76 years young! chester county day 2016 promises to be spectacular!

Chester County Day 2013, my photo.

Chester County Day 2013, my photo.

The 76Th Annual Chester County Chester County Day is scheduled for  Saturday, October 1, 2016

The longest running house tour in the United States, Chester County Day is gearing up for its 2016 event, on Saturday, October 1. This Chester County-based event, which benefits Chester County Hospital, offers tours of historic homes, some brand new innovative ones, as well as beautiful gardens and public sites.

The 76-year-old tour was exclusive to West Chester Borough for many years but has since extended to the four quadrants of Chester County with different sections highlighted every four years. This year, attendees will be able to tour 21 homes and 14 public structures or sites in the southwest quadrant encompassing Birmingham, Unionville, East Bradford, West Bradford, Kennett Square, Pocopson, Pennsbury and East Marlborough townships, as well as Kennett Borough.

The Day will begin with the pageantry and excitement of a customary fox hunt, a Chester County Day tradition. Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds, just outside Unionville on Rt. 82, will set off promptly at 9 am.

Tour guests can begin this year’s house tour at 10:00 am at the location of their choice. Guests are encouraged to tour as many homes as possible at their own pace. Some of the routes and highlighted homes begin on Sconnelltown Road.

Sconnelltown Road has three stops, one of which is exclusively for VIP ticket holders. Participants with these passes will be provided a gourmet box lunch and a private tour of this home. There will be a shuttle bus on Rt. 322 that will transport guests to a magnificent estate on West Strasburg Road. From there, ticket holders can continue out through East Bradford Township into Birmingham Township to the famous Marley and Me house where the movie of the same name was filmed.

Traverse beautiful country roads to West Bradford Township with homes open on North Wawaset Road and then proceed into Marshallton Village which will be open for a walking tour of three private homes and many historic landmarks. The village also boasts one of the two lunch stops for guests at the Marshalton Inn.

Northbrook Road will lead guests to Historic Trimbleville where they can view a new historic marker that commemorates the village. A short drive from there takes participants to Marlborough Village in East Marlborough Township where a small walking tour will be held.

The second lunch stop will be held at Galer Estate Winery on Folly Hill Road, where tours and tastings will be available.  After lunch, don’t miss a visit to Barnard’s Orchards and a stop at a large estate just outside Unionville.

Route 82 will bring day travelers to the borough of Kennett Square. Several homes here are included in a walking tour in the northern section of town.

No matter how the house visits are organized, the day will be filled with Chester County architecture and history hundreds of years in the making.

This is truly one of my favorite fall events and it reminds me of my father because he loved this tour and went every year for decades.  This tour IS Chester County, and when practically every month we are faced with the news that wanton development is marching through Chester County at an accelerated place  (including in areas like Marshalton and Embreeville) , if you love the history and beauty here, you will love this house tour if you have never been and make it an annual event after going once!

chester county day

Chester County Day ™ — A Chester County Tradition


Regular tickets are $40 each and Be a VIP for $100 each!

Make your “Day” extra special with a VIP ticket. Your $100 VIP donation gives you exclusive benefits. Enjoy wine and hors d’oeuvres at the private preview lecture. Your VIP ticket also includes your pass to see the homes on this year’s tour and an exclusive tour of the home of John and Paul Robbins, a classic stone manor home built in 1917 which was design by prominent Philadelphia architect, Charles Barton Keen, with a complimentary lunch prepared by Montesano Bros. Italian Market & Catering. For more information or to purchase a VIP ticket, please email Kate.Pergolini@uphs.upenn.edu.


cool preservation news

ChesLen Preserve - Courtesy of Natural Lands Trust

ChesLen Preserve – Courtesy of Natural Lands Trust

The Natural Lands Trust is a very big deal in the realm of conservation, land preservation and stewardship and they do a lot of very cool stuff.  Don’t believe me?  Check out the list of preserves you can visit and a few are right here in Chester County!

Today I am focused on the ChesLen Preserve they manage – it is on 1199 Cannery Road in Coatesville. At over 1200 acres in this location is one of the largest private nature preserves in Southeastern PA.  Part of it has been designated a wild plant sanctuary too!

Through the generosity of the Lenfest family they have recently completed building  a beautiful center on site dedicated to the preserve and the community.   The Lenfest Center will provide offices and maintenance facilities for the preserve’s management staff, as well as gathering spaces for visitors, volunteers, and local community groups. It opens with an event and dedication on the evening of Saturday, June 15th (see below) and there is a community day on Sunday June 16th .

cheslen (2)

This to me is something truly exciting because land conservation is a tricky business – lots of people say they want to do it and few groups do it as well and as diligently and consistently at the Natural Lands Trust.

The Saturday evening event is also a fundraiser.  This will be festive evening of drinks, local farm-inspired edibles, and music will support their ChesLen Preserve-based efforts to save land, steward natural resources, and connect people to nature. Tickets start at $150.

The Sunday Community Day will be open to the public from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature  building tours, preserve walks, refreshments, and activities for the whole family! This event is free, but if you can I would suggest making a small donation that day if you attend.


will it be classy with a “k”?

