loch aerie takes another step into her bright future

As we all know Loch Aerie was rescued from literal ruin by the lovely Poirier family. And I do mean that compliment most sincerely as they are truly awesome and nice!

East Whiteland Township worked through the plans and whatnot with the owners and the new ballroom construction is underway!

To the historical purists this is probably not what they want to see but we have to be realistic: for a lot of these fabulous historic structures adaptive reuse is what keeps them from the wrecking ball.

I love this house and I have been fortunate to have been invited inside since they began the renovations to the existing structure.

December, 2018

December, 2018

Loch Aerie is becoming an event venue. Weddings and other types of parties, with a catering kitchen. They will have an on-site caterer for people to work with for their events last time I checked, and I am super excited to see this project moving forward!

Last fall Loch Aerie was even on the Chester County Day tour!

I had to stop at Home Depot this afternoon, so I thought I would take a peek and I think what’s happening is so wonderful and I just sort of stood there and grinned. The first time I saw the restored interior I cried.

With all the awful development we see ruining Chester County and every time we shed tears over historic structures being torn down, this is something I keep coming back to because it just makes me so happy. And I’m not the only one that is so happy to know that there are people out there who care about the structures and the history.

Loch Aerie has a bright future and that’s amazing. Adaptive reuse works. Historic preservation is possible.

yes this is a rant.

Development should be a four letter word. Nothing has architectural style and human scale is non-existent.

Nothing being proposed on the Main Line or into Chester County and further out even complements the surrounding areas developers want to build in.

Everything is about maximizing density for developer profit.

The problem with that is there are a lot of moving parts and why is it residents can see the holes in the planning process and the zoning process and the development process and the political part of the process yet no one else seems to be willing to?

Everyone always thinks I am 100% against development. I’m actually not, but I cannot stand what is being shoved into our communities today.

The municipalities get all hot and bothered over the short term high of ratables but are incredibly short sighted as to the future. They don’t even look to protect the basics like stress on infrastructure, stress on first responders, stress on school districts which are all getting SO big.

It’s always QUANTITY instead of QUALITY.

And don’t forget the conditions of approval that they could ask for and sometimes they don’t even try. If these developers want to be in our communities then they can build the roads that will support their development. They can help pay for the schools that their future residents will put children into. They can finish the parks the townships don’t ever seem to have the money to either start or complete yet they have the land. And occasionally, these municipalities could learn to say “no give us a better plan.”

And in some municipalities you have to wonder for whom the township staff actually works? For whose benefit do the politicians work?

Years ago several members of the Pennsylvania legislature put forth an idea for a law. That law was simple it would’ve provided a short term moratorium on development. Just enough for Pennsylvania municipalities to hit the pause button to try to get better plans – like 90 or 120 days or something. The lobbyists for parties who objected to this being put forward killed this thing at least twice.

Also the Municipalities Planning Code of Pennsylvania? When was the last time that was comprehensively updated? Wasn’t it either the late 1960s or 1970s?

And here in Chester County why is it everyone thinks the Chester County Planning Commission’s Landscapes is so fabulous? All I see is a blueprint for over-development. We live in Chester County and we don’t live here so we can feel like we live in Bensalem or King of Prussia correct?

And while on the topic of our Chester County Planning Commission why is it our county level planning is being driven by an executive director who does not live in our county? To me that is just nuts and the worst kind of politics. That in my humble opinion is a person not truly invested in our communities and how can he be, he doesn’t live here does he?

We need change or we are going to continue to lose what makes where we live special. I don’t know about you but every time I look at a plan it is homogenous, boring, uninteresting and not community minded in the least for where ever it is proposed. It’s mall architecture. Bleck.

Once open space is gone it doesn’t come back. From Lower Merion in Montgomery County through to Caln in Chester County and everywhere in between, something has got to give.

And the history and historic preservation also doesn’t seem to matter. And it should.

I have never believed in “build it and they will come” as a reason to develop. And I’m not saying there aren’t areas that are in need of sprucing up. There are. Only the planning and vision that is realistic doesn’t seem to exist does it?

And the zoning? Why is everything high density? And all these special zoning overlay districts? Who benefits besides developers?

But everything is the same: ugly apartment buildings, cheap townhouse communities, fake carriage house communities. Density, density, and more density.

