exploring and antiquing

20131116-192514.jpg

Today my friend Karen came over and we went exploring. I had wanted to take her to the Smithfield Barn but they weren’t open. So we headed to Spring City and Kimberton instead.

First stop was Samuel G. Hultz Antiques at 820 Pughtown Road in Spring City. They are the big old place on the corner of Route 100 and Pughtown Road. Their phone number is 610-469-9491 and they are open most Saturdays and Sundays noon to 4 p.m.

Like most of the old school country dealers I have come across since moving here, they were friendly and hospitable people. And their pricing was reasonable and fair.

Like my friend Dave told me it would be, their barn was loaded with kind of things I love to go through. They have some beautiful vintage and antique quilts, different odd lots of depression glass and china and furniture and all sorts of things. Old tools, linens, vintage kitchen items, candles, and Christmas ornaments too. Blue glass, milk glass, clear, ruby red, you name it.

Flow through blue plates and teapots and fabulous antique wash stands and an amazing black walnut farm table I wish I had the room for.

They had some neat old advertising pieces, and sort of a bargain basement downstairs where I found the most awesome hand quilted pillows to use on my bed as throw pillows as well as vintage heavy duty aluminum loaf pans to bake with. I also found the cutest handcarved folk art Santa to decorate with for Christmas.

And I also noted that this was a place where I could get antique lamp parts! As in oil lamp parts. Shades, globes, all sorts of things and complete lamps. I have a lot of converted oil lamps which are now electric as well as others which can burn lamp oil that I love the look of, and I never know where I can get parts. I am so happy to have discovered that I can get them here! You see, the only other place I knew to get so many parts before this was in Adamstown, PA.

Where the Hultz Barn is located is so beautiful and picturesque. We took a right out of their driveway, drove past the Agway and headed down Pughtown Road into Kimberton village. This weekend is also the Kimberton Antiques Show at the firehouse/fairgrounds. (The show runs tomorrow, Sunday, November 17 as well from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and admission is $5.00. Don’t eat lunch at the antique show, go right up the road to the Station Bistro. It’s a fabulous little BYOB with a roaring fire in the fireplace and amazing food.)

The Kimberton Antiques Show is still one of my most favorite things to go to in the fall. I have been going for years. It is a show where I find a lot of my favorite antiques and collectible dealers who only do shows.

I bought some more vintage Christmas ornaments from a pair of cute little old ladies who were tough as nails and sharks in cardigans in the bargaining department! Sadly that was pretty much all I purchased, because the show prices this year were higher than ever.

Don’t misunderstand me, I love that show and have been going for years. But the problem is the prices of gotten high enough now that I just don’t really buy there anymore. I mainly look. This used to be a show you could actually buy at . But my late father always said that antique shows existed to educate your eye more than buy.

There was a dealer who had very reasonably priced vintage garden ornaments that I forgot to go back to, and that’s a real shame. His stuff was cool.

The Kimberton show is a great place to wander around for a few hours. It is two buildings on the firehouse/fairgrounds property loaded with dealers of antiques, vintage items, and collectibles. Some of the dealers had some truly amazing vintage and antique Christmas ornaments. I also love tole trays, and there were a lot of dealers with some gorgeous trays.

The lunch didn’t look outstanding one way or the other, so we opted to get lunch after we left the Kimberton Antiques Show. Boy am I glad we did!

We wandered into the center of the village of Kimberton and decided to try the Station Bistro. It is a cute little BYOB that is much larger inside than it looks on the outside.

You walk into Station Bistro and you’re greeted by a large country fireplace with two comfortable when chairs on either side. The dining room is not huge, but the tables are spaced nicely apart and the place is clean and bright and cheerful. As opposed to some places there is a feeling of space. Artwork of local artists adorn the walls. I saw a watercolor landscape of Chester County that I thought was one of the most beautiful I had ever seen.

The prices were moderate, the service exceptional, and the food delicious. Their address is 1300 Hares Hill Rd. Their phone number is 610.933.1147 and they do breakfast Saturday and Sunday too. The rest of the time I think they’re open Monday through Saturday for BYOB bistro dining between 11 AM and 9 PM.

Station Bistro was a completely serendipitous find and I look forward to going back.

Was such a beautiful day to go antiquing through Chester County. We had a great time. Of course it is one of those days I could’ve kicked myself for leaving my camera at home, because the scenery was spectacular.

