A weekend’s events ~ Pittsburgh Marathon



Welcome to Pittsburgh’s Marathon weekend. Through the Fort Pitt tunnel, the cityscape is seen through one of the iconic yellow truss bridges.


The expo was held at the Lawrence Convention Center in downtown where racers could pick up their bib numbers, new shoes, temporary tattoos and more. We met up with Jamie Summerlin, the man behind the first Morgantown Marathon, happening this September 20th!

IMG_9048 IMG_9052 IMG_9053We took pictures of the city before heading over to Osteria 2350 for an early dinner. At Osteria our group met up with fellow 7 @ 7ers, a group of mainly women who have been running at least 7 miles every weekend day for the last 7 years. There are more than seven of us now and we let boys join in occasionally!


Muffin, in the foreground, has been preparing for her first marathon, so the group got together and made her a book of inspiration! In the background 17-times-a-marathoner-Sue and 5-time-marathoner-Cath are obviously enjoying themselves.IMG_9061 IMG_9063

Early the next morning the 5-guy relay team prepares for what will be a 3:09 marathon. It’s 5am and we wake up before dark to do push ups on built-in bookshelves. It’s the life of crazy runners.

I ran a 2:02 half-marathon and enjoyed every mile in the strip, through the North Shore, down Carson Street, over the West End bridge, and then the Birmingham bridge which led to an elevated view of the city before running back into downtown to complete the race. The pack of runners never really thinned out. I was however, able to find my cheering parents along Carson Street.



A nice shot from the running competitor.

Clara Santucci, a girl who I can watch running often around Morgantown, won the woman’s marathon! The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a nice feature on her here.

Our large group enjoyed dinner across the river from the finish line at Station Square sharing stories about the unseasonably warm weather, the funny signs, the spectators and the bands. Our seasoned marathoner friend ran a 4:18, and the girls running behind her came in about an hour later. I ran alone but finished within minutes between two of the 7 @ 7ers. I couldn’t catch a new friend who ran the half in the 1 hour 40 minute range but the fastest of the girls almost caught him. She ran the 1/2 marathon with a 7:30 minute mile pace! Cheers to all of the finishers!

This weekend promises a run with a finish at Morgantown’s Farmer’s Market. Welcome summer.

Morgantown Marathon


Morgantown, West Virginia is hosting it’s first Marathon! View the site here. The course, which promised to include all of the neighborhoods of Morgantown before being published in March, is certainly not to be taken lightly. With over 1600 feet in elevation gain, the language of the site warns the competitive person against trying to achieve a personal record. It’s close to home for many seasoned and new runners in the area. Begin training from Mile 1 as late as May and still have time to participate in the Half Marathon. Other races that weekend include the Mountain Mama 8k and the Inaugural Mile. My husband and I look forward to being a part of the inaugural Half Marathon race September 20th!

morgantown marathon

The Tini Testers



 Pascal’s Bistro

We visited Pascal’s Bistro on a Tuesday to enjoy drinks with French fare. As the three of us -Mariah, Caitlin and I approached the restaurant with a camera in hand, Pascal stepped out from the kitchen. DSC_0004

We were seated in the upper dining room, next to the open span of new windows along the front. As the evening darkened the traffic light from the passing cars provided a natural connection to where we were, that is, in the Cheat Lake area of Morgantown, WV.

map2The interiors are being filled with art, and more from a local artist is soon to come. The bar area was managed by a friendly gentleman who introduced himself as we stepped inside. The red bistro seats aligned the built-in banquet painted black. The wood floors slid to the far wall where a fireplace nook was ablaze with glass and candlelight. DSC_0014

The built-in book shelf/ wine glass display spans that entire far wall and has french accessories mixed in as well. Small pictures are set in gilded frames throughout the restaurant. Once in our seats, we ordered a Pear and Port Martini and a glass of red French wine. (You’ll need to enjoy this at one of their BIG RED events!) The difficult part was deciding what to order for dinner.


1399992492menu2The tiger shrimp appetizer began our meal. We all ordered something different, and chose the steak, the chicken and the salmon for entrees. For dessert we chose the marmalade special soaked in rum, the steaming chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream, and of course, the creme brulee. We topped off the night with french press coffee and left at a time when there were only a few people remaining at the bar.




