Food, nature, art, cider, and museums rank among the best things to do in Pittsburgh for couples. You're going to love this underrated romantic city!
In years past, Pittsburgh was known as “the Steel City” – thanks to its 300-plus steel-related business – and the city was associated with industry, building, and growth for decades. However, it’s also known as the “City of Bridges,” thanks to its 446 bridges and today Pittsburgh is just as famous for its food and art scene as its aluminium manufacturing and corporate headquarters. Pittsburgh is laid-back, friendly, down-to-earth, and eager to welcome visitors. Sounds like the perfect formula for a romantic weekend to me! Here are 12 things to do in Pittsburgh for couples.
If you love paintings by Maud Lewis, Nova Scotia's beloved folk artist, as much as I do, you'll want to check out these sites.
Maud Lewis was born Maud Dowley in 1903 in the southern Nova Scotia community of Yarmouth. By her death in 1970, she was recognized as a leading Canadian folk artist. Yet the woman who would become Nova Scotia’s treasure spent her life undervalued. If you love paintings by Maud Lewis, you will appreciate her talents even more after learning about her life and visiting the places in Nova Scotia that showcase her gifts.
In the most barren of circumstances, Maud created art – spectacular art. Her adulthood was a story of poverty, crippling and terrifying, and far from the romanticised austerity that sometimes creeps into her present-day narrative. Living with what we now recognize as degenerative juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Maud bore constant pain. Married life in Digby brought a meagre house and a worse husband. Only a few neighbours offered comfort through hot meals, hot baths, and furtive visits.
Defying her circumstances, she generated one of the most impressive yields of any artist. She painted shutters, baking pans, and scallop shells, along with nearly every surface of her diminutive house. She sold thousands of paintings depicting rural life, including oxen teams with gilded yokes and fluffy farm cats with wary eyes, often for just a dollar or two from her perch by the side of the road, a ploy devised by her husband to exploit sympathies and coax sales.
Maud is often remembered as childlike with her petite stature and shy smile. But she was a gritty survivor, canny enough to turn her talents into a livelihood, carving a space for herself in an inhospitable world.
I grew up in Nova Scotia, and I can’t remember a time when paintings by Maud Lewis weren’t a part of my life. As such, I’ve come to love these tourist attractions dedicated to her. Visiting them should be on any art lover’s travel list.
In Calgary, Alberta, a unique city tour combines iconic motorcycles and jaunty sidecars to help visitors see the city in an entirely new way.
If there's one activity I long thought I'd never experience thanks to my deep-seated anti-adventurist tendencies, it's a motorcycle tour. However, when I embarked on a tour with Calgary’s Rocky Mountain Sidecar Adventures, I learned that the experience is about much more than the bike. It's a time-traveling adventure that immerses you in the charm of vintage Ural motorcycles.
Rocky Mountain Sidecar Adventures is a family owned and operated business that offers seasonal motorcycle sidecar tours between May and October. The company uses Urals almost exclusively, though there is one Triumph in the fleet. Ural, which was founded in Russia in 1941, originally built sidecar motorcycles to help the military in World War II but they also thrived in the post-war era, as people fell in love with how practical they were.
During my tour, I saw for myself just how practical (and fun!) these vehicles really are. Here’s what I loved about them.
Rome wasn't built in a day. But with some savvy planning, you can see the city's most important sites in 24 hours. Here's what you can do with one day in Rome.
Rome is known as the Eternal City and, once you visit, you’re going to wish you had an eternity to explore its beautiful, romantic, historic streets. But even if you’re short on time you can pack in a lot of sightseeing in just one day.
To be clear, this isn't an ideal situation. Rome in 24 hours isn't easy. You won’t be alone in your efforts to squeeze the absolute most from your short time there. The city and its most popular tourist attractions are busy, crowded places. Thus, no matter where you go or which itinerary you follow, it pays to plan ahead. Purchasing “skip the line” tickets or a guided tour package where possible is a savvy investment to minimize the time you spend waiting around.
Of course, you could just spend the whole day doing nothing but visiting gelato shops - frankly, Ryan and I have had glorious days that involve doing little more than that- so don’t be afraid to follow your heart and your stomach! But if you do want to explore as much as you eat, here's how to spend one day in Rome.
If you're a reader like me, London is the perfect city. Step inside London's literary wonderland and discover 11 bookstores you'll want to visit again and again.
London is a reader’s dream – and a shopper’s dream as well. However, how many bookstores are in London is a bit of a mystery. While one map claims there are 112 independent bookshops in this British capital, my personal experience says there are endless hidden gems when you add in the quaint second hand stores. Put the non-independent stores, regional chains, global powerhouses, and the kiosks dotting train stations and museums on the list and I suspect the number of book-selling venues easily surpasses a thousand. That’s great news if you’re a reader like me!
These are eleven shops that are especially meaningful to me and the spots that I recommend to people again and again.
