Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Well it's Groundhog Day...Again

If you are one of the thousands headed to Punxsutawney this February to see Phil predict how much winter is left, you are crazy in for a treat! Since Groundhog Day falls on a Monday this year, a full schedule of activities is already planned for the entire weekend starting on Friday, January 30.

Since people drive from all over the place to see this cute little rodent, make sure to book your hotel reservations as early as possible. The Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce has kindly compiled a list of great lodging around the area so check it out and get your plans underway now. You'll need the extra time to practice your Pennsylvania Polka.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

PirateFest 2009

If you're still a Pittsburgh Pirates believer, or if you just enjoy professional baseball, make sure you check out PirateFest 2009 this year at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

PirateFest is in its 19th year of providing fans of all ages with live events, free autograph sessions, prizes, contests and so much more.

Individual game tickets will be sold at the event and all attendees receive a free program.

Current and former Pirates players scheduled to attend include, among many others, Nate McLouth, Freddy Sanchez, Paul Maholm, Matt Capps and Doug Drabek.

PirateFest runs from January 23 - 25. If you plan on making a weekend out of it, make sure to book a room at the Priory Hotel now to receive are special winter rates so you can use that extra money on, oh I don't know, a new Pirates t-shirt, baseball cap or even a brand new bobblehead!

Let's Go Bucs!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Inauguration Day Events around Pittsburgh

On January 20, Barak Obama will be sworn into office as the United States' first African-American president.
Here are some local events to check out if you are looking to celebrate this historical occasion.

January 16, 6:00 p.m. - Sworn In: Opening Party, Future Tenant, Downtown. Coinciding with the presidential inauguration, meet the artists at this reception for "Sworn In," a multimedia exhibit featuring politically-inspired works. The exhibit will run through Feb. 14, 2009. The party will feature refreshments, local musicians and DJs. Admission is free. For more information, call 412.325.7037.

January 17, 2:00 p.m. - Kids Inauguration Party, Borders Books & Music, East Liberty. Bring the kids to celebrate America's history and democracy at this fun-filled party recognizing the upcoming inauguration of President Barack Obama.

January 20, 6:30 p.m. - Pittsburgh's Presidential Inauguration Celebration, Pittsburgh Athletic Association, Oakland. This event commemorating the inauguration of Barack Obama will feature The Boilermakers Jazz Band. A $100 Patron ticket gives a $60 donation to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank in your name. Guests can also bring non-perishable items for donation to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. Light food and beverages will be served. Festive and patriotic dress is encouraged. Presented by Sterling Events. For more information, call 412.498.9866.

January 20, 6:30 p.m. - The Mon Valley Inaugural Ball, Youghiogheny Country Club, Elizabeth. Greater Monongahela Valley residents are welcome to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama. The event is complete with dinner and entertainment by DJ Sly Jock and the Nelson Harrison’s Jazz Combo. Proceeds benefit these Mon Valley charities: The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank; The UPMC Cancer Research Fund; Semper Fidelis Club Scholarship; Sarah Thomas Scholarship Fund; and The Phyllis Wheatley Literary Society Scholarship Fund. For tickets, call Samuella Peters at 412.673.0701.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Celebrate the Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is January 19 this year and there are a ton of activities around Pittsburgh for you to go to and honor Dr. King and his dedication to end poverty and progress civil rights in the United States.

Saturday, January 17

Martin Luther King Neighborhood Diversity Crawls, 11:00 a.m.

Join Pittsburgh Cares in celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s passion for diversity by registering for a narrated tour around various Pittsburgh neighborhoods including Mount Washington/West End, Lawrenceville, Bloomfield/Friendship, South Side, Regent Square, Strip District and Oakmont. Registration fee is $20 and includes food and beverage samplings, exploration of locally owned businesses and education on how local nonprofit organizations support our region. For more information, or to register for the neighborhood of your choice, please call 412.471.2114.

Let Freedom Sing, 7:30 p.m.
Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church
6556 Shetland Street, Lincoln Larmier

Let Freedom Sing is a choir concert celebrating the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with the goal of blurring the geographic, demographic and economic lines separating urban and suburban Pittsburgh. Admission is free, but donations will be accept toward building the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial located on the National Wall in Washington, D.C. For more information, contact Dr. Herbert Jones at 412.241.6775.

