(BPT) - Finalizing your summer travel plans? Thinking outside the box to find destinations that combine history, architecture and nature can make travel that much more memorable.
Whether it’s a leisurely road trip through the Keystone State or an action-packed fly-in to catch a baseball game in Kansas City, San Francisco or Seattle, the American Hardwood Information Center recommends your itinerary include breathtaking hardwood “hotspots” that showcase the beauty, long-lasting elegance and environmental preference of products made from American Hardwoods.
Wharton Esherick Museum
About 25 miles west of Philadelphia, in Paoli, Chester County, rests the residence and studio of renowned sculptor, Wharton Esherick. The house museum, now a National Historic Landmark for Architecture, displays over 200 Esherick creations - walnut furniture, cherry walls, walnut and apple wood flooring, even a hand carved red oak spiral staircase - showcasing Esherick’s creativity and love of all things hardwood. Experience these astonishing creations. Tours are by reservation only. (www.whartonesherickmuseum.org)
Frank Lloyd Wright via the Pennsylvania Turnpike
The rolling hills of Western Pennsylvania are home to three magnificent creations of Frank Lloyd Wright, known for designing structures in harmony with humanity and the environment and recognized by the American Institute of Architects as “the greatest American architect of all time.” Each must-see structure is a masterpiece of creativity and Wright’s forward-thinking brilliance, and all are assessable via the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
* Fallingwater - Mill Run, Penn. - spans a 30 foot waterfall within the Bear Run Nature Reserve of the Laurel Highlands. Created for the Kaufmann family who shared Wright’s love of nature, the landmark structure “is the only major Wright-designed house open to the public with its furnishings, artwork and setting intact.” Tours are available by contacting visitor services. (www.fallingwater.org)
* Kentuck Knob – Chalk Hill, Penn. – also in the Laurel Highlands is just seven miles south of Fallingwater. Built in the typical Wright “organic architecture” style - natural woods and native sandstone – individual or group tours of the Usonian house can be arranged through the Fallingwater website. (www.kentuckknob.com)
* Duncan House – Acme, Penn. – designed by Wright and originally located in Illinois, is one of three Wright-inspired Usonian style homes located in Polymath Park Resort. A stunning example of Wright’s ability to bring the outdoors in, the structure is open for tours and lodging. (www.polymathpark.com)
The Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve
If you’d like to experience a treehouse reaching 125 feet skyward and providing 3,360 square feet of interior space as well as terraces and landings, then head south from the Laurel Highlands and motor toward Beckley, W.V. and the award-winning Sustainability Treehouse. Designed by Seattle-based firm, Mithun, the site is the new home of the National Scout Jamboree and an impressive showcase of site-harvested oak and black locust ceilings and flooring, and black locust cladding and interior walls. The educational venue is open to visitors June through August. (www.summitbechtelreserve.org)
Across the country
In Kansas City, Missouri, don’t miss the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. There you’ll find the 1,600-seat Helzberg Hall where a variety of quartersawn American hardwoods provide a breathtaking floor to ceiling aesthetic. (www.kauffmancenter.org)
When in San Francisco, make a point to visit the San Francisco City Hall. Furniture, interior walls, millwork and other architectural details showcase American Hardwoods at their best. Monday through Friday tours are free of charge to school groups and private groups of seven or less. (www.sfgsa.org)
In Seattle, step into the acoustically superb, Benaroya Hall, the new home of the Seattle Symphony. You’ll want to experience hardwood’s timeless beauty and incomparable strength in this magnificent venue. Free public tours are conducted only on Friday. Try your best to be on the list. (www.seattlesymphony.org/benaroya)
For those lucky golf enthusiasts who have been awarded 2015 Masters Tournament tickets, the Augusta National Golf Club awaits. American hardwoods abound there – from the 60 magnolia trees that line the main driveway, to the magnificent oak nestled on the course side of the clubhouse. Each hole is named after a tree or shrub and “insiders” report that the locker room is a virtual display of Georgia grown ash. (www.masters.com)
Pack your bags
To make the most of your journey, visit www.HardwoodInfo.com, the American Hardwood Information Center, and learn more about American Hardwood products. Then by all means, head for the door. Magnificent hardwood “hotspots” are just around the bend.