At 10 p.m. on July 29, 2023, Patrick Hoey, cancer survivor, four-year diver for Conestoga’s swim team and rising junior at Penn State, lingers on a dock in upstate New York.
It’s the first night of vacation – he’d been invited to tag along on his buddy’s family trip to the Finger Lakes – and he wants one last dip in Keuka Lake before rejoining his friends in the lakefront rental.
“So I dive off the dock and as soon as I hit the water, I can’t feel anything; I can’t move,” Patrick, 20, recalls on a recent Saturday morning in his family’s Devon home. “I was sinking face down in the water.”
Instinctively, his swim-team training kicks in. “I just hold my breath as long as I can. I don’t remember getting rescued. I must have blacked out.”
Some minutes later, Jonah Abramson, his best friend since age 5 and a Conestoga ’21 classmate, asks, “Hey, where’s Patrick?”
The teens rush back to the dock.
Illuminating the lake with the flashlights on their phones, they spot him.
Jonah is first to jump in. Athletic and strong, he turns his 180-pound friend face up in the water. His friends help him pull Patrick onto the dock.
“Bless them,” says Diane Hoey, Patrick’s mom and a health room nurse at Beaumont Elementary, recalling that fateful night three months later.
For Jonah, she reserves, perhaps, a special blessing. She thinks of him as her “superhero” – he saved her son’s life.
But Jonah isn’t Patrick’s only savior.
As the Hoeys like to say, there were God winks and guardian angels everywhere that night and in the fraught days and weeks to follow.
God Wink One: Vacationing in the adjacent lakehouse that week is Penn Medicine physician and T/E parent Dr. Ben Braslow, Vice-Chief of Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Surgical Critical Care at HUP and his wife, Dr. Karen Chojnacki, general surgery specialist & vice chair of clinical operations at Thomas Jefferson University. The two instantly assess Patrick, stabilize him on the dock, and alert EMTs to the nature of Patrick’s suspected spinal cord injury. Thanks to them, the ambulance arrives specially equipped for Patrick’s hourlong ride to the region’s only Level One Trauma Center, Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. (An airlift to Strong has been ruled out because the clouds are too thick, the lake’s topography too challenging.)
God Wink Two: As he awaits Patrick’s ambulance, Braslow remembers that a trauma surgeon he mentored at Penn works at Strong and gives him a call. Yes, Dr. Mark Velle is on call that Saturday night.
Braslow fills him in on Patrick’s injury. “I’ll be waiting for him,” Velle assures him.
Meanwhile, in Ocean City, NJ, July 29 is the Hoeys’ first day of vacation. Diane’s phone rings at 10:45 p.m.
It’s Robin, Jonah’s mom.
“What’s wrong? Is everything OK?” Diane asks.
“I can’t believe I’m telling you this,” Robin replies, as EMTs lift Patrick on a gurney. “I’m so sorry but Patrick was in an accident. He dove into the lake. We pulled him out but he can’t move anything. He can’t feel anything from the chest down. We’re all here with him. The ambulance is here. We’re trying to figure out where to take him.”
The oldest of Patrick’s three sisters, Rennie, Conestoga Class of ’23, takes charge. “I’ve got this, Mom and Dad. Pack your bags. I’ve got the keys.” (A small wink: It’s just the five of them. For the first time in a long time, the girls don’t bring friends to family vacation.)
The family – Ed, Diane, Rennie, Ashley and Lindsey – drives through the night, the trip stretches to seven-and-a-half hours as the Hoeys pull over to field phone calls.
Doctors Braslow, Velle and the on-call spinal surgeon Tyler Schmidt all touch base with the Hoeys. At Diane’s request, the phone is held up to Patrick’s ear. “We love you,” Ed and Diane tell their only son. Diane remembers everyone on those calls showing ”tremendous amounts of humanity” that night.
The Hoeys arrive in Rochester around 6 a.m. to find the Abramsons and the Braslows sitting vigil in the ICU.
During an intricate, four-hour surgery in the wee hours, Schmidt removes Patrick’s fractured C-5 vertebra and fuses the vertebrae above and below. He greets the Hoeys with promising news: “The surgery was a success. We were able to extubate him – he’s off the ventilator and he can move his arms and shoulders. Prior to surgery, we weren’t sure.”
When the breathing tube comes out, Patrick says brightly, “Hey!”
The nurses chuckle. Oh wow. He can talk.
During Patrick’s weeklong stay in the ICU, two more guardian angels emerge.
Velle’s boss, Dr. Mark Gestring, Chief of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care at Strong, takes a special interest in Patrick. When Diane casually tells him about the family’s increasingly desperate struggle to secure affordable and timely ambulance transport back to Philadelphia –Patrick was due to be discharged in a few days – Gestring makes a call.
His trauma nurse practitioner, Frank Manzo, had just become CEO of a local ambulance service. From his vacation in Hilton Head, Manzo assures Gestring and the Hoeys that he’ll find a crew at CHS Mobile Integrated Healthcare or he’ll drive Patrick himself. He tells the Hoeys he’ll figure out payment with the insurance company and not to worry.
Back on the Main Line, the community is already mobilizing.
