After the hullabaloo in Havertown, no one knew what to expect when Tredyffrin Public Library hosted its first-ever Drag Queen Storytime.
An overflow crowd?
An angry mob?
After assorted pushback calls and emails, the library wasn’t taking any chances that late June morning.
The library director sought and received the board of trustees’ blessing the prior night.
The children’s librarian had “sorry to have to turn you away” signs printed and ready for posting.
And Tredyffrin Police, on quiet alert, cruised the neighborhood.
All, really, for naught.
Except for the extra adults ringing the room, it was story hour as usual, albeit one led by a large man in a glittering green gown, shiny stilettos, a bouffant wig and ridiculously long eyelashes.
You can’t blame Tredyffrin Public Library for fearing the worst.
When the same singing drag queen – Balena Canto (aka Matthew Maisono) – performed at Haverford Free Library June 15, hundreds showed up. Police put up jersey barriers to keep the protestors apart: Rosaries and Mary statues on one side; bubbles and rainbows on the other. 500 families attended the storytime in Haverford, which had to be split into two sessions to accommodate the crowd.
The story was altogether different in Tredyffrin.
Whether by accident or design, the library hosted Balena Canto on June 28 – precisely 50 years after the Stonewall Riots, which, incidentally, were led by a drag queen. (Fun drag fact: The biggest drag queen on the planet right now, Aquaria (aka Giovanni Palandrani), grew up in West Chester. The Age of Aquaria dawned last year when Aquaria, 23, won Ru Paul’s “Drag Race.” She has 1.4 million Instagram followers, has graced multiple magazine covers, is a recording artist, and sells out shows.)
But we digress. Back to Tredyffrin. Balena Canto was a draw but not a sellout: 82 people – children, their parents or caregivers, a township supervisor, the library director, staff and board leaders – in a room that holds 130.
Only two opponents showed up. Fearing backlash, neither would give us their names.
One had spoken out against the event at the library board meeting the previous night. She sat in a corner videotaping the storytime on her phone. She told us she wasn’t sure yet what she would do with the footage.
The other was “John,” a 55-year-old Bryn Mawr native who objected to the drag queen’s getup. “You or I could have delivered the same message, independent of the costume. My concern is [the storytime] having a sub-textual message that pushes a specific agenda.”
For everyone else, the agenda, if there was one, seemed anodyne. Every story and song – all pre-approved by the library – championed acceptance, inclusion and diversity, values the parents we spoke to hoped their kids would embrace.
Balena Canto ended storytime in fine voice, with a self-affirming anthem from The Wiz.
Library Director Chris Kibler, who stood sentry in the rear of the room throughout, told us he had no desire to “divide the community.”
Among the complaints he’d received: exposing kids to sexual content, advocating a lifestyle choice, providing a forum for discussing issues inappropriate for children, and using taxpayer dollars to fund the program.
And Kibler had an answer for every one of them. All books are in the Chester County library system and are age-appropriate, Kibler told us. “There is no content of a sexual nature nor any content advocating for or against lifestyle choices.” The crafts that kids made at the end (crowns and rainbows) are “typical of crafts we have at any program.”
Furthermore, “all money used for library programs for supplies and to hire performers is donated by the Friends of Tredyffrin Library and the Friends of Paoli Library.”
Kibler said the program is “only one of the 1,600+ children’s and teen programs we will have this year. The reason for labelling it ‘drag queen storytime’ was simply to make people aware that the performer would be a man that chooses to perform dressed in women’s (costume) attire.”
And finally, attendance was at the discretion of parents and caregivers, who were required to attend with their kids.
Last year the library hosted a drag queen baking event for 8- to 12-year olds with their parents. “They made peach cobbler and we didn’t hear boo about that,” recalled Tredyffrin Children’s Librarian Angie André.
Still Kibler says he “wasn’t comfortable moving forward with a controversial program” and sought trustees’ approval the night before the story time. (The board voted 5 to 2 to back the program.)
Chesterbrook mom Stacy Albert brought the oldest kids in the crowd: her 8-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter, who sported a “Be Nice” t-shirt for the occasion. “My children were read to for years by Big Bird and they didn’t turn into Big Bird,” Albert told us that morning.
The previous night she had spoken in support of the program to library trustees. “This program is not for all families,” she’d told them. “That is the beautiful thing about choice. I applaud the library’s decision to give families the choice to experience diversity.”
Clearly enjoying themselves during story time were Jeremiah Glass of Berwyn, his husband, Erijia Yan, and their daughter, Celine (below).
