Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Hamburg Firestorm (the allies dropped so many bombs the the resulting firestorm sucked all the oxygen in the area eight square miles it then pulled oxygen from the surrounding areas creating hurricane type winds-1943), Peru’s Independence Day (1821), the singing telegram (1933) and the start of World War I (1914).  Birth anniversaries include Canadian cancer fighter that lost his right leg at 18 and was determined to run the length of Canada to raise $23M for cancer research Terry Fox (1958), Revolutionary soldier Thomas Heyward (1746), Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (1929), oceanographer Jacques Piccard (1922), Peter Rabbit author and illustrator Beatrix Potter (1866) and singer Rudy Vallee (1901).

Next weekend is Manchester’s House and Garden Tour from 11 am until 4 pm on August 4.  There will be repeat homes from the past on the tour, new homes and even a home under renovations that was abandoned 40 years ago.  They will also feature food and drink from Ann Gilligan’s Sorbet and La Prima Coffee and the Pittsburgh Taco Truck will be in residence.  The Western PA Humane Society will be there as well with potential pets on hand.  I love Manchester, the neighborhood organization thinks outside the box, they even will have Green Gears Pedicabs shuttling folks around.  Tickets can be picked up ($15) the day of the tour at Pittsburgh Conroy at 1300 Page Street.  More info at their web site or by calling 412-726-9787.

On Friday, August 9, The Western PA Humane Society is hosting a wine, food and conversation at Linda & Joe Iannotta on Beech Street (the block parallel to me one block over).  Linda’s very active with the WPHS and used to be a caterer.  Her food’s great and she’s preparing the food for the event.  The French wines are being presented my Sommelier Milko Miladinov.  100% of the proceeds goes to the WPHS.  It’s running from 7 until 10 pm and cost $65.  Linda has hosted similiar events for the Allegheny West Civic Association and they always sold out (hint hint, act soon).  Reservations are required and they are looking to close the book by Wednesday (July 31).  You can call Linda Leonhardt at WPHS 412-366-8512 or e-mailing her at leonhard@fnb-corp.com.  I put a link to WPHS’s events web page, but this event hasn’t made it yet.

The defense department exceeds $16T.  That’s a lot of money.  And they are complaining about the effects of the sequester and what’s really getting my goat is they have a very rehearsed portrayal of how devastating these cuts are going to be and put our country at risk.  #1, they are our servants answerable to the President.  Where to they get off thinking it’s OK to keep whining about what I view as modest cuts.  The budget for the human services is under $1T, in case you weren’t paying attention, that’s feeding little children, educating our next generation and keeping us healthy.  MAYBE if the defense department wasn’t paying $160,000 a YEAR to RENT a Coral Gables house for Marine Corps General John F Kelly,  the wouldn’t have to cut elsewhere.  Give the link a minute to load, I know Miami real estate is expensive, but having lived in the area, I could find a lot nicer for a lot less money.  And if you notice, there’s a dumpster in the driveway, I wonder who’s paying for the renovations?  So if this reflects what we pay all 37 active generals in the military, that’s almost $6M a year we pay for just housing for these individuals.  Don’t get me wrong, generals have worked long and hard and I think they deserve to be taken care of, to a point.

Nic DiCio, owner of Reyna Foods Grocery and Casa Reyna Restaurant (named after his Mexican born mother) also owns White Oak Farm that straddles Hampton and Indiana townships.  He is again hosting his Chili Festival from 10 am until 8 pm on September 28.  He opens the 50 acre farm, including the 200 year old barn for the event and it’s not all things chili, they also have various demonstrations like grape crushing.  Local chefs will offer samples of their cuisines using Hatch peppers brought in from Hatch, NM.  Last year he sold almost 4,000 pounds of chili peppers at his festival.  Last year about 1,500 people attended his festival and they’ve corrected some issues they had with valet parking directing guests where to park and adequate porta-potties.  He charges $5 in advance, $8 at the door and proceeds go to upkeep of the hobby farm he inherited from his grandfather who bought it in the early 1900’s.  No info on direct contact in either the Trib or Post Gazette, so I guest the best thing if you’re interested is to contact him through his restaurant or grocery.

