Hi,

I finished this post Saturday and thought I had posted it, obviously not.  It’s like me setting my breakfast table and forgetting to put orange juice glasses out.  I scare me sometimes.  :)  It was really nice, again, watching the Marathon runners run past right out front of The Parador.

I’m hosting the regional meeting of the Pennsylvania Association of Bed and Breakfast Innkeepers, PABBI.  Some of the Board of Directors are staying and meeting at my Inn this evening in preparation for tomorrows meeting.  Mildly nervous about my breakfast tomorrow morning being served to my peers.  :)

Tomorrow is the anniversary of eruption of Mount Pelee on Martinique in 1902, there’s a lot of European nations celebrating the surrender of the Nazis, Slovakia, Czechoslovakia and France.  Birth anniversaries include Red Cross founder Jean-Henri Dunant (1828), President Harry S Truman (1884), President Kennedy adviser Ted Sorensen (1928), boxer Sonny Liston (1932) and father of the Mexican Revolution Hidalgo Y Costilla (1753).

An expanded Meadowcroft Rockshelter opens this weekend.  Normal hours are Saturdays from noon until 5 pm and Sundays from 1 until 5 pm.  In case you’ve been living under a rock (pun intended), they have found evidence of tribal life under the rock overhang dating back 16,000 years ago.  Heinz History Center that operates it, has a recreation of a native American village as it would have been 400 years ago and a 200 year ago settlement by Europeans.  One of the new additions is a frontier trading post to show similarities and differences between the native American settlements and the European colonist’s buildings.  Admission is $12 for adults, $11 for seniors and $6 for children.

There’s a new service being offered by the major theme parks that you can expect to see it expanded across the board.  For $299 each on top of the admission price at Universal Studios in Hollywood you can pick up the VIP package.  For this VIP price, you get lunch, a private escort (there may be more than just the two of you in the private group) to the front of lines and access to areas not normally accessible to other park goers.  For a mere $1,200 at Seaworld San Diego, among the other perks, guests get to feed endangered turtles and moray eels and pet bottle nose dolphins.   Many of these VIP packages are customized like A Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps where you a get behind the scenes tour of the mechanics behind all the illusions and even access to the apartment Walt lived in on Main Street during construction of Disneyland.  A specialized Universal Studio’s tour gives you access to the prop warehouse and costume department where you can see clothing worn by the likes of Barbara Streisand’s Funny Girl dress.  A more modest Pittsburgh take on this is Kenneywood’s VIP pass lets you cut the line for between $5 and $18 depending on time of day and season.

May 8 – 11 the Benedictine Sisters in Ross are auctioning off their possessions as they down size.  They are down to about 50 nuns from about 200 in the 1960’s and no longer need the huge convent.  Highmark bought the campus last year for $2.7M and the nuns have a new facility being built they are currently moving into.  For sale will be religious items like pictures, statues and the such; kitchen equipment like a dough mixer, commercial potato peelers, refrigerators and freezers; furniture including book cases with leaded glass, baby grand piano and a pipe organ; as well as architecturals like a larger than life cast iron St. Benedict.  To see items being sold, go to the link at Barkey Auctions and scroll down to the Benedictine Sisters listings May 9, 10 and 11.  Each date has it’s own pictures of what’s being sold that day.

The Cold Storage Building in the Strip previously owned by Wholeys was sold to a developer who intends to convert it into a 144 unit apartment building.  They hope to pull permits this summer and have an opening in about a year.  I’m not sure which building this is, but I’m thinking that huge ugly building across from Lydia’s Restaurant with the Wholey’s lit fish on the side facing Downtown.  The building has no personality that I’ve noticed.  Up till now, the Cork Factory, Otto Milk building, the condo’s Joedda did across from the Smallman Street Deli and further down on the other side of Smallman that pinkish building next to the 31st Street Bridge all have a lot of charm looking at them from the outside.  If the Cold Storage Building is the one I’m thinking, I imagine the architect can come up with some dramatic treatments for the exterior.

The August Wilson Center is holding three joint Solo Exhibits: Leslie Ansley, Jo-Anne Bates and Tina Brewer through June 29.  Leslie’s ten pieces are titled Heirloom and she was influenced by Marie Antoinette and the 17th century French aristocracy.  Although French society at the time seemed to have endless power, wealth and prominence; they actually had a lot of insecurities and Leslie sees that much like us today and she shows the vulnerabilities in her classic influenced works.  Jo-Ann’s 16 multilayered, abstract monotype prints are based on her travels to South Africa.  With the prints having titles like Pretoria and Johannesburg  it’s easy to see her inspiration.  Giving these prints dimension, there’s “ribbons” attached that are actually receipts from her travels there.  Finally, quilter Tina Brewer tried to connect modern urban lives with the past.  She uses a circular concept in her quilts, a mandala, that combines different fabrics, colors and imagery.  All three shows are open separately together :) from 11 am until 6 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays.  Admission is $8 adults, $4 seniors and $3 children.  More info at their websites or by calling 412-258-2700.

Those stone lions that have guarded Dollar Bank on Fourth Avenue since 1871 have returned.  After being taken to a refurbisher in Ohio in 2006, they have been totally cleaned and restored and are on the inside of the bank now.  While the statues were in Ohio, sculptor Nicholas Fairplay  created two new identical statues that will grace the outside of the bank starting June 5.

Pictures next post of the paint job we’re doing on the Carriage House.  Kevin’s doing a real nice job prepping and priming and I’m doing the finish coats.  It’s amazing how you get used to something looking kind of shabby and take it for granted.  A fresh coat a paint really makes the house.

Enjoy,

ed

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