monuments to ugliness

Billboards.

Bleck.

They call this variety “monuments”.

Monuments to ugliness.

Monuments to excess.

We don’t need them in our communities. I don’t care how many get approved by local municipalities, my opinion remains unchanged.

Billboards suck. Communities have these monument monstrosities forced upon them and it is never about the community, it is about whomever is erecting them and the sheckels they can make. I know one billboard owner in particular who does not love my opinions. Macht nichts, dude, I am entitled to my opinion under the First Amendment like your ilk thinks it is a First Amendment right to erect billboards.

And not only do I think billboards are ugly, I think they are a driver distraction.

Thanks for stopping by.

going to delaware: still love odessa and the little towns in the vicinity

We were in Delaware over the weekend. We met people at Cantwell’s for an early dinner one night. I love Cantwell’s. It’s historic and the food is good.

And Odessa, DE? Odessa is one of my favorite little towns, ever. It’s quaint and historic and they take their history and preservation seriously. Awesome historical society with wonderful events. (Check out Historic Odessa Foundation.) Communities like Odessa, DE should be an example to other communities. They show you preservation IS possible and communities will embrace it.

Odessa and the surrounding small towns aren’t perfect. There are houses that you see that are distinctly unloved. But these communities are trying and it is SO nice to see farm and fields and water and a distinct lack of townhouses and ugly apartments. And there are some little bed & breakfast inns tucked here and there.

Because of the Sunday Delaware beach traffic, we took some windy and twisty back roads coming home. I saw some cool little crossroads towns and hamlets, all chock full of historic houses. Including in Port Penn, where I saw a fabulous but boarded up house owned by the State of Delaware. Another Linden Hall, AKA the Cleaver House.

“The Cleaver family dominated Port Penn throughout the nineteenth century. Joseph built this Federal-style brick house, which included an office and store at right, divided from the residence by a firewall. The whole resembles two urban town houses. Cleaver maintained the adjacent wharf, practiced law, founded an insurance company, served on the board of a bank, and was local postmaster. The contents of the house are known by a room-by-room probate inventory undertaken after his death in 1858. In 1977 a new owner altered the interior for rental units and redesigned the roof of the wing, which caused the front wall of that section to collapse. In 1994 the State of Delaware bought it.”

~W. Barksdale Maynard

The State of Delaware hasn’t done much with it. It’s a beautiful structure even in decay. It was built around 1814. Thanks to the Port Penn Historical Society, I learned a little more about the property and found some old photos (mixed in with photos I took):

Yep, I can find old structures to be obsessed over everywhere. Also flew by the Augustine Inn…too fast to get photos so I looked them up. Also found the place written up in Delaware Today. And a piece on Augustine Beach too.

The Augustine Inn was on Ghost Detectives once upon a time:

Port Penn was kind of cute. Did not realize until I looked the area up that a lot of the houses were moved from Reedy Island. This is all on the Delaware River, which you take for granted exactly HOW wide it is until you see it again. The Augustine Wildlife Area is here. There are beaches too. Saw lots of folks fishing.

Delaware has a lot of cool little nooks and crannies. It was fun exploring them a little bit again. Just like Route 9 in NJ leads to some fun meandering, so does Route 9 (and other roads) in Delaware.

Thanks for stopping by.

the potential willistown development project that needs people on a zoom call for is tonight! rock hill farm which is 222 acres!

I do not have a horse in this race but this is one of these properties that if it all gets chopped up for development it would be horrible. This property is in Willistown Township and Great Valley School District. The Great Valley School District is bursting at the seams already, so all of these developments add up.

So according to what I saw posted in Willistown Community Page it is like 14 houses. Big questions include: if the property is 222 acres per realtor and media descriptions are these homes all going to be on like 15+ acre lots? Or will these McMansions be built on smaller parcels and what happens to the rest?

If you are interested in this meeting the Willistown Planning Commission is TONIGHT June 9 at 7:30 PM. It is a ZOOM meeting and you can register for it here:

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_kV9E5WFOTL65buU3aNCCrg

Hopefully a good chunk of this land is in conservation, but given what we have see happen with other large parcels including what is still being fought over at Crebilly in Westtown, the devil is in the details. Tune in!

People should be tuning into Willistown now anyway given all sorts of things like….why are there only TWO supervisors now????

boundaries and etiquette

Yesterday while roaming around Yellow Springs Village checking out the fabulous art show and the village, everywhere we walked there seemed to be this woman.

The woman would not have been memorable or remarkable except for the fact that everyone could hear her obviously very private cell phone conversation. I couldn’t help but hear her conversation because she was super loud, and I say that as someone who has been told multiple times I am too loud on the phone, especially cell phones.

Truthfully I don’t know what it is about cell phones that makes people want to shout. And like I said, I am one of those people who does find it hard at times to modulate the volume while on my cell phone.

Part of me felt badly for this woman because she was obviously upset about something, but she was also incredibly angry about something so everything she said traveled. And she literally was walking around Yellow Springs Village with this conversation.

I really have to wonder if people have such a limited sense of boundaries and personal space these days and etiquette in general that they don’t realize we all really don’t need to listen to her conversation and she probably shouldn’t be so loud that we’re hearing the conversation? Yes holy run on sentence, Batman.

And I think boundaries and etiquette are something they have completely died during COVID-19. Here we are all were suddenly working from home, and it was like the normal rules no longer applied. For some, working from home during COVID-19 is like people can’t catch a break.

It used to be when you left your office you left everything behind until the next workday. But between cell phones and COVID-19 everyone’s world is now everywhere 24/7/365.

I will fully admit I am guilty of loud phone. But having become overly conscious of other people’s cell phone conversations intruding on outings that have occurred so infrequently since the onset of COVID-19, I have made an effort not to answer my phone while I’m out and about. Sometimes I just don’t answer my phone at all even when I’m home.

