advertisement

From the 1930s through the 1950s, architect Frank Lloyd Wright designed a number of so-called Usonian homes -- designed to be compact, useful, elegant, and inexpensive to build. The low-slung Zimmerman House, built in a Manchester residential neighborhood in 1950, was one such home, though the owners didn't really cut corners. Wright designed the entire building, the furniture, the gardens -- <i>everything,</i> right down to the hexagonal napkins in the dining room, the Japanese paper lamps, and the sleek, wooden Fallingwater-esque mailbox. Throughout, the home features luxe touches such as Georgia-cypress trim and red-glazed brick. Only five Wright homes were built in the entire Northeast, and this is the only one open to the public. It's not only a precious architectural gem, though; it also offers a rare window into 1950s and 1960s America. Visitors are shuttled to the house from the Currier Museum by van; the tours take 1 1/2 to 2 hours, after which you're whisked back to the museum. Advance reservations are required, and make them <i>well</i> ahead if your heart is set on touring the house. If you can't get a spot and just want to sneak a peek, the home is located at 223 Heather St. (at Union St.); a few houses west on Heather is <i>another</i> Wright home that's privately owned, but can be viewed from the curb.