Monday, November 18, 2013

Warm Springs Valley - A Pictorial

It was at the end of the most incredibly dazzlingly Fall when I last visited the Warm Springs Valley in Western Virginia. Here this rural mountain valley  is exceptional with it’s sweeping panoramic views of the Allegheny Mountains, meandering streams and rivers, clean fresh mountain air and, of course, the spectacular Fall colors.

This valley, nestled in the Allegheny’s near the Appalachian Trail, is steeped in history which reaches far back to before Colonial times.  Described as remote, wild and romantic, for over 2 centuries the region as long been prized for it’s beauty and the healing waters that bubble up in natural pools. 

The Virginia Tourism Office’s has adopted the slogan,  “Virginia is for lovers”, but Virginia is also for photography, wine, art, music and history. Yes, Virginia is all of that, but in the Warm Springs Valley you'll find a fascinating blend between the unique Appalachian mountain culture and the lowlander who has come to the valley for the waters and the recreation.  

I found it a treasure.


Sunday, November 3, 2013


This month while visiting Pennsylvania, I had the chance to visit Fallingwater, the part-time residence of department store mogul Edgar Kaufman, and designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. I was thrilled at the opportunity because not only was the setting spectacular, but I had the chance to learned about the concept of “organic architecture”.

This concept has always been appealing whether marveling at the design of moss growing on stone or the blending of textures – leaves, branches, stones, sky, water, etc.

But let's get back to Fallingwater - the house, located in a remote corner of the southwestern mountains of Pennsylvania called the Laurel Highlands, is truly impressive.  The property on which the residence was built was owned by the Kaufman family.  They wanted a weekend retreat where they could get away from the bustle and pollution of 1930s Pittsburgh.  So they handed Wright this dramatically beautiful natural landscape upon which he designed and built his most iconic example of organic architectural.

Stretching out over the top of a waterfall on a stream called Bear Run, the residence is skillfully integrated into it’s surroundings, incorporating both the sights and the sounds of it’s natural setting.  It is an engineering and architectural marvel - beautiful, inspiring, pure genius.  

My photos do not do it justice! At the time of it’s completion in 1937, Time magazine praised it as “Wright’s most beautiful job”.

The American Institute of Architects called it "The best all-time work of American architecture" and it was named one of "50 places of a lifetime" by National Geographic, besides appearing on Smithsonian’s list of 28 places to go “before you die”.

So I guess I can check this one off my bucket list.

As I said before, my photos or description do not do this place justice so I found a short You Tube video produced by CBS which really gives you a more detailed look at the house and the background of the participants in the construction of this marvel.

If you're ever in southwest Pennsylvania, spend a morning or afternoon at Fallingwater  You will be dazzled!