On August 5, close family friend Glen Mahoney launches a GoFundMe. In three weeks, the site raises $127,000, fueled by friends, strangers, Ed and Diane’s old colleagues, Penn State pals, Beaumont parents, Berwyn-Paoli Little League families and anonymous donors, among others.
Meal trains start chugging; prayer chains stretch worldwide.
On Monday, Aug. 7, two CHS paramedics and Diane carefully tend to Patrick during the seven-hour ambulance ride to Jefferson Magee Rehab Hospital, the top spinal-cord injury center in Philadelphia.
That Magee even has room for Patrick is another small miracle.
At full capacity, the rehab hospital can take 82 patients. Patrick is number 81.
Patrick works hard during his six-week stay. Over time, he’s able to shed the ouchy cervical collar, put his body in a vertical position, and use adaptive tech and voice control to play video games, use his cellphone and a digital assistant.
Celebrity surprises lift everyone’s spirits.
A few weeks ago, Snoop Dogg (below) signs and sends an autographed cereal box (“Stay Strong, Patrick”), shoots a video and gives Patrick a shoutout on social media.
While he’s still at Magee, Glenn Mahoney sends Patrick an Adam Taliaferro jersey.
A defensive end for Penn State’s football team, Taliaferro famously learned to walk again after a spinal cord injury. His foundation awards a grant to the Hoeys that helps pay for a bathroom renovation for Patrick. The Hoeys later attend a fundraiser where Adam signs the jersey and speaks with Patrick.
“We talked for a long time,” Patrick recalls, smiling. “We’re both C5 injury survivors. It was really great.”
Adds Diane: “It was an inspiration for Patrick to see that you can have a very fulfilled life with a college education and a career following a spinal cord injury … When you’re 20 and you’re supposed to be in college time stands still. Patrick still has his apartment [in State College] and his things are still there. Adam shows the possibilities – whether you walk or you’re in a chair, you can be engaged in life and keep thriving.”
At Magee, Senior VP for Development Ron Siggs (below) becomes yet another godsend, helping the Hoeys navigate Patrick’s six-week stay and manage his transition home.
“We’ve called him our guardian angel,” Patrick’s dad, Ed, shares. “He’s such an amazing, compassionate person and an advocate for Patrick … He remains connected with us.”
Siggs offers invaluable guidance. To allow for corporate donations and matching gifts and because Patrick can use the funds indefinitely as needs arise, Siggs advises the Hoeys to close the GoFundMe and funnel all fundraising to the Radnor-based nonprofit, Help Hope Live, where Siggs is board chair.
Ed Hoey, a nurse like his wife – he now works in biopharma – researches costs and coverage. It’s clear that Patrick’s medical, adaptive housing and therapeutic needs will far outstrip insurance and the Hoeys’ now single income. Diane has taken a leave from her job.
Some needs simply can’t wait.
Using the generous donations through fundraising accounts. the Hoeys pay $55,000 for a 6-year-old minivan adapted to Patrick’s height and disability.
A crew from Patrick’s summer employer, Pohlig Custom Homes (below), builds a new wheelchair-appropriate pavement and walkway outside the Hoey home – at no charge.
Contractors from Pro Enhancement Group, largely paid for by fundraising, convert the family mudroom/powder room into a fully wheelchair accessible, shower-equipped bathroom – a five-week undertaking.
The Hoeys’ neighbors, Kathy and Steve Meaney, recruit a dozen big-hearted locals to steer a Hope4Hoey campaign for Patrick’s Help Hope Live fund. The campaign launches with a website and merch and is supported by Instagram and Facebook accounts.
While Patrick is still at Magee, the Hope4Hoey team staffs a meet-and-greet at the Conestoga football game and the Berwyn Farmer’s Market.
When he comes home, the group stages two wildly successful fundraisers. Patrick appears at both.
Three days after his Oct. 5 discharge, more than 200 people show up for a cornhole tournament/homecoming celebration in a Berwyn cul-de-sac.
Beaumont Elementary and T/E Middle School organize a Handel’s Day benefitting Hope4Hoey. The ice cream shop tells the Hoeys that Oct. 25 was “by far [Handel’s] biggest fundraising day ever,” Diane says.
Even the Hoeys’ medical training – they met as nurses at Jefferson – has been a blessing.
“As sad as we are, we have the skillset to care for him,” shares Diane. “It’s your own child so it comes with a lot of emotion. We know he’s having a good recovery because we’re giving him outstanding care.”
Currently paralyzed from the chest down, Patrick needs 24-hour care. “He can feed himself but he’s not yet making meals. He can’t be safely by himself in the home yet – for medical and safety concerns. If medical needs arise, we would hire nurses.”
Adds Ed: “Right now we’re 100 percent here. God forbid something happens to one of us. We’ve got no backup. That’s where the long-term financial safety net of Help Hope Live is really helpful. If five years from now, Patrick wants to live independently, he may need to pay for a home health aide to come into his home for a couple hours a day. Insurance might not pay for that.”
Asked about his immediate future, Patrick is upbeat yet matter-of-fact. “There’s no mental limitation on returning to college but there are physical limitations. It would be hard for me to take care of myself on campus at this moment.” He thinks he’ll probably resume his education with online classes or at a campus within driving distance. “I’m hoping to eventually make it back to Penn State.”
