Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Patriotic Bike Ride Along the Mount Vernon Trail

The Mount Vernon Trail is a paved multi-use trail that stretches from George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate to Theodore Roosevelt Island, paralleling the George Washington (GW) Parkway for its 18 miles. It connects with regional trails, including the Potomac Heritage, Custis, Rock Creek, Four Mile Run, and Woodrow Wilson Bridge Trails.

Its paved surface was what enticed me, after several days of heavy rains, I worried that gravel trails would be too muddy for a good ride. Plus, I've been wanting to start exploring this trail -- one plan is to pick up the Woodrow Wilson Trail in Maryland, connecting to the Mount Vernon Trail and head south to Mount Vernon. For this day's ride, however, as I tried to figure out the best place to park, I got frustrated. There was little specific information. 

But the lure of outstanding, sweeping views of the majestic Potomac River and the patriotic monuments in DC pushed me past this frustration. The Mount Vernon Trail winds alongside the Potomac River offering uninterrupted views of Washington, D.C.'s skyline. I determined that my best choice  -- and most likely place to find available parking -- was the LBJ Memorial Grove. Turns out there was also plenty of spots open at Roosevelt Island as well. 

I decided on a relatively short ride of approximately 15 miles. Starting at the LBJ Memorial Grove, I decided to ride north to Roosevelt Island, then turn around and head back down to Alexandria, finally returning to my car. My ride got cut short because it started raining, and with my camera hanging around my neck, I didn't want to risk it getting damaged (and no, I didn't have the proper bike camera bag with me -- lack of foresight); thus at Reagan National Airport I turned around and headed back. My ride turned out to be 10 miles, almost on the nose. I'm not sure what the elevation gain was, but the hills were small, usually to accommodate over- or under-passes for the highways and bridges, and going back down them after a brief exertion made me feel happy. 

I really liked the northern part of this ride -- the three miles above the Sailors and Marines Memorial, near the LBJ Memorial Grove, which offered sweeping views of the Potomac, lovely mature trees lining the trail, and relatively little close proximity to the highway (although it was always within hearing distance, it usually wasn't within a few feet). Here, the honeysuckle grows euphorically, and the aroma of the honeysuckle engulfs the trail.

The Mount Vernon Trail, as with most urban trails, is exceptionally crowded, and it's a fairly narrow trail. Even on a Sunday afternoon, I noticed several bikers with brief cases strapped around their backs, on their way to or from a weekend afternoon in the office. There were runners, dog walkers, families walking with strollers and toddlers, seriously kitted out speed-demon road bikers, and even a girl spinning cartwheels. This is a crazy mix, and it can seem like a squirrel circus on the trail, as faster bikers pass the casual bikers, dog walkers, families, and runners. To my shame, going up one of the larger of the small hills, a runner passed me...

About a mile before Roosevelt Island, the trail became magical. The trees closed in, the highway receded a bit -- the only downside was the board walk that now formed the trail surface was jarring, a minor irritation given how enjoyable the trail was at this point. It was a tunnel of green. If only every trail could have sections that looked like this. The trail winds beneath multiple highway and Metro overpasses, adding to the mystical, cave-like quality to this brief segment.

At Roosevelt Island I turned around, going back the way I came. Just past the Navy and Marine Memorial, where I'd initially joined the trail, there's a lovely wooded grove, but that yields to the more open ball fields and lawn at the Gravelly Point Park, just north of the airport. 

The section past the airport runs right along the highway but then veers into several overpasses that offer some nice views of the airport buildings. 

Plane descending for landing over Gravelly Point Park.

All in all, this trail is a nice way to experience the various monuments and famous landmarks -- the Kennedy Center, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument -- from a distance. Despite the proximity of the highway, the extensive greenery and the lovely vistas of the Potomac River make this trail an urban oasis you shouldn't miss! I'm looking forward to continuing my exploration of this trail below the airport and the rest of the way to Mount Vernon.

The bridge from the parking lot over to the LBJ Memorial Grove.

Know before you go 1: Good parking places include Roosevelt Island, the LBJ Memorial Grove, Columbia Island Marina, and Gravelly Point Park (which is also excellent for airplane viewing although that gets really busy because it also offer has busy ball fields). The Mount Vernon Trail is a short ride or walk from the Arlington Cemetery, Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and Rosslyn Metro stations. During rush hour, bikes are not allowed on the Metro, so check the Metro web site for more specific information about taking your bike on the Metro.

