Romance in Pittsburgh!

Pittsburgh photo by JP Diroll

Skyline at Night – photo by JP Diroll

Wow! We had 3 days in Pittsburgh and it was fabulous! We stayed at The Inn on Negley located in the upscale Shadyside neighborhood and everything about it was perfect The Inn was built in the late 1800s and we felt as if we fell into a Victorian romance novel!  The decor, service and breakfast were superb and it was hard to leave in order to spend some time exploring the city!  After walking around Shadyside a bit, we jumped in our rental car and headed for Oakland, the next neighborhood over, which is home to The University of Pittsburgh. We strolled around the campus, and entered the incredible Cathedral of Learning, a gothic skyscraper with its great Commons Room with its gothic arches as well as its famous 26 Nationality rooms, which celebrate Pittsburgh’s ethnic melting pot. After touring some of these fabulous rooms and checking out the fabulous international gift shop, , we strolled toward the back of the campus to explore Heinz Chapel that was built in the 1930s by the Heinz family as a memorial to their deceased ancestors who built such a successful business in Pittsburgh. The stained glass windows were breathtakingly beautiful and we understood why so many students worship and get married there. The beautiful Stephen Foster Memorial building is also located on the campus and is used by the university for theatrical performances.  Across from the campus on Forbes Ave. are two Carnegie Museums- Natural History and Art and we spent an interesting afternoon there after having a lovely lunch in The Art Cafe. Back to the Inn for some relaxation and we decided to have a romantic dinner at Girasole, a fabulous Italian restaurant- and it was lovely!  We then went back to the Inn and enjoyed the rest of our romantic evening with a bottle of champagne that we picked up earlier. What a wonderful Victorian romance this turned out to be!

After a very relaxing night, we had a great breakfast at the Inn.  We lucked out on the weather and drove to the Strip District, which is a multi-ethnic neighborhood that is located along the Allegheny River. It was Saturday morning and the sidewalks were crowded with farm market produce, prepared food of all types and lots of flea market vendors. There were also lots of restaurants and shops to visit and we even found a fantastic antique dealer- Mahla & Co.  One of the highlights of our morning there was entering the historic St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church of the Strip District- it was a beautiful and a peaceful oasis in the neighborhood.  Across the street was a very fascinating crafts gallery and studio, Society for Contemporary Craft, with cutting edge art available for purchase. After lunch we decided to hop across the river and check out the the Northside neighborhood.  We drove around admiring the architecture of the neighborhood and ended up at the Andy Warhol Museum- yes,  Andy was a Northside boy! Andy Warhol always puts a smile on my face and we even got our pictures taken in an old photo booth! They also had a very funky gift shop in keeping with the funky art of Mr. Warhol!  Finally we heard that the restaurant and club scene was great in another neighborhood called the Southside- all we had to do was to cross the Allegheny River, go a few blocks through downtown area of Pittsburgh  and then  cross over the Monongahela River on the Iron Bridge. We ended up at Dish Osteria, which is a great Siciian restaurant(don’t use the word Italian with the staff!), and because it’s a very popular place, we couldn’t get seated in the restaurant, but we lucked out with a cute little table in the bar area.  What a fantastic meal.  We’re ready to go to Sicily on a future romantic getaway!  After dinner we walked around the area and checked out the club scene and ended at at Club Cafe the rest of the evening. A little dancing, a little drinking, a little romance!  What could be finer??

After spending another wonderful restful night at the Inn, we had a very  leisurely delicious breakfast and decided to spend the day at the Frick Art and Historical Center in the East End neighborhood at Penn and Homewood Aves. Henry Frick was another wildly successful Pittsburgh industrialist who bought Homewood in 1881 after getting married. This started out as an eleven room Italianate-style  house and he added to it as his fortune grew until 1905 when he and his wife decided to build a home in New York.  He was obsessed by buying art and so he filled the home with beautiful furniture and his incredible art collection.  We strolled the beautiful grounds and then took an interesting tour of this beautiful house, which his daughter, Helen Clay Frick, lived in until her death in 1984. We also toured the art museum that she opened  in 1970 on the grounds near the house and filled it with some of her father’s art as well as the art she collected. There is also a Car and Carriage Museum on the grounds, but it was being renovated.  The home that he built in New York City  became the Frick Museum of Art after he and his wife passed away. We had a very lovely lunch on the patio of The Cafe at the Frick soaking in all of the beautiful surroundings and afterwards toured the family greenhouse nearby. This was our last night in Pittsburgh,  so we wanted to have a very special romantic evening. After relaxing for a couple of hours at the Inn, we drove along the Monongahela to the Monongahela Incline and took it up to Mt. Washington. It was a lot of fun riding this funicular that was built in 1870 and pretending that we were the German immigrants going home to Mt. Washington after working in the steel mill. From here we were able to have a bird’s eye view of the beautiful Golden Triangle, which is where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers join to form the Ohio. With all the lights shining in the city and on the rivers, it was truly a beautiful site to behold.  We could even see the fires from one of the last steel mills left in the distance on the river!  We then walked to The Monterey Bay Fish Grotto and enjoyed an absolutely wonderful dinner while looking out at the lovely view.   We then walked along Mt. Washington and enjoyed a delightful dessert at the famous LaMont restaurant. Afterwards we got back on the Incline and went down the mountain to our car.  What a wonderful way to end this lovely and interesting journey!

Barbara Radin Fox

Inn on Negley,703 South Negley Ave.,Shadyside, (412) 661-0631

University of Pittsburgh, Cathedral of Learning, 4200  Fifth Ave., Oakland

Heinz Memorial Chapel, on campus of The University of Pittsburgh

Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland, (412) 622-3131

Frick Art and Historical Center, 7227 Reynolds St., Point Breeze, (412) 371-0600

Andy Warhol Museum, 117 Sandusky St., Northside, (412) 237-8300

Mahla & Co. Antiques, 17th and Smallman Sts., The Strip District (412) 471-2090

Stanislaus  Kostka Catholic Church of the Strip District, 21st and Small Sts.

Society for Contemporary Craft, 200 Smallman St.

Girasole, 733 Copeland St., Shadyside,(412) 682-2130

Dish Osteria & Bar, 128 South 17th St.at Sarah St., South Side, (412) 390-2012

Monterey Bay Fish Grotto, 1411 Grandview Ave., Mt. Washington, (412) 481-4414

Club Cafe, 56-58 South 12th St., Southside, (412)431-4950

Monongahela Incline, 125 Station Square, 1-800-859-8959          

Updated: August 13, 2014 — 11:28 pm

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