Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival – A Trip Back in Time

The end of summer is marked with several annual events in the Pittsburgh region, and one that has been a favorite in the Laurel Highlands for many years is none other than the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival!

We have been to many Renaissance Festivals elsewhere in the past, but our recent visit to Pittsburgh's festival was a first- and it delivered the nostalgic experience we were looking for.

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Giovanni’s Pizza Review – Pizza and Delicious Garlic Rolls in Dormont

When it comes to Giovanni's Pizza in Pittsburgh, we have to take a step back and make an important distinction: there are actually several Giovanni's in the region.

In fact, there are three very close by- two in downtown proper and one in Dormont, and they all appear to be independent of each other.

So it should be no surprise that when we ordered our pizza from Giovanni's, we assumed we were getting it from one when it in fact came from another. Oops.

As it turns out, we ordered from the Dormont Giovanni's which boasts that it is home to a winner of “Pittsburgh's best pizza” and “famous” bread twists- two claims we wanted to find out about first hand.

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Hampton Inn Green Tree Review – A Standard Hotel With a Few Surprises

Normally when we review Pittsburgh hotels we select our properties to stay in to review them for their location or unique amenities.

In the case of the Hampton Inn Greentree, we selected this one for its price as we were getting some work done on our house and needed to be away for two nights with our dog without spending a lot of money.

As many hotels do not allow pets, and those that do charge an insane pet fee on top of their price, we set our sights on the Hampton Inn Greentree to take a look at their offering as one of the most budget friendly hotels in the city- and we were pleasantly surprised by what we found.

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Round Hill Park – Gorgeous Green Spaces and a Working Farm

Round Hill Park in Elizabeth, PA, is a 1,100 acre park that takes on a familiar layout as far as local parks are concerned- namely being home to a large concentration of pavilions, unblazed hiking trails, and a few play areas for kids.

In fact, for the longest time we thought this was all that was available at Round Hill Park, and for that reason we made it the last of all of the Allegheny County Parks we visited.

But there was one thing we did not know that Round Hill Park has, and that is a working exhibit farm that is so impressive it is worth the drive to Elizabeth alone.

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Rowdy BBQ Review – A Road Side Staple in the South Hills

There is something about a barbecue shack on the side of the road that just gets me excited.

You don't need a fancy restaurant, a unique ambiance, or even real seating to be a good barbecue joint in Pittsburgh. So when you find one that is literally just a small building with a window to order from, two picnic tables, and a portapotty outside, you know something good is going on.

At Rowdy BBQ, you get just that.

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Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright is Truly a Sight to See

Fallingwater has become a popular tourist destination in southwestern Pennsylvania as it was designed by the famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, is one of his most acclaimed works, and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2019.

There are several more good reasons for this popularity, as the house features unique designs both in the layout and how it appears in nature over the changing seasons.

But did you know that Fallingwater is connected to Pittsburgh in that the famous Kaufmann family (of Kaufmann department store fame) were the original owners of the property and hired Frank Lloyd Wright to build them a house near one of their favorite waterfalls in Ohiopyle?

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Ski Resorts Near Pittsburgh – Head to the Laurel Highlands

Pittsburgh is in a unique position as a city because you can pick any direction, drive 30 to 60 minutes, and be out in nature.

Head southeast on your route and you'll end up in the Laurel Highlands, a region that is often referred to as Pittsburgh's backyard. And what a backyard it is! With many activities available throughout the year, this is one part of Pennsylvania that has us returning on easy day trips time and time again.

This past winter we had a goal, and that was to get out and check out some of the region's ski resorts. Our first instinct was to look to the Laurel Highlands and check out their three resorts all operated by Seven Springs (perfect for a weekend multi-park lift ticket!).

What did we find? Well, they're each tailored for various skill levels!

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Snow Tubing in PA – A Must Try at Seven Springs

As one of the largest ski resorts near Pittsburgh, I've been to Seven Springs to go skiing several times now. And, not surprising, my visits have followed a fairly typical pattern for me, namely: drive down early in the morning, ski for four or five hours, get incredibly exhausted, and go home.

Each time I often thought about the other activities you can do at Seven Springs in the winter, but by the time we were ready to leave for the day I would forget about it until our next visit. Thankfully, during my most recent trip I was able to stay for the weekend, and was given the opportunity to try something I've been wanting to do for a very long time- go snow tubing!

After taking in this one, I had to ask myself why I waited so long to do it in the first place.

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