And in a lot of areas people are asking about low income and affordable housing. And we’re not talking section 8 here we’re talking about where do the single mothers go if they want to live in a safe community and raise their children? Where do our seniors go who can’t afford ritzy retirement communities? Where do regular people go who can’t afford McMansions?

And is there the economy to support this development? I was talking to somebody last week who remarked about not being able to work close to home. So are the jobs really here locally that will support the development? In my opinion, no.

Yes this is a RANT. And developers aren’t going to like this post, but none of you were being singled out. I am disgusted with all of it.

We deserve better. We need to demand better.

Development is an epidemic and we need a solution.

summer sauce

I made this yesterday and everyone keeps asking for the recipe. There isn’t one per se but here’s how it evolved:

2 lbs of ground sausage sautéed in olive oil with 2 sweet onions, 6 mild/medium chili peppers, 2 long hot peppers, 5 cloves garlic minced, 1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes from the garden halved, sea salt to taste.

Next I added a huge handful each of fresh basil and oregano from the garden and a 10 ounce package of fresh crimini (baby bella) mushrooms chopped up.

Cook on medium low and stir a lot until sausage is cooked through.

Add two cans (28 ounce) of canned tomatoes- what I had on hand was crushed, add 1 small can of tomato paste (6 ounce size), and a good dash of red wine or red wine or balsamic vinegar.

Reduce heat and allow to burble on the stove, stirring frequently for at least another hour. Adjust for salt and pepper if needed. I didn’t find it needed it.

This is the kind of sauce that if I had fresh eggplant, that would have been peeled and chopped up and added as well.

It’s not complicated and it’s easy to make your own homemade sauce. The chili peppers came out of the garden as well and the end result was a flavorful but NOT a spicy sauce. It just tastes fresh. It will be dinner later this week over spaghetti or some shape pasta. Serve with a salad and you are good to go.

Easy summer dinner.

Leftover sauce can be frozen.

trying my hand at rooting from cuttings

Have you been outside this morning? It’s so humid you can cut it with a knife.

I did a little bit of gardening early this morning and had the sprinkler set up for a while on newer beds I had planted, like the one where my Franklinia Tree is growing. My Franklinia Tree is getting ready to bloom for the first time so the bed around is getting extra special treatment.

I also took a bit of a wander because plants for fall planting are already here. I have to baby them through the next heat wave and then I will begin to plot their planting locations.

Also this morning I decided to try my hand at propagating cuttings. I chose hydrangeas.

I took two cuttings from my mystery blue lacecap that was an end of season $5 buy at a grocery store a few years ago. It never had a tag and I have never seen it since.

I also took two cuttings from my Korean Mountain Hydrangea. They came originally from Lazy S Farm in Virginia. The owners retired and the nursery was sadly closed down. I used to get the most wonderful plants from them. They also introduced me to Indian Pinks. Anyway, I have not been able to specifically find Korean Mountain Hydrangea anywhere since, so hopefully I can grow my own.

I had a lovely English clay pot that until this morning housed a basil plant until I chucked it. It had gotten pot bound and unlovely so into the brush pile it went. I have loads more basil so it was fine to sacrifice that particular plant.

I put half compost and half organic potting soil into the pot, roughed up the stems of the Hydrangea slightly and plunked them in.

I don’t know if they will take given we’re about to get another heatwave, but they’re in a shady spot on the porch and had a drink of water with seaweed extract in it. I am hoping for the best!

I still have a lot of gardening this season ahead of me. But the heatwave that’s creeping in means a time out. Then it will be time to first tackle weeding and deadheading.

Stay cool!

have you been to the eagle tavern lately? GO!

The Eagle Tavern is Chester County History. Love that after centuries (literally!) they are still standing! It was built in 1702 and the liquor license dates from 1727. We weren’t even a country yet officially! The current building was built over the original structure circa 1799 according to what I was told. It’s survived what could have been a devastating fire in 2010 that was tragically accidental.

It closed for a while when the old owners decided to sell. In 2018 it opened under new ownership. I wrote about it then (click HERE). PA Eats also wrote about it back then (click HERE.)

If I have a story right before the current owner as of 2018 it was owned by the original family that had it for decades and then maybe the people that owned Carmines up the street had it for a while?