“I feel we’ve been shut out of public spaces for so long,” Glass (above right) told SAVVY. “And to have this welcoming nurturing space is just wonderful. This really gets to the root of what childhood is: stories and dancing and just feeling safe. I didn’t feel that way as a kid. To have this here, as a beacon for other kids who might be like me … it really means a lot.”
Michele and Sean Legnini drove to story time from their Malvern home with their two children in tow. Their daughter, Sylvia, “loves dress-up,” said Michelle Legnini. “We thought this was a great way to introduce her to people who are a little different from her.” To which her husband, a teacher at Shipley School, added: “We’re all the same deep down.”
Tredyffrin Board of Supervisors Chair Murph Wysocki smiled throughout the program, calling it another sign that the library staff has “brought energy to the library, turning it into a true community center. It’s open, inclusive, diverse, educational and safe.”
Hey, check it out
Strike up the band! As of this week, Tredyffrin Public Library is open seven days a week. To trim costs, Tredyffrin had been closed on Wednesdays since 2010.
But times, blessedly, have changed.
Library use is rising and the township is in a “much better financial position than it was in 2009,” Library Director Chris Kibler tells SAVVY. Officials decided that reopening on Wednesdays wouldn’t break the bank – one full-time hire was needed – and would enable the library to offer more community programs.
For now, Paoli Library remains closed on Tuesdays. There’s been some talk of shortening Paoli’s hours so it could stay open seven days, but “that would impact tutoring and the evening adult programs, so we’re not sure it’s a good change,” Kibler says.
Squeezed for a sitter? Want to run errands on your own? Stuck for a sitter on a school holiday or a weekend night? May we suggest … the new Kids Clubhouse of the Main Line.
It’s spacious and chipper, nicely equipped and professionally staffed. Plus, it’s smack dab in the center of the Main Line, in the Radnor Financial Center, with designated parking out front for easy drop-off and pick-up.
Founder is Angela Bruno, a mom of three who wanted to unpack in peace when she moved to Bryn Mawr two years ago. She started searching for drop-in day care facilities like the one she used in Austin, TX. Uh, no dice. Dumbfounded the Main Line had come up short, she decided to open her own.
The Clubhouse accepts kids ages 2 to 10 who can stay for an hour, a few hours, or all day.
A glorified babysitter? Absolutely, assuming said sitter has studied early childhood or special ed and has loads of climbing equipment, toys, games and crafts at her disposal.
The facility has four rooms:
- a huge “gym” for everybody
- a younger children’s room (ages 2 to 4) that looks like an extra-large preschool classroom (dress-up bin, kitchen, dolls, trucks, books, nap mats)
- an older kids room (ages 5 to 10) stocked with Foosball, Legos, video games and such
- and a dining/craft area.
Led by a teacher and an assistant, younger kids will move to different spaces every half hour – just like preschool. The curriculum is theme-based learn-through-play, focusing on social skills, language development and movement.
Staff is a mix of experienced educators and human-service professionals assisted by young people, i.e. college juniors and seniors studying education. Bruno says the staff-child ratio will be 1 to 6.
Besides drop-in services, the clubhouse also offers part- and full-time child care. Parents of part-timers “only pay for the days their children are here vs. other facilities where you have to conform to their schedules and lose out on money when there are holidays or snow days,” Bruno says.
Kids Clubhouse of the Main Line, Radnor Financial Center, 150 N. Radnor Chester Rd., Suite F130, Wayne. Summer hours Mon. – Fri. 9:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Saturday, 1 p.m. – 9 p.m., Closed Sundays. (Longer hours begin in mid-August.) Drop-in rate: $14/hour per child ($12/hr. for siblings) or $11/hour with a 100-hour package ($2 off for siblings); $50/family annual registration. Private birthday parties available.
Debate over Devon Center District
There’s a familiar push-pull happening in dear old Devon. A task force is pushing a forward-looking commuter/pedestrian friendly downtown district. Some neighbors are pulling back, wary of change.
Sitting in the midst of it all: the Devon Horse Show. Mess with that property and you’re messing with history.
For six months, the task force has been refining a plan to rezone the area around the train station into a “Devon Center District, which would allow certain commercial uses and mixed-use residential. And that includes the horse show property, which is currently zoned residential.
Smart money says the Horse Show will go on in Devon ad infinitum. Not only has it been forking over oodles to upgrade its facilities and barns, it hopes to build a parking garage/storage facility on its big Dorset Ave. lot.