Know before you go 2: If you decide to park at the LBJ Memorial Grove, there are two parking lots -- one accessible from southbound George Washington (GW) Parkway, near the Pentagon, from the parkway, just following the signs; the other is accessible from northbound GW Parkway. If you park near the Pentagon, take the bridge over to the memorial grove, veering right off the more formal slate path to the concrete/gravel path. Enter the parking lot and head south, straight to the end, where you'll find a sign indicating the Mount Vernon Trail access, through a highway underpass.

The Navy Marine Memorial.

Know before you go 3: If it's a sunny or partly sunny day, wear sun block, as most of the trail is unshaded. It will also be hot, given the proximity of the highway and the lack of shade. Although initially I'd been disappointed that it was a cloudy, and then rainy day, I think it was a blessing in disguise.

Getting there: Choose your parking lot: Roosevelt Island, LBJ Memorial Grove, Columbia Island Marina, Gravelly Point Park...

Hours: Dawn to dusk.

Website: https://www.nps.gov/gwmp/planyourvisit/mtvernontrail.htm

The Lyndon B Johnson Memorial Grove and Monument, placed where he often came during his presidency
to escape the stress of the White House.
For other day trip destinations, go to the Blog's Find a Great Place to Day Trip!

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Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I'd love to hear what you're doing! Email [email protected] if you're interested in being a guest-blogger! 

The view from the bridge over to Roosevelt Island. Roosevelt Island itself is a worthy day trip destination.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Savoring Gettysburg

There are so many different ways to explore Gettysburg. The Civil War history, of course, is what initially put Gettysburg on the day trip map, but as this blog has pointed out before, there's so much more to Gettysburg and its surrounding environs than its battlefields.

Gettysburg offers a (surprisingly) wonderful food scene, a culinary experience that combines the best of food, wine, and history in a range of price points.There are a number of ways to explore culinary Gettysburg, but a fun -- and perhaps the best -- way is to take a Savor Gettysburg tour of local restaurants.

Of course part of the food tour is the local history. Savor Gettysburg owner and tour guide, Lori Korczyk, gave us a fantastic introduction to the local buildings and people during the Civil War era, but I'll leave that for you to discover.

Of course, Gettysburg and Adams County are also well known for agritourism, with its orchards, farm stands, and vineyards. Now, local restaurants are increasingly taking advantage of the proximity of these local food sources to provide a real, from-farm-to-table experience for diners. 

Food 101's Fennel Sausage and Broccolini Pizza.

During the tour, we got to experience dishes that ranged from traditional Irish shepherd's pie to the best in local freshly-made, hand-dipped ice-cream. We sampled wine and hard ciders, sampled soups and tacos and some memorable mac and cheese from an array of ethnic eateries, historic taverns, family owned bistros and wineries in what amounted to a progressive meal, which wrapped up with drinks and dessert.

Chef Corey Williams in the dining room of Food 101.

The tour began at Food 101, serving fine American cuisine at 101 Chambersburg Street, with a slice of the restaurant's Fennel Sausage & Broccolini Pizza and zeppolis with a raspberry sauce. Chef Corey Williams' menu is built around reasonably priced salads, sandwiches, and artisan pizzas, making the restaurant popular with the local college crowd. You can find a comfortably familiar Caesar Salad, but there's also the intriguing Asparagus & Bacon Salad and the Berry Almond Salad. This, actually, was my third visit to Food 101, and I've yet to be disappointed.

Our next stop was just a block away at the Garryowen Irish Pub, located at 126 Chambersburg Street, and owned by Kevin and Joanne McCready, originally from County Armagh, Ireland. 

The menu offers a variety of traditional Irish food -- Shepherd's Pie, which we sampled (and yes, it was amazing -- this is a destination restaurant), as well as Banger's and Mash (Guinness and onion sausages over seasoned redskin mashed potatoes and sauteed onions in a rich brown gravy) and Traditional Ulster Fry (grilled Irish bacon and sausages, black and white pudding, and homemade soda bread, served with fried egg and grilled tomatoes), among others. 

Traditional Irish Shepherd's Pie from Garryowen Irish Pub, accompanied by Johnny Jump Up Hard
Cider made exclusively for Garryowen Irish Pub by Hauser Estate Winery.

But there are playful twists, such as its Irish Nachos (think regular nachos, but with crispy potato slices) and the Hot Whiskey Sandwich (grilled hot whiskey sausage on a bed of lettuce, with grilled onions, banana peppers and pepperjack cheese). The Dublin Fish & Chips were begging to be tried...

