Saturday, June 20, 2015

Welcome To Pittsburgh!

Check another place off the list. While I had traveled through Pittsburgh in the past (a fun layover in high school with my dad on our way to Grand Rapids, Michigan to tour a college) I had never taken the time to drive across the state and explore the steel city. With a meeting of the Grand Lodge taking place this morning (more about the meeting in a later post), it was the perfect opportunity for us to have a little family vacation. After all, we have to get our son used to traveling long distances by car.

I took Friday off from work so that we could get a head start on our drive. Shortly before noon we were packed and on our way. This was also an opportunity to put some miles on my new car and see how it handled an extended trip. After a quick stop along the way to feed and change our son, we were able to make it to the congested heart of the city just in time for rush hour. Frankly, Pittsburgh makes Philadelphia traffic seem like NASCAR.

After a detour and relatively quick dinner with friends, we headed off to the hotel, unpacked, and passed out for the night. Thankfully, our son seems to be a fan of exploring and didn’t have much trouble at all going to sleep. In the morning, we grabbed a quick breakfast in the lobby and headed out the door. The detour this time was rather extensive giving us a tour of some interesting areas around the city. Once the meeting was done we were off again to expose our son to his first Denny’s experience.

Now we were exploring without a schedule so we headed over to the one thing that everyone seems to recommend doing when in the city… the Duquesne Incline. It took some time to make our way through the line but it did move pretty quickly and before we knew it we were making our way up the hill. While there were a few people whose fear of heights were getting to them baby and I were just sitting there enjoying the view.

We walked around the observation deck for a little while taking pictures and enjoying the sun. On our way back in we picked up a magnet for our son (we are trying to pick one up at each place that we visit), and made our way back down. It was a nice quiet trip and a great way to start our exploration of the area.

At this point the day seemed to have gotten away from us so rather than taking a tour or heading off to a museum, we decided to explore Station Square just down the road, relax, and plan for the following day. In his stroller for the first time without the car seat, our son was soon fast asleep as we walked up and down the rows of shops and crisscrossed the aisles of a discount book store, Bradley’s Book outlet. I know, you’re shocked that we ended up in a book store. With sun being slowly cloaked by the clouds, we walked one last time by the water and decided on a place to dine for the evening.

There were a variety of options within a block of where we stood so we first made our way to the Hard Rock Café… 30 minutes was not going to work. We turned around and entered Bar Louie (I am familiar with their location near my office)… only high tables remained. Finally, we opened the door to a Brazilian steakhouse on the corner, Texas de Brazil, just at the raindrops were beginning to fall. It has been years since we had eaten at such a restaurant and, even though it was a little fancier than we like, it was a delicious change from our usual dining routine.

It is safe to say that we were quite full as we ran across the wet street and made our way back to the car. Without detours, before long we were back at the hotel and relaxing in our room. One big day down and another huge day ahead.