A Tale of Two Houses

IMG_0933Day 38.

Miles Driven: 463

IMG_0897Westward-ho! Now we start our journey back to the West coast. I had no idea Pennsylvania was so wide! Now, our must-see attraction in Cleveland was the house used for the cult-classic holiday film A Christmas Story. This is a great film that hits home with many of the strange holiday traditions and events that can happen in any American family. Known for lines like “you’ll shoot your eye out kid,” “show me how the piggies eat,” and “fra-gi-le, that must be Italian.” After 24-hours of A Christmas Story on TBS, this film has become a yearly tradition at my house.

The 1983 film was based on Jean Sheperd’s collection of short stories, In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash and was set in Hammond, Indiana. Director Bob Clark found that Hammond no longer displayed the 1950s America where Sheperd’s stories were set, but Cleveland, still a busy steel town, did. The exterior of the house and neighborhood were used for all outside shots while interior shots were recreated on a sound stage.

IMG_0898IMG_0900In 2004, the house was put on sale on ebay and purchased by Brian Jones who then restored the home to its stardom. He even gutted the interior and recreated the Parker Family’s home inside, exactly like the sound stage. The house and museum now hold much movie memorabilia and is very fun to visit at any level of fandom for this movie.

IMG_0914After spending a few hours at the house, we drove over to Cleveland’s Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame. The museum was designed by I.M. Pei, the same architect who designed the pyramid addition at the Louvre in IMG_0916Paris. We did not have time to tour the museum, but they have an awesome gift shop. I did buy a neat 45-record of Elvis, one of the first artists to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

A bit more driving and then camping tonight.

Day 39.


Miles Driven: 276

_MG_1246I am so excited today. We backtracked south east a bit into the south-west corner of Pennsylvania. Here, just south of Pittsburg is one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous homes: Fallingwater. Commissioned by the Kaufmann Family, founders of the Kaufmann department store in Pittsburg, in 1936, it was a mountain escape from the smoky steel town.

Wright’s design was like no other. It’s 30’ cantilevers stretched out over the waterfall below and appeared to be floating in the trees. The architect and the Kaufmanns shared a common love of nature and innovative designs. Wright based his design off the many natural elements he saw while exploring the site, in particular two rock ledges that hung over the waterfall. Though a unique design, a visitor can see its relationship to previous works by Wright, for example, the horizontal lines of the prairie house and its Japanese influence. All of the stones were quarried locally and many boulders were not removed from the site but built on top of and integrated inside the house.

_MG_1255The home was stunning and the tour very interesting. It was fun to compare this home to the other Wright houses I have seen. Mom kept saying that I can design her a little suite like this some day for her.

We drove back into Ohio and camped at Buckeye Lake just outside of Columbus.

IMG_0943IMG_0938Day 40.

Miles Driven: 472

Another surge westward. We drove through Ohio, through Indiana (we made a pitstop in Indianapolis at our favorite grocery store, Trader Joe’s, to get supplies), and into Illinois. The whole drive, all we saw was corn. Corn fields on corn fields with a few soy beans thrown in. We took a small detour through a little Amish town where we bought some desserts at an Amish restaurant and enjoyed seeing the horse drawn carriages. The museum containing the world’s largest broom collection closed right before we got there. Oh darn. But we did get to see the Hippie Monument next door, complete with an actual hippie standing in front. We found another nice campsite to stay at outside of Springfield. We met two Canadian men who were both traveling by motorcycle. It is always fun to trade road trip stories with fellow campers.

IMG_0947IMG_0950Total Miles: 7,636

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