Frank Lloyd Wright: Revolutionary Contributions to Modern Architecture

Join experts in the Laurel Mountains to immerse yourself in the works of Frank Lloyd Wright as you explore three of his most iconic designs, including a private visit of Fallingwater.
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Program No. 1885RJ
5 days
Starts at
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5 days
4 nights
12 meals
4 B 1BR 3 L 4 D
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Mount Pleasant, PA
Laurelville Mennonite Church Center

Activity note: Check-in from 5:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: 5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, join us at the Road Scholar table in the Dining Hall Lobby to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in. We’ll have coffee and refreshments in the lobby during registration.

Dinner: In the Dining Hall, we’ll choose from the buffet with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water, juice.

Evening: Orientation. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. This is a Road Scholar Retreats program. Our programming at Retreat locations includes opportunities for light morning exercise, interaction with members of the local community, a farm-to-table or locally sourced meal, and evening entertainment. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Directly following orientation, there is a social time with a delicious dessert!

Polymath Park, Duncan House, Winery, Documentary
Mount Pleasant, PA
Laurelville Mennonite Church Center

Activity note: Light walking on gravel trail beside Jacob’s Creek before breakfast. Getting on/off a motorcoach several times. Walking 0.5 miles or riding on gravel road to Duncan House. Approximately 40 minutes of walking and standing on gravel and inside house; less then 6 stairs inside house. Light walking at Greendance Winery on gravel paths. Wine tasting and bakery open at Greendance Winery; seating available.

Breakfast: In the dining hall, we’ll have a buffet meal with beverage choices of coffee, tea, water, orange and apple juices.

Morning: We’ll meet in the Solarhouse for this morning’s presentation, entitled "Wright's Patrons and Projects" and presented by the staff from Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright's premier architectural masterpiece. We’ll have an in-depth look at the controversy that often surrounded Wright and his clients. It is said that one of Wright's clients, Edgar Kauffman, owner of Fallingwater, told the Hagans, owners of Kentuck Knob, that when giving Wright the budget for building their home they should quote no more than half of what they intended to spend in the end. Far exceeding his budget was one of many qualities that impacted Wright’s relationships with clients. Even amid controversies, ultimately it was Wright's vision that drew clients from across the country to him and catalyzed an amazing career, spanning two world wars and two continents.

Lunch: We’ll get on a motorcoach and travel to Polymath Park. At an on-site restaurant, Polymath Park staff will serve salads with choices of chicken, salmon, or vegetables. Also on offer are sides and beverage choices of water, lemonade, iced tea.

Afternoon: Following lunch, we will explore the park and encounter the world of organic architecture through the eyes of Frank Lloyd Wright while enjoying the scenic Laurel Highlands’ surroundings. During our visit to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Duncan House, we will experience the height of Usonian Style with the help of a knowledgeable staffer. Created for everyday life in the 1950s, we will marvel at the fascinating story of this home’s journey from Illinois to Pennsylvania. Before returning to Laurelville, we will enjoy a visit to a local winery where we can select a fitting wine to enjoy during Wednesday's dinner.

Dinner: In the dining hall, we’ll enjoy a fresh farm-to-table meal while taking in some live entertainment.

Evening: Following dinner, there will be a special showing of the Ken Burns documentary on the life and work of Frank Lloyd Wright (part one approximately 85 minutes). Film description: “Frank Lloyd Wright was the greatest of all American architects. He was an authentic American genius, a man who believed he was destined to redesign the world, creating everything anew. Over the course of his long career, Wright designed over eight hundred buildings, including such revolutionary structures as the Guggenheim Museum, the Johnson Wax Building, Fallingwater, Unity Temple, and Taliesin. Wright's buildings and his ideas changed the way we live, work, and see the world around us. Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural achievements were often overshadowed by the turbulence of his melodramatic life. In ninety-two years, he fathered seven children, married three times, and almost constantly embroiled scandal. Some hated him, some loved him, but in the end, few could deny that he was the most important architect in America and perhaps the world. With exquisite live cinematography, fascinating interviews, and rare archival footage, this riveting film brings Wright's unforgettable story to life.”

Morning Lectures, Fallingwater, Documentary
Mount Pleasant, PA
Laurelville Mennonite Church Center

Activity note: Morning yoga by a certified instructor is provided before breakfast. Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving 21 miles, approximately 40 minutes to Fallingwater. Getting on/off a shuttle bus; considerable walking; approximately 100 steps throughout the house; video demonstration of the second floor for those unable to climb steps. Four course meal at Out of the Fire.

Breakfast: Dining hall buffet.

