So yesterday I did a thing. I went and checked out the new Sycamore & Stone on 401!
Jeff Devlin‘s new property is one I am familiar with, because I used to patronize the antique store that was once in this barn. I love this property and was sad when it went up for sale because I was afraid some developers would snatch up the property and the beautiful barns and house would disappear. However when Jeff announced he had purchased this property I was totally psyched because I knew it was going to be saved, preserved, and wonderful!
Along with the barn which has the store there will be other things available to do on this property including the house becoming a fabulous Airbnb.
I will note that both the Mercantile/Jenny Lind and Jeff’s Sycamore & Stone are both located in West Pikeland Township. West Pikeland is a treasure trove of amazing historic properties. I hope that Township realizes how fortunate and blessed they are that they have people willing to come in and do these amazing adaptive resources that are viable on historic properties.
Jeff’s store is a feast for the eyes and there is all sorts of fun stuff! It has a great Americana country vibe. It’s a lovely space and shoppers feel relaxed in it. It is almost like welcoming someone into a great big farmhouse and not just a hands down super amazing barn. I gravitate to places that are warm and welcoming. And their staff is equally warm and welcoming!
One of the things I liked best are the reproduction hog scraper candlesticks he has available for sale. I collect the actual vintage/antique variety, so these are a real favorite with me! If Jeff Devlin had a wish list for customers mine would be to carry hand dipped taper candles that fit into hog scrapers because that is the right shape for them!
I look forward to this property further coming back to life and it is such a joy to see the work occurring on it every time I drive by. Jeff is a quality craftsman, and such a nice guy so I am glad he found his spot here on this property. My only lament is I don’t have a super old farmhouse for him to help me restore!
Sycamore & Stone is located at 1251 Conestoga Road, Chester Springs, PA. Right now the hours are WEDNESDAY-FRIDAY 12PM-7PM, SATURDAY 10AM-7PM, SUNDAY 10AM-4PM.
I will note that I have not been compensated in any way, shape, or form to write this post. I’m merely visited the store and I am now a happy customer: I like to shop local and support the businesses of people I know.
🎈UPDATE 🎈 the neighbors on Castlebar against Wildflower Farm in Willistown apparently had their zoning appeal tossed by zoning last evening. I am told the phrase used was “lack of jurisdiction” to hear their appeal.
Wildflower Farm will be back in front of zoning in a few weeks.
I will also note that not all neighbors on and adjacent to that street are against the farm. I think that is an important distinction not always noted. Also important to note is that not all of the “neighbors“ who have been involved with these zoning challenges of Wildflower Farm actually physically live on Castlebar Lane. That is a matter of public record, isn’t it?
And I am stating for the record that I am not the spokesperson of the Heenan family or their attorneys which is the latest rumor being spread. I am a friend of the Heenans, have a brain in my head, a legal right to express how I feel about this issue, and am an occasional customer of their farm. I am also a gardener, so I appreciate their efforts to rejuvenate their farm which frankly needed cleaning up, and their interest in flowers and trees and native plants and bee-keeping.
This Wildflower Farm property is zoned agricultural, BUT truthfully they could have IGNORED all that and built a giant McMansion when they purchased it. But instead they opted to restore the house and the barn and bring a viable adaptive reuse to existing farmland.
The Heenans should have been welcomed into their neighborhood, yet they have been treated most poorly by some. For the record I happen to live on a cul-de-sac, and if this farm was on my street I would be unbelievably happy.
I think Willistown folk and other related people interested in this topic that it is really great that you are interested in supporting Wildflower Farm through this process and please continue.
🌸🐝Flowers bring happiness. We know, it’s why we garden.🌸🐝
I am using some of my photos of the farm taken last week, and I am also sharing a photo of the Radnor Hunt which does go through their property sometimes. Not all property owners allow the hunt to pass through any longer.
This is a strange tale of really surprisingly unpleasant and in my opinion oddly not neighborly folks. That being said, since they seem to be the litigious types, nothing here is not either a photo taken on a public road, photos of the farm I am writing about OR public information. Oh and that lovely thing called the First Amendment.
This is the strangest case of bad NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard).
This is a case of life is short, can’t we (literally) just enjoy the flowers and get along?
