Lois Hits the Road travel blog

Guide, Tony, tells of Wright's acquiring of Chinese art

Part of Taliesin West

Fountain and grounds at Arizona Biltmore

Two quiet days while it rains is enough. The storm is supposed to be mostly over on Sunday, so I will see Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin West and go to the Arizona Biltmore. Map Quest is helpful, as I get my directions there, simply copying them down instead of printing. I have a small printer with me, but haven't used it yet.

First, my morning chores of doing the wash and showering while the wash is running.

I don't have enough quarters—nothing else works—and there isn't a change machine, but a woman tells me that if I can find a security person around the office, I can get quarters. I trot over there with a handful of one dollar bills in my pocket, but I can only buy a roll for $10, so it's back to Rhonda, back to the office, back to the laundry room. That underway, I head to the showers, which are being cleaned, so it's over to another building to accomplish this.

Finally, chores done, later than expected, I head out. The area seems quite easy to get around in, pretty flat and square, reminding me of Detroit in some ways. At Taliesin, I sign up for a 90-minute tour that begins at 1p.m.

One knows a bit about his work, but I learn more—about how he and students came here and lived in tents when the area was quite remote, how he wanted the architecture of anything he designed to compliment the outside, to make, it better not worse. He hated the grand European houses with huge entry ways, grand staircases, and high ceilings. Influenced by not only the site he was designing for but by his Asian travels, he wanted simple, not square rooms, doors, walls, ceilings. In each building we enter, we are instructed to "sit down" and that is the most comfortable way to be in these rooms of low ceilings.

The house he designed, "Falling Waters" is still considered the most influaential piece of architecture by those in the field and he never got a degree in the subject!

I find much to admire in his work. He was quite a pianist and owned many pianos, one of which was in a room, where meals were served and cabaret shows were performed. The room is something like 95% acoustically perfect. We are invited to try the piano and I did—just hitting a few chords.

Then on to the Arizona Biltmore, a good following, because, here too, Wright's influences are noted. Some of the same statues, and the geometric patterns.

The Biltmore is not even listed in AAA's guide book, but it is in a book that I must have left at home, "1000 Places to See Before You Die." That's in the world. Now, the hotel was lovely and I stay for dinner and a rich chocolate dessert, doing lots of people watching. Some business group is just coming in. I watch and remember events like this that I had attended. I think I can tell the level of person, by the way they interacte with others, recognizing every nuance and subtlety of the people moving around me, that I had been in all these groups, and know, from the inside, how each pursued their agenda without seeming to, wanting to be a part of the group and yet set apart in some way.

Its dark when I return to my space and take a vigorous half-hour walk around the place.

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