So yesterday I did a thing. I went and checked out the new Sycamore & Stone on 401!
Jeff Devlin‘s new property is one I am familiar with, because I used to patronize the antique store that was once in this barn. I love this property and was sad when it went up for sale because I was afraid some developers would snatch up the property and the beautiful barns and house would disappear. However when Jeff announced he had purchased this property I was totally psyched because I knew it was going to be saved, preserved, and wonderful!
Along with the barn which has the store there will be other things available to do on this property including the house becoming a fabulous Airbnb.
I will note that both the Mercantile/Jenny Lind and Jeff’s Sycamore & Stone are both located in West Pikeland Township. West Pikeland is a treasure trove of amazing historic properties. I hope that Township realizes how fortunate and blessed they are that they have people willing to come in and do these amazing adaptive resources that are viable on historic properties.
Jeff’s store is a feast for the eyes and there is all sorts of fun stuff! It has a great Americana country vibe. It’s a lovely space and shoppers feel relaxed in it. It is almost like welcoming someone into a great big farmhouse and not just a hands down super amazing barn. I gravitate to places that are warm and welcoming. And their staff is equally warm and welcoming!
One of the things I liked best are the reproduction hog scraper candlesticks he has available for sale. I collect the actual vintage/antique variety, so these are a real favorite with me! If Jeff Devlin had a wish list for customers mine would be to carry hand dipped taper candles that fit into hog scrapers because that is the right shape for them!
I look forward to this property further coming back to life and it is such a joy to see the work occurring on it every time I drive by. Jeff is a quality craftsman, and such a nice guy so I am glad he found his spot here on this property. My only lament is I don’t have a super old farmhouse for him to help me restore!
Sycamore & Stone is located at 1251 Conestoga Road, Chester Springs, PA. Right now the hours are WEDNESDAY-FRIDAY 12PM-7PM, SATURDAY 10AM-7PM, SUNDAY 10AM-4PM.
I will note that I have not been compensated in any way, shape, or form to write this post. I’m merely visited the store and I am now a happy customer: I like to shop local and support the businesses of people I know.
Life’s Patina is a beautiful, happy place to visit. The seasonal barn sales are fun to go to. It’s a dream of creativity and just pretty things to look at.
Friday, April 29. 10 AM – 5 PM
Saturday, April 30th. 10 AM – 5 PM
Sunday, May 1st. 10 AM – 4 PM
A portion of Life’s Patina Spring Preview Party ticket sales and merchandise sold during our barn sale will be donated to CARE’s Ukraine Crisis Fund, which aims to reach 4 million in Ukraine with immediate aid and recovery, food, water, hygiene kits, psychosocial support and cash assistance, prioritizing women, girls, families and the elderly.
These events are both indoor and outdoor. The parking is field parking so if the weather looks like it’s going to be funky check their Facebook page or website.
Even if you don’t need to buy anything you may find a little something or a large something that you cannot live without. And you will enjoy every minute that you are there!
LOCATION: Willowbrook Farm, 1750 N Valley Rd, Malvern, PA 19355
When you are headed on 202 south, just before the light at 926, there is a farmhouse or two. The one right on the corner of 926, still looks inhabited but the one before the corner ? It’s falling apart literally.
I thought maybe this old farmhouse was a Crebilly house. My sources however tell me that it is not part of Crebilly but at one time Crebilly did try to acquire it.
I would love to know the history if anyone knows. It’s in really bad shape.
Here is it’s barn or similar kind of structure:
Here are some closeups and other photos I was able to get of bits of the house as a passenger going by:
Lily the flower truck was the happy spot to be over in Willistown Township today. And no, there was no neighborhood disruption, no people partying in the street, lines on the road, and parking on neighbors’ lawns. But people were stopping and. buying flowers before a holiday weekend. From Wildflower Farm. It was nice, and not frantic or unpleasant like those more shall we say NOFIMBY would have you think.
