Get Out Of Town!: Fallingwater And Polymath Park

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Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater in rural Pennsylvania is an impressive experience any time of year.
Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater in rural Pennsylvania is an impressive experience any time of year. (Photo By Lisa Paredes)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Fallingwater remains a popular destination for architecture buffs, nature lovers and those intrigued by innovation and culture, nearly 90 years after its construction in 1935. For those able to travel to the Laurel Highlands area of rural southern Pennsylvania, we highly recommend Fallingwater and nearby Polymath Park as a great destination for Burbankers to see some fascinating architecture from the 20th century and to Get Out of Town!

Fallingwater is open for docent-led tours and grounds access from March through November, annually. In the winter season, maintenance work is done on the house to keep it in pristine shape for the coming year. We highly recommend the guided tour, as typically guides are a wealth of information on the history of the home and the Kaufmanns who commissioned it.

Reservations and advance tickets are highly recommended, as most tours sell out in advance. The visitor center does have a good amount of parking, bathrooms, an information desk, a cafe, a small museum typically featuring works from local artists and a lovely gift shop with a range of Wright souvenirs along with the typical museum/gift shop tchotchkes.

Fallingwater does their best to accommodate those with mobility issues, with all terrain wheelchair are available for reservation and a golf cart is utilized for those who can’t make the walk to the property from the visitor center. To access the upper floors of Fallingwater, one must be able to traverse numerous stairs, but those with mobility issues are welcomed onto the main floor of the home.

There’s a 30-40 minute drive between the Fallingwater and Polymath Park locations.

There are actually four houses on the Polymath Park property – two designed by Wright and two by Peter Berndtson. We took a tour of the Wright houses, the Duncan House and the Mäntylä House.

Visitors can book overnight stays in the Polymath Park houses, sign up for curated meals and tours and plan their visit via the Polymath Park website.

Polymath Park is also home to Tree Tops Restaurant which tends to book up for dinner reservations weeks ahead.

Getting to the Laurel Highlands area of southern Pennsylvania typically requires a drive and navigating some very small and windy country roads at times. We found flying in to Pittsburgh and driving from there to Mill Run takes about 90 minutes to two hours, a good portion of which are on well-maintained highways or toll roads.

The entire Laurel Highlands area is very rural, but with some nice little towns like Ohiopyle. This part of Pennsylvania is a big draw for tourists from Maryland and Washington D.C.

For a fantastic experience of nature, design and beauty, Fallingwater and Polymath Park are a great way for Burbankers to Get Out of Town! While any season will be beautiful, our favorite time of year to visit is in October so we can add some leaf peeping along the way.