Christmas in Pittsburgh 2017 Part II
Pittsburgh, PA/Wauchula, FL - Events of Tuesday, December 26 to Saturday, December 30, 2016
Phipps Conservatory, located in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, has its annual Winter Flower and Light Show during December. We have gone in the evening for the past several years, but this year we decided to go during the day on the day after Christmas (Tuesday) even though J. Michael had to work. Actually, he was probably relieved he didn't have to go. Going in the evening is a good way to enjoy the lights, but going during the day is the best way to enjoy the flowers. Not only that, but it is much less crowded and much easier to find a parking space during the day.
The poinsettias in the next photo greeted us in the Palm Court right inside the entrance. We stopped for several photos.
The entire conservatory is decorated with colorful poinsettias, paperwhite narcissus, and several varieties of other colorful flowers. Below are just a few of the beautiful scenes from Phipps Conservatory.
As we said, the nice thing about going in the daytime is being able to better appreciate the flowers. The next photo shows just some of the many varieties of poinsettias on display. At night you can't see all the variations in color and size as well as you can during the day.
It was a little cool in the conservatory, and the girls had all left their coats in a locker near the entrance. Lydia complained her hands were cold so Lora showed her how to keep them warm by putting them in her pockets. The next photo shows how Lydia walked around most of the rest of the time.
Phipps always has a garden railroad display at the Winter Flower Show. Kids, both young and old, can push buttons at various locations around the display to activate different animations and sounds.
The Gallery Room is used as a children's educational space and features a make-believe farmers' market where kids can learn about healthy food choices.
Lydia shopping for produce
Another nice thing about going to the flower show during the day is from December 26 through 30 Phipps has Family Fun Days where they have a number of crafts and activities for kids. Lydia (with Mommy's help) made a bird feeder from a pine cone and a decoration from yarn and Spanish moss. She also planted a paperwhite narcissus bulb.
Near the end of our tour, we passed through the Serpentine Room where there was a New Year's theme with large clock set to midnight.
J. Michael got home from work early on Tuesday, and after dinner we drove to see the Christmas Light Up Celebration in nearby Clinton where Christmas light displays line the mile-long road through Clinton Park. We have gone for the past several years, and it's always spectacular. Below are just a few of the many displays.
On Wednesday, Lora and Lydia joined the two of us when we took Paul's step mom to lunch at Empire Palace. We were never able to find a good Chinese restaurant in the area of Ohio where we spent summers nor in Florida so we really appreciated the opportunity for a delicious meal of General Tso's chicken. We rounded out our holiday celebration with more good food and good company on Thursday evening when friends of Lora and J. Michael came by the house for a visit.
After saying our good-byes on Friday morning, we hit the road headed south around 8:30. Traffic was fairly light except for the section of I-77 to the north of Charlotte where it is always congested. It's been worse the last two years because there is construction going on to hopefully alleviate some of the tie-ups. We stopped at the Hampton Inn in Rock Hill, South Carolina as usual.
Our RVing friends, Dick and Barbara, live near Rock Hill so they met us for dinner. Even though we went to Texas Roadhouse on our way north, we went there again arriving just in the nick of time for the 6:00 deadline for the early bird specials. Everyone else had 6-ounce sirloin steaks while Paul opted for a grilled pork chop with peppercorn sauce. It was the first time either of us had ever had anything but steak at Texas Roadhouse. The steaks were as good as they always are, and the pork chop was outstanding - very tender, moist, and flavorful. More importantly, it was great catching up with old friends.
After an early breakfast at the motel on Saturday morning, we were on the road around 7:30. There were several slowdowns that caused short delays and one major accident that caused about a 20 to 30-minute delay, but traffic was otherwise relatively smooth-flowing most of the way until we got to Orlando. There is construction on I-4 going through Orlando that caused several slowdowns, and the attractions (Disney, Universal Studios, etc.) caused a big slowdown on the southwest side of Orlando. Traffic when we return to Florida is always worse than it is going north, but this year it wasn't as bad overall as it has been in previous years.
We stopped at Wendy's for salads to go on our way through Avon Park. We pulled into the Co-op a little before 6 p.m. and got unpacked. After we ate our salads, we relaxed a bit before heading off to bed. It was great to spend Christmas with family, but it was also great to be back home.