By George, he’s everywhere!
Dishing on Ladies Day hats at the horse show on Fox 29! Opening a new Louella boutique at the shore! Pulling clothes at Posh for private clients in LA! Recapping red-carpet fashions on “Extra”! Chatting it up on QVC!
Talk about a man about town.
And everywhere he goes, he’s buoyant George, bubbling over with sage and sassy style advice like the BFF with fabulous taste you always wanted but never had.
Sure, he gushes and flatters – goes with the territory – but with George Brescia, it comes off as sincere. He positively delights in helping you look your best. Working in fashion for more than three decades – ten with Ralph Lauren, ten with Tommy Hilfiger, and many more as a stylist to stars and socialites – has stripped away the BS. He’s fluffy, frothy and fun but there’s a winsome authenticity, an air of the genuine about George.
“You’re in the happiness business, George,” I decide two hours into our marathon interview at his Malvern home. “Fashion’s just your vehicle.”
He doesn’t disagree. “Your clothes speak before you do,“ he offers. “So you better have them say what you want them to say. I know how to do that.”
In George’s view – expounded upon in his book, Change Your Clothes; Change Your Life – when you show your best self to the world, it returns the favor. You feel stronger, surer, sunnier. And how you feel, well, that impacts everything – whether you get the job, meet the mate, take the leap.
“You look at someone on the street and you make a story in your head about what you see,” George says. “I want people to win at that game.”
We chose George Brescia for SAVVY’s annual Pride Month profile because he and his husband, former NYC model/actor John Burke, have been together for 25 years.
And because they ditched Manhattan for the Main Line a few months into the pandemic. (How’s that working out? we wondered.)
And because just about everybody cares about clothes, at least a little, whether they admit it or not. “Because you can’t go naked” is the subtitle of George’s book’s subtitle and the bare truth.
And hey, if the guy who dresses Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden and Broadway star Kate Baldwin were to offer his unvarnished take on Main Line style and share a few tips along the way, we’d take that, too, thank you very much.
George and John, who finally married three years ago “because we could,” left New York shortly after COVID closed the city. George had just been named on-air ambassador for the top-selling QVC fashion line, LOGO by Lori Goldstein, besting 1,500 hopefuls. It made sense, they thought, to escape a crowded city that had lost its swagger and live closer to QVC’s West Chester studios.
They found a three-bedroom townhouse in Malvern – Downton Abbey compared to their apartment on the Upper East Side.
George revels in it all: the space, the deck, the trees, the grass. “It’s been amazing. John and I wander from room to room. It’s so quiet. I’ve never had such a great night’s sleep.”
As fond of superlatives as he is of well-cut suits, George tells us he’s “obsessed with Wegmans,” “lives for The Buttery” and runs down a list of “fantastic” restaurants including Nudy’s and Classic Diner for breakfast, White Dog Café, Silverspoon, Nectar and Limoncello for everything else. Even no-frills Anthony’s in Malvern makes the cut. “What can I say? I’m Italian,” he offers.
Probing George’s past, you unearth a few surprises.
His happy West Hartford childhood isn’t one of them. Dad was a successful businessman; Mom is a “gorgeous, blonde fashionista” who once owned a women’s boutique.
But then George lays this on you: he can sing. Like really sing. He breaks out in baritone and your eyes widen.
When he was six, his grandmother would have her “little Georgie” perform on city buses. At Lynchburg College, he majored in Speech Communications and minored in Musical Theater. Years later he would headline sold-out cabarets in New York, bringing in Broadway buddies to sing duets with him. He’s belted out the national anthem a cappella for 10,000 people in Central Park – twice.
Before his first voice lesson with her, Broadway star Victoria Clark told him he was already good enough to sing in the chorus at the Met.
In his early 40s, 20 years into his fashion career, he resurrected his musical theatre dreams. The stage people he’d been styling helped him land auditions. He even got a “final, final callback” for a Broadway show. Producers and directors were blown away by his voice but didn’t want to take chance on a guy so short on stage experience.
As it often does, disappointment led to epiphany. “I loved fashion and I loved performing. I wanted to put the two together.” Style segments and red-carpet recaps on “New York Live,” “Extra” and “The Today Show” soon followed.
George’s other surprise: he was madly in love with his college girlfriend. They were together all four years. “She was breathtaking. She loved food; we took amazing trips. We laughed all the time. If I had been straight, I would have married her.” As he reflects on it now, his parents were going through a divorce at the time. “I really wanted a girlfriend.”
He didn’t get comfortable with the fact he was gay until his life in NYC fashion allowed him to “get in touch with myself.”
At Ralph Lauren’s Polo Mansion, nobody cared who you loved as long as you dressed the part. And that, George did with aplomb.
“Here’s my Carey Grant,” Lauren himself announced one day, smitten with George’s stature and suavity. “This is how you wear a suit.”
For starstruck George, the Polo Mansion was perfection. “I’d get a call: ‘Oprah’s on three’ and I’d run right up. All the celebrities used to come in – Liza Minnelli, Barbra Streisand. It was crazy.” He recalls becoming “best friends” with Goldie Hawn in a dressing room and watching Faye Dunaway, in her bra and underwear, rave about her own “really great legs. I’m like 25 years old and she’s like naked. It was hilarious.”
Ralph Lauren was his first and best teacher. Skills honed there – merchandising, styling, marketing – have served him throughout his career.
As for Main Line style, he applauds it. He calls women and men here “sophisticated” and says women in particular are open to breaking out of “the preppy mold,” which he thinks suits men better. (George’s own closet is replete with timeless Ralph Lauren suits and dashing Thom Brown blazers.)
Women here “want to look modern and chic and cool and sexy .. . and they do. I’ve done in-store events at Posh and Louella. Their looks are different. There are all kinds of women here with different kinds of style but there’s a lot of it and I like that.”
George generally eschews trends but offers five items every women should have in her closet:
- A “trophy blazer.” Double or single-breasted, bright colored or classic, gold or neutral buttons. “It’ll make everything else in your closet look new.”
