06 June 2010

Vacation: St. Louis, MO

We moved on from Indiana, through Illinois, to Missouri. After a beautiful drive by the Mississippi River, we arrived in St. Louis.

What little we saw of downtown St. Louis was quite nice. There were even pull-in parking spaces downtown! They had meters, but you didn’t have to parallel park.

We didn’t stay at the Marriott, but we did walk through the lobby. The hotel is in the renovated Union Station, and the lobby is absolutely breathtaking. That train station is where the famous Dewey Defeats Truman photo was taken.

Then we went to the Arch.

We climbed in a car on the tram. It’s really more of a pod.

The ride up is short and the tram makes lots of clicking noises as it rises. Once we arrived at the top, we could look out over St. Louis

and the Mississippi River, which was over the docks and sidewalk.

The top of the Arch is 630 feet above the ground.

The windows are small, and the floor is, of course, arched.

Then we drove through the Ozarks to Arkansas to look for the graves of relatives, which we found.

And then we came home.

Vacation: Ohio & Indiana

We drove from Pennsylvania to Ohio and saw more Amish in Ohio than in Pennsylvania.

We also saw dead groundhogs on the side of the road. They must be the armadillos of Ohio. Although I did manage to see a live one on the side of the road, as well. Can’t often say that about armadillos!

Our only real stop in Ohio was Hopewell Mounds. We toured Mound City

and learned about the various artifacts that had been found in the mounds. These included items made of materials from the Gulf Coast, Lake Superior and Wyoming. The trade network the Hopewell people established was extensive.

Then we drove on to Indiana for one reason only – James Dean’s gravesite.

I love James Dean, and this site has been on my list of things to see for quite some time. It was a highlight. Now I need to see the site where he died.

03 June 2010

Vacation: Western Pennsylvania

The next day we went to the temporary Flight 93 Memorial. Construction on the permanent memorial has just begun. The mementos and tokens left behind by people, most of whom probably did not know anyone on that flight, were moving.

You can see the crash site in the distance from the temporary memorial.

From there we drove to Fallingwater and toured the famous house.

Designed in 1934 by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Kaufman family, the home sits right on top of a waterfall. Most of the furniture was designed by Wright as well. Photos were not allowed inside.

It was a beautiful home, and I would love to live there. But it also screamed COLD in the winter with all the windows and stone floors and only radiators to heat the place. It’s also not a home built with the elderly or small children in mind.

Although, since I adore rocks and water, I could see myself being quite happy in the house.

Then we moved on to Kentuck Knob, the other Frank Lloyd Wright house down the road from Fallingwater.

This home was built about twenty years after Fallingwater during Wright’s Usonian period.

Pictures weren’t allowed inside the house, but the kitchen was fabulous. Especially the range which featured four burners that could be folded up against the wall to save counter space. Mom and I want one of those!

The Hagan family, the original owners, were friends with the Kaufmans. They sold the home in the eighties to an English lord. He still owns the home and has sculptures scattered inside and out.

We stayed the night in Chalk Hill and ate at the Stone House Inn which was delicious. I had the prime rib, and it was practically half a cow!

Fort Necessity was our priority the next morning. This fort, a reproduction stands today, was hastily thrown up by George Washington in 1754. He returned to the location many times over the years, eventually buying the land where the fort had been built.

In this field, which he called “a charming field for an encounter,” Washington and other British troops battle French soldiers in what would become the French and Indian War. Rain, exhaustion and a terrible location on the field led Washington to surrender to the French.

We even had rain. Although it wasn’t as hard as the rain that fell on Washington.