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Visiting Frank Lloyd's Wright's Fallingwater in Pennsylvania.

Visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s Masterpiece: Fallingwater

This is a guest post brought to you by Sally Bucey from ABreathofForeignAir.com.

When you ask an architect about Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the first words out of his or her mouth will, without fail, be mention of his masterpiece, Fallingwater. Located seventy miles southeast of Pittsburgh, this iconic home is built literally on top of a waterfall and has attracted more than just engineers and architects; over 150,000 people visit the property each year.

The home was once a weekend retreat for the Kaufmann family, who owned a successful chain of department stores in the area. They commissioned Wright, famous for integrating his architecture with nature, to build the home for them. Over the next three years, Wright spent $155,000 to build the multi-story home, incorporating boulders from the mountain into the building’s foundation and steps that lead straight into the river below.

Driving onto the property feels isolating as the dense forest blocks out most of the light. However, as you step into the weekend home, the atmosphere immediately brightens. The living room is fully furnished and you can almost imagine a ghost of the Kaufmann family coming in from around the corner to relax in front of the sizable fireplace.

Low ceilings make the home seem more cozy than cramped, and the incorporation of wood brings the natural world inside. In fact, that was Wright’s intention; with the use of open space and large windows, my eyes were constantly drawn to the outdoors and the natural beauty surrounding the home. To completely isolate myself from the outside world would be impossible.

The interior of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater in Pennsylvania.

The interior of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.

The Kaufmann family each had their own room, in addition to the kitchen, servant’s quarters, guest room, main living room, and the later addition of a guesthouse behind the waterfall. The rooms were compact and stacked on top of each other; the main house is three stories tall and the third floor holds only one room, belonging to the Kaufmann’s only son.

The interior of the home is nearly as fascinating as the architecture. Mrs. Kaufmann collected countless statues, rugs, paintings and original artwork from all over the world. I spent just as much time snapping pictures of tiny details as hanging my jaw at the views outside. Her taste in decorations was exquisite.

To go on a tour of the house, you’ll need to reserve tickets ahead of time. I recommend the in-depth tour as you’re able to learn much more about the construction of the home and the inside story of even small details, as well as visit every room in the house. The two hours were gone in a flash.

Visiting Fallingwater

Fallingwater is located south of Pittsburgh, within the Bear Run Nature Reserve, just off of State Route 381 in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania.

Tickets are $30 for adults and $18 for children for the standard tour or $80 per person for the in-depth tour. Bear in mind that children under 6 are not allowed on any tours of Fallingwater. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made on their website or by calling 724-329-8501. If you just want to see the outside of the home, ground’s passes are available for $10 each.

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    Opening dates and times vary, though the house is closed in January and February. For more information about the property’s history and tour schedule, visit Fallingwater’s website.

    Interested in exploring more unique sites in the outskirts of Pittsburgh? UncoveringPA offers suggestions for visiting Ohiopyle Falls, Polymath Park, and Cucumber Falls


    Fallingwater

    Hours: Daily: 10a-4p, closed Wednesday
    Mid-March – November

    Cost: $30 in advance
    Other tour options additional cost

    Website: Fallingwater.org

    Address: 1491 Mill Run Road
    Mill Run, PA 15464

    See map below for other area attractions.


    Visiting Fallingwater in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania

    AUTHOR - Sally Bucey

    Sally Bucey blogs about travel and expat life at A Breath of Foreign Air. She's interested in photography, foreign languages and befriending strangers all over the world, when she's not buried in a book and a cup of coffee.

    9 Comments

    • Bloice Davison

      I toured one of his houses in Chicago once. It was in the design of the Prairie School. His work is always worth checking out. One day I will get to see Fallingwater.

      • Sally

        He’s done some beautiful buildings all across the country, how great that you got the see one in Chicago. If you get the chance to visit Fallingwater, definitely take it! Beautiful.

    • Brittany @ Paws for Beer

      I visited Fallingwater a few years ago and it was amazing! I am headed to Chicago in May for the Walk Wright In Tour – a walking tour of 9 private homes designed by FLW. I’m super excited!

      • Sally

        Awesome that you liked it too! What season did you go in? I would love to see it when the trees have leaves and there isn’t any snow; I imagine it would be just as gorgeous, just in a different way.

        Have so much fun in Chicago, that sounds incredible! 🙂

    • The Guy

      Hi Sally, many thanks for such an informative post. It looks as though you arrived there in the height of winter?

      I was there in November and blogged about it too. I found the architecture very striking and it is a very unique piece of design. I felt the tour was a bit pricey for what it was and we were only told after we paid for the tour that pictures were not allowed inside the house. (Did you sneak that picture when no one was looking? 😉 )

      • Sally

        Yes, I went on New Years Eve – the very last day they gave tours before closing for the winter. But they didn’t say anything about taking photographs being forbidden, and I was quite open about having my camera out. That’s quite surprising that you couldn’t! I’m sorry you felt like it wasn’t worth the price. I thoroughly enjoyed the tour and atmosphere and wasn’t upset by the money; there’s no house quite like it.

        Hope you still had a great time in the area, though. It’s beautiful on all accounts!

    • Jessica Everett

      I grew up in Hunterdon County, NJ just down the road from a home built by one of Wright’s students.

      • Lisa M

        Was it on Hollow Brook Road in Pottersville?

    • Paul Langley

      It doesn’t surprise me that the inside of this amazing home is filled with more amazing decor! If your home is this great you are going to need some nice statues, paintings, and rugs. Thanks for sharing this, it was fun to read about!

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