- The LPD – a versatile, often structured Little Perfect Dress in a bright color or neutral that you can dress up or down.
- A moto jacket – in cotton, leather or vegan leather.
- A chic white blouse. It could be classic, ruffled, puff- or poet-sleeved, silk or sheer.
- An “absolute jean” – Boot leg, flared or straight, “it must make your body look fabulous.”
As women emerge from their COVID cocoons, George says he’s more in demand than ever. And Zoom consults have only broadened his reach.
“When I see women in stores flipping through hangers in a trance, it breaks my heart. You want to say, ‘Hold on. What are you doing? Where are you going? Who’s going to be there? What do you want to say?’ When I work with women, I always see them take a big, deep breath. ‘Oh my God, George,’ they say. ‘I feel so much better.’”
George Brescia’s show for LOGO by Lori Goldstein airs Wednesdays at 1 p.m. on QV2. His book, Change Your Clothes, Change Your Life is sold by Simon & Schuster, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other retailers. To contact George about personal styling, email [email protected].
Ardmore’s loss is Wayne’s gain: Long-vacant Anthropologie to become upscale clothier
Finally, a taker for the former Anthropologie building in Wayne.
Boyds has leased the iconic Art Deco edifice, bringing designer and contemporary fashions for men and women to the heart of the Main Line.
“It’s good for Wayne and it’s good for Boyds,” owner Ken Gushner tells SAVVY.
Boyds is a fourth-generation, local family operation. While its flagship is in Center City, Gushner lives in Bryn Mawr and his two sons now work in the business.
The Wayne Boyds replaces the Boyds popup across from Suburban Square, which will close June 30 to make room for a new, five-story retail/apartment building across from Ardmore Farmer’s Market.
(Coincidence or a karmic switcheroo: Boyds’ Coulter Ave. building previously housed Anthro’s sister brand, Urban Outfitters.)
Canno Architecture & Design is crafting an extensive interior overhaul for 201 W. Lancaster Ave., according to Missy Dietz, director of new business development for Boyds.
“It’s an iconic building – there’s nothing quite like it,” says Dietz of the circa-1931 edifice that was built as a car showroom for E.B. Maguire Ford and became the world’s first Anthropologie in 1992. “We saw the guts of the building – what it could be. Boyds will be modern, sleek and contemporary but will keep the old-world charm of the building.”
The selling floor – more than 4,000 sq. ft larger than the 7,000 sq. ft. Ardmore popup – will be evenly divided between men’s and women’s fashions and accessories. Boyds sells a mix of lux designers like Carolina Herrera, Christian Louboutin, Oscar de la Renta and Brunello Cucinelli and lesser-known European brands with cult followings.
The store is sorry to have to leave Ardmore, “which gave us a warm welcome,” Dietz says. Fears that Ardmore would cannibalize the city store proved unfounded. About 70 percent of Ardmore’s clientele was new, she says.
Boyds is excited to expand even further west to Wayne. Dietz believes there’s an untapped market for luxury fashion in the further reaches of the Main Line and Chester County.
If renovations stays on schedule, the new Boyds will open in the first half of September.
Local Trans Parents group is growing – and growing concerned
Four years ago we published “Transgender in Tredyffrin,” the story of Calvin McMillan, the standout Stoga student (Class of ‘13), and his mom, T-E school board director Stacy Stone, who fought, then supported Cal’s transition in college.
It was 2018 and gender identity had not yet become a flashpoint in Florida, Texas, Bucks County and beyond.
Our story aimed only to shine a light on a topic that lived in the shadows. We had no clue what was coming.
Amazing how much can change in four years.
Cal is now Calvin McMillan, MD, a freshly-minted graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He begins his residency in family medicine at Brown this summer.
He’s also a married man.
Two months ago, he wed Emma Lewis, Agnes Irwin ’17. The two had met in karate class as kids but lost touch. They reconnected after college and dated through Cal’s four years of med school. “She told me she always had a big crush on me,” Cal tells us.
As we publish this, the happy couple is honeymooning in Greece.
Being transgender wasn’t a big deal in med school, Cal says. “I wasn’t explicitly out as trans to a lot of people but I didn’t hide it.”
Indeed, more and more young people aren’t hiding it either.
They’re coming out as gender non-conforming, non-binary and trans at younger ages, when they’re still living at home.
As a result, more parents are seeking help.
A local support group, Trans-Parents, exploded from five members five years ago to more than 130 today. The group spans Chester County and the Main Line and stretches into Delco, Montco and Philadelphia.
“We provide a safe space for parents to tell their stories, ask questions and share resources so we can go back to being the best parents we can be to our kids,” says Julie Moyer, a West Chester mom who co-founded Trans-Parents with Downingtown mom Amy Clark.
Julie’s son Levi Moyer, 25, came out as trans nearly five years ago while Lyles Clark, also born female, identifies as non-binary and uses the pronouns they, their and them. Like Cal McMillan, both overcame depression, anxiety, cutting and self-harm in high school to become productive, independent adults.
Levi, 25, is a spray-paint artist and photographer, college graduate and assistant teacher in a school for children with autism. He has a longtime steady girlfriend.
A Phi Beta Kappa Pitt graduate, Lyles Clark has a PhD in Neuroscience from Penn, works as a research scientist and has a steady girlfriend. Lyles came out as a lesbian at Downingtown West High School (Class of 2010), then identified as non-binary after college.
“They didn’t feel female and they didn’t feel male,” says his mom, Amy, who admits to occasional slip-ups with pronouns.
Because they’re leaders in the local trans community, we asked Julie and Amy for their take on the transgender conversation currently making headlines.
Some have called our schools hyper-focused on sexuality and say kids are being “groomed” and “indoctrinated” by library books about LGBTQ+ issues, which should be banned. Your reaction?
Julie: These books are literally life-saving. The suicide rate for the LGBTQ community is 40 percent – it’s even higher for trans people. If you’re a teenager and you’re reading a book written by a person who’s transgender or nonbinary, you see you’re not alone. These books can show a child on the verge of suicide that there are others experiencing the same thing, that they are important and that they matter. They’re meant to educate and promote independent thinking. I don’t want anyone else’s teenager to go through what my kid went through. If you want to avoid these books, don’t read them.
