Hi everyone – hope you had a nice weekend!
After spending Thursday at my sweet Grandma’s house, we got up bright and early Friday morning, piled back in the car, and headed off to the next destination on our whirlwind trip visiting relatives in and around Ohio.
Pittsburgh, PA! (Ben and Grandma bonded during our stay over their mutual love for staying up late. )
My Dad’s side of the family is from Steubenville, OH, which is where we spent Friday and Saturday, but since Pittsburgh is only 45 minutes away, and one of my Dad’s favorite cities, we took a side trip to The Steel City to see what we could see.
I have never been before, and had no idea what to expect, but WOW, Pittsburgh is extremely gorgeous, and packed with young professionals, shopping, restaurants and nightlife. I was so impressed!
We arrived around lunchtime so we headed to this super cute “town square” type area right in downtown to grab some grub and a beer from a restaurant near and dear to my Dad’s heart.
The Oyster House. He started going to Pittsburgh when he was 13 (cough, hitchhiking to Pirates games, cough) and always stopped here for a fish sandwich and coke before walking to the baseball park nearby.
Fish sandwich? Eh, when in Rome!
We settled into a table on their outdoor patio in the sunshine, and ordered up breaded fish sandwiches, battered fries and The Oyster House’s famous spiral taters to share.
I am not a fish sandwich kind of girl, but this was outstanding. Crunchy, tender, and light. Washed down with a cold IC Light – this was the perfect way to spend our Friday afternoon.
My Dad could not have been happier to visit his old hangout either, and was giggling like a school boy the entire time. HIGH-larious.
After lunch we stopped by the Primanti Brothers Bar & Grill which was right across the square from us – I couldn’t believe it! Primanti Brothers is famous for their sandwiches piled high with fries, and I’ve seen them featured on The Food Network a million times, but never realized it was right in downtown Pittsburgh. Cool!
I’d love to come back here someday to explore!
Alas, we had other plans for the afternoon, including a pit stop at Pittsburgh’s own Beer World on our way out of town.
Right. A warehouse of beer. The men were thrilled.
After loading our already packed trunk with a million cases of brewed delicacies not found in the Midwest – Yuengling, anyone? – we got back on the road.
There was one more stop to make before heading to see my Aunt, Uncle and cousins in Steubenville.
Oglebay in nearby Wheeling, WV!
I told you a bit about Oglebay in Friday’s post – it’s a family resort type place (resort sounds stuffy – this place is not stuffy!) in Wheeling, WV, centered around a massive wooden lodge and a quaint lake, where we’d spend a week each summer growing up with our extended family. We used to fish for bluegill here for hours!
The family hasn’t gone in 15 years or so, and it was such a treat to wander around again. Everything seemed a little bit smaller seeing it through the eyes of a 28 year old vs 8 year old, but really, nothing’s changed much!
My Mom and I rented a paddle boat to cruise around the lake.
While the boys took it easy in the shade, my Dad, no doubt, filling Ben in on the countless summers spent here in the past.
After playing at the lake we drove through the 30+ wooden and log cabins you can rent for the week.
Each cabin has a special name – Willow, Ivy, Azalea and the like – and it was fun driving past them all, remembering which ones we’ve stayed at.
We’re hoping to rent a couple of the cabins and get a big family reunion scheduled sometime in the next couple of years. As you know, the older you get, the harder it is to wrangle everybody up!
On the way out we spent some time overlooking Oglebay’s big outdoor swimming pool – the diving boards where my brother nearly knocked himself out one summer, long since removed.
Then wrapped up the blast from the past by visiting the driving range, which overlooks Oglebay’s grounds. This part of the country is beautiful, people!
Our final stop of the trip was Steubenville, OH, my Dad’s hometown (sheesh – I feel like we packed 10 days worth of stuff into 3!)
Friday and Saturday were spent catching up with my Aunt, Uncle, cousin Kelly, and her 2 year old daughter Shya, whom I just met for the first time this trip.
Shya is thesweetest little girl, and took an immediate liking to Ben (as most children do – he is seriously the baby whisperer!) They were semi inseparable the entire time we were there.
In between tea parties and playing dress up, we dined on DiCarlo’s Pizza – a Steubenville STAPLE!
This place has looked the same since my Dad started coming when he was a kid and, honest to God, has the best pizza in the country. We look forward to stuffing our faces with it every time we come to town.
The crust is thin and crispy, and the cheese and pepperoni on top are added after it’s been cooked so it’s warm and just barely melted.
Ugh – that sauce too. Just, freaking ridiculously delicious.
Worth the 12 hour drive alone!
On our last night in town we all attended the town’s Dean Martin festival together.
Dean was born & raised in Steubenville, so 14 years ago they started this 2-day festival with Dean Martin and other members of the rat pack impersonators. It is a HOOT!
Literally I think the entire town of Steubenville crams themselves into the Spot Bar, where it’s held.
We ate, drank, and became very merry, while listening to the costumed impersonators sing song after song from the era, into the wee hours of the morning.
Saturday was my parent’s 33rd wedding anniversary, and I really don’t think they would have wanted to spend it anywhere else.
Us either! We all had a ball and, more than anything, were just happy to be with family.
The warm fuzzies came to a screeching halt when the alarm went off at 5:45 this morning, but, you know, this is the price you pay to hear “Neil Diamond” sing Sweet Caroline until 2am. HA!
After 5 days on the road, we are nearly home (currently blogging from my mobile office!) and I can’t wait to not spend an extended amount of time in a car for a the next few days. Thanks for “coming along” on my Ohio vacation, and I’ll be back with regularly scheduled programming starting tomorrow! Have a great night!