10 Reasons to Love Springtime in Pittsburgh

Spring has sprung, and the Pittsburgh area is buzzing with activities for the whole family. Here are the ten activities we are so excited for spring here at Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community.


1. The Point

The fountain at Point State Park is a great attraction to see with family.  It marks where Pittsburgh’s three rivers meet and is a must-see tourist attraction for those visiting Pittsburgh.  You can visit the Fort Pitt museum or take a walk downtown for lunch or dinner. It’s an easy walk from Market Square, where you can enjoy steak, tacos, oysters, or a Primanti’s sandwich!


2. Baseball Games

Pirates baseball is back! And with excitement still looming from last year’s successful season, it’s bound to be a beautiful spring and summer at PNC park! With affordably priced tickets compared to other ballparks, and something to eat and drink for every member of the family, PNC park is a great place to catch some sun – and maybe even a foul ball.


3. Public Parks

Pittsburgh has a beautiful collection of public parks for you to explore, and plenty of activities going on in each of them! Try a walk for a good cause, a picnic in the grass, or event take part in the senior games!


4. Just Ducky Tours

Sometimes it’s nice to be a tourist in your own city. And you can be one by land AND by sea with a Just Ducky Tour! You’ll explore many areas of the city in a boat that can drive down the street and then hop into the river. It’s a fun experience for the whole family and a great opportunity for you to appreciate the city you call home.


5. Kennywood

We had Kennywood on our summer list, too, but the park Opens May 3! Locals have their own idea of what the best part of the amusement park is, from the funnel cakes and ice cream to the whip and the Olde Kennywood
Railroad. Nothing says that summer is on its way more than walking into the entrance of Kennywood.


6. Southside Works

If you’re looking for an area of the city to shop, eat, and catch a movie – without having to look for parking between each activity – try SouthSide works! Southside works requires little walking and holds popular restaurants such as Hofbrahaus and the Cheesecake factory! It’s a great place to take teenage grandchildren and adult children for a beautiful day out.


7. Gallery Crawls

Pittsburgh’s cultural district and upcoming artistic communities in neighborhoods such as Lawrenceville and Garfield often have gallery crawls which feature local artists. They vary in location and price, but they are usually quite affordable and fun for anyone who enjoys art and is able to walk around well!


8. National Aviary

There is so much more to enjoy at the National Aviary than the beautiful weather. Like penguin feedings, bat feedings, and flamingo encounters. Get your whole nest together and flock together to the aviary to check out some of the nation’s most beautiful birds.


9. Dinner on Mount Washington

Mount Washington is home to some of the most beautiful views in the city. You’re just a incline ride away from some of the most high-end restaurants in the city, too. Mount Washington is great for date night! Start with a ride on the incline, stop to take some photos at the outlook, and dine in style at the wide range of restaurants available, which vary from formal locations to fun pubs.


10. Dog Parks

Want to spend a fun day with man’s best friend? Spring is the perfect time to get out and get active with your favorite four-legged friend at one of Pittsburgh’s many dog parks!

It’s Spring at Sherwood Oaks!

No matter what your favorite season is, you were probably happy to have some sun and see the snow melt. We love spring here at Sherwood Oaks… and it should be clear why. There is SO much going on around campus now that everything has defrosted. Here are just a few things that you can look forward to this spring:


Our Weekly Walking Group

Our “Take a Walk with a Friend” program will have you mastering our walking trails, which go through the woods, around the lake, and over the three miles of designated walking space on our 84-acre campus. It both social and physical, which helps keep our residents happy and healthy!

Our Farmer’s Garden and Perennial Garden

Have a green thumb? You’ve laded at a gardener’s paradise! You can grow fruit, vegetables, and flowers in our Farmer’s Garden, which features raised beds that are tilled up and ready-to-go for residents who love local product. Really, really local produce!

Outdoor Activities

We have a full selection of outdoor activities for residents to enjoy with their family and friends, from Outdoor games such as bocce ball, shuffleboard, corn hole, a new volleyball court, a Wimbledon court, badminton, basketball and horseshoes at Sherwood Oaks’ Summer House.  There is also a designated area for outdoor games and grills for outdoor cooking! And for the little ones in the family, there is a playground to enjoy.

Trips and Tours

Sherwood Oaks has a Trips and Tours Committee run by the residents that plan day trips and occasional overnight trips to see local sites and tourist attractions. Attractions may be that a three or four hour bus ride away that would require an overnight (or two-night) stay. Be on the lookout for news about upcoming trips!

Looking to branch off of campus to enjoy some sunshine? Be on the lookout for our upcoming post, “10 Reasons to Love Springtime in Pittsburgh.”

All in the Family: Planning a Multigenerational Vacation

It’s easier than ever for us to travel in comfort. Not to mention, we are healthier and have the tools to make travel more simple and affordable than ever. So it’s no wonder that multigenerational travel is on the rise.

