Thursday, July 14, 2011

Our July Weekend Getaway

Wow, this summer is flying! It is hard to believe we are already halfway through July. And a month from today, J & I will be married for one year! It is hard to believe it has gone so fast!

Every year, in lieu of some Christmas gifts, my parents, brother (C) & sister-in-law (S), J & I agree to plan a getaway weekend sometime after Christmas to spend some Quality Time together. My parents cover the rooms (usually a B&B), and my brother & I each take a turn paying for dinner one night as well as leaving a tip in the room for the housekeeping staff. This getaway can happen anywhere between February and ??? depending on when we can coordinate our schedules, which can be hard! This year, the 4th of July weekend was our chosen weekend.

This time we opted for a little more time around Pittsburgh, as C, S and their two kids live in Virginia. Our Friday destination was the Penn Brewery here in Pittsburgh. Great place, great beer, we have patronized the brewery for years.

We started out with some beer cheese and crackers. J & I opting for the chile beer cheese--Penn Brewery's house beer cheese with roasted red peppers and Poblano chiles. Mom & S had had a late lunch out, so they stuck to beer cheese, while the rest of us were HUNGRY and ordered various dishes. I opted for a no-meat option, the Kasespaetzle with a side of applesauce:

My brother had the steak sandwich, and Dad & J split a steak sandwich and a schnitzel sandwich.



Jody's plate of half each:

My niece opted for the kids' grilled cheese, which looked delicious!

And of course, we DID indulge in some of the brewery's awesome beer!

Early the next morning, we loaded up in two cars and headed to Akron, Ohio for our "getaway" portion of the weekend. Our main point of the trip to Akron was to visit and tour the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, which is currently featuring a Civil War collection we wanted to see. The house was built by the founder of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, F.A. Seiberling.

This mansion is amazing! What a great tour and an amazing glimpse into living the life! On top of a gorgeous house, the gardens are amazing! I could have spent hours walking through!

Our dinner that night was at a great local place, Pub Bricco. ( The whole menu is appealing and it was hard to decide what to get. We started with some fried white cheddar cheese wedges with wholegrain mustard horseradish sauce, then ordered an array of burgers and salads for dinner. A few ordered the field greens salad with goat cheese, berries and candied walnuts. What I really liked (despite not ordering a salad) was that Pub Bricco offers their salads as a full or half, which I wish more restaurants did. Jody & I ordered the same burger, though mine was a veggie burger, but topped with Havarti cheese, horseradish & mustard, and onion straws.

And shared an order of fresh made chips:

Our stay in Akron was topped off by a wonderful experience at the O'Neil House Bed & Breakfast.  (  It is beautiful and has it own lovely gardens to speak of.

The house has 3 resident cats and 1 awesome dog, Grace. Gayle, the owner, does a wonderful job of maintaining the house and gardens, as well as providing a wonderful breakfast with the help of a couple talented staff members. Since we had my niece and nephew with us, Gayle and Debbie made us a lovely main breakfast course of fresh waffles topped with a little whipped cream and fresh berries, and a side of bacon. My parents have stayed there previously and had other wonderful breakfast treats such as an asparagus omelet.  Our true breakfast treat, however, was the "appetizer"--homemade orange sorbet served in a hollowed out orange half. This was truly heaven!

We topped off our weekend with a family outing to the Pirates game where we saw a great win, then J & I hosted a cookout at our place. We cooked some variations of chicken tenders on the grill as well as serving a pasta & vegetable salad with Italian dressing, and a broccoli slaw salad with dried cranberries, crumbled blue cheese and walnuts. We finished the evening by watching Despicable Me with the kids and enjoying the banana cream pie we made:
As you can see, we packed A LOT into a few days, and enjoyed every minute. Enjoy every minute you have with friends & family, and remember to share the love.