are you ready for the best tredyffrin historic preservation trust house tour yet?

I love old and historic house tours almost as much as I love garden tours. And my friend Pattye Benson, proprietress of the Great Valley House of Valley Forge  is also President of the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust.   She also is the woman who makes the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust  Historic House Tour come to life year after year. Every year is better than the year before, and not one year has disappointed.  My husband and I are Patron Sponsors of the tour, and proudly so.

The Jones Log Barn. July, 2018 photo courtesy of Pattye Benson

Travel back in time this year on Saturday September 29, 2018 from 10 AM to 5 PM.  If you love history and architecture, you will not want to miss the much-anticipated 14th Annual Historic House Tour.

‘The Culver House’, c.1860 ~Pattye Benson photo

To celebrate historic preservation, the public is invited to attend ’Jazz it Up’ the 14th Annual Historic House Tour Preview Party on Sunday, September 16, 6 PM – 9 PM  at the historic Duportail House in Chesterbrook.  An evening of fun with live music, food and drinks, join us to celebrate the homeowners and the homes featured on the tour.  Classical jazz music provided by the award-winning ’Jazz Mavericks’ from the Center for Performing & Fine Arts of West Chester. In addition to the historic homeowners, the preview party is a lovely thank you thank the generous individual and corporate sponsors who make the annual tour possible. Attendees also get a sneak preview of the beautiful homes featured on the 14th Annual Historic House Tour!

Wayne Bed & Breakfast, c.1885
~Pattye Benson photo

The annual historic house tour would not be possible without the generosity of individual and corporate sponsors.  Click 2018 House Tour Sponsor Packet for information about how you can be a sponsor and receive complimentary tickets to the house tour and the preview party.

To Purchase Tickets for 14th Annual Historic House Tour & ‘Party for Preservation’ Preview Party CLICK HERE 

NOTE:  Tickets for the Preview Party and/or the 14th Annual Historic House Tour are nonrefundable.

The Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust is a small nonprofit 501c3 organization and your ticket purchase is tax-deductible as the government allows.

  • You will receive a confirmation (via email) of your house tour ticket(s) purchase prior to the house tour day.
  • The house tour ticket pick-up location for 2017 is Tredyffrin Library, 582 Upper Gulph Road, Strafford, PA, starting at 11 AM on Saturday, Sept. 23.

‘Foxmead’,Strafford, c.1911
~Pattye Benson photo

lower merion school district is having stoneleigh sunshine issues?

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Oh CBS3 I think I love that you love “sunshine”.  What am I talking about? Oh my, check out the CBS3 video about Stoneleigh in Lower Merion.

I am going to let CBS3 tell the story:

CBS3 Emails Reveal Private Tour, Internal School Board Conversations As Stoneleigh Gardens Controversy Continues
By Joe HoldenAugust 1, 2018 at 11:36 pm

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Those set on preserving Stoneleigh Gardens versus the Lower Merion School District: It was a boil over this spring that has since simmered in the quiet summer months. But a final decision has yet to be made on the Main Line property that school officials identified in April for possible seizure under eminent domain. The announcement came at the same time the Gardens opened to the public and whipped up a firestorm.

“The Lower Merion School District still hasn’t taken Stoneleigh off the table and until and unless they do so, it’s still at risk,” said Oliver Bass, who is with Natural Lands, the non-profit organization responsible for preserving Stoneleigh.

On June 18, CBS3 filed an open records request with the Lower Merion School District for all emails about Stoneleigh between the superintendent and school board. A month later, the district responded.

It’s unknown how many emails traveled back and forth, but Lower Merion decided to keep virtually all of the electronic correspondence secret, based on attorney-client privilege and a real estate exemption, the denial read.

“Any time in the USA when we hear of government taking property, it strikes right at the core of our fundamental principles.”

Terry Mutchler, former head of Pennsylvania’s Open Records Office and a national transparency lawyer said Lower Merion has an obligation to be open — especially given the Stoneleigh uproar.

“I would think the district would want to be more in the sunshine than behind the curtain on this,” Mutchler said.

CLICK HERE TO READ EMAILS OBTAINED BY CBS3

Here are the emails released by CBS3:

The released e-mails are naturally not earth shattering (but still interesting) , nor am I shocked that Lower Merion School District finds itself above sunshine. They have always flet themselves collectively superior to everyone.

