Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Day 7: Pittsburgh - F.A.L.L.I.N.G.W.A.T.E.R.

All Images of Fallingwater used with permission of Western Pennsylvania Conservancy 

Dear readers, it's time to introduce you to ...

1) our house & hood. Down in the Polaroid image section you will find some pics and for the (Pittsburgh) locals - that's on Penn Ave just above Espresso A Mano. We love it here. We are close to everything and a good coffee is only a two minutes walk away.
2) Roberto. You know, my dad was a sales person driving a lot for business and he always had quite strong big cars (BMWs) for him to travel fast AND save. The cars have always been kind of part of the family and so they had names. The rule was: When mostly a man would drive the car, it would be named with a female name since he would need a big mama to take care of him. If a lady would mostly drive the car would have a male name for a protective big daddy. So yesterday already we decided that naming our rental car was overdue. As the main driver I did not have to think about it twice - this is Pittsburgh and so a boy car should be named Roberto after Roberto Clemente. Yes, as a hockey person Mario would maybe be the more obvious choice, but it was Roberto I had to think of first and Gabi liked it as well ... 1,2,3 - car baptized.

The reason why I'm especially talking about the car today is because Robert  and I were practically inseparable today and that's really special to me. Since I live in Munich (12 years) I do not have my own car anymore because I simply do not need it and so I almost don't drive in Germany. Renting a car and driving in the US for this reason is always a big adventure for me although it is easier here than in Germany due to the automatic shift and the less challenging traffic (but for the challenge here I have Suzy - the dumb GPS - and the very creative traffic system in Pittsburgh). Today Roberto's and mine relationship moved to a new level, because we went out to Fallingwater, which means almost 4 hours in the car cruising. It went quite well - only one Suzy related awkward freeway situation on the way out of town in the morning - and I really liked it especially on the way back when we had no time pressure. Eating miles is really easy over here ...

is a house a little less than two hours drive away from Pittsburgh which was owned by the Kaufmann family, who used to run the big department store in town. It was designed and built (including interior design) by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the second half the 1930ies and is called his masterpiece. 
Fallingwater was supposed to be the weekend getaway and meant for recreation. The very special thing about the house is, is that it is practically built over a waterfall. The concept of Frank Lloyd Wright was to create a structure that perfectly fits into the (beautiful) nature of its location and he really made  that happen. I never before saw a house that really looks like it grew out of its ground, but this one does. Form the outside it is stunning, but what really impressed me was the inside. I personally was pretty tired due to the early hour and the long drive when we entered the main living room  and it was SO beautiful, sunny and peaceful and so ready to live in that I felt like sending the other nasty visitors home, lock the door from the inside and just take a nap on the couch. 
Very fascinating was for me that lots of things I usually do not like in a house like narrow hallways or low ceilings did not bother me at all. I think it is because it was all set on a purpose and made to create a certain atmosphere - like open wide and inviting spaces in the areas made for socializing and more cozy, comfortable even protected zones in the private area.

The house from the inside and outside is overflowing with
ingenious design details and you could spent endless time to exploring all of them. And it is incredible how modern everything is even from our perspective now. It is almost unbelievable that the designs are 75 years old. We had a 3 hours extended tour I would strongly recommend to everybody coming to Fallingwater to really spend some time in the house and learn all the details from the tour guides. Also on the extended tours it is allowed to take pictures from the out- and inside of the house. We literally shot hundreds of photos. 

There is a 2nd Frank Lloyd Wright house called Kentuck Knob only minutes drive away from Fallingwater and we had that one on the list as well, but after the long drive and  the intense tour of the big house we were just too exhausted. So we just had lunch right there in the cafeteria, spent some money in the museum shop and drove back to Pittsburgh. When we were home we immediately crashed for a much needed nap. Uff. 

To get our energy level up again we later walked down to Espresso A Mano for a caffeine fix. I also bought a new travel mug to replace my broken one from La Prima that I bought last year.
Then we took Roberto and drove down to BRGR at East Liberty to FINALLY do what I always dreamed to do: watching a Pens game while chatting, laughing, eating and drinking with friends. We had so much fun! Oh ... and the Pens won. A perfect end of another GREAT DAY!

All Images of Fallingwater used with permission of Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:

Polaroids by Gabrijela Obert

All Images of Fallingwater used with permission of Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:

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  1. thrilled that you did the extended tour of fallingwater! it has been years since i did the long tour, but it was so worth it!
    hope they let you post a few images here...

  2. I have lived in PGH most of my life and have not yet made it out to Falling Water. It's been on my list of things to do forever, but something always ends up getting in the way of a trip there. Perhaps I need to commit to visiting no matter what. --pghpete

    1. It is definitely worth the drive and the money. But try to do it at a week day and get a morning tour. Later when it so crowded it is less than half the fun.

    2. Thanks for the tip!! --pghpete