Sunday, October 19, 2008

Leaf Peeping 2008

After a long hard winter last year L. was determined to get as much enjoyment out of the fall this year before the bleak dead trees were here for another winter. With this in mind we planned our leaf peeping trip. The thing about trips to see leaves is that you need a destination but the destination really isn’t that important as the trip. So for this one L. wanted to see Palmyra, New York for some of the Mormon history there and I wanted to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water in Pennsylvania.
L. was feeling pretty sick so instead of leaving Friday after work we came home from work and went right to sleep. This allowed for us to leave at 4AM while L. caught some more sleep. We had some trouble during the whole trip with our GPS. (I guess you get what you pay for.) For instance to get there it was reporting a 10 hour drive when it should have been 5. As it ended up we depended on the GPS in our phones to check all the directions.
We arrived in Palmyra at 9AM so the first thing we went to see was the Hill Camorah (Place where Joseph Smith said he found and later reburied the golden plates.) It was a pretty steep hill! haha, make L. climb to the top and she can’t complain. (One of L.’s things to say is that any time we travel and there is a mountain, wall, or tower and I want to climb to the top to look down.) It was a great place to see the fall colors of the whole valley. From there we drove over to the Smith family farm where they built a replica of the original log cabin and restored the log house they lived in. The Sacred Grove (Where Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus when they told him not to join other churches) was really peaceful but easy to get lost in. We drove up to the Mormon Temple then into town to the original printing press for the “Book of Mormon”. We were originally expecting to spend the whole weekend here but it was noon and we had seen everything we wanted to. So we drove to what we were planning to see the next weekend, Falling Water.
When we planned out the impromptu drive on the map on our phones. (maximum drive time off of freeways to enjoy more fall colors). We saw that the road went right though Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. We could not resist. We drove though valley after valley of fall leaves as far as the eye could see then stayed there for the night. (I later found out that highway is famous for a good leaf peeping drive.
If you are unfamiliar with Punxsutawney it is famous for Groundhog day. They have “ Punxsutawney Phil” that offically sees his shadow or not. We ended up staying in the same hotel as the movie “Groundhog Day” that is right across from there square where everything was filmed. Phil is housed in the library with a big bay window for anyone to see him any hour of the day or night. The real Gobbler's Knob was in the hills and quite deserted when we went to see it since we were 4 months to early.
Apparently Falling Water is a pretty popular Fall destination. They were all sold out of tours when I called in the morning (the downside of spontaneous travel). So instead we got a grounds pass with the idea that if we felt like there was more to see we could come back. As it turns out the only difference is you just can’t go in the house but you can look in all the windows. Falling Water is all windows. I don’t feel like I missed anything. There just happens to be another Frank Lloyd Wright house nearby called Kentuck Knob. We did go into that one. (less windows so it paid off this time). So my opinion? Frank Lloyd Wright was a Megalomaniac. He didn’t listen to the engineers, people he was designing the house for, or anyone else. He designed the house to look pretty, not be functional, structural, or water proof. So why would I want to see the houses he designed? To me they are like big works of art like museum pieces. I just feel sorry for the people that had to live in them.
The drive home was more beautiful trees. In all it felt like we had taken a 3 day trip instead of just two. I think we might make more of these 4AM departure times.

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