Our day started with a quick breakfast of “pocket food” (energy bars and a pop-tart) before leaving the hostel. It wasn’t enough for our day, but we just needed enough to get us to Ohiopyle – about 12 miles away. The Yough river was running pretty high as we crossed the bridges back to the GAP.
The weather today was cool and overcast, with a few gentle sprinkles throughout the day.
We arrived in Ohiopyle about an hour ahead of schedule, which allowed us to get a decent breakfast.
Today we were able to do something that has been on my bucket list since I was 16 years old: I visited Fallingwater, the Frank Lloyd Wright house here in Ohiopyle.
Originally we thought we would cycle the 4 miles from the trail out to Fallingwater. But when I called for tickets, the person at the desk said that it was a dangerous ride. Then Joe called a place in Ohiopyle that could give us a ride. They said the same thing. So … we paid for a shuttle out. After seeing it for ourselves during the shuttle, I am very glad we took their advice. The grade was very steep, very long, and had a narrow shoulder.
We arrived a few minutes before our scheduled tour.
Fallingwater was designed by Wright for the Kaufman family – the family who owned the Kaufman department stores in Pittsburgh. Eventually their son donated the property to a conservancy which now cares for the property and maintains it as a museum.
Fallingwater was designed to be Organic Architecture, meaning that it takes its form from its surroundings. This area is full of rocks and water falls. These were the inspirations used for the home. The rocks used for the structure were all quarried from just a few feet away from the structure.
The Kaufmans liked to vacation in the Laurel Highlands. They had Fallingwater designed to be their vacation home. There are many interesting features of the home, but perhaps the two most distinctive features are that it is built over a waterfall, and that it is cantilevered so that it is suspended over the surroundings. Even the furniture inside has been designed to be cantilevered to carry the motif throughout the structure.
I had studied this house for a project in high school and although I had forgotten many of the details, the tour was really fun for me. I’m not sure Joe had quite the same level of enthusiasm as I did, but he seemed to enjoy it as well.
We were not allowed to take pictures inside the structure.
This picture from the outside is where the stairway from their great-room descends down to the water. Just beyond the stairs (left side of the picture) the water turns into a waterfall to the forest below.
After our tour, we made quick progress back on the trail. We had some good distance to cover to arrive at West Newton.
Along the way, our next stop was Connellsville. On the East edge of town, we are greeted by these interesting silos. I’ve seen them before. The murals seem to be fading a bit with time.
We needed a good lunch before leaving town. We took a random chance at a pizza & pasta place. We both got some pasta and it was definitely a good choice. Yum.
As we left town, we passed through a park. I’ve been through here before and this sign always motivates me… we’re most of the way to the ‘burg!
We had about 26 more miles to go. Lots of miles passed uneventfully. Both of us are starting to have some tired legs, so I’m glad tomorrow is a shorter ride.
We finally made it to our home for the evening: Holy Family Parish in West Newton. We were greeted by Paula – she has been a phenomenal host.
Tomorrow we will finish out with about 35 miles to get to The Point state park – the end of the Great Allegheny Passage, at the 3-rivers confluence in Pittsburgh.
It has been a good trip, but I’m looking forward to being done and getting home.
– Dcn. Matt