Monday, September 11, 2023

Roadside cafes, casinos & creeks bearing houses: that’s how we do it in Pa

This past Friday after my checkup at Mercy Health Clinic that could’ve gone better (I’ve gained 11 lbs since my last visit in April, I’m officially through with my nightly slice of pie) I traveled south to my sister Shawn & brother-in-law Jim’s house for a 3 day visit.

During my stay, I went on a terrific road-trip with my friend & former classmate Diana.  We ate at a woodsy roadside cafe, went to the Lady Luck Casino to try our luck and finally to Falling Waters (pictured right), home of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famously designed weekend retreat for the Kaufmann’s, a wealthy Pittsburgh family in the 1930s.

I took 27 photos, Diana (and her much better iphone) took 50!  I obviously couldn’t share them all here, but thought these few would give you an idea of our adventure. 

Besides, if you’ve seen one Wright home you’ve seen ‘em all… I’m kidding.

The Lady Luck Casino, in Farmington Pa – it’s gigantic.  Gambaholics welcome!

“You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em.. know when to fold ‘em!”
“Winning!”  Who needs levers on these slot machines when you can just press a white button?  Diana shows us how it’s done    
Back on the road, it’s time for lunch at the Bittersweet Cafe
 
A very tangy coleslaw, peach iced tea and a delicious smoky pulled pork sandwich.  Pricey, but everything was fresh and delicious
 
We’ve arrived at Falling Waters

Taking a photo of Diana taking a photo (bottom right), of the Falling Waters retreat
 
Low ceilings, mammoth stone floors and very, very humid inside.  This is the original furniture from 75 years ago, and even with fresh flowers everywhere, the smell of mildew was fairly strong

We weren’t allowed in the kitchen, so I stuck my arm in the doorway and took this pic.  (At least I got the photo, we were prohibited from taking any pictures of the bedrooms or study on the second floor—why?)

Another photo of the livingroom, looking towards the dining room; the ceiling was gorgeous

And finally, back in Pittsburgh; I forgot to cash in my winnings!
 

I just wanted to add neither of us like to gamble; Diana & I spent a whopping $2.00 in that casino.

We just wanted to see what it looked like inside, and you know that old saying, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.  But I’ll never understand the attraction!

46 comments:

  1. Doug, it sounds like you had a fabulous weekend. Falling Water looks beautiful. Like you I have never been interested in gambling. We have a casino about 40 miles away and it seems to be busy whenever I drive by. Goodness, how did you forget to cash in that big voucher??!πŸ˜†πŸ˜† Have a good day Doug.❤️

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    1. Haha--thanks Robin! Yes, Falling Water was striking (in a very curious 1930s way) and I should've shared more pics. As for the casino, I'm not surprised you have no interest in it, I know you have a good head on your shoulders. :^)

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  2. If you are an addict, you can't understand why everybody doesn't like to gamble. My grandfather was a terrible addict and had mortgaged his family home which went undetected until he died. Grandma was evicted from her home. Looks like you two had a great time!

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    1. DJan, that's awful! I am so sorry about your grandma! Well, I did grow up in a family with gambling addicts (and my own grandma, God bless her, was a Bingo & lottery addict herself). I learned it's a fool's errand early on.

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  3. I'll admit I do like to play the slots occasionally. But I've a very strict budget (a little more than your $2), and I walk away once I win. Our local casino has a concert area, and friends and I went to dinner at the casino before the show. Since I was early, I dropped $20 into a machine and walked away with $150. That was well over 6 years ago, as it has been that long since we went to the show.
    The Frank Lloyd Wright home is interesting, but I don't think I'd ever want to live in one. Now the meal you ate...that looks darn good!

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    1. Thanks Maebeme, and hey my tablet is learning... I typed in Ma and it suggested your name! Well, $150 sounds like a real windfall; but I cannot imagine dropping $20 into a machine! At least you did the smart thing and kept it! As for that home, I know just what you mean. It's a nice place to visit but I can't imagine living there. πŸ€”

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  4. Your adventure with Diana sounds like lots of good fun. The movies are my only casino experiences. Your casino seems quiet in comparison to the movie experience. The new slots with a push of a button makes losing money faster. FLW architecture is always interesting to me. Mold in the house sounds terrible.

