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A Holiday Away

Available November through early January

Day One

Morning

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

The Winter Flower Show inside this Victorian glass greenhouse will delight with breathtaking displays of Poinsettias, kalanchoes, chrysanthemums and azaleas. The annual Garden Railroad, a delight for all ages, showcases G-scale trains riding through varying terrain, newly created every year. Save some time for holiday shopping. Phipps'' gift shop is one of the best museum shops in the city. Café Phipps, located on entry level, is a perfect spot for tea, coffee or a light lunch.

The Frick Art & Historical Center

Clayton (the Frick mansion) and The Frick Art & Historical Center (the museum and carriage house) are the legacy of Helen Clay Frick, daughter of Henry Clay Frick, one of America’s greatest industrialists and art collectors. Clayton is decorated to represent the daily life of the Frick family at around 1900. The furnishing and decorating plan is based on historic documents and a series of photographs taken at the turn-of-the-twentieth-century. Many of the works of art and decorative art objects on view at Clayton are installed exactly as they were during the Fricks’ residency. Consequently, the family sitting room features landscapes by Claude Monet and Childe Hassam. During the holidays, the house is a one-of-a-kind example of an authentic turn-of-the-century Christmas.

Afternoon

The Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning

A visit to the Nationality Rooms, located in the Cathedral of Learning on the University of Pittsburgh campus, provides a mini-tour of the heritage of Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Twenty-nine rooms reflect Classical, Byzantine, Renaissance and Folk styles that represent the "good things" immigrants brought to America. Each room is decorated every year for the holidays, many of them featuring their own Christmas tree. Guided tours for ten or more are available by reservation. Admission fees are nominal, making the Nationality Rooms an inexpensive and unique experience.

Evening

Duquesne Incline

The Duquesne Incline is a 110-year-old cable car that once carried steel workers from their homes on Mt. Washington to the steel mills located along Pittsburgh’s three rivers. While the steel mills are long gone, the Incline remains. The holiday view is enhanced by the downtown holiday lights and the Christmas tree at "The Point." USA Today Weekend ranked the nighttime view from Mt. Washington the #2 Most Beautiful View in America and had this to say:

Standing atop Mount Washington, the steep hill that rises giddily on the city''s south side, sightseers enjoy the unforgettable panorama of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers flowing together to create the mighty Ohio, that waterway so essential in the nation''s settlement. The rivers cup downtown''s lustrous Golden Triangle, where landmark skyscrapers thrust upward like rockets. At night, lights twinkle on no fewer than 15 bridges.

Dinner atop Mt. Washington

The following are a few recommendations for restaurants with breath-taking views of Pittsburgh.

Day Two

Morning

Calvary United Methodist Church

Calvary is as interesting and inspiring as any of the finest Cathedrals in Europe. Elaborately decorated spires, louvers, gargoyles, geometric designs, St. Andrews Crosses, angelic faces carved into the Cleveland bluestone and vaulted oak ceilings are just some of the architectural features that have captured the imagination of art critics and historians alike. The crowning feature of the building is the abundant Louis Comfort Tiffany stained glass windows. An inspiration any time of year, the church is particularly wonderful during the holidays.

To schedule a Group Tour: Dennis Panek 412.323.1070

Afternoon

All Around Pittsburgh

A stop a PPG Place, an impressive modern skyscraper that appears to be made of glass, is a perfect place to let everyone lunch and shop. A food court, restaurants and unique boutiques make it a holiday haven. Step across the street into the PPG Wintergarden and the holidays come alive with the annual Spirit of Giving Around the World exhibit, featuring life-sized Santas based on traditional paintings from around the world. Each figure is dressed in its own traditional apparel and is accompanied by an original oil painting that depicts a holiday celebration in its country of origin. Also sweetening up the space is an impressive display of gingerbread creations from schools and groups around the city. A short ride from PPG Place is the world''s only replica of the Vatican Crèche, displayed at the USX Tower Plaza on Grant Street. Designed by Vatican sculptor Pietro Simonelli and Vatican architect Umberto Mezzano, the crèche is 56-feet wide, 37-feet high and 32-feet deep and weighs 30 tons. The life-size scene features renderings of the Holy Family, the magi, shepherds, animals and a stable, along with a professional sound-and-lighting system that makes the figures come alive.

Evening

Hartwood Acres Annual Celebration of Lights

Enjoy over 400 holiday light displays from the comfort of your motor coach. The Hartwood Celebration of Lights is a breathtaking 3.2 mile stretch of holiday light displays leading up to the stunning Mansion at Hartwood. More than two million lights are used to illuminate the holiday-themed displays standing 3- to 40-feet tall. The event is sponsored by Rite Aid and Allegheny County and is enjoyed by more than 600,000 people each year! The Hartwood Mansion is decked in holiday splendor. (Call in advance to arrange a holiday mansion tour, holiday candlelight tour, or a holiday musical and tea). Admission to the Celebration of Lights is free, however a donation is suggested.

Day Three

Pittsburgh and Its Countryside

Time to "hub and spoke"! Quaint towns, quirky attractions and quality dining are a quick trip from the city. Choose one of the destinations below as the centerpiece to your holiday day away and we'll provide information about what else to see in your county of choice.

  • Dragon Run Forge & Livery - Armstrong County

    Enjoy horse-drawn sleigh rides through a natural winter wonderland

  • Christmas at Old Economy Village - Beaver County

    Musical performances, handmade gifts, food and activities Saturdays in December

  • The Maridon Museum - Butler County

    A private Asian art collection of staggering proportions housed in an unusual museum

  • W.A. Young & Sons Foundry and Machine Shop - Greene County

    Private tours of what the Smithsonian calls "the greatest find of its type in the nation"

  • Fleming's Christmas Tree Farm - Indiana County

    Trees, ornaments and sleigh rides in the Christmas Tree Capital of the World

  • Amish Experience - Lawrence County

    Old Order flea markets, furniture, produce and crafts

  • Kraynak's Santa's Christmasland - Mercer County

    More than 85 beautifully decorated trees, each with a different theme

  • Sarris Candies - Washington County

    A chocolate fantasyland complete with a 1500-pound chocolate castle

For more information on Pittsburgh and Its Countryside attractions and accommodations, or assistance planning a tour, contact the VisitPittsburgh Group Tour department at 412.281.0482, extension 3153.

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