Still, the fate of the Horse Show and, for that matter, St. John’s Presbyterian Church (also within the DCD boundaries) are such hot topics, the task force – anxious to make progress – removed them from the zoning map discussion at Tuesday night’s public meeting. The room was packed but notably absent that night: anyone from the horse show.
The task force holds its final public meeting August 7 so if you haven’t yet spoken your peace, that’s your chance.
Stay tuned to SAVVY for details of the task force’s final recommended zoning amendment, slated to go before township planners and supervisors this fall.
Authentic Asian fare in Devon
Tasty Thai and Vietnamese joints we’ve seen aplenty, but Laotian? Not so much.
But that’s not the only reason the new Bua Loy in Devon is a standout.
Another is the excellent cuisine. Who knew a landlocked Communist country could produce such tasty vittles?
And a third is the exceptionally amiable service. Brendi Badia couldn’t have been sweeter. The kitchen is eager to accommodate special requests, food allergies, kids, you name it.
Badia’s mother-in-law is the restaurant’s chef and namesake, Bua Loy (“Floating Lotus”) Phengmisouk, who moved from Laos to Havertown ten years ago in search of a better future for her sons.
The menu includes Vietnamese Pho, Thai curry and “pad” dishes, but, for a more unique experience, go Laotian. We tried and enjoyed the Homemade Laotian Sausage ($9.95, below left), the Nam Khao Salad ($9.95, below right) and the Seafood Hot Pot ($16.95). We’ll be back for more.
Bua Loy, 300 W. Lancaster Ave., Devon, 610-341-8162, is open Mon., Wed. and Thurs., 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m., Fridays – Sundays until 10:30 p.m. Closed Tuesdays. Eat-in BYOB, takeout and delivery. Order online.
Up on a roof … in Wayne?
Street-side dining has long been a Wayne staple. Now at least one restaurateur is looking up. The owners of the Great American Pub want to add rooftop dining. Seems the roof is a big draw at the Hemcher brothers’ Conshohocken joint and could make the Pub stand out from its many competitors in Wayne and King of Prussia.
Of course, lots of things would have to fall into place first. Like Radnor officials approving a zoning change and valet parking to handle the extra cars.
And the Hemchers would have to bring in engineers to make sure the building could support it. Their attorney, Nick Caniglia, says they’d add an elevator and would have to “fortress” the building. Hmmm.
Finger-lickin’ GREAT chicken
We can’t cluck enough about the new Lovebird Chicken in Bryn Mawr.
Its calling card is fried chicken, but K-Y-Fry it’s not. In the same way that Lovebird’s other brand, Jules Thin Crust, is nothing like Domino’s.
First, the chickens were treated nicely: no cages, no antibiotics, only vegetarian fed.
Second, the breading is 100% gluten-free – great news for our increasingly intolerant tummies.
Third, it’s not greasy. No finger-lickin’ required, actually.
We adored The Lovebird ($8.50): fried chicken, slaw and special sauce, pickles and bibb lettuce on a Le Bus roll.
We were equally ecstatic over two sides: Crispy Brussel Sprouts with Mint & Chilies ($4.50) and the Mac & Cheese ($4.50), gluten-free but you’d never know it.
We mooned, too, over the “Lonesome Chicken” (two pieces for $6.50, 4 pieces for $12, 8 pieces for $22, popcorn chicken for $7). We’ll keep these birds company anytime.
Of the two bowls on the menu, we preferred Brussels to the Beet ($10.50), ordered with miso-garlic grilled chicken. The South by Southwest bowl (quinoa, kale, black beans with chicken or tofu and cilantro-lime vinaigrette) could have used a bit more kick. We’re all for light dressings but this one needed some zip.
A quick-serve joint with less than a dozen counter seats, Lovebird does a big takeout business. “We feed the whole family,” brand manager Carolyn Gadbois tells SAVVY.
So how ’bout feathering a nest farther west and feeding ours, OK?
Lovebird Chicken, 1086 E. Lancaster Ave. (next to Insomnia Cookies), Bryn Mawr, 484-222-6554, is open Mon – Thurs. 11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m., Fri. and Sat. until 9, and Sundays, noon to 8:30.
We finally poked around Ardmore’s much-ballyhooed and long-debated 7-story addition: One Ardmore.