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    1. Thanks Susan! Diana is a very good friend, pretty funny too. It was quiet in that casino, but we were there pretty early on a Saturday morning. Still there was plenty of people playing the machines. We just did our best to not take pictures of them. As for that house, you raise a good point. I didn't see any mold, but they did say that the maintenance on the place was costly.

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  5. That voucher made me laugh. You were lucky to win something. I gambled $100 in Las Vegas and didn't win a penny. I like Wright's house and would love to have a row of large windows like those. Very pretty. Diana looks like a fun person. What a fun outing!

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    1. Thanks Gigi! I'm sorry you lost $100 in Las Vegas, I hope you had fun there at least! And that was a nice house, but I wouldn't want to live there--because of the creek that runs thru the bottom of it, a lot of moisture control. And you're right about Diana, she really is a lot of fun--I'm glad we became friends :^)

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  6. Mike Brady would be proud of that design.

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    1. Well, the house was designed in the 1930s so it was cutting-edge back then--but it did have that Brady vibe! :^)

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  7. What a wonderful weekend adventure. Even the casino visit. I am not a fan of those places, but it's interesting to look in on one every so often. I find that most of the attendees are rather morose looking. You and your friend look like you had a good (and cheap) time. Falling Waters is the best part (oh, and spending time with your friend who appears to be quite delightful).

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    1. What a nice message, thank you dkzody. Listen, you summed up that casino perfectly. There was a good number of people in there (and a lot of cigarette smoke) looking pretty morose indeed. As for Falling Water, I was a little surprised at the price of the tickets, $37.00 each but I suppose it wasn't that bad... and you're right again, Diana is a lot of fun to be with. :^)

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  8. Looks like a fun weekend, Dug. Your friend, Diana, seems a good companion for those outings. My favorite would have been the woodsy cafe - your lunch looked great! I love peach tea. As for the casino - no interest and I agree that getting rid of those pull down levers makes it even more boring. My SIL loves casinos.. goes with friends ever so often. I tried it on a cruise ship once - BORING! (but that's just me).
    I don't even buy lottery tickets.

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    1. Thank you Rian, and you're right about Diana. She is thoughtful and fun, a nice companion. As for the casino, you took the words right out of my mouth! I don't get it either, so it's not just you trust me! πŸ˜‰

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  9. Love seeing where others go for fun. I'm not a casino person either and they're pretty much everywhere nowadays. The Bittersweet Cafe looks nice. At one time I really wanted to visit Fallingwater but they've raised admission pretty high from what I heard and reservations are hard to get so I kinda scratched it off my list, but I do love nearby Ohiopyle! You and Diana make a cute couple! Glad you had a fun day!

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    1. Bobi, THANK YOU. I don't want to sound like a cheapskate, but yes we had to reserve those tickets for Falling Water weeks in advance, plus they were $37 each! At the end of the tour, they ask for donations and I told Diana "Um, didn't we just pay a small fortune to see this place?" but she was on their side, haha! Anyway, you sound like you know the area! It was beautiful. As for Diana & I being a couple, we're only friends :^)

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  10. Hi Doug. Nice post--I enjoyed seeing the photos of Falling Water. It's been almost 20 years since we visited there. I've always liked the look of Frank Lloyd Wright homes but I've read that they were a nightmare for the owners to keep up. On the weight issue, have you read about the NOOM eating plan? Of course the app subscription is pricey but if you don't really need/want the "coaching" then the actual food lists and recommendations are free and widely available to see online. My daughter-in-law used it and lost quite a bit of weight and has kept it off. The good thing about it is it is "regular" food in healthy portions. It uses the simple to remember red-yellow-green chart concept for selecting foods (red=don't eat much if at all, yellow=eat some but not much, green=eat mostly). The colors are on the chart--not the color of the actual food :) In order for it to work well it does involve some counting calories and keeping track of eating but that's a good thing really. The same concept as how wise people keep track of their money spending to keep their finances "healthy". Anyway, just wanted to throw that out there. My personal favorite advice about healthy eating is "Eat real food, not very much, mostly plants". You can do it!

