Loving Pittsburgh McCloskey

Why I like Pittsburgh

From the best of http://www.chroniclesofmccloskey.com

IMG00035IMG00012-20091025-1208Giant Rubber Duck's American Debut Goes Swimmingly - Wired Scienceneil_walker.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxphoto Imagine if you will coming into the airport in Pittsburgh,Pa. and not knowing much about our fair city. The first two guys you see are shown above. One is George and one is Franco. Now George made a big splash here in 1753 as a surveyor and almost literally drowned in a big splash in the Allegheny River. But he went on to great notoriety as a British officer and helped to secure the cornerstone of our city’s early existence -Fort Pitt. He later made many trips to our region and Pittsburgh was near and dear to his heart. The other guy, Franco made a great catch in a football game against the hated Oakland Raiders that went down in gridiron history. If you ask most older Pittsburgers today, they will all tell you, in a friendly way, that they were at the game and saw the “Immaculate Reception.” Now if that were true, I would estimate that there were 600,000 people at that game. Wow- that must have been crowded. I don’t remember it being THAT crowded because I was there. ( Yea – sure you were Pat). But I was.

As you make your way through the tunnels, you are treated to a spectacular collage of buildings and 3 rivers that form the “Point”. You can see the most beautiful baseball field in the country( PNC Park), as well as Heinz Field that is the home of the Pitt Panthers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. But as you make your way to the Strip District and perhaps the South Side, you will begin to notice what makes Pittsburgh so special- the people. Pittsburghers are a friendly lot and will be glad to help you find your way even take you there if they have the time. In many larger cities, folks are in survivor mode and will hip check you to get a cab, or they will do whatever they can to get over on you just because there are so many people. It is survival in the bigger cities, but Pittsburgh is just small enough that the pressure of urban civilization has been lost a little bit on our community.

To go along with the friendliness of the city are the neighborhoods.  Everyone thinks that Pittsburgh is all about Primanti sandwiches, but as good as they are (late at night), there are so many more eateries and establishments in Pittsburgh’s many neighborhoods that can be enjoyed.

Pittsburgh is an enthusiastic town. When the steel industry went in the tank in the 80s, Pittsburgh was resilient and vowed not to be a “rust belt” city. The city fathers welcomed construction of new residence communities to encourage surburbanites to think about living and working along the rivers and supporting the new life that was sprouting up out of the coal and dust of the industrial evacuation. Pittsburgh quickly became a white collar community with the UPMC Medical Facility expansion and the rise of the financial markets in town. Along with this entrepreneurial excitement and resiliency, was the spirit of our community in it’s tireless support of it’s sports teams. The Steelers are having a rough start, but that does not stop the Black and Gold faithful from attending in sell out conditions and having their beloved tailgates at every home game.  The Penguins opened their season this week and Stanley Cup fever is in the air and Pittsburgh fans hang on every word that comes out of Sidney Crosby’s mouth.

We even had a 40 foot rubber duckie moored in the water!! Pittsburgh was the innaugural bathtub for the Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s duck and Pittsburghers lined the rivers and the point by the thousands welcoming this piece of inflated art that was here for a month. Shaundra Miles of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust says it best when she remarked that the duck was a “reminder with all that is going on in the world, that there is joy, and joy in simple things.” That is what defines a person living in the ‘burg. We have joy in our communities, our city, our sports teams, and in our lives in general. There is a spirit in Pittsburgh that is most evident in the happiness that a kielbassa sandwich brings at a football game, the micro-brews that are enjoyed at the many local establishments, the thrill of a home run in the post season, the visual bonus of fireworks over our three rivers, the colorful buildings, and the fellowship in the streets during a game or in the work place in anticipation of a win on the ice, field, or gridiron. That spirit is alive in me because of the many nights I sat up and listened to Bob Prince (The Gunner) broadcast a Pirate game and announcing after a victory that ” we had then alllllllll the way!!!” That red plaid sportcoat is etched forever in my memory.

Pittsburgh also has a vibrant outdoor community. Visit http://www.ventureoutdoors.org to see the many hikes, beer tasting hikes, bike rides, snowshoe events, and other outdoor instructional outings that this organization so aptly make available to visitors and locals alike. Janet and I like to use the many bike paths that wind their way through the city. You can park up river and ride to the games, leave your bike in the racks at Kayak Pittsburgh on the Allegheny River, and then return without having to worry about parking. Ride to the Red Fin on Herr’s Island and take in a good lunch while looking at folks enjoying the river on their boats and jet skis. Get involved with the rowing clubs on the island and get instruction on how to take part in a great activity on the river. You don’t have to go to an Ivy League school to learn to row. You can do it on the Allegheny River with a local club.