From there we walked over to The Parrot, located at 35 Chambersburg and owned by Hillary Styer and Gus Zucco, where we sampled Crab Bisque and incredible but comfortingly simple BLT sliders. The Parrot offers a variety of sandwiches (Grilled Brie; Pulled Pork; Turkey, Cranberry and Bacon; Pastrami Reuben) and entrees (Hereford Filet Mignon with Mushroom Demi-Glace; Sesame Encrusted Salmon) in a casual, homey but sophisticated historic bistro setting. The Parrot continues a tradition of hospitality, which began in 1850 with the Mrs. Schwartz's Oyster Parlor.​

A significant portion of the tour is the walk between food establishments, during which Lori (our tour guide and the owner of SavorGettsburg) provided interesting tidbits about the town's history and features. 

We made our way over to One Lincoln Food & Spirits for a dreamy crab mac and cheese, located at 1 Lincoln Square, in the Gettysburg Hotel. Chef Joseph Holmes specializes in taking classic comfort food -- in this case, a standard macaroni and cheese -- and modernizing it in taste and presentation (macaroni noodles in a creamy crab b├ęchamel sauce with herbed brioche croutons). Instead of a classic BLT, there's a Grilled Chicken BLT (on a brioche bun with smoked gouda cheese and pepper mayonnaise served with fries).

Our last "main course" food stop was El Costeno, at 39 York Street. Arturo Guinto, owner and chef, is focused on offering fresh, authentic Mexican cuisine based on family recipes from his home in Acapulco. We tasted the chicken fajita and carnitas (slow simmering pork).

Arturo Guinto, owner and chef of El Costeno, chats with the tour-goers as we sample El Costeno's offerings.

In addition, the menu offers the expected burritos, enchiladas and chimichangas, but there's also the less expected Burrito Toluca (grilled chicken breast and chorizo sausage) and Chicken Guerrero (chicken breast topped with creamy spinach and bacon sauce). And the menu implies a sense of humor -- you can order Burrito Popeye (stuffed with chicken, mushrooms, spinach, and onions). The menu also offers a variety of fish dishes (Camarones a la Diabla, Chimichango del Mar) and steak dishes (Lomo Saltado, Steak a la Mexicana). So yeah. We'll have to come back!

With our tummies already satisfactorily full, we made our way back to the main square to Hauser Estate Winery to sample two wines -- Hauser's Jenny Wade (a vidal white) and Devil's Den (an oaky rich red) and Helene's Hard Cider.

Along the way we got to know the other tour goers -- even making some friends we hope we'll see again -- all whilst enjoying a smattering of local history as we walked the historic streets, met several of the chefs and owners of the restaurants, and experiencing amazing food!

The cool thing is the opportunity to "sample" a variety of restaurants in pretty much a risk-free way -- you're not committing to a full-fledged meal at any location. Although each sample is not in itself very large, the tour serves enough food so that lunch afterwards is not necessary -- and in fact, we still were not hungry at dinner time later that day. You will leave, as the tour promises, "comfortably full" at the end of the tour.

Hand-dipped ice cream from Mr. G's Homemade Ice Cream.
This tour is great as a romantic date, a double date with another couple, or to experience with a small group of friends. It's a mix of trying new food (and wine and hard cider), walking, and some history, and a lot of opportunity to chat with each other along the way.

Before the tour, or afterwards (or both), be sure to stroll around the historic town area, browse the boutiques, and enjoy the town's quaint and friendly atmosphere. Yes, come to Gettysburg for its Civil War history, but definitely plan to stay for dinner (or breakfast or lunch)!

Know before you go: Tours are held rain or shine. Keep in mind that food tastings are held inside each food establishment. Please make sure to check the weather conditions for your tour day and dress accordingly. In the case of inclement weather, dress appropriately and don't forget your umbrella!

Getting there: Savor Gettysburg tours will send you meeting time and place.

Hours: Check the website for dates and times the restaurant tours are offered.

Website: https://www.savorgettysburgfoodtours.com/

For other day trip destinations in and around Adams County, go to the Blog's Find a Great Place to Day Trip or click on the Gettysburg or Destination Gettysburg label below.

If you enjoy this blog, please tell your friends about it!

Check out the blog's FB page for updates on places we've visited and blogged about:  facebook.com/midatlanticdaytrips! And follow us @midatlanticdaytrips on Instagram to find up what we're up to between blog posts!

Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I'd love to hear what you're doing! Email [email protected] if you're interested in being a guest-blogger! 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

5 Fabulous Forts to Bring Your Kids to this Summer!

Everyone's probably heard of famous Fort McHenry in Baltimore -- well worth a visit! This is the fort that was being shelled by the British during the War of 1812, immortalized in Francis Scott Key's Star-Spangled Banner.

But there are five other fabulous forts worth exploring: three in Maryland, and one each in Delaware and Pennsylvania. This post takes you to nearby forts Washington and Foote, and further afield to Fort Frederick, along the C&O Canal, Fort Delaware on the Delaware River, and Fort Necessity near Farmingham, PA. Each of these forts have very different personalities, making each worthy of being a daytrip destination!

Fascinating Fort Washington

Our first stop is Fort Washington, a War of 1812-era fort which has stood sentinel on the banks of the Potomac River in Maryland, guarding Washington DC through most of this nation's history, although it didn't always look like it does now. The original fort, overlooking the Potomac River, was completed in 1809, and was originally called Fort Warburton, but was later renamed.

On August 27, 1812, a British fleet of 10 ships approached the fort, expecting resistance. Alexandrians, living just a few miles up river, expected the fort to defend and protect them. However, Captain Dyson, the commander of the fort, decided his meager troops were no match for the British, and proceeded to abandon the fort, blowing it up as he left. The Brits paused in their journey up the Potomac to finish destroying the fort, and then headed toward Alexandria, VA. (Captain Dyson was subsequently court martialed. He was dismissed from the service, but received no other punishment.)

From this ignominious defeat, though, Fort Washington rose. In 1815, the fort's rebuilding started, although it would be another nine years before the new fort, now named Fort Washington, was completed.

For a time during the Civil War, Fort Washington was the only defense for the national capital, and it was vitally important, for it controlled movement on the river. Quickly, however, Maj. Gen. John G. Barnard of the Corps of Engineers directed the building of a string of 68 enclosed earthen and wooden forts and batteries to protect all approaches to Washington, including nearby Fort Foote, which I'll talk about shortly. By the end of the war, 20 miles of rifle pits and more than 30 miles of military roads encircled the city. Ultimately, the fort did not see any action during the war, as it was not a factor in any land campaign and the Confederate Navy never attempted to raid DC from the Potomac River.

Fort Washington served, of one way or another, in each subsequent war, through the end of World War II. In 1946 it was given to the Department of the Interior and became a national park, and many of the newer buildings were torn down, Since that time it has been a public park commemorating the long history of coastal fortifications and serving as a recreational area for history buffs, naturalists, and other park visitors.

Getting there: 13551 Fort Washington Rd, Fort Washington, MD 20744
Website: https://www.nps.gov/fowa/index.htm

Forgotten Fort Foote

Fort Foote, minutes away from Fort Washington by car (and also in Maryland), was constructed in 1863 on top of Rozier's Bluff, 100 feet above the Potomac River below, to strengthen the ring of fortifications that encircled Washington, D.C. Two of the guns that protected Washington are still there.

Fort Foote was a Civil War-era wood and earthwork fort that was part of the wartime defenses of Washington, D.C., helping defend the Potomac River approach to the city. It remained in service well after the Civil War, and concrete and brick improvements were made to the fort, the ruins of which still remain.

By river, only Fort Washington blocked the approach along the Potomac River, but at 16 miles from Washington, it was considered too far away to adequately protect DC. Rozier's Bluff, just 6 miles away from Washington, was considered ideal, and so Fort Foote was built.

Construction began in the winter of 1862–1863, but progressed slowly. By fall 1863, the fort was complete, and was ready for action. Due to its location along the coast, the use of iron in the fortifications was limited, and most of the fort was constructed of earth and locally cut lumber.

It was named after Union Rear Admiral Andrew H. Foote, who distinguished himself in actions against Confederate forts along the Mississippi River but died of his wounds on June 23, 1863.

The fort was not completely armed until April 1865, just before the final surrender of Confederate forces in Virginia,

Fort Foote never fired a shot against any opponent, Confederate or otherwise. After the Civil War, new construction of concrete and brickworks transformed it into a federal prison.

During the First World War, the fort was used for gas service training, and during the Second World War, the site was used by officer candidates from Fort Washington.