Sunday, January 18

Martin Luther King Celebration, 3:00 p.m.
Ford Memorial United Methodist Church
1024 4th Avenue, Ford City

Featured Speaker is Rev. John Welch (Dean of students at the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary).
Open to the public. Call 724.763.1540 for more information.

25th Annual Gathering of Congregations & Celebration,
3:30 p.m.
Eastminster Presbyterian Church
250 North Highland Avenue, East End

Interfaith service and celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Keynote speaker is The Most Reverend David Zubik, twelfth Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese Of Pittsburgh.

Dinner and a Movie, 6:00 p.m.
Letter Carrier's Theatre
841 California Avenue, Northside

"The Children's March" and more. Visit for more information.

Monday, January 19

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Diversity Shelves & Performances,
10:00 a.m.
Manchester Craftsmen's Guild
1815 Metropolitan Street, Manchester

Join more than 350 youth and adult volunteers at the Bidwell Training Center, a subsidiary of the Manchester Bidwell Corporation for the design and construction of "diversity shelves."

Volunteers can tour a private photo exhibit of Dr. King's life that documents and teaches individuals about his own personal civic journey. Various local performing artists will also share their talents at the end of the project in celebration of Dr. King's dream for a community that respects and embraces diversity.

Peace and Unity March, 10:30 a.m.
Starting location: Bidwell Presbyterian Church
1025 Liverpool Street, Manchester
End location: Calvary United Methodist Church
971 Beech Avenue, Northside - 11:45 a.m.

Service of Celebration, Interdenominational Worship Service, Noon
"The Beloved Community...Tell It...Live It...Be It"
Calvary United Methodist Church
971 Beech Avenue, Northside

Guest Pastor Rev. Glenn Grayson, Wesley Center AME Zion Church.

Drum Major for Justice Action, 1:30 p.m.
Buses leave from Calvary United Methodist Church and return to Calvary Church and Bidwell Presbyterian Church.

7th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the Park
, 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Schenley Park
3898 Boulevard of the Allies, Oakland

Venture Outdoors and the SCA host the celebration, one of the largest in the City (300 participants) and provide a platform for kids of different backgrounds to learn about their commonalities by having fun through the outdoors and art. Outside, the children and families will enjoy ice skating and sledding, while inside they will participate in children’s art projects.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration, 1:00 p.m.
Children's Museum Of Pittsburgh
10 Children's Way, Northside

Kids can enjoy a special performance by Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Violist Andrew Wickesburg.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration, 5:30 p.m.
Union Project
801 North Negley Avenue, Highland Park

Motivational entertainment, held to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his vision of connecting communities, cultures and individuals. Free community dinner, step performances, readings of Dr. King's selected works and poetry by local youth, and renowned keynote speaker, Saleem Ghubril of the Pittsburgh Promise. Admission is free. For more information, call 412.363.4550.

Let Freedom Sing, 7:30 p.m.
Franklin Regional High School
3200 School Road, Murrysville

Let Freedom Sing is a choir concert celebrating the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with the goal of blurring the geographic, demographic and economic lines separating urban and suburban Pittsburgh. Admission is free, but donations will be accept toward building the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial located on the National Wall in Washington, D.C. For more information, contact Dr. Herbert Jones at 412.241.6775.

Tuesday, January 20

Family Storytime: Martin's Birthday, 6:00 p.m.
Carnegie Library Of Pittsburgh
130 South Whitfield Street, East Liberty

As American inaugurates its first African-American president, kids ages 3 to 10 and their families are welcome to this storytime about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Steelers Playoff Game This Sunday

It's a great time to be in Pittsburgh if you love sports. Or maybe just football. While we still have hope for our Penguins, and yes, even the Pirates when April comes around, all of the city's focus this week turns to the Pittsburgh Steelers as they take on the San Diego Chargers at Heinz Field.