So how did I become aware of this? Recently someone said to me, have you seen the local zoning notices lately? And I said nooo….because your eyes can cross and glaze over if you read too many (just kidding but it’s dry stuff.)
Well then blow me over, one was about a local small farm…and most shocking, located in Willistown Township, supposedly the land of happy open space and farm loving people. So dear readers, I think I stumbled upon a case of those who shall we say perhaps move out here for the bucolic vistas and “country”, but oh hell no, put that farm someplace else?
Yes, I have been having some OMG moments over this. You see, I live in a nice neighborhood with nice neighbors. My friends live in nice neighborhoods with nice neighbors, but Willistown? One of the prettiest place in Chester County and it seems to be plagued by these bizarre occurrences of late? There was that whole thing of ruffled feathers over chickens, and then there was the political candidate who couldn’t seem to behave at a public meeting where she wishes to become queen and reign, and now this? These nice people not only sell their flowers, they believe in farming organically, and educating people. It’s an entire desirable package and a pretty little farm.
So they are talking about Wildflower Farm. As in they grow Wildflowers organically. As in they are this super nice, charming, lovely young couple with two adorable little kids, a golden retriever, etc.?
Yes, completely WTF.
These neighbors in my humble opinion (which I am allowed to have), seem literally hell bent for leather in driving them out of town. And why? And when you read that zoning notice you want to rub your eyes because of a couple of the names that pop right out.
So explain to me how these champions of community involvement and dare I say it,conservation have problems with an organic FLOWER FARM???
When did everyone get so mean in beautiful Willistown????
But it doesn’t stop with the legalities of a zoning challenge, does it? Nope, nope, nope. How about trespassing? Poison pen letters? Blocking the farm’s driveway so people can’t enter? Flying drones over their property?
OK class can you all say “WTF” now?
I have seen videos of trespassing. But that is not my tale to tell. But I guarantee you Willistown Township has seen and probably has those videos. Along with the mysterious drone video output, correct?
And speaking of Willistown Township, I feel sorry for the township. I am sure they don’t want this and when did it become the purview of municipalities to have to babysit neighbors with wild hairs up their rears?
This is not quite the haves vs. the have nots, but the haves are a wee bit unbelievable with their let them eat cake, no farms in our back yard NIMBY scenario, correct?
This is all so very, very ugly. Is this what we as a society have become? Instead of TALKING with our neighbors, people just harass, harangue, and sue our neighbors? And then sometimes people wonder why other people just sell out to developers and walk away?
I just don’t understand how this is happening in Willistown Township. This is one of the most farmer friendly, farm friendly places. Yet these people seem to be (as I said before) hell bent for leather on destroying the lives of the owners of Wildflower Farm?
WHY????? These are NICE people. Thoughtful people. Small farm, organic farmers. You know the future we WANT for Chester County? Farms are disappearing by the day, this is the stuff that makes quality people NOT wish to move into communities, buy farms, preserve land.
These neighbors won’t like my opinions, but they put this out there in the public viewshed like bad Karma waiting to explode, and you know me and my love and respect for farm owners, farmers, and what Chester County used to be about. And I wish they would reconsider their path. This ugliness taints communities. It is so unnecessary. And Willistown? Don’t they need to stand up for small farmers AND large landholders, right?
No drama intended, I fear for this young family at Wildflower Farm.
(4) If you are a resident of Willistown or a fellow local farmer or a customer or just a lover of organic Wildflowers, show up for the Heenan family at the upcoming zoning meeting: Willistown Township Zoning Hearing Board will meet on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, at 7:00 p.m., at Sugartown Elementary School, 611 Sugartown Road, Malvern, Willistown Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania.
That’s it, this is all I have got. I just think this whole scenario is wrong. I am shocked and saddened that these adults have gone all Lord of The Flies, Rambo, whatever on a young family farming the right way and adding positively to the community.
Please pay it forward and politely and calmly support this family, this farm, their business.
So I love Magnolia Cottage Shop and the owner is a friend. And I have to give her credit because she open the store just before Covid hit and she hung in and doubled down and actually moved into a BETTER space across the driveway in the same commercial location.