Apartments come in a range of floor plans (26!) and price tags – from $2,000 for a 717 sq. ft. one bedroom to $6,100 for a 1,400-sq. ft. two bedroom. (Add $200/month for a space in the underground parking garage and $45 monthly for Fido.)
The building is still mostly vacant. About a third of its 110 units were rented as of late June, the manager told us.
All are standard-issue upscale flats with white-and-stainless kitchens, hardwood floors, and surprisingly puny bedrooms salvaged by well-appointed walk-in closets and luxury baths.
Not sayin’ there aren’t thoughtful touches here. Among them: built-in work desks in all units, extra-large windows and nice amenities like the communal lounge with wine fridge, fitness center and meeting room that ring the 4th-floor terrace.
And oh, what a terrace it is!
Half party patio with flat screen TV and fire pit (above), part lounging lawn (below) with a nice view of Ardmore’s rooftops.
East-facing units have a swell view of the skyline in Center City.
No reason to live here? At least park your car. One Ardmore’s public parking garage has 40 more spaces than the surface lot it replaced and rates are reasonable. (Just be sure you know your space number when you pay at the entrance machines.)
One Ardmore, 24 Cricket Ave., Ardmore, 267-546-4164.
Goodall, Jobs, Spielberg, Einstein … all brilliant, all with brains that, for one reason or another, worked differently. Brains that today might be labelled and perhaps “screened out” of our educational system.
So says Dr. Temple Grandin, another genius, who spoke at a Main Line Society of Professional Women event in King of Prussia last month.
And who, oh yeah, has autism.
If the name’s familiar, it’s because Claire Danes played her in an award-winning biopic in 2010.
Temple Grandin is famous for lots of things: for inventing the “hug box” to calm autistic minds, for “coming out” as autistic when few did, for “thinking like a cow” and changing cattle slaughter methods, for her books, her talks and media appearances.
“Being autistic is important part of who I am, but career comes first,” she told the more than 250 attendees at the SPW luncheon. Her speech ping-ponged a bit – a function of her unique brain – but drove home several points, among them:
- “Making things is cool … kids need to be able to do things with their hands … I hate video games … Too many kids are recluses in their basements.” We need to keep hands-on classes in schools to challenge all kinds of minds. Classes like art, science, cooking, woodworking, welding, theater, auto mechanics. We must “stretch and give choices” to our kids.
- America needs to “stop sticking our nose up” at plumbers, electricians, mechanics, welders, HVAC people. America has so few “higher-level skilled tradespeople,” we have to import them from places like Germany. Who built those flying buttresses at Notre Dame Cathedral? Skilled tradespeople.
- The autism spectrum is astoundingly wide: “from the head of a Silicon Valley tech company to skilled craftsmen to someone who can’t dress themselves.” At its core, autism is social awkwardness, often accompanied by “geek circuits” in the brain.
And as far as the popular movie about her goes, the professional stuff was spot-on. But some of the personal stuff, like Temple singing in elementary school? Never happened.
With the next running of the Radnor Hunt Races nearly a year away, we set out for happy hunting grounds elsewhere. And alighted upon Watson Adventures, conjurers of public and private scavenger hunts in Philly and beyond.
Although tempted by hunts like “Secrets of Longwood Gardens,” “Murder at the Franklin Institute,” and especially “Munch Around the [Reading Terminal] Market,” we settled on the “Wizard School Scavenger Hunt” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, mostly because we could bring along a young ringer (see photo above). With a serious Harry Potterhead on Team SAVVY, surely we would, ahem, wiz through the clues.
OK, so we’re not so savvy.
We finished in the upper-middle of the pack – solid Hufflepuffs, I guess.
But oh, the hunting was heavenly. Twenty-four clues had us traipsing through the galleries, searching for masked figures as creepy as Death Eaters and a potions master even Snape would respect.
Mr. Google is of no help whatsoever, by the way. (No fair cheating, anyway.) All clues require you to find, then stand in a particular spot to view the answer. Comfy shoes and some smarts are all you need.
Watson Adventures was new to us but not to the half million coworkers, bridesmaids and buddies who’ve enjoyed hunts since the company’s founding in NYC 20 years ago.
Watson Adventures offers public hunts in six cities, plus private hunts in the Philly burbs (e.g. Haverford College, Elmwood Park Zoo, Brandywine River Museum, Longwood Gardens or pick your own place.) Public hunts are $16 – $45. Private hunts are for 7 to 70, working in teams of 2 to 6. Advance purchase required. Upcoming hunts: Murder at The Franklin Institute July 13 (sold out) , Wizard School at The Art Museum, July 27 and Aug. 10, Munch Around the Market at Reading Terminal, Aug. 3.