We also did learn of a business closing today. Friends near Pottstown told us that the place that was the old tea room, and had been known in recent months are about a year or so as Tacie’s Café and Bakery had closed. It was located up on Ridge Road in Pottstown. The business was owned by soon to be former West Vincent Supervisor Clare Quinn.

We had a great time at the Kimberton Antique Show and found out that a lot of the same dealers will be at the Leesport Holiday Antiques Show in Berks County Saturday, December 7th.

We ran out of time and day so we couldn’t check out some of the other antiques stores in the area. Also on my list to check out are the Olde Knitting Mill in Spring City, and Inslee Antiques in Guthriesville.

I also want to get over to Conebella Farm on Chestnut Tree Road in Elverson. They are a fifth generation dairy farm that have over 15 varieties of cheddar and Colby-based cheeses and also sell milk yogurt and free range eggs.

I had so much fun today and part of it is because this is another one of my friends who also shares my passion for similar things as far as antiques and collectibles go.

My final note is I did feel like I was cheating on the Smithfield Barn today. And thanks to the Smiths who run the barn I actually recognize what a lot of country antiques actually are now!

Thanks for listening to my recounting of my rambling through Chester County today! If you have free time tomorrow, go check out the Kimberton Antiques Show. And definitely stop at Station Bistro in Kimberton!

20131116-192532.jpg

sandy storm photos – send them in for posting!

Hi there gentle readers.  I hope everyone has battened down the hatches for however Hurricane Sandy turns out?

I have a proposition for all of my readers: send me storm photos for posting.  I learned a long time ago that if you want to enact change, photos help. The photos you are CURRENTLY looking at are photos I took where I used to live in Lower Merion Township and one from Conshohocken. The snapped tree was courtesy of Irene last year.

So if you have flooding photos and you want them out there, send them to me via sandysnaps <at> spamex <dot> com

That is sandysnaps @ spamex . com – Sorry due to spammers, I will not have this as just a hyperlink to click and go.

Alternately you can tweet me at @gossipgirl19380

I am happy to attribute photos, tell me who gets credit, and *MOST* importantly give me precise locations. Or I will post photos anonymously if you live in a municipality that has shall we say, issues?

I am particulalrly interested in photos where development may be occuring or is currently occuring or has just been completed. I am also interested in areas that chronically flood and often wait until the bitter end for help to arrive.

One spot  of particular curiousity which should not be overlooked by anyone is where the Borough of Phoenixville is building their over-priced new municipal hall.  I passed it last night while in Phoenixville and thought I should defininately put that location out there as a site for good storm photos because it always floods, doesn’t it? And correct me if I am wrong, but the plans for that needlessly overpriced new borough hall doesn’t really have proper flood remediation built in, does it?  Wasn’t that the plan where the plan is put the garage underneath so everyone’s cars drown and there is lots of potential litigation from that?  Anyway, I figure a way to preserve the taxpayer investment and future costs here is to have irrefutable proof that they need a real plan or they should stop and move sites.

Phoenixville has a fun downtown at night.  They need better parking and I notice they have the parking authority people out chalking tires on a Saturday night, and truthfully, most municipalities don’t do that.  They leave it as the police can tow people from certain zones and are done with it.  But then again, people tend to question how Phoenixville spends money – they spend way too much on a manager, they spend way too much on a school superintendant – seriously for a borough barely squeaking by in any economy they pay Main Line prices.

But enough picking on Phoenixville which always floods so badly, from Tredyffrin through to West Vincent and Oxford and wherever, if you have storm photos, or storm info, send it in.   Also feel free to leave comments about where the power is out and if roads are blocked.

Hopefully Sandy will be a non-event for Chester County.

My final note is DO NOT PUT YOURSELVES IN HARM’S WAY TO SEND ME PHOTOS. 

But do document flooding and damage.  It is helpful for getting things corrected so situations do not repeat themselves. I will also take Main Line storm photos if it will help any of you out there near where I used to live.

Thanks and stay dry!

 

 

no one here but us chickens

You know me and my love affair with a picker’s paradise known as the Smithfield Barn on Little Conestoga.  (Of course I wish I knew what town it was officially in, versus betwixt and between Eagle and Elverson.)

I love depression glass.  Not all, but different things here and there.  I have always wanted white, not too large milk glass chickens.

Guess what I found at the barn last weekend? Chickens!  And they were bargains.  I am not telling you what, but trust me, you couldn’t even get such a deal on eBay.

They were loaded with stuff and a lot of people were digging.  I haven’t received an e-mail yet saying if Kris will be there this weekend or not, but if you drive by and the doors are open, it generally means they are too.