Well, I may have exhausted that visitor who first stepped off the plane and met George and Franco in the airport. But there sure is enough for him or her to do and maybe, just maybe, they will begin to have that great Pittsburgh spirit as they enjoy dahntahhn with a chipped ham sandwich and some Blend an at. Be glad that you have experienced the “Most Liveable City in America” Thanks for reading.


That Great Smell by Pat McClosky

The Mountain TV

You know, my mother started me on my love for fires. We had a huge fireplace in our house growing up and at the first sign of cold weather, my mom would ask my dad to build a fire as she decorated the house for fall. My mom was the ultimate entertainer and to her, the house was a stage. My dad used to get firewood cut to 36″ to match the large fireplace and grate. He had some real blazes in that house.

Going forward, I had that appreciation for fires as I made my way through ski lodges, and anytime I had a moment to stand by a fire, I would do it, and take in the warmth and the great smell of wood smoke. In Colonial Williamsburg, one of my favorite destinations, they build fires on the street corners in the winter and the period actors discuss the merits of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness warming themselves in front of those ” army stacked” blazes.

I took matters into my own hands when we built our last house and had Teddy Hall come down from the mountains and build a 30’retainer wall, fireplace and bench all out of stone from the mountains. I learned what a shiner was. It is the flat facing stone that is strategically placed amid the dry stack of the stones that give some texture to the stacked stone. Teddy deposited 18 ton of stone in our yard and began his magic culminating in what I always thought was a spectacular fireplace.

My son Jack and I would scour for deadfall with my chainsaw and load up my Jeep with free firewood. He was a bit concerned as a young kid about my sources but I explained that we were doing a favor to the environment. At least that is what I told him. LOL!! Anytime I saw wood that was available, I grabbed it and did whatever I needed to do to get it cut and split. All part of the process of building a great fire in a great fireplace. We had fires all year long as it is a great bug zapper in the summer and a warm place in the winter. Many nights I spent in front of that fireplace contemplating what was next in our lives. When my folks passed, I used to sit out back and look up at the stars wondering where exactly they had gone. I saw heaven in those stars and planets and thought about what my folks saw now? Did they see me looking for them? I drifted off to sleep many nights in front of that fireplace. My brother in law, Duke, called it the Mountain TV as it provided entertainment for many guests to our house for many years.

The suspect Christmas wreath.

Duke would build fires so large in our fireplace that he would catch the Christmas wreath on fire many a night. The remnants of that wreath were a reminder of Christmas and a tradition that lasted many years. If the wreath didn’t catch fire, Duke didn’t build it big enough and Christmas was not complete. We had some other funny times in front of that fireplace. Like when my friend Dean melted the soles of his shoes onto the hearth. I peeled them off the next day and mailed them back to him. I have seen some other amazing things at other fireplaces. Like ski boot shells melting or gloves smoking as they hung to dry with the owners frantically trying to salvage the boots and gloves. People don’t realize how hot a fireplace can get.

The other day, I was riding my mountain bike and I smelled wood smoke coming from the house in the valley below. I can pick up that smell from far away and it always brings a smile to my face and a reminder that my favorite time of the year approaches- the fall, Thanksgiving, Christmas and winter. Probably one of the things I miss the most in moving from my former house to our current one is the fact that I had to leave my fireplace. No more wood smoke, no more sitting out back, but my neighbor Tim has a nice fireplace and when I smell the wood smoke drifting my way, I am thankful that he invites us to come up and enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, I like where we live but it was tough to leave the Teddy Hall masterpiece.

Laurel Mountain Outdoor Fireplace

If you have a nice fireplace- use it. And if you visit ski areas, lodges, or other places where fireplaces are lit during the season, take the time to sit and take in the smell, the warmth, and the quiet time reflecting in front of a roaring fire. Thanks for reading and RIP Teddy Hall. You made our life rich indeed. Thanks for reading.

patmccloskey | November 2, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Categories: Christmas, fall, outdoor activities, Outdoors, Seasons, Thanksgiving, Winter | URL: https://wp.me/p31Q99-1dr

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Marinades for Dinner and More

This venue is quickly becoming a favorite for its Sunday Brunch and Dinner. Fresh ideas and homemade food each week pleasing your appetite for good home style cooking and atmosphere at very reasonable prices. Always casual and BYOB. Open for events and every Sunday for Brunch from 10-3 and Dinner from 3-8. Events, catering, weddings, celebrations, and planning made easy for you at our location or yours. Seating up to 125. Outdoor pavilion. Bed and Breakfast rooms available, up to 8 for events. View the WEBSITE for catering ideas and events open to anyone who likes to have fun! Located at 327 Mt. View Road, Donegal, PA 15628  724-221-5793  www.marinadesgrill.com.

