Delightful views that are made up of a mix between nature and a man-made wonder that seems to be part of the same environment. Taking a walk through one of the architectural masterpieces of the twentieth century will make you realize that it’s possible for us to live in balance with nature. This serves to highlight the perfection achieved by the renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, when he integrated “Fallingwater” into the Pennsylvania landscape without affecting it.
This place is located close to the town of Ohiopyle in the Laurel Highlights, which is part of Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Mountains. Nowadays, Fallingwater is owned by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Back it time, this house was commissioned in 1934 by the Kaufmann family, who read about Frank Lloyd Wright and were interested in his idea of blending architecture with nature. They wanted a summer house at their favorite picnic spot, near a waterfall on their Bear Run property.
Years later, Fallingwater was finished in 1939 and it became famous immediately, this house even made it to the cover of the well-known Time magazine. It’s possible that you feel tempted to go straight to the house, but we recommend you to see it in context. Therefore, you will have to head into the Bear Run Nature Reserve that is also owned by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. This place has a huge variety of trails which can be followed individually or linked together to make longer hikes. The more relaxed you walk through them, the more you will enjoy the nature that is surrounding you.
The Arbutus Trail is recommended as a gentle introduction because it takes you through relatively flat terrain, and as you walk along, your eyes will be in harmony with the delicate beauty of the forest. Therefore, you will be amazed by the sunlight that gets through the leaves of the trees, the shadows, and the sound of the breeze as it blows while the birds are winging over there.
For a full day experience you can link this trail and the Wintergreen trails that climb up to the wilder Bear Run Trail, and then it curves around the Laurel Run Trail onto the Peninsula Trail. If you want to see the Youghiogheny river, then you will have to take one of the easiest trails around the Ferncliff Peninsula that is near the railroad crossing in Ohiopyle. Once you’re there, you will see some of the most incredible rapids, and you will feel like the two-hour hike was worth it.
Once you have finished appreciating your surroundings, you will be ready to get inside the Fallingwater house because now your perception will be different. Therefore, once you’re in the house you will be able to see and enjoy details that not everybody notices when they’re walking around. As you walk into its grounds, you will soon hear the sound of the waters of Bear Run flowing towards the property, when the Kaufmanns told Lloyd Wright that they wanted a house that took advantage of the dramatic rock ledge and the waterfall, but they couldn’t have imagined that he would build one that joined both elements together.
It’s an incredible and unique piece of design that brings the water through the middle of the house before it cascades below large cantilevered terraces. The longer you spend admiring its exterior, the more you feel like nature and the design are one.
This mixture of nature and creative design continues inside Fallingwater. Half of the materials used to built the fireplace were taken from the forest. Also, countless framed panes of glass allow light to enter the house in a way that you can’t tell which is the exterior or the interior of the house, just as Frank Lloyd Wright intended.
Just for you to know
Access to the interior of the house is strictly controlled by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. On Mondays, the house interior is closed and tickets to the tour should be booked in advance. The touring range from 55 minutes to two hours in duration. Also, it’s important that you know that you don’t need tickets for the Bear Run Nature Reserve, and trail maps can be found in the car park.
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