A Frank Lloyd Wright Tour (de force) in Pennsylvania

To honor Frank Lloyd Wright’s 150th birthday this week, I thought I’d share a trip that my mom, the kids and I took last summer. I felt this overwhelming need to show my kids his Fallingwater House immediately, since I saw it when I was ten years old for the first time (the same age as my son Noah) and then again when I was 20.

So off we went, piled in the car on our way from Raleigh to Pennsylvania to see some architecture. My friends thought I was crazy and they felt sorry for my kids – what mom plans an architecture tour in the summer for a 7 and 10 year old?! Why wasn’t I taking them to Disneyworld or the beach? I ignored them all and felt confident that we would love the trip, kids included.

We headed to Fallingwater first. The waterfall was roaring and the cantilevers were balancing and it was so dramatic and wonderful, just as I remembered it. The interiors were still 100% perfect with their custom furniture and a story to go with every object. And much to my delight, the kids were in awe. We walked along the creek, hiked into the woods and then hit the gift shop.

Later, we visited Frank’s other home nearby called Kentuck Knob, a home he built when he was 86 years. The highlight of our tour was meeting the homeowner while we were there – Lord Columbo who also once owned a Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier home (oh to be a Lord!).

To complete our architecture tour, we visited his Pope-Leighey house outside of Washington DC built by Wright in the 1940s for $5000 (the true meaning of #modestmodern). It’s a Usonian house filled with plywood modular furniture (think IKEA only better!).

All in all, a great intro for the kids to an iconic architect and in their words “so much better than Disneyworld”. (Of course, they’ve never been so they don’t know any better – shhhh!)