Before leaving though, Pascal offered us a tour of the kitchen. We went downstairs into the bright new white room where the stainless steel appliances shone.  The space looked like a wonderful place to work within view of the outdoors through the glass garage door. The transformation has been amazing and credit is due to the general contractor. Mills Group provided architectural services and Allegheny Restoration did a beautiful job pulling the space into it’s new use.



We all left lightly filled and excited for our next visit of a Tuesday night escape!

Check out Mills Group’s recent spring newsletter where Pascal’s is featured! Below is the full story.

What once was a split-level home is now a fancy French restaurant in the Cheat Lake community of Morgantown. Owners, Katie and Pascal met in New York over the same sort of circumstances, in the kitchen. The kitchen is definitely the focus here, as an all-glass garage door at-grade greets the well-heeled guests. The interior takes on the same sort of atmosphere, sparse, clean, and completely focused on the food.

Mills Group assisted the couple on their search for a place to host their talents and decided on this location because of the surrounding community of homes along the lake and position away from Morgantown. Pascal’s Bistro is removed from the saturated number of restaurants in downtown. Their location at 186 Fairchance Road, just off of Route 43 is a destination and that’s the type of aura Katie and Pascal plan to host all of their guests within.

Allegheny Restoration was contracted to make the transformation. Led by Pete Heydon, the interior plan opened as walls were taken down to provide two dining areas, ADA compliant restrooms, and a new bar. Food storage areas and a full commercial kitchen are below grade, providing tricky solutions for fire protection and hood exhaust requirements to be incorporated into the plan. The building is very visible from nearby interchanges, and Mills Group designed a new front entry complete with large second story windows to attract visitors. Future plans to develop the rear patio area for an outdoor dining experience are in the works.

Enjoy Big Red wine as offered by wine steward and hostess Katie, the savory escargot persillade and crispy crème brûlée for desert as prepared by Pascal and his staff. Or, sneak a peek through the all-glass garage door to see a view of the show and partake in the important knowledge of knowing where your food comes from.

~ Enjoy! ~

Photos by Mariah and Caitlin!

Pascal’s New Restaurant / Morgantown WV



 Looking for a new restaurant in the Cheat Lake area of Morgantown?

Try Pascal’s, a restaurant my firm, Mills Group, helped make a reality.

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It went from the home above to the demolition below to…


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…to ? You will have to go visit to see the end product!

Allegheny Restoration2

Allegheny Restoration took on the construction of the new restaurant and worked closely with the owners to assure that they had the kitchen, dining, and atmosphere the young couple desired. I look forward to my first visit soon.



See the menu here.

2015 Miles


2015 (Miles!) Run The Edge Challenge

A friend of mine signed up to run the 2,015 miles challenge and then invited his friends to help him make his goal.

For the month of January I’ve totaled 34 miles. The year ahead is full of opportunities to win some bling, as my running friends say. With three months and five days until the Pittsburgh marathon, I’m ready to begin training for the half.

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photo from Sabor PGH


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Closer to home, Morgantown WV is planning its first ever marathon this September! The Morgantown Marathon is to be challenging, with over 1650 feet of elevation change. With views of Coopers Rock on the website I have no doubt of the challenge. I’ve been visiting their site often to find out when registration opens.


Morgantown photo from Wiki Travel Coopers Rock photo from MDM Pix


ogden half marathon


Two other races I am considering are the Wheeling WV Ogden, and the Wineglass Marathon in Corning NY.


The wineglass medal seems to be the base of a wine bottle. Isn’t running 13.1 miles at least worth that?

Wheeling photo by Wiki Media   Wineglass photo

Go for the Gourd




The East Wheeling Wednesday Farmers Market is trying to get ‘The Word out On The Street!’ Word on the street was the theme a few months ago. This week, below, colorful banners flew across the road signaling passersby to stop. The event challenged attendees to ‘Bitter Sweet Tie Dye’ their clothes. The corner is a creative force in the neighborhood that brings children and adults together.

Black Swan Organics is the driving force behind the stand. A few years ago, when Danny Swan began farming the green areas in the neighborhood in need of care, the area began to flourish. He’s determined to bring affordable, healthy food to those people who have no other place to turn for groceries within a close walking distance beyond the corner convenient store.

These weeks before Halloween the stand is flourishing with pumpkins, dried corn sprays, and gourds of all sizes. The orange explosion is hard to pass by. I encourage you to visit the stand every Wednesday that you can from noon to 7!