NYC to Falling Water Road trip
July 3, 2015 6:28 AM   Subscribe

NYC to Falling Water road trip info. Any ideas?

So, we decided to head out to a 2-3 day road trip, rent a car and go see Falling Water in the beginning of next week.
We are in Manhattan.
Any and all advice about car rental, best scenic route, food on the way, where to sleep (cozy airbnb?) or any other attractions and suggestions would be great.
We are definitely on a limited budget.

Thank you all :)
Happy 4th
posted by tulim to Travel & Transportation around Falling Waters, WV (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Assuming you take the PA turnpike, you'll be driving past/near Lancaster and Hershey, which if either Amish country or chocolate interest you could be worth a stop. Be aware that the PA Turnpike can be kind of terrible (it's old, lots of opportunities for traffic jams due to construction, it's going to cost you about $20 worth of tolls, etc.)

As for where to stay: I'd recommend driving up to Pittsburgh and finding some place there. It being summer, there might be some good airbnbs around UPitt/Carnegie Melon. Also, Falling Water is a weekend retreat/summer home, so it's sort of out in the country. Lots of winding roads to get there, and not that much around it. Plus, it doesn't take *that* long to tour the house and grounds, so you'll have some time on your hands to go do various Pittsburgh things, which are many. (Carnegie Museum of Natural History, The Strip, Andy Warhol Museum, Cathedral of Learning, the Pirates, etc., etc.)

There's also Kentuck Knob nearby, another Frank Lloyd Wright house.
posted by damayanti at 7:16 AM on July 3, 2015 [2 favorites]

I would totally recommend adding Kentuck Knob to your trip. The house is nice, but the owners have also created an amazing sculpture garden in the surrounding grounds that is worth a trip by itself. We spent most of a full day at Falling Water and it was just amazing. There are a lot of historic small towns in the area. We stayed in Ligonier, which had a few bed and breakfasts that were fairly inexpensive. The area is quiet and quaint, so think walking, eating and relaxing if that's your thing.
posted by goggie at 7:36 AM on July 3, 2015

We stayed at the Historic Summit Inn, which the owners pointed out had been a sister property to the Stanley Hotel, which inspired THE SHINING. Also the power was out on the whole mountain when we (finally) arrived (after first driving past the entrance in the dark) and said owner seemed to be having some fun with that – there was a blazing fire in the lobby fireplace and he had a horror movie soundtrack queued up to play while he was getting us some free drinks. And then they gave us candles when they led us to our room. A+++ would stay again.
posted by fedward at 10:35 AM on July 3, 2015

Best answer: 2nding the Summit Inn, at least for a drink if not to actually stay there. Ohiopyle State Park is just down the road and is worth seeing as well.

Personally, I'd take the scenic route there, and the Turnpike back. If you take I-78 out of the NYC area to Allentown, then you can take US-222 southwest through Reading and Ephrata, and in Lancaster get on US-30. Rt 30 is a very nice road, and will take you through Gettysburg, Chambersburg (famous for its battlefield and also peaches!), and eventually Ligonier (French and Indian War historic site). From Ligonier, you can take PA-381 south to Fallingwater, and continue on it afterwards to the Summit Inn, which is on US-40.

Lots of opportunities to stop and see various stuff by the side of the road. I'd probably plan on spending the night rather than doing it all in one day, although it's possible (but sorta defeats the purpose of making it a scenic trip, IMO). If you want to keep it cheap, there are tons of motels in Breezewood, where US-30 crosses the Turnpike. (It is also an opportunity to bail out and take a faster road if you are feeling time pressure.)

Anyway, if I was going to do it and take a few days / long weekend, I'd take Rt 30 out as previously described, staying somewhere along the route and meandering a bit and seeing the historic stuff en route. Then do Fallingwater, Ohiopyle, and spend the second night in the Summit Inn, if you can get a reservation (they do a lot of weddings so it can be hard to get Saturday night rooms there during the summer). If you're up for more than that, I'd maybe take US-40 back, through western Maryland along the path of the C&O Canal, stopping in Hagerstown (amazing German food) on the way back. From Hagerstown you can jump on I-81 and be home in a few hours, barring traffic.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:27 PM on July 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

We had a great time staying at The Stone House Inn last March, about 10 miles from Fallingwater.
posted by SLC Mom at 2:07 PM on July 3, 2015

Make sure you book a spot to visit Falling Water, as you have to have an advance ticket to tour the house.
posted by essexjan at 3:11 PM on July 3, 2015

We did this trip two summers ago. We rented a Zipcar and drove from Manhattan, since that seemed to work out best for us.

Make sure you look for coupons online if you go with one of the majors. Your credit card may also offer rental car discounts and/or insurance (so you don't have to use the overpriced insurance that the agency offers) if you rent from an Avis, Budget, etc.

2nd getting Fallingwater tour tickets in advance. Also 2nd getting Kentucky Knob tickets in advance. It's nice to see some of the more modest homes he did like Kentuck Knob compared to Fallingwater.

Make sure you understand all of the Fallingwater tour options.

If you want to totally overdose on FLW, I would also think about adding on a tour at Polymath Park in Acme, PA. Fairly close by and the Duncan House is some of the few FLW homes you can stay overnight in. But it's pricey, and books up well in advance.

Note that Polymath Park is closed Tuesdays, Fallingwater is closed Wednesdays. If your trip is Mon-Weds, make sure you can fit it all in!

Know that at Fallingwater, interior photography is prohibited, unless you spring for the pricer tour options. We did the sunset tour, it was the last tour of the day, our tour guide was fantastic and patient, and we were allowed to take as many photos as we wanted. This was a leisurely tour that ended with plentiful appetizers and drinks on one of the terraces, which was an amazing experience.

I recommend getting to Fallingwater a bit in advance, so you can park, hike down, and stop at the lookout before you get to the house, and just gawk for a good 15-20 minutes. The tour groups will cycle in and out of the terraces, so you may need to wait for the crowds to clear in order to get a good photo. They do move people in and out of Fallingwater at a very, very rapid clip, so I would think about splurging on a longer tour if you want to take your time.

We really enjoyed our two meals at Out of the Fire Cafe in Donegal. Make reservations in advance; they're popular.

Between your destination and NYC, while not the most "fun" attraction, the Flight 93 National Memorial was a worthwhile stop. Bring sunblock, as there is very little shade.

Have a great time!
posted by kathryn at 12:57 PM on July 4, 2015

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