 

 

 

meanwhile, back in elverson…

I try not to judge, but heck, I am a blogger and to me this is Fred G. Sanford meets Jed Clampett. Or maybe an episode of “Hoarders” yet to happen…I get people have a right to have their property like they want within reason, but really? Is this the new house proud?

 

french creek state park is on fire

Tim Gallagher photo

Tim Gallagher photo

UPDATE: Tuesday Morning – waiting to hear from my friends. Fire is still burning.  NBC10 Philadelphia and other media outlets  needs to correct their current coverage as they report this as only Berks County with no mention of Chester County:

“A forest fire is burning at French Creek State Park in Berks County. Nearby homes were evacuated Tuesday morning. 100 acres have burned so far.”

The Pottstown Mercury has updated by saying:

A brush fire that started in the area of Route 345 and Shed Road steadily moved east with Monday’s strong winds and continued into the night as hundreds of personnel worked to knock the blaze down. Black smoke was visible as far away as the Hanover Street Bridge in Pottstown early in the afternoon, shortly after the first reports of the fire came in around 2 p.m……  At the conference, Joe Frassetta, district manager of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, said crews were first dispatched around 12:20 p.m. and encountered an out of control blaze initially affecting 10 acres. He said the fire was along some power lines running through French Creek State Park.    The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is in charge of the scene. Approximately 30 companies and more than 300 people were actively involved with the fire, Frasseta said. A handful of areas in Union, North Coventry, Warwick and South Coventry were evacuated ahead of the flames….Bulldozers and other heavy equipment were used to protect homes on St. Peters Road, which were “threatened,” Frassetta said at Monday night’s press conference. “(The fire) has not been contained and residents have been asked to evacuate,” he said….Salaneck said it was his “understanding (that) the fire was started by downed power lines.” Frassetta said the origin of the blaze was undetermined at that time.

My friend  Si who is out  at a camp gound near French Creek told me there is a brush fire spreading across French Creek State Park.He left me a message earlier  that said that he and his friend Tim are a couple miles from French Creek and he describes it as a “massive brush fire, with the winds fanning it like crazy…it looks like at least 10 fire companies are responding.”

Tim Gallagher photo

Tim Gallagher photo

Tim Gallagher photo

Tim Gallagher photo

My friend has photos and will send them as he is able. I have a few to post now.  I am told CBS-3 is in the area now.  Again, they are at the camp ground a couple miles from French Creek – near St. Peter’s Village in Warwick Township. He just called again and says the top of the ridge that was smoke before is all aglow in orange.  He can see two ridges of fire with a break in between.  They see the flash lights of fire fighters in the woods.

Tim Gallagher photo

Tim Gallagher photo

Here is what the Pottstown Mercury is saying:

(Updated at 6:30 p.m.) Officials have issued a mandatory evacuation for residences along St. Peters Road between North Camp Hill Road and Unionvill Road in North Coventry as a brush fire that began on state parkland spread across parts of Berks and Chester county Monday…..A fire that started as a brush fire in the area of Route 345 and Shed Road has been spreading through the afternoon and now engulfs a large section of state gameland and park land according to witnesses.

The fire is reported to be spewing heavy smoke from Hopewell Road to Shed Road and may be burning as much as 100 acres near French Creek State Park….Amity and Monarch fire company crews were at the International Fireworks plant on Sycamore Road as a precaution, according to a witness.

  Dozens of fire trucks from all over the region are being called in to the fight the fire.

 Three staging areas that we know of have been set up. They are at Route 345 and Shed Road, Route 345 and Hopewell Road, both in Union Township, and on St. Peter’s Road in North Coventry Township.

  Mercury reporter Frank Otto is at one of those staging areas and said the fire is generating “a lot of smoke” and seems to be burning “south of Hopewell Furnace” National Historic Site.

WFMZ is reporting:

Forest fire nears fireworks factory; evacuations ordered

Shelter established at Immaculate Conception social hall in Birdsboro

UNION TWP., Pa. –

A forest fire in the French Creek State Park has prompted the mandatory evacuations of nearby residents.

The fire was first reported Monday afternoon in the 500 block of Fire Tower Road in Union Twp., Berks Co. Firefighters from several surrounding municipalities have since been called in to help fight the flames.

