DINOSAUR: Another relic from the past
I received an updated credit card in the mail the other day, and it just didn't look official. When I took out the old one from my wallet, I realized why: credit cards no longer have raised numerals on them. The reason is obvious: when was the last time you saw a clerk using an imprinter -- that sliding device that embossed your credit card number on a receipt? I think the last manual transaction I ever conducted was at a restaurant circa 2010, when their electronic system was temporarily down. I remember it only because the transaction never showed up on my credit card statement.
LANCASTER COUNTY: The Pa. Renaissance Faire
When Dearest Partner suggested that we visit the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire in Manheim, I rolled my eyes, assuming it would be full of the Dungeons & Dragons crowd and people who argue about Elvish grammar. Humor me, he said; so I went.
That was in 2017, and we had so much fun that we've returned every October since. This year we even got dressed up, D.P. in a peasant costume and me in a beaded dress I bought for $6.50 at the Avondale Goodwill.
The "Ren Faire" is just a hoot and a utopia for people watching. If you're looking for a place where people of all ages, colors, sizes, sexual preferences, political viewpoints, and ethnicities are welcome and everybody gets along, visit the Ren Faire next summer. It was endearing to see a burly, tattooed guy dressed as a Viking marauder, carrying his little son on his shoulders. We saw a guy in chain mail painted to resemble a Flyers jersey, a Wizard of Oz troupe, the Three Musketeers, a Civil War soldier, several Plague doctors, lots of monks, knights, fairy maidens and wenches, and a pope who was a dead ringer for the current incumbent. Even the undead showed up: a couple dressed as Jack Skellington and his girlfriend Sally participated in the afternoon costume contest.
We especially liked the falconry show, the archery exhibition (featuring a semi-automatic crossbow invented in China 2,500 years ago), and the jugglers (the amazing Paolo Garbanzo juggled four lighted torches while standing on a ball!).
We also had an interesting conversation with a security/first aid guy, who said problems arise only when (1) the heat is bad (many of the elaborate costumes are heavy) and (2) people imbibe too much beer.
Perhaps the most touching moment of the day was when a woman asked us to take a photo of her with her young grand-daughter. She said she'd brought her kids to Ren Faire when they were little, and was delighted to continue the tradition with the next generation.
PENN: Another 55-plus community
A reader asked me what's being built on the property just west of Jennersville Hospital. It's going to be a 55-plus community called Big Elk. The developer is Ryan Homes. It looks like they're in the earthmoving stages of the project now, as well as installing infrastructure.
I checked the minutes of the Penn Township board of supervisors since the beginning of 2018, and they provide little detail about the development other than noting that the developer completed an environmental impact study required by the state. There's no information yet on Ryan's website about the size of the project or the price of the houses.
LENAPE: The bridge is getting a new life
We took a break from running weekend errands and swung by the Lenape Bridge over the Brandywine to check out the renovations. It was fascinating. So far the workers have removed the road surface, paving and fill of the 107-year-old bridge all the way down to the stone arches as part of a $3.4 million renovation project. The bridge is expected to reopen by summer 2020.
AVONDALE: Be Here brewpub will be here soon
The old National Bank of Avondale building on Pennsylvania Avenue, empty since the health food store closed its doors, is being converted into the Be Here Brewing Company. The opening of Avondale's first-ever brewpub is expected by year-end.
According to its Facebook page, the brewpub is "founded on the belief that all towns should have central places for both local residents and visitors alike, where they can eat, drink and socialize. Someplace both cozy and fun where we can forget about the stress of the future and burdens of the past. Too often we don't live for the moment."
CHURCH: An interfaith service of gratitude
I enjoy visiting different churches and experiencing the settings that people consider conducive to reflection and worship, from the unadorned simplicity of Quaker meetinghouses to the stained glass, marble, woodwork and statues at the freshly renovated St. Patrick's Roman Catholic church in Kennett Square. And members of many local churches will be coming together for an interfaith Thanksgiving service at Westminster Presbyterian Church on Route 202, West Chester, from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday, November 17. The "service of gratitude in song, prayer, and word" will be followed by "light refreshments and outreach family activity." The event is sponsored by the West Chester Religious and Spiritual Council, and all are welcome.
WEST MARLBOROUGH: Taking care of the cemetery
Thanks to the interest and generosity of a West Marlborough resident, two massive and mostly dead oak trees were cut down on Oct. 29 at the old Mount Olive AME Church cemetery on Upland Road. The worry was that if the trees fell, they could disturb some of the graves.
At least six African-American Civil War soldiers are buried in the abandoned cemetery. The last burial there was in 1944.