Pittsburgh – 3/1-3/2/2014

Courtney and I were watching a show on Showtime on Thursday night called “Another Day Another Time – Celebrating the Music of ‘Inside Llewyn Davis'” that was a concert with all different groups playing music from the film and other music of that genre. We saw the film in December and I would give the film a B-, just OK.  The Showtime special however, was REALLY good with many of our favorite artists and some new ones that I have already been checking out on Spotify (love our premium Spotify subscription).  We really were digging the Avett Brothers on the show – real standouts – so while we sitting watching we were checking them out on our tablets and found out that they were playing in Pittsburgh that coming Saturday along with Old Crowe Medicine Show who we saw in Troy this summer and really liked.  So…. then and there we decided to road trip to Pittsburgh – bought our tickets and booked a hotel while sitting on the couch.  A+ for spontaneity Patrick and Courtney.  Saturday was also my Birthday so we were looking for something to do I must say.

We left Euclid around 8:00 AM on Saturday entrusting the girls to Claire for the evening and made our way to Steeler country. The drive to Pittsburgh was nice and easy, only a bit more than two hours.  Our first stop was to the Frick Museum which has been on our list for a long long time since going to the Frick in Manhattan which is one of our favorites. The museum is the preserved estate of Henry Clay Frick, a 19th century Industrialist and one of the founders of US Steel – a real bastard after reading about him, but he did have good taste in houses and art.  We bought tickets for a tour of the house and while waiting for 30 minutes for it to start we checked out the car and carriage museum that is part of the complex.  While I’m not one for car museums, they did have some beautiful old cars and carriages that have been beautifully maintained.  The tour of the house, Clayton, was really amazing though.  We happened to be on a special tour that focused on Frick’s art in the house and his early collecting.  Everything in the house is original and is beautifully maintained.  Beautiful wood, furniture, plaster… everything.  Our tour guide was really knowledgeable and we learned a lot about 19th century American art.  We would like to go again and go on the “regular” tour to hear more of the history of the house and the architecture.  After our hour and a half tour we checked out the greenhouse and the separate art museum that Helen Frick – Henry Clay’s daughter and fellow art collector – built on the property when she moved back to the estate in her later years.

A few pix from the internet:

The Dining room – amazing.
Courtney in the greenhouse. Beautiful swiss chard.

We then made our way to Downtown Pittsburgh, just 10 minutes away, to explore and find somewhere to eat.  After creatively finding somewhere to park downtown we ended up at a nice Italian place on Market Square called Il Pizzaiola that was really great.  We had “Its Vacation So Lets Have Beer For Lunch”, an order of super fresh calamari, and then we split a pizza Margherita and a big salad.  perfecto.  I had some sort of Italian draft porter that was brewed in oyster shells or something like that that was superb.  I asked our waiter to write the name of it down as it was so good but of course I lost the piece of paper.  After lunch we walked around a bit, checking out the old buildings, walk down to the river where an old Fort was and you could see the stadiums across the river and then walked back up.  I don’t think I have ever been in downtown Pittsburgh before.  Reminds me of both Cleveland and Cincinnati… maybe not quite as downtrodden?

We found our car and made our way to our hotel, Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh University Place on the University of Pittsburgh campus as that is where the concert was going on.  Nice recently re-done hotel, hopping place full of concert goers.  We relaxed for awhile, walked across the street to the IGA to get some pre-concert beers and snacks, and then walked to the concert around 7:00PM.  The arena was up a long steep hill and then once we got there, will call was up about 4 levels of steps.  We eventually made it in, found our seats and enjoyed the show.  Both groups were great.  It looked to be pretty much sold out.  We had bizarre seats that were one row of seats in some sort of club section.  There was nobody behind use so we were able to stand up, use the tables there and watch the show. It was nice.  The concert lasted until about 11:00 and we walked back, stopped at McDonalds on the way for a quick cheeseburger and made it back to the hotel.  Tired but happy.

View of stage

The next days a blizzard was on it’s way to Pittsburg so we decided to hit the road right away at 7:30AM and not risk it.  It was already snowing a bit but not too bad.  As we made our way north the snow got heavier but was never too bad.  We were going to stop at the IKEA outside of Pittsburgh but we decided not to risk it.  We did stop at the Original Pancake House on Chagrin though on the way home and had a nice breakfast, stopped at the Whole Foods for some stuff and made it home before 11:00.

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