August 16, 2016
The Priory Hotel was the only Pittsburgh lodging mentioned in this story recommending visits to Pittsburgh and other must-see cities around the country.
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Personalized Behind the Scenes of Pittsburgh Culinary Tour Packages
As most visitors know, Pittsburgh has a panoply of high profile “must see” attractions, from the cultural to the culinary: the Warhol Museum, Primanti Brothers, the Carnegie, and the open air markets of the Strip District, are among the many.
Not all that’s worthwhile is well known, however. So the Priory Hotel has partnered with Fork and the Road Tours to create a variety of customized (and customizable) tours which take you behind the scenes at some of Pittsburgh’s more interesting but arcane locales. All tours feature one thing, though – food which is uniquely Pittsburgh. These tours are highly personalized and flexible – it’s just you, your group and your tour guide.
Mary Miller of Fork and the Road tours will be your guide, and she can take groups from two to twenty on each of these tours. And if you’d like to mix and match, Mary will be happy to customize each tour. The cost of tour transportation, as well as your food stops, are included in each tour. Tours typically last between 2 ½ and 3½ hours.
If you’re traveling as a couple, with family, or with a group of friends, these excursions are a great opportunity to see the Pittsburgh you never knew existed! You’ll also save on your package rate the larger your group!
Packages include: (a) an overnight in a Priory Hotel Deluxe King Room; (b) a special “Made in Pittsburgh” treat basket; (c) two tickets to the Culinary Tour of your choice (including tour transportation); and (d) two vouchers to our Monks’ Bar for your choice of Iron City, Church Brew Works or Penn Pilsner products, or the Wigle Whiskey or Boyd and Blair cocktail of your choice.
Package Price (per double occupancy) (rates do not include tax): For two guests: $445; for four guests: $425; for six guests: $405; for eight guests: $385. Please call for rates for tours of more than 8 persons.
(1) Hidden North Side
Before our section of the city, the North Side, was part of Pittsburgh, it was its own city – Allegheny – and was home to some of the wealthiest citizens in the region, including Andrew Carnegie. Today’s North Side continues to reflect the grandeur of the Victorian era, with its parkside mansions and meandering walkways. It’s also a dynamic and diverse modern community, with multiple neighborhoods showing off the quirky, the unique and the remarkable.
Your Hidden North Side Tour Package includes visits to:
- The George Ferris House – A drive past the birthplace of the inventor of the Ferris Wheel, which made its debut at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and which continues to delight today.
- Randyland – Randy Gilson is a one of a kind, and his rococo house and gardens, with its bright colors and idiosyncratic memorabilia. Randyland is a reflection of both Randy’s joy for life and the spirit of Pittsburgh. It will brighten anyone’s day. http://randy.land/#
- Bicycle Heaven – This quirky warehouse in the Chateau neighborhood filled to the brim with bicycles. . .some that you will remember from your childhood and others that certainly hold a place in history will charm you. http://bicycleheaven.org
- North Side Bake Oven - You’ll check out the new outdoor community bake oven attached to a unique art gallery in our Deutschtown neighborhood. http://neukirche.org
- Mexican War Streets -- Walk through the historic Mexican War Streets and Community Gardens – Learn about this historic section of the North Side and wander through the quaint streets and gardens.
- Troy Hill: Once a dotted with dairy farms, the Troy Hill neighborhood boasts a community with deep German and Polish roots overlooking downtown. Stops include Pear & Pickle, a new independent grocer for some local treats. http://www.pearandpickle.com/about-1/
(2) When Steel was King
This tour takes us up the Monongahela River to the land of Andrew Carnegie’s steel empire. We get a feel for what it was like to live and work in these valleys and also see what is being done to revitalize the area.
Your When Steel was King tour includes:
- Rivers of Steel Museum – A stop in the mill valley towns of Homestead and Munhall is essential to learn about Andrew Carnegie and the Homestead Steel strike of 1892. Included is a visit to the steelworker’s museum in Homestead, not far from the site of the famous labor incident. https://www.riversofsteel.com/preservation/heritage-sites/bost-building/
- Carrie Furnace – We’ll take a walk around the exterior of one of the few remaining blast furnaces from the height of the steelmaking years in Pittsburgh. It’s a stunning structure which has been featured in a number of films, including The Mysteries of Pittsburgh and the Perks of Being a Wallflower. https://www.riversofsteel.com/preservation/heritage-sites/carrie-furnaces/
- Emil’s Lounge – Lunch at a classic mill worker bar and restaurant to sample the hearty Eastern European food that kept the mill workers going will energize us before the rest of the tour. http://www.emilslounge.com/pages/index.html
- Brew Gentlemen – Craft brewery in an old electrical supply store in the historic town of Braddock sheds light on what’s happening in the devastated steel towns in this valley. https://brewgentlemen.wordpress.com/
- Milltown Drivearound -- The tour includes a drive through these mill towns to see the first Carnegie Library in the US, the statue of folk hero Joe Magarac, the pump house that supplied water to cool the hot molten steel and more.
