For 17 years, third-generation and FAA–certified sky engineer Addison M. Brown has hoisted panorama junkies into the sky by harnessing the power of hot, blustery air. Each morning, between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., he and his team pile up to 8 to 14 passengers into the basket of their giant balloons. Then, firing off the burner, they slowly lift off as the sun begins its own ascent, typically reaching heights from 500 to 2,000 feet. Below them, the rays of the sunrise wash over vistas of downtown Asheville, a patchwork of multicolored crop fields, and the tree-covered backs of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Maneuvering with the morning's mild wind currents, they ferry the group over hills and hollows for a 3- to 5-mile float. Upon a gentle landing, the crew celebrates with passengers by offering them a champagne toast and helping them dust the clouds out of their hair. Passengers are welcomed to bring their own cameras or video cameras to document the flight.
Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
After more than 120 years of sprucing up homes with high-quality paints and home décor, Westmoreland Supply continues the tradition with a variety of PPG Pittsburgh Paints. Made from a 100% acrylic formula, Manor Hall interior paints ($48.18–$51.57) coat walls in several stain-resistant sheens, such as the soft, subtle Eggshell. Or, Manor Hall exterior paint with Manorshield ($53.49–$58.84) has an urethane-fortified mildew-resistant finish that prevents cracking and peeling in any weather condition, from heavy summer downpours to winter cold snaps to Halloween toilet-paper storms.
Of all the individuals who made the Italian beef sandwich a Chicago staple in the early 20th century, Karl Horn has a soft spot for one in particular: his mom, Carol. Affectionately nicknamed "Tootie" by her family, Carol created the recipe that Karl uses at Tootie's Famous Italian Beef. Deemed the city's best roast beef by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, each portion of slow-roasted meat arrives in 4-, 6-, or 12-inch rolls topped with giardiniera and provolone cheese. The Tootie team also fills sandwiches with sausage links, shredded chicken, and, in the case of its Barnyard and The Farm options, all three at once.
Owned and operated by three generations of Staley family women, The Picket Fence has swathed women, children, and infants in designer apparel and accessories for the past 10 years. The shop’s selection of sweaters was named as one of the best in town by CBS Pittsburgh in an article that asserted that “this shop will become one of your favorite places to frequent when you are craving something new for your wardrobe.” The fashion-savvy Staley women select items from lines such as Orla Kiely, Lauren Moffatt, and Alexis Bittar. Children’s items run under labels including Oilily and Lilly Pulitzer. Thanks to a number of home accessories and gifts that enhance the shopping experience, an examiner.com columnist dubbed The Picket Fence as “the ultimate Shadyside fashion boutique.” Additionally, a variety of children’s toys offer whippersnappers respite from stressful make-believe games of applying for imaginary car loans.
The secondhand building materials, home furnishings, and antique treasures residing within Construction Junction's 30,000-square-foot warehouse all dodged a trip to the landfill in order to be repurposed in construction or decorating projects. Twenty departments come stocked with items ranging from major appliances and plumbing accessories to lumber and wardrobes that lead to Narnia. The crew of staff, volunteers, and interns at this nonprofit company cares not only for the environment, by finding a new home for functional wares, but also for the community, by supporting organizations such as Goodwill.