London Review Bookshop (Bloomsbury)
Nestled in Bloomsbury, the London Review Bookshop, an extension of the literary periodical, is a cozy haven with a penchant for classic and new fiction. Without a doubt, it is not only my favourite bookstore in London but it is now my favourite in all the world (don’t worry, Paris’ Shakespeare and Co is a close second). It feels like every single book in the shop has been carefully selected and I always discover something entirely new to me which I had never considered before but suddenly have to have. The shop also operates an absolutely delightful cake shop which offers hot drinks, homemade desserts, treats like coconut yogurt with rhubarb compote and granola, and savory fare including a soup and a stew of the day and a sandwich or two.
Did I mention I love this bookshop? I love it.
Are you a fan of The Curse Of Oak Island? You can actually visit Oak Island, Nova Scotia, home of the world's longest running treasure hunt. But you have to prepare.
What’s the most exclusive island in the world? Is it a flashy resort in the Maldives or a spectacular nature retreat in Fiji? Not even close! There’s no island quite so desirable as Nova Scotia’s Oak Island. Think I’m kidding? The annual allotment of 10,000 tour tickets sells out in less than three minutes.
Oak Island isn’t your typical island paradise. Located just 45 minutes from Halifax, there are no gentle turquoise waves here. But maybe – just maybe! – Oak Island has riches all its own.
For hundreds of years, Oak Island has been the site of rumours, wild speculation, and – depending on who you believe – treasure, spectacular treasure, the kind of treasure that would make a pirate proud or drive the Knights Templar to create an elaborate hiding spot. The type of treasure that has fueled a top television show, The Curse Of Oak Island, for 11 seasons. In short, Oak Island is home to the world’s longest-running treasure hunt.
So, is there really a literal king’s ransom of gold and jewels on Oak Island? Go see for yourself. Here’s how to visit Oak Island, home of the world’s longest running treasure hunt.
Want tickets for "Last Supper" in Milan? I don't blame you! Here's how to see Da Vinci's masterpiece no matter when you're travelling.
If you’ve ever battled through the crowds at Paris’ Louvre, you’ve no doubt felt a mix of irritation and disappointment when you finally came face to face with the gallery’s proverbial crown jewel, Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. The most famous portrait in the world is smaller than you might expect and the crowds are annoying and aggressive. Maybe “Mona” is mysteriously smiling but countless visitors leave with a frown! As such, you might be wondering if it’s worth researching how to get tickets for Last Supper in Milan. I’m here to say that the answer is a resounding YES!
Visitors who make the pilgrimage to Milan to see The Last Supper, Da Vinci’s masterpiece thankfully have the exact opposite experience that those in the Louvre. Guaranteed viewing times with a maximum of 30 guests keep things organised, calm, and quiet. You enjoy an uninterrupted, unhurried 15 minutes with the artwork in a selfie-free environment. The experience is peaceful, even serene.
There’s just one small catch. You have to get tickets.
At Barbados Food & Rum Festival, a renowned chef shared her secrets for creative, sustainable food (as well as the treat she can't travel without!)
"The smell of happiness is, for me, frying plantain in Barbados."
Shelina Permalloo is a British-Mauritian chef, restaurateur, and cookbook author specializing in Mauritian cuisine. She's known worldwide as the first woman of colour to win BBC's MasterChef competition in 2012, but when I met her, she was thrilled to simply be an attendee of the Barbados Food & Rum Festival (just like me!)
Permalloo first visited Barbados after finishing university (she reports: "There were 16 of us... and the island knew when we arrived!") That initial trip made some lasting impressions, as the large group quickly made friends with locals, got invited home for homemade dinners, and provided the future chef with an abiding love of Barbadian (Bajan) cuisine.
During the Food & Rum Festival's Chef Classics event (an intimate series of cooking demonstrations with celebrity chefs), Chef Shelina shared her thoughts on elevating traditional comfort food, embracing sustainable ingredients, and the special treats she can't live without when she travels.
There's no travel treat I love quite like a fancy coffee. But would fate keep me away from the decadent delights in Victoria-By-The-Sea?
Have you ever had one of those travel moments when you really, really want to visit a place but it seems that fate is determined to keep you away?
That's how I've felt about Island Chocolates in the small Prince Edward Island village of Victoria-By-The-Sea for YEARS now! I had the shop (and, specifically, their chocolate-infused "factory coffee") since 2021. That autumn, Ryan and I rolled into town in the middle of a brutal rainstorm and we couldn't find the shop. This is clearly a reflection on how road-weary we were, as the shop is on MAIN STREET. We must have been a bit loopy in order to miss it. As such, our only moment of triumph from that visit was finding public washrooms. No chocolate for us.
I had a second chance in 2022 when I was visiting PEI with friends. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner in Victoria-By-The-Sea before taking a leisurely walk up to Island Chocolates... except that it was closed! Once again, it was our fault. We didn't look up the hours and it's not surprising that they'd be closed after supper time.
Would my luck change in 2023? Well....
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