For our next adventure, I am turning the vehicle southbound, out of the snowbelt.
The one-and-a-half hour journey to the greater Pittsburgh area will feel balmy compared to our frigid single-digit temperatures. However, it is still likely to be cold and layers are important to bring, especially if you plan to spend any time outside.
It's always better to be safe than sorry, and for the parents of teenagers who always seem to dress inappropriately for the weather and argue that they will not need the hat, I suggest to just grab it yourself and bring it along. They will be complaining later and you can then have the pleasure of saying, “I told you so.”
Be sure to pack the camera for this adventure and fuel up the vehicle to make the trek south on Interstate 79. Take the exit for Interstate 279 and watch for the signs for Station Square. For those using a GPS or a computer to print a map, the address is 125 W. Station Square Drive, Pittsburgh, Pa., 15219.
I will warn you that no matter which lane you are in when you cross the bridge in Pittsburgh, you will be in the wrong lane for your exit. Anticipate this, because everyone else does, and it is a free-for-all from every direction. Also, it's a good idea to avoid rush hour.
There is a parking lot located at Station Square, and for a fee you can park in a covered garage. The rates are by the hour, starting at $3 for one hour and going up to $10 for five hours. Be sure to take your ticket with you when you leave the vehicle because you must pay before you go back to your car to leave.
Once you have arrived and parked, the fun begins. There are two remaining inclines that go to the top of Mount Washington for a fantastic view of the Pittsburgh skyline that even the most grumpy teen will be hard pressed to not enjoy.
The Monongahela Incline (or the "Mon" as the locals call it), is closest to Station Square. There are nice little shops located inside railcars inside of Station Square, which makes for a unique shopping experience worth checking out. Once you have made your way through Station Square, you will come to the crosswalk to get to the incline. The cost is $5 for a roundtrip ticket for an adult, kids 6-11 are $2.50, and children 5 and under are free, as well as Pennsylvania senior citizens with their Medicare card.
Be sure to get out at the top and walk around a bit. There are some nice places to get a cup of coffee or a snack and there are several overlooks on Grandview Avenue that go along the crest of Mount Washington. If you are really adventurous, you can make the 1-mile trek over to the Duquesne Incline and enjoy the scenic walk along the way.
The next spot worth noting is the West End Overlook. This area is a bit more difficult to find, and the blue informational signs are not abundant, so a GPS unit is very, very helpful. I will say that I have been to this location about five times and I don't think I have gone the same way. The actual address is West End-Elliot Overlook Park located on Marlow Street, Pittsburgh, Pa., 15220. Once you do make it to the parking lot, head out to the fence line where a beautiful view of all three rivers and a straight-on view of Point State Park awaits.
The skyline in the evening is absolutely spectacular from either the West End Overlook or Mount Washington, and this is definitely when you will be glad that you grabbed the extra clothing.
I hope that you enjoyed this edition of In Your Backyard. Until next time, just remember the words of the great J.R.R.Tolkien, “Not all those who wander are lost.”