next stop eminent domain town east goshen?

I am seriously bummed that my instincts were correct. I wrote a post about East Goshen Township in June 13th. I said the agenda read like an eminent domain saga waiting to explode over the Paoli Pike Trail.

Oh why couldn’t my instincts have been wrong? The poor Hicks family.

Last night East Goshen voted 3-2 for eminent domain takings of the Hicks farm land. May God damn them all to hell, quite frankly. There are few things I abhor more than eminent domain.

When I first moved out here from Lower Merion to be with my now husband, we lived in East Goshen. I used to think the world of East Goshen township. No longer. No more.

I will be honest and say I was part of the group (Save Ardmore Coalition) in Lower Merion Township years ago which successfully defeated eminent domain in Ardmore. It was a brutal, often disheartening, community divisive issue. At the same time we were fighting eminent domain, the Sahas were fighting to save their farm from Coatesville taking their farm via eminent domain for a golf course. It was eventually classified as eminent domain for private gain, not sure if it started that way.

The Sahas won their case in Coatesville, as we did in Ardmore. The Sahas became friends through this process as we were all involved with The Institute for Justice. I feel so lucky that I can still visit their farm now Mt. Airy Lavender. The Saha family still owns and runs their farm in it’s new business. If Dick Saha was still alive, you would have seen him at that meeting last night. He would have rounded up his farmer friends and gone to East Goshen. That is the kind of guy he was.

So. I watched the meeting.

Twice.

It was appalling both times.

Let’s start with the fact that the pro trail supervisors essentially disregarded Supervisor Michelle Truitt. Michelle offered an alternative plan. A plan that actually would work and the farmland and the Hicks Family would be spared. But the magic eminent domain trio are essentially behaving like misogynistic jerks in my opinion (which I am allowed to have), so that went nowhere fast.

So the documents you see above will be on East Goshen’s website tomorrow. I submitted a FOIA Right to Know and asked for these documents because although they SHOULD HAVE BEEN in the public meeting packet, they weren’t were they? They referred to meeting in executive session over “legal matters” and I am sure this was part of it only I have to ask if the eminent domain trio (“ED Trio”) didn’t want this out before the meeting? And in my humble opinion it should have been because well ED Trio, you are claiming eminent domain for public purpose which means…ummm…things should be public, right?

I also asked for a copy of the letter(or letters?) announcing this crap that were sent to the poor Hicks family and was told by the new township manager Derek Davis that he needed a legal opinion. Well East Goshen shares a solicitor with West Goshen and this person used to be with Easttown’s Planning Commission and is solicitor for East Brandywine and West Chester Borough and not sure where else will undoubtedly say “no”, right? So Hicks family if you decide you want to share the letters, please feel free. Those also should be part of the public record of this very public disgrace.

Oh and genuinely nice Derek Davis used to be the Assistant Manager at West Goshen, so with all these professional relationships between East Goshen and West Goshen, why is it it seems all fuzzy about the West Goshen part of this trail plan? And let’s talk about that: why is it if East Goshen doesn’t seem to have the West Goshen part of the puzzle worked out yet, why are they so gung-ho on eminent domain NOW? Greedy much?

And my hypothesis as to why now is simple: I think this trail has been a pet project of a retiring supervisor, right? So maybe as opposed to true public purpose this eminent domain issue is wound up in someone who wants a certain legacy? Well dude, 411 is eminent domain is now your legacy. Any good you did will flutter away into nothingness and THIS is what people will remember about you. This supervisor is Marty or Martin Shane. His term ends at the end of 2021. So East Goshen resident y’all better get your ducks in a row and get a candidate who will tip the scales against crap like this. Do it Ardmore style: make this an election issue. Whomever saunters up as a candidate should sign an anti-eminent domain pledge. If they won’t do that, find another person.

I also found it verrrry interesting that East Goshen went 100% in person for this meeting and did not offer zoom as well. And they could have since we are all newly emerged from the COVID world. That’s a little too cute, kind of like West Goshen’s technical difficulties for their YouTube or whatever stream of their meeting last night. Kind of Britney Spears oops I did it again, but I digress.

May be an image of map and outdoors
Is the point of the eminent domain to connect East Goshen Park with the YMCA?
And this aerial shot shows you they could leave the Hicks’ Farm alone if they wanted to.

Now let’s get into the meeting. Watch the video. My heart breaks for this family. Eminent domain is legal stealing, it’s bullying, and abusive. Kind of the way a couple of those East Goshen Supervisors were behaving.

The worst behaved of the East Goshen Supervisors was probably Chair David Shuey. He loves the sound of his own voice for sure and he knows everything. The king of “don’t interrupt me” and he’ll have people removed. Behaved like a total douche. Oh yes I am allowed to have that opinion of an elected official. Watch the meeting.

Shuey tried to proclaim how community positive he was and how he was against eminent domain for the pipeline and the whole traffic circle of it all that almost happened. I was at that traffic circle meeting, and he wasn’t user friendly there and I believe with the proposed eminent domain for the traffic circle and the pipelines it was more politically expedient to say he was against THAT eminent domain. For the Paoli Pike trail to nowhere, it’s more politically expedient to say eminent domain is the way to go.

