Library presents a smashing house and garden tour

The House & Garden Tour to benefit the Bayard Taylor Library was a smashing success, according to my companion who had never been on the tour. He was particularly taken with the wide variety of houses, from the very modern but gorgeous and livable home of Zigi and David Shields to the 1929 English manor house, also gorgeous and livable.

Snacks served along the way seemed to concentrate on mushrooms.

The Kennett Square Inn had small roll up muffins with mushrooms that one dipped into a marvelous mushroom dip, La Verona Restaurant served small delicious crepes with a mushroom filling and sauce, Portobello’s Restaurant had been serving crepes filled with mushrooms but had run out of crepes so was serving the delightful mushroom comfit on crisp bread. I read that the Mushroom Cap was offering tastes at the galleries at Breck’s Mill, which I presume would also be mushrooms, but I didn’t get there. Coffee was offered by Starbucks, Healthy Coffee T.V., Sunrise Café’, while Nourish had a zinger of a drink with kale and ginger. Waywood Beverage was introducing a new soft drink with multiple flavors including black raspberry, orange, mango etc. including coconut that would have been a great base for a pina colada.

This year’s tour was outstanding. The welcome at the Cameron manor house was warm and charming; the large gate house of photographer Jim Graham was like an exhibition as it was filled with many of his photos that were truly memorable.


I was delighted with the rental Cottages at Elizabeth Gardens on the Bill Duncan property filled with unique fountains, rills and statuary, and the children’s room at the home of Beth and John Moore that had four works stations with computers set up in a row to make homework easy.

The home of Mary Page and Tom Evans had many of artist Mary Page’s works on display and Tom’s pride and joy was a hedge of knock out roses in full bloom that Tom said bloomed four times during the season. The Kousa dogwoods and rhododendrons were in bloom everywhere that made everything look spectacular.

At the whimsical garden of Betsy and Tom Scott, their three large dogs that usually come out to welcome visitors were house bound. However, continuing their work of socializing puppies for adoption, the Scotts had four precious puppies outside being admired by all.

It was a wonderful tour in perfect weather, and all for a very good cause.


I was mightily disappointed to have been out of town and missed the pre-view party at the Brandywine River Antiques Show, because the food is always something to write home about. Then I heard that they not only had sushi from a top hotel, and the lineup of other new hors d’oeuvres was absolutely yummy. These included mango and chicken on an edible spoon, apricot brie and raisins, tortilla cup with black beans and cilantro with lime and Brussels sprouts with prosciutto and cheesecake spring rolls. This, of course was in addition to the usual carving stations and tables with meatballs, cheeses and dips, along with the always popular lollipop lamb chops, scallop and bacon with maple crème and mini crab cakes. Then I learned there is a new chef at the Brandywine River Museum of Art. Sometimes one’s cup runneth over.


The Brandywine Museum of Art opened their new show, the Lure of the Brandywine that quite nicely melds the two branches of the organization, the art museum and the Brandywine Conservancy. The Conservancy has been a leader in preserving the environment. Their work has helped preserve the watershed, historic buildings and saved farms, as well as done a great deal of reforestation. Fundamentally they have worked to keep the Brandywine area that has inspired artists for over a hundred years beautiful. They have succeeded with more than 59,000 acres of scenic and natural resources, farmland and historic properties that make our area such a lovely place to live, and continues to attract artists.

The art show, with many works from private collections, is stunning with a wide range of landscape painting styles from almost all of the Wyeth family to Horace Pippin’s Birmingham Meeting House III. There are many views of the Brandywine, historic buildings to the dramatic work by George “Frolic” A. Weymouth, “The Way Back,” showing a unique perspective of his historic home.

It was good to see artist/conservationist Frolic Weymouth at the show. He was and is the driving force behind the creation of the Brandywine Conservancy and the Brandywine River Museum of Art. The whole area owes him thanks and appreciation big time.


On Thursday, June 12, Amanda C. Burden will speak about carver Wilhelm Schimmel, who was noted for his whimsical carvings and his imbibing of “spirits” and whose work is currently on view at the Brandywine River Museum of Art. The cost is $30 each, and as in the spirit of Schimmel there will be whiskey tasting. For reservations call 610-388-8315. Laura Olds Schmidt will take registrations for bird walks on June Saturday, June 14, and Wednesday, June 18, from 8 to 10 a.m. as they search for breeding birds.

There will be a fairy house workshop Saturday, June 21, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. to make a fanciful fairy house for one’s garden from natural materials that will be provided. This designed for ages 3 and up The cost is $15 per adult and $10 per child. Call 610-388-8326 for reservations.


Outdoor Adventure Drawing from Nature classes for children 8 to 11 a.m. will be available June 23 to 27 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Brandywine River Museum of Art.

Artstagram – Illustration in the 21st Century classes for ages 12 to 15 June 23 -27 from 1 to 4 p.m. Classes include guided tours, art projects and supplies. Cost is $100 per child, $75 for members, by calling 610-388-8326.


The Chester County Community Foundation honored four residents of Kennett Square at a dinner at Sweet Water Farm in Cheyney. They were honoring. Peter Temple, Esq., who was the outgoing board chair after two years as chairman and on the board since 2000. A partner at Larmore Scarlett in Kennett, he has received many tribute and has again been peer review rated as AVP Preeminent for ethical standards and legal ability. During his tenure as board chair, the Community Foundation’s assets held in trust grew 46 percent from $29.3 million in 2012 to $42.7 million in 2014.

Incoming Chair William J Gallagher, Esq. a partner at MacElree Harvey, was the public defender of Chester County and a captain in the U.S. Marine Corps prior to that. He is licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania and before the Supreme Court of the United States. A board member since 2012, he was recognized with the award Outstanding Service to Cancer Control and the Chester County Women’s Commission Unsung Hero Award for the development of the Protection From Abuse Pro Bono Project.