The community’s response has been extraordinary, agree Patrick, Diane and Ed Hoey. To call the family grateful would be an understatement.
“This has so reaffirmed our belief in the goodness of people in the community,” says Ed. “With all the negativity in the world, this community is amazing. This enormous generosity has taken us somewhat aback because we’re used to being sort of the giver people. We were mentally rallying – trying to figure out what we can do with our limited resources – and we soon realized there’s this incredible amount of help out there and people are remarkably generous, not only with their finances but with their time, their energy and their support.”
Diane, too, is buoyed by the kindness that has embraced her family. She wants everyone to know – the parents of Patrick’s friends, her neighbors, colleagues and countless strangers – that they’ve all “tremendously impacted Patrick’s road to recovery.”
Adds Ed: ”Our message is all about being grateful. We’re so grateful that he survived this terrible thing, we’re so grateful that he’s working hard to meet his potential, and we’re so grateful that we have this wonderful community of people who, Diane has said, has been the wind under our wings.”
Says Patrick, simply: “It’s almost overwhelming. It’s been amazing.”
Three ways to help the Hoeys offset the astronomical cost of medical-related expenses not covered by insurance:
- Donate to Mid-Atlantic Catastrophic Injury Fund in honor of Patrick Hoey at helphopelive.org. #Hope4Hoey. Follow Hope4Hoey on Instagram and Facebook.
- Register for the Thanksgiving morning 5K Turkey Trot in Wilson Farm Park hosted by Seven Summits and benefitting the Hope4Hoey campaign. Register here.
- Join the fundraiser at Top Golf in King of Prussia on Jan. 4. Details on Hope4Hoey’s social media feeds.
Meet the team and the Hoeys at Berwyn Farmer’s Market in the Handel’s lot Sunday, Nov. 26, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Sizable condo project in downtown Wayne on the drawing board
Want to bring more big spenders to downtown Wayne shops and restaurants?
Here’s one way: build 52 ritzy condos in walking distance.
Yessiree, a group of Wayne-based investors and developers has struck a tentative deal to turn the 1.6-acre municipal park-and-walk lot at Bellevue and Lancaster Ave. near Boyd’s into luxury condos.
Now if we could just find a taker for the Anthony Wayne theater, the Gap building, the relocating Two Paper Dolls building and Margaret Kuo’s Mandarin (Kuo hopes to retire soon).
Priced in the $1M to $2M+ range and of varying sizes, the condos are designed to appeal primarily to downsizing empty nesters. Cha-ching.
AT&T, owners of the adjacent brick tower and office building, is selling the parking lot, which it’s been leasing to Radnor Township for pennies.
Hold on. What about parking? you ask.
We asked, too.
Under terms of AT&T’s contingent sale to CREA Wayne Partners and The Concordia Group, those precious public parking spaces wouldn’t be lost – they would move north to AT& T’s other parking lot, currently underused by AT&T employees. Although not visible from Lancaster Ave., the new municipal lot would be closer to the Great American Pub, 118 North and other North Wayne Ave. haunts.
Long story short, none of the 100+ parking spaces will be lost, the developers say, and a few spaces might be picked up, depending on the re-striping of the new lot.
The CREA/Concordia folks have shared their condo plan with merchants, neighbors and officials in advance of formal Radnor Township review.
How will it fare in the approval process?
Well, this is a by-right plan. On paper, it meets Radnor’s zoning code.
The blueprint’s ground-floor retail – minimal as it is – does meet the township’s “mixed-use” requirement for the parcel, one of three zoned for “special use” in the Wayne Business Overlay District.
No zoning variances are needed but projects of this magnitude, with this kind of impact on the town and its residents, do get scrutinized – by the planning commission, elected officials in a “conditional use” hearing, and then during a multi-step land development process. Plans are often tweaked, sometimes substantially, in response to public feedback.
Some neighbors are already on alert.
About 40 households have formed an information-sharing “West Avenue Alliance.”
A bunch showed up at a first stab at the required “Conditional Use Hearing” before the Radnor Board of Commissioners – they act as jurors – on Oct. 18. Due to a lack of quorum, that hearing was rescheduled for December 5.
There was also a, well, puzzling lack of quorum at an Oct. 2 Radnor Planning Commission meeting at which the condo plan was discussed. Despite the lack of quorum, the commission voted 3 to 1 to recommend the plan’s approval to the BOC. (Note: In Radnor, the planning commission is advisory only. Elected ward commissioners call the shots.)
A member of the West Avenue Alliance, Lisa Delizia, tells SAVVY her group doesn’t oppose the project and prefers condos to say, big-box retail but has serious concerns about its scale, aesthetics and potential impacts on traffic, green space and pedestrian safety.
Like so many neighbors in NIMBY skirmishes, she’d rather see something built for “the long-term benefit of the community” like an amphitheater or community center.
Good luck with that; all parties, including AT&T, stand to make a nice chunk of change here.
Merchants will tell you this kind of project is just what Wayne needs to jumpstart the business district. There are 90,000 – 100,000 sq. ft. of vacant or soon-to-be-vacant storefronts from King of Prussia Rd. to Old Eagle School Rd., according to a real estate group’s study.
