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Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater Celebrates its 75th Anniversary

By Rob Jordan

In recognition of the 75th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s hovering masterpiece, start planning your own architectural pilgrimage to Fallingwater’s woodsy redoubt. For a full Wrightian weekend go beyond the basic visit with al fresco dining on the famed house’s terrace, a night in a Wright-designed home, and some insight into the master builder’s visionary concepts.


For more trip planning, see Fodor’s Fallingwater review and Pittsburgh Side Trip with Kentuck Knob review. Both are about 90 minutes from Pittsburgh. Also, see our Slideshow: Top 10 Frank Lloyd Wright Buildings to Visit

Fallingwater Tours and Special Events

Special exhibitions for 2011 showcase the home’s original owners, a design competition for new cottages at Fallingwater, and photographs of the surrounding Laurel Highlands region. See more on current Tours and Tickets.

Sunset Tour
Explore Fallingwater in the soft light of the golden hour. Group size is limited, still photography is allowed, and hors d’oeuvres are on offer. Although similar to the standard tour, this Saturday-only walk-through promises a precious post-crowd hush. Tour details: $110 per person.

Focus Tour
Fallingwater is all yours on this private, late-morning extended tour for up to six people. A curator will tailor this extended stroll around the house and grounds to your interests. Afterward, retire to one of the house’s terraces for a private luncheon of seasonal dishes prepared by an on-site chef. Tour details: Limited availability on weekends in July, August and October.$1,000 per group, 724-329-7842.

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Insight Onsite
Highlights of this three-day art and architecture seminar include exploring Fallingwater on your own, dining on the house’s main terrace or in its living room and staying in accommodations on the grounds. Seminar details: $1,500–$2,000; 2011 programs are full; waiting list: 724-329-7802 or [email protected]

Fallingwater is as much an epic story as a house. Delve into the soap opera-like history of the former residents, the Kauffman family, examine their remarkable art collection, and learn about engineering that gives the cantilevered icon its structural poise. Most talks are given in the Barn. Details: every Thursday at 1:30 pm May through November, $5 when purchased with tour; $20 otherwise.

Nearby Wright Residences

True Wright fans know that lesser-known properties offer a more intimate visiting experience. Of these three homes open to the public, two are available for overnight stays.

Kentuck Knob
Compare and contrast Fallingwater with this smaller, more humble, late-career Wright house just a few miles up the road. Natural light floods the sandstone and red cypress open floor plans. Unlike Fallingwater, Kentuck Knob was built to be a year-round home emphasizing comfort over show. Tour details: From $12 to $100 per person, 724-329-1901, visitor information.

The Duncan House
Stay overnight in a Wright-designed home about 30 minutes from Fallingwater. The Fifties-era Usonian vision accommodates up to six guests, and is yours alone during your rental. In a woodsy setting near two other homes by Wright apprentice Peter Berndtson, the Duncan House is a dream for design fans, if not luxury seekers. Use of the fireplace and stovetop is verboten, but a microwave, toaster oven and coffee pot are available. Lodging details: $325–$425/night for up to three guests; $50/night for each additional guest, Polymath Park Resort.

The Louis Penfield House
Dedicated Wright fans will consider making the three-hour-plus drive from Fallingwater to Willoughby, Ohio. The payoff: staying overnight in a Wright-designed home otherwise closed to public view. Its floor-to-ceiling windows, sylvan forest views, full kitchen, fireplace, and library of Wright books are all yours. Lodging details: $275/night for up to five guests, visitor information.

About the Writer
Rob Jordan is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C. He covers travel, architecture, design, politics, the environment, and more.
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