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    1. Thanks Don! You're right about the upkeep on those Wright homes, they told us how expensive they are to maintain. It was unique, but didn't blow me away.. as for Noom, I appreciate everything you shared here but I actually tried this a year ago and it simply wasn't for me. I know what happened with my own weight, I stopped monitoring it 5-6 months ago (which makes a BIG difference, for me at least) and I began eating extra because of joining the senior center -and- I got addicted to pie. Seriously, having a slice every night. I just have to go back to the way things were 6 months ago, I'll do it!

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  11. Nice adventures! I'm surprised the Wright house doesn't have a museum staff with capabilities to delete the odor of mildew, especially with the ticket price. Looks pretty cool on the inside.
    Guess the gambling gene didn't pass down to you. My Mom loved it, and could afford it; (doctor's widow.) She loved the horse racing in OKC. When casinos opened in KC, she'd come visit. I hated all the smoke in the KC casinos, but her OKC didn't have any. She won over $6K several times, played sometimes in the rich people's slots with big $5 tokens. I was just the gofer taking her stash back to the window to get more tokens. She had free rooms, VIP stuff and meals at the casino's ritzy restaurants. My son and I would meet her there, then take home goodie bags of food. She had over $1600 in comp stuff when she died, but nope, we couldn't claim that. It was a fun hobby for her which didn't damage her daily living. Thank goodness she never caught on to online gambling.
    Maybe consider one pie slice a week. Now we know why you're so sweet! Linda in Kansas

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    1. Linda, this was such an interested read I had to read it twice--wow! Thanks for sharing this stuff about your Mom, that's amazing! Well, my friend Diana & I were discussing this very thing on Saturday, at least with casinos there are opportunities for just what you wrote here, you'd never get with that online stuff (which seems like a real scam). And yep my medical friend, that's exactly what I'm doing--one slice of pie on weekends only :^)

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  12. The food looks delicious! You got some interesting photos of the house. Oh, no, what will you do without that money from your winnings? ;) I'm no gambler either; I would rather buy something to eat/drink with my money. I also HATE the constant noise! ching ching ching

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    1. Haha thanks Margaret! Well, we actually didn't hear a lot of ching-chings inside... this casino was pretty 21st century. I just couldn't get over the lack of arms on all those machines. If one HAS to gamble, I'd want to pull a lever and watch twirling fruit, not poke a little white button. I do not get it.

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    2. The arm hurts the old ladies arthritis. But the button is FASTER and makes the CASINO more money. The machines my Mom used, you could choose either way. Linda in Kansas

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    3. Thanks Linda--well, I don't want to see anyone hurting but at the same time, if I can't yank any levers to see that fruit spin, then forget it :^)

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  13. I'll bet (no pun intended) that you and Diana shared a lot of laughs. I'm with Rian on the pastime of gambling -- BORING!!! And cigarette smoke to boot? No thank you. I would have enjoyed looking through the Falling Waters retreat. Then felt extra cozy after returning to my humble abode. Your Bittersweet Cafe lunch sure looked delicious. Wish it was on my table right now! (drool) Thanks so much for taking us along on that fun road trip, Doug.

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    1. Florence, thank you so much my friend! We're on the same page regarding all those lights and cig smoke, and yep that roadside lunch had your name written all over it! As for Falling Water, I tried very hard to imagine living there and couldn't do it, but I bet weekend stays would've been interesting :^)

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  14. Frank Lloyd Wright’s houses are renowned (or notorious) for leaking, that probably explained the mildew smell.

    Like you, I don’t understand the attraction of gambling. Perhaps because I’m a mathematician by training and understand the odds. I’ve been to Las Vegas twice, both times stopping for lunch while driving from Albuquerque to San Francisco. Really good lunches, but I didn’t have a flutter.

    That sure looks like a good trip (and warm, sez he shivering in Melbourne).