Directions: From Turnpike exit 9 go east on Route 31 1 mile, turn right on Mt. View at the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices office, go about 1 mile, on right.


Nemacolin 5 Alarm Chili Cook-off June 13, 2015

Nemacolin Chili Cookoff

Compete in the Restaurant Division of Nemacolin’s annual Five Alarm Mountain Madness Chili Cook-off

Have you been told that your restaurant has the BEST chili? PROVE IT by registering for the Restaurant Division at Nemacolin’s 6th Annual Five Alarm Mountain Madness Chili Cook-Off! Winner will receive Bragging Rights, an Award Plaque and a One-Night Nemacolin Stay with $150 in Resort Spending Credits. For more information, contact Ashli Mazer-Workman by email or by phone at 724-329-6387.


General Store and Pie Shoppe

General Store and Pie Shoppe Donegal PA 15628

You drive by these shops on your way to either resort and on your way home at the Donegal Turnpike Exchange!! They are right after the Prudential Realty office on the right hand of the road in Donegal (across from Rustic Lodge Furniture). If you haven’t stopped you are missing a great time! The Old General Store offers candies, treats, and tons of surprises and gifts for all ages! Looking for home made rolls, bread, pies or any sweet confection you can find it at the Country Pie Shoppe (Abe loves the maple crawlers)! Stop and see for yourself we believe you’ll be back!


Lifestyles Map in Information Tab

Laurel Highlands Living has a activities and life style mapping feature on the activities page in the Information Tab. This map uses google maps for its backdrop and adds local dining, activities, entertainment, and attractions. The default map opens with these amenities already loaded, but users can expand the map to included information about schools, zip codes, shopping, and much more. Any vendor who would like to be on this map and is not can enter their information on www.Factual.com, the source for the activities information.
[spatialmatch_map id=1 width=100% height=650]


Sarnellis Corner Market Jones Mills PA

Sarnelli’s Corner has provided Jones Mills, PA and its surrounding areas with all of its shopping needs for over 33 years. Located on the corner of Routes 31 & 711 South, they have 3 separate stores that offer many items, including food and market goods, import and domestic beer sales, and a large wine cellar featuring local Pennsylvania wines.

From beer sales to delicious homemade foods, this family owned and operated business has everything that you may need in one convenient location. Hours are 7AM to 11PM 7 days a week.

For more information go to their website  www.SarnellisCornerPA.com


Smart Growth Newsletter Highlights Latrobe

The latest newsletter from Smart Growth, a community planning and develop group, highlights the local city of Latrobe. If you didn’t know, this is the home of Arnold Palmer, golfer, and St. Vincent College, where the Pittsburgh Steelers start the football season. Here is a link to the city site. Latrobe


Kitchen on Main

Many of you have enjoyed a meal at Out of the Fire Cafe in the Laurel Highlands. It’s right before the Prudential Preferred Realty office if you’re coming from the Donegal Turnpike headed to either Hidden Valley or Seven Springs resort. We are very excited to share that they now have another eatery in downtown Ligonier. It’s called The Kitchen on Main, 136 East Main St. Ligonier, PA 15658  (724-238-4199).

It’s a completely different dining experience! Breakfast hours are Tuesday – Friday  7am-11am and weekends 7am-3pm Lunch Hours are Tuesday – Sunday 11am- 3pm. They will also host private parties inthe evening. We had the breakfast tocos and bacon that was out this world!! Can’t wait to go back and try some more!!




