Inside Pennsylvania’s Falling Rock Hotel, inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater
Yet another biography’s out on flamboyant, self-promoting braggart Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s called “Plagued by Fire: The Dreams and Furies of Frank Lloyd Wright.”
Broken home, poor upbringing, limited education, first marriage, six abandoned children, and a client who turned mistress. Despite his having been arrested for allegedly violating the Mann Act — prohibiting the transport of women across state lines for “immoral purposes” — this troubled dandy’s still celebrated as Earth’s prime architect.
Treating myself this holiday season, I visited his famous, iconic country house. Created 1935, Fallingwater, a National Historic Landmark, is near southwestern Pennsylvania’s opulent Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.
The land dates to 1740’s Indian Chief Nemacolin. The 1960s begat summer homes. In the ’70s, one added a pool, a tennis court, a golf course, a pro shop. The ’80s brought a resort. And 2,000 mountain acres became the breathtaking megamillion-dollar rock, wood, marble, crystal, shell, granite, shale, slate, glass fairyland, which precisely imaged the handcraft of Wright. Its name is Hotel Falling Rock.
Falling Rock has Forbes Five Star AAA Five-Diamonds award-winning chef Kristin Butterworth, who makes little things like black truffle pasta, cranberry posset and delicious “spruce poached potatoes with edible clay-roasted garlic aioli and Footprints Farm violas,” which they fed me, and whateverthehell it was I still don’t know, so don’t ask.
There are multiple restaurants, vegetarian and gluten-free menus, cigar bar, 24-hour butlers, afternoon tea, championship golf course and academy, an art collection, five swimming pools, a spa, a fitness center founded on feng shui, its own ski mountain, seven bars and lounges, bowling, biking, the state’s largest wine cellar, warm cookies at bedtime, a 50-foot climbing wall, off-road driving academy, private airstrip — one helicopter was parked outside my window — and a wildlife zoo. Bison, lions, tigers. Through a partition, I fed bears.
Also, there’s lots to learn
If you crave something they don’t offer, history is nearby, like Fort Necessity, site of 1754’s French and Indian War opening battle. There’s Laurel Caverns, Ohiopyle State Park, craft center, antiquing, shopping. Or you can do as I did — fall apart and sleep.
An hour’s drive from the Pittsburgh airport, Nemacolin Woodlands Resort and its Wright-style Falling Rock Hotel are near Wright’s world-famous Fallingwater. Privately owned Falling Rock Hotel, a wooded picture-perfect movie set, is where people like Christian Bale, Nicole Kidman, Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver, Matt Damon, Paul Rudd, Cameron Diaz should shoot their next action films.
As if that weren’t enough!
Fishing streams and creeks are woven through 140 acres of the Alleghenies. It offers horseback rides, hikes, an ice-cream and pizza parlor, a rare automobile collection, rock climbing, a conference center, an animal-care hospital, an outdoor fire pit, a casino with 600 slot machines and 29 table games, and private cottages on the grounds.
There are hot tubs, an outdoor infinity pool, pony rides, carriage rides, dog-sledding, snowboarding. We’re talking crystal chandeliers, handloomed rugs, vaulted ceilings, crown molding. Natural treasures everywhere.
It’s also animal-friendly. As am I, so don’t forget this Sunday, 2 p.m. sharp, Christ Church, 60th and Park, my 11th annual Blessing of the Animals. Free to all. No reservations. Come early. It’s jammed. Bring your dogs, cats, turtles, gerbils, birds, rabbits — one brought an iguana, another a fish in a bowl. It’s police dogs, rescues, farm alpacas, llamas, pigs, goats, chickens, hymns, carols, a Bible story, then a procession down the aisle to the altar for ministers, rabbis, priests to bless our pets for the new year.
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