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Improvements to Pittsburgh make for exciting summer trip

It has been years since I traveled to the Heartland Travel Show’s host city Pittsburgh and honestly I was overwhelmed by the changes. Most, if not all, of the updates were positive and really made this old rust-belt steel city a great place to visit.

Pittsburgh was already on my radar for a summer trip as the Cleveland Indians were playing the Pirates in a mid-June series, so this was a definite reconnaissance trip. At the conference I was in sensory overload so I needed to regroup and reflect on my trip goals and objectives.

This is a family trip so I’m trying to blend fun and education together for all parties and I’m convinced that it will not be a problem.

My son wants to see the Pirates play and being a ketchup lover he also wants as much Heinz history as possible.

Regrettably he also wants to visit Heinz Field, home of the dreaded Steelers. Any self-respecting Browns fan would not pay the $6.50 entrance fee but I’ll swallow my pride and succumb to my son’s wishes.

There is plenty more to see and do in the “Steel City.”

We will ride the 130-year-old Duquesne Incline to the top of Pittsburgh’s Mount Washington for a fantastic view of the city below.

Dining plans will include a visit to Primanti’s Restaurant where the fries and cole slaw come on the sandwich, not on the side.

Another downtown tour stop is the Fort Pitt Block House and Museum. The block house built in 1764 is Pittsburgh’s oldest structure and the last vestige of the British Empire in Western Pennsylvania.

The museum houses exhibits on the history of the 18th Century in what would become western Pennsylvania.

They have a new exhibit that follows the course of Colonial and Revolutionary conflicts from 1754-1803, examining the prominent role the “Forks of the Ohio” and its forts played in determining the course of American History.

On our travels there and back we’ll jump off the Interstate get off the beaten path and go exploring. Plans are to visit Falling Waters and Kentuck Knob. two famous designs of notable architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

We’ll travel back to the time of the French and Indian War and re-live history at Forts Necessity and Ligonier. Another history stop is Braddock’s Grave. Today the farm land surrounding this National Park Service site is some of the richest in American history. It is also where George Washington began the first true “world war” and fought his first battles.

Here lie the remains of British Major-General Edward Braddock and countless artifacts of his grand army.

Our plans are to discover much about the early history of Col. George Washington and what helped to make him a warrior.

I’ve just scratched the surface of the many sights, sounds, smells and tastes available in this great location.

For more information visit www.visitpittsburgh.com or call 800.359.0758 and start planning your getaway.

Got travel questions or needs? E-mail thetravelprofessor@gmail.com.

Happy travels!