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    1. Thank you Peter, and hmm very interesting about the Wright homes. I'm also glad to hear you're not into gambling, I'm not one bit surprised. :^) Well, it was a warm day for the stuff we did, but summer is officially over here and it's starting to cool, I'm ready :^)

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  15. What a fun trip. The house looks lovely. My husband and I each get $20 at the casino. I pay the penny slots until I lose my $20 (it can take hours). My husband usually breaks even and wins back his $20.

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    1. Thank you Miss Merry--well, we didn't do it right, we thought we were playing the penny slots too but it ate up our dollars in one gulp! I'm glad you don't lose a lot and just have fun!

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  16. Okay, for a second I thought you were trying to tell us that you won $66,547 and change. I've always wanted to see Falling Waters. I did not know about the dampness, but it stands to reason, doesn't it? A contemporary of Wright's, Alden Dow designed homes and a lot of them can be found around Midland Michigan. They have that flat modern look just as Wright's design here. They all had one thing in common. The roofs leaked! Give me a plain old non-designer house any day.

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    1. Thanks Debby--well, given all your own home builds, you probably know this roof stuff better than most. Interesting, I've heard this leaking thing a few times today--and the tour guide at FW did stress the house comes with a lot of maintenance. I'll have to check out this Alden Dow.

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  17. I've been to Taliesin in WI. They seem much the same. Small bedrooms, small kitchen. The non main rooms were embarrassingly small and and that's why our (private) guide indicated we couldn't photograph them.

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    1. Ah... well, you sure are right about the very small rooms in this house Joanne, thanks for sharing! I'll have to pass this along to my friend... :^)

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  18. Nice trip. I'm not a gambler either (except for an occasional poker game with my buddies). But I did go to the Frank Lloyd home in Spring Green, WI, last year. You know . . . they DO kinda all look alike.

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    1. Thanks for sharing Tom, I'll have to look this other house up! :^)

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  19. The Falling Waters place looks terrific, but smelling of mildew is a bad, bad thing. mildew is the beginning of mould and that needs to be sorted and cleared up. I am allergic to mould so I could never set foot inside there.
    The rest of your trip sounds lovely. Will you ever go back and cash in that winning ticket? it's almost half a dollar after all.

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    1. Thanks River, I was thinking I might be off the mark in regards to that mildew smell. It could be harmless, a result of the house being built on top of a creek, with a lot of water flowing in various areas inside the place. I just don't know. Anyway, I do have 250 days to decide whether they catch that pay voucher at the casino so we'll see! πŸ˜„

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  20. Fallingwater is quite the attraction in PA and one focus of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. I want to give that organization a "shout out" becasue they have stayed the course for many years (I joined right out of college in 1980) and done great things for Pittsburgh and beyond. Their reach now even goes into northcentral PA. Very well run and they don't inundate with mailings! Glad you had such a nice day out. Another Wright home that can be toured (in that same area) is Kentuck Knob - seems more liveable and is still privately owned I believe. Kim in PA

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    1. Wow Kim, that's a nice shout-out and I admire your taking part in it. I think I'm getting used to your writing style, I knew this was you before I got to your name at the bottom! Anyway, I'll have to ask my friend Diana about this other home, I think she did point it out to me on our trip there, she's pretty familiar with that area.

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  21. Hello Doug, nice to meet you. It is my first comment here and just surfed on in to say hi. Fallingwater is a place I would enjoy seeing. We flew into Las Vegas once, played a few slot machines and that was about it as far as gambling. It was more a starting point for a road trip and we headed north after one night’s stay. I enjoyed the wide open spaces more, but it was an experience I had fun with even for a short stay. Great photos!

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    1. Hi Denise, thanks for your comment and it’s nice to meet you too. Well, I'm sure the rustic casino we went to doesn't compare to Las Vegas, but that was the same for us, a starting point for our own road trip. If I go into another casino soon, it will have to be in Vegas! πŸ™‚

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  22. Lucky you! I would have loved to have visited that Frank Lloyd Wright home. I heard so much about it during my Art and Architecture class in college.

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    1. Thanks Kay, I'll happily trade places with you! Just say the word! πŸ˜„❤️

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