“If we want businesses to show up on North Wayne Ave., if we want restaurants to thrive, if we want Lancaster Avenue to be as vibrant as it once was, we have to help bring in people,” CREA’s David Falcone told the Radnor Planning Commission.
The neighbors group, meanwhile, is doing its homework.
At least 16 have signed up to have legal standing at the Dec. 5 hearing. Township rules forbid neighbors from consulting with their ward commissioner, attorney Jack Larkin, on this project because he’ll be a juror at the Dec. 5 hearing.
“I’m scared of how fast it’s moving,” Delizia says. “And it’s all happening before anyone knows about it. The project needs to be brought into the light.”
Consider it done.
His name is Sonny but it could be Sunny.
Because Addison “Sonny” DiMartini might be Berwyn’s most radiantly happy man. He’s been beaming smiles and glistening with good cheer – boisterous good cheer – for all of his 29 years, the last 24 while improbably patrolling the sidelines of Conestoga High School’s Teamer Field.
The first Down’s Syndrome student to play football in the Central League, Sonny (Stoga ’13) hasn’t suited up since senior year.
No matter. He’s the football program’s longest reigning all-star.
An assistant football coach – unofficially and then, officially – for more than two decades, he’ll be inducted into the T/E Conestoga Football Association Hall of Fame this Friday, Nov. 17.
Want to watch a room full of muscled men tear up? Buy a ticket (if any are left).
His parents aren’t even sure their son fully understands what all the Hall-of-Fame fuss is about.
What Sonny does know is that he’s getting a plaque and giving a speech. Because his words can be hard to decipher, he’s been practicing it for weeks, the DiMartinis tell us.
Anyone who knows the last quarter-century of Stoga football – current and former players, parents, coaches, students and fans – knows Sonny.
From age 4, when then-Coach John Vogan noticed the little boy transfixed by football and anointed him “assistant coach,” to today, when current Head Coach Matt Diamond calls him “one of the most influential people I’ve ever met in his ability to have a positive impact on others.”
Sonny is an unlikely superstar, a super booster who riles up the fans, pumps up the players, records weekly hype videos, spots balls during drills, pours water – anything his fellow coaches ask, whatever his players need.
His trademark lines: “Play with your heart!” Don’t give up!” “Don’t quit!” “Make them cry and go home to Grandmom.” “Dogfight!” “If you bring a dog to a dogfight, bring a big dog.”
In 24 years, Sonny has missed just five games.
“He’s at our practice every day, working with the boys,” Diamond tells SAVVY. “He’s excited to be there and the players are excited to see him. He has a way about him that brings out the best in others.”
Adds Assistant Coach Sandy Herzlich: “I’d like to spend one hour as happy as Sonny is all the time.”
For a sport fueled by emotion, Sonny’s exuberance is contagious.
“It always works,” says team co-captain Benner Miller. “It gets [the crowd] loud and it’s awesome.” Miller says Sonny makes a difference on the field, too. “He’s always happy. He’s always running around, smiling, hugging people. If you had a bad play, he always says ‘do better’ and he’ll give you a hug to make you feel better.”
When Diamond was first promoted to Conestoga’s head football coach six years ago, the first call he placed – around 10 p.m.– was to Sonny. He asked the DiMartinis to listen in on the call and Vince DiMartini remembers it well.
“Sonny, I just became the head coach and you’re my first telephone call,” Diamond announced. “Will you be my assistant? I won’t do it without you.”
For years, Coach Diamond and Coach Sonny have sat together on the team bus. Unfailingly, Sonny asks, “How’s the wife and kids?” Then he’s all business. “Coach, how’s Radnor’s team this year?”
According to Booster Club President Kate Miller, Sonny is “not a figurehead coach. He’s the real deal …Watching how our players interact with Sonny, the respect they give him and absolute genuine affection between all of them, at the risk of sounding cheesy, transcends sports. If you come to a game, you see it … he’s talking to the players and they’re listening. What he says matters – to everyone on the team. It’s something incredibly special and a huge part of the culture of Conestoga Football.”
Conestoga football and community are entwined values for the DiMartinis.
A retired Easttown police officer and former chief of Berwyn Fire Co with 38 years of active service, Vinnie DiMartini, Stoga ’71, is a 25-year board member and past president of the T/E Conestoga Football Association (once called the Old Timers).
Like his son, Vinnie is a TECFA Hall of Fame inductee but not for his exploits on the field. “I played but I wasn’t that good,” he says. Instead, Vinnie was honored for his service to TECFA, which became a nonprofit and started awarding college scholarships – $198,000 in the last 13 years.
Pam Adams DiMartini met her husband as Conestoga classmates who were “just friends.” An active volunteer at Our Lady of the Assumption parish in Strafford, she gets Sonny where he has to go each day: to his jobs at Baker Industries in Malvern and Camilla Hall at Immaculata, and of course, to Conestoga’s Teamer Field for practices and games.
“I wish we had kept track of how many miles we’ve traveled all these years,” Pam says. “It would be an interesting number.”
As good as Sonny has been for Conestoga, the team has been just as good – maybe better – for Sonny, his parents say.
