This week we saw more of the country, in the local sense and the broader sense as well. I find that I crave more rural travel experiences these days, excepting the odd few days in a city here or there.
My Uncle retired from engineering design to farming. It was in his blood. I think it either is or it isn’t, and like many callings, there is not much to do but scratch the itch! So after a career that included early design work on the ‘sloop nose’, as it was then called, Concorde, as we all know it, he retired from his former life and in his mid-sixties, began his farm dream on 200 acres. He says most of his Angus cattle are really pets. They have a great life in various pastures full of clover and plenty of water. I can see why he loves it.
One afternoon we drove my mother to visit the tiny town (pop 100) she grew up in, Pt Isabel. Afterward we drove the few miles to a section of the Ohio river that she had fond memories from her times dating my Dad. She loved that afternoon and we enjoyed it too. We spent a good part of the week visiting with my Mum and helping her get a new pair of glasses as well. It was busy.
We had planned a small side trip a few months previously, almost a pilgrimage, to see a piece of classic American architecture, by renowned architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. Several years ago we visited his studio and home in Oak Park Illinois and it captivated our interest. We stayed at the Inne at Watson’s Choice, about half an hour from Wright’s design for the Kaufman family, Fallingwater. We even managed to sit in the rocking chairs on the porch at the Inne, and visit with our friends from Virginia who met us there.
I confess to having tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat for most of the tour of Fallingwater. It meant so much to me to finally get to see this amazing work of design architecture. Every single cupboard and shelf was bespoke. In 1937 the cost soared to over five times the original budget, a final cost of over $150,000 USD. I’m thinking only the very wealthy could afford to build it today. That it was used only as a weekend house is even more unbelievable. We were not allowed to take photos inside, so I guess you will just have to go there yourself. You won’t be disappointed. We also visited another nearby house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, called Kentuck Nob. It was beautiful too, but it didn’t move me like Fallingwater. The grounds contained a number of sculptures and art installations, however, curiously even including a piece of the Berlin Wall. Again photos were only allowed on the exterior, so add it to your list while in southwest Pennsylvania.
I’ll leave you with a gallery of photos that will tell you more than my words. As with any trip, there has been so much more to our visit than even this shows. I wonder, have you ever visited a place that had no real personal connection, but felt the experience deeply? Please say ‘yes’ so I don’t feel so lame! We still have a week more of travels, so another travelogue update will be coming soon. xx