Ligonier 29th annual Festival of Lights Dec 3 to 11, 2011

The Ligonier Valley Historical Society invites you to visit the 29th annual Festival of Lights Dec 3rd through the 11th, noon to 7:00pm daily.  Located in the Ligonier Valley Town Hall Community Room at 120 East Main St.  The winter wonderland is a display of trees, wreaths and stars decorated by local families, businesses and groups.  These items are for sale and may be picked up at the close of the festival.  In addition to the exhibit, there is a raffle table and a holiday boutique filled with a wide variety of items.  The Festival of Lights is the major fundraising event for the Ligonier Valley Historical Society.  Proceeds benefit the many projects of the Society.  Admission is $4 for adults and $1 for children.  For more information please call 724-238-6818 or visit us on the web at www.ligonierhistoricalsociety.org


Laurel Highlands Events for this weekend

 This is a repost of the Laurelville blog. Enjoy.

Here is some events this weekend  in Pennsylvania’s Laurel Highlands. So whether you’re staying here at Laurelville, a local resident or just passing through, be sure to check out some of the wonders in
our own backyard.

October 21

Pianos International (Garden & Civic Center, Greensburg,

Enjoy this traveling rock ‘n’ roll comedy piano show featuring
pianists Noel Leaman and Dan Louisell. Both acclaimed musicians, Leaman and
Louisell will entertain you with a high-energy show filled with rock and pop
hits, good humor and plenty of audience participation to go around.

Tickets are $22 (includes two drinks) and can be
purchased in advance (www.GGCCevents.org or 724-836-8000) or at
the door.

October 22

Reunion Vocal Band
(Laurelville Mennonite Church Center, Mt. Pleasant, Pa.)
We’re hosting a free benefit concert with Reunion Vocal
Band, an ensemble of Mennonite musicians known for their strong vocal harmonies
and energy-driven music. RVB plays their own original songs as well as favorite
hits from the 60s and 70s, covering genres such as rock, folk, country, blues
and gospel.

Admission is free. Donations will be accepted for
improvements to our Meetinghouse sounds and lighting systems. The concert will
begin at 7 p.m.; doors open at 6:30. Visit Laurelville.org/rvb-concert for more information.

October 23

PA Arts &
Crafts Christmas Festival (Washington, Pa.)

Visit Pennsylvania’s top-rated Christmas craft show at the Washington
County Fairgrounds. You’ll find over 200 arts and crafts vendors with wares for
all of your holiday decorating needs.

Entrance costs  $6.00 ($5.50 for seniors 65 and
over;  $1.00 for kids 6-12;  free admission for kids under 6). Find a discount
coupon and more information at www.familyfestivals.com

Also, be sure to check out the Laurel Highlands Podcast. This week’s episode features a conversation with Mason Yates from Out of the Fire Cafe, one the finest restaurants in the Laurel

The Laurel Highlands Podcast is produced weekly by Laurelville Mennonite
Church Center and highlights things to do and places to visit in the region.


Hidden Valley Spring Mardi Gras March 6/7

Repost from the last Hidden Valley Newsletter

Mardi Gras Spring Carnival

The Big Easy is coming to Hidden Valley Resort March 5 & 6!

Hidden Valley will be transformed into a festive Mardi Gras celebration during the Spring Carnival Sat. March 5 and Sun. March 6, 2011.

Enjoy the sights and sounds of Mardi Gras Avenue (Ski Lodge Plaza) where you’ll find music, exciting games, strolling entertainers, balloon art, and face painting.

Show your colors in the
Mardi Gras Parade!
You are invited to participate in the highlight of the Spring Carnival a Mardi Gras Parade
at 12:30 on Saturday.

Flex your creative muscles and dress up in your best Mardi Gras garb, colorful clothes or just wear a mask! 

Families, ski clubs and groups can  build a themed float for the parade Everyone who enters will be registered in our prize drawing and the Best Entry
will win the Grand Prize — a $100 Hidden Valley gift card.   All entrants will have a chance to win two tickets to Shrek the Musical (compliments of WTAE TV), or a Carnival Prize Pack donated by our sponsors!
Drawing will be held following the parade.

There will also be a wine dinner, snow golf, obstacle course, kid’s races, snow rafting and lots more! A full schedule of Spring Carnival events can be found on the Hidden Valley Resort website.

Make plans today to visit Hidden Valley to celebrate the arrival of spring before the snow — and ski season — disappears!


What is available at 7 Springs for 2011

Here is a quick recap of what is available at the Springs for the 2011 Ski Season. For more detail go to THEIR WEBSITE.

Skiing: 285 acres of slopes and trails on a 2995 mountain with a 750 foot drop. Snowmaking on all slopes, 5 terrain parks with the #1 rated East Coast half pipe and terrain park by Transworld Snowboarding readers.