A 69 News crew on the scene reports that much of the fire is in the wooded area of French Creek, but crews are taking steps to keep it from spreading to the nearby International Fireworks factory at 240 Sycamore Rd.

transition

So here I am, making the transition to one of the places I always wanted to live: Chester County.  Now it’s all about git r’ done.

I started in Society Hill, transitioned to the Main Line, but let’s face it, the Main Line she ain’t what she used to be.  I am discovering more and more the kinds of people I used to prefer on the Main Line have actually moved to Chester County.

In Chester County, you have room to breathe, and you can actually see things like open space, farms, horses…and oh yes lots and lots and lots of deer.

I am not so jazzed about all the deer, truthfully. But the rate of development is taking away their habitat and their natural predators.  And every time a deer hunt is proposed to cull the herd the caterwauling and protests I read about are just silly.

One thing I worry about in Chester County is that the many municipalities out here becoming afflicted with the non-listening-we-know-best government disease.  This disease is ruining parts of the Main Line, Lower Merion in particular.

You see when local government starts to believe its own hype, it all goes into the crapper.  The government becomes so full of itself, it completely starts to forget what attracted people to an area in the first place.  A lot of this is caused by unnecessary development.

Unnecessary development starts out like a gleam in a municipalty’s eye.  Ahhh the savoring of future ratables.  But what municipalities seem to forget is you can’t just build it and assume they will come.

I see a lot of what can only be described as wanton careless development in Chester County.  I am fuzzy on where all the boundaries from community to community lie, but truthfully it’s a little startling to see quite so many plastic houses being planted all hodge podge.  And a lot of them are planted on top of busy, noisy highways.  I don’t get the whole leave the hectic pace of a more urban lifestyle to hear urban noises in quasi-rural areas. And Chester County definitely needs no more malls.  They are replete with strip shopping centers and malls.

Now recently there was a failed eminent domain for private gain attempt in Chester County.  At Ludwig’s Corner Horse Show Grounds, which is West Vincent Township.  When I first heard about it, I was appalled.  Here we go again – the last time I heard about something that turned my stomach quite so much is when Coatesville tried to seize Dick and Nancy Saha’s farm.  I got to know the Sahas a few years back, and they are the loveliest people.  Kind and neighborly.  They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect their land.

At the crux of the West Vincent debacle seems to be a lot of political shenanigans and of course, a Disneyland-esque Redevelopment Plan.  The funny thing is, as is the case with many of these plans is I can’t figure out who asked for it. Or why they think they need it.

One development which concerns me greatly was the Toll Brothers one approved by Willistown Supervisors approved on Paoli Pike in 2011.  Applebarf, err Applebrook Meadows. This development is right up against Willistown’s border with East Goshen.  Close to one of the most awesome park spaces I have seen (East Goshen’s park and walking trails are lovely.)

Lots of plastic houses in the new make me barf affected style of “carriage homes”.  Yeah really?  Do they even know the genesis of the carriage house and yet they re replacing horses with….you got it, plastic houses.  I never saw much coverage on Willistown’s mistake except in the Malvern Patch.  Malvern Patch also has reported on the planned super-sizing of Malvern.

In cute Malvern, a developer named Eli Kahn has plans and apparently governmental blessings to super-size Malvern.   Look at the renderings for this plan – does that even look like it belongs in Chester County?  To me, it will just make Chester County experience some of the over-developed ugliness of North Jersey.  This developer also has his sights set on West Chester according to Malvern Patch .

Chester County if it is not careful will become like the congested, over developed Main Line.  It’s beauty is in what it is, not some plastic vision of people who just are going to make their investments pay for them and move on.

How do people in Chester County in whatever municipality want their county to look like?  Do they envision lots of plastic houses and plastic (turf) fields to go with it?   I think people overall want to preserve the integrity of the county, so maybe a lot of these residents from various small and large municipalities need to get together and work with one and other.  One of the largest problems I see in Chester County is the hodge podge of zoning.  Commercial and residential all higgeldly piggeldly.  Why layer on more development when the obvious solution is to deal with what they have?  Look at all the little crossroads towns that need a little love.  They don’t need a strip mall or plastic houses down the road a piece, they need restoration.

Chester County is a gem and I am so loving exploring it.  I would just hate if Chester County  ended up looking as bad and over-developed as parts of Bucks and Montgomery Counties in particular.

I am but an auslander at this point hoping that Chester County learns again to preserve the land and a way of life before it’s overly “improved”.  Appreciate and preserve the charm of crossroads communities and nature that draws people here in the first place.  After all, there is nothing natural about plastic.