How do I know? Simple. They are my friends and I pitched in and helped make the arrangements a lot of you purchased today. And before someone thinks something nefarious, I volunteered to help. I had stopped by to drop off fresh vegetables from my weekly vegetable box that no one in my house will eat, and to take some flower photos. I have taken flower photos there before. I love flowers and gardening.
Wildflower Farm has a big hoop house. Right now with the sea of daffodils growing outside, there is this hoop house full of Ranunculus of many colors that were just so spectacular. It was flower heaven today. But with two little kids home on Good Friday and flowers to cut and arrange for people, I pitched in this afternoon.
This is an actual working farm. I had plenty of time to observe on a beautiful spring day. Their property is a little slice of heaven.
The neighbors would have you believe this property is something that it’s not. Sending out a double sided glossy mailer no better than some nasty political season piece is not inexpensive, but it’s a little obvious and in my opinion is not having their desired effect.
Several people who stopped by Lily’s honor flower “bar” remarked that the reason they showed up was the nasty misleading junk mail they received. They showed up to buy flowers and bear witness to the fact that (wait for it) Wildflower Farm REALLY IS A FLOWER FARM!
The noisiest thing on Castlebar Lane today were the landscaping trucks who literally took up more than half the width of a fairly wide street – they were down at the bottom of the street on the right before Providence Road. I also did notice a man driving a nice red pickup truck driving back and forth in front of Wildflower Farm who didn’t stop to buy flowers. Some woman went by on foot all dressed in black, and a neighbor on one side of the farm parked his vehicle at the top of his driveway for a bit. Guess he was getting his mail.
But other than that, nothing remarkable. It was a lovely day. As I assembled little flower arrangements I pondered why again this is such a threat to these NOFIMBY neighbors? Why can’t they see how nice this is?
I loved working with all of those fresh cut from the field and hoop house flowers. Many of the daffodils had a wonderful and sometimes heady fragrance.
I also saw first hand how hard the Heenans are working. Are they our traditional ideal of what farmers are supposed to be or perhaps even look like? But what are farmers supposed to look like anyway? Is there a farmer stereotype handbook somewhere?
Anyway, for those who doubt? It is a flower farm. For real. Also for real? Those neighbors are NOFIMBY.
I love the smell of “placed” media, don’t you ? It’s marvelous spin describing a working farm as “an event venue”.
What am I talking about? I’m talking about a little piece that has appeared in places over the last day or so. It’s about Wildflower Farm. But this time, it’s from the neighbors perspective. And I am of the opinion, and allowed to have the opinion that it smells of professional placement. It’s not even honest, is it?
Yes it’s a clear case of spinny, spin, spin isn’t it?
I mean let’s get real these neighbors will do anything to get this farm and these people out of their neighborhood, won’t they? And you have someone who is portrayed as Mother Freaking Theresa in a sweet little media-esque blip when she has shown her true colors even at public township meetings?
And the Emmy goes to…the NOFIMBY (no farm in my back yard) neighbors of Castlebar Lane.
Oh bless their cold, dark hearts and clap, clap, clap. Cue the tiny violins of pity with a side of barf bag. Sorry not sorry that is how this makes me feel.
By Leah Mikulich Published: 5:30 am EDT April 6, 2022
Wildflower Farm in Willistown Township has been a point of contention for months, as neighbors believe they have been demonized on social media and ignored by township officials, writes Davis Giangiulio for Main Line Tonight.
However, when its opening event drew around 100 people, Gray and several other neighbors voiced their concern, and it ultimately led to a call to the police…
Gray is adamant about one thing.
“We are not trying to shut down the Heenans,” she said. “We just don’t want an event venue in our neighborhood.”
The neighbors have complained to the township about the farm. However, after the Heenans reached what neighbors allege was a “backroom deal” with the township without anybody else’s input, they decided to involve lawyers.
