Tourist Girl

We all have some taste or other, of too ancient a date to admit of our remembering that it was an acquired one.
~Charles Lamb

Sorry all for missing last week. Never found a moment alone with my keyboard. Classes are winding down and I should be focused on my last quizzes and papers, but right now I cannot. I am a week away from my birthday and as a present I was taken to the House on the Rock today.

I have spent the last four birthdays saying I will go to this attraction that has been practically in my backyard, just off the beaten path about 50 miles but close enough that there was no excuse. I'm sure that every place has that attraction that everyone that lives there knows about, yet never seems to get there. I was amazed at the number of people in Arizona that have never seen the Grand Canyon. It seems that if it's near you, you never go. Vacations are meant to get you away from the familiar, or if you're like my family, either set off for a destination and get lost or set off and get distracted by something else along the way.

So what is the House on the Rock? Just the most amazing example of what can go on in a visionary's head if left to their devices and allowed to follow through! This place is amazing! There's so much STUFF that you can't take it all in. I'm linking to the official site to get a better idea of things. This is a self-guided tour type thing. It is not a museum in the normal sense. The creator, Alex Jordan, collected things, and made a home for them on this rock. He created an entire house and incorporated the natural beauty of the area. There are trees growing out of the floor!

Far easier to just supply the info than babble:

During the 1940's, a man named Alex Jordan discovered a 60-foot chimney of rock in the beautiful Wyoming Valley. It was here he decided to build a house on the sandstone formation called Deer Shelter Rock. Jordan built the house as a weekend retreat and never intended it to be a tourist attraction. However, people kept coming to see the architectural wonder they had heard about. Jordan eventually started asking for 50 cent donations. That was only the beginning. The 14-room house is the original structure of what is now a complex of many buildings, exhibits and garden displays.

Alex was a collector all his life and enjoyed visiting museums; however, he did not want The House on the Rock to be a museum. He intended it to be much more than that. Though parts of the collections could have easily found their way into museums, The House on the Rock is more of a trip through the wild and fantastic imagination of Alex Jordan than a visit to a dusty, lifeless museum.

In December of 1988, Alex sold The House on the Rock to longtime associate Art Donaldson, a collector and a businessman who shared his broad interests. Alex remained at The House on the Rock as Artistic Director until his death on November 6, 1989. Art Donaldson continues to own The House on the Rock and builds on Alex's dream of expanding and entertaining visitors from all over the world. Alex continues to be in his own words, "Present but not voting".
(From: )

Why did I want to go here? Because I've heard about it for ages! This is one of the attractions my state has to offer that I've never gotten to see out side the 'Discover Wisconsin' programs on PBS that show the same footage year after year. Nothing can compare! In one morning/afternoon (it took us three hours to tour and one of the sections if closed right now even!) I got to see the world's biggest carousal (not a single horse head on it), a multitude of pneumatically control instruments so precisely designed to play that it knocks your socks off, the Infinity Room, a free standing hallway that is supported by one very thin cable, a very large squid fighting a whale, and learned a bit more about history.

I have a friend that has been going on about how crazy this guy had to have been to do this. I don't think she sees the full scope of it. There is a fine line between genius and crazy and in my opinion this is genius! This is what a person can do with initiative and drive. This is what can be done if you don't listen to what is supposedly normal. If someone were to try Alex Jordan's vision in today's world it wouldn't happen. Either the person would become discouraged because of everyone telling him/her that they are crazy or some major company would get involved breaking the enchantment. We tend to look down on people who follow their visions. Maybe the reasons is because too few people are willing to follow their own.


Elizabeth April 28, 2010 at 12:00 AM  

Hey Man, I said the guy was crazy solely because he has shag carpeting in his kitchen and that is just a fire hazard and un-hygenic. That, and all the topless mannequins hanging from the ceiling in the carousel room. Granted, I was eleven when I went there and had no appreciation for weirdness or "vision."

Andrea Leigh April 28, 2010 at 7:11 AM  

it was the 70s shag was in... btw, how do you know you were the one I was referring to? I've been going on and on about this @ work.

Gwei Mui April 28, 2010 at 2:38 PM  

This sounds amazing one day I will get to see this, I hope. Your description reminded me of a place in the UK Portmeirion - though Portmeirion isn't as grand I think.

Andrea Leigh April 28, 2010 at 7:02 PM  

Wow, that looks amazing! When I got to the UK, Sis and I mostly hit the major attractions: London, Liverpool, and Stratford. We did take a bus through Wales to get to the ferry to Dublin.


Welcome to my little part of the blogosphere. I started this blog for the express purpose of proving that no matter what happens in life, you are not alone. I am sharing my stories from my school days, dating disasters, and personal trials.