Soooo, how would more people like to submit Rights to Know on Lower Merion School District? (Follow this LINK to files a right to know on super secret and unpleasant Lower Merion School District.)

Stoneleigh is NOT safe although Lower Merion School District bought or is buying the Clothier Estate. Don’t be lulled into complacency. They are greedy snakes in the grass and until there is a public and irrefutable statement that Stoneleigh is off of the table, it’s just not.

Governor Wolf signed the Stoneleigh eminent domain bill into law because he’s up for re-election , BUT again, Stoneleigh is NOT off the Lower Merion School District dining table.

If you live in Lower Merion Township, it’s time to dump the latest bad school Superintendent (Copeland) and it’s time to dump Dr. Melissa Gilbert and her merry band of Stepford Board Members off of the school board.  Once upon a time I had high hopes for Melissa, but now she just believes her own press.

Support Natural Lands. #SaveStoneleigh

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step back in time this fall for chester county day 2018

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Photo Credit East Whiteland Township from their website.  From US Library of Congress: Michael Gunkle Spring Mill, Moore Road (East Whiteland Township), Bacton, Chester County, PA

Now I make no secret of the fall house tour events I hold dear in Chester County which are the Tredyffrin Historic Preservation Trust House Tour (I am a sponsor and this year it’s Saturday September 29th) and the tour that started it all for me many moons ago (used to go with my parents long before calling Chester County home) — Chester County Day!

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My books 🙂 

Today I am writing about Chester County Day which began in 1936. I love this event so much, I even have the following books: Forty Years of Days, Chester County & Its Day, and Barns of Chester County Pennsylvania which were  all written by a Chester County treasure named Berenice M. Ball.

The Women’s Auxiliary to Chester County Hospital has been supporting the hospital for 125 years through numerous fundraising activities and events. One of the beloved fundraisers that has stood the test of time is Chester County Day, the longest running house tour in the United States. This year’s tour will be held Saturday, October 6, 2018 from 10 am to 5 pm. Since its founding in 1936, “The Day,” as it is affectionately called, has raised more than $5 million for the hospital, earning $132,000 last year alone.

This year The Day includes tours of 16 homes and six public structures/historic sites in the northeast quadrant, including Exton, Frazer, Chester Springs, Kimberton, and Phoenixville.

The Day will kick off with the pageantry and excitement of a traditional fox hunt. The hunt will set off promptly at 9 am from Birchrunville. At 10 am guests can begin their tour of this year’s selected properties.

The 2018 tour celebrates the traditional, distinctive architecture of Chester County with some twists. There is a beautifully restored home in West Vincent Township which is believed to have been deeded to a Revolutionary War soldier in payment for his service. Also on the tour is a meticulously kept stone home with great antiques, rugs and a lovingly-cared for garden.

A spectacularly restored Queen Ann-style home is one of the stops in West Whiteland Township. The home was designed and built in 1851 by Andrew Jackson Downing, a prominent advocate of the Gothic Revival in the United States. The fountains, gardens, mahogany-lined rooms and diamond lead-paned windows of this house are remarkable. When the owner first purchased this property, oil had seeped into the basement and water leaked from the attic down to the first floor. The renovation of the home has returned it to its original, unforgettable state.  Around the corner is a pristine stone R. Brognard Okie house set on a hill with a beautiful stone-banked garage.

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Loch Aerie pre-renovation. My photo.

Loch Aerie Mansion in Frazer will also open its newly revamped doors to the tour this year.  Also featured in East Whiteland? Gunkle Spring Mill!  Gunkle Mill is a nationally registered historical resource. Michael Gunkle built  this his first mill, in 1793. The structure represents post-Revolutionary development in the Great Valley.  By 1872 the mill processed 1,800 tons of flour, feed, corn and oats yearly. At the peak of its productivity, the mill ran 18 hours a day. Gunkle Mill is now owned and cared for by East Whiteland Township. The Mill was placed on the Historic Register in 1978. (Check it out on Library of Congress website HERE.)

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Attendees will also have the opportunity to tour a nearly 200-year-old farmhouse/manor house in Chester Springs that has been lovingly repurposed as a business office. The structure has retained much of its original woodwork, pocket doors, cabinetry, stair railings, fireplaces and a beautiful English knot garden. Tour-goers can also explore the largest three-story bank barn in the county located in Charlestown Township. The home boasts hand-hewn, scored beams.