Fine Wine & Good Spirits: Berwyn’s loss is Wayne’s gain
It’s not much of a looker but Wayne’s new state store is – begging your pardon – loaded.
With 4,000 wines and spirits and 11,545 sq. ft., it’s double the size of Wayne’s old state store. In fact, it’s bigger than the old Wayne and Berwyn stores combined.
The demographics were desirable so the PLCB went all out, making this one a Premium Collection store, one of 105 in the state.
Which means bigshots can grab a $800 bottle of Chateau Margaux from the refrigerated “wine cellar” case, while mere mortals can pick up the usual Yellowtail.
Great idea, deadly dull name. (Would it be rude if we suggested PLCB hire a new interior designer and branding team?)
The store also has its own full-time “retail wine specialist,” the amiable Jeremy Garcia, who offers advice and plans to lead three tastings each week, including a Friday happy hour from 4 to 6.
What’s hot in hooch these days?
Here’s PLCB Press Secretary Shawn Kelly’s trend report:
- Alternative packaging. Tiny boxes, bottles and cans are everywhere – perfect for a taste, a beach cooler or a recipe. Wine in a can? Whine not.
- Chairman’s Selection wines – discounted wines that the PLCB negotiates with smaller winemakers – remain “incredibly popular.”
- Drinking local. The Wayne store has a decent selection of native spirits and wines.
Wayne’s not the only local state store the PLCB’s working on. On hand for the June 26 ribbon-cutting in Wayne, PLCB retail operations director Carl Jolly told us he’s in talks to put a Fine Wine & Good Spirits store near the Malvern Target to replace the one lost at the Shops at Great Valley. Sorry, Berwyn folks. No new store is headed your way. Jolly says you’ll have to keep schlepping to Paoli and Devon.
Fine Wine & Good Spirits 127 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne (in the former Rite Aid/Pet Supplies Plus), 610-688-6163, is open Mon. – Wed. 9 to 9, Thurs. – Sat. 9 to 10, Sundays 11 to 7.
White out in Valley Forge Park
Philly’s got the Liberty Bell but, hey, we’ve got the Justice Bell. It’s the same size. It’s almost as historic. It actually, uh, works. And it has Main Line roots.
A few weeks ago, 100 years to the day our fair state ratified the 19th Amendment, women in suffragette white converged on the Justice Bell’s home, Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge Park. Something historic was afoot.
PA’s First Lady, Frances Wolf (below right), and – here’s the Main Line part – a descendant of Katherine Wentworth Ruschenberger came to unchain the bell and let ’er ring.
What’s so special about Ruschenberger, represented at the June 24 ceremony by her niece, Alexandra Tatnall?
She lived at the Wentworth estate, still standing on Homestead Road in Strafford. She’s buried in St. David’s churchyard. And as a leading suffragette, she had a replica Liberty Bell made in 1915, its bronze clapper chained to the side. Only when women won the right to vote would the clapper be released and the Justice Bell rung.
And so, on Sept. 20, 1920, a month after the ratification of the 19th Amendment, in a ceremony behind Independence Hall led by Ruschenberger, her niece, Catherine, unchained the bell. It tolled 48 times, once for every state in the U.S. at that time.
In her will, Katherine Ruschenberger asked that her beloved bell take up permanent residence at Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge Park in the National Patriots Bell Tower. Has a nice ring to it, right?
Ardmore next in line (after Paoli) for handicapped accessible SEPTA station
Flush with a cool $34.2 million commitment, SEPTA will begin work on a handicapped-accessible Ardmore station this fall.
Also on track: raised platforms, shelters/canopies along the tracks, and the beginnings of a new parking garage (500 spots next to the station. Yay.)
Until it’s finished, parking may get dicey. SEPTA is talking to an Ardmore neighbor about borrowing space. It also plans to set aside spots at Wynnewood Shopping Center. The project will take 2.5 years, SEPTA spokesman Andrew Busch tells SAVVY.
So, you might not need that surgery after all. Or that drug. Or that injection.
Serious stuff, right?
Wouldn’t another pair of professional eyes give peace of mind? But too often we don’t get second opinions. We don’t know whom to ask. Or we simply don’t want to second guess our doctors.
Berwyn entrepreneur Ronald Meyer hears your pain.
His new web-based service, Your 2nd Look, makes it easy for patients to get another pair of professional eyes on radiology studies.