Anyway back in 2012, the Daily Local wrote:

The Eagle Tavern

Receiving a liquor license in 1727, the Eagle Tavern was once a hangout for pre-Revolutionary War outlaws the Doan brothers. Located at the fork of two main thoroughfares, it’s been run by owner Lois Jones and her family since the country’s Bicentennial in 1976. Lois can be seen today greeting guests and serving up hearty fare in the restaurant’s casual, friendly atmosphere.

The Eagle Tavern has a colorful history that I would love to learn more about. (Some of it is on their website.)

I used to go to the tavern under the old owners mostly for lunch over the years. I didn’t live in Chester County until a few years ago so back in the day it was truly a haul to get there.

When the Eagle Tavern first reopened in 2018 we went a few times. The first time was March, 2018. That is when I wrote my initial review. At that time the meal was awesome and we really enjoyed it. We went back a few other times later in 2018 and didn’t really like it as much. I never updated my review, I just went other places. The problem was the place was inconsistent. It got to be that it was never really horrible but it wasn’t so fabulous either.

So until today, we hadn’t been there in forever, literally. We had wondered for a while if they were still open because the parking lot was always empty. Then recently a friend told me that they were under more appropriate management, better management and they were doing their own beer and other things.

So this afternoon after taking a detour after attending a funeral, my husband and I decided to go back for a late lunch.

I am so glad we did! And I hope all of you go back to the Eagle Tavern, especially if you haven’t been there in a while!

The difference is remarkable! The inside has been further refined without losing its wonderful historic tavern feel. The menu has been revamped and is like a more modern version of what it originally was years ago. And the bathrooms have been done over and so has the staff. We had amazing table service today and an awesome lunch!

I know it sounds dumb, but I have been on the hunt for a traditional, old-school club sandwich. I don’t know what it is about that sandwich but that is a summer sandwich to me. Probably because growing up when you went to certain clubs and places that was always on a summer menu.

The sandwich was amazing. My husband enjoyed his lunch too and said that their home brewed beers were nice! Here are screenshots of the lunch menu:

Here is the link to all of the menus: CLICK HERE. The Eagle Tavern has upped their game considerably and remained true to the history. I like that they do not pretend to be other than what they are. And it’s lovely inside. Anyone can buy architectural salvage to dress up a new build restaurant, but you can’t imitate centuries of history.

We actually took the time to speak with the manager. Chester County residents who have lived out here a long time you will know his name immediately – Chip Nye. Yes, the old manager for years came back! And the difference is remarkable! And he’s excited to be there and his energy is echoed by the rest of the staff.

The Eagle Tavern is running again like a well-oiled machine, and the menu works and is well-prepared coming out of the kitchen and the staff is amazing. I actually look forward to future meals there. And I think it looks better than ever inside which is why I snapped a few photos.

Anyway I encourage folks to go and check it out. They also have music some of the time.

An old school tavern is so much better than a Disneyesque modern version of a pub. The folks from the Ship Inn should go check it out. The Ship is also tradition around here, but they need a makeover in parts of their restaurant, and the kind of aesthetic makeover at the Eagle Tavern and feel of it would also work at the Ship Inn. No, not to create twinsies taverns, I just think it would be good inspiration. Especially in that big dining room that screams 1970s banquet hall.

(Now don’t get out the pitchforks at me because I said the Ship Inn needs a makeover. It’s a cool place but Robert Irvine needs to visit and Restaurant Impossible is looking for places.)

Back to the Eagle Tavern: Today was lovely, look forward to future visits! Let me know what you think if you go!

drivers need to learn underpass heights…

Ship Road Underpass . Reader submitted photo.

Whether it’s the railroad underpass in Radnor Township at the train station on King of Prussia Road, or the underpass at Old Lancaster Road in Lower Merion Township, or any of the multitude of railroad underpasses and tunnels that dot Chester County, why can’t drivers read and comprehend the height limits?

It’s crazy. In the past one could argue back in the day that these railroad bridges and underpasses weren’t marked. BUT THEY ARE MARKED TODAY!

Malvern Borough 2018. A friend sent photo to me.

LOOK at the photo above and below! The underpass is MARKED CLEARLY! How can you miss the giant yellow painted steel beam with the height on it??

Photo found on Google attributed to Abel Bros Towing.

