A Psychic, an Artist and the Architect

During a recent psychic reading – my first and only, which is another story entirely – I was told that if the US and/or Britain is calling, I should go: "150% go, Norma!" These were the exact words he bellowed while slapping his hand on the table, hard, startling me so much I jolted. No joke. 

I wasn't sure if driving to Pittsburgh was exactly the US calling, but as it didn't make economic sense to hop on a plane and visit Paris when I was longing for a one-night weekend getaway, a road trip had to suffice.  

The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Fallingwater home, located an hour and a half from the city, have been on my must-see list for quite some time – so Pittsburgh it was. 

If you are a Warhol fan then a visit to the museum is essential. If you're a die-hard, then I'm sure you have already been, as the museum is the "global keeper of Andy Warhol's legacy." 

The museum is a converted seven-story industrial warehouse where each floor represents a different time period in Warhol's life. You will see countless pieces of his work, such as paintings, drawings, sculptures, photographs, films and of course his famous silk screens. 

But, what I found most intriguing about my visit was the artist's Time Capsules. Warhol packaged 610 cardboard boxes with personal possessions he collected during the last 13 years of his life. The actual boxes, which hold 300,000 items, are behind glass in the archives room; however, the museum displays many of the pieces like newspaper clippings, audiotapes, magazines, books, toys, dishes, greeting cards, wrapping paper, letters: the list is endless. The Time Capsules even hold a few nasty items, such as toenail clippings. These, I believe, were not on display, unless I missed them. What a shame.

In the evening, after taking in a bit of the city, I planted myself in this adorable corner at my hotel, The Priory. 

Here I sat for hours enjoying Pennsylvania's smallest bar, as well as the energetic, sweet and hyper (her word!) bartender Niki.

First thing the next morning I embarked on my next destination: Fallingwater. 

The scenic, and easy, route from Pittsburgh made the drive quite enjoyable.  

In 1935 the prominent architect Frank Lloyd Wright was hired by the Kaufmann family, of the department store chain, to design their weekend home. The Kaufmanns envisioned a home overlooking Bear Run falls in a beautiful wooded area that they had acquired approximately 90 minutes from Pittsburgh.

Instead of designing a home overlooking the falls, Wright designed the home so it would be situated directly on the falls, turning the house into one of the architectural wonders of the world. The history is fascinating and there is so much more to this story, which you can find on the Fallingwater website. 

My goose bumps first surfaced while walking on the pebble stone pathway towards the house, knowing it was around the bend but seeing nothing other than lush trees and hearing nothing but birds and the waterfall. When I turned the corner and caught my first glimpse of the house, my heart skipped a beat. 

My description will never do the experience justice, so all I can say is no one could possibly be disappointed. The house, interior and exterior, is brilliant and its surroundings are extraordinary.

You will leave Fallingwater feeling as though a visit was something you were meant to do. I know I did. Hmm, perhaps I should pay that psychic another visit…