Oh and of course Shuey tries to compare this Paoli Pike trail to the Radnor Trail. Apples and oranges dude, and no farms lost land for it. Do you think when that trail was built if it had been slated to go through Ardrossan’s cow field it would have gone through? Oh hell to the no and East Goshen will never be Main Line, and shouldn’t want to be. And then Shuey said something to the effect that East Goshen needs to be more competitive and say what? East Goshen was a gem, now it’s crown as a great Chester County community if forever tarnished and it’s sad, he can’t see the forest for the trees on this. He has a huge ego and he was combative and dismissive of residents. And I don’t know that he actually took all of the public comment. I know dude is a Democrat but last night he was very Trump-like in demeanor. Very unattractive public servant behavior in my humble opinion.

One of the speakers who resonated with me from the public in addition to the Hicks family and horse owners involved on their farm was former State Representative Dan Truitt. I have always liked Dan Truitt. He is quite simply a good man with a strong moral compass and sense of ethics. He made a heartfelt appeal to the supervisors to stop this process before it starts.

If I understand this convoluted trail mess correctly it’s like $5 Million Bucks a Mile and they don’t know if they will have all of the land in the end? So why eminent domain now? And it’s not like they will give it back if this goes kerflooey right?

Some folks out there in public opinion land are of the mind that this shouldn’t be such a big deal and the family sliced off pieces of land in the past. What they owned at one time in total is hardly the point. In fact, it’s not the point at all. What is the point are also the other potential impacts if East Goshen takes the land. They run an equine-based business and farm. HUGE amount of liability insurance they must pay for. Putting a trail for people as in strangers there all of the time puts the liability in a very bad spot, potentially a bad enough spot that they could possibly NOT have coverage and detrimentally affect their business, their livelihood . It’s not as simple or as offensive as saying “well they sold land before.”

Eminent Domain is legal stealing and it’s wrong.

Someone said to me “it’s just a sidewalk”. It’s not just a sidewalk. And it’s a trail part that may very well never be completed. And we’re also talking about a working farm. Again, you can’t just put sidewalks through working farms. It affects their liability which affects their ability to do their business on their own damn land. And the most important thing is the Hicks family said no. This is no better than when Coatesville tried to take my friends the Sahas’ farm years ago for a golf course.

Eminent Domain is legal stealing and it’s wrong.

A couple of comments from local community pages that have stood out to me:

(1) “Unfortunately (the way I understand this is going down) the walking path will disrupt a small business that currently uses the property in question as a private riding stable. People (and their dogs) are not always respectful of “do not pat or feed the horses” signs and this opens a huge liability issue up for the business owner. Horses can be unpredictable and spook easily creating potential harm and injury to both themselves and those around them. I think utilizing the property that they already have access to across the street makes more sense.

(2) “In late 2019 the supervisors were using this bike/walking trail to justify changing the zoning along Paoli Pike from Boot Rd to 352 to allow three story apartment buildings with shops underneath. Also wanted zoning to allow townhouses at Boot and Paoli Pike and 352 and Paoli Pike. The plan was for Goshenville to be a town center. They were saying people will use the trail to bike and walk to this town center. People were very opposed to the change in zoning and I’m not sure if this plan is still in play. They had maps and renderings of the Town Center on their website. The building of the trail seemed to have a lot to do with this vision of Goshenville.

Photo of the Hicks Farm where they would steal the land via eminent domain
with horses grazing at around 6:30 PM 6/15/21

I also think this debacle was a horrible final thing for retiring manager Rick Smith. This is what people will remember with him as well and that makes me sad. East Goshen can proclaim all the Rick Smith Days they want, what people will remember is the meeting last night and a particular exchange between he and one of the Hicks family members where he was quoted as saying “the train is coming” I guess in reference to eminent domain. It’s on the public meeting tape, and I did not misquote.

So another fun avenue to consider is this gem on Axley Attorneys website someone sent me. When is a sidewalk a trail?

When Is a Sidewalk a Trail?

MAY 31, 2011 by Buck Sweeney
csweeney@axley.com
608.283.6743

In a recent case from the Court of Appeals, Hildebrand v. Town of Menasha, the appeal court upheld Judge Scott Woldt’s opinion in a Winnebago County assessment case. In this particular case, the Town of Menasha specially assessed a vacant commercial property owner for the cost of placing a trail through the property. The Hildebrands were assessed $33,205.60 in construction costs for the installation of a 10’ asphalt trail abutting their commercial property. In response, the Hildebrands filed a notice of appeal to the circuit court raising numerous issues.

The question for the trial court, which was upheld by the Court of Appeals, was whether the Hildebrands’ property was:

*Specially benefitted by the trail segment for which the assessments were imposed.
*Whether the trail segment for which assessments were imposed constitutes a local improvement.
*Whether the trail segment for which assessments were imposed constitutes a general improvement for the community at large and therefore not a proper subject for imposition of the special assessments.


The evidence at trial made it very clear that this particular trail was clearly not a sidewalk, but was in fact a bike trail to help connect a regional multi-community recreational trail linking Oshkosh to Hortonville. The trail in question was asphalt and 10’ wide, unlike most typical sidewalks.

After the Town realized that they were losing, they tried to transform the trail into a sidewalk. Too late, according to the Court of Appeals.

If municipalities want to make sure they have a correct legal special assessment, the assessment must be local. Although incidentally beneficial to the public at large, its primary means for the accommodation and convenience of inhabitants in a particular locality and confers special benefits to the property.

Remember, if you do not want your sidewalk to be specially assessed, consider asking your municipality to place a 10’ asphalt trail through your yard.