One of the things I will have liked about COVID-19 to be honest is the break from the world. Our world is not a sunny happy place a lot of the time anymore, and I guess for lack of a better description, I miss simpler times. Maybe it’s just being a grown-up or trying to be a grown-up, but I also think it is because of how connected we are to each other all of the time. Too connected.

I did actually feel badly for this woman because she and her high-volume conversation were oozing negative energy. And I know that sounds really weird to say, but it was like she was a Peanuts’ cartoon character walking around with a dark storm cloud over her head.

And it was such a pretty day out there yesterday. This woman missed all of that.

This made me realize why we all need to unplug sometimes. Part of me hopes that she figures out whatever it is that is upsetting her, and the other part of me hopes she never subjects people out in public to one of her private conversations like this ever again.

And on some level I owe her thank you because it made me realize how disruptive loud cell phone conversations are.

Have a great day it’s beautiful outside.

new life comes to historic yellow springs

I have loved the historic village of Yellow Springs down Art School Road in Chester Springs for years and years. I was first introduced to the village by my late father. He loved the art show and the antique show the village no longer hosts in the fall (but should.)

We would come out to the village, attend the art show or antique show and have lunch at the now closed Yellow Springs Inn. At first the restaurant was in the building known today as “The Washington”, then it moved to the Jenny Lind House.

I don’t remember who exactly was in the Jenny Lind House before the Yellow Springs Inn went to live there. But I knew a little bit of the history and that it was a boarding house. Run (and built) by a woman named Margaret Holman.

Truthfully the history of Yellow Springs Village is so very interesting. As a related aside, Margaret Holman is but one of many women who played important and pivotal roles in this village over time and throughout its history. Now we add my friend Meg Veno to that list of historically important ladies. With her renovation of the Jenny Lind house and the amazing adaptive reuse that still nods to the past in process, she is bringing new life and a fresh set of ideas to Yellow Springs Village.

Restoring Jenny Lind is so positive for this magical village. And I was so glad to see people out enjoying the art show and picking up their box lunches from at the Jenny Lind today!

The restoration is not complete there are still at least a couple more months of solid work ahead of them. But today I had the privilege and honor to see the progress and how the renovation was coming along. I was literally almost reduced to tears. I had no idea that once upon a time at a Life’s Patina Barn Sale when Meg mentioned to me that she was looking for another project, and I happened to tell her that the Jenny Lind house was in bank foreclosure and the restaurant gone, that this would happen.

I was thinking today when you mention to people that a great historic asset is for sale you never know if anything will ever happen. A lot of times it doesn’t. And this time it has. And the transformation is as magical as it has been watching Loch Aerie come back to life. Completely different periods of history and styles of architecture but both have these spots in my heart.

Oh and the lunches sold are a preview of what we can expect in the cafe to be? Amazing! And it was all environmentally friendly packaging down to the disposable wooden utensils.

I am including photos I took a few years ago of the Jenny Lind when it was the restaurant so you can fully appreciate the remarkable and painstakingly gorgeous restoration. The Victorian decor of the former Yellow Springs Inn was never right for the structure although for years the restaurant was quite good.

Life’s Patina Mercantile & Cafe at the Jenny Lind House is going to be perfection.

Read more about it on Meg’s blog:

The Jenny Lind House Renovation ~ She is Finding Her Voice Again

Behind the Scenes at Life’s Patina

Design Inspiration for the New Life’s Patina Mercantile & Cafe

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.

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.

today was covid shot #2 day

Today it was back to West Chester and the Sturtzebecker Health Science Center. Yes, I just had my 2nd COVID shot.

Finally.

I feel like a weight is off of my shoulders. I know that sounds weird, but I was super nervous going to get the second shot. Now I feel relieved.

It was a much bigger area at West Chester than last time. Awesome nurses like last time. The girls signing me in (very young like college age) were kind of cranky. Probably because when they told me I “had” to give them my health insurance card so Chester County could bill my insurance company for some sort of fees, I said no.

I said no because although I have great health insurance, according to the federal government we do NOT have give ANYONE our health insurance card. So no thanks, because we all know whatever they bill health insurance companies for will come back to the insureds in some way. Sorry not sorry I pay enough now. The front desk gals did not like that “no” answer. But I don’t care as they didn’t even look at any of us as we came in. We were just part of the conveyer belt of life.

My nurse however was awesome and so were the rest of the people. These people are our heroes. This is hard work, every day, long hours, until it’s done. Right now my arm hurts and I have a bit of a headache, and achy joints, but other than that, so far so good.

Something I noticed around the Sturtzebecker Health Science Center today? People are just littering their parking lot with used masks. I wish I had had gloves with me as I would’ve picked them up and thrown them away. That bothers me because we are guests on that campus and they are nice enough to let us get our COVID19 shots there. So not cool.

It’s been a long week. A friend is gravely ill. One of the nicest people and getting my head wrapped around the fact I will never see them again is just hard. This is one of those people who is the shirt off of their back kind of people. And friends and family can’t do anything. No it’s not COVID related. It’s just surreal and it sucks.

Another friend lost her mother. Her mother had been ill for a very long time, but she was a lovely woman. And so beloved.

And while nice people like this won’t be with us much longer or have left us, there are nasty people who continue to roam the earth and it just makes you wonder why nice people are taken from us and those who are as mean as rattlesnakes survive?

Life is what we make of it. It always involves beginnings and endings. In the category of beginnings, another friend had a baby today. A beautiful baby girl.

Other friends are going traveling with no COVID shots. I think that’s nuts and I hope they are ok on their trip.

Beginnings and endings. And COVID shots. That’s all I have got today. Thanks for stopping by.

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.)