Today, what's left is operated as Fort Foote Park, maintained by the U.S. National Park Service (NPS) as part of the National Capital Parks-East system. It is not a popular tourist site. The park has the look and feel of a poorly maintained regional park rather than an NPS park; other than a few signs posted near the parking lot (which I freely cribbed from for this post), there is little explanation of what you are seeing. After researching the park, I'm guessing that the concrete ruins are from the post-Civil War period, when it served briefly as a prison. It seems a shame that at least the area around the ruins aren't being maintained. It's almost as if the NPS doesn't expect anyone to actually go there. Vines and weeds grew among the ruins and fallen trees marred the earthworks. Nature is slowly reclaiming its own on this historic site.

So why go see it? The views of the Potomac River from the bluff are amazing. But also go to explore the history and to understand the times in which it was built. This was one of 60-odd (numbers I've seen vary) Civil War forts built to protect DC from Confederate forces and is a part of our national history.

Know before you go: Wear proper shoes, and because of the condition of the ruins and overgrowth, be alert for snakes amidst the ruins. Entering the ruins, although theoretically possible, is not advised -- these ruins are not stabilized.

Getting there: Fort Foote Rd, Fort Washington, MD 20744
Website: https://www.nps.gov/fofo/index.htm

Further Afield to Fort Frederick

North of Frederick and Hagerstown in western Maryland, lies Fort Frederick. Fort Frederick was built in 1756-57 by the colony of Maryland to serve as a frontier fortification during the French and Indian War. Although many period forts were built of wood (George Washington's Fort Necessity comes to mind), the colonial governor correctly noted that wooden forts burned easily. A fort as far forward on the frontier as Fort Frederick would have to be made of stone to be secure. Its location was carefully chosen for the bend in the Potomac River, which provided an ideal place to protect against incursions by both the native peoples and the French.

It was designed primarily as a place of refuge for area settlers. Between 1757 and 1758, small raids by local Native Americans caused settlers in the surrounding countryside to flee eastward. At the same time, men of the 60th Regiment of Foot and local militia soldiers garrisoned the fort. Ranging parties were sent from the fort to patrol the area and to deter if not prevent raids from hostile Native Americans.

Fort Frederick -- not built to withstand artillery -- had limited usefulness both during either the  Revolutionary War or the Civil War a hundred years later. During the Revolutionary War, from 1777 to 1783, Fort Frederick was used as a prisoner of war camp. As many as a thousand captured British and German soldiers were incarcerated there after the battles of Saratoga (1777) and Yorktown (1781).

Sold at auction in 1791 and abandoned until the Civil War, it again was briefly garrisoned as a gun emplacement to protect the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, which paralleled the canal. The 1st Maryland Infantry (US) occupied the area in December 1861 and Company H fought in a skirmish at the fort against Confederate raiders on Christmas Day, 1861. The regiment left in February 1862. Although in October 1862, a picket from the 12th Illinois Cavalry briefly occupied the area, the military usefulness of the fort had ended as 1862 drew to a close.

Abandoned again, although the surrounding land was farmed, the fort slowly crumbled, until it was acquired in 1922 by the State of Maryland as Maryland's first state park. The walls had deteriorated but were standing up to 8 feet in places. Archaeological investigations and the discovery of the original plans allowed a complete reconstruction. The Civilian Conservation Corps, instrumental in so many other state parks, completed much of the restoration work in the 1930s.

Getting there: 11100 Fort Frederick Rd, Big Pool, MD 21711
Website: http://dnr2.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/western/fortfrederick.aspx

Fort Necessity

In southwestern Pennsylvania, there's "A charming field for an encounter," -- supposedly what George Washington said of the marshy, natural meadow surrounded by dense forest. He threw a few logs up, called it a fort, and settled down to await an attack by French troops in the area in what essentially was the beginning of the French and Indian War. The wait wasn't long -- just 30 days, during which time Washington and his men lengthened the new national road by some 14 back-breaking miles.

In 1754, George Washington, a lieutenant colonel already at age 22, set off with his Virginia militia through western Maryland to carve out what became the first federally funded and maintained highway -- now U.S. 40. Along the way he engaged with a French patrol. The French called it an ambush, which is how Washington found himself needing Fort Necessity.

A large French reprisal force attacked Fort Necessity and forced Washington to surrender on 4 July -- the only time Washington ever surrendered. Washington and his men left, and the French burned the fort. The present day reconstruction is close proximity to what Washington had built.

Getting there: 1 Washington Parkway, Farmington PA 15437
Website: www.nps.gov

Fort Delaware Captivates Our Imaginations

Fort Delaware, now a Delaware state park, is located on Pea Patch Island, in the mouth of the Delaware River. It served as defense for Philadelphia since the early 1800s. The walls stand surrounded by a moat of brackish-looking water, but the fort is an imposing and awesome structure to behold.

