Little Things That Make Us Special

This issue of Pittsburgh Magazine focuses on some of the ways our corner of the world is unique.

Whether I’m meeting people new to Pittsburgh or natives, I love sharing the things that make our region special. This issue of Pittsburgh Magazine focuses on some of the ways our corner of the world is unique.

Dive into Chuck Beard’s feature on Roadside Attractions if you need any proof. These charming places bring back the sense of wonder we lost when highways and jets took us off the back roads. As the pandemic caused us to look closer to home for entertainment, we have a chance to discover these gems in our backyard.

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing many of these places, and the ones I haven’t visited are on my list of things to do. I especially recommend a trip to the Johnstown Inclined Plane. The cars carry people and vehicles from Johnstown to the hilltop community of Westmont. Anytime someone would visit me when I lived in Westmont, I would drag them to the incline. Even if you’ve ridden one of Pittsburgh’s inclines, it doesn’t prepare you for the trip up Yoder Hill. The cars are huge in comparison and you can stand outside as the wind blows in your face. It’s a thrill, and for $8 you and your car can glide up the hillside together.

Visit any of these special places we are lucky enough to have around us, and let us know your favorites we didn’t get to. Maybe there are more road trips in our future.

And while you’re traveling around the region, make a side trip to taste one of the many unique pizzas you should try. Hal B. Klein took on the enviable task of tracking down these idiosyncratic styles of pizza from the Ohio Valley to the Mon Valley.

This slice of history started 75 years ago when local pizza makers put their own spin on the family favorite. Hal uncovers the stories behind these quirky and delicious pizza styles within an hour’s drive of Pittsburgh.

Find out what’s behind the Ohio Valley style, with its topping of uncooked cheese, and the Mon Valley red-top pie, with its second crust sitting atop the cheese layer, covered with sauce. There is also the distinct sponge pie, a pizza tradition that started in Monessen in 1952 with a process that hasn’t changed through three generations. And there are many more pizza styles that haven’t gained widespread recognition — although they should.

Whether you grew up in Western Pennsylvania or relocated here, it can be easy to overlook the things that make us extraordinary. I hope Pittsburgh Magazine shows you just how special we are.

Brian can be reached at

Categories: Editor