Tag Archives: USA

Fallingwater

About a three-hour drive from Washington, DC in the rural foothills of Pennsylvania is American architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, Fallingwater. It was recently voted the single most important building in the United States by the American Institute of Architects (AIA). It makes for a great field trip if you’re in the area; so with snacks for the road, we drove up to Bear Run for a tour.

Pennsylvania Barn Mail Pouch Tobacco

Fallingwater Snacks Cheetos

Fallingwater was designed in 1935 as a summer home for the Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh. The family had a successful department store in the city, and this was to be their wooded weekend retreat.

Fallingwater Drive

Fallingwater Side

The design of the house is a series of reinforced concrete terraces cantilevered out over the Bear Run river.

Fallingwater Pose Outside

From every room inside the house, you can hear the crashing waterfalls and feel as if you are part of the natural world around you. It’s the house that defined the philosophy of ‘organic architecture’ – a sense of harmony between nature and the built environment. The central living space inside Fallingwater is open and light, with the use of natural materials, including waxed river stones for the floor.

Fallingwater inside

Fallingwater Fireplace River Stones Boulder

Every room was filled with incredibly thoughtful architectural details. But sadly the organisation that runs the property, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, is letting the site fall into a state of appalling disrepair. I saw cracks in the plaster, mold growing on the terraces, and paper kitchen towel stuffed in cracks in the rock walls to plug water leaks. The conservancy is under-funded, inexperienced, and most probably mismanaged. It’s such a shame, because I imagine this property in the hands of the National Parks or Smithsonian where it could really be taken care of properly and wow its visitors even more! I hope this national treasure is around to inspire future generations and the next chapter of architecture students for years to come.

Fallingwater View

Fallingwater me

After leaving Fallingwater, we stopped for lunch at the historic Casselman Inn in Grantsville, Maryland. Operated by Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish owners, the restaurant is known for its selection of homemade breads, cakes, and pies. It’s also where I fell off the gluten-free wagon!

Casselman Sign

Casselman Inn Front Exterior

Casselton Dining Hours

Casselman Restaurant Table

Casselman Bread Basket

I resisted the yeasty sweetness of the warm, freshly baked bread. And I refused to give in to even a bite of Eddie’s honey-dipped fried chicken.

Casselman Fried Chicken Chips Fries

My fall from grace came at the hands of this monster iced maple cinnamon roll.

Casselman Maple Sticky Bun

I have never tasted such sweet, soft, maple-y perfection. And, for my figure’s sake, I hope I don’t for a long time to come! (It was so worth it though).

Casselman Maple Bun

Just around the corner from the inn is Castleman’s River Bridge, a historic national landmark. Its 80-foot span was the largest stone arch in America at the time it was built in 1813.

Castleman Bridge

Castlemans Bridge

I love driving though America and discovering little out-of-the-way spots with their own tiny history. Surely, there will be many more to come!

Washington, DC Monuments

Our first stop in the USA was (but of course) the nation’s capital, Washington, DC.

We were expecting glorious blue skies and lots of sun, but we weren’t prepared for the bitter, freezing cold. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival had begun, but there were no puffy blush blooms on any of the trees! It was a crushing disappointment.

Still, there were sights to be seen!

Hay Adams Exterior

Hay Adams Lobby Lift Chandelier

Hay Adams Lobby Telephone Table Chairs

Hay Adams Lobby Brass Letterbox

Hay Adams Lobby Chair Check in

Hay Adams Lafayette Dining Room

We had breakfast at the hotel, at a table basked in morning light, reading over the papers. The Washington Post is running a segment on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War!

Hay Adams Breakfast Washington Post Lafayette

Smoked salmon and chive scrambled eggs with herb oil

Smoked salmon and chive scrambled eggs with herb oil

It was hard to leave our sun-drenched spot and head out into the numbing cold, but we felt obligated to pop across the street and say hello to the neighbours.

Washington DC White House Lawn

Thankfully, Barry and Michelle didn’t answer the door. So we continued on our sprightly stroll around town – taking in the monuments in all their glory.

Washington DC White House Cabbages and Roses Coat

Washington DC Executive Building

Washington DC White House Square

Washington DC White House Oval Office

Washington DC Lincoln Memorial

Washington DC Lincoln Memorial Steps

Washington DC Lincoln Memorial Seated Marble

Washington DC Lincoln Memorial Seated Side

Washington DC Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool Drained

Well, most of their glory…

As if the lack of cherry blossoms wasn’t disappointing enough, the powers that be didn’t see fit to put any water in the reflecting pool. So the vista across the Lincoln Memorial to the Washington Monument was a little lacklustre.

Thankfully, there was still inspiration to be found in Honest Abe’s historic Gettysburg Address, which  gives me chills every time I read it.

Washington DC Lincoln Memorial Fore Score

Washington DC Lincoln Memorial Cabbages and Roses Blue Dress

Washington DC Korean Memorial Statues

Washington DC United States Park Police Horse Trailer

After our long walk, it was time for lunch. Well, technically, brunch.

We headed to Logan Circle and grabbed a booth at Birch & Barley.

Birch and Barley Exterior

Birch and Barley Surprise

Dill Bloody Mary

Dill Bloody Mary

I was thrilled when they told me I could get a wheat-free version of their delicious flatbreads. This gluten-free beast was a sausage and cheese dream!

Spicy Muffaletta Flatbread Oil-Cured Soppressata, Olive Relish, Ricotta, Provolone

Spicy Muffaletta Flatbread Oil-Cured Soppressata, Olive Relish, Ricotta, Provolone

The homemade donuts were also a must-try.

Freshly Fried Donuts: Toffee-Bacon, Lemon-Poppy Glazed, Bittersweet Chocolate

Freshly Fried Donuts: Toffee-Bacon, Lemon-Poppy Glazed, Bittersweet Chocolate

After several cups of coffee, we headed back out into the streets for more exploring!

It’s so good to be back 🙂