We hadn’t initially planned to visit the Laurel Highlands, but we found ourselves in need of an area to stay for two nights that was between Cuyahoga Valley National Park and Shenandoah National Park. The Laurel Highlands region of Pennsylvania was the perfect spot. We stayed at the Quill Haven Bed and Breakfast in Somerset. We highly recommend staying there — both for comfort and the good location…and the wonderful breakfast — if you ever find yourself in need of a place to stay in the area.
Our day in Somerset County was jam-packed and wonderful. We started our day with a self-made-tour of three covered bridges. It is worth noting that the first bridge featured, Barronvale Bridge, is the longest covered bridge in Somerset County. It is also worth noting that you can drive over the last bridge, Lower Humbert Bridge; we took advantage of the opportunity to drive over it, and I photographed Bryan’s car in the bridge.
Next up on our to-do list was Ohiopyle State Park. We hiked a portion of the Gorge Trail to Cucumber Falls and had lunch at Ohiopyle Bakery and Sandwich Shoppe. We highly recommend eating there if you’re ever in the area.
After we finished up at Ohiopyle State Park, we headed over to Kentuck Knob, a Frank Lloyd Wright house, for a tour. Kentuck Knob was originally called the Hagan House, after the original owners, I.N. and Bernardine Hagan. The Hagans owned Hagan Dairy Company in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. The house was completed in 1956 and was built in the Usonian style favored by Wright. Wright was 86 years old when he began working on the house and said that he, “Could shake it out of his sleeve at will.” He only visited the house once during the construction phase. The original cost of the house was $96,000, and it was built of tidewater red cypress, native sandstone, glass, and copper (for the roof). The house is built into the southern side of a 2,050-foot tall peak known as Kentuck Knob. Kentuck Knob is one of the few Frank Lloyd Wright houses/buildings that still has the original red signature tile. Photography was not allowed indoors; however, I was able to take a few photographs outside of the house.
The final stop of our day in Somerset County was Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. Built between 1936 and 1939, it’s one of his most famous houses. It was built as a weekend home for the Kaufmann family, owners of Kaufmann’s Department Store in Pittsburgh. The aptly-named Fallingwater is partially built over a waterfall on Bear Run, a tributary of the Youghiogheny River. Lack of a plot large enough to build a foundation for the size of house that the Kaufmann’s wanted forced Wright to think outside-of-the-box — resulting in the cantilevered design. Wright’s initial cost estimate for building the house was $35,000, but it ended up costing $155,000 (equivalent to $2,600,000 in 2015). The Kaufmanns used Fallingwater as a weekend home from 1936-1963. Their son donated Fallingwater to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in 1963, and it was opened to the public in 1964. As with Kentuck Knob, photography was not allowed indoors. My favorite parts of the house were the corner windows (there are tons of them in the center of the house, you can see their red frames sticking out in the photos below) and the staircase that led from the inside of the house onto the ledge above the waterfall.