I had the chance Saturday to go up to the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania. The Laurel Highlands are best known for being the site of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. But that is not the only natural or man-made wonder in the Laurel Highlands. As a former white water kayaker, the Laurel Highlands to me means the Youghiogheny River and Ohiopyle Falls. The Youghiogheny, or Yough as it is also called, is where I was first introduced to white water kayaking while I was in college, although I didn’t actually do any kayaking until a few years later. But I loved to go to the river with friends and sit on the rocks and watch the people out playing among the rocks.
Because my father was driving, this was a day trip. I like it when some one else drives because it means I can knit or read in the car. We had a real early start. I was up at 4 am and still ended up waiting for my father to come and pick me up. The route to the Laurel Highlands is the same route my father used to drive to take me to college. So this meant I knew exactly where to tell him to stop so I could take photos.
I did have knitting, books, and a quilt to work on in the car. And of course, one should never travel without an iPod filled with music and podcasts.
The first stop for photos was at Sideling Hill. Sideling Hill is at the edge of Washington County, Maryland, and offers a fantastic of Washington County. The road used to take you around the mountain on a two-lane road. The view from the top of the mountain was spectacular but the road was not a place you wanted to be on a dark, foggy, snowy, or ice-y night. The cut through Sideling Hill cut off almost 20 to 30 minutes off the time it took to get to Western Maryland and made the road safer.
So before 7 am, I was standing on the edge of the rest area taking photos of the sunrise. And yes, it was cold. But the photos were worth standing in the cold with cold fingers. Yes, I was too laze to walk back to the van and get my gloves. The morning was foggy and you could see the patches of the fog as the sun started to rise up over the mountains.
After stopping at Sideling Hill, we headed up towards Cumberland. Cumberland sits in a valley and fog (and smog) is a common occurrence. But the fog lifting was pretty and I was able to take a good photo while still in the van. The next stop was in Frostburg, Maryland.
Frostburg is a very special place to me. I want to university there. And I managed to do it sober. Frostburg is best known for the drinking. People claim that there is not much to do either on campus or in town except drink. Yes, it does get cold there but there is plenty to do. But there is plenty to do both on campus and in town provided you are willing to keep an open mind. And the surrounding area is full of natural wonders that you can go out and explore. But that is not to say that I didn’t drink too while I was there. If there were jobs in town that would allow me to live at the standard I am used to living, I would move back there. Well, I would have to make sure there is a decent yarn shop nearby and a good co-op too first….
The next stop was Urisina, Pennsylvania. Urisina is a small town where one of my mother’s friends was staying with a relative. We met up there before heading to Kentuck Knob. The plan had been to go to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallngwater but there were no tickets available that day. So instead, we ended up going to Kentuck Knob which is another Frank Lloyd Wright house. The major difference between the two houses is that Fallingwater was a vacation home and Kentuck Knob was actually loved in year round.
My only problem with the house tour is that the groups were too large for the size of the house. The tour groups were scheduled 5 minutes apart and my group had 12 people in it. The previous group and the one right after us had just as many. You could hear the previous group’s tour guide and the one behind us as well. The rooms in a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian house are small. I really couldn’t see the kitchen even though I was in it. There were just too many people in the group to be in the room. The house was pretty though.
The grounds around the house were fantastic. There is a sculpture garden on the grounds that is nice but I found that I liked the sculpture by Mother Nature better. I am only putting up a few of the photos I took here. The rest are up over on Flickr in a set called Ohiopyle.
After going to Kentuck Knob, we went over to Ohiopyle. The fire company there has its big fund raiser with an all you can eat buckwheat pancake meal. They time the event for a weekend in October when the leaves are at top color. Well, this year, the leaves are a little slow to turn but the crowd was huge. There were crafters there selling their wares as well. But I didn’t see anything that caught my eye.
Instead I spent my time inside the fire hall talking to the chief. The fire fighters in my county complain about our equipment and the fact that we don’t run enough calls. But they never realize how lucky they are compared to other areas. The Ohiopyle-Stewart Volunteer Fire Department is running equipment that we would not even think of using other than for training. They run about 200 or so calls a year. This fund raiser is how they raise the bulk of their operational funds. It is always interesting to learn about other fire companies and how they are run.
From the fire company, we went over to the actual falls in Ohiopyle. Although I haven’t been kayaking in a few years, the water made me want to go and grab a boat and play in the water. I will let the photos speak for themselves. And go and check out all of the photos over on Flickr.