Photo of the Hicks Farm where they would steal the land via
eminent domain at around 6:30 PM 6/15/21

My head is spinning. I thought I was done with hating eminent domain but it just keeps trying to happen.

The Hicks Family said NO. East Goshen is WRONG.

Oh and procedurally I found other issues with the meeting other than the eminent domain resolutions were omitted from the public meeting packets. Like they should have done a ROLL CALL vote on this and they DID NOT. So do you want to know who voted YES for eminent domain? Marty Shane, David Shuey, and Mike Lynch. Shane is gone at the end of 2021 and Shuey and Lynch are done in 2023. East Goshen residents need to get on the stick now. And not let up one minute until these people are out of office. They are not so much public servants as they are self-serving. They are the Eminent Domain Trio forevermore.

As a human being, I stand with the Hicks family. Their land, their decision. They said no. Residents of East Goshen and Chester County residents and farmers, please stand with this family. This is crap. Pure and simple.

#HandsOffTheHicksFarm pass it on. Post it. Share it. Stand with this family. Trust me, you think eminent domain couldn’t happen to you…until it does. Remember Stonleigh and Natural Lands?

Eminent domain is an ugly business. It is defined as the right of a government to take private property for public use by virtue of the superior dominion of the sovereign power over all lands within its jurisdiction.

It’s morally and ethically reprehensible.

#HandsOffTheHicksFarm

really east goshen? you are going to play the eminent domain game?

I read local municipality agendas. It’s a very easy way to learn what’s going on around you. and when I read the most recent one for East Goshen Township warning bells went off in my head.

https://eastgoshen.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/2021-06-15_Board-of-Supervisors-Agenda.pdf

So….let’s get to it. Has anyone looked at East Goshen Township’s upcoming BOS Agenda? There is some special and interestingly worded language about a potential “right of way land acquisition” for the Paoli Pike Trail and the Hicks Farm. (Item 11 “New Business”)

When you read that after reading item 5B which refers to “Executive session” and “legal matter pertaining to the Paoli Pike trail”, if you have ever followed eminent domain cases it makes you wonder what East Goshen Township is up to precisely doesn’t it?

East Goshen are you playing at eminent domain???

https://eastgoshen.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/2021-06-15_Board-of-Supervisors-Agenda.pdf

Read the agenda and ask those supervisors some questions….at the meeting.

At what cost do trails get built? And is this where they were talking development a while back?

Eminent Domain is something I despise. I helped find it successfully many years ago in Ardmore thanks to our groups help from the Institute for Justice in Washington DC. I learned about both kinds of eminent domain, private gain and public purpose. And municipalities love to say public purpose is for the public good but is it always for the public good?

Since I saw these items on the agenda I have been asking around. And I was told that indeed residents did receive an eminent domain letter from East Goshen Township. And then I saw this:

I went through the public meeting packet for East Goshen Township for their upcoming meeting. And there is nothing like taking letter included in the packet and that should be publicly posted. Because if they’re doing it for the public good, don’t hide it in executive session agenda items which I have to ask is that what they’re trying to do?

Here is this Op-Ed I saw in Patch and Delaware Valley Journal:

📌‼️Chester County’s Eminent Problem
Posted to Politics June 11, 2021 by Stephen Wahrhaftig

Imagine a knock on your door, and somebody announces that they intend to purchase your home, and that you will need to vacate it shortly. Imagine, also, that you are told that the value of your home will be established by the purchaser, and that you must accept the offer without objection. Sounds like a nightmare scenario.

This nightmare has played out time and again here in Chester County. It occurs when a local government decides that they want to take someone’s property for public use that is deemed more important than the rights of the property owner. It does not matter how long the property may have been owned, or how the owner feels about being forced to give up their land. If the locality wants it, they can take it at a price they feel they should pay. The process is called Eminent Domain, a somewhat gray area of law that has been in constant dispute for decades.

In the recent past, there have been examples of localities using Eminent Domain to seize private property for values that owners have felt unjust, and for reasons the community has sometimes found inappropriate….The latest threat of Eminent Domain use is happening in East Goshen Township. The victim in this case is Goshen View Farm, owned by the Hicks family. The ancestors of this family settled in Chester County back in 1769. According to a family member, this farm was purchased by William Huey Hicks in 1909. William was interested in the land because of the new system of electrification along Paoli Pike. Hicks bought the farm from the Sharpless family the old-fashioned way, by offering the owner a fair price and having the seller agree to the transaction in a free and agreeable sale….You may ask what the critical need is for taking a strip of land from a farm along Paoli Pike? Is there a hospital being built? Perhaps some emergency access is needed for a fire department? In fact, this property is being seized for a possible walking trail no more than two miles long, according to some local residents.

Sometimes referred to as “The Trail to Nowhere,” this strip of property is supposed to meet up with other township trails that may or may not ever exist, or even meet with this section of the trail. Perhaps the prospect of millions in government grant money is affecting the decision to invoke Eminent Domain. By some estimates, the township is spending about $5 million per mile to build the trail, $10 million in total.

The family that owns the property is not only unhappy with the threat of Eminent Domain but is also concerned about how visitors may impact their valuable horse stabling business, and about liabilities that may ensue when bikers and hikers cross the vehicle traffic on the farm lane exiting to Paoli Pike.‼️📌

Ok East Goshen there is building a walkable community and then there is bullsheit. This,East Goshen, is bullsheit .

I am all for walking trails. And I love the trails that East Goshen has in their park down the road. But this this is crap. I mean what are they going to do connect their trail with West Chester Borough? I mean do they want to connect their trail to 202 or something?