“When Sonny was young, it was hard for his peers to include him in things because of his learning disabilities,” explains Pam. “Conestoga football gives him a place to fit in. They’ve always been kind to him and have included him. They keep passing the information down to each class as they come in. They’ve been such good role models for him over the years. We feel very blessed that they have been in his life.”
Adds his father, Vinnie: “To think that 29 years ago when we were diagnosed with a Down Syndrome child, they told us he won’t be able to come out of the rain – you’re taking on a lot. I’d like to bring him back to those who said that and say, ‘Hey, you were wrong. Sonny knows how to come out of the rain – that is, when he’s not coaching football.”
The DiMartinis knew about Sonny’s condition when Pam was pregnant. “It was a blessing in the sense that we had the opportunity to mourn the wishful future for our son,” Vinnie says. “Everybody wants their son to be the bank president. No one wants him to be the bank janitor. We’ve said it a hundred times over: We’re so proud that God chose us to raise an angel. That’s one of our missions in life. And we’re so thankful for that. And we’re thankful for Sonny as he is – just the way he is.”
The merry-and-bright holiday festival, Yuletide at Devon, magically and methodically, is transforming Devon Horse Show into an enchanting winter wonderland.
It’s as if Disney’s Frozen, Dickens’ Christmas Carol and Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite all teleported to the Main Line. God bless us, every one.
Giant nutcrackers stand sentry at the main gate.
The famous Dixon Oval and sister Wheeler Ring are blanketed in white.
Twin 45-ft. Christmas trees are poised to flank the Oval’s main stage for Yuletide’s concerts.
The North Pole Ski Chalet, a yesteryear setting for holiday photos with Santa that was crafted by Amish artisans, is nearly ready for its closeup.
Some 45 curated market vendors are scurrying to deck their stalls.
Kringle’s Whiskey Bar, Bergy’s Brauhaus, Etta’s sweet shop, assorted commissaries and food trucks are taking shape.
Devon’s schooling ring behind the Dixon Oval is – bippity boppety boo – soon to be a mini Dutch Wonderland, with Ferris wheel, Himalaya ride, carousel, fun house and more.
And Yuletide’s many and merry elves – led by Main Line father-son team Rob and Jes Bickhart and holiday market tastemaker Maribeth Moore – have overtaken the Devon Club, now Yuletide’s hub for operations, logistics, sales and marketing and more.
Hear ye, Hear ye: the Devon Horse Show, for the first time in its storied 127-year history, is ALIVE this November.
In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas.
And it feels good. Tingly good.
What you need to know before you go:
- Yuletide will be open from Nov. 24 (the day after Thanksgiving) until after midnight on New Year’s [Country] Rockin’ Eve. Gates open Wed., Thurs. and Fri. at 3 p.m. and at noon on Saturdays, Sundays and Nov. 24. (Closed Dec. 24 – 26.)
- Dates to circle: On opening day, Friday, Nov. 24 at 5 p.m.,U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlalan will turn on the lights with DeeJay Howard emceeing the festivities. On Dec. 31, country singer-songwriter Chris Lane (of The Tonight Show, the TODAY show, Late Night with Seth Meyers and more) will lower the curtain on Yuletide with a 10 p.m. concert. Minutes before midnight, CMA-honored, Grammy-nominated songwriter DJ Telemitry will take the stage for the countdown. New Year’s Eve could sell out. Order your tix ASAP. (About crowd size: Grand Prix Night, Devon Horse Show’s marquee night, attracts some 10,000 to the Dixon Oval. The showgrounds’ official capacity, according to state decree, is 25,000. Sounds like a horde but remember, revelers will be scattered across the property.)
- Yuletide runs rain, snow or shine. No ticket refunds. Tickets are purchased for a specific day (come and go as you please that day) or for the full season. Editor’s update: Loved your visit? Upgrade to a season pass. Your one-day ticket expense will be deducted from price for a full-season pass. Pets on leashes are welcome Wed. and Thurs. nights only.
- Parking will be tight on busy nights. Tell the kids you’re on the Polar Express and take the train – Devon Station is across the street. Or grab an Uber. Or pay for a spot in a parking lot or neighboring driveway or lawn if they’re open for business. Or put on your long johns and walk – a warmup for the alfresco fun that awaits. EDITORS’S UPDATE: Yuletide has just arranged for parking and free shuttles from Conestoga High School’s main lot on Fridays and Saturdays, 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. Yuletide is paying for for four continuous-looping buses.
- Tickets include: unlimited amusement rides, snap-your-own photos with Santa in his tricked-out Chalet, all entertainment – from national acts in the Oval to Olde Town Carolers in the gazebo (full show lineup here), and access to cool shops and a wide array of food and drink, potent and otherwise. Adult Single-Day = $34.99; Non-transferable Adult Season Pass = $89.99; Junior (ages 3 to 8) Single Day = $22.99; Non-transferable Junior Season Pass = $59.99. SPECIAL SAVINGS FOR SAVVY READERS. Use Code FriendsOfSavvyML at checkout for 10% off, a nice little break, especially for families!
To folks questioning the ticket prices: this a multimillion-dollar undertaking.
Among the myriad expenses, ticket sales will help defray:
Rent paid to Devon Horse Show for use of showgrounds for more than two months.
