Real Estate Road Trip

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Fallingwater property in autumn, Mill Run, PA

There is something about the arrival of autumn that makes me want to get outside to take in the glorious colours and crisp fall air. I had a busy month in October and wasn’t able to get away for the leaf-peeping road trip my wife and I have been discussing the last few years. However, when we found ourselves with a window of three days in early November, we spontaneously decided to drive down to Pennsylvania to take a tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright house Fallingwater. Seems an appropriate vacation plan for a realtor, don’t you think?

Despite the trees being mostly bare, it was a beautiful drive to reach our destination.


We crossed the border at the Peace Bridge, and wound our way south through several picturesque small towns and the Allegheny National Forest.

Remembrance Day display on farm, Salamanca, New York

Remembrance Day display on farm, Salamanca, NY (c) Allyson Scott

Road through Allegheny National Forest, PA

Road through Allegheny National Forest, PA (c) Allyson Scott

Our lodging for the night was a beautiful, dog-friendly guest house on a former Christmas tree farm in Seven Springs, which I found on the website www.homeaway.com. It was about a half hour’s drive from Fallingwater, and since our tour started at 8:45 a.m. sharp the next day, we needed accommodations close by.

Our tour guide Ken met us at the Visitors Center, and led us down the rhododendron-lined road the Kaufman family and Frank Lloyd Wright would have taken eighty years ago to begin the project of creating Fallingwater. Despite the dreary weather, when the landmark home came into view, it took my breath away.

Ken the tour guide outside Fallingwater

Ken the tour guide outside Fallingwater (c) Allyson Scott

We chose to take the in-depth tour, which provides access to the main house as well as the guest house/grounds, and allows for personal photography (the basic guided tour covers only the main house and forbids any photography).

It was worth every penny to learn about the history of the property, the owners, the architecture and principles of cantilevering, and to have specific features like the museum glass windows and magnificent pieces of art pointed out to us.

Fallingwater exterior showing stairs to stream, plunge pool, and Lipchitz statue

Fallingwater exterior showing stairs to stream, plunge pool, and Lipchitz statue (c) Allyson Scott

All of the stone used in the house construction, including the polished flagstone floors, was quarried on the site.

Stone fountain for washing outside front entrance

Stone fountain for washing outside front entrance (c) Allyson Scott

Living room filled with Frank Lloyd Wright-designed furniture

Living room filled with Frank Lloyd Wright-designed furniture (c) Allyson Scott

Interior view of staircase leading down into stream

Interior view of staircase leading down into stream (c) Allyson Scott

Ken explained to us the main focus of Fallingwater was to achieve harmony with nature, and actually merge the house with its surroundings. Nature is everywhere – in the wood and stone used for construction, in the views out of the more than 300 windows and multiple terraces, in the sound of the babbling brook, and in the massive boulder anchoring the house, which comes through the home itself and provides a hearth for the main fireplace.

Living room fireplace with boulder hearth

Living room fireplace with boulder hearth (c) Allyson Scott

Exterior view of boulder anchoring Fallingwater

Exterior view of boulder anchoring Fallingwater (c) Allyson Scott

View of Bear Run from upper terrace

View of Bear Run from upper terrace (c) Allyson Scott

The continuity of design flows through each of the rooms within Fallingwater, which all have the rough stone and concrete walls, waxed stone floors, and black walnut furniture. Nearly every piece was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, right down to the notch in the built-in desks that allows for the windows to be opened fully.

Bedroom and study

Bedroom and study (c) Allyson Scott

Desk with Tiffany lotus leaf lamp

Desk with Tiffany lotus leaf lamp (c) Allyson Scott

Guest house living room with Picasso artwork

Guest house living room with Picasso artwork (c) Allyson Scott

We concluded our visit with a stop at the museum store, which offers an incredible variety of beautiful Wright-inspired gifts, books, and modern art. Many of these items are available for purchase through the Fallingwater website at www.fallingwater.org, where you can also find additional information about booking your own tour. I can’t recommend the experience highly enough!

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