I have not seen the eminent domain taking letter, only told by a few sources that it exists. If the owners want to make it public I am happy to publish it because Imms always going to have a problem with eminent domain. And I don’t think this has anything to do with public purpose I think this has to do with legacy building on the part of some of these supervisors and that is WRONG.

And when I saw this editorial, it did make me realize that Chester county does have an eminent domain problem from time to time and this is one of those times.

East Goshen should learn from the mistakes of others. We will start with Coatesville when they tried to take the Sahas’ Farm for a golf course. Then will move right along to West Vincent Township when they tried to take the Ludwigs Corner Horse Show via eminent domain. In both cases this ended quite badly for these municipalities and at quite an expense.

And East Goshen? Time to be public about this. And stop the madness. Why is it farms especially farms with horses have to be subjected to eminent domain takings? Aren’t enough things like overdevelopment threatening the equine and agricultural history and traditions of this county as it is???

Other things East Goshen is NOT considering is the impact this would have on a working farm or how this not might but would affect their liability and liability coverage.

Trails are like a shiny new bauble for municipalities but they have to be done and created for the right reasons. If East Goshen wants to use eminent domain it’s the wrong reason.

Farmers and equestrians I am asking you to stand with concerned East Goshen residents and the Hicks family Tuesday , June 15th at this IN PERSON meeting at EAST GOSHEN TOWNSHIP located at 1580 Paoli Pike West Chester, PA 19380. The meeting starts at 7 PM. If my friend the late Dick Saha was still on this earthly plane I know for sure he would be there with his farmer friends.

Also, I encourage people and media to FLOOD East Goshen with emails and calls:

Eeast Goshen Township Building
East Goshen Township
1580 Paoli Pike
West Chester, PA 19380-6199
Phone: (610) 692-7171
Fax: (610) 692-8950
Office hours 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Please note that you must wear a mask when entering the building.

dshuey@eastgoshen.org

mlynch@eastgoshen.org

jhertzog@eastgoshen.org

mshane@eastgoshen.org

mtruitt@eastgoshen.org

Interim Township Manager: ddavis@eastgoshen.org

Outgoing Township Manager: rsmith@eastgoshen.org

Giddy up folks. This farm needs our support. And East Goshen? While I respect a lot of what you do, I don’t respect this and I am entitled to my opinion.

Thanks for stopping by.

#PACKTHEMEETING

back to the buttery

Today I met a friend for coffee. We went to The Malvern Buttery where I had not been since before COVID19 upended our world. It was nice to be back!

The set up is different still, and no inside seating. You have to wear a mask inside and it’s like one long counter now.

There are all the old favorites plus some new things and grab and go galore. We had an early lunch and my friend had an iced chai latte and I had an iced matcha latte.

It was lovely sitting outside. A lot of the tables have umbrellas. Some people were there with dogs and I saw the most spectacular English Setter!

I have missed The Malvern Buttery and if you haven’t been in a while, go check it out. And they have this fabulous new to me croissant with rhubarb I also highly recommend!

The Malvern Buttery is located at 233 E. King Street in Malvern Borough. Again, right now takeout only Wednesday- Sunday 8 AM to 2 PM.

one more night for crebilly! please virtually attend! take a stand! bear witness!

The battle to save Crebilly in Westtown is perhaps at its crescendo tonight. I am asking if you have the time to be at this virtual meeting, please do so. You don’t have to speak, but please bear witness. Let Troll Brothers and the Robinson family know we are all still out here.

May be an image of text that says 'Time for the People to BE HEARD. PUBLIC COMMENT ON TOLL BROS CREBILLY Il CONDITIONAL USE HEARING #12 Geoa MAY 26, 2021 7T09PM LINK FOR ZOOM INFO SCAN CAMERA HERE NEIGHBORSFOR CREBILLY FARM'
~Courtesy of Neighbors for Crebilly and that scan code is awesome!

Anyone is welcome to virtually attend this meeting. Westtown has provided simple instructions HERE:

Instructions for Westtown Board of Supervisors
Toll Bros./Crebilly Farm Conditional Use Hearing #12
Virtual Public Meeting via the Zoom Platform
Wednesday, May 26, 2021
Meeting Start Time is 7:00 PM


Anyone wishing to attend the virtual Conditional Use hearing may do so by calling this phone number: 1-646-558-8656 When your call is answered, you will be required to enter the meeting ID#: 843 6206 3236

If you are prompted for a participant ID, press # (a participant ID is not required).


OR you can watch a live-feed of the meeting by clicking on this link:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84362063236
When you are prompted for a pass code, enter: 246277


You may connect to the meeting up to 15 minutes prior to the start time. All attendees will be placed in a waiting area before being permitted into the hearing.

The hearing audio and video will be recorded and be used by the Court Reporter to assist in transcribing the testimony. Following the completion of the hearing transcript, the Zoom recording will be destroyed.


If you have party status, please ensure that you enter your full name so that the host will be able to recognize you. The parties will be recognized individually, and given the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses. If you have party status and join by phone, please indicate your presence by pressing *9 for the hearing host to recognize you. You will then have to press *6 to unmute yourself when prompted by the host. The non-party members of the public will have the opportunity to observe the hearing, but public comment is deferred until the end of the evidentiary portion of the hearing.

