#Gr8Blogs Summer Road Trips 2018: Places to go and things to do in . . .

Western PA posterCheck the tire pressure.  Power up your GPS.  Dust off the maps.  We’re off on a family-friendly road trip across North America, Great Britain, and Australia in the #Gr8Blogs Summer Road Trips 2018.   My writerly pals and I are sharing insiders’ touring tips for your summertime fun.  I’m excited to guide you around my part of the world, WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA.  After your visit here, check out the links at the bottom of the page.  You can pop around the globe for other inspiring road trip ideas.

So, from this Western Pennsylvania gal, here are my top three suggestions of places to go and things to do in my part of the world.

#1:  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Pittsburgh is the cultural and sports hub of Northwestern Pennsylvania. There is so much to see and do – you could spend days exploring.

Strip District
The Pittsburgh Strip District

The Strip District:  This market area in downtown Pittsburgh is filled with unique shops, fresh flowers and produce, exotic grocery stores, restaurants, and of course, lots of shops with sports merchandise.  Pick up several loaves of Mancini bread, get all of your Italian supplies at the Pennsylvania Macaroni Company, and the stop at Primanti Brothers’ Restaurant for one of their famous mile-high Primanti sandwiches loaded with meats, cheeses, and other goodies including French fries and coleslaw.  Primanti sandwiches are also sold at each of the sports stadiums if you are planning to take in a game.

Interior of the Benedum Center for the Performing Arts

Theater, Culture and Museums:  If you love Broadway, musicals, drama, ballet, the symphony, check out the schedule for Pittsburgh’s theater and cultural district.  If you are a museum lover, Pittsburgh offers a wide variety of musems.  A few include:  the Carnegie Science Museum,

Pittsburgh Incline
Pittsburgh Incline & city view

the Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History, Senator John Heinz Pittsburgh History Center; the Andy Warhol Museum, the Nationality Rooms at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning.  For kids:  the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh.    If you enjoy exotic animals and plants, don’t miss the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium, the National Aviary, and the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.  And for a great view of the city, head up to Mount Washington and take a ride on the Incline.

For additional information:

Pgh logosLove sports? Pittsburgh is of home of three major league sports teams. Links below. It’s also the home of  Rivers Casino if you enjoy playing the slots, and it’s within walking distance of the stadiums.

Pgh moviesFor Movie Buffs:  While looking up some of Pittsburgh’s highlights, I discovered that Pittsburgh has been the location for over 60 motion pictures.  I didn’t know that!  So movie fans, you might want to plan a drive around town and tour the locations of Pittsburgh’s “top 10 movies:”

  1. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
  2. Night of the Living Dead (1968)
  3. The Deer Hunter (1978)
  4. Wonder Boys (1999)
  5. Lorenzo’s Oil (1991)
  6. Angels in the Outfield (1951)
  7. Dogma (1998)
  8. Flashdance (1982)
  9. Hoffa (1992)
  10. Inspector Gadget (1998)

More about:  Movies Made in Pittsburgh

PghesePittburghese – just for fun:   If you listen carefully, maybe you’ll pick up some of the famous “Pittsburghese” language.  You might hear things like: “Yinz gotta be loose to rilly speak Pittsburghese.  Dere’s lotsa differ’nt parts to learn, but welcome to Picksburg.”

Loosely translated as:  “You’ve all got to be very loose to speak Pittsburghese.  There are a lot of different parts to learn, but welcome to Pittsburgh.”  Enjoy!   For more about Pittsburghese: More about Pittsburghese

#2:  A trip to our Amish Country is a must!   

New WilmingtonAn hour north of Pittsburgh are two charming little, country communities, New Wilmington and Volant.  These villages and the surrounding farm areas are the heart of our local Amish culture.  It’s hard to believe that there are communities within our modern society that exist and thrive without electricity and all the conveniences that the rest of us can’t live without!  However, if you visit our Amish area, you will see the Amish riding in their horse drawn buggies, shades of blue and gray laundry drying in the wind, and horses pulling the plows across the farmlands.  If you enjoy shopping, there are many shops in the Volant and New VolantWilmington that offer Amish goods, however, some Amish open their homes and sell colorful handmade quilted items, baked and canned goods, plants, and gorgeous handmade furniture.   If you only have a short time to drive through this area, make a quick stop at The Cheese House.  You will find not only a wide variety of delicious, locally made cheeses and deli meats, but also an abundance of Amish souvenirs, and homemade jams, jellies, and other canned goods.  If you stop at one of the roadside Amish baked goods stands, you might get lucky, and be able to purchase some of their melt-in-your-mouth, super-sized Amish donuts.  They are heavenly!  And if by chance, your horse needs it’s harness repaired, there are local Amish tack shops nearby, ready to assist.

#3: Pymatuning Lake and State Park 

Pymatuning mapI grew up on Pymatuning Lake, so I’m a little prejudiced.  As a country girl, I have to share this magical place I called home.  Pymatuning Lake State Park is about an hour and half north of Pittsburgh on the border of Pennsylvania and Ohio.  The lake is located within Pymatuning State Park and it’s the largest man-made lake in Pennsylvania: 18 miles long with over 26 square miles of lake surface.  The word “Pymatuning” is an Indian word that means “Man with the Crooked Mouth.”  If you look sideways at the shape of our lake on the map, it definitely looks like a crooked mouth.


If you love nature and outdoor recreation, there are lots of things to do at Pymatuning:  swim at our sandy Pymatuning picsbeaches, hike on the park trails, camp, fish, go boating, picnic, and have fun exploring.  While you are in the area, make sure to head over to the Pymatuning Spill Way and feed the fish!  There are so many fish, the duck’s walk on their backs!! You might also want to plan a visit to Jamestown’s (PA) Pymatuning Deer Park.  Build in 1953, this family friendly park features over 250 animals and birds from around the world, including black bears, lions, and camels.   Kids can take pony rides, and the family can take a train ride on the “Deer Park Express” and feed and pet the animals in the “Kiddie Zoo.”

Well that’s it for now.  Thanks for your company and for checking out our beautiful and exciting northwest Pennsylvania!  

So tell me about road trip favorites and must-sees in YOUR corner of the world?  Please share in the comments section. My writerly pals and I would love to virtual visit! And if you blog and want to hop with us, add a live hyperlink to your family-friendly road trip post in the comment section. We’ll swing by and give you some blog love!

There’s more more fun and inspirational Summer Road Trips ahead!  

Click over to your next destination at my #Gr8blogs pals below.  

Pals & Destinations