Patients simply upload images to the website (your imaging center has to provide them upon request), and a radiologist will send a comprehensive report back within 48 hours.
Your 2nd Look radiologists view the same images but never see the first report. So your images are studied with fresh eyes.
Meyer says his radiologists are top-notch; many are honors graduates of some of the finest med schools in the country.
Fees, which are not covered by insurance, are $69 – $249. “We’re priced to be very competitive with a hospital that might offer second opinions to other medical providers,” Meyer says. Your 2nd Look offers military, veteran and senior discounts and is negotiating with membership-based organizations and retailers for group deals.
Meyer has his own second-look story. Years ago, his physician recommended a knee replacement. “I put it off for umpteen years,” Meyer tells SAVVY. “I wasn’t 100% sure I needed it. I thought maybe I could get by with a brace or something.” A friend connected him to a radiologist who worked with the Pittsburgh Penguins. That radiologist read his x-rays and confirmed his physician’s opinion. Meyer went ahead with the surgery. “There’s a comfort factor with this. I had a couple sets of eyes on this, so I had no hesitation moving forward.”
Sometimes the second opinion differs from the first. “The patient could take the [Your 2nd Look] report back to the treating specialist to talk about alternatives to surgery or other treatments,” he says.
Meyer’s business partner also shares a personal story. His 89-year old mother had had a series of strokes and the ER doc, looking at her CT scan, thought there was no hope and refused to give her a clot-busting injection, claiming it would kill her. The son insisted on the injection (she was dying anyway, right?) and had someone else read the CT scan. The second radiologist disagreed with the ER physician. The woman recovered and lived four more years.
Gels and powder-dip polishes we know, but nail polish you stick on, instead of brush on? Well, that was a new one on us.
That’s why, when we ran into Janet Gallagher at the 5-year shindig for Paoli’s Purenergy Studio, we agreed to give her Color Street nails a whirl.
At Gallagher’s urging, we tried a glitter polish, “Tokyo Lights”, because it would hide our rookie mistakes.
Even after we watched a few instructional videos, we ended up with a less-than perfect manicure. (The glitter, as promised, covered our sins, however.)
For those with better hand-eye coordination, Color Street seems like a fab alternative. There’s no drying time, no mess, no base coats/top coats and extra tools. Your mani or pedi lasts about 10 days before it starts wearing away at the tips and comes off with regular polish remover (with a tad more effort).
Plus, there are colors, styles and nail-art designs galore. Plan on $11 to $13 for each set of 16 peel-and-apply strips in solid, gel, French, and nail-art designs. If you’re careful, you can often get two manicures out of one set.
Dig in. Ardmore Restaurant Week – actually, two weeks – runs July 15 – July 28. A record 20 eateries are offering two-course lunches for $10 or $15 and/or three-course dinners for $15, $25 or $35. Dinners can be had for $25 at Ardmore Q, Bam Bam Kitchen, Green Papaya, Hunan, Jack McShea’s, John Henry’s, Local Wine and Kitchen, Mikado Thai Pepper, Nam Phuong Bistro and Poke Ono. In the $35 camp are The Bercy, Besito, Iron Hill, Marroko, Not Your Average Joe’s and Ripplewood.
Lululemon and Athleta giving your wallet a workout? Hit up the new Fabletics store in the KOP Mall (Plaza lower level). The online brand co-founded by Kate Hudson sells whole outfits for the price of a single pair of Lulu tights. With iPads in fitting rooms to track styles and fetch sizes, it’s newfangled shopping at old-school prices. Best for fitness fashionistas, Fabletics pushes VIP memberships for 50% off retail. Members have to buy something or remember to “skip” a month online or they’ll get charged $50, which can be used toward your next purchase. The store’s grand opening – with giveaways (!) – is Saturday, July 20.
“Dine Under the Stars” Wednesdays at Sontuosa BYOB in Bryn Mawr. Enjoy FREE mussels (with entrée) and live music (by Judah Kim). First-come, first-served outdoor seating begins at 5. Judah starts singing and strumming at 6.
Don’t shop at the state store without downloading the Fine Wine & Good Spirits app first. Once you’re there, be sure to check your smartphone for coupons and special deals. Like Mumm Champagne, $5 off in July. (Cheers to that.)
The most wonderful time of the year – July version – is here: the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Here at SAVVY, we’re all about shopping local. But a few Nordy pieces here and there can’t hurt.