I think the majority can agree that there's nothing quite like the excitement of a Steelers Playoff game. If you're not going to the game, but still looking to possibly snag some tickets - here are a few radio contests to check out:

96.1 KISS is giving away 2 - Just listen this Friday morning for Steelers Players numbers to be announced. Click here for more details.

102.5 DVE is also giving away 2 - Just fill in your information to register.

94.5 3WS has tickets to give away - Just fill in your information to register.

Or if you're just looking for some fun places to watch the game, good drink specials or just a great atmosphere try The Bar at2132 in the Southside, Mulligan's Sports Bar & Grill in West Mifflin or Billy's Troy Hill Bistro on the Northside.

Here We Go Steelers!

America's Best Ice Skating Rinks

If you love to travel like I do, you'd be wise to sign-up for an e-newsletter from ForbesTraveler.Com. They write about interesting and fun to read features like this one about America's Coolest Ice Skating Rinks.

Obviously, the Rockefeller Center Ice Skating Rink is tops with most people, but if you love to ice skate you'll be happy to know that Pittsburgh has some great places.

The best skating rink for my family and me is The Rink at PPG Place in downtown Pittsburgh. My family loves to ice skate and PPG's outdoor rink is fantastic. In fact, its ice surface is more than 2,000 sq. ft. larger than the Rockefeller Center ice rink. During the holidays, the rink features a huge 60-foot tree. A pretty fountain replaces the ice in the spring.

Check it out during your next winter stay at the Priory.

Here's a list to more skating rinks in and around Pittsburgh.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Priory Video

If you've never visited the Priory Hotel and/or Pittsburgh Grand Hall at the Priory before, check out this brief video see what makes us truly special and unique

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Winter White Wedding

Most banquet facilities and hotels that offer Weddings in the Winter simply knock off a percentage of their package price - not a cool way to make your special day, well...SPECIAL!

Here at the Priory, we've always managed our family run business here in Pittsburgh a little bit different than others in the business and Winter Weddings in Pittsburgh are no exception!

New for 2009, Winter White Weddings at Pittsburgh's Grand Hall at the Priory include special d├ęcor reminiscent of a German Christmas or Weinachtzeit (see picture below - think Dr. Zhivago!)), a dance floor resplendent as a skating rink, superb cuisine with a special winter seasonal menu, an open bar, a bridal toast, a wedding cake from Priory Fine Pastries, music, and a one night stay in a suite with two other rooms for guests. Click here for a brochure.

To really kick this new Wedding package off the right way, my family and I agreed that the first Winter White Wedding should be a gift from us to a local Pittsburgh area veteran on the Iraqi and/or Afghanistan wars. We all owe our veterans so much and this small token of our appreciation is the least we could do. Check out our video interview o Pittsburgh's KDKA-TV.

So, back in November we collected names of Iraq or Afghanistan War veterans to be entered into a drawing to win a FREE Winter White Wedding at Pittsburgh's Grand Hall at the Priory!

All of us at the Priory Hospitality Group salute
the following finalists for a free Winter Wedding Wedding:

Army Sergeant Timothy M. Tokarczyk (McKees Rocks); Lori Thomas

Air Force Technical Sergeant Nicklaus Reed (Pittsburgh); Jaclyn White

Air Force Reserves Technical Sergeant Seth Zora (Imperial); Amanda Outman

Army Specialist (E-4) Ezra James Broderick (Washington); Alyssa Curry

Navy (E-8) Traci Ashmore (Allison Park); Kenneth Saunders

Marine Corp. Captain John Schneider (Pittsburgh); Lindsey Shapiro

PA Army National Guard Specialist (E-4) David Bandi, Jr. (Bethel Park); Julie Sbuscio

Army Reserves Staff Sergeant (E-6) Andrea Sokolowski (Natrona Heights);
Brian Dufresne (Coraopolis, also Army)
Army Second Lieutenant Gina Rhodes (Aliquippa); Zachary Henley (Aliquippa, also Army)

We held a special celebration at our Grand Hall on Wednesday, December 17 and drew the lucky couple's names.