Let’s unpack this: It’s not an event venue, it’s a farm. And is it REALLY true that some affiliated with these people tried to inquire or perhaps set up the farm early on when they made a folksy, friendly inquiry to see if they could host a small gathering there? And was the answer not essentially that the Heenans did not know then it would be possible? They were not told yes, no deposits were taken, and no “event” was planned or held, was it? It was a fishing expedition, wasn’t it? Yes, yes person who asked, I know this happened and I know who you are and I found that very sad that you stooped so low to shall we say, curry favor with whom you perceive to be the popular kids of the McMansion set?
Let’s also discuss Our Heroine of Castlebar Lane. When we last left she was (metaphorically speaking) wringing her hands in a seemingly “placed” puff piece? Their side or just her side? Are we to interpret that the NOFIMBY neighbors aren’t really so bad, they just fear for their PUBLIC road in Willistown Township? That they really aren’t UNneighborly when they call the police on their neighbors? And is this the neighbor with that Brooklyn Bridge project of a Mt. Rushmore berm that always seems to be being worked on whenever I have popped over to visit my friends the Heenans? And that’s a funny thing, Our Heroine always seems to have lots of vehicles in and out? I mean, maybe I am imagining things, but does she have a home based business that generates traffic? Or is that just berm building?
And was it not Our Heroine who said
“It’s beyond comprehension why they would invite the public to come and spend time in the country.”
“Bringing the public into the neighborhood is completely unacceptable.”
And while we are at our revisionist history best, if these are neighbors NOT trying to ruin the lives of other neighbors do we remember them at a township meeting in Willistown December 2021? By all means, explain how they are lovely people not trying to ruin their neighbors’ lives?
My understanding is that a possible settlement has been reached between the township and the Heenans. Again, the neighbors who will be most affected by the traffic, noise, invasion of privacy, liability, and a reduction in the quality of life not to mention our property values have no idea of what has or will transpire through this agreement.
I understand the zoning and the Farmstand ordinance, let’s keep it to a farmstand and not a full fledged business which is what I believe the Heenans intend. You determine the quality of life in Willistown and I urge you to be guided by the long standing nature of what exists here, open space, conservation, protection of the land, privacy, and a quality of life that is the model for other townships.
Letter discovered via RTK written 12/2021
So the Vista piece came out of a larger more expansive “article” from “Main Line Tonight”. They have an interesting “board”. However, I will point out, we are Chester County, and not the Main Line. And Wildflower farm is in Willistown in the heart of Radnor Hunt. Historically speaking, farms were here before any of the rest of us today, yes?
Lonnie Gray wants to make one thing clear: “We are not trying to shut down the Heenans. We just don’t want an event venue in our neighborhood.”
That “event venue” is Wildflower Farm, a 4-acre property that opened in May 2021 on Castlebar Lane in Malvern. Ryan and Lori Heenan billed Wildflower as a flower farm that would host small workshops and classes. But Wildflower’s grand opening event on Mother’s Day of 2021 alarmed neighbors. “We were in shock,” Gray said. “Over 70 cars, 100 people, a pizza truck, and all kinds of stuff. We’re going, ‘Wow this is crazy.’”
It got crazier. According to the Heenans, neighbors interrupted that Mother’s Day event, causing so much commotion that police were called.
From Gray’s point of view, the commotion was caused by the Heenans’ event. She and a few of her neighbors hired attorney Marc D. Jonas at Eastburn and Gray PC to protect their rights as homeowners. “No one is going to want to live next door to that,” she said. “It’s living in a residential area and then having it become something very different.”….. Throughout Willistown Twp., and especially on Castlebar Lane, privacy is a luxury. That’s one of the things that attracted Gray, who purchased her four-bedroom, three-bathroom, 5,000 square foot home in 2013.