This and That
No decision yet on those (we think) crazy plans to put a distracting digital billboard at Route 252 and Lancaster Ave. in Paoli. Tuesday night’s Tredyffrin zoning hearing went on for 3.5 hours and was continued to July 25 at 6 p.m. So you get one more shot to try to shoot down Catalyst Outdoor Advertising’s appeal of Tredyffrin’s zoning decision against the billboard. But don’t be late. The Zoning Hearing Board will move to other matters at 7.
With so many shootings in Philly so far this year, we’re happy to report that Chester County had ZERO murders in the first half of the year. Nada. Zilch. (Now, if police could just make an arrest in the Denise Barger and Anna Bronislawa Maciejewska murders, we’d all sleep easier…)
Anyone else shocked that Chesco DA Tom Hogan decided not to run for a third term after all? He clearly relished his role. And SAVVY’s inbox has been stuffed with news releases touting his office’s accomplishments (see “zero murders” above) – a sure sign of an imminent re-election campaign.
In his startlingly personal announcement on Facebook, the Republican DA pinned his decision on his family. He said he was working 24/7 and his wife and two kids “deserve a break.”
“That’s it. No scandals. … No backstory,” Hogan wrote. “I am still the nerd who never even tried marijuana.” He is, however, the DA whom some Stoga football parents remember – and not fondly – for those ugly locker-room arrests a few years ago. And he was poised to square off against a worthy opponent in Harriton grad, Democrat Deb Eisenbud Ryan, a victims’ rights advocate and former prosecutor under Hogan. Still, many are applauding Hogan’s record and are sorry to see him set sail for parts unknown. Hogan is banking on his right-hand man, First Assistant DA Mike Noone, replacing him.
Another new Nudy’s on the horizon. The breakfast/lunch café is taking over the old Shangri-La on Swedesford Road in Devon.
Job hunting? Head to Chester County. The fastest-growing county in the region has PA’s lowest unemployment rate – a paltry 2.6%. (Montco is 2.9%.) Top employer Vanguard is hiring new “crew” members per usual (to add to its 11, 500) as it prepares to launch its new “Neptune” building. A departure for the Good Ship Vanguard, Neptune will have just three offices; the rest of the building will be open, activity-based space. Other Chesco industries needing help: trucking, insurance sales, nursing, and year-round mushroom harvesters.
Let them eat … pastry (from Delice Et Chocolat)! Ardmore Initiative hosts a Bastille Day Block Party on Station Ave. this Sunday, July 14. Brunch sandwiches by the Bercy, bakery bites from Delice and the Parlour ice cream cart sound merveilleuse but the Veuve Cliquot French Wine Garden has us positively bubbling over. The wine tasting will set you back $20 in advance/$25 at the door but the family games, can-can dancers and live music, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., are free.
Calling all garden clubbers: The nonprofit that runs the historic Old Eagle School in Strafford could use help sprucing up the grounds.
Somehow, we missed the spring closure of family-owned Beans Beauty in the White Dog shopping center in Wayne. A fixture for 19 years, the beauty supply house/salon says it fell victim “to the way people shop today.” Guessing that means Sephora, Ulta and online. Beans still operates a store and salon in Manayunk.
The very first Snap Pizza is no more in Ardmore. After 22 years, owners chose not to renew the lease. The other local Snaps – in Bryn Mawr, Bala and Exton – are still open.
Sweet-tooth alert. The area’s second Kilwins confectioner/creamery is now open at 85 Coulter Ave. in Suburban Square (between Starbucks and Madewell).
A SAVVY salute to Joan Stuart, family-law attorney and founder of domestic violence shelter Laurel House, who passed from Parkinson’s complications at age 90 on July 6. A lifelong Main Liner and civic volunteer, she attended Shipley and Villanova law school and was an early champion of women’s rights. She attended the first women’s march in DC in 1978. Her life – extraordinarily well-lived – will be celebrated Saturday, July 12 at Merion Cricket Club.
Here’s a $39 XBox game you might be thrilled to see your teen play this summer: Driving Essentials, a training lesson/game that simulates hairy road conditions like distracted driving and slippery streets. A son of Team SAVVY, Gladwyne’s Jack Stevens, 15, played the game for 6ABC a few weeks ago. Perfect timing. The “hundred deadliest days” for car crashes are between Memorial and Labor Day weekends.