Two 90th birthdays of long time foundation supporters were celebrated with a cake for Eva L. Verplanck and Aaron J. Martin, both from Kennett. Eva, an emeritus board member was chair from 2002-2004, and earned her Ph.D. in chemistry from Yale. When she settled in Kennett to raise her family she increased her community volunteerism and became a fund-raising advocate and role model, working for the boards of the United Way of Southern Chester County, Neighborhood health Agencies, YWCA Delaware, YWCA of the USA, YWCA of the World Service Council, Planned Parenthood of Chester County, Red Clay Valley Association, Kennett Area Park Authority and Quinton E. Primo Lecture Series. Among the many honors she has received are Women of Vision from YWCA of New Castle County, Outstanding Citizen by the Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce, the First Founders Philanthropy Award from the Delaware Fund for women and the Distinguished Service Award from the Chester County Women’s Commission.

Aaron J. Martin, former vice-president and founder of F & M Scientific Corporation that sold gas chromatographs all over the world, later sold to Hewlett-Packard, created the very first donor advisor fund at the Community Foundation. Aaron was active in the formation of the Kennett Area Park Authority and was its first chair. As special gifts chair for the Kennett Area YMCA’s facility that serves over 20,000 residents today, he helped raise more than $5 million to build a new facility. He was a major fund-raiser in the vibrant “After the Bell” program as a charter board member, treasurer and teacher, his course in candy making the most sought after class.

Aaron’s birthday was the day after the dinner. Eva’s birthday will not be for several more weeks. But, as she said, when you are almost 90, “A few weeks don’t make much difference.”

The fifth person honored was Cindy Sineath Ray who has combined her accounting expertise with her passion for the importance of the non-profit sector. She is currently the CFO of Visit Philadelphia. Previously she was the controller for the International Aids vaccine Affairs Coalition, and as controller for Lockwood Financial Services in Malvern. She is currently on the board of Arise Academy Charter High School for youths who are under the care of the child welfare and juvenile justice system.

It was a very pleasant dinner with appreciation and honors being given to some volunteer philanthropist who obviously deserve to be noticed.


I was just reading that the most desired pet in China these days is a chow dog who has been dyed white and black to look like a panda. They are desired for the attention they receive, and apparently the owners don’t mind having them redyed every six weeks. This is quite a switch from 10 years ago when the Chinese tended to look at a dog as the main course for dinner.


The Delaware Museum of Natural History has arranged for visitors to get a closer look at how insects really appear, by showing oversized creatures that are really works of art. You can see a colorful butterfly with a five-foot wingspan, a heavily armored stag beetle with jaws as large as a person’s leg or a longhorn beetle with twelve foot antenna. These giant sculptures created by Pisa, Italy based Lorenzo Possenti are painstakingly created using powerful magnification and actual specimens of each insect. There is a magnifications, a build-a-bug game and a “Touch Zone” where you can discover the world of insects with one’s own two hands. The show opens June 14 and runs through Sept. 1.

This weekend the Delaware Museum of Natural History on June 14 and 15 will have special fun events from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On Saturday they will have two free- flight, live bird shows at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The Bugs exhibit will be open and food may be purchased from the “I Don’t Give a Fork” food truck. On Sunday, June 15, there are special activities to do with Dad on his day The event runs from noon to 4:30 p.m.

Baby sitting

The Police Athletic League and the Chester County 4-H are jointly hosting a one day baby sitting training class at the Phoenixville Middle School on June 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The class is open to new and experienced baby sitters 11 to 16 years old. The cost for the class is $10, which includes an activity book, course certification and a snack. Students should bring their own lunch. Register by June 16 at 610-696-3500 or by e-mail at


Chester County 4-H is offering a quilting course June 30 to July 3 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Romano 4-H Center, 1841 Horseshoe Pike, Honey Brook. Participants will learn basic machine patchwork quilting to make a lap size quilt, with all supplies provided. Call by June 23 if you want to choose your own fabrics. The cost is $35.

The 4-H is also offering programs in Robootoics, Jr., Engineering, Pony Partners, Candy Making for fourth through eighth grade. Camp programs are available between June 30 to Aug. 1. For information call 610-696-3500.

‘Lion King’

The Tony Award-winning Broadway sensation “The Lion King” will continue at the Academy of Music through June 14. This beautiful show with the spectacle of animals has a memorable score by Elton John and Tim Rice with the Oscar winning song “Circle of Life.” If you haven’t seen it, the sight of the elephant coming down the aisle is unforgettable. For tickets call 215-893-1955.


The Philadelphia Theatre Co. will produce “Unconstitutional, the one-man show by Colin Quinn, running June 13 to July 6 at the Suzanne Roberts Theatre, Broad anb Lombard streets, Philly. This satirist tackles 226 years of American constitutional calamities from predator drones to the Kardashians. For tickets call 215-735-7356.


The Chadds Ford Historical Sociaty will present author Michael Harris who will be signing his book “Brandywine: A Military History of the

Battle that Lost Philadelphia but Saved America, September 11, 1777. If you have never quite understood the importance of the Battle of the Brandywine,” that was lost by the Americans. He will be at the Barn Visitors Center on Sunday, June 15, at 1 p.m.

Barns Brinton

The family-friendly celebration of the Barns-Brinton House on Route 1 has invited the public to come on Saturday, June 21, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There will the unveiling of the plaque for the National Register of Historic Places, followed by a birthday cake.. There will also be colonial crafts, foods and drink, period dancers, local musicians, colonial demonstrators and tours of the historic house. A garden tavern will offer beer in souvenir mugs

Caryl Huffaker lives in Kennett Township.