”find your Happy Place, and go there.”
One year ago, in nearly 3 days I decided to make the trip I’ve been boycotting for a while, throw everything off and said f*it, let’s do this. Ended up to be a gratifying sensation, that still tickles until today and surely beyond, when the waters of a fall settle down showing the crystal clear down below.
From the airplane heading New York City to Pittsburgh around and back, last summer held courage, trust, venture and adventure; kindness, unkindness; unknown, lonesomeness and company; new, old and family; silence, quite, and cold breath… all in one solo travel package.
Pittsburgh is the City of Bridges, with mini Flatiron buildings and mini Broadways, beers on the road and the Andy Warhol’s home. Bus drivers that wouldn’t take me by all means to the cemetery but have been so kind to place me as near as they can manage to be. Joking around of how bad they don’t want to die and end up there, with trembling voices showing how bad they are afraid to live.
Not to far from the city (but way apart for those bus drivers) lays The Fallingwater House , a personalized house built in the early-mid 20’s by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright for the Kaufmann Family, the owners of Kaufmann’s department store (now Macy’s).
As an architect, witness the greatness of a mastermind is a privilege. Walk through the paths conceived inside of a square-structure wired, surely trouble and restless mind and be able to pinpoint the reasons why in a glance, it is fulfilling and marvelous.
Obviously what you see in books is not what you see in real life. Expectations over exceed in all senses, planning a journey completely out of your control, particularly when you decided to be out of your own control and let the outcome manifest itself way beyond of a square itinerary.
In this process I’ve roughly learn that expectations, specially on regards of people is a direct path to disillusion, and become self reliance is what have left to be. It is tiring, is overwhelming and frustrating. Isolation it’s the only door you see, and walking through it is the most painful path you can make. Note, being lonely doesn’t mean be alone, alone means share with the self but the profit of it are limiting.
I share my lonesomeness with more than a wonderful woman, old enough to be my mother, young enough to be my sister, true enough to be my friend. I undertook this headstrong journey that no-one seems to have the courage to come along through it and she, as actually expecting for this, jumped in:
The Fallingwater House is not a friendly tourist destination, perhaps because is not an actually tourist attraction with lights and bars in the middle of a cosmopolitan city, even though it is a Pennsylvania’s heritage and a Architectural’s heritage not to mention the natural heritage of its location. Getting there surely was a “travesía”, I arrived into the city with no idea of how am I gonna get there, I just knew I would.
The premises are like 45 highway minutes away from Pittsburgh heading west. No buses, no shuttles, no trains. You would have to either take an Uber, a Craigslist unverified driver, carpooling, a taxi, car rentals or get your own helicopter to get there before 4 o’clock. We went for the car rental at noon.. all the way to the airport. My adventurous hostess despite of having a cold and no other plans than jog for an hour that day decided to drive me there, wait for me 2 hours jogging around the Laurel Highlands of Mill Run under the rain and drive us back… The GPS showed us the longest road, The tolls gave us money back, the fantastic landscape explained me the real meaning of “leguas”, and …we arrived barely 15 minutes before the deadline. In our way back, we stopped by the road for some homemade Kettle Pop Corn from some kids… we even had the time for lunch.
The house it self is a Masterpiece, it reflects the geniality of a mind and the sizes of the inhabitants. Reflects the perfect conjunction between God’s architecture and human’s architecture merge in one. Roots, rocks and plants; furniture, sculptures and water were with an absolute simplicity that speaks warm, function and design.
Happy places can be found in different locations, so, get you own helicopter and get there, but don’t forget your adventurous companion.
TIPS & TRIPS:
Architectural Entity: Fallingwater House or Kaufmann Residence is a house designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 in rural Southwestern Pennsylvania. The home was built partly over a waterfall on Bear Run in the Mill Run in the Laurel Highlands of the Allegheny Mountains. The house was designed as a weekend home for the family. Might be the most beautiful job made by Wright, it is listed among Smithsonian’s Life List of 28 places “to visit before you die”.
It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. In 1991, members of the American Institute of Architects named the house the “best all-time work of American architecture” and in 2007, it was ranked 29th on the list of America’s Favorite Architecture according to the AIA.
The furniture are part of Wright’s Modern Design, seconded by Kaufmann Jr.Part of the pieces of art and sculpture within the house donated to Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, are family travel’s souvenirs or gifts from artists, such as paintings from Diego Rivera and Frida Khalo, close friends of the Kaufmann’s.
Architectural Style: Modern Architecture
Period: 20th Century (1936 – 1939)
Scene: Bear Run, Youghiogheny River
Geography: Mill Run, Section of Stewart Township, Pensylvania, EE. UU.
Places of interest near by: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Duncan House at Polymath Park Resort | Kentuck Knob (these two can be reserved together with the Fallinwater) | Laurel Caverns | 43 miles (69 km) southeast of Pittsburgh
Photography: aura faulkner lluberes