According to industry marketing firm MMGY Global, reported by the Wall Street Journal, “Thirty-seven percent of grandparents with a household income greater than $50,000 who took a vacation last year did so with grandchildren, up from 28% in 2007. And 78% of these trips included all three generations.”

If you’re one of those grandparents who are looking forward to a fun family vacation this summer, you’ve got an exciting but stressful task on your hands:  Helping to plan. While you, your children, and your grandchildren may all be part of one family, you may live in many locations, enjoy a wide variety of activities, and be living on very different budgets. As you speak with your children and plan out what will be a great time to bond, keep these things in mind:

Who is going?

When you’re planning a family trip, you need to decide what “family” means. Are you inviting Aunt Mildred and Cousin James? Just the kids and grandkids? Knowing who you want to include – and taking everyone’s feelings into consideration – will get the trip off to the right start.

Does everyone have a say?

A lot of people on one trip means a LOT of opinions. And while you can’t please everyone all of the time, you should allow everyone on their trip to have one “must-have.” This is the one attraction or activity that they HAVE to do while on vacation. Meet everyone’s top expectation and no one will be able to say that they didn’t have a say in the trip.

Where are you staying?

While booking a few hotel rooms to fit your family may be the right decision for you, or the only option you have, consider booking a house or condo with more amenities and more room for each family member to have their own space.

What is the budget?

It’s very important to set a clear budget at the beginning of the trip, and to have an understanding that there may be members of the family who cannot afford to go over that budget. Make a list of all of the activities you would like to do, as well as necessities like gas, food, and cost of your hotel or rental property, and make sure that everyone agrees to how much they will be paying.

Who is in charge of the kids?

Babysitting your grandchildren can be a very fun experience, and letting mom and dad go out for a night without the kids on there vacation may be a dream come true for them. But if you have small children along, make sure you know who will be attending to them and the special needs that they may have during the trip, or divvy up the work so that one person doesn’t spend the week on diaper duty!

What do you need to pack?

You won’t need four coolers, five curling irons, ten bottles of sunscreen or seven beach umbrellas on your trip, so make sure that you discuss with your family what you will be sharing. With many people headed on a vacation, there is going to be little room for packing the non-essentials!

Should you talk to a pro?

Large family vacations can be a big undertaking, so you may need to call in a pro, especially if you are taking a trip that involves flights, hotels, tours, and rental cars. Consider working with a travel agency if you think that it would be easier to let them make some of the plans for you.

Is everyone in touch?

If you’ve ever seen “Home Alone,” you know that it can be tough to keep track of everyone while you’re travelling. Make sure that everyone has each other’s cell phone numbers in case of an emergency. Some people prefer to use walkie-talkies if they won’t be too far from one another. For kids, consider getting them an identification bracelet, or try out the new SafetyTats:  Temporary tattoos that have your contact information on them! Kids won’t fuss with them like the do with a bracelet.

Do you have some wiggle room?

Even the best-laid plans don’t always work out. Making plans for a large group can get difficult when it comes to time management. It takes a large group longer to get out the door in the morning. They have longer waits at restaurants. They have to take more bathroom breaks! Make sure that your trip has a lot of space for taking breaks for you and the kids, as well as some flexibility in case the restaurant you wanted to go to isn’t open the day you go.

Can you get group discounts?

Depending on how large your group is, you may be able to get group discounts for some of the attractions you go to see. Call ahead to ask for their group policies.

Bonus: Here are our suggestions for vacations that mean family fun for everyone!

  • Disney World, Orlando, Fla.
  • An all-inclusive cruise
  • Myrtle Beach, S.C.
  • Outer Banks, N.C.
  • New York City, N.Y.
  • Hershey, Pa.
  • Gettysburg, Pa.
  • Busch Gardens, Va.
  • Washington D.C.
  • Presque Isle, Erie, Pa.
  • Splash Lagoon, Erie, Pa.

Thinking about a stay-cation? Consider Moraine State Park, the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium, the Aviary, the Children’s Museum, Kennywood, Idlewild, or a Pirates’ baseball game.

Time to Heat Up the Grill!

Is it just us, or does food just taste a little bit better when it’s made on a grill on a nice summer’s day? At Sherwood Oaks, we love a good hamburger or hot dog straight from the grill, especially when it’s prepared surrounded by friends, family, and laughter.

Each Sherwood Oaks resident is able to have a grill on their patio, but our common area, the Summer House, has grills and an open area for picnic activities.

Here are 10 delicious looking recipes that we have stumbled upon for you to grill up this spring and summer!


1. Pesto Grilled Shrimp

Seafood lovers looking to add some flavor to the classic taste of shrimp will love the bold flavor of pesto!


2. Grilled Asparagus and New Potatoes

Potatoes are a comfort food – and a delicious one, at that. Combine them with grilled asparagus for a healthy and flavorful veggie mix.


