like visiting an old friend: going back to baldwin’s book barn

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Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night, have a passing thought, go back to sleep?  Well, my weird passing thought in the wee small hours overnight was I had not been to Baldwin’s Book Barn on Lenape Road in literally about 20 years!

I am and always have been a bibliophile. A bookworm. A book hoarder. I love my books.  They have moved with me thoughout my life. Even books from my childhood. Books from my parents. Cookbooks. History books. Gardening books. Fiction by Laura Ingalls Wilder to Daphne DuMaurier to Elizabeth Goudge to Marguerite de Angeli to Dickens to Robert Frost and the list goes on.  I married another bibliophile.  We love out books and they are all over the house in various bookshelves.

Growing up I loved the book store at Bryn Mawr College known as The Owl.  The college disbanded the beloved Owl years ago to make way for progress. There is still The Title Page in Bryn Mawr (which was started originally by ladies who were at The Owl), and that is amazing, but for those of us in Chetser County, and book nuts in general, there is nothing like Baldwin’s Book Barn. Nothing.

And yes, when I popped awake in the middle of the night last night, my mind was on a big stone barn full of books…Baldwin’s Book Barn. What’s not to love? A giant Chester County stone barn built in 1822 filled to the rafters with books? Used books, out of print books, rare books, fun books, paperback books, bags of specially priced books….it’s book Nirvana…and it’s Chester County tradition.

As per their website:

William and Lilla Baldwin established their used book and collectible business in 1934 in nearby Wilmington, DE. In 1946 they moved to “The Barn”. The old milking house was converted into a residence for the Baldwin Family and the stone barn became the bookshop and for some years, a country store museum. We are located deep in the heart of the enchanting and historical Brandywine Valley. Baldwin’s Book Barn is one of America’s truly distinctive bookstores. Step inside and you are transported to another time and place. Today, our store is stuffed to the rafters with a treasure trove of 300,000 used and rare books, manuscripts, maps as well as fine paintings, prints, estate antiques, and other valued collectibles.

Store Hours: 10AM – 6PM Every Day
Except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day
Baldwin’s Book Barn
865 Lenape Road, West Chester, PA 19382
Phone: 610-696-0816        E-mail: info@bookbarn.com

So when I woke up woke up this morning and my husband asked what else I would like to do today, I said “let’s go to Baldwin’s Book Barn.”  So to the Book Barn we went. And it was like visiting a fondly remembered old friend.

Ahhh the smell of books greets you still even with the door just cracked!!!  And the door still creaked the same was going in. Still the same smell of woodstove fires. And still the same floor to ceiling books! I will note they still have a terrific Wyeth section and Chester County section.

We went from bottom to top, top to bottom. I bought a couple of cookbooks. It is nice that some things remain the same in this life.

I will note as an aside as I overheard this, that they could use firewood for their woodstove cut to 14″ or 15″ lengths if you can GIVE them any.  There are enough woodstove folks in Chester County and so many people with firewood, how about paying it forward a little?

Here are some photos I took.  I will note with amusement that I never knew Paris Hilton wrote a book. I had a lovely time and won’t wait 20 years to go back. Go buy a book!

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all hail tecovas: boots you will live in

I rarely do a retail rave. But I have discovered this boot manufacturer out of Austin, Texas called Tecova.

I love boots but I don’t wear high boots as in just below my knee, I like shorter boots and booties. I also don’t do much of a boot heel. I will note Tecova makes all heights of boots. They are beautiful western boots, not overdone in the least. Simple, handmade, classic for men and women and they also make a couple of weekended duffel bags and beautiful leather belts.

They popped up on Instagram and I clicked through to their website. I have been looking for boots that actually fit my feet properly. And as anyone knows who tries to buy boots, it can be a problem.

I chose a classic simple black bootie called “The Penny”. I ordered a half size up from my normal shoe size, because every time I buy boots I have to go a little bigger much like with heels.

These boots fit like they were hand made for me. They fit like boots that should be easily many times over what I paid for them. (I will admit one of the enticements to me was the boot that I wanted was on sale.)

These boots fit perfectly in the heel which is a problem I always have with any shoe because I have a narrow heel. When I was younger my feet were a true narrow width, and now they are more of a regular width , but my heels are still quite narrow.

The boots are buttery soft leather and they are made in Leon, Mexico and sold through this company in Austin,Texas. They have beautiful leather soles and a chestnut brown heel. I could wear these out with jeans, or dress them up truthfully. They are that attractive a boot.