The new space is filled with light and fun things waiting to be discovered. The wall color is one I am a bit obsessed with. A shade of grey that is just so pretty!
Tasty Table Market & Catering is one of my favorite food gems. Located at 10 Leopard Rd, Berwyn, PA 19312 they are a delight to deal with and their food is amazing! They are breakfast, lunch, take home dinner, corporate events, private events, weddings, any kind of catering you can think of.
I stopped in to pick up lunch and discovered all sorts of new things on the menu, as well as a slightly new look inside. You can go and eat your breakfast and lunch. The seating is limited but it’s very socially distanced. Oh and they serve La Colombe coffee!
Today I am having one of their Vietnamese hoagies which is a really good sandwich. I also checked out something new on the menu which is a vegetarian broccoli rabe quesadilla. Some of that is coming home for heating up at another time along with their famous crab cakes which are absolutely delicious.
We are winter whiskey imbibers. When I was little winter colds were pretty much treated with a very weak hot toddy. And I bake with whiskey. And yes I know it is sacrilege to use small batch whiskey in baking, but I do it anyway.
There are a couple small batch distilleries we like one is McLaughlin out of Sewickley, PA. Another is Manatawny Still Works out of Pottstown.
I am not a big hard alcohol person. Small batch whiskeys are a relatively new thing for me and I don’t drink much of them but they’re nice on a cold day and great in a cup of tea when everything aches. I just tried a small sip of the Dewey’s No. 69 Small Batch Bourbon and like I said I am not a whiskey connoisseur but I like it —it’s smooth, yet rich, a little smoky and smells good. (I’m weird I go by smell which is why I’ve never tasted scotch because I don’t like the smell. )
Friends suggested we try their products and apparently they do other spirits rather well in addition. Once the weather is a little nicer and the tasting room is open I am going to go over for a socially distanced little look around because I’ve always wanted to see what a distilling operation looks like.
The other thing I liked is the gentleman that dropped off my order took the time (in his mask and all socially distanced on my front porch), to tell me about their business. And I like the story. And if you like the story of a small business then you want to support them.
Because I don’t drink very much and because I am sensitive to people with alcohol issues, I don’t talk about alcohol I occasionally buy very often. But this is a local business and if you can drink responsibly, try it. However, if you have a delivered you have to prove your age. And they will ship within Pennsylvania if it’s two bottles or more. And I think they can ship to some other states but I forget how that’s worked it’s through some kind of consortium I think.
Oh and when they can they try to go organic and local with the ingredients of what they are distilling.
So I blame my whiskey explorations on too much Acorn TV and BritBox and BBC. consider this a different kind of #ShopLocal
As always I feel the need to tell all of my readers that I am not getting anything for doing this either in payment, goods, or services. I am a regular customer.
Please drink responsibly and thanks for stopping by.
When I was little one of the things I loved doing with my great aunts who lived in South Philadelphia at 11th and Ritner was go to not only the Italian market, but to the little grocery store on the corner a few blocks away called Alberts.
Albert’s wasn’t a large store, it was literally a little corner grocery store. But because it was in Italian neighborhoods they had many things you couldn’t find a normal grocery stores. And it was so fun to go in and look up down and sideways as a little kid to see everything they had. I kind of had that experience again today as an adult.
My friends have been telling me to go check out George McLoughlin’s Tasty Table Market and Catering at 10 Leopard Road in Berwyn. Now George never knew it until today but back in the day I had been a patron of another business he owned. And back then that business had catered events I went to including Shipley reunions. The food was phenomenal then and truthfully it’s only gotten better!
I went in to pick up some things for dinner and ended up getting myself lunch. I had this chicken sandwich that was transformative. It is the Chicken Pickle Brioche Sandwich. It was a lightly fried yet super moist chicken breast and Swiss on a brioche roll with this fabulous purple slaw with just a little bit of bacon and pickles. I think everybody should try this sandwich!
For dinner I got a steak salad, a salmon, and a chicken entree. I also picked up fresh guacamole and this lovely artichoke dip. But of course because this is also a little market I got some other goodies like a fig balsamic vinegar and fabulous olive oil. And a honey comb and Le Bus bread—-I haven’t purchased bread since March I’ve been making it. Oh and a lovely espresso! I couldn’t pass that up!!
