#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



Author: Rhonda Paglia, Children's Author

In a former life, Rhonda Paglia was an elementary teacher with the Hermitage (PA) School District. Third and fourth grades were her favorite grades to teach. Now Rhonda writes stories for kids – and the young at heart. To date, she has authored 17 published books, and many unpublished stories that she has written with and for her grandchildren. Rhonda and her husband, Tony, have three grown children, five grandchildren, and a little pup named Bella. "Grammy Pags," as she is called, yoga, tap dancing, gardening, and of course, writing stories for kids! Ms. Paglia is a member of SCBWI, PennWriters, and WestPA Authors. Visit Grammy Pags Stories at: www.rhondapagliaauthor.com or www.grammypagsstories.com Facebook: www.facebook.com/grammypagsstories Twitter: Rhonda Paglia @grammypags1

12 thoughts on “#Gr8Blogs Summer Road Trips 2018: Places to go and things to do in . . .”

    1. Hi Julie – Thank you for your kind words. I love my green state of Pennsylvania and was happy to share a few highlights. I’m looking forward to heading over to your blog and reading about Southern California and things to see and do “Off the beaten path!” Thanks again for stopping by! ❤ Rhonda / Grammy Pags


  1. I’ve always wanted to visit Pennsylvania – and your blog gave me SO many reasons to do so! Love that you included such a variety of things to do whether you love museums, outdoor activities, or shopping. I’d love to visit the charming Amish communities you mentioned as well. When I visit, I’ll try some Pittsburghese although it sounds challenging! Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My dad is from Pittsburgh, so I’ve always wanted to visit there just to see his old stomping grounds before him and his mom moved to Coney Island. From there, they settled out west in California. So thank you, I feel like I was able to visit a little from where my father is from.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Rhonda, what a fun time I just had visiting Western Pennsylvania!
    Before I go any further, can you mail me one of those Primanti sandwiches? Okay, thanks! Ha!
    Wow, you have some famous museums there that I didn’t know about. They sound fascinating!
    I also had no idea so many movie were made there? I’ll have to tell my husband about that! He’s a real movie buff.
    I’ve always been interested in the Amish culture and the goods they make. I bet that’s a great place to visit.
    Your parks and trails sound like the perfect place for families to relax for a summer getaway.
    I appreciate all your links in this article. I hope someday we’ll get that way to visit with you Rhonda!

    Thanks for your great article and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Rosie Russell. Maybe someday, you will head up north and visit our beautiful, green Penns’ Woods state. Hopefully, our future travels will include a trip your way, to Kansas City, Missouri. We have a lot of nationality and cultural diversity in our state, I think something for everyone. Thanks again for stopping by – happy travels! ❤ Rhonda / Grammy Pags


      1. PS – I’m still laughing over trying to send a Primante Brothers sandwich – that would be a little tricky! If you ever head this way, we’ll go to a Pirate baseball game, and get some of those sandwiches! I think you would love it! ❤


  4. We visit family in south central PA often, Rhonda, but I’ve only been to the western part of your state (Pittsburgh) once long ago. I wish I had your insights to thoroughly enjoy my weekend there. I knew Philly had a unique language but never Pittsburgh.

    I also had no idea there were so many movies made about your corner of the world. (“Deer Hunter” stands out for me). I’d love to see Amish country quilts. I admire their subtle colors and quilting style. Never heard of lake crooked man mouth , but it sounds lovely, just like your corner of the world!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Cat Michaels. Apparently Pittsburgh has some great locations that film producers like to us. I had no idea that 60 movies were filmed there. Yes, the Amish quilts are intricate, with beautiful colors. They also braid rugs – many from old clothing and jeans in the same blues, greens, and greys. Someday, you will have to veer left, and make a sidetrip out to Western PA. Thanks for stopping by! ❤


  5. Hi Rhonda, wow you packed a lot into your road trip. There is so much to see and do in Pennsylvania. I have always been intrigued with the Amish. Would love to visit a village sometime. Now at least I now where to find them. Museums always fascinate me and there seems to be plenty of choices there too, and I love anything outdoors so a visit to your lake and Sate park sound like a must. Loved that you included all the movies that have been filmed in Philly, an interesting side note of information to share. Thanks for letting me visit. I hope to drop by in reality some day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Sandra – Yes, there is lots to see and do in my part of Pennsylvania. I had no idea that Pittsburgh was the site of 60 movies! Amazing! I plan to head over to your blog on Australia and learn more about the sites in your beautiful part of the world. Thanks for stopping by. If you ever get to the states, and close to the Pittsburgh area, we’ll have to meet up – and have one of thos Primanti Brothers sandwiches – or have some of those delicious Amish donuts! ❤


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