I just feel that this piece I excerpted is placed. And oh, not all of the hyperlinks in this piece work. Here are some things released under a Right to Know. Now that the public face of the neighbors of the poor, poor neighbors who feel demonized has been polished and scrubbed like shiny new pennies, how about reading what has flown around Willistown over this issue:
The above is just a sampling. Do you want me to REALLY believe they don’t want to destroy the Heenans and Wildflower Farm? And they talk about “back room deals” ? Where? Are they confusing public township meetings as “back room” deals? Yet they can send somewhat unctuous emails to Willistown Supervisors essentially saying “hop to”?
I just do not GET IT, do you? I mean, and correct me if I am wrong, but do these neighbors NOT benefit from living in McMansions in an agricultural district? And Willistown is one of those places where farms still exist, so if they had their way would farms cease to exist? What’s their next target? Farms like Sugartown Straberries? Heartwood Farm? Ohana Farm? Windy Hill farm? Canter Hill Farm? Willisbrook Farm? That farm with the “oreo” cows AKA Belted Galloways?
Now a lot of what is going on here is of interest to those who follow the ACRE law, correct?
We’ve been talking about Wildflower Farm and the NOFIMBY neighbors for a long time now. How can people be so determined to all but literally kill their neighbors? Why is a flower farm so bad? I still think this is one of the ugliest examples of misplaced sense of entitlement I have ever seen.
At the end of the day, this just makes me sad. These NOFIMBY neighbors can say they are lovely, caring people but the thing is this: actions speak louder than words. If they want to be seen as good, they can’t just write lovely checks to non-profits can they? They actually have to be good. I can’t help but wonder what they are in fact costing the taxpayers of Willistown with all of this swirling nastiness?
Sadly the NOFIMBY drama seems to go on and on and on. As I said the first time I waded into this topic, I think these people are wrong. Their lives aren’t adversely affected by flowers and a flower farm. They are responsible for this swirling ugliness, not the Heenans.
I am a lover of farms. Small farms matter. All farms matter.
I am also a gardener. Plant more flowers. Stop and smell the flowers NOFIMBY neighbors. Stop this madness, except you won’t will you? So sad.
I make no secret about how I feel about the nasty NOFIMBY neighbors of Castlebar Lane in Willistown.
NOFIMBY = No Farm(s) In My Back Yard.
These people treat their neighbors horribly. They have waged a campaign of terror against the Heenans. The Heenans crime? They came to Willistown with a dream: to create a beautiful small farm and grow flowers.
I have written about this several times now. Truthfully, I am somewhat astounded at how hate for their neighbors drives these NOFIMBY neighbors. How their hate for farms in a township that grew on farms seemingly drives them. I mean what is the public supposed to interpret from their actions? Apparently they would prefer a townhouse development or some other form of plastic mushroom development instead of a FLOWER farm?
Of course I am also astounded that I still don’t see Willistown Conservation Trust coming to the defense of Wildflower Farm, aren’t you? But given how many great swaths of land are in play in Willistown in general these days, I wonder what they are doing? How can they stand idly by and not truly take a stand for small farms at least?
But I digress.
Wildflower Farm needs our help. Please write to Willistown’s Township Manager Sally Slook at email@example.com
Please tell Willistown to amend the zoning so farms and agricultural uses of land are protected. It also can’t hurt to tell the township that you specifically support Wildflower Farm and the Heenan family specifically.
I will also point out that Willistown Township has been very supportive of Wildflower Farm. This crap is NOFIMBY neighbor driven IMHO.
This is a post I have been struggling with. I am a big supporter of Natural Lands. But I am not sure what to think here.
Summerhill Preserve is acreage in Willistown. It was put in preservation. But was the intent of the gift of this land and the preservation of it to make it a public access site, or just a preserved swath of land?
I used to see stuff fly by the past few years mostly about birds and Summerhill. Here are some screenshots and note that these screenshots don’t seem to go anywhere now when you click on the link:
Ok well stuff gets updated and moved around on websites and links get broken. No biggie. But when you go to Natural Lands website and put in Summerhill all you get now is a handful of very old articles mentioning but not centered on Summerhill. I never thought much of it, because I never thought Summerhill was like a place you could just visit, although I am sure I would love it like I love so many of Natural Lands properties. But Summerhill? Not on their list of places to visit. I just checked again today.