- Utility bills and labor costs including nine Easttown and one Tredyffrin police officer each day/night, maintenance workers and security personnel. Plus a big chunk of change to the event’s producer, Our People Entertainment. They’re hiring 100 to 125 seasonal workers. (Sorry, no volunteers.)
- Sizable investments in infrastructure (e.g. Epps just winterized Devon’s food stalls on Yuletide’s nickel), the purchase of four airstream trailers, and a rented KOP warehouse laden with themed antiques, furnishings, lighting and décor – all purchased, not rented. To ensure an upscale festive vibe, Yuletide spent $150K to bring in the company that decks out Rockefeller Center for the holidays.
- The six-week rental of amusement rides. (Dare we say they’re splashier than the Midway rides at Devon Horse Show?)
To those worried about weather: Fire pits, warming tents and 150, 400-lb. propane heaters will pepper the grounds. Private parties in the warming tents have already sold out. Shopkeepers each get a heater at the entrances – their stalls aren’t heated. Bundle up but Yuletide’s refillable mugs of Gluhwein and hot cocoa should ease the chill. Take your cue from Frozen’s Elsa: “The cold never bothered me anyway.”
All the shops sound splendid but here are a few that caught our eye:A
* Wayne Art Center’s Small Works Gallery (in the Devon Art Gallery cottage) will showcase 250 original, juried, relatively affordable 2D works ($150 – $2,000) by 85 area artists. Think of Yuletide as a uniquely inviting place to support local creators, says WAC Executive Director Nancy Campbell. Equally intriguing: a show and sale of 160 miniature works by 24 Whiskey Painters of America, a fun bunch that brings pocketsize palettes to their local pubs. WAC’s “whiskey” curator Mick McAndrews will demo the technique in the gallery, Sunday, Dec. 10 at 2 p.m.
*On-the-spot puppy and small-pet adoptions Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the Brandwywine Valley SPCA’s stall. Can you spell C-U-T-E?
*B Devoted Custom by the delightful, multi-talented Berwynite, Karen Pappas (below). Custom creator of affordable precious metal jewelry and printed PJs, robes, skirts and dresses, Pappas is inspired by her belief that “God wanted us all to be custom-made.” Her wares carry the affirming tag: “You Are Wonderfully Made.” Awww, shucks.
*Urban Southern’s “slow fashion,” small-batch, high-quality women’s leather goods. Featured at New York Fashion Week, on Fox Business and in The Magnolia Journal, and helmed by a husband-wife team from Lancaster, Urban Southern handcrafts everything from $23 card wallets and $58 wristlet wallets to crossbody bags (from $115) and totes ($200 – $395).
*Twin royal treats: Grace Winery’s bottle shop/tasting room and the nearby Grace de Monaco, a collection of luxury perfumes, candles and iconic Princess Grace-inspired silk headscarfs. Merveilleuses!
*Artisans on the Avenue women’s clothier. Expect the unexpected from this long-running Chestnut Hill emporium: indie-made, eclectic, singularly sensational.
*Designs by Georgina, stunning South Pacific pearl and semi-precious/precious stone baubles courtesy of Georgina Whitford. Aussie-born and New-Guinea-raised, she currently hangs her undoubtedly stylish hat in LA. Her distinctive eyeglasses and captivating accent will signal you’re in the right stall.
*Ruth McKeaney, author, entertainer, domestic diva and YouTube “Home Worthy” star (below), will make folks “Hungry for Home,” (her book title) in her cozy cottage, a micro version of her charming Berwyn homestead, Hillside Farm. Meet Ruth and snag some of her favorite things: her “barely baked” cookies, blankets, candles, sheepskin throws and wraps.
*The convenient gift-wrapping station in the Devon Souvenirs booth. Drop your purchases, coat-check style, and return to find them clothed in one of six Yuletide-only designs. A courtesy service of Yuletide, gift-wrapping will be priced at cost.
As the festival – bit by bit, light by light, tree by tree – comes to life, Yuletide’s creators are stoked.
“It’s been a long haul,” says Rob Bickhart, “but Devon and its board and Easttown and Tredyffrin townships have all been terrific to work with. We had heard townships can be tough but at this stage of the game, everyone is an advocate.” Stalled last year, the Bickharts considered other venues but stuck with Devon. “With its history and its character, there’s nothing like it,” Rob says.
Just days from the starting gate, Yuletide at Devon is poised to stage a spectacle to remember: bustling with good cheer, pulsing with live music, and ablaze with holiday magic.
Welcome to the Main Line, Yuletide.
Hope you make it a habit.
***Discounted tickets for SAVVY readers!!! Use code FriendsOfSavvyML for 10% off single-day tickets and full-season passes.***
With a chic coastal vibe and clubby camel-leather seats, At the Table – in its new, more spacious iteration – reeks with understated opulence and lush aromas.
The food’s not half bad, either.
The fare here is mostly fabulous, an elevated and adventurous showcase for the artistry of chef-owners Alex Hardy and Tara Buzan-Hardy, now no longer stifled by the eensy-weensy kitchen of the original At the Table on Louella Court.
Although it hasn’t been branded with the iconic Napa Valley restaurant’s three Michelin stars, At the Table may be The French Laundry of the Main Line.
Certainly, it aspires to that rarified air.