[Editor’s note: In April, Julie Moyer spoke out in support of the memoir, Gender Queer, at a West Chester school board meeting after a book-banning flyer circulated around the district. After two hours of public comment, the school board voted to keep the book in its libraries.)
Amy: I think people think, ‘Maybe if we don’t discuss it, it will go away.’ But no one says, ‘I think I’m going to turn myself into someone who’s transgender or nonbinary.’ It’s not really a choice.
Julie: Yes, people seem to think it’s trendy to be LGBTQ but the reality is: Who would choose to live a harder life if it wasn’t truly who they are? Who would choose to be ostracized and feel like an outcast? When people say, ‘You’re too young’ or ‘You don’t know what you’re talking about’ or ‘You’re only doing it because your friends are doing it’ – it’s hurtful, it harms kids.
Some have argued that schools should get parents’ consent before using a student’s preferred pronouns. They say schools have a duty to inform parents if their child has come out as trans, questioning or non-binary.
Julie: Sometimes kids don’t feel comfortable talking to their parents. We should feel grateful that they have somebody at school they can go to – whether it’s a teacher, a coach or counselor.
Amy: School is where they spend the most time so it should be a safe space where they feel comfortable because a lot of these kids don’t have that at home. In high school, Lyles had many lunches in the guidance counselor’s office. We need our teachers or counselors or whoever to be able to open their doors to these kids and let them know they’ll be there for them instead of not acknowledging them or what they’re going through.
Julie: A guidance counselor told me Levi was cutting in high school – she was wonderful and gave us all kinds of resources to get some help for Levi and we did. As parents we can’t presume we’re going to know everything because we don’t.
Amy: Usually it’s been going on for a while for them to get to the point where they can tell you. It takes time and courage.
Julie: When someone asks, ‘What is your preferred name, what is your preferred pronoun?’ – that’s not teaching sexuality or gender at all. That’s just asking, out of respect, what a person’s preferences are. It’s vital to their mental health that kids feel included and have the space to express who they are. We’re not teaching or indoctrinating them. If we want to lower the number of suicide attempts, we need to accept people and not judge them. It has nothing to do with education.
As parents whose children had gender-affirming surgery [both Levi and Lyle had “top surgeries” (mastectomies)], can you comment on the Texas law that allows parents who’ve allowed gender-affirming surgeries to be investigated for child abuse. And what about the new ban on hanging Pride flags in Bucks County classrooms.
Julie: There is anxiety around all of this. We are worried as a group that’s what’s happening in Texas could happen here in Pennsylvania. We’ve already seen the House pass a bill saying people in high school and college have to play sports on the team of their birth. [The bill passed the PA Senate Tuesday. Gov. Wolf has said he’ll veto it.]
[Editor’s note: We asked physician Cal McMillan his thoughts on trans women like Penn swimmer Lia Thomas competing on women’s teams. Some of Thomas’ teammates, sports parents and pro stars like Martina Navratilova and Renee Richards, who’s trans, have come out against trans women competing against women. But Cal offers this medical perspective: “Apart from things like stature – being taller or shorter is an advantage for certain sports – being on appropriate hormone therapy negates the advantage of those assigned male at birth. Your muscle mass naturally decreases to a physical female profile. Lia Thomas’ times did get slower and were in the normal range for high-performing athletes.”]
Julie: I think the trans community today is going through what the gay and lesbian community went through in the 70s and 80s. Trans is foreign to a lot of people so for them, it’s scary.
Amy: The people who want to squelch this stuff – it’s all tied to politics and power. I don’t think some of these groups actually care that much about some of the [gender-identity] issues. It’s just a way to get more people allied with them.
Southeastern PA Trans-Parent Support Group meets monthly on Zoom, has a Facebook group page, and will have a table at Phoenixville’s Pride Fest on Saturday, June 11.
Hola, Rosa Mexicano: Same spot, nueva fiesta
Rosa Mexicano is slinging salsa at the old Besito space in Suburban Square.
Nah, we take that back – there’s no “slinging” at this elevated Mexican joint. Rosa’s pours craft cocktails and dishes up authentic South-of-the-border fare.
Note to ’Rita-lovin’ Mamacitas out there: Rosa shakes them up in style: spicy, smokey or stormy. Our personal faves: the Spicy-Cucumber and the frozen Pomegranate Hibiscus, a house signature.
Other standouts: the ceviche sampler and the Salmon Pipian (below). Olé Olé.
With 170 seats inside, 60 on the front patio, and 30 at the bar, there’s plenty of space to spread out and stay a while.
Ardmore is the mini-chain’s eighth outpost in the northeast U.S. The original Rosa’s opened on Manhattan’s Upper East Side in 1984.
On the menu: Starters, soups and salads from $9; Guacamole made tableside from $15, Ceviche from $14, Mains $17 – $28 (except for $48 Ribeye), Sizzling Mixed Grill Parrilladas $26 – $29.
The vibe: Vibrant, casual and fun.
Don’t miss the cool mural on a rear wall by Mexican artist Patricia De Murga. A portrait of Rosa’s late founder and chef, Josephina Howard, stands sentry at the host desk.
Rosa Mexicano, 105 Coulter Ave., Suburban Square, Ardmore, 610-673-0870, opens daily at 11:30 a.m.
Above and beyond: Jaguar Land Rover Main Line roars ahead with a new look, bigger footprint and a focus on the future
Wayne’s only car dealership has been a fixture for so long, it blended into the E. Lancaster Ave. streetscape.
Newly renovated, Jaguar Land Rover Main Line – now a sleek stone and glass behemoth befitting the exalted vehicles sold therein – is practically a landmark.
Owner Michael Smyth wasn’t sure how the tradition-bound Main Line would receive his dealership’s modern digs but he needn’t have worried. “Neighbors have been stopping me just to tell me ‘your building’s beautiful,’” he says.
