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Frank Lloyd Wright Duncan House celebrates 6th year

| Thursday, June 13, 2013, 3:28 p.m.

A dinner in honor of Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the world's most celebrated architects, recently took place at Polymath Park Resort in Acme.

The resort is a reflection of Wright and his unique, progressive and world-renowned style of architecture.

“It was a very intimate event,” said Heather Papinchak of Acme, the facility's director, regarding the resort's first occasion of the season. “We had Wright enthusiasts from as far as Florida attend the event.”

Two couples that visited from Ohio own and reside in Wright designed homes.

Participants enjoyed an evening of fine dining enriched with nature and a tour of the three architecturally significant homes located in Polymath Park.

Twenty guests traveled by horse-drawn wagons to each home, where they enjoyed a progressive menu of wine and cheese, appetizers and salad.

The culinary tour concluded with a main entrée and dessert at Tree Tops Restaurant, also located within the resort.

Entertainment was provided by local jazz and soul vocalist Jessica Saenz.

“It was a great night. Everybody had a wonderful time,” Papinchak said. “We were very happy with the turnout.”

Located on 125 wooded acres, Polymath Park Resort features the Duncan House, a home originally constructed by Wright in 1957 in Lisle, Ill., that was dismantled and moved to the Laurel Highlands for preservation in 2007.

Two other homes located in the resort, the Balter House and the Blum House, were designed by one of Wright's original apprentices, Peter Berndtson, and they also share his Usonian vision of architecture style.

Cranberry Township residents Carla Johnson and David Heinbaugh, who both have participated in other Polymath Park events, attended the celebration.

“It was great fun,” said Johnson, who added that she has felt at home at the resort since her first visit about four years ago.

“It was such a lovely evening. It was easy to linger outside to appreciate the marriage between architecture and nature — which is what defines Frank Lloyd Wright and what makes Polymath Park a ‘Shangri-la' for David and me,” Johnson said.

“The appetizers and drinks at each of the houses and the dinner at Tree Tops were phenomenal. And riding along the wooded lane on a horse-drawn car as the sun was setting was a thrill for everyone who attended.”

Polymath Park is the only local residence designed by the architect that offers overnight accommodations.

“Duncan House is only one of seven Wright homes in the whole country that you can actually stay at,” said Tom Papinchak, the resort's chief executive officer.

The proximity of the resort to Wright's other local landmarks — including the world-famous Fallingwater in Mill Run — makes for a great experience for those who wish to make a day of exploring the homes and then top off the evening by renting a home at Polymath Park.

The resort is managed by the non-profit Usonian Preservation Corporation. All proceeds from activities and lodging go toward maintaining the homes and to architectural education programs.

In addition to commemorating Wright's 146th birthday, the sixth anniversary of Polymath Park was also celebrated during the Progressive Dinner.

“We've had international visitors from as far away as Australia, but there are a lot of locals who don't even know Polymath Park is here,” said Heather Papinchak.

Tree Tops Restaurant is open to the public on Thursdays through Sundays. Reservations are suggested. Unique menu options with a focus on fresh, organic ingredients are available.

Polymath Park offers a progressive dinner tour annually in the winter, which includes horse-drawn sleighs and carolers in the snow-covered forest.

Additionally, in the summer months, they offer deck dining with live entertainment on Saturdays starting at 6 p.m.

Those interested can learn more at the resort's website: polymathpark.com.

Cami DiBattista is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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