Someone told me once that the giant painted yellow steel beams are a few thousand a piece installed? I think they are a great idea in these locations because it keeps the truck from hitting the structure it hits the beam. Mind you it doesn’t necessarily stop trucks from getting stuck under the underpass or tunnel but it does help with the initial hit.

Every time a truck does this everything comes to a halt. Why? Because engineers have to look at the bridge to make sure it’s structurally sound after each accident.

How do companies allow truck drivers who don’t know the height of what they are driving? If they have a hard time remembering, why not have a big sticker on the dashboard that says your truck is X feet X inches tall?

I think a lot of this has to do with driving apps like Waze. Waze doesn’t include tunnel heights or even warn of tunnels and/or underpasses that I know of, do you?

How many years of hits from trucks can these old railroad tunnels and underpasses take?

I have gotten stuck on Ship Road before when they were removing a truck from under the railroad underpasses / tunnels there. You really get stuck because when you end up behind one of these trucks then everybody wants to turn around immediately and not pay attention to any of the other vehicles around them.

It’s just one of those things that keeps happening in our communities. And it’s not because these places aren’t marked. They are marked. And in a lot of places they are also marked with giant yellow steel beams with the height attached.

I don’t get this any more than the people that destroy Chester County’s iconic covered bridges by also not reading the height limits and running into them.

Please note that both Ship Road photos are from last week.

Thanks for stopping by.

Ship Rd last week. P.k. Ditty photo.

cool summer pop-up you DO NOT want to miss this sunday, august 11 in glenmoore!

Looks inviting doesn’t it? That is because it is!!!

So what are you doing tomorrow Sunday, August 11 between 12 noon and 6 PM?

You should be going to Glenmoore PA. Just put 1941 Creek Road Glenmoore PA into your GPS or maps program and go! Trust me, it’s a beautiful drive into the country and you will be glad you did! I sure am!

Today I had my BEST score in a long time! Cool vintage dairy sign from the Vintage & Vine Preview POP-up at Glenmoore Deli (1941 Creek Rd Glenmoore PA)

This new venture being introduced to us by two of my pals Kristin Smith and Christie Keith is something you don’t want to miss!

Seriously? Go tomorrow! If you’re going to church you can go after church. It’s a nice weekend and here is the menu:

This burger was fresh and AMAZING!

Salad with fresh mozzarella and a balsamic glaze.

Sun Tea with fresh herbs and flowers!

Old-fashioned fair lemon 💗

All of the food is locally sourced when possible (obviously we don’t have any citrus groves in Chester County) and is super fresh! Amazing produce and some was for sale in the store as well.

iThe eclectic mix of vintage, antique and more modern treasures was so much fun! Including to my surprise a fabulous jewelry line out of Washington DC created by a woman born and raise in Chester County! Yes, Diament Jewelry by Libby Diament.

Libby has a store in Washington, DC and started making her jewelry while living and working in NYC. Libby travels around the country hunting for vintage parts and jewelry that can be brought back to life. It’s sort of like finding treasure!

Diament Jewelry has been worn by celebrities including: Jennifer Love Hewitt, Elle Fanning, Cher Lloyd, Rachel Bilson, Giada de Laurentiis, and Meredith Vieira.

Bar earrings from Diament Jewelry

I had been looking for a pair of bar earrings for a couple of years. But I didn’t want ones that look like everyone else’s. So I was super psyched to discover the ladies had Diament Jewelry in their pop-up today. I also bought a pair of small studs that look like glittery slices of quartz or fools gold. As I get older I like wearing study earrings more than I have in a long time and there’s a nice variety for sale along with some adorable dangle earrings like a pair of wishbones! There are also in a locked case some of Diament’s lovely ethereal necklaces.

To check out more on Diament Jewelry visit their website or better yet read the article Forbes Magazine wrote about Libby Diament!

You will also find lovely local raw honey by Hound Dog Honey and soaps and lip balm by Vellum Soap Company and unless they sell out these to die for soft caramel candies by Dave’s Delectable Delites of Glenmoore.

But have I raved enough about the menu? So good. So fresh. Christie Keith is a genius in the kitchen! That is the best part about this menu everything is fresh nothing is frozen. It makes all the difference in the world in taste.

I love to cook as everyone knows, and Christie Keith is one of those people that I will have cook for me any day!

Take a drive in the country tomorrow. Have lunch, find a treasure!