Thursday, September 29, 2016

Exploring Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is definitely an interesting place to drive around, with all the narrow streets and hills everywhere!

Pittsburgh hillside housing

Liberty Bridge











It’s also a very vibrant and lively town – with Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, and a couple of other smaller colleges – all downtown. We only spent one day in Pittsburgh, but Tom and I will have to come back again and spend more time exploring this cool city.

I did a little research, and came up with a plan for our Sunday – noon mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul, exploring the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and then dinner at a cool restaurant downtown.

There was a big run going on that morning, and we weren’t sure how long it was going to take to find parking, or even if the streets would be re-opened (although they were supposed to be open by 11am), so we left the RV Park around 10:30.  We were downtown with plenty of time to spare, but we drove around quite a bit looking for a place to park before finally settling on the museum parking lot.  We had just a few blocks to walk to church – although it was UPHILL!

Cathedral of St. Paul


The cathedral was across from the Carnegie Museums, and it’s an amazingly beautiful structure.








Cathedral of St. Paul

The inside was beautiful, as well, and reminded me of the Cathedral in Toledo that my family belonged to when I was young.

Inside the Cathedral


The altar

The Organ


The noon mass is the choir mass, so we were treated to beautiful music.  It was also a jubilee celebration for religious orders, so sisters from the various convents in the Pittsburgh diocese who were celebrating jubilees – 50, 60, 65, 70, 75 and even 80 years – were all in attendance.

We even had a Bishop saying mass.



Mass at the Cathedral

Carnegie Museums


After mass, we walked back over to the museum.  We really lucked out here – normal admission is $20/person, but this past Sunday was a free admission day!




The entrance to the museum is very modern looking, but the building that houses most of the exhibits is very old – lots of marble and columns, and elaborate woodwork.

Looking down at the Lobby

We began our exploration in the geology area, learning about the earth’s makeup, particularly in Pennsylvania,

Studying Pennsylvania's geology

and then viewing the hundreds of gems and crystals that occur naturally, all around the world.     Crystals




From the geology room, we stepped back in time to the world of dinosaurs.


Dinosaur sculptures


They had numerous models of different dinosaurs, with varying amounts of actual bones in the structures – some of them had quite a few! 

We couldn’t tell the difference between the real bones and the cast duplicates, but each display had a screen that showed which bones in the model were real.





I think I read that this was the first complete T-Rex on display.


There were actually two!









They had quite a selection of dinosaur skulls!



Dinosaur skulls

More dinosaurs . . .















One of the volunteers spotted us walking around, and she pointed out several interesting features to us, including the only baby allosaurus ever found.

Baby Dinosaur

She continued to keep Dad company while he took a break.  He said he was pretty impressed by her knowledge and sharpness, especially at 84 years old.

Dad getting lessons from the volunteer

From the dinosaur area, we went upstairs to the displays of North American animals and birds.  It was interesting, but can’t compare to seeing the real thing, in their natural habitat.  It was pretty cool to walk around and realize how many of them we have seen during our travels!

In between all of the displays, there were office doors, “Section of Birds”, “Section of Mammals”, reminding us that this is still a college, with students and professors.

I wonder what they study in this office!?!

I wonder whose office this is?

We made one last stop in the Polar Experience,

Polar Culture

Polar Bear











and then we were ready to call it a day – we were all getting a little tired!

After leaving the museum, I gave Tom directions to the restaurant that I had found, but didn’t tell him what it was . . .

as we got close, he said “Hey, this is that church that they turned into a brewery and restaurant!  I’ve eaten here!”

The Church Brew Works

Seriously . . . of all the restaurants in Pittsburgh, he’s already been to the one that I pick!




It’s an old Catholic Church that closed and the building was bought and converted into a brewery restaurant. 

It’s still quite beautiful inside!


Church Brew Works












Tom had Philly Cheesesteak with sweet potato fries, and Dad and I both had the Pittsburg-style salad . . . which was a basic entree salad with grilled chicken and one more interesting topping . . . french fries!  We opted to have our french fries on the side, but the salad was really good.

It was a very full, enjoyable day . . . and once again we pretty much wore Dad out!     IMG_1531




  1. You continue to find places we would love to visit but with so little time we can spend in the US it limits what we can see.
    Glad Tom's father is enjoying the trip.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  2. What a beautiful Cathedral. We try to go to as many as possible.


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