Winter Activities: Tubing park, snowcat rides, snowshoe tours, sleigh rides, snowmobile fides, UTV tours, Sporting Clays, and more.

Inside activities: Game room, Spa, swimming, miniature golf, bowling, fitness room, racquetball, roller skating, shops and boutiques.

Dining: More than a dozen restaurants and eateries from speciality, buffet, and fine dining.

Apre Ski: 4 bars and lounges to include the kicking Foggy Goggle.

Lodging: Main lodge hotel and on ground properties with shuttle service up to 4 Bedrooms.

Cold temps and steady snowmaking have conditions about as good as they get. SKI YAA.


Ski Swap Sunday, Thanksgiving Buffet

Sun, November 21, 2010 @ 12:30PM

Are you looking to sell some of your old gear? Dust it off and bring it to the Mon Valley Ski Swap at Seven Springs Resort. If you’re looking to buy some new gear, then head to the Ski Swap! Buy or sell – this sale has it all – skis, poles, snowboards, boots, bindings, clothing and more!

 The sale will be held in the Maple Room in the Ski Lodge. Merchandise check-in will be between 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. The sale opens at 12:30 p.m. and closes at 3:30 p.m. All merchandise must be picked-up by 4 p.m. or items will be donated to charity. Vendors who are not members of the MVSC will be charged a $5 seller fee in addition to the 15% commission.

 For more information, please call (866) 703-7625.

Click here to download ski swap forms.

For more activities at Seven Springs Resort go to their website.

November 25, 2010 Hidden Valley Resort

Celebrate the holiday with your family enjoying a bountiful feast at Hidden Valley. 
For reservations, please call 814-443-8000 ext. 346 or visit their website.

Clock Tower Restaurant
11 a.m. – 3 p.m.   
$19.95 per adult
$7.95 ages 6 – 11
5 and under free

The Thanksgiving Buffet will feature:

  • Carving station featuring roasted turkey with cranberry sauce
  • Homemade Pumpkin Soup
  • Full Salad Bar with Pistachio Salad, Macaroni Salad, Potato Salad
  •  Baked Broccoli Alfredo w/ Penne Pasta
  • Sour Cream Scalloped Potatoes
  • Peppered Mashed Potatoes w/ Gravy
  • Homemade Apple Walnut Stuffing
  • Homemade Traditional Stuffing
  • Baked Ham with a Honey Peach Glaze
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Buttered Corn Cobbetes
  • Sweet Potatoes with Marshmallows and Brown Sugar
  • Kid’s Station: Fries, Mac & Cheese, Chicken Tenders and
    Corn Dog Bites 


Assorted Fall Flavored selection of Cakes, Pies & Chocolate Fountain with dippers


Out of the Fire Cafe

Out of the Fire SignOut of the Fire Café

 This café specializes in gourmet eats in a casual atmosphere with a beautiful view of the Laurel Highlands.  In 1974, before Omega-3 fatty acid was a household term, before smoking food was a take-home technique and before smoked salmon was regularly seen outside the Pacific Northwest, Jeff Fryer had his first taste of the flavorful pink flesh that locals in Vancouver called “candy” At 24, he was a convert, and he would continue to search for that rich, bold flavor for years to come.

 Growing up on the lakes of Wisconsin and learning to fly fish in the American Rockies, Jeff had always taken pleasure in casting a line. At the same time, he was finding he had a knack in the kitchen. Fishing for salmon in Washington State and the Great Lakes Region was always a favorite hobby, and soon Jeff was blending his two passions. After years of tinkering in the kitchen and surprising friends with unique gourmet fare, he finally began to pursue cooking full time in 2003.

 “I’m easily my biggest critic,” says the fisher-chef. “I’m looking for a very specific blend of flavors.” Indeed, the curing process alone has taken years to perfect. Jeff prides himself on composing bites that excite every taste bud. “An explosion of flavor means you’ve got a wide range-sweet, salty, tart, and back to sweet again.” At last the “candy” that hooked the 24 year old kid is making its way across the country, one excited mouth at a time.

 We eat here all the time and encourage you to visit and try their extensive menu. Closed Monday and Tuesday, OPEN Wednesday and Thursday 12 to 8, Friday and Saturday 12 to 9, Sunday 11 to 8. BYOB.

Café is located on the right side of Route 31 East about 1 mile from the Donegal Turnpike exit. Reservations  strongly recommended. 3784 State Route 31, Donegal PA 15628 724-593-4200   www.outofthefirecafe.com


All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Copyright 2022.

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