Beyond the fabulous facelift, Jaguar Main Line just won its third Pride of Jaguar and Land Rover Pinnacle Award, an honor bestowed on just 12 U.S. dealerships nationwide. The award recognizes JLRML’s off-the-charts marks for sales and customer satisfaction.
“We work hard to create customers for a lifetime,” Smyth says.
Unlike other luxury showrooms, he refuses to price cars over sticker – even though the pandemic’s low inventory provides a convenient excuse to do so.
“We’re in a community where you’re going to see people at church, in the neighborhood or at an event,” says Smyth, who lives in Villanova. Other dealers may call him foolish, but Smyth can hold his head high. A guiding principles of his company: “Do things the right way. We really believe in treating the customer as if your mother, sister or brother is coming into the store.”
JLRML also does right by its employees. It pays “significantly above national averages,” invests in training and career development and hires a diverse staff.
“We have a commitment to the changing Main Line and people respond favorably to that,” says Smyth.
In a business rife with turnover, JLRML employees, like its customers, tend to stick around. His general manager has been on the job 21 years.
While they don’t drive themselves (yet), Smyth’s Range Rovers do sell themselves, he says.
“They’re comfortable, they’re safe and they’re really luxurious, beautiful and stately. There’s a level of simplicity and sophistication that’s very British. You feel regal driving a Range Rover,” which Smyth calls “the brand with the youngest and wealthiest demographic in the car business.”
Indeed, folks are so smitten, many are happily driving off in pre-owned Jaguars and Range Rovers. The supply chain has so snarled production, the Wayne showroom is full of vehicles so spiffy you’d never guess they were pre-owned. “People come in and see how nice they are. It changes their perception.”
In April, JLRML ranked 7th in the U.S. in preowned Land Rover sales. One of Smyth’s pandemic pivots was ramping up sources of pre-owned cars and hard-to-get parts for his service department.
Smyth’s good-guy philosophy extends beyond the four walls of his dealership.
To honor his grandfather, who enlisted as an officer in both World Wars, Smyth just committed $250,000 to his Wayne neighbor, American Legion Post 668. Paid out over five years, the funds will go to five local charities that support veterans.
He also makes a point to support community nonprofits like Main Line School Night, Music is Love Foundation (beneficiary of Wayne Music Festival), Wayne Business Association, and LaSalle College High School, where he serves as a trustee. He’s a longstanding sponsor of Villanova basketball where former coach Jay Wright drives one of his Range Rovers.
JLRML just signed on to be a premier sponsor of next year’s Devon Horse Show, Smyth tells us.
Like most successful self-starters, Smyth likes to look ahead.
His three sons, Michael, Matthew and Jack, work in the family business in some capacity and should take the reins one day.
Last summer he bought the nearby Burkett Oil property,Wayne’s longest-running business, and directed an extensive environmental cleanup of the 1.7-acre site. Smyth leases the land to the nearby hardware store but expects it to turn it into an electric-car charging facility one day.
While the pandemic slowed the dealership’s renovation and snarled supply chains but there have been silver linings. The brand is as coveted as ever and demand remains strong.
“People aren’t traveling as much and have more expendable income,” says Smyth. “They’re treating themselves to luxury goods like Range Rovers.”
“The Main Line has one of the highest penetrations of Range Rovers in the country,” he says. “It’s the right product in the right location. I’m excited about the future.”
Jaguar Land Rover Main Line, 325 Lancaster Ave., Wayne. Call (610) 520-2000 or visit online.
Main Line welcomes Wild Fork, the frozen-is-fresher supermarket
Might be time to buy a bigger freezer. Wild Fork has come to town.
At the old Pet Valu in Ardmore Shopping Center, Wild Fork sells about a zillion cuts of frozen meat and poultry and an ocean’s worth of seafood, plus ready-to-heat meals, sides and desserts.
The Wild Fork difference: everything has been “blast frozen” at -40° F for peak freshness which purportedly seals in nutrients and flavor and minimizes those icky ice crystals.
The company also claims its vacuum-sealed packaging reduces waste. And meals can be made in a jiffy; defrost in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes and fire up the barbie.
Meats are sourced from “the best slow feeders” in the Midwest then aged – 17 days for beef, eight days for pork – then flash frozen.
Fancy folks will appreciate the Wagyu and Black Angus beef, Berkshire pork and exotic meats like elk, bison and ostrich. Plenty of organic choices, too. Families will find kiddie favorites like chicken nuggets and turkey meatballs.
Prices are rather reasonable and you can shop any way you like: in store or online for pickup or home delivery.
According to Ardmore’s manager, top sellers to date are the steaks, prepared meals and exotics.
It’s Wild Fork’s third location in PA. The South Florida-based chain has multiple outposts in the Sunshine State, California, Texas, Illinois and New Jersey.
Wild Fork, 317 W. Lancaster Ave. Ardmore 833-300-9453, is open daily 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Gift packages available.
Pumping iron and eating smart but still feel flabby? Could be time for Emsculpt NEO, now available at Revitalize Aesthetics in Ardmore. It’s the first non-invasive body-shaping procedure that actually builds muscle as it blasts away fat. High-intensity electromagnetic energy trigger thousands of muscle contractions in your targeted problem area, resulting in tightened abs, toned arms or a rounder rear with no needles, anesthesia or downtime. On Wed. June 22, you can try before you buy. Just hop aboard the Emsculpt NEO Bus, stopping in the lot across from Revitalize Aesthetics on Greenfield Ave. from 4 to 6 p.m. Enjoy Emsculpt demos & special pricing, tacos and ‘ritas and goodie bags and more. Click here for details and to register.
If you still think a facelift means a hospital stay, general anesthesia, weeks under wraps and in hiding, you haven’t seen a plastic surgeon lately. Dr. Brannon Claytor, Main Line Health’s Chief of Plastic Surgery, performs most of his procedures under local anesthesia in the state-of-the-art surgical suite at his Bryn Mawr office. Especially popular in this Zoom era: Dr. Claytor’s deep-plane facelifts. Patients who opt for this surgery, often done in-office, recover quicker and achieve longer-lasting results. Plus, they don’t have to pay hospital operating-room fees – a huge savings. Not in need of a facelift? Dr. Claytor also gets rave reviews for his eyelid and neck lifts and mommy makeovers – a tummy tuck with a breast lift.