Morning: The first presentation, led by Fallingwater staff, will be "The Art at Fallingwater." This expertly led presentation will give you an insider's view as you engage with the private art collection on display within Fallingwater. While the house is a work of art in itself, the Kauffmans accrued an incredible collection from artists such as Pablo Picasso, Diego Rivera, Ando Hiroshige, and John James Audubon, as well as notable pieces of Tiffany glass work and ancient relics. The second morning presentation will be "Frank Lloyd Wright: Holding Up Fallingwater." This will be a hands-on session to engage participants in learning about one of the key architectural principles of Fallingwater and many other Wright designs.

Lunch: In the dining hall, the buffet features beverage choices of coffee, tea, water, juice.

Afternoon: We will travel by motorcoach to our next Wright destination. A living, breathing house in perfect harmony with its setting, Fallingwater is recognized today as arguably Frank Lloyd Wright’s finest work and the last great Frank Lloyd Wright house with its setting, original furnishings, and artwork intact. The building was voted the “best all-time work of American architecture” in a 1991 poll of members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). To date, more than 4 million people have visited this modern masterpiece. You will join this number with a first-class glimpse at the wonder of Fallingwater, near Mill Run, Pennsylvania. Staff from Fallingwater will share the secrets of Wright's masterpiece as you take in every turn and view. We’ll have an opportunity to enjoy the iconic overlook of the house and to browse the lovely Fallingwater Museum Shop. We'll be greeted at the site with a welcome reception featuring a special treat from the Fallingwater Cookbook, a collection of recipes from Elsie Henderson, the last cook of Fallingwater who we'll learn more about on Thursday.

Dinner: Dining hall buffet.

Evening: Following dinner, we will show part two (approximately 70 minutes) of the Ken Burns documentary on the life and work of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Morning Lectures, Kentuck Knob House
Mount Pleasant, PA
Laurelville Mennonite Church Center

Activity note: Guided morning hike before breakfast; roots and rocks on trail. Getting on/off a motorcoach; driving about 30 miles, approximately 45 minutes. Getting on/off a shuttle bus at Kentuck Knob; considerable walking/standing for one hour. Sight seeing along the way to and from Kentuck Knob

Breakfast: Dining hall buffet.

Morning: This morning we may choose to attend a "Drawing on Nature" workshop. Enjoy a simple drawing exercise (no experience necessary) led by Fallingwater staff that will sharpen your observation skills and help you to understand the ways in which Frank Lloyd Wright derived inspiration from the shape of the landscape. Afterwards, staff from Fallingwater will provide information on Kentuck Knob. You'll see how that house was also inspired by the landscape.

Lunch: Dining hall buffet.

Afternoon: The group will depart via motorcoach to visit another Wright-designed home, Kentuck Knob, located in Chalk Hill, Pennsylvania. Wright and his architects at Taliesin designed the Usonian home for the I.N. Hagan family, who resided there for almost 30 years. The visit to Kentuck Knob is further enhanced by sculptures located in the garden, the woods, and the meadow. Works by contemporary artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, Claes Oldenburg, Sir Anthony Caro, and Ray Smith, as well as many others are represented in the collection. Please note: Visitors are transported up the hill to the house in a shuttle bus. There is considerable walking and standing during the one-hour visit. The shuttle is available to return guests back to the visitor center, but you may also choose to walk back via the sculpture meadow.

Dinner: We will end an amazing day with dinner at Out of the Fire Café, one of the area's premier restaurants. Out of the Fire Café is a family-owned-and-operated upscale/casual restaurant serving New American cuisine year-round. This is a Bring Your Own Beer or Wine establishment, so don't forget to snag your beverage of choice earlier in the week, perhaps at Greendance Winery.

Evening: The evening will be spent enjoying each other's company over fine food at the restaurant, so expect a late return back to Laurelville. Prepare for check-out and departure tomorrow.

Interviews with Wright & Elsie Henderson, Program Concludes
Mount Pleasant, PA

Activity note: Check-out 12:30 p.m.

Breakfast: In the Solarhouse at Laurelville, we’ll choose from a buffet of yogurt, granola, hard-boiled eggs, cereal, pastry, and fruit, with beverage choices of water, coffee, tea.

Morning: The morning begins with a DVD, "A Conversation with Frank Lloyd Wright." This DVD is a candid interview conducted by Hugh Downs that provides some insight to Mr. Wright's personality and his architectural beliefs. Enjoy a video interview of Elsie Henderson, who cooked for the Kaufmanns – the original owners of Fallingwater – and their many weekend guests, including Senator Ted Kennedy and Wright himself. Elsie vividly recalls her memories and anecdotes of life in the renowned house on the waterfall in a voice all her own. Elsie is featured in a book written with her stories, pictures, and recipes, "The Fallingwater Cookbook: Elsie Henderson's Recipes and Memories." We’ll then discuss the video.

Brunch: In the dining hall, we’ll have a final buffet brunch. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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