Out and about with family or out of town guests this fall and winter? Here’s a sampling of ideas to keep the crowd happy!
Whooa! West Chester Railroad’s ever popular Santa’s Express is already SOLD OUT! However, you can still jump on the fall Foliage Express. Being a Thornbury resident, I never tire of the train horn as it pulls into Glen Mills station on weekends. West Chester Railroad
The model Train display at the Brandywine River Museum has been dazzling children and adults alike for years. Check out their display and list of December events from yoga to read-aloud and pajama parties for the kiddos!
Have you taken tea at Thornton’s the Orchard Tea Room? I’ve fallen in love with the idea of afternoon tea thanks to this refined yet blissful spot with knowledgeable tea sommelier Karen Donnelly. Finish up with shopping in the Rose Hip Barn. Check schedule for openings.
Now in it’s 3rd year, the Holiday Market at Grace Winery , was an instant hit from day one. Featuring our favorite vendors from the Thornton Farmers market and more. It’s a barn party where you can drink wine, mingle with friends and stock up on great gifts from local artisans! I
The scary Bates Motel transforms into a winter wonderland at Araspha Farms in Glen Mills. Cut your own tree or buy one from the lot–either way you can take a holiday hayride through the open fields of this beautiful working farm in Edgmont township. If you like caroling, then step on over to Linvilla Orchards in Media for a caroling hayride through their 300 acres!
If travelling with kids who may not have tolerance for the time commitment of Longwood Gardens, why not try out the Festival of Lights at Rose Tree Park in Media? It’s perfect, it’s free , it’s close and kids love it. I haven’t found the schedule for 2017, but will likely start the first weekend in December.
Media takes thrift store concept to a new level…FREE!
Yes, you heard it right. There’s a FREE STORE in Media (or FreeStore). Everything is free you say? Yes, it’s true, everything. And for anyone who walks through the door.
The Media Free Store is a concept created from a vision of Transition Town Media, a group of neighborhood individuals and businesses that share a common goal. According to their website, “efforts are designed to help our community become more self-sufficient, economically and socially vibrant, and enriched through personal connection.”
When cleaning out a home or moving, people often don’t want to toss perfectly functional items, but are at a loss with what to do with them. There are the obvious outlets: Salvation Army, Goodwill, Purple Heart etc. But there are a growing number of people who want their belongings to go directly into the hands of people who can use them, without cost, and without the “middleman,” so to speak.
What do you do with your old games, odds and ends of yarn, kitchen equipment and art supplies? The Free Store can help!
It is difficult for me to donate to the Free Store without browsing. One day I dropped off some toys, and a box of recipe cards caught my eye that threw me into a time warp. Long before the internet, I used to love poring over this collection of recipes that were so beautifully photographed. When our family home was sold, I didn’t think to go back and get the cards and I didn’t think about them again it until I saw them on the shelf. What struck me funny was that whoever donated these cards used them about as often as my mother did, because they were in mint condition! I had a silent chuckle about my mother and the cards came home with me. After I’m finished reminiscing, I may even bring them back!
The Free Store is also an excellent place to find odds and ends for an art project. With the Community Art Center right around the corner, donated chipped or broken pottery, yarn and paper are happily scooped up by artists in the community.
Now, don’t you want to run over to see what the FREE STORE has for you? Or better yet, what do YOU have for the FREE STORE?
The Free Store is located at 305 W. State Street in Media.
Tuesday – CLOSED
Thursday – CLOSED
Dos & Don’ts
Please note that the FREE STORE is operated entirely by volunteers to help the community, so if you are there donating or shopping, please help out by adhering to a few simple rules. Do bring in your household items, crafts, books, games, knick-knacks and useful items that are in good working order.
If it requires fixing or cleaning, please do not donate–the space is small and the whole point is to donate something people can use.
Absolutely NO DUMPING, a.k.a. leaving items at the door when store is closed.
Unfortunately, food, clothing, mattresses and pillows cannot be accepted.
Food and clothing can be donated at The Food Bank, which is located in the same building, in the basement.
Join in the community and check the Free Store out on Facebook for updates! In addition, the Free Store is hosting its 6th Annual Media Free Market on Sunday, September 17th. Bring something and take something! Being held at Friends Providence Meeting on 105 N. Providence Road in Media from 2pm-5pm!
Western Philadelphia Suburbs Push Back on Development.
