Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Tours and tears

We drove through Ohio and into Pennsylvania on the Ohio/Pennsylvania Turnpikes.   When traveling from Michigan to just southeast of Pittsburgh, the Turnpikes are the most direct routes.    It's the first time we've driven Beluga on these toll roads and it will definitely be our last.      That drive cost us $83.25!     I'm not sure where the toll profits go because the roads were not in great shape.   Lesson learned.

 Tonight is our last night at a very nice campground near Somerset, Pennsylvania.    We have a lovely end site on a hill overlooking a tree lined pond.    Hickory Hollow Campground closes for the season in two days so there are few people here anymore.    Perfect for us.    Tomorrow we leave Pennsylvania and move to Harper's Ferry to visit with an old friend and do a little research.

my view from site 103

Dave and Lew set off for the dumpsters

All alone

We're here because this location will allow us to visit three places we've wanted to visit but always seem to miss.  Frank Lloyd Wright's two homes, Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob and the Flight 93 Memorial near Shanksville.

Kentuck Knob was our first stop.    It is a small, one story Usonian house, a signature design of FLW that was meant to be affordable for most Americans.     There was no photography allowed inside but we were allowed to take pictures on the grounds outside.

The home is built of local sandstone, tidewater red cypress and glass, capped by a copper roof.    Part of the structure is nestled into the surrounding landscape.

sunlit balcony along the rear of the home

open, hexagonal "lights" in the balcony roof

The grounds are naturally landscaped and peaceful.   Paths lead through the trees to open on expansive views.

The current owners have integrated their collection of large sculptures into the surrounding woods.

this piece undulates in the wind, making the most delightful

bronze wolf in the woods

 Next stop was the famous Fallingwater.    We arrived early for our 2 p.m. tour so we used the time to enjoy lunch outside at their nice cafe in the interesting visitor center complex.

Visitor's Center is comprised of 3 glass sided pods containing the
museum store, a gallery, and the cafe

Our tour had only 6 people instead of the usual 12 or 14 so we all enjoyed a more intimate experience.     Once again, no photography inside.   

Our first glimpse of the house came as we walked over a small bridge spanning Bear Run.

The home cascades down from the hillside to mimic the beautiful waterfalls it is cantilevered over.  It was built in 1938 as a summer home for the Kaufmann's, (Kaufmann's Department Store in nearby Pittsburgh).   Fallingwater is considered one of Wright's most beautiful designs and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966.

While it's spectacular cantilevered balconies have been plagued by problems resulting from it's location on a hillside, over a running body of water and not being sufficiently reinforced,  they have been permanently fixed leaving Fallingwater's interior and exterior appearance unchanged. 

This morning we left Beluga in heavy fog.   Driving through the mountains we would move in and out of the heavy, white blanket.

heading down into the fog again

We drove over two narrow covered bridges on our way to Shanksville.

Our destination was the Flight 93 Memorial.   

We walked through the Visitor's Center, reading, looking, watching news clips and avoiding listening to the last phone calls.


It was all so very emotional.   Even the small black box of tissue sitting on the windowsill.

Outside we quietly walked down the long black path that was the final flight path of Flight 93, ending in impact at 563 mph.

Below we walked along the white marble Wall of Names and came to the Gate.   Beyond the gate is  the final resting place of 40 American heroes.  Only family of the 40 are allowed past this point.   A large boulder marks the point of impact.

view of the impact site boulder through the Gate.....


  1. We traveled a similar post Michigan route, so I've just been working on my post about the Flight 93 memorial. I found it incredibly moving as well. It is such a gorgeous peaceful setting, making it that much harder to wrap your mind around what happened there. I think they did a fantastic job maintaining the site and memorializing the victims.

  2. If I had any suggestion for them (not that they asked....) it would be to not allow any cars on the property at all. Visitor Center at the very entrance with a shuttle into the actual site. Silence and no reminders of present day.

  3. Ridiculous tolls...
    Beautiful homes and grounds. Love the paths and the surrounding openness. It’s amazing how Falling Waters has withstood weather, erosion, and other obstacles.
    It’s truly sad that we even have memorials like Flight 93. It’s so great we live in a country that promotes these memorials. We had seen a special on TV about the thought and design that went into the memorial...very sombering and I’m sure even more so in person.
    P.S. I love covered bridges!

  4. I've always wanted to visit Fallingwater...and I didn't know about Kentucky Knob, so that's a bonus. I wish they would allow photos inside. But your outside photos are lovely.
    It makes me so sad, all over again, reading about your visit to the Flight 93 memorial. I'm glad those incredibly courageous people have been honored for the sacrifice they made on that horrific day.

  5. Lovely photos of both houses. Fallingwater is just spectacular. Glad your visit worked out and what a lovely time of year to visit. Tough visit to the Flight 93 Memorial.

  6. Going to the Oklahoma City National Memorial was like that, it was well done, but so hard to look at. The empty chairs were just heart wrenching. The east is looking lovely this time of year with the foliage. Lewis looks to happy on his way to the dumpster.

  7. Sobering and searing memories - America and so many families were forever changed. Such raw courage that day while the entire world looked on.

  8. Seems I keep getting far behind on my blog reading! I've put this stop on the list as I love everywhere you visited. Lovely photos of the homes. They feel like art forms growing out of the earth. I couldn't listen to the phone calls either. They were included in the movie, but hearing the actual voices would be too much. Amazing heroes, I'm so pleased they've kept the impact site closed for the families.