Due to the online nature of the system, there is a slight delay, so please take your time and be patient. There will be a slight pause when one person finishes speaking and another person starts. While in this virtual hearing, we ask that you conduct yourself in a civil manner. Any conduct deemed inappropriate (language, etc.) will result in your being removed from the hearing.

No in-person attendance at the Township Building will be permitted.

Now I am going to share thoughts from two women I know and call friends:

From Kathleen Brady Shea:

And from Mindy Rhodes (and I am including a plea she made to the Robinsons back when this first began:)

Dear Friends,

This coming Wednesday, May 26th at 7pm will be the 12th Conditional Use hearing regarding the Crebilly II application and the agreement of sale between Toll Brothers and the owners of Crebilly Farm.  THIS hearing needs all hands on deck because public comment will begin as soon as Toll completes their rebuttal of last hearing’s witnesses.  This is an opportunity for every single one of us to make our voices heard.  It does not matter where you live.  It does not matter whether you have party status.  It does, however, matter that every single one of us rise to this opportunity and speak up by stating how this development will negatively impact our community and why the Westtown Township Board of Supervisors should deny Conditional Use to Toll Brothers.

HEARING #12, WEDNESDAY, MAY 26TH, 7PM to be held virtually

To attend via zoom, click on the link below and enter the passcode if/when prompted:

Link:   https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84362063236

Passcode:  246277

To attend by phone, dial the number below and enter the meeting ID#:

Dial:  1-646-558-8656 

Meeting ID#:  843 6206 3236

*No other ID is required, press # if asked for one

For more information, here is the link from the Westtown Township website:

Below is the link to my last message about how important Massive Public Outcry is now more than ever; please review and be prepared with written statements to read for public comment; how will you be negatively impacted and why the BOS should deny Conditional Use to Toll Brothers:  https://crebillyfarmfriends.com/2021/04/28/crebilly-farm-update-4-28-21-a-call-to-action/

The time and energy all of us have invested over the last (almost) five years, needless to say, has been substantial.  When compared to the permanent impact a development of this magnitude will have on our community, American history and the devastation it will do to land, nature and nearby waterways- the time and energy is invaluable.  I still believe the owners of Crebilly Farm have every right to sell their land for profit.  However this plan and this developer is simply unacceptable.  And it is up to the rest of us to continue to speak up and stand firm:  Westtown Township must deny Conditional Use to Toll Brothers.

If not you, then who?

Sincerely,

Mindy Rhodes

And one last thing? This YouTube about the history of the land. It’s not just about saving a spectacular swath of land from greedy Toll Brothers and their horrible developments, it’s about our very history:

We all lead busy lives. But it requires nothing of us to spend a little time on a virtual meeting. I don’t have standing, but I will tune in out of solidarity for those who do and who have been valiantly fighting the good fight here. We drove past Crebilly on 202 and 926 not so long ago. You couldn’t help but notice the deterioration of the structures on the edge of Crebilly….and that horrible forest of development signs at the corner of 202 and 926. We need to come together as a county every damn time one of these projects is featured at a meeting. It doesn’t matter what township we are from, we are all affected by this crap.

And all of this new development is crap. Pure and simple. Chester County is losing more and more open space and farmland by the day. And with the potential for more crap coming out of West Chester Borough regarding the Wyeth site, this is even more important from a traffic standpoint alone.

I know, I know, it’s like yes we are coming out of a global pandemic, but apparently it hasn’t slowed down the developers, has it? And with virtual meetings we really can put in an appearance occasionally as residents.

Please make time for Crebilly tonight. It cold be the last time. Take a stand Chester County, Take a Stand. Don’t let Crebilly become the next Foxcatcher Farm/Liseter.

is it possible to STOP toll brothers from destroying crebilly farm in  westtown? sadly, probably not. | chestercountyramblings

this is so not acceptable.

This.

This was sent to me. And I am appalled. Horrified. Upset. Speechless when I first saw this.

This is the lovely little church on Upper Gulph at the start of Mount Pleasant. In Tredyffrin Township which makes this also a Chester County disgrace.

I removed the names of those who were on the post. At the bottom of the post are a couple of photos I took in 2009 when I was touring Mt. Pleasant with a friend.

What was I doing in Mt. Pleasant back then? Other than walking the little roads Mazie Hall once walked? It was a haven for student rental slum lords back then. In my humble opinion, Tredyffrin Township spent way too much time looking the other way. I went to see for myself.

Mt. Pleasant where the First Baptist sits on Upper Gulph Road is in the panhandle of Tredyffrin in Wayne. It is also one of the other oldest most historical black communities in Chester County. It’s origins I think may even pre-date Bacton Hill in East Whiteland. (Read all about Mt. Pleasant HERE in the 1962 Tredyffrin Easttown Historical Society Quarterly.)

But as Bacton Hill has essentially disappeared, Mt. Pleasant in spite of being in a township that I have never thought gave a damn about them and the obstacles like off campus student houses that tend to have little respect, has survived.

But this above? Total bullshit and yes I cursed in a post.

Haven’t we all had enough of this crap yet? Why do we as Americans allow this?

Enough!

This behavior is not acceptable. It terrifies communities and with good reason. Tredyffrin Township is doing what exactly about this? Are they in contact with the pastor?

If you read this and live in Tredyffrin, I would say send this church a donation even if it’s not your church and write your commissioners and demand change.

Sign me disappointed in human kind.

oh you are going to want to make reservations…

The Ship Inn in Exton on Lancaster Avenue or Lincoln Highway is beloved to so many. Recently they got a television show makeover courtesy of Chef Robert Irvine and Restaurant Impossible.