After loosing it’s home after last year’s Storytelling Festival, will now be at the Winchester Thurston School’s north campus August 16 and 17 on 4225 Middle Road, Hampton (across from Hartwood Acres).  This is the 12th year of the event which draws 200 to 250 people to hear and share stories.  They will feature stories for children, ghost stories, workshops with “professional” storytellers, lunches for seniors attending and even concerts.  They are looking for a corporate sponsor or organization to donate funds for a tent to expand their offerings (around $1,000).  If you’d like to donate by purchasing t-shirts or lunches with story tellers, visit their fund raiser site.

Summer is hear and it’s time to enjoy this wonderful weather while we have it.  Pittsburgh and Pittsburghers are great at enjoying and taking advantage of our river fronts.  Up on Washington’s Landing on the Allegheny is Red Fin Blues, you can sit inside or outside and watch the river slowly pass you and watch the boats on the river or in their docks.  Some places let you dock for free when you eat there, but I’m not sure what Red Fin’s policy is.  The food’s good, American menu with a bit of an emphasis on seafood, beverages of all sorts are available and the ambiance is casual.  They’re located at 100 Waterfront Drive, Washington’s Landing, 412-322-5837.  At the bottom of Neville Island (by Robert Morris’ sports complex) is Paradise Beach which actually has a sand beach you can eat and dine on, there’s a volleyball court next to it and a bowling alley is part of the complex.  Menu is predominately pizza, burgers, wraps and the such.  Free boat parking at their docks.  🙂  They’re at 7601 Grand Avenue, Neville Island,412-264-6570.  Just outside of McKeesport, under the Boston Bridge is the Boston Waterfront, which has an outside deck you can relax, eat and drink on watching the Youghiogheny River and the undisturbed nature across.  American menu, 2422 St David Drive, Boston, 412-751-8112.   Down in Beaver, Kelly’s Down by the Riverside Saloon has imported ten foot tall Florida palm trees to decorate her beach themed restaurant and bar.  The menu is pretty much sandwiches, salads, wraps; many with a Caribbean twist.  She’s known for her Sunday brunch and all you can eat crab legs Mondays in the summer.  Kelly’s is located at 1458 Riverside Drive, Beaver. 724-728-0222.  Up in Sharpsburg is the Silky’s Crow’s Nest at 19 River Heights Drive, 412-782-3701.  You can park your boat and enjoy the casual menu on any of the three different decks or inside.  They don’t have a website, but claimed their Google listing.  They are related to Silky’s Sports Bar in Squirrel Hill and Silky’s Pub in Bloomfield.  Baja Bar and Grill is located at 1366 Old Freeport Road, O’Hara on the Allegheny.  They have a large pavilion bar and restaurant outside on the docks and an inside river themed restaurant and bar as well.  A casual full service menu is offered indoors year round and outdoors in the summer.  412-963-0640.  Allegheny Mariner is located 1301 N Water Street up in Kittanning.  Docking at their dock is free and their American menu is enhanced with crab leg specials on Tuesday, all you can eat pasta on Thursdays and prime rib on Fridays and Saturdays.  Website is being created, phone 724-545-6646.  That’s it for free standing waterfront dining that I know of, if you know of something I missed, please pass it on to me and I’ll include it in the future.  There are some chains and big box restaurants with waterfront options like at Station Square, the Hofbrauhaus, the Northshore has Jerome Bettis’ Grill 36, McFadden’s, The Tilted Kilt, Rivertowne, Pittsburgh Grille and the Rivers Casino has riverfront dining available.  You can always cruise the river on one of the Gateway Clipper themed boats.  The do full service dinner cruises as well as just sight seeing cruises.  Check their website for schedules.

Have a great day,


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