When you finally get your old photos and videos digitized, you’re going to smile and say…“Ahhhh.” We sure did, after consulting with local photo wiz, Marianna Curran of SheKnowsFotos who made the whole process a snap. We shipped everything off in a special box, which was tracked, and the contents were quickly and professionally scanned and organized. Now our family photos are safely stored and easily accessible to us (and future generations) in their new digital home – not degrading in a box or hogging precious phone space. Think iCloud is the answer? Think again – even Apple advises backups because they can’t guarantee security. Contact [email protected] and tell her SAVVY sent you.
***SAVVY Picks are shoutouts & promos on behalf of our sponsors. To learn more about becoming a SAVVY Pick, email [email protected].
In a fine feather at Devon Horse Show
Ladies Day at the horse returned in jaunty fashion last week.
About 200 women turned out for “Feathers and Frocks” – a morning of frivolity and fashion and the best people-watching a $55 ticket can buy. Many, but not all, chose to pirouette before the judges, more than a few strutting like peacocks with plumes to match.
Top honors – “Best in Show” – went to Evie Romanova (below left). Posing with three judges, Kathleen Kenneally (far left in photo below right) was named Best Hat to Toe for her golden ensemble and Kate Malloy won “Most Fascinating” for her pink and black fascinator.
A hold-your-horses showstopper in red, Romanova took home a Longines watch for her efforts – not too shabby for a morning’s work.
Kenneally tells us she stitched up a gold dress to wear under her metallic coat two days before the contest. Her ivory, jewel-encrusted topper was made in County Kerry, Ireland by Carol Kennelly Millinery.
Another Irish lass, Malloy’s fascinator also came from an Irish milliner but she added the pink ribbons and feathers herself.
Other fillies in the winners’ circle included Janice (“Wawa’) Wetherill, shown below with her daughter, Amanda Wetherill Holmes.
Wetherill took “Plume of the Day” in tradItional “Devon blue” and white. She bought a straw hat a few days before and applied the feathers herself. She’s on a roll: this was her second win in the theme category. She was named “Most Enchanted” for her DIY bird’s nest topper in 2019’s Enchanted Garden-themed contest.
And just for kicks, a few more choice shots from this year’s show, thanks to photographer Brenda Carpenter.
High on sugar and star power, Crumbl craze spreads to Wayne
Whether they came for the cookies or the star baller is hard to say – both have pretty sweet reps, right?
Amid long lines and pink balloons galore and with 76ers’ power forward Tobias Harris holding court, the world’s fastest-growing cookie company debuted in Gateway Shopping Center last Friday.
The affable hoops star first tasted Crumbl in the 2020 NBA Bubble and reportedly became so sweet on the brand, he had to bring it closer to his home court.
And Harris knew just the guy to make that happen: his former trainer and fast friend Charles Terry, who once owned 15 Popeye’s franchises. Both live in Wynnewood during the season.
With Harris as his brand ambassador, Terry opened the Main Line’s first Crumbl in Wynnewood and tells SAVVY a new Broomall store should be baking by Labor Day. (Crumbl Cookies in Newtown Square has a different owner.)
The Sixers star is more than the face of the brand – he’s hands-on. He visited the Gateway location several times before it opened, checking on construction and schmoozing with neighboring businesses. By all accounts, he couldn’t have been nicer. Or should we say, sweeter?
Check out our story about the Wynnewood store to see why folks are cuckoo for Crumbl.
Crumbl Cookies, 125 E. Swedesford Rd., Gateway Shopping Center (near First Watch) is open for takeout, delivery and pickup of online orders, Mon. – Thurs. 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fri. and Sat. 8 a.m. to midnight, 484-393-2525.
T/E teen inspires one-armed celebrity golf challenge
Ever play a sport with one hand tied behind your back?
Didn’t think so.
That’s what, in effect, 110 intrepid souls did on a golf course last week.
In blast-furnace heat, they came out to support Kendall’s Crusade, named for Kendall Kemm, Conestoga ’22, who’s getting mighty good at swinging one-handed.
If you think Kendall’s swing is sweet, you should have seen the insane swing of special guest Snappy Gilmore. The TikTok influencer dazzled the crowd and shared pointers.
Unlike Gilmore, Kendall plays one-handed because she has to. She’s been battling an AVM (arteriovenous malformation) in her brain for eight years. She had a stroke when she was 10 and lost full use of her left side. Radiation treatments have significantly shrunk her AVM but rendered her left hand useless.
“I feel clobbered a lot of the time,” she admitted in her speech at the after-party at White Marsh Country Club. “I’m tired of thinking, ‘Will today be it?” (The rest of her speech was characteristically upbeat and grateful.)
Big Philly sports names – among them former Eagle Freddie Mitchell, former Phillies Larry Bowa, Milt Thompson, Dickie Noles and Ricky Bottalico, and broadcasters Michael Barkann, Joe DeCamara and Dei Lynam – came out for the nine-hole scramble because Kendall practically grew up at the ballpark. Her mother, Leslie Gudel, was a longtime reporter for what was then Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.
Co-founded by Kendall and her mom in 2015, Kendall’s Crusade raises money – some $450,000 to date – to support others with AVMs. It just wrote a check to Paoli Hospital to help fund a new, state-of-the art neurology unit that will bring advanced stroke and aneurysm care to the hospital for the first time.
Kendall’s headed to college in Nashville but tells her mom she’s up for another challenge in 2023. Game on.
Suggested summer outing: the new Visitor Center at Valley Forge Park
If you’re one of the 80 percent who come to Valley Forge Park for fresh air and exercise, may we suggest a pitstop at the new Visitor Center? In the works for a decade and under construction for more than three, this $12 million dollar baby was worth the wait.
Gone are the gloomy lights, dated displays and dingy bathrooms. In their place: a cheerful, interactive mini-museum that effectively – and entertainingly – tells the Valley Forge story.
