In the spring of 2018 we made our second visit to one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous houses, Fallingwater. We went on an adults-only weekend trip with some friends and we were more than happy to return to Fallingwater for a second visit. The design of the house, so that it perfectly fits in with the natural surroundings, is absolutely breathtaking.
Since it was our second visit to the area I did a bit of research to see what other interesting things we could do and found that there were actually two other Frank Lloyd Wright designed homes close by that we could also tour. So our weekend was focused on Frank Lloyd Wright.
If you are looking for a weekend getaway in rural Pennsylvania (about 65 miles from Pittsburgh) and want to take in some Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, here’s a list with some info that might help you plan your trip!
This past summer Fallingwater, along with seven other Frank Lloyd Wright buildings were inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage list. These buildings are the first US modern architecture designations on the list. It is amazing to think that the house was designed in 1935 and completed in 1939, just looking at where it is located, how it perfectly fits into the surroundings, the attention to detail and the building techniques that were used.
The basic tour is the Guided House Tour, which is what we did on both of our visits. We had wanted to try and do the In-Depth or Sunset tours for our second visit but tickets were all sold out. These other tours have limited capacity and sell out months in advance. If you want to do one of these other tours be sure to book far ahead!
Polymath Park – Duncan House & Mantyla House
The 130 acre parcel of land known as Polymath Park was originally owned by the Balter and Blum families from Pittsburgh. They purchased it in the early 60’s and had two summer homes built on the property. The houses were designed by Peter Berndston, who was an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright.
Today the property is owned by the Papinchak’s. They have preserved the Balter and Blum homes and have also relocated two Frank Lloyd Wright homes that were headed for demolition. The Duncan house was originally located in Lisle, IL and was rebuilt at Polymath Park in 2006. The Mantyla house was originally located in Cloquet, MN. It was moved in 2017 and rebuilding began. The grand opening for it was this year.
On our visit in 2018 we got to tour the Duncan house and we saw the Mantyla house under construction. Now we need to go back to tour it or maybe even spend the night! The other really neat thing about Polymath Park is that you can reserve and spend the night in any of the 4 houses.
The Hagan family commissioned Frank Lloyd Wright in 1953 to design a house for them. It was completed in 1956. At 86 years old and with several other projects on the go, Wright designed the home without ever stepping foot on the site. He did visit once, during the construction phase. This was one of the last homes completed by Wright.
The home is now owned by Lord Peter Palumbo and is open for guided tours daily.
Nemacolin Woodlands Resort
If you don’t stay in one of the houses at Polymath Park and want to treat yourself I would highly recommend staying at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort. It is located close to Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob. There are several accommodation options at the Resort. We stayed in The Lodge.
There are also lots of things to do at the Resort from shopping, golfing, wandering around the zoo, checking out the car museum and much more.
Ohiopyle, PA & Ohiopyle State Park
If you are touring Fallingwater or Kentuck Knob, this little town is close by to both houses. We grabbed a bite to eat at Falls City Pub and took a stroll along the river.
Tree Tops Restaurant at Polymath Park
If you visit Polymath Park you should definitely also dine at Tree Tops Restaurant. The food and service were excellent. Their focus is on fresh seasonal ingredients. If the weather is good we would also recommend a pre dinner cocktail on the large outdoor deck.
Aqueous at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort
The restaurant’s design is inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and the cuisine is inspired by the sea. Beautiful surroundings, amazing food, and superb service.
I thought I would also share our weekend itinerary as a guide. I would highly recommend booking the house tours and dinner reservations in advance!
We did the Thirst for Wright house/wine tour of the Duncan house starting at 4PM. After the tour we enjoyed cocktails on the outdoor deck at Tree Tops Restaurant, which was followed by an excellent dinner.
Mid morning we did the Guided House Tour at Fallingwater. We had lunch on the patio at Falls City Pub in Ohiopyle, PA followed by a walk over and along the river. Dinner at Aqueous at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.
Mid morning guided house tour at Kentuck Knob.