Pittsburg-The Green Steel City

By Mark

Memorial Day Weekend we got to take a trip to Pittsburg for a lovely wedding.  I was forced (not quite at gunpoint) to not drag my camera to the ceremony or the rehearsal.  It’s okay as they had 2 photographers and 2 videographers, so I think the family was covered, but I didn’t get any shots of the beautiful cathedral.  The bride was gorgeous and the groom suitably handsome.

The weather for the long weekend was spectacular.  Sarah and I had not been to the Steel City before, but got lots of recommendations for things to see.  On Friday evening we walked from the hotel over to Market Square for dinner.  The architecture and the reflections in the Pittsburg Plate Glass building at sunset were pretty interesting.  They offered both abstract and compositional challenges.

PPG Building

PPG Building

Pittsburg definitely is a city of Bridges.  Great old iron and steel structures forged right there in the now gone mills.

I have always enjoyed shooting flowers and love visiting places like Arboretums and Conservatories.  The Phipps Conservatory started out with the leftover Greenhouses and plants from the World’s Fair and they have built it into a beautiful facility.  Each area models different climates or focuses on specific types of flowers. 

Phipps Conservatory

Phipps Conservatory

The embracing warmth and humidity of the orchid room showcases the wide diversity from across the world. 

Throughout the conservatory were displays of Chihuly glass sculptures.  They are in reach of small hands which reflects a lot of trust. 

In each room they have built O Gauge train layouts.  Sarah had to press every button to start the trains and engage the special effects.In one of the more whimsical/terrifying  (?) layouts their version of Jurassic Park had suffered a breakout.  Some of the dinosaurs were friendly while others were less so.  It was pretty well done.

Definitely a great place to visit and spend the afternoon.

One of the drivers for Pittsburg’s history has been the confluence of the three rivers.  The Alleghany, Monongahela come together and create the Ohio River.  The point where the two meet clearly reflects the difference in the rains and soils of their headwaters.  

Overlooking downtown are the Washington Heights.  Two short inclined railways provided passage, but now collect tourist dollars.  It would have been nice to stay for the sunset but the wedding called.  We definitely enjoyed our visit there.  Next week, we stopped off at the Flight 93 memorial on our way home. 

Monongahela Incline

Monongahela Incline

VT Covered Bridges

By Mark

“Snow, snow, snow, snow” as sung by Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen in 1954’s White Christmas was on our minds as we took a Thanksgiving trip up to Chester VT.  Last week’s heavy rain and near freezing temperatures were our constant companions all the way on the drive up. Fortunately, we stayed just on the far edge of the storm all the way. As we drove through the Green Mountains, there certainly was snow on the ground, especially in the shadows, but we never got more than a few flurries.   Cold however, we did get plenty of that.   As many know, I am not the biggest fan of cold weather.  Nine degrees as a wakeup temp was just a little frosty. It made some really cool patterns on the car though.

Ice crystals on Honda

Ice crystals on Honda

Strangely though, it didn’t bother us too much, I guess it was the dry air, but we only put on our coats once.  We stayed at the lovely Inn Victoria in Chester. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Inn-Victoria/40276543299

Or http://www.innvictoria.com/

  The owners, Dan and Penny really go out of their way to make you feel at home.

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The place serves a very nice afternoon tea as well and there are teapots everywhere.  

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The Thanksgiving dinner definitely was the result of a lot of really hard work.  Only problem with being out for a holiday like that is no leftovers for turkey sandwiches. 

Penny preparing Thanksgiving with a smile

Penny preparing Thanksgiving with a smile

Just down the road from the Inn is the first of many covered bridges in the area.  

Yes, that is a little bit of HDR...

Yes, that is a little bit of HDR...

The Bartonsville bridge is beautiful but is actually a restoration as the original was destroyed by flooding by Hurricane Irene in 2011.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WyO18one8fU (Sorry for the language).  

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Eventually, we headed back to our room.  No, that’s not it, that’s for different birds.  

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We enjoyed just relaxing and not being outside as well. Definitely would like to go back during leaf season.  Hope everyone had a great holiday.   

Reading up on how to lose gracefully to OU next week?   Maybe not. 

Reading up on how to lose gracefully to OU next week?   Maybe not.