Again, no big deal. I have always thought, whether it is right or wrong, even if land is in conservation/preservation, it is not necessarily just open to the public. And Natural Lands kind of always said that about Summerhill. Note this screenshot from a few years ago I found for an event listing about Summerhill :
So then someone randomly asked me what was going on with Summerhill. I replied truthfully, wouldn’t know, had forgotten about it. Why had I forgotten? Because I never knew you could visit it and it had been ages since I even saw something mentioning it.
Well there is a wee problem and Natural Lands is in court with the Summerhill neighbors. And Willistown too I guess? But this is not the same as the strange case of Wildflower Farm and those neighbors. No comparison. Among other things so much of this land abuts private property. It’s not a working farm, it’s land — open space.
If you ever ask anybody who lives adjacent to a trail or conserved land or even a park they will tell you there is good and bad and living La Vida COVID in some cases has made it awkward at times. Sometimes stupid human tricks prevail – leaving trash, trespassing on private property and taking stuff, even urinating and worse from our much loved trails onto private property. It happens. Sadly, it happens. I have heard about it on the Chester Valley Trail and the Radnor Trail even in years past on the trail at Haverford College. People have told me similar stories like this near Willisbrook in Willistown. Stupid human tricks and a lack of respecting boundaries and private property, and of course it makes you wonder if they even respect the actual nature preserve or trail?
This is not the fault of the people responsible for the trails or nature preserves, in my humble opinion. It is probably impossible to babysit all of these properties all of the time and how many operate is somewhat on an honor system of dawn to dusk without real actual bodies on site to close and open properties?
So it begs the question of ironing things out so people know what will happen with what they donate land maybe? And ironing out what the public can and can’t do also perhaps? Is it not OK for preserved/conserved land to just be well passive, pristine, and preserved? As in maybe it’s left alone or maybe it’s an occasional very special space not open dusk ’til dawn to the public? And what if that is what a donor or grantor said in the first place? What if that is what conservation easements said? So maybe you can’t just pave paradise after all and put up a parking lot or you can but not necessarily everywhere?
I remember when the Summerhill place was for sale, conserved land was a selling point (and it was in the Willistown Conservation Trust Barns and BBQ as well):
So yes, neighbors moved in here knowing about the land preservation/conservation. But I think the question from reading an Orphan’s Court thing is original intent vs. I guess Natural Lands wanting to open this up and build a parking lot, etc? But I am having a hard time envisioning how they would even do this because of all of the properties that touch what Natural Lands has if that makes sense?
After reading this Orphan’s Court thing, it makes a person wonder if the neighbors here are wrong? Because if the original intent was just preserved land and that can be proven, are they wrong?
I love Natural Lands. I know some will think me horrible for raising this issue. But isn’t it important? After all you want people to donate land but land in conservation and save it from development, right? That is why I feel this case bears watching. It also looks like there is other stuff other than what is in Orphan’s Court brewing.
I am sharing the Orphan’s Court thing. Not trying to slam Willistown Township or Natural Lands. But this makes for interesting reading and pondering. And these strike me as VERY different neighbors than the OTHER Wildflower Farm thing and a different situation altogether, correct? To me this will be a case that no matter what happens will possibly lay things out a little more clearly for others in the future and will you agree when all is said in done? I am all for the race to preserve open space to quote another organization, but it should be less foggy, and simple right? Or wrong?
Meanwhile, in East Goshen they are preparing for their new year and Re-Org meeting. A new face joins the board, Cody Bright, Marty retired, and hopefully this breaks up what is formerly known as the Eminent Domain Trio with only David Showy Shuey left and his lil’ grodie toadie Michael Lynch right?
So hold your breath, say prayers, rub the nose of a horse you know for good luck.