I tend to choose western boots over others because ever since my knee surgery and a couple of bad ankle sprains, heels are not my friend so I have to be careful on the shoes and boots I choose. But I’m not ready for orthopedic shoes just yet. I’m half- Italian so I remember the orthopedic lace up oxfords on little old Italian ladies when I was growing up!

As per their website, company founder Paul and his partners I assume we’re tired of the exorbitant prices for leather western/cowboy boots. And also a lot of them are so extreme in design that they don’t have broad appeal. I am sure they also ran into fit issues, which is always a problem with me with boots, until now.

Another thing about this company is they only sell direct to the consumer. These aren’t a boot you are going to find in every mall or boot store across the country.

Anyway, as always I have not been compensated for my opinion. I bought a pair of boots and they are just amazing. And again they are classic and beautiful and buttery soft fine leather.

If you are looking for boots, try Tecovas.

oh chester county day! (and other houses seen along the way!)

Just a couple of photos now… there will be more later…

It was a fabulous day but the poor twisty country roads were no match for some of the “tourists” from other areas. The driving on some of the roads was a bit insane, complete with beeping like it was Broad and Shunk or something.

toll denied by judge tunnell on crebilly

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I think the earth just moved. Yesterday Judge Mark L. Tunnell DENIED Toll Brothers conditional use appeal.  Victory goes to Westtown Township and Neighbors For Crebilly Inc. It is so good when you see a municipality fight for their residents because so many don’t or won’t.  Neighbors for Crebilly assumed risk when taking party status, and Vince and Elizabeth Moro and their team have worked very hard.

And a hat tip to my friend Mindy Rhodes of Crebilly Farm Friends  is in order for her passion and dedication to this as well. I know full well the reality of how an issue like this just sucks up your life and time. Mindy started the rallying of the people from horseback, distributing meeting information like a modern day Boadicea.

denied

 

Here, READ the decision: 2018.10.01-Toll-Brothers-Decision

I am sure there is more to come, but for now, history and open space is safe.

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sometimes you just need a little bowie

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This amazing mural of the late rocker David Bowie is 180 feet tall and is in Jersey City, NJ. 
It is the work of  Eduardo Kobra and was completed in 2016.
It is part of the Jersey City Mural Arts Program.  You can read about it HERE and HERE.
You can find the mural at 837 Jersey Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07310 

 

bermuda craft market and other bermuda fun

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A long overdue post prompted by amazing customer service even after I had long since left Bermuda.  In July, we were in Bermuda.  One of the places I visited was the Royal Dockyard at King’s Wharf Bermuda because that is where our ship docked.

Two of my favorite places in Bermuda were the Bermuda Arts Centre at Dockyard and the Bermuda Craft Market.  Located in Dockyard and very close together (the Craft Market is in the old Cooperage building and the Art Centre in a neighboring building close to it. And if you go, also make time for one of the oldest pubs right there at the Cooperage called the Frog & Onion Pub. They do delicious old school fish and chips served the proper British way and have quite the beer selection as well as some of the nicest t-shirts you can purchase as a tourist.

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The Arts Centre has a lovely book section as well as absolutely amazing plein air paintings for sale. If you are a fan of the plein air style you won’t be disappointed.  I especially liked the art of Michelle Smith, Christopher Marson, Heidi Cowan, and Christopher Grimes.

Now onto the excellent customer service.  When I was in the Craft Market buying some things to bring home (sherry pepper sauce and beach glass earrings from Morrell Designs) their Internet had a blip – Bermuda is an island in the middle of a rather large ocean, right? So my purchases were doubled.

The Craft Market corrected their mistake immediately and last week took the time to call me to make sure the doubled charges had dropped off my credit card statement as it had on their bank reconciliation report. I was there mid-July.  That is amazing customer service when people take the time to call over one month later just to be sure.

Not to be overlooked, but Craft Market is also home to a cigar roller named Grant and the Bermuda Cigar Company.

Another place to visit for local crafts would be the Dockyard Glass Works.  They have some predictable tourist stuff, yes, but also some amazing glass orbs and vases and things. They also make these feathery light glass snowflakes for your Christmas tree.

This was a relatively short trip to Bermuda, courtesy of a cruise ship, so I will have to hope to go back at some point in the future to explore more.  But because I like supporting local artists and craftspeople I wanted to make sure I posted about these places.

I was not compensated in any way for this post, nor did I receive special treatment as a tourist.  These are places I discovered on my own along with the National Museum of Bermuda which is also right there in Dockyard.  Enjoy the photo sets.  The photos at the bottom are of the National Museum and the old fort. It was super cool to explore.

Thanks for rambling briefly to Bermuda this morning!

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