Intro to Kayaking – Indoors at the YMCA

One of the hobbies that I have picked up here in Pittsburgh in the past few years in kayaking.   Thanks to Kayak Pittsburgh it is super easy to rent a kayak and paddle around the city.  And it is one of the best ways to see the city.  I am pretty sure I took this photo from a kayak on the river (not sure how it ended up on wikipedia).

This is the view from my kayak on the river. T...

This is the view from my kayak on the river. These are easy no tip kayaks. No exorience necessary. Just head on down to kayak pittsburgh located just under the Roberto Clement bridge, for less than $ 20 you can be on the river too. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I tell people about kayaking their reaction is usually something like – “you are crazy” or “I am afraid of getting stuck under one of those things in that river.”

These are not hard-core whitewater kayaks.  Kayak Pittsburgh rents sea kayaks (often called sit-on-top kayaks).  These are kayaks that you just sit in, and they are very stable, so hard to tip over, and on the rare chance if you tip over, you would just fall out of the boat (but you are wearing a life jacket – and you will just float).

If this sounds at all interesting to you – but you aren’t sure about giving it a try on the river – Venture Outdoors is offering an Intro to Kayaking class at the YMCA this spring.

Intro to Kayaking
This course gives you a chance to try kayaking in the safety and security of an indoor swimming pool. You will learn kayaking basics, along with some simple paddle strokes and self-rescue techniques. Expect to get wet! Boats, paddles and PFDs are provided. Minimum age 12.

Location: Thelma Lovette YMCA, Hill District
Difficulty: Easy
Time: 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM
Cost: $33.00 non-member / $25.00 member

Questyinz: Where can dogs swim in Pittsburgh?

A Portuguese water dog competes during a water...
Image via Wikipedia

Alona asked, “We just got a new puppy! He’s a black lab mix – and boy is this heat getting to him. Where’s a good place in or around Pittsburgh to take a dog for a swim? Thanks!”

So glad that Alona asked “in or around” as the following places are scattered all over the Pittsburgh metro area.  The good news is that there are a lot of different options to try – check out each of these until you find one that your new puppy wants to call his swimming hole of choice.  Anyone else know a great spot?  Please add your recommendations in Comments.

45 minutes from the city is Lucky Paws Pet Resort, Pittsburgh Magazine’s 2009 pick for “Best Dog Pool.”  It’s $10 for a visit or $175 for an annual pass.  Check out the website, they aren’t kidding when they say “resort,” its like the Four Seasons of dog pools.

Another park that is in a league of their own is Misty Pines Dog Park Co. in Sewickley.  The pond that they have closes to the public when they have their dog swim classes (no joke, they have “Dock Diving”) so you will want to check the website for times.

As for parks that have pet friendly waters, there are several.  Lower Frick Park has a small fenced off area with a water feature.  It’s right off Tranquil trail.   They call it “Hot Dog Dam,” tee hee.  It’s very shady down there, so that helps too.

Northmoreland Lake in Northmoreland County Park is another option, although it’s closer to Greensburg, so it’s 25 minutes out of town.  It’s not a dog swimming hole by definition, more like they don’t oppose it.

The following article from last fall’s Post-Gazette covers two great events for dog swimming at area pools that are usually for humans. At the end of the season, Sandcastle and the Dormont Pool allow dogs to swim for a day.  See the article for more details.

I hope this gives you and your pup some direction.  If you are lucky, maybe he’ll learn the Triple Lindy in dock diving school!  If so, please send video.

Radio Round Up – September 11, 2009

Busking Accordionist in Dorsten. Pictured acco...
Image via Wikipedia
  • Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009 3-7pm
  • Leslie Park Pool, Butler Street Lawrenceville
  • 20+ Accordion players, ethnic dancers, local food and more – in an empty swimming pool
  • More info at
  • Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009
  • Elks Club – North Side
  • $5 gets you in the door – Chili, cornbread and $.25 drafts
  • Mellon Park, Fifth Ave and Shady Ave
  • 2009 is the 40th Anniversary
  • September 11th-13th in Mellon Park, Pittsburgh.
  • Friday 1-7 pm, Saturday 10 am-7 pm, Sunday 10 am-5 pm
  • Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009 – 9am
  • Meet at Station Square Bessemer Court
  • Organized by the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area
  • Sunday, Sept. 13, 2009 11am – 5pm
  • 40th Anniversary
  • Tickets are $20
  • Self-guided tour of 13 homes
  • Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2009
  • Should I Drink That – Pittsburgh’s best beer podcasters
  • Theater Square Cabaret
  • Kayak Pittsburgh, downtown location
  • September 14-18, 2009
  • Must have valid student ID
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3rd Annual Friends of Dormont Pool Pub Tour

Dormont PoolImage via Wikipedia

Dormont is a neighborhood that is just south of Pittsburgh and it is home to an enormous, amazing and historic  swimming pool which is supported by a community with a huge heart that has been working like crazy to keep the pool afloat (I couldn’t resist).

Friends of Dormont Pool will be hosting their 3rd Annual Pub Tour this weekend

When: Saturday, April 25th, 2009 from 7:00 PM – 12:00 Midnight
Where: Local venues in Dormont. 

We’re anticipating all 12 venues will participate this year!
Cost: T-shirts will be sold to support the Dormont Pool at a cost of $15.00

Check out the pool history…

The Dormont Pool dates back to 1920, when Andrew Philp used rocks to dam a creek to make a wading pool. In 1922, the borough spent $6,851 to create a larger dam for a swimming area and an ice skating rink. At the same time they also built a small wooden bath house. The pool was made to give people the feeling of being in the tropics.

Dormont Pool has survived the Great Depression, World War II, and has opened every season. It was declared a Historic Landmark in 2002.

Dormont Pool is #97 on the Pittsburgh Bucket List – what is on your Pittsburgh bucket list?

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Dormont Pool 2nd Annual St. Patrick's Day Party

A green party to raise some green for this very important swimming pool.

What: 2nd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Party
Why: Fundraiser for the Dormont Pool
When: Saturday, March 15
Where: Dormont Rec Center (above the pool)
Cost: $15/person $25/couple – singles welcome!

More info: and Save Dormont Pool

Available will be beer, soft drinks, food, raffle baskets, a Chinese Auction and a D.J. for your entertainment.

Tickets are available by calling Sarann Fisher (412) 561-7692 or