The Hardys even coated the walls in the Laundry’s “Champion Cobalt” – an in-your-face directive, perhaps, to Alex and Tara: work harder, reach higher.
Another inspiration: The digital clock – à la TV’s “The Bear” – that paces the kitchen.
Cuisine is French with a Parisian lean, a mix of classics and bold innovations and a celebration of technique and seasonal ingredients. Note: it’s portioned and priced accordingly.
We tried and relished three of the more generously sized à la carte offerings: a richly reimagined French Onion Soup ($20), the truffle-scented Wild Mushroom Toast ($22) and the Warm Table Parker House Bread with Meyer lemon hotel butter ($10). Champions all.
Rather go raw? Acadian oysters and other bivalves are freshly shucked at a four-seat oyster bar in the rear.
A six-course $125 tasting menu is available nightly and changes monthly. November’s reflects Hardy’s affection for trendy celery root.
A real highlight that stays on indefinitely: the Langoustine Toast (East Coast uni, egg yolk confit, caviar and chives on Pullman bread).
Still, the fifth course was the climax: Duck Breast Times Two (Hudson Valley foie gras, red currant bordelaise and red-wine braised onion.) Oh, man.
Silverware is cleared with each course – a welcome white-tablecloth touch in a dining room without tablecloths.
Another bonus: You can savor each course with your own wine – no corkage fee.
When the PLCB gives the green light, select cocktails will be available, courtesy of a partnership with Imprint Brewing Co. For now, rev up your taste buds with a 007 Vespa, a martini with bleu-cheese stuffed olives named for one of Chef Hardy’s matinee idols. Or try one of four craft beers.
At The Table seats 75, quadruple its capacity on Louella Court. A seasonal patio seats another 25.
If you found the place loud on your first weekend visit, hear this: newly installed noise-dampening wall panels have mostly muffled the din.
At The Table, 118 W. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, is open Tues. thru Sat. from 5 p.m. Reserve on Open Table, via the website, or call 610-964-9700. Happy Hour w/ limited half-price oysters, sliders & truffle fries, Tues – Thurs, 5 to 7. Off-site catering and full-restaurant buyouts available.
Waves of Japanese eateries have rolled through the Main Line in recent months.
Blue Elephant has added sophisticated Asian flair to downtown Wayne.
Motto BYOB has proved a worthy replacement for Otoro in Berwyn.
Ardmore’s awesome Osushi – Oh-my-gawd good– is expanding to Strafford.
And now, drum roll for Takumi, an ambitious and altogether excellent new Japanese bar and restaurant in Devon Village near Whole Foods. The old Lumbrada has been softened and warmed with earthy wood and golden accents and a surfeit of soft booths and banquettes.
Managers are Yvonne Yang and Eddie Zheng who’ve helmed a Michelin-recommended spot in South Jersey.
But it’s the food that shines here – although the interesting house cocktails are certainly worth a slurp. Shoutout to the Sake to Me Margarita ($15) and the Shiso Fantastic $15). Punny and piquant.
Executive Chef Larry Jiang trained at Nobu. No buts about it, he’s got mad skills.
Everything we tried – in two dine-in visits and one takeout order – was spot-on.
We started with a mixed-green salad generously topped with avocado and fresh ginger dressing, the snappy Spicy Edamame ($7), the citrusy-sweet Rock Shrimp ($16), the Yellowtail Salsa Carpaccio ($22) and the crispy Brussels Sprouts ($12).
We relished “Just by Takumi” sushi: the Takumi Roll ($22), for those who like their seafood cooked, and the Takumi Naruto ($20), for carb-cutters who prefer a cucumber wrap to rice.
A “Kitchen Entrée by Takumi” standout: the spiced-to-perfection Seafood Thai Curry ($25).
Takumi translates to “artisan.” Sounds about right.
Do you ever keep ordering the same thing at a restaurant because, well, why mess with success? This reporter really should branch out next time.
On second thought…
Takumi Bistro & Bar, Devon Village Shops (near Whole Foods), is open for lunch, dinner and Mon. thru Thurs. 11:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.; Fri. & Sat. 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Sundays 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. Happy Hour ($7 apps and rolls; drinks $6-$9) at the bar Mon. thru Thurs. 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Deck the halls of a special someone with one of Philadelphia Print Shop’s gift ideas under $100, stocking stuffers and gift cards. In downtown Wayne near Vanilla Bean, Philadelphia Print Shop is the area’s leading dealer in antique prints, maps and rare books. Don’t miss their historic maps of the entire Main Line, surrounding counties and Philadelphia. Searchable gallery of 80+ collections here. Nearly every U.S. state and foreign country is represented, dating from the 17th century, and all at reasonable prices. *** Now thru Dec. 23, SAVVY readers get $50 off online and in-store purchases over $200 with code SAVVY50 (non-consigned items only).***
Hard to beat this one-stop shop for holiday meals and gifts and Thanksgiving and Christmas catering: The Lancaster County Farmer’s Market in Wayne. Vendors will help you pick up holiday meals for a crowd, feed those hungry college kids, find gourmet ingredients for special holiday meals, and choose the perfect party hostess gift. Fresh from Lancaster and local mom-and-pops, you’re guaranteed to get the freshest and best at this iconic Strafford marketplace. Visit lancastercountyfarmersmarket.com to place orders directly with Market merchants.
