The region just outside of Pittsburgh offers much more than just outdoor recreation. There is something to explore for all ages and all interests. Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece Fallingwater is just a short drive away, one of the country’s oldest amusement parks, now a registered, National Historical Landmark, Kennywood, is right outside of the city, and the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville is a silent reminder of the sacrifices made by those on the Flight to preserve the symbol of Democracy, the Capitol.
For Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts, spending a night at Polymath Park, in the Wright designed Duncan House and exploring Wright’s other homes in the area including Kentuck Knob and Fallingwater is a must. Fallingwater was designed for the Kauffmann Family who owned department stores throughout the region. The home was designed in the famous Wright method of connecting living space to the natural environment and when it was completed in 1937, there was nothing like it in the world. It’s maintained beautifully by the Western Pennsylvania Nature Conservancy and a visit during all four seasons is recommended as the house changes with the different colors of the season.
Right outside of Shanksville, rests the Flight 93 Memorial. The memorial, located in the field where the 40 passengers and crew downed their own plane to thwart an attack on the Capitol, invokes individual reflection, gratitude and silence.
27 miles to the southwest of Pittsburgh is Meadowcroft Rockshelter. The ancient archaeological site contains the remains of human habitation dating back 19,000 years, to the pre-Clovis era. The site was discovered in 1955 by Albert Miler and is the oldest known site of human habitation in North America and has yielded the largest known flora and fauna collection in eastern North America, evidencing that 19,000 years ago humans were collecting and gathering game animals and plants such as corn, squash, and fruit. The excavation methods used at the site are still seen as state-of- the-art. In 2005, Meadowcroft became a designated National Historic Landmark.
The Pittsburgh region gave birth to environmental trailblazer and founder of the modern environmental movement Rachel Carson, who called for the end of the use of DDT in her epic book, Silent Spring. Her childhood home has been preserved and is a National Register of Historic Places, 18 miles northeast of Pittsburgh along the Allegheny River. Visitors may visit the five-room farmhouse managed by the Rachel Carson Homestead Association. It’s best to call ahead for a reservation.