Four days after returning from Martha’s Vineyard, I set off on another trip. This time a friend’s wedding provided the excuse to explore southwestern and central Pennsylvania- solo.
I’m an avid planner. I love the details of planning a trip, brainstorming all of the different possibilities, knowing that I’ll have a list prepared in case I find myself with extra time or a site is unexpectedly closed. I suppose it’s my way of ensuring that I soak up everything I possibly can on a trip and that I don’t miss out on anything interesting. I had initially planned the trip with a friend and when he couldn’t make it, the thought of missing out on all of the wonderful things I had planned to see and do was upsetting. And so I followed one of Cosmo’s 12 Commandments and decided to travel alone.
On Thursday evening, I left DC and set out for an adorable one room cabin. Although it turned it to be less rural than I had hoped, it was cozy and I learned how to make a fire with about 30 matches, 2 rolls of toilet paper, and 4 damp logs. Waking early the next morning, I went to the roadside market next door and had an hour-long chat with the proprietor, who gave me loads of inside information about how best to get to my destinations. He was truly helpful and friendly and I enjoyed speaking with him immensely. Upon his recommendation, I ate breakfast at a homey diner called Curt’s Family Restaurant and also upon his suggestion, bought far more jam than I will eat in a year!
The pictures of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater speak for themselves. It’s a beautiful home and I was thrilled to get the iconic shot that you see in postcards just as the sun was shining through the dense woods. However, I couldn’t help but feel a little underwhelmed. His architectural theories were ground-breaking for the time, but are such the standard for today that little seemed truly amazing. I suppose it’d be like a 12 year old PS3 player not very impressed with my old Atari system.
Kentuck Knob is another one of Wright’s designs, although it is currently privately owned by a British Lord. Kentuck Knob has the feeling of a ship or an ark and I found it to be much more architecturally interesting than Fallingwater. However, the effect was somewhat ruined by the framed photos of the British lord’s family that cluttered almost every surface. This visit was a bit more amusing, as the only ticket I could secure was on a retirement home field trip. Naturally, they were curious about why I was traveling with them and traveling alone, at that. They seemed to feel a sense of embarrassment for me, which was comical and somewhat chagrining at the same time.
Photographically, I experimented with bracketing on this trip so that I could try out some HDR photography. Essentially, I changed the camera settings so that I could take three photos in rapid succession- one at “zero” (normal exposure), one at a stop higher and one at a stop lower. This creates a normally-exposed photo, an underexposed photo, and an overexposed photo so that they can be merged into an HDR image. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of photos that are so “HDR’d” that they look CGI, although I realize that many people like them. I purchased the Photomatix HDR software and plan to experiment further by adjusting the number of stops so that my bracketing isn’t as drastic.
Here’s a Google map of the route that I took, with the covered bridges as GPS points. I used Pennsylvania’s Covered Bridges in order to locate covered bridges that would near enough to the highway and along my route. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to all of the covered bridges, nor all of my intended destinations. But they can easily be incorporated if I were to plan a road trip to Pittsburgh. But I did make it to Fort Necessity, which necessitates a whole post of its own! Stay tuned!