Like most updated museums, the center “doesn’t just put stuff out there,” says Adam Gresek, the park’s visitor and community engagement director. “You take a narrative path through the structure.”
Like a colonial soldier, you march through the camp using footsteps on the floor as the camp progressed over that long, hard winter.
Among the center’s new wrinkles: interactive quiz boards, a light-up map, hut-building with toy logs
a touchable musket and a display of weaponry that takes up a whole wall.
General Washington’s iconic war tent now sits in the Museum of the American Revolution in Philly, but this life-size wax figure of him astride Blueskin, a gift from Mt. Vernon, still stands in the Visitor Center. His face is accurate; It was digitally recreated from a mask of Washington’s head at Mt. Vernon.
Amazingly, the vast majority of artifacts remain in an underground vault, safe from the ravages of light and temperature, to be brought up for rotating exhibits still TBD.
While you’re there, don’t miss the new park orientation film, written and acted by park staff and locals and narrated by Laura Linney, who played Abigail Adams for HBO.
These are indeed exciting times at Valley Forge.
Neglected buildings are being restored and repurposed – sometimes in private-public partnerships, Superintendent Rose Fennell is bringing strong leadership and the nonprofit Valley Forge Park Alliance is hosting programs and attracting new supporters.
President’s Day 2022 was one of the park’s busiest days ever.
“It was a great omen,” says Gresek. “The pandemic was a transformative time for the park service. It got people to see what they had here and what this system of government provides for them – that’s a really cool thing.”
Valley Forge Park Visitor Center is open daily 9 to 5. The nonprofit Valley Forge Park Alliance hosts walks, speakers and special programs in support of the park and the refurbishment of Maurice Stephens House. New members, volunteers and supporters are needed and welcome.
SAVVY Shore 2022 edition: New spots to sip, sup, shop & play
After a smashing season in Ocean City, Paoli-based provisioner Aneu is going Downbeach this summer. A second shore outpost of the popular takeout market, juicer and caterer should open around the corner from Margate Casel’s by month’s end. Yes, they deliver to the beach!
She’s 138 years old so Margate’s Lucy the Elephant is getting a top-to-tail makeover. She’s under wraps while crews apply new metal skin. No visitors allowed but the gift shop’s open.
Steve & Cookie’s By the Bay has a new reservation system. You might actually get a table this summer. Might.
Longport’s mayor made some noise about ending the town’s sole streetery, but no one wanted to hear it. The tents shared by LP’s only two restaurants, Ozzie’s and Catch – are back up … and busy.
Note to tokers: Weed is still illegal on Jersey beaches. You can’t (openly) drink on them, either. Shore towns have passed laws making recreational pot a private affair – as in, in your own home, nowhere in public. And you’ll have to buy it en route. Closest dispensary to the sand is The Botanist in Egg Harbor Township.
Cycling from the city to the shore should get easier in the not-too-distance future. Camden County is spending $10 million on a 34-mile trail from the Ben Franklin Bridge pedestrian ramp to Atlantic County where it will link to Atlantic County Trail, which runs to the tip of Cape May.
The Atlantic City Pickleball Open, the world’s largest indoor pickleball competition, will debut Sept. 19-24 at the Convention Center. Players will compete on 42 courts simultaneously and a stadium court will seat up to 800 spectators. Organizers signed on for a three-year run. Should be a smash hit.
The brothers who own Catch in Longport have gone fishin’ in Ventnor. They just opened The Dorset, an add-day café at the old Annette’s.
Indie music in Atlantic City? Yes, indeedy. Newest venue: Anchor Rock Club on New York Ave. which will host acts like Low-Cut Connie and Dead Kennedys all summer.
Early reviews are promising for Mr. Gordo’s, Ventnor’s new modern taqueria at 5223 Ventnor Ave. It’s at the old Domenico’s near Sack ‘o Subs, which mysteriously closed after Memorial Day weekend but reportedly will reopen.
AC’s Tony Boloney’s is shacking up behind Tomatoes on Amherst Ave. in Margate this season. Same ‘za. New name – L’il B’s.
Memories in Margate is 50 this year. Yup, the Geater’s still got his heater.
RIP Junior Donuts in Margate. The marina property with 27 boat slips and a nearby parking lot is listed for $1.9 million.
Ventnor’s getting a new gourmet market and bottle shop, naturally. Wahine Wine Co. will be bringing natural and local wines, craft beer and spirits to Ventnor’s Dorset Ave. (near the bridge) by early July. A companion gourmet shop, Fig and Whistle Market, is opening next door. Owner of both is Vanessa Wong, proprietor of the popular Fishtown Social in Philly.
New or nearly new in Atlantic City:
- High-speed electric go-karts inside the Showboat.
- AC’s first Diner en Blanc, June 25 at a surprise spot.
- North Beach Mini Golf, bi-level putt-putt place past the north end of the boardwalk with views of the lighthouse, inlet and Brigantine.
- At the Ocean Casino Resort (formerly Revel): Iconic NYC sweet shop Serendipity, upscale sports bar Gallery and 465 redone rooms with killer views.
- At Caesar’s: High-end Asian restaurant Nobu and a second Gordon Ramsay spot, Hell’s Kitchen.
- At Bally’s, Carousel Bar, the first spinning bar in the state, and the Yard, a beer garden with lounge seating, arcade games, stage for live acts, lounge seating and a casual menu.
- At the Tropicana, Hash House a Go Go (Midwest-inspired “twisted farm food”), Wild Honey Smokehouse & Tavern (BBQ, beers, smokey cocktails), Purple Zebra daiquiri bar, Gin Rickey’s (sing-along/dueling piano bar) and Ossu Japanese Tavern (small plates, sushi & yakitori).
Clancy’s By the Bay, open for ten years in Somer’s Point, closed for good May 29 after the place was sold. No word yet on what’s coming. Clancy’s By the Sea on the Ocean City Boardwalk remains open.
Caroline’s in Somer’s Point is snazzing things up. The always hopping bar and nightclub has a new menu and new Executive Chef, Michael Chiarlanza from Bobby Flay Steak.
