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Entries in pittsburgh (3)


Cucumber Falls

This is going to be a short post as far as travelogs go! After finishing the tour of Falling Water we had one hour before heading home. SIL suggested we visit Cucumber falls, a place 20 minutes away. We made it to the falls and all of us trekked down to the water level. 

Then we realized that there was some steep climbing over slippery rock and fallen trees to get to the falls. 

Only four of us made it. Me, the kids and my athimber. We got 15 minutes in the falls, but could not take a lot of pictures as a young couple kept photobombing us. After a 15 minute wait we decided the photo op was not going to get any better.. 

I photoshopped them out of the picture above.. but it was too much work to Photoshop them out of the one below.. Thanks to Athimber, at least got a picture of the three of us! 

The place was really nice and cool. We spent the hour at Cucumber falls and moved back towards Pittsbugh..

 A family portrait that will go in our gallery for 2016!

If you decide to go to Falling water, don't miss this place. The water was not as cold as we expected. You could actually bathe in the falls! 

We will take that chance, next time!


Falling water

On our second day of the Pittisburg trip over summer, we raced from Laurel caverns to Falling water. The reason for the race was that we had tickets for a fixed tour appointment. 
First, about Falling water. This is the house that made Frank Lloyd Wright, famous. The Kaufmann family commissioned him to build this house over a waterfall, with money that in today's equivelent if ~50M $. 
It is an architectural marvel that was nominated to be on the 8 modern wonders of the world. You have to see it to believe it. The whole thing is a layer of cantilevers hanging over a vertical concrete structure, above a waterfall. 
HDR processing has some advantages!
There was one problem. No cameras allowed on the trip. You could take pictures outside the house. We were asked to switch all cell phone camera's off as well. Given we had not heard about this place before, they could use the publicity is what I thought.... 
All the pictures were taken with the iPhone 6 and processed in Photoshop! 
The tour guide hyped the cost of repair and how badly the place was crumbling. The little one did not like the guide. She said "we have eyes, we can see how beautiful this is without him having to tell us".
The place speaks for itself. It is a true marvel. The attention to detail in every door, every window, every corner and how the furniture is built into the house, the views, the privacy and open ness where it matters, I could go on and on about this place.. 
Frank Lloyd Wright was way ahead of his time! Wish he was alive now... we would be seeing a totally different class of buildings! It was a good thing my sister-in-law picked this place for a vist. We thoroughly enjoyed it.
If you happen to go to Pittsburgh area, this is a must see! 
If you are an architecture buff or into engineering, you will love this place. 

Laurel Caverns - a day trip from Pittsburgh

Day 2 of Pittsburgh trip over summer, we started off with a visit to Laurel caverns (not to be confused with Luray caverns in Virginia, which I visited 21 years ago as a young hippie). This one was a family owned local deal. It did not have any stalagtites or stalagmites but was more of a natural cave with two distinct types of rock. One on the walls and one for the ceiling. 

We checked in and went out to have lunch at the picnic tables they had outside. The view from the tables was just amazing! 

Before going into the cave tour which was around 45 minutes, they had a little gem panning area for kids. 

Jr. and the little one had a lot of fun panning for gems.. (they were more like gem stones) and there was an eye chart given to the adults to find what the stone was. 

This was a good way for the adults to get involved, with identifying the stones and realizing "sapphire in the raw" is not what we are used to seeing, or quartzite looks more like a gem as a stone but is worthless, etc. etc.

Then we went through the caves, which was interesting but not exactly breathtaking. They had one amazing display in total darkness where lights come on inside the cave to a classical music piece. 

There are places where the lighting makes you realize how nature works quietly underground to create amazing landscapes!


If you want to experience total darkness with a large group, this is the place to go. 

Apparently there were 2000 plus bats in the cave and they got a virus which makes their nose go white, and now they have less than 70 bats. That was sad to hear. 

We had a lot of fun going through the narrow passageways and it was a good walk through steep slopes. A decent workout! 

The family group had a lot of fun. We had fun cracking jokes and walking back up after the guide had finished. Reminded me of trips around temples in India where we would go in large groups and the fun part was the group dynamics, except this was nature's temple! 

We were on the clock to go to our next destination, so the timing for the tour and lunch was perfectly planned. If you have more time, they do have a tour that takes you into the tunnel, but that one is 4 hours and you need gear (and you will get wet and muddy). 

Definitely recommended this place for a half day trip, if you happen to go that area, with kids!