I have to say well done! It’s wonderful!

Yes they are essentially getting a rave from me. I loved every minute! But I also have some other observations before I get to that.

The owner is working the floor. He is wound way too tight and he was is charge of the hostess desk when we got there…only we were marooned there for more than five minutes with no one greeting us. He also corrects his staff close to the point of berating them right there on the floor. He wasn’t yelling but the intent was obvious and it’s not something patrons wish to see. Hopefully he finds a competent front of house.

There is new life breathed into main room and the awful little booths are gone. Those booths were super uncomfortable and for a big room it was dark, it wasn’t airy.

Dark room no more. Clean and light and a design that so appeals to me because of the simplicity and execution of the design.

You are greeted crisp white walls with touches of maritime inspired brass rails, white bead board, and “sails” and a singular and fabulous ship cut out. It is this simple ship that is carried through on the tops of the menus and on the wait staff shirts.

At one end is the exposed stone wall with what looks like a semi-gloss clear seal. I love that look anyway and I think it looks fabulous.

The chairs are mid century inspired and SUPER comfortable with great back support while not looking clunky. The tables are very different but I think they will be a lot easier to maintain and they have a very clean look to them. Everything is very well spaced in the dining room it is not cramped.

They have some new cocktails. I chose the cranberry mimosa, which had just the right balance of everything. I enjoyed it. And I don’t drink very much so that’s saying something.

Ordering off the special prix fix menu is slightly rigid but I think post makeover they are getting their sea legs.

I ordered the surf and turf and wanted to substitute shrimp cocktail to start and waitress told me it was too expensive to do that. However I never said I would NOT pay for the up charge substitute, I would expect it. So I ordered shrimp cocktail separately and split it with my family. I love a good shrimp cocktail and it didn’t disappoint. And the cocktail sauce itself was fresh and had just the right bite.

With my entrée, I had the beet salad. Great vinaigrette, lovely greens, and I love beets anyway. The beets were chopped and I would’ve preferred a very thin slice to a little square, but that’s not really a criticism that’s just a personal preference on my part because I love beets. And they were red and yellow beets which are so pretty on a plate.

One thing I found surprising about the show makeover was the ladies room. The ladies room was surprisingly not refreshed. I think it would lend to the cohesiveness of the room makeover. It’s not that the ladies room is bad because it never has been, but I would suggest for the future that they take the design of the redone room and translate it simply into the ladies room. White bead board and white paint with a couple brass accents in that ladies room will really make a difference.

Now let’s talk about the lighting fixtures in the makeover room. Totally TERRIFIC lighting fixtures!! So many places fall short when it comes to lighting fixtures and the lighting fixtures are clean with a classic design that works so well with the room. And the lighting fixtures make you feel like you are on an old-fashioned teak yacht don’t know how else to explain it and I know that might sound weird but they’re great fixtures. The devil is in the details and they are spot on.

All of our main courses were amazing. We had crabcakes, Dan Dan noodles, surf and turf, and the ribeye. Compliments to the chef and our waitress for getting the meat temperature literally perfect.

We had various things for dessert. I had the sticky toffee pudding which I couldn’t finish, so half of it is in my refrigerator. But it was amazing. And sticky toffee pudding as one of those things that if it’s done right it’s just the best.

I went out of my way to take photos when people really weren’t around because I wanted you to see the room versus the people. They had a good crowd inside and out.

The wait staff as always is really nice, and I loved our waitress. She is one of those waitresses that is just perfect giving you the right amount of attention and not being intrusive or overly solicitous. And she’s genuinely nice. And that’s the thing— I always found the wait staff there pleasant and you can’t say that about a lot of places. The staff all seem to be working really well together and things were well-timed coming out of the kitchen and in the beginning our drinks were gotten to us quickly and our water, etc.

It was a fabulous experience as a guest, and we weren’t left hanging —- I don’t know how else to describe it. But you know what I mean sometimes when you go into a restaurant, and you feel like you are almost abandoned. Not tonight at The Ship Inn. They went out of their way to make guests feel special and I appreciate that.

I am so happy to see the new life in the old girl known as The Ship Inn and I wish them continued success from the bottom of my heart and I can’t wait to go back!

Make a reservation and check it out! Thanks for stopping by!

A postscript: The Ship Inn is only open for lunch Friday and Saturday which I do find inconvenient.

a visit to magnolia cottage shop’s new store

So I love Magnolia Cottage Shop and the owner is a friend. And I have to give her credit because she open the store just before Covid hit and she hung in and doubled down and actually moved into a BETTER space across the driveway in the same commercial location.

The new space is filled with light and fun things waiting to be discovered. The wall color is one I am a bit obsessed with. A shade of grey that is just so pretty!

Anyway if you have not been to the new space, check it out! You can follow the store on Facebook and Instagram too!

Magnolia Cottage Shop is located at 288 Lancaster Avenue, Frazer, PA 19355. 484-320-8022.

Store Hours:
MONDAY: CLOSED
TUES – FRI: 11am – 5pm
SAT: 10am – 5pm
SUN: 11am – 4pm

toxic masculinity or road rager?

Do you know who this driver is? I seriously almost hit 911 on my phone and I don’t talk on my phone, I don’t text on my phone, I don’t do anything on my phone when I’m driving other than listen to music.