Word must be getting around that this may the last summer for Smitty’s Clam Bar in its current location – the joint is even more jumpin’ than usual. Smitty’s has been shucking on Bay Ave. since 1974. (Anyone else remember when Smitty’s was open 24 hours, back when the drinking age was 18?) Owners will reportedly set up shop elsewhere once Smith’s Marina changes hands. With 176-boat slips, a coffee shop and clam bar, they’re hoping to fetch $6 million.
Fond of the food at Peter Shields Inn in Cape May? You’ll go googoo for Grana, a new BYOB by Shields’ chef Carl Messick, open since May at the corner of Cape May’s Broadway and Perry Streets. Menu is “Modern American.” We hear reservations are hard to come by.
Contemplating an electric bike? Take one out for a spin with BeachSide Park E-Bike Rentals. They deliver to most shore towns and set up shop in Somer’s Point on weekends. $50, $80 or $100 for two, four or six hours.
Stone Harbor has a new rooftop restaurant. Blocks from a the beach on 96th Street, Surfside Rooftop Grill serves fresh local seafood, steaks and burgers. Vibe is kick-back casual.
Now in its second summer, South Jersey Picnic Co. continues to set up stunning spreads on the sand. Check their Insta feed. Mesmerizing stuff.
Yowza – it’s been 50 years since Avalon started checking beach tags. ‘Course back in 1972, a tag was $2 for the season, $4 if you waited until after Memorial Day.
Newly retired Philly sports media legend Ray Didinger will chat about his new memoir, Finished Business, at Surfside Park in Avalon June 18 at 6 p.m.
Rainy day refuge: Stone Harbor Museum which just got a nifty facelift.
Beach reads and kiddie books line the shelves of Avalon’s new Beach Bound Books on Dune Driver.
One of few black-owned businesses in Ocean City called it quits after last season. Upscale Caribbean bistro 701 Mosaic operated for 14 years on 4th street in the city’s north end.
“Mummers Struttin’ on the Bay” is the 2022 theme for Night in Venice, Ocean City’s annual boat blast set for July 23. Jackie Evancho (“America’s Got Talent”) will sing with the OC Pops the next night at the Music Pier.
The Tiki cruise craze continues apace. Newest entry: Kick Back Tiki, which offers a sweet sound system, restroom and seating for six. You bring the booze. If you don’t mind sharing with strangers, the Beachy Tiki runs 1.5-hour tours for $38.
Cape May County Zoo’s new and improved Safari Café debuts this week: 250 alfresco, 50 AC-cooled seats inside.
This and That
Santucci’s prized pizzas are coming to the Main Line. The Philly-based chain – home of the “Original Square Pizza” – is poised to open its 9th outpost in Paoli Plaza near the CVS. Dine in (BYOB) or take home signature square pizzas, strombolis, flatbreads, salads, wings and sandwiches. Santucci’s also has shops in the Italian Market, Downingtown, Ventnor and Wildwood.
New star-spangled tradition: The first annual Philly Balloon & Music Festival, taking flight in Glenmoore, Chester County July 1 to 4. The four-day festival features hot-air balloon rides (tethered or untethered), live music, bounce houses, magic shows, hayrides, local beer and food trucks, fireworks and more. More than 40 balloons will send you soaring twice a day in “mass ascension launches.” Tickets are $10-$20, plus $15 to park and shuttle in. Untethered balloon rides start at $325 and include admission.
Online home goods giant Wayfair is taking the former JCPenney space at the mall, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal. The 104,000+ sq. ft “large format” emporium will have a rooftop deck and bar and, on the main level, a café with indoor and outdoor seating. Boston-based Wayfair has announced plans to increase its brick-and-mortar presence this year and next, including first outposts for its AllModern and Joss & Main brands in the greater Boston area. JCPenney at KOP Mall closed five years ago. Mall owner Simon Property Group had floated plans to convert it to offices, apartments, a hotel and outdoor entertainment venue and more recently, to medical offices. The new Wayfair won’t open until 2023 or 2024, the PBJ reports.
The Albanian family behind the Bryn Mawr BYOB Otto by Polpo and slew of Jersey shore spots (La Fontana, Polpo, etc.) is on the move again. This time, the Dakus paid a little over $2 million for La Collina, the 46-year-old Italian restaurant on a collina (little hill) in Belmont Hills. No specific word on what’s planned but smart money says Italian with a full bar. A liquor license was included in the sale of the 9,000 sq. ft. building, which sits on one acre overlooking the Schuylkill.
Beer was imbibed at Wilson Farm Park last Friday night – legally – township first. La Cabra Brewing brought a “beer garden” and Handel’s Ice Cream brought its truck to the First Annual Family Movie Night last Friday night. Both plan a return visit for the Chico’s Vibe concert July 21 and Community Day October 8.
The Main Line once again cleaned up in standardized test score rankings. Tredyffrin-Easttown School District scored second best in the state, according to 2022 statewide rankings by the Pittsburgh Business Times. Lower Merion was No. 5. Radnor was No. 6. Unionville-Chadds Ford was No. 1 for seven years before falling to fourth. Upper St. Clair was No. 1.
An independent investigation by Chester County Detectives of the May 19 fatal police shooting of a Malvern woman found that the shooting was justified, DA Deb Ryan announced last week. Here’s how it went down, according to Ryan’s news release: Police arrived at Charleston Greene for a well-being check after someone feared the woman was suicidal and called 911. When the agitated woman opened the door to arriving police, she had a gun in one hand and a cell phone in the other. Police convinced the woman to drop the gun after they holstered their weapons and she walked toward police outside. But she suddenly turned and ran back inside and grabbed her gun. The woman’s finger was on the trigger as an officer struggled with her. When the woman pointed a gun at police from five feet away, an officer shot the woman three times. Police immediately attempted CPR but she died shortly thereafter. The whole incident lasted 57 seconds.
