Monday, July 16, 2012

There's No Place Like Home

What do you get a Pittsburgh man turning 32-years old?

Brian’s birthday last year enjoying my birthday specialty:
Ice Cream and a Pirates game

This was the question that had been boggling my mind for the past two weeks, as my 31-year old boyfriend’s birthday slowly creeped closer and closer. 
There had been mentions of a Playstation, a whole-home sound system, and a few other electronics, but none of them were really striking a cord with me. 
After all, we’d been dating now for five years, and I had yet to really WOW him on his birthday. 

Every year on July 22, my bank account always seems, well - unstable may be a good word - and I fall into almost the exact same gift year after year: two Pirates tickets and a Dairy Queen ice cream cake.

But this year, I wanted to do something special and after pondering a few days over what the “special” would be, it occurred to me that we could use a little time away.  Our beach vacation is still weeks away, but I thought a weekend getaway could just the perfect birthday present.  
A few random places crossed my mind….Presque Isle, Atlantic City, Washington D.C…but there was one underlying factor that was keeping me from leaving our Northside home…my 31-year old boyfriend, Brian, did not want to leave the Northside the weekend of his birthday.  With the Pirates playing the Marlins literally less than a mile from our home, it looked like a bad case of Bucco fever was going to prevent this trip from happening.

And there it was. 
The. Best. Idea. Ever.  Brian and I had been living on the Northside for almost as long as we had been dating and just last May, he made it quite clear he wasn’t leaving the Northside any time soon with the purchase of a house located right in the heart and center of the neighborhood.  

We’ve sporadically been to many of the Northside’s local establishments and attractions, obviously PNC Park WAY too many times, but we’ve never actually been able to fully embrace all that Pittsburgh’s Northside has to offer.  And, with Brian being an avid supporter of all things Northside, a birthday weekend with nothing but Northside activities could be the absolute perfect gift for the soon to be 32-year old man.

So as I started building an itinerary for the weekend, I felt something was still missing...and it wasn’t a DQ ice cream cake.  This wouldn’t really be a ‘getaway’ unless we actually ‘got away’ from our home that is.  In fact, I had a sneaky suspicion that if we didn’t physically leave our home for the entire weekend, the itinerary would probably lose out to MLB Extra Innings. Luckily, I knew just the place to stay for our Northside “staycation” The Priory Hotel.

I’ve known the wonderful staff at The Priory Hotel for quite a few years now, mostly through work functions, but really never had a reason to stay there, since, well, it’s located on the Northside just a few blocks away from our home. I’ve walked through its beautiful corridors though – from the newly added bedrooms, to the quaint Refrectory room where breakfast is served every morning.  A recently added full-service bar - the Monks’ Bar - and an outdoor courtyard that makes you feel like your miles away from any city, always gave me the desire to want to stay there to experience the total package and fully enjoy The Priory’s undeniable uniqueness and charm that no other hotel can provide.

And just like that, I was booking our weekend birthday stay that kicks-off tonight - Thursday night, July 19 at the Priory Hotel’s monthly wine tasting – 3rd Thursday of most every month. Now all I have to do is get Brian there.  Luckily for him the weekend still includes Pirates tickets, since PNC Park is on my list of Northside attractions.  

Courtesy of my friends at the Priory Hotel, I’ll be blogging my Northside journey all weekend long right here, so I hope you stay tuned for the ride.

- Stephanie

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