Best of the 'Burgh 2011: Sports and Recreation

From the best zumba studio to the best indoor pool, our editors pick the best in Pittsburgh sports and recreation.


 

Best place to 1-2-cha-cha-cha

Latin Rhythmz
If you haven’t heard of Zumba, you must be living under a rock—one thick enough to block out the Latin music. Latin Rhythmz is the region’s only studio exclusively devoted to this spicy fitness craze. Fans swear by Zumba’s potent combo of easy-but-toning choreography, nonstop cardio and addictive grooves—including one Latin Rhythmz class member who recently lost 138 pounds. Come for the workout, but stay for the dance party (or is it the other way around?). —Celanie Polanick

  5500 Steubenville Pike, Robinson Township; 412/498-5406, latinrhythmz.net

Best local wildlife-preservation effort

The Pennsylvania Bluebird Society
This eclectic group of nature lovers is dedicated to the preservation and propagation of the Eastern bluebird in Pennsylvania—especially protecting this delightful little azure-and-pink symbol of happiness from the hostile invasive species that steal its nests (and sometimes peck the birds to death). The society is headquartered in Mechanicsburg, but president Harry Schmeider lives in Butler, Pa. Schmeider, county coordinators or one of numerous volunteers will happily give advice on putting up a bluebird house, which looks like a tiny outhouse placed on a 4-foot pole, in your backyard so you can help the birds spread their natural, blue-egged spring optimism far and wide. —C.P.

PO Box 756, Mechanicsburg; thebsp.org


 

Most relaxing way to feed a village

Spiritworks Yoga Studio
There are a great number of places to get your yoga on, but only one will let you send the good vibes you get from your downward-facing-dog pose halfway around the world. Spiritworks Yoga is a nonprofit that’s operated by Patricia D. Brown and Maureen McMahon. All proceeds from the volunteer-run studio are sent to Arlene Brown, Patricia’s mother who lives in Rwanda. Arlene’s Hope Made Real organization is the main source of support for 50 Rwandan children, and it helps 300 more obtain an education. Why not meditate on the thought of those kids eating and learning on your dime? —Sean Collier

  103 Yost Blvd., Forest Hills; 412/475-9642, spiritworks.org
 

Best spooky bike trail

Ghost Town Trail
Rural Pennsylvania is full of old towns, abandoned buildings and creepy ruins. For ambitious cyclists and runners, the 36-mile Ghost Town Trail is like riding through a dozen spooky campfire stories at once. During the warmer months, the trail is a gravel path with scenic woods and countryside all around, showcasing the rich wilderness of Indiana County and Cambria counties. But on a misty autumn morning, the trail may chill your bones as it cuts through forgotten work camps and past old mines and railroads. Delve into the history of this eerie region with a copy of the Ghost Town Trail Guidebook. Seeing the old black-and-white photographs of deceased miners will get you in the “spirit” of it. —Robert Isenberg

Ebensburg, Indiana and Cambria counties; indianacountyparks.org
 

Most dignified indoor pool

Carnegie Library of Homestead
When Andrew Carnegie built his public library in Homestead, he spared no expense. Set on a grassy hill, the building is a veritable castle that contains a track, a basketball court and a voluminous music hall. But one of the library’s most beautiful features is a subterranean pool, whose decorated walls and marble pillars are modeled on Roman baths. What’s remarkable is that this pool, built more than a century ago, still hosts swim programs and aqua-based fitness classes. —R.I.

  510 E. 10th Ave., Munhall; 412/462-3444, homesteadlibrary.org


 

Best hike location that looks like it’s out of a movie

Breakneck Falls at McConnells Mill State Park
The waterfall is stunning to behold, but find it at your own risk: No ravine is more aptly named than Breakneck Falls, the deadly jewel in the center of McConnells Mill State Park. The park’s 2,546 acres are all lovely, dark and deep, but adventurers will delight in Breakneck’s treacherous cliffs, angular boulders and freshwater pools littered with dead tree trunks. Descending the roots and rocks is dangerous, but if you can swallow your fear of heights and take it slow, the sight at the bottom will leave you breathless: Breakneck Falls pours crystal-clear water over a cavernous mouth, and on a clear day, sunlight trickles through the evergreens like threads of gold—as mythic as a landscape of Middle Earth. It has to be seen. —R.I.

