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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bermuda botanical gardens

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Beauty awaits all who enter the Bermuda Botanical Gardens

Buckle up readers, I went “rambling” off shore recently.  Bermuda to be precise.  What a beautiful place!

Needless to say I have a lot of photos still to go through, but I wanted to share with you my photos of the Bermuda Botanical Gardens.

Before we left  I researched some things I wanted to tour specifically.  As I am a rabid gardener, I have heard for a long time how spectacular the Bermuda Botanical Gardens were. And rather historic as far as botanical gardens go.

We took a bus from where the ferry docked in Hamilton to the botanical gardens in Paget Parish.  The bus we rode is the number 7 and is considered the most scenic bus route, incidentally.

Where we got off was a bus stop sort of in between the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and the botanical gardens.

When I had researched the gardens they looked  different from what I found.  There was also supposed to be a visitors center where you could buy bottled water and gifts.

HAMILTON & CENTRAL BERMUDA
Bermuda Botanical Gardens

Indulge your senses with a trip to the Bermuda Botanical Gardens, and experience the sweet smells and vibrant colours of roses, frangipani and flowering hibiscus. Established in 1898, these 36 acres have been a popular spot to walk and relax among the lush foliage for more than a century. Along with flowers, you’ll find a palm garden with native palmetto trees, a subtropical fruit garden and a sensory garden for the blind, with Braille signs fronting fragrant blooms and herbs. Greenhouses hold collections of orchids and succulents, and the grounds are also home to Camden House, the official residence of Bermuda’s Premier, and the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art.

Special Features: Good for Groups, Kid-Friendly, Wedding/Event Venue on Site

Bermuda Attractions: Bermuda Botanical Gardens

The Bermuda Botanical Garden was inaugurated in 1898. The 35-acre landscaped park located in Paget parish, numerous flowers, shrubs, trees & plantations including a vast collection of subtropical fruit trees, hibiscus, an aviary and Banyan trees. The Garden has large glass houses with cacti and orchids along with formal gardens and lawns. There is also an aromatic garden designed for blind visitors.

There is a Visitor Center in the garden area which is open from 9:30am to 3:30pm (Monday to Friday)….The Camden House is located at the Bermuda Botanical Gardens. It is designated as the official residence of Bermuda’s Premiere and is an impressive colonial building with painted shutters and fretwork. Built in the early 1700s, Camden House is a great example of typical Bermudian architecture. It has a fine collection of art and antiques.

You can combine a visit to the Botanical Gardens with a free tour inside the Camden House. If you are carrying your lunch basket, there are picnic tables around this area for you to relax in the shades and enjoy your lunch. Alternatively for breakfast or lunch visit Homer’s Cafe. It’s located inside the Masterworks Art Museum within the garden area. There is also a cafe at the Visitors Center of the garden serving fresh fruits, salads, sandwiches, wraps, beverages etc.

Behind Camden House, there is a beautiful rose garden, and a kitchen garden showcasing many types of herbs and cut flowers. There is also an aviary here with peacocks, ducks and many other birds. Lawns stretch from here all the way towards South Road having many matured trees like cedars and acacias. Some of the lawns are bordered with beds of seasonal flowers like lilies, freesias and dahlias.

Botanic Gardens Conservation International

About the The Bermuda Botanical Gardens
169 South Road in Paget Parish DV 04. Or P. O. Box HM 834, Paget HM CX. Phone (441) 236-4201. Fax (441) 236- 7582. Since April 2002 part of the Department of Conservation Services of the Bermuda Government’s Ministry of the Environment. On Main Island. The largest local public garden by far. One mile from the City of Hamilton, they are open daily from sunrise to sunset, via Berry Hill Road, Point Finger Road and South Road. Bus routes 1, 2 and 7 go to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital nearby. Open 365 days a year. Free for 362 days (except during the Agricultural Exhibition every April). A mix of park, woodland, greenhouses, agricultural buildings and horticultural collections. A Bermuda National Park under the Bermuda National Parks Act 1986. Chiefly of interest for its trees, orchard, collection of orchids and Camden. Visitors should expect a fair amount of walking. The Bermuda Botanical Society – a Bermuda Registered Charity # 249 – provides them from its Visitor Centre (9:30 am to 3:30 pm) in the Gardens, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Fridays 10:30 am year-round, weather permitting.
Main Address: The Bermuda Botanical Gardens
P.O. Box HM 20
HAMILTON
HM AX Bermuda
Telephone: 1441 236 4201
Fax: 1441 236 7582
URL: http://www.bermuda4u.com/Attractions/bermuda_attractions_bermuda_botanical_gardens.html

Staff Details
Director’s Name: P.J.Truran
Curator’s Name: Lisa Outerbridge

I loved the gardens. They are spectacular even in the sad state of disrepair they are in.

