House on the Rock

Trip Start May 01, 2010
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10
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Trip End May 29, 2010


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Flag of United States  , Wisconsin
Saturday, May 15, 2010



Well, House on the Rock is amazing. It's also awe-inspiring, scenic . . . and creepy. Imagine a guy with significant resources who collected almost everything and built a huge series of structures to display it all. The house itself is unique, especially the Infinity Room, which seems to stretch 200 feet over the valley below it without apparent means of support. Our guide at Taliesin yesterday told us that HoR creator Alex Jordan was turned down by Frank Lloyd Wright when he applied to enter his school of architecture at Taliesin. Wright allegedly told Jordan he should concentrate on what he did best: partying. Jordan allegedly resolved to build a house that would outshine Taliesin. HoR is remarkable, but no architectural masterpiece.

The house is like a cave of many rooms. It reminds me of the description of Bilbo Baggins’ cave in "Lord of the Rings," a seemingly endless chain of rooms with fireplaces and upholstered benches, stained glass windows and innumerable and sometimes bizarre objects d’art. Beyond the house, there is an early 20th century street, complete with merchants and craftsmen’s shops and a huge calliope. Tokens to operate the dozens of mechanical musical devices are included in the admission price. Some of them comprise 100-piece orchestras that fill entire
rooms.

There are hundreds of exhibits about ships, from Roman galleys to Russian submarines, all strung together without apparent order. In a room the size of a barn is a tableau with a full-sized whale battling a giant octopus, both frozen for eternity and constructed of fiberglass or plastic. Just below, two tokens will earn you a concert by a seafood band of the Beatles’ “Octopus’s
Garden.”

It is all overwhelming, and after a couple of hours inside, we were grateful to emerge into daylight and head back to Spring Green. Enroute, we stopped at a scenic overlook and captured a photo of the Infinity Room thrust out over the valley.

In Spring Green we joined Ray’s brother Pete and his friends Scott and Sabina from nearby Madison.Pete actually lives in Eatonton, Ga., but was visiting Scott and Sabina and doing some bathroom refurbishment. The Spring Green General Store (recommended by AAA) offers fresh quiches and soups and sandwiches.

We’re spending the rest of the day packing and doing laundry in preparation for our launch tomorrow for our long leg to Sioux Falls, S.D. Then on to Rapid City on Monday.
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Comments

Susan M. on

Thanks for the travel-blog. This is great, and I'm so glad y'all are traveling and having fun. Can't wait till it's our turn.

Alan Freitag on

Excellent job describing House on the Rock. It's perhaps the most fascinating place I've visited (and that includes 60 countries), but also the most difficult to explain. The combination of ambiance, music, sound, lighting and artifacts is nearly impossible to capture. Photos are outstanding.

Suzy Gardner on

Wow! What an amazing house. Your description seemed to capture it all. I can't believe it is actually in the U.S. It sounds like you're having a wonderful time. Safe travels for the rest of your adventure. Keep us posted.

Sherry TJ on

Your commentary is superb as is your choice of places. That's the way Robert and I like to travel. I look forward to the next visit!

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