Great Allegheny Passage opens, among other Pittsburgh happenings

Photo courtesy of Bike The
Opening the GAP
After more than four decades in the works, the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) is complete! The final mile of the nearly level trail between Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., has been constructed. This scenic rail trail – which connects with the C&O Canal Towpath at Cumberland, Md. – creates a 334-mile off-road route between Pittsburgh and Washington. The 150-mile GAP trail is filled with historic tunnels, viaducts and bridges and is considered one of the most scenic and accessible trails in the nation.

Meadowcroft Opens
Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, the oldest site of human habitation in North America, kicked off its 2013 season in May. Meadowcroft, part of the Senator John Heinz History Center’s museum system, was recently named one of the “Five Great Places to See Evidence of First Americans” by Smithsonian magazine. The site has become an international destination, welcoming nearly 15,000 visitors from 30 U.S. states and 12 countries last year. The National Historic Landmark, located in Avella, Pa., features a massive, 16,000-year-old rock overhang used by the region’s earliest inhabitants for shelter.

Hitting a High Note
Opera lovers take note: Pittsburgh’s Opera Theater is planning a three-week festival of opera, musicals, new works and recitals, June 28-July 16. SummerFest 2013 will feature both classic and new operas sung in English and performed in the beautiful Art Deco auditorium of the historic Twentieth Century Club, one of Pittsburgh’s hidden architectural treasures. The SummerFest 2012 drew more than 5,000 people to 23 ticketed performances and many free events.

Expanded Fleet
As a symbol of Pittsburgh’s river renaissance, the Gateway Clipper has added to its fleet. The Three Rivers Queen, a beautiful 110-feet long and 32-feet wide, all-steel classic paddle wheel style passenger boat with three decks, was christened on May 29. The Queen can accommodate 250 passengers for dinner or 338 for cruises along Pittsburgh’s three rivers that offer some of the most scenic sightseeing opportunities in southwestern Pennsylvania. She joins the other boats in The Gateway Clipper Fleet: The Majestic, The Empress, The Princess, The Dutchess and The Countess.

Frick Expands
The Frick Art & Historical Center will soon break ground on a new welcome and orientation center which will help enable visitors to learn about the Henry Clay Frick family and life in turn-of-the-20th-century Pittsburgh. In addition, a new Museum Shop will be constructed, enabling the organization to devote the Frick Children’s Playhouse to children’s programming.