I first encountered him when I was at the light on W. King Rd. waiting to turn left on Sproul. There is a left turn arrow, no right turn from across the King and 352/Sproul intersection.

When I approached the light it was red. Then it changed to green with the left turn green arrow. I had my signal on I started to proceed through the intersection. As I am proceeding through the intersection, this guy driving a Volvo wagon decides he’s going to not have a turn signal on, but he’s going to turn right as I’m turning left. So I beeped my horn.

I made it through the intersection and he immediately hopped on my tail so close there couldn’t have been 5 inches between his front bumper and my rear bumper. And he did this all the way down 352/Sproul including when I had to stop for a UPS truck and then there was a mail truck on the other side.

He did this bumper speed up kind of tailgate at me all the way down the road. I have never experienced in my life something to come so close to road rage, and it was kind of scary. (And I was thinking to myself is this what people call toxic masculinity?)

He pulled up alongside me when I was at the light at the bottom of the hill at 3252 facing the Linden Hall townhouses. He rolls down his window and told me “I needed to get a clue.”

I looked at him and I said “I don’t know what you’re talking about you have a no turn on red there and I was going through the intersection legally.” He then proceeded to curse me out and give me the finger so I took his photo. As I was taking his photo he told me “Here’s a photo for you!” and kept giving me the finger. There were some verbal expletives thrown in, and I’m not really sure what or in what order because I was just trying to keep my calm, truthfully.

When I first moved to Chester County, I don’t remember people being this way. It’s sad and scary that this kind of behavior is considered acceptable. This man could have harmed me, and almost did with his vehicle.

If I had gotten his license plate I would have gone straight to the police. As it was, I had to pull into a parking lot to stop shaking. I hope he treats his friends and family better than he treated me.

Be safe out there.

it’s about the mural

I have always been a big believer in mural arts projects because I think they are just so cool. Literally art in unexpected places.

We drove past this on our way home from my COVID shot #2. I think it’s beautiful and I will have to go back at some point with a regular camera to take better photos.

Thank you West Chester. With all the bleak and bleary of the last year, this was literally kind of joyful to see. And as a woman, the subject matter was awesome.

Happy Friday. (And yes, COVID shot #2 is less fun, but it’s done and I am distracting myself with things like this.)

time passages

Time Passages by Al Stewart.

It was late in December, the sky turned to snow
All round the day was going down slow
Night like a river beginning to flow
I felt the beat of my mind go
Drifting into time passages
Years go falling in the fading light
Time passages
Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight
Well I’m not the kind to live in the past
The years run too short and the days too fast
The things you lean on are the things that don’t last
Well it’s just now and then my line gets cast into these
Time passages
There’s something back here that you left behind
Oh time passages
Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight
Hear the echoes and feel yourself starting to turn
Don’t know why you should feel
That there’s something to learn
It’s just a game that you play
Well the picture is changing
Now you’re part of a crowd
They’re laughing at something
And the music’s loud
A girl comes towards you
You once used to know
You reach out your hand
But you’re all alone, in these
Time passages
I know you’re in there, you’re just out of sight
Time passages
Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight

Al Stewart. My husband and I both love his music. He is one of my earliest music memories. As in I liked to listen to him. My tastes were somewhat eclectic. I didn’t like the Doobie Brothers (and a friend’s cousin was a roadie in the 70s), and as sacrilegious as it sounds, I never got The Grateful Dead. I think the first time I heard Al Stewart was down at a friends house in Bethesda, Maryland. These two sisters who are still my pals had two older brothers, one of whom used to take us to Kemp Mill Records in Georgetown (Washington, DC). I loved that music store more than any other I was ever in. They always were playing the most fabulous music, and no disco biscuits need apply. Now to those in my peer group who were devotees of Plastic Fantastic and Mads Records, this will come as a surprise, but there was nothing better than Kemp Mill Records in my opinion.

So this morning I had an earworm when I woke up and it was Al Stewart’s Time Passages. Hence the post title. And how does it tie to this post that is most definitely a ramble? It just does.

We all have music that evokes memories. Al Stewart reminds me of first Kemp Mill Records along with The Little River Band. Later on, Al Stewart would remind me of The Point in Bryn Mawr. The Point was where the original Main Point was, and Al played there when I was too young to be allowed to go there. But I made up for lost time when The Point opened up in the same spot as the original Main Point.

The Point ran in Bryn Mawr circa 1998 to 2005. Al Stewart was there often and other musicians I loved like Shawn Mullins and Sophie B Hawkins. The original Main Point began circa 1964, and closed in 1981 the year I graduated high school.

So I have been thinking about time passages. This year is my 40th high school reunion from Shipley, and thanks to COVID-19 no reunion. I remember 1981. Back then, almost 57 just seemed so very far away, yet here we are.

Mini Term, Spring of 1980

I have a nice life. I am blessed and am where I am supposed to be, with the person whom I am supposed to be with. Added bonus? He knew and remembers my younger self. I think that makes me really lucky. And I know I am loved. I can’t say that about everyone I know.

The past year with COVID-19 has taken many of us on mental road trips. My stepfather, who is British by birth, remarked that over the past year he had many memories of his childhood in England, including World War II float to the surface. He said that he found it interesting that these memories are still intact and that we needed the quiet of life imposed upon us by a global pandemic to allow them to float back into our consciousness. It’s kind of true.