  2697 McConnells Mill Road, Portersville, Lawrence County; 724/368-8091, dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/mcconnellsmill.aspx


More of Best of the 'Burgh:


Pool photo courtesy of the Carnegie Library of Homestead; Bird photo courtesy of The Pennsylvania Bluebird Society.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in January

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in January

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
2016 Pittsburghers of the Year: The Pittsburgh Penguins

2016 Pittsburghers of the Year: The Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins' hoisting of Lord Stanley’s Cup in June year speaks to the ability of the team and the organization to persevere, to dig deep when things looked bleak, and to roll up their sleeves and go to work when tough jobs had to be done — traits Pittsburghers have always appreciated.
The Big Guy with the Big Voice

The Big Guy with the Big Voice

After joining the Penguins in mid-season, head coach Mike Sullivan instills the focus needed to win the Stanley Cup.
The TV Series ‘Outsiders’ Finds a Home in Millvale

The TV Series ‘Outsiders’ Finds a Home in Millvale

Go behind the scenes to meet set and production designers and artisans who work magic, transforming neighborhoods into rural Kentucky.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

RMU President Named to College Football Playoff Committee

RMU President Named to College Football Playoff Committee

Chris Howard will help decide which four teams will vie each year for college football’s national championship.
Watch: Preview of Fascinating Rachel Carson Documentary

Watch: Preview of Fascinating Rachel Carson Documentary

Carson, a native of Springdale, is credited with launching the modern environmental movement. She is the subject of a new “American Experience” documentary airing Jan. 24 on PBS.
Joe Manganiello Knocks off Superman, Batman is Next

Joe Manganiello Knocks off Superman, Batman is Next

The Mt. Lebanon native and insanely loyal Pittsburgh Steelers fan is engaging in superhero trash talk with one of his movie co-stars.
Pipe Dream? Get From Pittsburgh to Chicago in 30 Minutes

Pipe Dream? Get From Pittsburgh to Chicago in 30 Minutes

Developers say such a trip, at speeds faster than a passenger jet, could be possible in five years.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in January

Top 10 Things to Do in Pittsburgh in January

This month's best bets in the ’Burgh.
2016 Pittsburghers of the Year: The Pittsburgh Penguins

2016 Pittsburghers of the Year: The Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins' hoisting of Lord Stanley’s Cup in June year speaks to the ability of the team and the organization to persevere, to dig deep when things looked bleak, and to roll up their sleeves and go to work when tough jobs had to be done — traits Pittsburghers have always appreciated.
The Big Guy with the Big Voice

The Big Guy with the Big Voice

After joining the Penguins in mid-season, head coach Mike Sullivan instills the focus needed to win the Stanley Cup.
The TV Series ‘Outsiders’ Finds a Home in Millvale

The TV Series ‘Outsiders’ Finds a Home in Millvale

Go behind the scenes to meet set and production designers and artisans who work magic, transforming neighborhoods into rural Kentucky.
Restaurant Review: Spoon in East Liberty Gets a Fresh Polish

Restaurant Review: Spoon in East Liberty Gets a Fresh Polish

Hiring Jamilka Borges as executive chef and a fresh interior design revive the East Liberty restaurant.
Talk of the Tahn: The Gift I Was Given

Talk of the Tahn: The Gift I Was Given

My brother taught me how to ski on rented metal sticks. Boyce Park. It was the first thing we ever did together besides fight over the last slice of pizza.
Edit Module
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


RMU President Named to College Football Playoff Committee

RMU President Named to College Football Playoff Committee

Chris Howard will help decide which four teams will vie each year for college football’s national championship.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Restaurant Industry Fundraiser to Aid Injured Chef

Restaurant Industry Fundraiser to Aid Injured Chef

Zach Behm was chef de cuisine at Cure in Upper Lawrenceville at the time of a July car wreck.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
The Best 6 Places to Get a Cup of Tea in Pittsburgh

The Best 6 Places to Get a Cup of Tea in Pittsburgh

The quiet rise of Pittsburgh's tea scene gives us a few favorite gems.

Comments


Popularity of The Flats on Carson is a Mystery

Popularity of The Flats on Carson is a Mystery

After Dark visits the South Side bar which attracts big crowds on the weekend — and, on Sunday, was the scene of a well-publicized arrest.

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
You Can Hope, but Don't Expect an Easy Steelers' Win in KC

You Can Hope, but Don't Expect an Easy Steelers' Win in KC

Pittsburgh blasted Miami because the Steelers performed as expected against an opponent that was depleted by injury and overwhelmed by its circumstances. But that isn’t likely to happen again.

Comments


Style. Design. Goods. Hide your credit card.
Tantalizing Textiles for the Table

Tantalizing Textiles for the Table

Check out the chic decor from Pittsburgh-based artist and designer Janice Nelson.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Scorsese's Silence Proves Worth the Wait (and the Weight)

Scorsese's Silence Proves Worth the Wait (and the Weight)

Reviews of "Silence," "Live by Night" and "Patriot's Day."

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
Pittsburgh Romance: How Their Love Survived Long-Distance

Pittsburgh Romance: How Their Love Survived Long-Distance

From coast to coast and continent to continent, these couples showed that absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
Urban Fit Co. Opening Flagship Shop in Sewickley

Urban Fit Co. Opening Flagship Shop in Sewickley

The locally owned active wear boutique is slated to open in March. Plus, get all the details on Pittsburgh’s new luxury residential real estate firm, Piatt Sotheby’s International Realty.

Comments


The hottest topics in higher education
Pittsburgh Artist’s Work to be Featured at Thiel College

Pittsburgh Artist’s Work to be Featured at Thiel College

Benedict Oddi’s collection “Scouts and Nomads” will be on display in a campus gallery.

Comments