Left our house at the crack of 9:55 and headed west, across the rolling hills of Baltimore County and up and over the Appalachian Mountains. Stopped for lunch (yes, Gram, I’m writing about food again) at Puccini Restaurant, which sits right along I-68 in a quaint historic building. Huge mistake. Unripe tomatoes and pizza sauce that tasted like it came right out of a jar. If you’re ever in Cumberland, don’t ever go there. Do go to the Queen City Creamery, which will give you an excellent (and satisfyingly small) vanilla malted.
Continued on up to Pennsylvania — Prescott driving, me playing 2048 on my phone, both of us listening to “Cardturner,” the only good novel I know about bridge. Prescott thinks the author, who is reading it, sounds like Eeyore, but he seems to be surviving.
Arrived at Fallingwater in the nonexistent town of Mill Run just in time for our 3:00 tour. It’s a pretty magnificent place, especially when you stand out on the terraces and look down over the water. It’s also a really good example of why one might not want to build a house in the woods on top of a river out of concrete — it doesn’t wear well. Water seems to seep through the house everywhere — you can still see signs of it (and the original owner nicknamed it “Rising Mildew”). I’m pretty sure that Fallingwater has been in a state of nonstop renovations since the mid-1980s. But it’s impressive nonetheless, and the land trust that owns it has kept the interior in its original condition (with some sprucing up) since it was donated in the late 1960s.
The tour ends with everyone being forced to sit and watch a four-minute video on the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Odd to end it all with a commercial, but since it was for a land trust and made me think of J, I was willing to live with it.
They don’t let you take any photos during the tour, so all of our pics were taken from the viewpoint at the end:
Drove out through the rafting-and-biking-crazy town of Ohiopyle, which sits on the Youghiogheny River. It’s the most heavily rafted spot east of the Mississippi. We stopped to take a look at Ohiopyle Falls — only 20 feet high, but with water that rushes through so fast that you wonder why any crazy kayaker would every try to go over it (which they do, at least once a year in a big race; the rest of the year, solo boats aren’t allowed over).
Thanks to Max in Holland for the cool “I Love Lax” sunglasses in Dutch orange …
Here’s the Youghiogheny River — pronunciation guide not included.
Drove down to Morgantown, West Virginia, where we’re staying for the night. Our hotel is right on the Monongahela River (I can pronounce that one), and we strolled down the little riverwalk a half mile to downtown Morgantown for dinner at Black Bear Burrito. The food was excellent (I highly recommend the Irie Member burrito), the blues band was great, and the scene was lively and fun.