Locals I asked on Bermuda tell me government budget cuts are to blame. However, as in all things political, Camden House (think Bermuda’s White House) home of Bermuda’s Premier located at one end of the botanical garden grounds apparently has no expense spared on it. Ahh government, right?

But meanwhile there is NO Visitors Center, the is NO aviary (no clue where all the birds went – there were Macaws, Peacocks, Parrots, Chickens and who knows how many other birds.) And the rose garden? Didn’t see it. I know it’s there, but I did not see it which was a bummer.

Needless to say, contrary to what was advertised on one tourist website, there were no happy volunteers to show you around.  We wandered around ourselves.

It was brutally humid and threatening thunder storms the day we toured and the gardens were eerily empty for summer.  I do not pretend to understand the government of this island paradise but those gardens were established in 1898 and is home to many amazing plant specimens.

As FODOR’S says in a 2009 travel guide:

Established in 1898, the Botanical Gardens are filled with exotic subtropical plants, flowers, and trees. The 36-acre property features a miniature forest, an aviary, a hibiscus garden with more than 150 species, and collections of orchids, cacti, fruits, and ferns. In addition to these must-see sights is an intriguing must-smell one: the Garden for the Sightless. Designed primarily for the blind, it has fragrant plants (like geranium, lemon, lavender, and spices), plus Braille signage. Weather permitting, free 60- to 90-minute guided tours of the Botanical Gardens begin from the Visitor’s Information Centre at 10:30 Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday.

The sensory garden still exists, but needs love. The same with every garden space within the 36 amazing acres.

Frommers had this to say to potential travelers:

This 14-hectare (35-acre) landscaped park, maintained by the Department of Natural Resources, is one of Bermuda’s major attractions. Hundreds of clearly identified flowers, shrubs, and trees line the pathways. Attractions include collections of hibiscus and subtropical fruit, an aviary, banyan trees, and even a garden for the blind. A 90-minute tour leaves at 10:30am on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, taking you through lushly planted acres. Guests meet at the Berry Hills entrance near the Botanical Gardens Visitor’s Center. On the Tuesday and Friday tour, participants stop in at Camden, the official residence of Bermuda’s premier, for a look around. The cafe sells sandwiches and salads (soup and chili in winter). Early in 2008, the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art opened within a much-restored, much rebuilt building in these gardens. And in the spring of 2008, the Botanical Gardens launched an ambitious 5-year plan to introduce four separate gardens of themed plants, including a Japanese Zen Garden, a 17th-century-style English Parterre Garden, a 12th-century-style Persian Garden, and a Tudor-style Children’s Maze Garden.

The Japanese Zen Garden while lovely is struggling. The Parterre Garden, Persian Garden, and Children’s Maze Garden sit empty. And throughout the gardens not one fountain is running. Except in fairness, it is summer on an island so they also have to conserve water.

And yet, even as a victim of Bermudian government budget cuts so obvious it makes you wince if you are a garden lover, these gardens still shine and should be gone through.  For me to see things like Bird of Paradise flowers just growing naturally, or amaryllis, and many other things including spice trees and big bushes of rosemary and lavender it was heavenly.

 

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The problem I think with these gardens is the Bermuda Botanical Gardens fall under the purview of Bermuda Government Park System.  We all know in the US that lovely phrase we’re from the government and we’re here to help….and the reality.