Its working life spanned from before the Civil War through the Second World War, but mostly served as a prisoner of war camp during all three major conflicts (most of the Confederates taken prisoner during Gettysburg were confined at Fort Delaware).

The fort offers cannon and musketry demonstrations, although a variety of programs are held throughout most weekend days, including "Feeding Fort Delaware," a "Living History Tour," and a "Behind the Scenes Tour."

Getting there: 45 Clinton Street, Delaware City, DE
Website: destateparks.com

For other day trip destinations, go to the Blog's Find a Great Place to Day Trip!

If you enjoy this blog, please tell your friends about it!

Check out the blog's FB page for updates on places we've visited and blogged about:  facebook.com/midatlanticdaytrips! And follow us @midatlanticdaytrips on Instagram to find up what we're up to between blog posts!

Have you daytripped somewhere interesting? I'd love to hear what you're doing! Email [email protected] if you're interested in being a guest-blogger! 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Three Rivers Heritage Trail: A Great Way to Experience Pittsburgh

The Three Rivers Heritage Trail evolved from five separate trails and today comprises several unique sections. Most of these segments are riverfront trails along both banks of the three rivers that form Pittsburgh’s famous point: the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio. It's also one of the treasures of Pittsburgh -- a great way to get to know the city and its geography and its spirit.

I recently explored the North Shore Trail and the South Shore Trail, along the Allegheny River. I accessed the trail from the Convention Center, since I was staying at the Westin Hotel with my husband while he attended a convention.

Thus, I started my morning ride on the south bank of the Allegheny River, passing Pittsburgh’s convention center in the shadow of the city’s skyscrapers. I first traveled east, on the "Strip District Trail," which runs through a formerly industrial neighborhood, now being overtaken by gentrified condos. To be honest, there wasn't that much to see on the trail itself, and it petered out in a gravel trail behind a condo building, so I turned around and headed west.

Traveling west on the trail will bring you past the three bridges to Point State Park at the confluence of the three rivers. The park features the remains of Fort Pitt and Fort Duquesne as well as an iconic fountain that sprays water up to 150 feet in the air.

Originally my plan was to then ride the Eliza Furnace Trail, but the connection to the Eliza Furnace Trail was a little hairy in my view -- it seemed like it went along the river, but then I came to a dead end, and had to turn back. I made my way back to Point State Park and then followed signs indicating a bike route, which I think would have taken me to the Eliza Furnace Trail, except I wimped out as I realized I'd have to start crossing some busy downtown roads, so I turned back again and returned to the park. (I hate biking on or near busy roads.)

I noticed a bike-friendly ramp up to the Andy Warhol Bridge, so I used that to cross to the North Shore Trail on the other side of the Allegheny. The North Shore Park spans the distance between Heinz Field and PNC Park, the home venues of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Pittsburgh Pirates, respectively. Here the Chateau Trail becomes the North Shore Trail segment, which continues uninterrupted upstream along the Allegheny River to just beyond Millvale’s Riverfront Park.

I traveled up to the top of the hill above the river, then turned around, riding past, and just below, the Andy Warhol Bridge, on down to Washington's Landing, an island in the Allegheny River. I rode the ramp up over the truss bridge to the island, explored the island a bit, although it's a loose gravel trail on the island and my smooth hybrid-bike tires made it an uncomfortable ride.

Once back on the North Shore Trail, I continued east for a bit more, until I finally turned back because of time. It was a good ride -- and I'd snapped plenty of interesting photos of Pittsburgh and its bridges.

Overall, the route provides an urban outdoor experience with vistas up and down the rivers, a connection to downtown Pittsburgh and close-ups of the contrast between old industry and new. Mostly I enjoyed the ride and exploring Pittsburgh's river fronts up close. Folks I encountered that Friday morning were friendly and waved cheery hellos. There's lots of the trail left to explore, though, for my next visit to Pittsburgh.

Know before you go: Trail end points are at Chateau (Pittsburgh) to Millvale; Strip District to Panther Hollow and Hazelwood (Pittsburgh); Duquesne Heights to Glenwood Bridge (Baldwin), although you can pick up the trail at multiple other points. I joined it at the Convention Center, since I was staying at a nearby hotel.

Getting there: Parking for the Three Rivers Heritage Trail is available in several locations along its route. Refer to the Friends of the Riverfront’s Trail Map and Guide for specific information.

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