Thursday, May 27, 2010

Pittsburgh, PA

Neither of us have ever had any burning desire to visit and tour Pittsburgh. However, we decided to give it a try on this trip. I must say, we were pleasantly surprised.

Pittsburgh is where the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers join and form the Ohio River. This location has been of great strategic and historical importance to North America. At the point where the rivers meet, the French built Fort Duquesne in 1754 and it became a major focal point in the French and Indian War during the period 1755-58. Suffice it to say that the British fought against the French and Indians and eventually, after 7 years, the British prevailed, rebuilt the fort, (the French had burned it) and renamed it Fort Pitt. (Interesting fact – George Washington commanded British forces during the French and Indian War. ) Then in 1763 the Delaware and Shawnee Indians had had enough of the Brits and attacked Ft. Pitt in what is called Pontiac's Rebellion . The Brits won - again. Then the Brits did a brilliant thing and gave the fort to the colonists in 1772 and the colonists very willingly used it as their western base of operations during the Revolutionary War. We all know how that war turned out for the Brits - can't win 'em all I guess. After the Revolution, pioneers saw Pittsburgh as the Gateway to the West and in the mid-19th century slaves saw Pittsburgh as the Crossroads to Freedom and escaped north via river routes from the south.

Today the city features 151 highrise buildings, 446 bridges, and two inclined railways.

We were riding around trying to find the off ramp to go to Ft. Pitt (never did locate it) when we happened upon one of the inclined railways - the Duquesne Incline. It's a pretty good tourist thing to do as it was only $4 for a round trip ticket for Shelley and Monte, being aged, got to ride free. It was completed in 1877, is 800 feet long and 400 feet in height and scales the side of Mt. Washington. The view of Pittsburgh from atop Mt. Washington is spectacular.

After scaling the heights of Mt. Washington we had worked up an appetite (riding those cars really takes it out of you). So – we headed back across the rivers and found ourselves at Bettis' Grille 36. Bettis' is right across the street from Heinz field where the Steelers play and is owned by none other than the great #36, Jerome Bettis – The Bus. The menu has something for everyone including burgers made from Yak, Llama, or Kobe beef. However we opted for something a little less adventurous and a lot more artery clogging. Monte had the “Soon To Be Famous Deep Fried Cheeseburger” which is a burger dipped in tempura batter and deep fried and Shelley had the “Carolina Burger” which was a buger topped with pulled pork and cole slaw. After that meal and a stroll along the river we were done for the day. One final note about Bettis' – our server was Danny. Danny is from Hawaii, played basketball for the University of Pittsburgh, and is currently employed by Pitt as a researcher doing research on drug resistant tuberculosis. He does the waiter thing because he loves it and it gets him away from his microscope. Apparently he likes it so much that he does not need tips - when I checked my Visa Card statement online, I noticed that his tip was not included in our final bill.

We are putting Pittsburgh on our list of places that we want to return to. There is much more to see and do and probably eat. 


Judy in Panacea said...

I have to admit, that deep-fried cheeseburger does not look the least bit appetizing!!!

~Cheryl said...

I honestly do not believe that red car thingy is level. Nope! Glad you made it up and down safely. :)

Anonymous said...

Other then straight up, that incline reminds me of the one in Chattanooga, Tn. :)

tomcarp said...

Yeah, you should give up on a third trip to the Corn Palace and try a few big cities like Chicago, SF, etc

Shelley and Monte said...

Tom - we have never been to the Corn Palace but thanks for the idea.