Friday, July 13, 2018


From Virginia we traveled to western Maryland.  We stayed in the historic town of Cumberland, Maryland and then headed to southwestern Pennsylvania to see the Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, Fallingwater.  Construction of Fallingwater finalized in 1938.  The home was originally owned by the Kaufman family and in 1963 was donated to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. 

Given the home's popularity, advanced reservations are recommended.  Photography is not permitted within the home.  The interior tour was interesting.   Our guide provided a great deal of information concerning the Kaufman family's relationship with Wright and the home's construction.   Wright designed almost all the furniture and most of the furniture is built-in.  The hallways are very narrow.  The main floor is open concept and the bedrooms are quite small.  The interior includes nearly all of the original artwork and tchotchkas which are quite varied.  The Kaufmans were certainly well-traveled and eclectic collectors.  The exterior paint colour was chosen based on the back side of a rhodo leaf. Rhododendrons flourish in this environment.  

The tour of the interior runs approximately one hour.  There are also trails to be explored so you would want to leave at least two hours for your visit.  The setting is beautiful. 
From Fallingwater we headed north to visit my husband's family north east of Pittsburgh. It the perfect way to end our vacation before returning home to Toronto. We traveled approximately 3200 kilometers on this trip.  These posts provide a tiny snap shot of what we saw along the way.  As an audio book for the longer car rides, Eric and I listened to Les Miserables.  It is hard to believe that this was the 34 chapter "condensed" version from Audible. It is hard to believe that we still have about  6 chapters left!

Walton's Mountain

About four years ago, we gave the girls the complete Waltons on DVD.  It has taken over 3 years but we have nearly finished 8 of the 9 seasons.  We especially enjoyed the first five seasons with Richard Thomas.   

We were curious about the history of the program and began to research Earl Hamner, Jr.  It turns out that there is no real Walton’s Mountain, but it is based on Mr. Hanmner childhood home in Schuyler Virginia.  Mr. Hamner wrote many television scripts (Twilight Zone, Falcon Crest), but he was most famous for the Waltons. 
Exterior of the Hamner House.  It was much smaller than the one on the Waltons series.  The one filmed on the series was sets.
Local gift shop full of Walton's merchandise
Schuyler Baptist Church

Meet Reckless

We took the tour of the house.  The present owner of the home is an old friend of Earl Hamner and really made you feel welcome. He had a number of stories to tell,  informative information about the Hamner family and their home.  He even told us how former Presidential First Lady Rosalynn Carter was a huge fan of the show and visited the Hamner home.  Step back in time and enjoy a few photos of the home's interior.

This quilt was made by a Canadian fan!

Like John Boy, Hamner wrote looking out the window

Remember the episode when Liv received a sewing machine?
Up the road from the Hamner home is the Walton’s Mountain Museum.  The Museum has an impressive collection of all things Waltons, but could use some modernization in terms of curation.  It is a self-guided collection.  At some point I will upload my museum photos onto my flickr account.  There were some very interesting doll house items.  

Even further up the road is a gas station which would have been very much like Ike Godse’s general store.

The museum also has a 30 minute film on the history of the Waltons television series  It was interesting to learn that Cora Beth, who married Ike Godse, was added to the show to provide some "spice" to the show as a response to the criticism that the program was too sweet!

Good night John Boy! Next stop: Fallingwater

Outerbanks, North Carolina

From Jamestowne, we drove to the Outerbanks, North Carolina.  We stayed in Cape Hatteras which is less busy than the northern beaches.  Most of our visit was spent relaxing by the pool and the beach and eating amazing sea food.  

The Outerbanks is famous for the seven lighthouses.  The lighthouse at Cape Hatteras is the tallest in North America. 
Hatteras Lighthouse, tallest lighthouse in North America

Hatteras is also home to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum which has artifacts of shipwrecks and history of piracy on the Carolina Coast.   This year is the 300th anniversary of the end of Black Beard’s reign of terror a number of the maritime museums have special exhibits. We also learned about the lost art of canvas decoys from a local artist.

Catch of the Day
Wright Brothers National Monument, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina

Hatteras was as far south as we headed on this road trip.  We hoped to take a day trip to Ocracoke, but the ferry wait time was over two hours (not very fun in the heat).

As we started our return journey northwards, we visited the Wright Brothers National Monument, operated by the National Park Service.  On December 1903, the Wright Brothers flew their first airplane.  While their voyage may only have lasted 12 seconds, their efforts changed the world. 

Wright Brothers National Monument

Bronze / steel model of the first glider
Next stop: Walton's Mountain

Colonial Williamsburg and Historic Jamestowne

From the D.C. area drove to the Historic Triangle to visit Colonial Williamsburg.  We purchased a one day pass which allows you to go inside the buildings.   

If there is a flag in front of the building, it designates the building is open to explore. 

Throughout the town there are historical reenactment actors engaged in all facets of 18th century life (weaving, post office, blacksmith, ice cream making, judiciary to name only a few).    

No cars in Williamsburg

The weaver

a provocative discussion on the Constitution and slavery

popular souvenir in Williamsburg

Post office
Our last stop at Williamsburg included a 45 minute impressive Thomas Jefferson reenactment.

Tip: If you plan to visit Williamsburg, bring your own lanyard to hang your visitor pass.

Historic Jamestown and Colonial Jamestowne National Historic Park

On the 4th of July, we visited Historic Jamestowne which is operated by the National Park Service.  Jamestowne is the first and oldest permanent English settlement in North America.  The English arrived in 1607 and the archaeological recovery efforts continue today.  I recommend taking the time to watch the film in the visitor centre as provides the background to the Powhatan peoples.
Bronze statue of Pocahontas, c. 1913. Pocahontas was born about 1596 , daughter of the Powhatan Chief.

archaeological recovery and restoration of the church

site of the fort

If you are in the Historic Triangle, you can also visit Yorktowne and the Jamestowne Settlement (which is a reenactment).  We only had two days in the area so we limited our visit to Williamsburg and Historic Jamestowne.