(3) Meet the Makers
Pittsburgh has been in the news for its lively and innovative culinary scene, which includes many new outlets producing artisanal food and beverages. Come along and meet some of the people who are producing Pittsburgh’s best edible products.
The Meet the Makers Tour includes:
- Wigle Whiskey - The folks at Wigle brought whiskey back to the birthplace of the Whiskey Rebellion. We will hear their story and sample a few tasty products. https://www.wiglewhiskey.com/
- Breadworks – Visit a North Side bakery to learn about the artisan bread that Pittsburghers love. http://www.breadworkspgh.com/
- Butcher on Butler –A stop to a local butcher shop that creates artisan sausage in a space that has been a butcher shop for a decade is a must. Pittsburgh was a meat town because of its stockyards and position near the rail line between New York and Chicago. You’ll get to sample some treats from one of Pittsburgh premier craft made meat folks.
- A519 Chocolates – We will visit a local, female chocolatier who is whipping up delicious chocolates in the town of Millvale. And we will try our hand at creating a few of our own chocolates, too. http://www.a519chocolate.com/
(4) Creative Arts and More
Back in the late 1700s, Pittsburgh was a legendary glass production center. For this package, you’ll have a chance to make your own glass creation as we learn about Pittsburgh’s glass history. Hard times have made us very thrifty and creative, so we’ll go high up on a hill to create a fun craft of your choice and then end the trip with a tea mix designed for each guest.
- Vessel Glass Studio – We’ll go to the South Side, the home of glassmaking in Pittsburgh, where guests will make their own candy dish. http://vesselstudio.net/home.html
- Little House, Big Art – Guests will view the city from high atop Spring Hill (one of the North Side’s two majestic hills, with fantastic views of the city) and choose a fun craft as a memento of the day.
- The Tea Loft – We will meet a tea artisan and mix our own blend to take home.
(This tour has an extra fee for the glass creation that includes shipping it to your address after it is fully cooled. Inquire for costs.)
(5) Secret Gardens of Pittsburgh
This drive through city neighborhoods will take us to some hidden garden spots. Each has its own unique character, which reflects the diversity and ethnicity of the inhabitants.
- Choderwood – We visit a hidden retreat in an old lockmaster’s home along the Allegheny River, where we will have a local beer and cheese tasting.
- Apodeia Apiary – A trip to Christina Neumann’s family home to see her unique honey producing method and meet the bees. We’ll also taste some of her award winning honey. http://apoidea-apiary.com/
- Morningside Gardens – These city gardens are kept by older Italian gentlemen who have a knack for growing some of the best tomatoes and figs in the city. If we’re lucky, someone with a mandolin will play a few old Italian tunes for us while we are there.
- Rodef Shalom Botanical Garden - Enjoy the horticulture of the ancient near East right in the educational center of Pittsburgh. https://biblicalgardenpittsburgh.org/
Please note that this tour is only available from May through September, when the gardens are in bloom.
(6) Ladies Day Out
Everyone needs a day of pure rest and relaxation and this tour fits the bill. Along the way, we will learn about the hip Lawrenceville section of Pittsburgh. Most stops are owned by women and carry carefully selected, unique products. It will be a beautiful day!!
The Ladies Day Out Package includes:
- Gilded Girl – Get a quick makeover from the Gilded Girl staff in this adorable shop that carries hard to find European cosmetics and fragrances. http://thegildedgirl.com/
- Una Biological - This natural products boutique is filled with skin products, fragrances, scrubs, candles and more. Let the owners show us how to live green and clean! http://www.unabiologicals.com/
- Mid Atlantic Mercantile - We’ll visit this hip lifestyle boutique and hear the owner’s vision and why she chose the Lawrenceville neighborhood for her store. http://www.mid-atlanticmercantile.com/
- Toll Gate Revival - Toll Gate Revival is filled to the brim with local treasures. We’ll meet the owner and have a sip of some local spirits while chatting. http://www.tollgaterevival.com/
- Lunch: A quick lunch in Lawrenceville based on guests’ food preferences, to be arranged with Mary Miller.
Notes: Tours are based on availability. Stops are subject to change. Ten days advance booking recommended. Special diet needs should be conveyed at booking as well as any physical disabilities that would limit movement. Package cost includes knowledgeable tour guide, tour transportation, all food, beverages, admission fees and gratuities. Children under 21 not permitted on tours that include alcohol without signed consent of parents or guardian. Parent or guardian must also be present on the tour.
$385 plus tax and up