I do have to admit there is a fair amount to see- just be sure to have a map on your phone handy.

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Riding the Great Allegheny Passage from Pittsburgh to the Laurel Highlands

The Great Allegheny Passage is a rail-trail leading out of Pittsburgh that can only be described as a gem. This 150-mile path connects downtown Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland, and links up with the C&O Canal trail which spans all the way to Washington DC.

While we are working our way up to the multi-day bike ride from Pittsburgh to Washington DC, we have been exploring the sections of the GAP closest to Pittsburgh in numerous outings. In this one, we wanted to share some of our favorite highlights and what you can expect when getting out on the trail for a ride!

This guide covers the first 40-miles of the Great Allegheny Passage between Pittsburgh and Belle Vernon, PA. As we explore further sections of the trail we will update this guide accordingly.

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Asadero by Mindful Brewery Review – Small Short Order Tacos

When Pittsburgh breweries expand, there is reason to celebrate. When they expand and also open up a short-order taco joint, doubly so.

So when we heard that Mindful Brewery was expanding into Carnegie, PA, with their aptly named Asadero restaurant, we had to visit right away. While we left this one a bit disappointed in the small size of the tacos, we'll gladly return for the burritos and beer.

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Insurrection Ale Works Review – Go for the Beer, Stay for the Food

Our local breweries really run the spectrum in their offerings. If you are looking for a specific kind of experience, odds are good there is a brewery out there that matches your desire.

If a brewery with amazing beer and a robust food menu is something you need in your future, a trip to Insurrection Ale Works in Heidelberg is a must. Or, if you simply want a great brew, their satellite location in the Strip District (no food menu) is sure to please.

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Topgolf Pittsburgh Offers Games at the Driving Range

As a non-golfer, I generally stay clear of driving ranges (and most courses for that matter) as I'll very clearly make a fool out of myself within minutes of picking up a club. But I made an exception to this rule to make a trip to Topgolf Pittsburgh. 

This one goes beyond your conventional driving range and adds on many interactive game elements into the mix. The best part of all? By the end of my first outing, I was doing quite well and enjoying it!

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Churchview Farm’s Happy Hour Series Offers a Serene Hilltop Experience

Churchview Farm is an urban hilltop in Baldwin, just south of Pittsburgh, that is popular for their frequent dinner and happy hour pop-ups.

But when we say popular, we really mean it- tickets to these events often sell out within minutes!

We were fortunate enough to snag two tickets to a happy hour at Churchview Farm, and wanted to share what the experience was like in this one!

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