Traveling beer garden in the burbs? Brilliant. Trails on Tap returns to Valley Forge Park’s Betzwood Picnic Trailhead on the Schuylkill River Trail this weekend, July 11-14. Pedal, paddle or hike on over for a cold one and some pulled pork, a hot dog or a veggie hoagie. They set out the chairs, hammocks and string lights. Mainstay Brewing supplies the beer. Proceeds benefit the river, the trail, and the nonprofit that supports them, Schuylkill River Greenways. The Betzwood beer garden will be open Thurs. and Fri. 5 to 9, Sat. and Sun. noon to 9.
Despite its name, Wayne’s Black Powder Tavern skipped the tanks and artillery but had just about everything else at its star-spangled celebration on July 6: colonial re-enactors, period cocktails, assorted “Beers of the Presidents” from Yards Brewing Co., historical trivia, a DJ and a costume contest (below). A portion of the proceeds benefited the Valley Forge Park Alliance.
They must be serving smart water at Villanova. Thirty-two students – twice as many as last year – won prestigious Fulbright awards this year. That’s the same number as Princeton and 11 more than Penn. “Our students are punching above their weight class,” the director of Nova’s Center for Research and Fellowships told the Inquirer. Sponsored by the U.S. State Department, Fulbright awards allow U.S. college grads to pursue independent research for ten months in a host country.
Like Carson Wentz, Willows Park Preserve just got a contract extension. Actually, it’s a 15-year lease extension. The citizens’ non-profit now has 25 years to raise funds, renovate the shuttered mansion in Radnor’s Willow Park and begin community programming. Radnor commissioners voted 4 to 1 to approve the extension.
In a few weeks, X won’t mark the spot for Harry’s Treasures, a downtown Ardmore mainstay for 20+ years. Owner Harry Althouse, 68, is calling it a career and will close his quirky antique shop at month’s end.
The world’s first certified Autism Center zoo, Elmwood Zoo in Norristown is going one better this summer. It’s hosting “quiet nights” for guests with special needs and their families with discounted $10.95 tickets for nonmembers. People on the spectrum and caregivers will get the zoo to themselves July 25 and August 29 from 6 to 8 p.m. but must register in advance. As an Autism Center zoo, Elmwood hands out free sensory backpacks with noise-cancelling headphones, stress balls and fidget toys.
Big changes ahead for tiny Wharton Esherick Museum in Tredyffrin. The museum received $75,000 in grant money, which will fund a master campus plan to connect Esherick’s home, “Sunekrest”, with his nearby studio, where guided tours are held by appointment. The money will also be used to expand the visitor experience and programming.
A must-see movie for advocates for people with disabilities – and anyone concerned about social justice – at Bryn Mawr Film Institute July 24. The theater is screening, Pennhurst, a documentary about the former house of horrors for the “feeble minded and epileptic” that’s now a haunted Halloween attraction. The film features former residents who overcame the abuses of Pennhurst past and have even forgiven the Spring City “asylum” for its atrocities. Click here for tickets.
And finally, a from-the-heart shoutout to the folks that make SAVVY possible (besides our amazing street team). Without our loyal advertisers and sponsors, we’re toast.
Hope you’ll show some love to SAVVY’s late spring/early summer supporters:
Lionheart Tutoring in Haverford, Homecooked in Paoli, Wagsworth Manor Pet Resort in Malvern, Devon Horse Show & Country Fair, Axia Women’s Health, Home Grown in Haverford, Kramer Drive in Berwyn, Day Spa by Zsuzsanna in Wayne, Tropeano Consulting (career/educational) in Wayne, ECA Travel Consulting, Historic Yellow Springs, Sage Realty, Austin Hepburn Windows & Doors, Valley Forge Flowers in Strafford, Your Organizing Consultants, Vaughan Building Company, Realtor Sue MacNamara, Restore Cryosauna in Haverford and Wayne, Mulholland-Peracchia Team at Berkshire Hathaway/Fox & Roach Realtors in Devon, Cryoskin Main Line at Strafford Chiropractic, Devine Designs in Wayne, Village Wellness in Berwyn, The Rustic Brush in Berwyn, J. HJilburn Stylist Kathy Stevens, Village Square Townhomes in Paoli, StudioFlora in Berwyn, Louella Boutique in Wayne, Bryn Mawr, Malvern and Avalon, Kids Clubhouse of the Main Line in Radnor, Watson Adventures Scavenger Hunts, Campli Photography, Mojo Fitness in Wayne & Berwyn, St. Aloysius Academy in Bryn Mawr, Woodlynde School in Wayne and Eastcote Lane in Wayne.