3. Grilled Pizza

Did you know that you could grill pizza? Now you do! Step away from that oven and put a twist on this Italian favorite using your grill.


4. Grilled Beet Salad

Have some vegetarians in the family?


5. Grilled Monterey Chicken

A very big step away from vegetarian options is this grilled Monterey Chicken, covered in cheese and smoky bacon.


6. Grilled Steak Tacos

Turn your picnic into a fiesta with these delicious grilled steak tacos.


7. Grilled Italian Pork Chops

Pork lovers, don’t fret. There is an option for you on our list, too! And it includes some of the best flavors in Italy.


8. Grilled Strawberries Over Vanilla Ice Cream

You might not think of desserts when you think of grilling, but a few minutes on a grill can add some serious flavor to an already sweet dessert.


9. Grilled Chocolate Banana Melts

And if you’re having some chocolate cravings, try out these grilled chocolate banana melts!


10. Ham and Pineapple Kabobs

We couldn’t finish off the list without including a kabob, and this one has some Hawaiian flare – just in case you don’t make it to the Islands this summer.


Try out these recipes and let us know if they will be a regular dish at your cookouts from now on!

Make Lasting Memories with Your Grandchildren

A lot of families come to visit Sherwood Oaks Retirement Community each year, including those growing-like-a-weed grandchildren! It can sometimes be difficult for residents to think of activities to do with their grandchildren that everyone will enjoy. Generation gaps can really mess up plans, huh?

But with some creative thinking, you can plan a fun day for everyone that you and your grandchildren will remember for years to come.

For the younger ones…

When young grandchildren grow up, they will cherish the time they spent learning from you. The time they get to spend with you will help shape the people they become, so make the most of that time!

  • Pittsburgh Children’s Museum – Open seven days a week, the Children’s Museum is floors and floors of fun for kids and kids at heart! Explore permanent exhibits like the water play area, or attend an artist residency exhibit, like the XOXO: Love Letters Project that is taking place this weekend.
  • Carnegie Science CenterRobots, railroads, space stations, and magnetic forces. Does this sound like your idea of an adventure? Then take your favorite little explorer with you to the Carnegie Science Center. This trip will prove to be both fun and educational… and not just for the kids!
  • Stay In! – A night in with your grandchildren is filled with possibilities. From reading them your favorite books as a child to catching up on their favorite movies, you don’t need to get fancy in order to entertain! You can even plan a family game night or show them how to make their favorite food, asking them if they would like to help where they can.
  • Take Them for a One-on-One Lunch – Everyone enjoys dressing up for a nice afternoon of good food and big laughs. Take your grandchild to a formal lunch, one-on-one, so that you have a chance to talk to them and teach them table manners. If they are good, don’t forget dessert!
  • Outdoor Playground – Sherwood Oaks has a wonderful outdoor playground for grandkids and families to enjoy.

And the older ones…

Teenagers and adults obviously have different interests and hobbies than children, but just because your grandchildren are big, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have beautiful little moments with them!

  • See a Show – We’ve previously written about the wonderful cultural experiences that Pittsburgh has to offer, and it’s an exciting moment when your grandchildren are old enough to truly enjoy them with you! Treat them to a night at the Benedum and Heinz Hall and grab a bite to eat in one of the Cultural District’s delicious restaurants after.
  • Visit the Carnegie Museums – Another cultural activity that your grown grandchildren may enjoy are the Carnegie Museums, which includes the Carnegie Museum of Art, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Carnegie Science Center, and The Andy Warhol Museum. Whether you and your grandchildren bond over art or history, one of the museums will be sure to get you talking.
  • Work on a Family Tree – As grandchildren get older, they often show more interest in where they came from. Help them explore your roots and make discoveries yourself by working on your family tree. You can start online with Ancestry.com or MyRelatives.com.
  • Stop by the Billiard Room – Sherwood Oaks had a billiard room, just in case you want to challenge your grandchildren to a friendly game of pool!

For everyone!

  • Visit the Zoo
  • Go to a Baseball Game at PNC Park
  • Enjoy the walking trails around the lake and through the woods at Sherwood Oaks
  • Or stop by our picnic area, complete with barbecues and outdoor games like  shuffleboard, bocce ball, cornhole, badminton, basketball, lawn darts, horseshoes
  • Take a dip in our indoor swimming pool. Grandkids are more than welcome as long as there is someone else in the pool area. No swimming alone permitted!
  • Don’t live near the grandchildren? Set up regular visits with them over Skype and send letters in between visits!

Tips for visits with grandchildren:

  • Make sure to be clear with your children on how often you would like to see them and your grandchildren so that all of you can work it into your schedule
  • If the grandkids are visiting without mom and dad, make sure you ask what the rules are!
  • Make sure to baby proof the house if little ones are visiting