Candlelight Tour a smashing success

Photo by Chris Barber One section of Longwood Gardens contains trees decorated by local school children. Among them is one from Upland Country Day School.

After years of being plagued with snow, rain and recalcitrant shuttle buses for their events, this year’s Candlelight Tour by the Chadds Ford Historical Society had beautiful weather for December and buses running smoothly. Using shuttle buses is always chancy but a cluster of historic houses on the tour were located where there was absolutely no parking on the country roads. It involved some waiting for the buses here and there and there was even a mini shuttle bus to one house, but it had been carefully planned. One of the buses was so large it was quite a problem to turn around to the consternation of some travelers. When it sailed past a waiting group at The Boardley House & Grille so it could turn around in the parking lot, they did wave somewhat frantically.

The collection of historic houses open to the public was remarkable, many with historic connections to the area. We visited a home built by hatter Frances Carpenter in the early 1800s, the home of judge John Beal Boardly who was also a renown agricultural innovator, a house on based on the floor plan suggested by William Penn suggested to Quakers in the early 1800s and the 1881 home of the son of Embreeville Mill owner James Embree. The tiny home circa 1800 of Timothy Still and the village house circa 1800 of the Eric Bennetts were a nice contrast to the non-traditional home of the Donald Ssholls that was filled with light and some beautiful examples of stained glass by Mendenhall artist Lore Evans. The owners had shown a community spirit in their willingness to make the tour a success, there was warmth in their welcomes that showed what a great area it would be to live. One owner even had a plate of cookies for the visitors at the exit door. At least I hope they were not decoration as we were eating them as we went out. I particularly liked an undecorated Christmas tree in one parlor with a note to the parents begging them not to decorate it until she got home.

The stores, restaurants and buildings open on the walking tour were beautifully decorated with a welcome for everyone. The Village of Marshallton and its way of life were on display, and they did themselves proud.

Holiday

The listings of the homes on display for Kennett Square’s Holiday Home Tour on Sunday, December 9 is an eye opening when you realize what treasures we have in the Kennett Historic District. There are thirteen buildings that will be open with an amazing variety of architectural styles and histories. Did you know there is a home built by Pierre S. du Pont? I wonder for whom. A great room was added in 1980 to an 1839 duplex h-, as well as a sunroom that was once a greenhouse. The 1920s brick house that won the 2012 Historic Preservation Award from the Historical Commission has been decorated with a French theme.

There are several public buildings open that have a vibrant history in Kennett. The Garage Community & Youth Center was built as The Royal Garage by Charles Nozenesky in 1923, as he and his brother Jacob were becoming the largest owners of commercial real estate in the Borough. Borough Hall, erected in 1899 was built as a private home from a Victorian pattern book. The Woodlands 1828 farmhouse has been owned by the Phillips family since 1890, and has been restored to its authentic state except for a modern kitchen. This looks like a terrific tour.

Tickets are available from Bove Jewelers, The Kennett Square Inn, The Mushroom Cap, The Woodlands or Sinclair’s Sunrise café in Kennett for $20. Call 610-444-1891.

Miniature

The Chadds Ford Gallery began the “Original” Christmas in Miniature Shoe, now their 31st, and what a slew of fantastic paintings they have on display through December. It is impossible not to go and not see a painting you want desperately, and they are not that expensive as they are small.

One of the paintings shown on the invitation was by Karl Kuerner of a cat, the cat named Ike who is the star of his two new children’s books about Ike and his adventures. The painting was so charming, it was the first painting sold, and while I was at the show I met two ladies who had come to the show with the idea of buying the painting. But I have good news for them and other cat lovers. They are making gicle’e prints of the painting that are available, unframed, for $75. If you are not familiar with this style of printing, it is almost impossible to tell the replica from the original.

Speaking of Kuerner and his books about his cat Ike, he will be at the Chadds Ford Gallery this Saturday, Dec. 8, from noon to 4 p.m. to sign his books, “Ike at Night” and “Ike Takes Flight.”

Longwood

In case you hadn’t noticed, there are signs on Route 1 saying “Longwood is sold out”, especially during night time hours. In case you haven’t remembered, you must have a timed ticket to get in even if you have a neighborhood pass. (Tickets are needed after 2 p.m. on peak days For pass holders, and you should get them in advance) I wonder how many people it takes to sell out Longwood Gardens.

Choral

The 40-year-old Chester County Choral Society will hold two Christmas concerts. They will be performing at Longwood Gardens on Monday, Dec. 10, at 7 and 8 p.m. The concert under the direction of Gary Garletts is free with admission to the gardens. Their concert of sacred and secular Christmas music for all ages will be presented. The first concert will be on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. at the Church of the Holy Trinity, West Chester. The concert will be repeated on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 3 p.m. in the Church of the Good Samaritan in Paoli. Their accompanist Ann Marie Ellis will be joined by the West Chester Brass Quintet. Tickets at the door are Adults $15, seniors $12 and Students $5.