Congratulations to Nicholas Lee Lowery & Jennifer Lynn Redman for winning the very first and free Winter White Wedding at Pittsburgh's Grand Hall at the Priory!

Nicholas is a corporal in the Marine Corps who had been deployed to Al Anbar Province in Iraq in 2006. There he had provided protection to convoys as a .50 caliber machine gunner. He is still on active duty and plans to be a career Marine. Jennifer is a student at Robert Morris University and lives in the North Hills of Pittsburgh.

We are currently working with the couple in organizing their wedding for January 10th!


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Priory Hotel Winter Specials

The Priory has made a commitment to celebrate, not denigrate, winter.

In honor of this, The Priory is offering special room rates on all guest rooms for the months of January and February.

Standard rooms (one queen bed or one full size bed) will list for $109 per night (plus tax, double occupancy) Sunday through Thursday, and $119 per night (plus tax, double occupancy), discounted from our usual rates of $140 to $155 per night).

Our other room types - King rooms, large suites, and small suites are also discounted from January through the end of February. Please note that these discounts are subject to availability, and that dates may be blacked out at management's discretion.

Visit our website to reserve your room online!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Pittsburgh January Events

Here a few things to check out if you are in the area during the month of January:

Jan. 3 - Pittsburgh Penguins v. Florida Panthers, Mellon Arena, 1:00 p.m.
Jan. 3 - Jerry Seinfeld, Benedum Center, 9:30 p.m.
Jan. 4 - Phipps Winter Flower Shows (Last Day)
Jan. 6 - Pittsburgh Penguins v. Atlanta Thrashers, Mellon Arena, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 7 - Jersey Boys, Benedum Center, 7:30 p.m. Click for all dates and times.
Jan. 11 - Pitt Panthers v. St. John's, Petersen Event Center, 12:00 p.m.
Jan. 11 - 2008 Carnegie International: Life On Mars (Last Day), Carnegie Museum of Art
Jan. 11 - Steelers Playoff Game, Heinz Field, Time TBA
Jan. 14 - Pittsburgh Penguins v. Washington Capitals, Mellon Arena, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 14 - Pitt Panthers v. South Florida, Petersen Event Center, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 16 - Pittsburgh Penguins v. Anaheim Ducks, Mellon Arena, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 18 - Pittsburgh Penguins v. New York Rangers, Mellon Arena, 12:30 p.m.
Jan. 18 - Potential Steelers Playoff Game
Jan. 19 - Pitt Panthers v. Syracuse, Petersen Event Center, 7:00 p.m.
Jan. 20 - Pittsburgh Penguins v. Carolina Hurricanes, Mellon Arena, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 23 - Jan. 25 - PirateFest, Convention Center
Jan. 24 - Jan. 25 - Ice Fest, Ligonier
Jan. 28 - Pittsburgh Penguins v. New York Rangers, Mellon Arena, 7:30 p.m.
Jan. 31 - Pitt Panthers v. Notre Dame, Petersen Event Center, 12:00 p.m.

For a complete list of happenings around Pittsburgh, visit the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Event Calendar or the Pittsburgh Tribune Review's Event Calendar.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year


On behalf of everyone at Priory Hospitality Group, I wish you a safe, happy, healthy and blessed New Year!

To get things started off right this year, we are launching a Priory Hospitality Group Blog. If you are unfamiliar with us, let me fill you in with a few details:

Family owned and operated by the Graf family since 1986, the Priory Hospitality Group properties consist of:

The Priory Hotel a 24-room European-style boutique hotel on Pittsburgh's North Shore rated the best in Pittsburgh by Zagat Survey® (fifth edition) and one of's Top Ten Hidden Gems in the World.

Pittsburgh’s Grand Hall at the Priory located adjacent to the hotel and situated in the former St. Mary’s German Catholic Church, which offers a breathtaking space for weddings, banquets, parties, charity events and gatherings of all types.

And our award-winning Priory Fine Pastries custom bakery.

In addition, we are leaders in the revitalization effort of the National Register District of Deutschtown on Pittsburgh's North Side.

Our Blog will not only focus on special news and events from the Priory, but will also provide insights on Pittsburgh happenings, travel tips and much more!