And one of the things I liked best about my visit today was speaking with George the owner. It’s been so long since I have spoken with anyone who was excited about anything. George McLoughlin is happy and positive and psyched about the challenge of re-thinking his business. It was so awesome to spend time with him. His positivity is infectious.
And his food is so good. And fresh. And the staff is as nice as George is! And they know the food they are serving. Because what I find very frustrating especially when I visit a new place is you ask a question and they make a face and say “well I don’t know“ and you’re thinking to yourself how can you not know you work here? But there is NONE of that at Tasty Table. You can tell everyone likes being there and that speaks volumes.
Now that I’ve been to the delightful market being created, I will be back. They even carry my favorite sugar cubes for coffee and tea, La Perruche. I haven’t been able to find them locally in a very long time so I am psyched they carry them!
Oh and don’t forget to try the peanut butter cookies and brownies. 😊 And there are gluten free options as well!
I have written about Magnolia Cottage Shop before￼, but it really is quickly becoming a favorite place so I thought I would post some photos. I went to pick something up there today and I just love it. It’s nice to have a store that has a wonderfully curated selection of gifts with all sorts of antique and vintage mixed in. ￼
Magnolia Cottage Shop￼￼ is located at 288 Lancaster Avenue in Malvern/Frazer. Their phone number is 484- 320-8022.
The owner really goes out of her way to have fun things that you just don’t find every place else. One of the things she carries which I really like are the Wickit Good Candles. They are a hand poured craft candle with Chester County roots but are hand-crafted at the Jersey shore.
Wickit Good Candles have wonderful scents that are not overpowering and overwhelming. I like a candle that gives you a waft of a beautiful fragrance, not something that smacks you in the face and smells like grandma’s old potpourri.￼
For those planning bridal showers and even baby showers in the spring, this is a great store to pick up presents that are fun and have whimsy. ￼
They also have monogramming available for things purchased in the shop￼ which I really like because they are bringing in these bags which will make awesome shopping totes or beach/pool bags.￼ I don’t know about you but I’d rather carry my vegetables from the farmers market in a cute bag!￼
And I am my mother’s daughter in that regard…. I just love monograms and personalization.￼
So if you haven’t had the opportunity to check out Magnolia Cottage Shop, also keep in mind that they do things like offer small group workshops, classes, demonstrations and even some Young Rembrandts Chester County children’s art classes￼￼!
We then traveled into Malvern for their Christmas event and had a great time navigating the wonderful stores and meeting their owners!
We went to Brick and Brew and after being told of a 45 min wait- we left and went to Christopher’s and were immediately seated with exceptional food and service (I recalled the blog you once wrote and I agree) .
Anyway thank you for your blog and for helping members of your community enjoy local events, stores and restaurants!🎄🖋
This means a lot to me. As I tell people everytime I write about a business or service or place, good bad or indifferent, I write from the perspective of a regularcustomer. I am not a compensated blogger.
If I enjoy an event, it’s because I attend it, and not just as a blogging assignment.
Earlier this year I was targeted by someone with a local business because my opinion, based upon my visit as a regular customer, was mixed. They took to the business’s Facebook page about me and then basically allowed anyone and everyone to trash me.
For a few weeks I literally also received obscene and even threatening and harassing messages. (Now those people are not the fault of whomever posted about me on social media from the business. People are just odd keyboard tigers on social media and any excuse will do.) I will also note that when it first happened, I reached out to the business as in telephoned them in an effort to discuss this. But sadly, they never contacted me back. They also amusingly removed comments to them that told them they were out of line or they had also had similar experiences.
When this happened, I also reached out to the appropriate local business association. Twice. Not even an acknowledgement that I contacted them. I also reached out to the group’s president individually because well, they know who I am and family members were customers years ago. No acknowledgement there, either.
I pay it forward by shopping local and dining local. But after my experience this summer, the whole episode made me feel unwelcome where I live.
But this one kind note today made me realize that paying it forward honestly is not a bad thing. These small businesses and events I so enjoy deserve our community support.
So thank you to the note writer for reminding me that nothing can take the place of shopping local.