Visiting Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West and Grand Canyon
I’ve been a fan of great American architect Frank Lloyd Wright for a long time, and thanks to my friends and eBay I have a nice collection of books both about his work and written by him. So when I realized that his winter home and school Taliesin West were right next to Phoenix I knew we had to visit it.
We took a guided tour, which is the only way to enter the property. Our guide was really knowledgeable and passionate about architecture, which made it so much more interesting. I was a little worried that our 8-year-old daughter may find it boring, but she enjoyed the tour and asked our guide what felt like a million questions.
FLW bought the plot in 1937 and soon started working on this project.
Every part of it is carefully designed, and even ready-made furniture was adjusted to play nicely with built-ins. It’s pretty impressive how indoors and outdoors are integrated to provide shadow and cool breeze, considering it was built in a hot desert climate before air conditioning was a thing.
The view on a desert from every corner of the property is amazing. Wright even waged (but lost) a battle with the government when power lines were built within the view. Visiting the property is a very cohesive and special experience.
His famous building Fallingwater near Pittsburgh, PA is high on my list of places to visit. It’s a 4-5 hour drive from Philadelphia, which should make visiting it and Pittsburgh a nice long weekend trip.
After finishing our visit to Taliesin West we got back on the road to Grand Canyon. The drive from Phoenix to Tusayan is pretty interesting as it gains almost 5,526 feet (1,684 meters) of elevation. The views are slowly changing from desert and cactuses, to cactuses mixed with occasional low trees, to full-blown forests. In what felt like a middle of nowhere on Interstate 17 we made a stop in Camp Verde, AZ to grab lunch and were surprised to find a great Italian restaurant Moscato with a beautiful shaded patio. Finding places like this is always a highlight of our trips.
We got to Tusayan in the evening, checked in to the hotel and went to the outdoor pool for a quick dive after a long day. At this point we were ready to go back to our room and call it a day, but after some contemplation decided to meet sunset at the South Rim of the canyon and drove to Mather Point. That was one of the best decisions on this trip! A beautiful golden hour light makes a spectacular view. The colors of the sky and canyon were absolutely mesmerizing and nothing like what we’ve seen next morning.
Seeing the Grand Canyon that night was definitely the highlight of this whole trip for me, something I’d never forget. It’s impossible to describe, but I assume people who see sea or ocean for the first time feel something similar (only Grand Canyon is visually much more rich and interesting than a large body of water).