Often chided for destroying the natural environment, members of the human race do manage to get it right every now and then, creating something beautiful in accordance with nature. Sometimes – however rare – the ingenuity of the human mind leads to creations that weave with nature so incredibly, the man-made structures become wonders themselves. This summer, plan a trip using the list below, and prepared to be baffled by the best of humanity’s dance with nature.
Mount Rushmore. Get to know your founding fathers at this astounding National Memorial in South Dakota. Carved into a giant section of granite, this historical work of art was sculpted by Gutzon Borglum followed by his son Lincoln. The faces are a towering 60 feet high, and depict Washington, Jefferson, T. Roosevelt and Lincoln, honoring the Presidents’ contributions to the birth, growth, development and preservation of the United States. Prepare to gain a whole new respect for the earliest American era. Visit nps.gov/moru
Fallingwater. Tucked away in rural southwestern Pennsylvania, Fallingwater – also known as the Kaufmann Residence – is a house made ethereal by the vision of American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Built partly over a 30-foot waterfall in the Allegheny Mountains, the house doesn’t even appear to stand on solid ground, helping it to capture everyone’s imagination when it commanded the cover of Time magazine in 1938. The epitome of architecture honoring nature, the building managed a unified and organic composition by using only two colors the home, but couldn’t be any further from boring. In fact, its popularity has truly soared over the years, now with 4.5 million people having visited since its public opening in 1964. Surrounded by the 5,000 acre Bear Run Nature Reserve, Fallingwater symbolizes the pinnacle of Wright’s work and a new standard for architects everywhere. Learn more at fallingwater.org
The Hoover Dam. Once called Boulder Dam, the concrete arch-gravity dam now known as Hoover Dam is a sight to behold in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River. Resting on the border separating Arizona and Nevada, the dam was constructed between 1931 and 1936, and was dedicated to President Franklin Roosevelt in 1935. No easy feat, its construction was the result of a massive effort requiring thousands of workers – over one hundred of which tragically lost their lives. See this marvel of engineering and labor designed to provide water and tame the Colorado River. Visit usbr.gov/lc/hooverdam/
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