I have been searching and searching for a more comprehensive history of these gardens because they so captured my attention.  Haven’t found much, but I did find an ancient New York Times article:

New York Times: Along a Nature and Garden Trail
By PAULA DEITZMARCH 18, 2001

IN 1609, when Sir George Somers and his crew sailed from England to the Virginia Colony on the Sea Venture, they were shipwrecked between two reefs just off the coast of Bermuda, and thus were among the first to lay eyes on the lush primeval forest of cedar and palmetto that covered the subtropical archipelago. As Bermuda was one of the few island clusters in the world without a native population, early botanic observers had the opportunity to record flora untouched by human habitation before the 17th century — with the exception of the occasional shipwrecked crew that either perished or stayed on shore long enough to build a ship out of cedar and sail on.

In time, it was discovered that there are 17 endemic plants on the island (those that grow naturally nowhere else in the world), including the Bermuda cedar (Juniperus bermudiana), the Bermuda palmetto (Sabal bermudana) and the olivewood (Cassine laneana). Landowners’ wealth was judged by the number of cedars on their estates…

Mind you my research while it doesn’t find much on the history and early horticulturalists of the Bermuda Botanical Gardens has turned up that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is also based in/around these gardens.

So how is it they do not seem to want the gardens to shine? How can the Premier of Bermuda ignore what is literally outside his front door?

I noticed there is a citizens group on Facebook called Take Back Our Park They organized because of a threat of development of a maintenance yard there. So yes, imagine a public works department complete with all that a public works facility entails in the middle of your favorite park. (Read this letter in a local Bermuda paper about it.)

Thankfully, on June 28, 2018 the Bermuda residents prevailed and the Botanical Gardens were saved from that plan. (Read this article in the Royal Gazette.)

I hope these people persist and get some attention and funding directed towards these gardens.  I am happy to be able to share my photos with all of you.  It really is a special place.

At one end of the grounds close to where the aviary I think was is a museum and a cafe.  The museum is the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art. 

Homer’s Cafe inside the museum is run by a local catering company called The Salty Lime.

The cafe is lovely and the people warm and welcoming.  The museum is quite interesting but the staff at the front desk of the museum aren’t particularly welcoming, or at least the woman I encountered wasn’t.

The permanent collection of the museum includes works by  Winslow Homer, Georgia O’Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, Charles Demuth and Henry Moore.  The museum is dedicated to Bermuda.  Everything in it depicts things inspired by Bermuda. Paintings, sculpture, photography and more.  It covers the range of time from 1700 until today.  I believe the museum was founded in 1987.  It is quite unusual and as a tourist I would not have known it was something to see except for the fact I stumbled upon it.

In the courtyard of the museum and cafe is this sculpture dedicated to former Beatle, John Lennon. As I discovered in an old AdWeek article:

The British musician and artist spent several months in Bermuda during his last trip abroad, and the island served as his muse. Bermuda pays special tribute with “Double Fantasy,” a sculpture dedicated last year in Lennon’s honor.

Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art commissioned local sculptor Graham Foster to create the six-foot Cor-Ten steel structure. The work shows a stylized double-sided profile of Lennon and his “granny” glasses with his Rickenbacker guitar, doves of peace, and the double fantasy freesia flower. At approximately 4,000 pounds, it’s a weighty piece, and sits on a raised flowerbed in a courtyard near the museum’s entrance. The sculpture is located in Bermuda’s Botanical Gardens, on the island’s south shore in Paget parish.

Read more about the Double Fantasy sculpture on THIS WEBSITE.

 

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the photos and if traveling to Bermuda, try to visit the Bermuda Botanical Gardens.  Especially because I feel they may be at risk. As I continue to go through my photos I will add other posts about Bermuda.

Thanks for rambling along to Bermuda this evening.

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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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moo!!!! “oreo cows”

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Oreo cows!!  AKA Belted Galloways (Scottish origin). These are the black and whites who live in Willistown.  (Or I think it’s Willistown) Some brown and white oreos live out off of 401.

My husband will tell you I have an affinity for farm animals. Not all. But I do love photographing cows, chickens, and goats. And horses, ponies, donkeys. Can’t forget them. (But I digress.)

Anyway….here’s hoping cow photos aren’t too controversial since today someone told me I was posting/writing too much “liberal propaganda”.  Sorry not sorry, poor darling, but Ivana’s shoe line isn’t to my liking and she’s shutting down her fashion empire anyway.

Ciao for now LOL

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