She’s almost ready for prime time. The Jenny Lind in Historic Yellow Springs has been reborn. And she is magnificent.
The Jenny Lind is now the Life’s Patina Merchantile & Cafe located at 1657 Art School Road in Chester Springs, PA. Meg Veno has outdone herself.
The Jenny Lind is restored and transformed. It’s one of the most beautiful adaptive reuses I have seen in years. My other favorite as you all probably know is Loch Aerie mansion in Frazer. And I think it’s marvelous to have both of these lovely places in Chester County!
This was such an amazing experience yesterday that I am still super happy about it the next day!
The attention to detail is something you don’t see every day, and it makes this all the more special. This is quite literally everything you want to see in a restoration and an adaptive reuse, and I sure hope that Historic Yellow Springs Village and West Pikeland Township have deep appreciation of the fact that Meg Veno stuck with this, and is now bringing everyone this gem to enjoy.
This has been a very long and winding road because this was a very intense restoration. And Meg and her team are perfectionists. This is one of those places that you walk into and just stop and marvel. No corners have been cut. The materials and the skill of the craftsman who put the Jenny Lind back together are undeniable.
This is an amazing restoration, and I hope someone gives them an award like Chester County for example. Chester County should be counting their lucky stars that there are people out there that still want to do restorations instead of demolitions. I will go further and challenge every township official in the region and developers who want to tear down historic things and build plastic mushroom housing developments and apartment buildings to go visit this place once it’s open full-time and see the possibilities of just doing the right thing.
You walk in and you feel at home. The beauty of the place envelops you softly and then you get to the café. The chef of the café has an incredibly deft hand with pastry and everything she touches. I have not met her. I look forward to meeting her because the food is terrific. My husband said the mushroom soup was one of the top three best he’s ever had. Because we were there for brunch I had this little bacon, egg and cheese sandwich on a biscuit which was so light and flaky, it melted in your mouth. there are also these salads that are off the hook good and don’t get me started on the actual pastries and sweets. Wonderful tea and coffee. The café is a place where you don’t want to rush. You want to savor your meal and linger.
And then you wander into the Mercantile. The Mercantile is full of all sorts of wonderful things, old and new. The best thing it’s not only the way it looks, but the fact that everything for sale has been chosen with care and it flows together. You don’t walk into this store and wonder why something is there, you walk into the Mercantile and wonder how you can use that in your own home.
One of the other best things about this restoration is it fits. When it was the Yellow Springs Inn, the food was great but the gorgeous interior of this building was hidden by too much Victorian everything. And I am saying that as someone who did really enjoy that restaurant at one time. But this metamorphosis is so remarkable and beautiful and just stunning. This restoration has made me love this building even more. And this restoration will show everyone the possibilities of what you can do with the gorgeous old buildings that are scattered throughout Chester County that need love.
It was a few years ago now that I was at one of Meg Veno’s barn sales at Life’s Patina in Malvern and she said she was looking for another project. I was standing there with my friend and I turned to her and I asked if she had ever thought of Yellow Springs Village because the Jenny Lind house was at that time in foreclosure. And now look at the Jenny Lind. I believe the Merchantile and Café will be open soon for visitors full time, but if you’re going near the village, I hope you at least drive past until she is open full-time to see what a beautiful restoration it is.
This whole project is not only a testament to historic preservation, it is a testament to loving what you do. And above all else, you know why this place will be a success? Because it has a heart.
Brava, Meg Veno, brava.
I also want to note because I think it’s important, that those of us who attended yesterday paid for our meals, we were not given anything in exchange for our thoughts on the soft opening. I would like to say we are the right kind of “influencers” as we are the kind who are actual customers and will return gladly with friends and family.
Happy Monday 😊