Survey markers are popping up like daffodils, and as daffodils signal the coming of spring, orange survey markers signal development is imminent. Depending where you live, it could be a pipeline, fracking site, shopping center or new housing development. Some consider it progress, but for many residents, development is unwelcome as an April freeze and increasingly each new project is matched with an organization to oppose it.
People often feel blindsided by these developments and sometimes wonder why they weren’t aware of them when there was still time to do something. People are notified, but notices aren’t always in the places you might be looking for them (such as a posting a billboard on the site in question) or written in a way one might understand (a township newsletter might read “discussion of the Brown tract subdivision”, for example). Sometimes you have to go hunting for details because this is not the sexy kind of news reported by the mainstream media. And by the time the big news makes it to social media, the development is halfway through the approval phase. What if notices for new developments had the same requirements as the application for a liquor license? If no one sees the notice, they won’t know about the township meetings and if no one shows up at the meeting and the developer has done a reasonably good job of checking all the zoning requirements, the next development is on its way.
There was a time when new developments promised a new tax base to fund schools and government. What wasn’t anticipated was the 3 to 4 car family, increasing school bus and delivery truck traffic, turning lanes and one-way problems; all things I’ve learned about from the latest traffic study done in conjunction with the development of Crebilly Farm in Westtown.
Picture perfect communities welcome future homeowners with impressive entrances, with names of the very things they’ve eliminated, such as “preserve,” “run, ” “trees” or “farm.” The homes themselves are gorgeous and I understand why people love them. With stunning granite kitchens, soaring entrances and luxurious bathrooms, what’s not to love? And if you are moving from a densely populated area, this looks like the country. And you can’t blame the developer for wanting to build them, because they are only meeting demand.
But if the descriptions included a dark side it would be: increased traffic congestion, worsening air quality, increased storm water runoff and groundwater contamination, school boundaries being reconfigured to accommodate more students (and yes, increased school taxes) and the decimation of trees or farm land that go away with these new homes.
Citizens are no longer sitting on the sidelines helplessly watching as the bulldozers pave over their favorite vistas. They are signing petitions, crowd funding, hiring lawyers, putting signs in yards and making their voices heard at township meetings in record numbers. And with social media, developments are no longer being silently approved. People who care are being heard AND they are making a difference. Citizen engagement is crucial.
And what about that open space that that is promised by the developer in exchange for squeezing in a few more homes? Open space is often the leftover, unusable wetland or retention basin that are off-limits to kids, hikers and dog-walkers. Does that fit the definition of open space? It is something to think about, as the last remaining large parcels are being developed. And did you know that some landowner/developers had preferential tax treatments prior to development? Accordingly, they may have benefitted from agricultural or be otherwise tax-exempt over the years, meaning that local taxpayers (i.e.; you) have been subsidizing them as they held their investment until they decided it was time to develop. Whether for or against development, most people do care about their taxes. These are the types of questions that may be overlooked if not for diligent residents who make them an issue to planning commissions and township supervisors.
To make an impact, reach out to your officials, who are mostly volunteers and citizens with the same concerns as you. If they are taking the time to volunteer, help them. Show up, even if it’s only to listen. And if you don’t have the time to attend a township meeting, consider donating to the organizations who have the time and motivation to do so. If you can’t change the world, at least you can have an effect on your local community.
Do you have an impending development in your back yard? You might. Whether it’s a neighbor wanting to build a non-conforming garage or a developer wanting to build 300 homes, your township is likely notifying you and asking you to participate. I encourage you to sign up for your township e-newsletters to find out. Here are just a few developments underway in Delaware and Chester counties:
Don Guanella Forest – 213 pristine acres along Sprould Road (Route 320), owned by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was once home to the Don Guanella School in densely populated Marple township. A plan to build 305 multi-family dwelling units was proposed. This plan is currently off the table but the property may be back on the market.
While demand for new housing and development of land is a reality, property rights of sellers of the land and developers need to be balanced with the property rights of neighbors being affected. The little land that is left needs to be developed responsibly so it doesn’t create the same problems people are moving away from. It takes time to be involved and there are more projects going on out there than one person can keep track of. With long work hours and commutes, families and responsibilities, it is easy to overlook what’s happening around you and hope that someone else will save the land for you.
If only it were that easy.
Disclaimer: The status of the projects listed above are subject to change. For the most up-to-date information, check in with the appropriate group’s Facebook or web page.