Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Give Pittsburgh a Chance: Venture Outdoors

This weekend D wanted to use one of his Christmas presents from me, a Venture Outdoors family membership, and we went on an urban hike of the north side.  Pittsburgh was a snowy mess all day Friday but we braved the freezing temps and serious accumulation and had a great time exploring on Saturday morning.  The hike started out with us trekking to the top of a gigantic hill (Pittsburgh's hills can be legendary) but we were rewarded with such a great view that the workout was totally worth it, plus it warmed us all up a bit.

We strolled past the original Carnegie Hall, completed a year before the more famous one in New York City.

At one point we came across a bunch of neighborhood kids playing hockey on a frozen pond, and I was so surprised that I stopped and took a picture.  I exclaimed to D "They're playing hockey outside! On a pond!" and he just looked at me and shook his head and said "That is how hockey was played for a long time, until fancy indoor rinks were built."  I'm not kidding when I say that literally never occurred to me before.  Ponds don't ice over, ever, where I'm from.  D, on the other hand, grew up in Connecticut and skated on frozen ponds all the time, like some kind of modern day Hans Brinker.

We walked past Randyland, a neighborhood institution, and took many pictures of this very bright spot on a cold, overcast day. 

The north side, like many neighborhoods in Pittsburgh at one time or another, used to be one of the wealthiest parts of town, and the beautiful architecture did not disappoint.  It's amazing how much history this city has, and we jump at any chance to learn more about it.

I'm in no way perked or paid to say this, but so far I am a huge fan of Venture Outdoors.  They have a million and one ways to get out and enjoy Pittsburgh and the surrounding area, their website is super organized and easy to navigate, and the people we met on the hike were so, so nice, from lending me hand warmers to sharing their snacks and hot tea when we stopped for a break.  If you live in Pittsburgh, join Venture Outdoors and let's go hiking together!


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Very cool! I am glad you got to see more parts of Pittsburgh, and that you are liking what you see!

Pond hockey is really big here in MN, as you can probably imagine given our cold winters. Minneapolis actually has this huge pond hockey tournament every January and people from all over the US to play. It's kind of cool - but far too cold for me to ever go out and watch as it was subzero this year!

iris said...

I think we got a family membership, too. To VO or some other Pittsburgh outdoors club. I'm pretty sure it has to be VO. I can't remember...lol

Rebe said...

As a Wisconsinite, it's funny that hockey on iced ponds stuck out to you, but makes sense since you've never seen them before. I'm used to ice skating on frozen ponds every winter, so I've never thought twice about it.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

Hahaha, that hockey photo cracked me up. Kids in Boston skate and play hockey on frozen ponds all the time ... but, I can totally imagine how novel it must have seemed to you, given the Texas blood running through your veins!

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

That looks like a great adventure. I love skating on ponds in the winter. The rivers here move too fast and it doesn't get cold enough to freeze them, but my mom grew up in MA and they do that all the time!