I will noteit does NOT take THAT much legwork to unwind or undo an eminent domain threat of taking. JUST FREAKING DO IT! Write your letters, sign off on it and Yo East Goshen Supervisors who don’t want eminent domain? Present a RESOLUTION to REVOKE the use of eminent domain here and sign it. That is what the have done in Lower Merion and elsewhere….the elected officials need to sign their names to this!
Eminent domain is wrong. This use of eminent domain as a bully tool is wrong. The Hicks family deserves better, every resident in East Goshen deserves better than eminent domain. East Goshen streams live on You Tube and they haven’t said anything else, so wear a mask and go if you would like. The meeting is Monday, January 3rd, 2022 at 6 PM.
Hopefully, this is the last time to display this image:
This evening at Willistown Township, the Township officials voted in an agreement with Wildflower Farm, specifically a settlement agreement. As I am a friend of the Heenans, I knew the agreement was coming, but was waiting for the official evening which was the Supervisors Meeting this evening. I have not been privy to the terms of the agreement, I should be CLEAR about that. I also didn’t ask because it’s not my business. I am just happy an agreement was reached.
Well, here it is:
I have to admit the Willistown Supervisors were very patient with the charming neighbors of Castlebar Lane. Still can’t decide if they are Super Stepford, Desperate Housewives throwbacks, Knotts Landing or just jerks of the first order.
And yes, Castlebar dwellers, that is my opinion and I am allowed said opinion. I would never have thought twice about any of this if I hadn’t seen things with my own eyes, including but not limited to someone driving back and forth and back and forth in front of Wildflower Farm’s driveways when I was there one time. For quite a while. I still think that was super creepy and stalkeriffic.
One of the neighbors, who was speaking a lot during settlement agreement identified himself as Frank Houder. He is on the Willistown Planning Commission and his business has gotten a lot of work out of Willistown Township over the years, correct? So I guess as an observer this evening I am a little surprised that he seemingly doesn’t get how things and ordinances work?
I don’t know. It’s a great mystery of life. How these neighbors can be so horrible even when tamed down at a meeting being recorded, escapes me. Again, my opinion and it’s allowable. But those people are why I do not go to many meetings and am grateful for Zoom and streaming. I can watch them and have my meeting Tourette’s and not disturb anyone. Because frankly, people like this make me want to stand up and tell them they are terrible and would they please just STOP.
So all these Scrooges of Castlebar Lane and their ilk will now sit and stew in their McMansions with their cold, dark hearts?? Will they keep filing things against Wildflower Farm? Will they keep essentially spying on Wildflower Farm?
People, it’s freaking CHRISTMAS. Do you get the whole reason for the season? Do you get how horrible you have been to your NEIGHBORS you supposedly wish to get along with?
And why do these neighbors think they should have been privy to a settlement agreement between the township and the farm? That has nothing to do with the neighbors, does it? Or do these people think so highly of themselves that everything has to do with them? (Umm hello, if the world revolves around them, stop it I want to get off.)
Well only time will tell what the Scrooge Collective on Castlebar Lane does. Here’s hoping they just accept they live in an area where farms used to be more plentiful than McMansions. Here’s hoping they realize how LUCKY they are to have a Wildflower Farm in their midst. I mean what if they were allowed to be pig farmers? Me thinks pigs would be far more offensive and odiferous than flowers, yes? And they could have a field of townhouses or ticky tacky new construction crammed in, but they are looking at a FARM and a nice rehabbed one at that. Be GRATEFUL.
As a gardener I have shared my garden resources with this farm – sources for unusual bulbs, tubers, roses, and native plants/trees. As a gardener, I am thrilled to have them close to home. They are wonderful and their flowers are awesome and so is their honey. And they are nice people I have come to know and I am grateful to call friends. Nice people. Beautiful children, hardworking. Chester County is LUCKY to have them.
Merry Christmas Wildflower Farm. Your friends and customers and nice neighbors believe in what you are doing!