Phoenixville is represented by a restored farmhouse with a pool house that was once the residence of farmhands. Eighteenth and 20th century homes on the grounds of the former Pickering Hunt are optional next stops for attendees. Two houses will be open in Rapps Corner, with the convenience of parking at one home to tour both. Each of the stone houses has been maintained and updated in very individual styles, while respecting the historic bones of each building.

St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Chester Springs will serve as a lunch stop, where pre-ordered boxed lunches by Arianna’s Gourmet Café will be available.

The Day offers two ticket options, a regular priced $50 ticket or a $100 VIP ticket.  The VIP package includes an invitation to the preview party in September, as well as a gourmet boxed lunch provided by Montesano Bros Italian Market & Catering at an exclusive house tour open only to VIP ticket holders.

With a GPS and a Chester County Day map (that you will receive when you purchase your ticket) the beautiful architecture and bucolic roads of the county are yours to explore!

Event Details:

When: Saturday, October 6, 2018 from 10 am to 5 pm

Where: Northeast Quadrant of Chester County

Tickets: On sale from July 1, 2018 online; September 4th by mail or at the satellite locations listed on their website.

  • $50 purchased via web, phone or in person
  • $100 VIP tickets, which includes a VIP Reception and Preview Cocktail party at Historic Yellow Springs, Sunday, September 23; Otto’s Mini of Exton, PA will provide a Mini Cooper for qualified guests with purchased VIP tickets, while supplies last and a private tour of a special VIP house with a gourmet boxed lunch served by Montesano Bros Italian Market & Catering. VIP tickets are also available at all satellite locations, as well as via web and phone. (See ChesterCountyDay.com for details.)

Contact: 610-431-5054

More Information: Want to know more about the tour? Attend one of the free public preview lectures throughout the county. For a list of dates and locations, or to download a podcast visit: www.ChesterCountyDay.com

ALSO IMPORTANT TO NOTE:  I am writing this post because I want to and because I attend this event.  I purchase my own tickets and am a grateful supporter of The Women’s Auxiliary to Chester County Hospital. 

 

 

 

more northview gardens photos

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Last week I wrote about my visit to Northview Gardens. Here are the rest of the photos.  Northview is amazing. I loved it and hope I can return because it is one of those gardens that you will visit and notice something new every time you visit.

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a visit to northview gardens

Today was the summer get together and meeting for the Delaware Valley Hosta Society.The extra special treat today is we were hosted by Jenny Rose Carey and got to tour her beautiful Northview Gardens.Ms. Carey is the Senior Director of Meadowbrook Farm , which is now a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (“PHS”) site, but was once the home of Liddon Pennock.Jenny Rose Carey is a well known garden lecturer and she practices what she preaches at her own gardens which were amazing.(Click here for more information from an earlier post.)Northview Gardens is a very cool place with an interesting Philadelphia history. As Jenny says on her website:

Northview’s 4½ acre site was originally part of Wilmer and Anna Atkinson’s 1887 100-acre Victorian Model Farm. Some of the trees planted by Mr. Atkinson (the Founder and Editor of the Farm Journal) remain, including a beautiful 150-year-old Japanese maple. The current property includes the original 1887 farmhouse and carriage house.

The gardens are fun and full of whimsey along with beautiful plantings and plant specimens. Of special note would be the amazing trees including Japnese maples like few have ever seen. Also lots of very cool witch hazels, and a beautiful allée of golden redbuds.I hope to go back at a future date to explore the gardens further. They are truly unique and inspirational.

Many people were blown away that this lovely 4 1/2 acres just exists quietly where it does in Ambler. To me it is also a wonderful testament to historic preservation and land preservation. We need more Northview Gardens in our lives and fewer Tyvec wrapped plastic mushroom house developments in my humble opinion. Northview gardens are beautiful but not fussy. To me they are also a very British garden style, which I love.The gardens are seperated into what can only be described as different “rooms”, and like a well organized house, each garden room melds and flows into the next.But again, the gardens are narural and not fussy. They are gardens which beg you to explore down the next path, yet are so comfortable and welcoming. There are lots of seating areas. Lovely vintge and antique garden seating.And they have fabulous garden building structures like a she shed and a potting shed. You can always tell when gardens are created with love, and these gardens are no exception.

Once again, a lovely afternoon with the Delaware Valley Hosta Society.