I am reading with some amusement the article about the guy who lives in Unionville  with the construction company near West Chester who thinks civil rights are being violated because Concord Township (in Delaware County) is saying no thanks right now to his idea of a teen mecca.  The last one was Pulsations in Glen Mills wasn’t it? So…. you can’t blame people for not wanting to repeat that or having reservations, can you?

I always giggle as soon as someone says about what they will be proposing that it will be “classy”.  It makes you wonder if they would know from classy if it bit them in the ass. But I suppose “classy” is in the eye of the beholder?

Check out this reference to “klass” in urban dictionary:


Another spelling of the word class. Indicating an attempt to show class that is instead received by others as tacky.
“He took his prom date to the Olive Garden?  That’s klassy.  With a ‘K’!”

I have to ask is this what people want around there near Routes 1 and 322?  Now this guy then says he has 8 kids with nothing to do on the weekends?  Ok, so do they move around in a pack and say they’re “bored” all weekend?

This guy is trying to do this under the auspices of a 501c7 non-profit – which is a private club status.  Makes you wonder how much this would cost hard working parents per kid in this economy too, doesn’t it?

I  found the article amusing on many levels including this guy just seems floored that someone said “no” to him – and it comes through so strongly in the article.

And truthfully, did this township say “no” as in final “no”, or did they say take it to zoning? I read it as they said get a zoning variance if you want it so bad.  But this guy has his skirts in a bunch and instead of going to zoning is going to sue this township?   Does he sue everyone who says “no” to him?  Is it cheaper to sue this township versus going to zoning?

Is this what people want?  Do people in Chester County and elsewhere want their kids driving all over hill and dale to go to a place like this?  I am not a teen, I don’t have a teen, so I don’t know what teenagers do today.

I do know that when I was a teen, something like this would have held little interest for me, and I also would be willing to bet if I had and something like this had existed, my parents would have said “no”.   Is this like Gymboree of Chuck E. Cheese for teenagers, I wonder?

Is this something kids in the area want? I think the place sounds way too cavernous in size, and I have to ask, what is “classy” about arcade games?   Is there an example of one of these any place else around? What’s next? A BYOB hookah bar with after hours hours?  There is one of those in Bryn Mawr.  Nothing classy about that.  This seems to be cut from the same thought cloth.

To me this has less to do about kids at the end of the day, but  a way for a guy to make a buck because the industry he is part of is so tumultuous due to the economy.

Township blocks out social club

Published: Sunday, January 15, 2012

By FRAN MAYE fmaye@journalregister.com

A Unionville man is threatening to sue Concord Township for discrimination in federal court if the township doesn’t allow him to start up a social club for the 21-and-under set near routes 1 and 322.
Tom Pancoast, who owns a construction company in the West Chester area, wants to invest millions into a long-vacant furniture store — Ethan Allen — and turn it into a social club for minors featuring dancing, live music, billiards, indoor volleyball, basketball, scores of arcade machines and much more. There will even be a restaurant inside….Pancoast has received state approval for forming a 501c7 nonprofit organization that will be members only. Pancoast claims he has a “use by right” because he is forming a social club under rules set forth by the township ordinance, but township officials say an under-21 club does not fit the definition of a social club….The facility would generate a huge windfall for Concord Township through its amusement tax. Pancoast said he can’t understand why the township would reject his plan and turn away the revenue that will be generated.
“We’re going to employ 50 people,” he said. “We’re going to be hiring local veterans for security. I’m going to invest a couple of million dollars in construction and Concord Township will make money with us being here. If they fight us, they will waste taxpayer money.”……he feels township officials may have a misconception that the social club will be another Pulsations, which debuted in Glen Mills in 1983, but closed in 1994 after experiencing financial troubles with the new owners introducing exotic female dancers

Pancoast is hoping to attract thousands of teenagers drawing them in from Oxford, Chi-Chester, Downingtown, Springfield and Media. “I have eight kids and they have nothing to do on the weekend,” Pancoast said. “This will be a classy place — someplace kids can go without hanging out at the malls or crowding in cars and driving around. It’ll keep them out of trouble. This is going to be great. You would think with the way the economy is today, the township would be a little more job friendly.”

This guy who wants his teen club was last in the Daily Local ironically exactly a year ago on January 15, 2011 when he talked about his new solar panel business:

With the launch of Simply Solar, Tom and Susan Pancoast have joined the growing number of solar panel installers in Pennsylvania.
Motivated by federal and state renewable energy incentives, homeowners and businesses alike are looking to the sun to generate power and reduce electric bills. As a result, the creation of new green companies and new green jobs is booming in Pennsylvania…..For Tom Pancoast, the owner of Pancoast Construction, the time was right for several reasons to shift the construction business to solar panel installation.
“The building business is not all that good right now,” said Pancoast, who invested time and money to attend classes to get certified.

Again, in my humble opinion, this is the story of a guy trying to adapt in a tough economy, which I can’t blame him for.  But you have to wonder if last year was solar panels and this year is a teen club, what will January 15 2013 bring?

However, the most important thing is how residents, kids, and parents feel about this.  So this should be an interesting story to follow.