The FAA is trying to figure out why a small plane crashed near a maintenance building at St. David’s Golf Club last week. Harold Mueller, a pilot in his early 70s flying with only his wife, Patricia, and two cats aboard, smartly steered his failing single-engine Cirrus toward open space near the 14th hole. Golfers pulled the couple and their two cats from the wreckage. Tredyffrin Police Chief Mike Beaty is praising the pilot’s quick thinking and calls the golfers’ efforts “heroic.” First responders from “Tredyffrin PD, Radnor Fire EMS and Berwyn Fire/EMS all combined for a successful outcome for what are routinely tragic events,” Beaty tells SAVVY. The Muellers were treated at Paoli Hospital and the cats were picked up by family members at the Radnor Fire station. The couple was flying their usual route home to Ambler from a second home in Estero near Fort Myers.
Looks like the Coatesville VA Medical Center is staying open. U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan announced at a recent Town Hall that after she and U.S Veterans Affairs Secretary Denis McDonough toured the facility, its closure was tabled indefinitely. Noting the recent closure of Jennersville and Brandywine Hospitals, Houlahan said “the recommendation to close the VA hospital does not sit well with the community or me.”
TSX (Total Soccer Experience) has received a warm welcome in Berwyn. “People are amazed at the facility and blown away by the level of training they’re receiving,” reports owner/coach Evren Asral. Up and kicking since January next to Golf Galaxy on Swedesford Rd., TSX offers drop-in and scheduled training, camps and leagues for ages 2 and up.
Lower Merion wants feedback on the Ardmore Master Plan and will hold a community open house June 21, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. In the meantime, you can learn more about the plan and ways to weigh in on it here.
Another gay old time on Gay Steet in West Chester this summer. The borough is once again closing the main drag to cars on weekends so there’s more space for outdoor dining and shopping alfresco.
Here’s one way to drink more anti-oxidant rich green tea: book a seat at a tea tasting. Rikumo, the Japanese furnishings concept store in Ardmore, is planning monthly tea workshops on Saturday mornings. A $20 ticket buys you a three-tea tasting from three distinct green tea varieties, a brewing demo, hands-on matcha making, goodie bag and more. The first session is June 18 at 11 a.m.
Got a big heart and space to spare? Consider putting up an out-of-town family with a loved one in the hospital. “We’re always short on homes because the need is unending,” says HOSTS for HOSPITALS Outreach Coordinator Cathy Davis, adding that the new CHOP in King of Prussia and easy access to Center City hospitals makes Main Line homes especially desirable. Many locals have unused carriage houses, small apartments or au pair suites. One Bala Cynwyd teacher offers her home while she summers at the shore. HOSTS partner Church of the Good Shepherd in Rosemont is housing guests in their newly renovated Canterbury House. Contact [email protected].
It’s not every day that dentistry gets us grinning but Growing Smiles Main Line Pediatric Dentistry in Narberth isn’t just any dental office. It’s a practice with a purpose, not to mention a treehouse, slide, gaming station and gum ball machine. Each time Dr. Bari Levine sees a new patient with developmental differences, she makes a donation to the nearby GETCafé, a nonprofit hub for individuals of all abilities. In her dental school days at Temple, Bari started the Growing Smiles Foundation which sends young dentists to treat underserved kids in Peru. Now she’s committed to serving neuro-diverse and developmentally disabled kids in her own backyard. See our smile? It’s growing.
After two years off, Wayne Music Festival returns this Saturday, June 11 at 2 p.m. Four stages and 16 acts including Melvin Seals & JGB, Yellow Man and Tommy Conwell along with local faves like Rugby Road, Jared Fienman and The 29ers. Nosh on homegrown goodies from DiBruno Bros., Christopher’s, etc. Stick around for fireworks at 10. Free entry and proceeds from sponsors go to the Music is Love Foundation for hospitalized kids. Uber or take the train, or if you must drive, consult this parking map.
Two smashing successes worth sharing:
A Night for Austin’s Army raised more than $110,000 to help Austin Beltrante’s family pay for improvements to their Berwyn home so it can better accommodate Austin’s needs. You may recall our stories about the resilient T-E teen who lost both hands and a foot after an accidental electrocution. Just last month, we joined him at his prostheses fitting.
And this year’s Elwyn Ball was its best attended and most successful to date – amassing more than $750,000 for the non-profit that serves people with behavioral health challenges. Congrats to Gladwyne attorney Joe Lundy, Elwyn Foundation Board Chair, who was honored.
And finally, we’re signing off for a little summer siesta until August. But do stay up-to-speed on our social channels. When we’re not loafing around, you’ll find us at @SAVVY Main Line on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Wait, who are we kidding? We’re news hounds. You know we’ll keep sniffing around for scoops. Send yours to [email protected].
Camden County is spending $10 million on a 340-mile …I think it’s 34-mile perhaps?
Caroline O'Halloran says
yikes – thanks for catching that typo.
Frank Toner says
Santuccis pizza original location is on O St. In Juniata Park, not Broad St
Caroline O'Halloran says
Right you are. Appreciate the correction!
Pamela Bastings says
Always an enjoyable read, Caroline! Thank you for your coverage and lending your judging expertise again to Ladies’ Day at the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair! It is always a pleasure to see you! Your ensemble and chapeau were beautiful!
Caroline O'Halloran says
Thank you, Pamela. It’s always a pleasure to see you as well. And I won’t forget your kind words about my writing.
Katharine O'Keeffe says
Hi Caroline, better than ever this month! Enjoy your summer break time. Where is the July 1-4 Balloon & Music festival?
(PS two O’s in Glenmoore….and for native Glenmoorons like me, I still cling to the original two-word spelling, Glen Moore, even though the Post Office went to one word years ago)
Caroline O'Halloran says
Thanks for the eagle eyes on the typo. It’s strange – the news release about the balloon festival only talks about having to park Exton and take a free shuttle to the event in Glenmoore. (The map on the website makes it look like it’s taking place at Ludwig’s Corner?)
Parking is at:
Universal Technical Institute,
750 Pennsylvania Drive, Exton Pa. 19341
Jennifer L says
Thank you for this informative issue! I passed it along to a parent who needed information on the resources you shared!!