Critters

The opening sale of critters at the Brandywine River Museum has begun. Even if you missed opening day, there are still lots of critters still looking for a home. They do make perfect gifts. I just heard that Peggy Balloo of Crosslands, who makes critters, made one of a musician with a bass fiddle that she gave Kennett Symphony Maestra Mary Woodmansee Green last year. How perfect a gift can that be?

The charming book “Teasel & Twigs: ‘Tis a Critter Christmas Tale” will also be available through the holidays.

Meadow

For more years than anyone can remember Santa has paid a call to the meadow with the Christmas Tree in Chadds Ford. He’s coming this year on Saturday, December 15 at 1 p.m., so get the kiddies and let’s gather in the meadow. How he is going to arrive is still quite a mystery. The elf that brought him by helicopter one year moved to a warmer climate. The wizard who had a horse and carriage has three horses, but all of them are lame. Right now we don’t know exactly how Santa will arrive, but he has assured us he will be there. Let’s meet in the meadow for some hot chocolate!

‘Nutcracker’

The Wilmington Ballet Academy of the Dance will present “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 15 and 16. This has been a traditional show by the Academy since 1967. Principal dancers will be Abi Staffford as the Sugar Plum Dairy from the New York City Ballet, the Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble and dancers from Ballet Fleming will perform with the students of the Wilmington Ballet. The programs will be performed with a full orchestra. For tickets call 302-656-4401.

Grand Opera

First State Ballet will present “The Nutcracker” in various venues in Delaware. They will perform at the Grand Opera House in Wilmington on Friday, Dec. 21, at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 22, at 2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 23, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $ 28 - $48 with 50 percent discounts for students age 18 and younger. You cannot get the discount by phone order. To buy tickets call 1-800-37-GRAND

Hadley Fund

The Hadley Fund is sponsoring a concert by pianist Hanchien Lee on Sunday, Dec. 9, at 3 p.m. at the Lower Brandywine Presbyterian Church on Route 52 opposite Winterthur. Lee was accepted at the Curtis Institute of Music at age 11 and made her debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra at age 16. She has performed throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. She earned both a Master’s degree and an Artist’s Diploma from Yale University and a doctorial degree from the Peabody Conservatory of john Hopkins University where she currently serves on the piano faculty.

Zoo

It’s not enough that the Media Theatre, 104 E. State St., Media, is performing ”Dr. Doolittle” through Jan. 27, they are offering a real bonus before the 2 p.m. Saturday matinees on Dec. 8, 15 and 22. The Philadelphia Zoo on Wheels will be at the theatre with their animals up close and personal. For tickets call 610-891-0100.

Theatre N

“A Late Quartet” – Four members of a string quartet struggle to stay together when faced with an impeding death, competing egos and strong lust. Their acting and music as they prepare for their 25th Anniversary concert has won kudos from the New York Times. Dec. 7 at 2 p.m., Dec. 8 at 2 and 8 p.m. and Dec. 9 at 5 p.m.

“Chasing Ice” – This winner at the Sundance Film Festival tells of the work of acclaimed environmental photographer James Belog as he shows time-lapse photos showing the changes in glaciers in his Extreme Ice Survey. Dec. 7 at 8 p.m., Dec. 8 at 5 p.m. and Dec. 9 at 2 p.m.

“The Red Balloon” – This 1956 film is one of the great children’s films of all time. A young boy finds a stray balloon that follows him everywhere. Dec. 9 at noon.

“The Plastic Bag” – This modern film follows the journey of a plastic bag that searches for the person who made it and the woman who took it home and discarded it. On Dec. 9 it runs after “The Red Balloon.”

Kennett Flash

This fantasy about a young girl living on the wrong side of the levee so wet it is called “The Bathtub” tries to exist until some wild beasts seem to threaten her and her father. They set out in their small boat to escape to better pastures. The Flash is at 102 Sycamore Alley. Doors open at 3 p.m., film starts at 3:30 pm. Admission is $5.

Ted Vigil in a John Denver Tribute -- Ted Vigil has been performing since he was a child. After winning the Talent Quest ’06 competition involving 28 states, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, he has developed a national act. Comments about his show say how incredibly like John Denver he looks and sounds. Dec. 7. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.

Ana Egge has always talked to strangers and heard her stories. This has made her repetoire a marvel of different tales. Dec. 8. Tickets are $18 in advance, $21 at the door. Dec. 11.

Open Mic Night – Tuesday Dec. 11 at 6:30 p.m.

Arden

Jane Siberry (with Arianna Gillis) – Siberry is known for her haunting melodies. Considered as one of contemporary music’s most original voices, she has released eleven major recordings, three poem books and a great deal of beautiful music. Canadian Ariana Gillis is a favorite of Dave Marsh, who is known as the “dean of American rock writers”. Her son “John and the Monster” prompted a call from Elton John’s lyricist. Saturday, Dec. 15 at 8 pm. Tickets are $25 online at www.ardenconcerts.com.

Caryl Huffaker lives in Kennett Township.

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