Life and time march on no matter how we try to stop it. I see women who look fabulous, but haven’t figured out those really short skirts and impossibly high heels they are still wearing in defiance of the aging process would be better suited to their nieces and daughters. They remind me of this woman I remember from the Main Line when I was in my 20s. She liked frog statues in her garden and had a killer figure….but she would wear pantyhose and hot pants and summer heels and sandals for summer shopping. Especially memorable? Her patriotic July 4th hot pants. It always made me feel a little sad that she wasn’t taking aging well. Now I guess she might have been approaching some point in her 40s back then. But every time I see one of my own contemporaries or slightly younger struggling with the aging process, I think of this woman.

A friend of mine turned 60 the other day. I can’t believe it. I remember when her son used to ride a scooter through our old neighborhood when he was a little guy. Now he’s a grown up, out of college, with his own life.

One of my closest friends oldest child just took his SATs. He totally rocked them. He smiles at me when I tell him I remember when he was hatched. But I do. I remember him so clearly as an infant. And another one of my close friends has her daughter graduating from college. Another kid I love and remember as a little girl. Now she is this beautiful young woman. Even my niece of whom I have these memories of her and her little fashion shows changing her outfits multiple times a day is now a college freshman.

Sometimes I just sit here and think about where time has gone and what it took for us all to get here. And I marvel. Another friend and I were facetiming recently and we were talking about remembering when our parents were the age we are now. And all of the stores we used to love to visit in Bryn Mawr when we were kids like Katy Did and that marvelous book store next to it. And all of the antiques stores and Eskil’s Clog Shop. And of course, wanting to be old enough to go to the Main Point without our parents freaking out.

Volunteering (in costume) at Historic Harriton House in Bryn Mawr 1970s.

The memories of a more innocent time. And a lot of them have resurfaced in the time of COVID-19. And just like my stepfather noted, the memories are still here, we just need quiet to visit them again.

Lots of memories of my late father. He’s been gone since 2005. But I have had all sorts of memories resurface. Like him helping a neighbor plant either azaleas or rhododendrons in a seersucker suit one time when he came home from work. Or running around the day of my sister’s wedding (which was held in my parents’ house) touching up paint because caterers and florists and whomever had marked a couple of walls. Or the little girl memories of going with him on a snowy December night to the rail yards in his red VW bug to get a Christmas tree. Or going shopping on 9th street (Italian Market) with him and visiting all the merchants he had been going to since he was a kid in some cases.

Other things I am remembering of late? Fabulous garden parties in amazing gardens in Philadelphia. I do not remember which non profits benefitted (Philadelphia Parks Alliance, PHS, or a garden club ?) from all of them but I remember how lovely they were. No artifice and beautiful gardens. I think one was at Ernesta Ballard’s house in Chestnut Hill. I remember Thatcher Longstreth’s wife Nancy was there. She was in wheelchair.

Other memories? Shipley Mini Term the spring of 1980. I did an internship in the City Representative’s Office in Philadelphia. My godfather was the late Dick Doran, and at that time he was the City Representative under Mayor Bill Green. Bill Green and Dick Doran knew my father from St. Joe’s Prep. When I was growing up they were around a lot. Dick Doran gave a wedding toast at my parents’ wedding. And I remember when Dick was Chief of Staff to Milton Schapp. I remember that in particular because my father was not a fan of Harrisburg, and I was really little and didn’t know where Harrisburg was.

Perhaps it was that internship while I was a junior in high school that made me interested in observing politics…but never having a desire to run for office. But I remember it was a fascinating time. Ed Rendell was the District Attorney. I remember Thatcher Longstreth taking me to meeting with him in CIty Hall, although he was not a City Councilman again until after I had graduated from high school. He was the nicest man.

That was kind of a golden time in Philadelphia City Hall. Much like the era of Richardson Dilworth, who was not only a beloved Mayor of Philadelphia, but grandfather to one of my oldest childhood friends. However even with the golden time, there was political infighting and even a messenger in City Hall who believed in aliens, and yes had a few tinfoil hats.

Other memories that have floated up to the surface was of all things a plant sale my mother used to work on when I was little. The plant sale at The Hill Physick Keith House. They would stage the plants in the side walled garden that had a gate out to Cypress Street.

The Hill Physick Keith House holds a lot of memories. I remember playing quietly as a very little girl in the curtains in the room with the big desk and beautiful inkwell when my mother was a volunteer there. I actually have a pair of antique drapes that once hung in the house. I do not remember why they were removed, only that when I was little they were going to be thrown out, so my mother adopted them. For a while they hung in our house in Society Hill which had windows of a similar scale to those in the Hill Physick Keith House. Now they live in a blanket chest. I have no reason to keep them, but so many why as to not let them go.

Yes the drapes from the Physick House.

So here we are, It’s 2021. My hair is turning gray and white but is still mostly brown. I gave up the idea of color when I was diagnosed with breast cancer almost 10 years ago. There is a link between hair dyes and breast cancer. So when I heard that I was done with the semi-permanent color I used to use back then. Now when I look in the mirror sometimes I see my father’s mother which kind of freaks me out that I can so clearly see her face in my face at times.

Soon I will be getting my second COVID-19 shot. But I still am keeping it close to home with the COVID-19 of it all. But it also means I can keep on gardening.

I will close with was this where my teenage, childhood, or young adult self though I would be? I am not really sure because after all, within this life we live, we actually live several lives as we go throughout our life. So yes, I definitely can’t answer that. I only know I am home and grateful for my life, and each stage of it.

Thanks for stopping by.