If you haven’t thought about Di Bruno Bros. in Wayne for takeout, now’s the time, folks. The central Main Line’s culinary hub now offers elevated takeout meals – ready-to-go lunch and dinner options – guaranteed to make your life easier this holiday season. A fresher, healthier way to feed your family, Di Bruno’s artisanal sandwiches, yummy cast-iron pizzas and chef-made meals are crafted with the same care and expertise Di Bruno Bros. has been known for in Philadelphia generations. The Wayne emporium also sells gourmet breakfasts and has curated wine and beer selections to pair with your meals. See our story in this issue for deets on fun, free night at DiBruno Bros. Wayne for SAVVY readers.
Big things STILL come in Smaul packages. If you noticed that the longtime home of Brian M. Smaul Ltd. Jewelers on Lancaster Ave. in Wayne’s Eagle Village Shops is empty, fear not. Now a concierge jeweler, Smaul has merely moved next door. Family-operated for more than three decades, Smaul creates bespoke baubles using the most highly-regarded Italian and New York craftspersons and the finest metals, platinum and gold. From trendier styles – researched in Italy and beyond – to heirloom classics, discriminating Main Liners have counted on Smaul for unique engagement rings and other priceless jewels. Open by appointment.
The cute-as-can-be houseplant shop, STUMP, is growing exciting tendrils in Devon. As always, STUMP is a charming spot to pick up a living, breathing holiday gift complete with a handy “care card.” And if repotting your own plants has you, well, stumped, bring in your rootbound beauty and STUMP will be happy to help. The Devon store now hosts cool workshops and an Artist Shelf Takeover Series. Right around the corner: a “Rest and Receive” workshop with multi-faceted healer/psychic Krista Bowman Monday, Nov. 20 at 11 a.m. and a solo show by uber-talented Berwyn artist, Dr. Johanne Lamarche, Dec. 7 to 14, with an artist’s reception Dec. 7, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. For more about STUMP, read our story here.
***SAVVY Picks are shoutouts & promos on behalf of our sponsors. To learn more about becoming a SAVVY Pick, email [email protected].
Poor sleep, brain fog, muscle aches and stiffness, fatigue, sagging skin, stress, inflammation, the blahs… do these mid-life demons have to haunt us forever?
No way, says the owner of Wayne’s new DTXFY.
A builder by trade and health enthusiast by avocation, Denise Lehmann had many of these ills herself a few years back. She did her homework, invested in new ways to wellness, and tells us she reaped “life-changing” relief.
“I’m 56 but I feel like I’m 40,” Lehmann enthuses.
Lehmann installed her three personal saviors – infrared sauna, red-light therapy and a 6D-massage pod – in her Manayunk home.
Then, a light-bulb moment: I can bring this healing goodness to others.
She opened the first DTXFY “renewal studio” in Manayunk last January and just christened a twice-as-large outpost in Gateway Shopping Center.
The studio offers three science-backed therapies. Apparently, pro sports teams have used them for years:
- Eight pristine and private, TV-equipped infrared saunas (“bare is better”) with space for three more. Connect your iPhone to play your own tunes, choose a YouTube sound bath or guided meditation, or zone out on free Netflix or Hulu. Without the ouchy heat of traditional saunas or the sun’s damaging UV rays, infrared saunas emit three wavelengths that penetrate the skin to raise body temperature, burn calories, boost immunity, release toxins, ease joints, calm and clarify the mind, and more. Stay up to 40 minutes. “You’ll come out completely rejuvenated,” Lehmann asserts but healing benefits accrue with repeated use.
- Red light therapy mimics the sun in 10-minute sessions, resets sleep cycles, promotes cellular regeneration and healing, and repairs and rejuvenates skin, Lehmann says. Sessions are The Wayne studio has one red-light room with space to add another.
- A Zen Den furnished with six state-of-the-art 6D-massage pods (below). Not to be confused with a nail-salon massage chair, “it’s like having eight people massage you at once,” Lehmann explains. “You’re getting your glutes, your back, your neck and your feet done all at once.” A massage therapist might spend five minute on your feet, but these gizmos massage those puppies the entire time. With chill music and nature calls, just lay back and soak it all in.
Lehmann starts many mornings with red light therapy and a sauna session – energizing her for the day. A few hours before sleep, she winds down with red light therapy and sleeps like a baby. “It’s all-natural and way better than taking a pill,” she says. “The red light sends messages to the brain to produce nighttime hormones. It’s all about mimicking the healing wavelengths that come from the rising and setting sun.”
Sounds a bit woo-woo but DTXFY’s therapies are grounded in real science, Lehmann insists. “Google or go on YouTube and you’ll find many renowned doctors and neuroscientists who’ve done the studies.”
Data-driven as it is, Lehmann’s mission sounds almost biblical: Come to DTXFY worn down and worn out, shed your cares and your shoes (it’s a barefoot studio), immerse your body, mind and spirit, and emerge renewed and reinvigorated, born again into a longer, more vital life.
Amen to that.
Visits to DTXFY include towel service, hydration stations and use of two showers. Intro infrared sauna or red light sessions are $25. Monthly memberships are $99 to $249 or book services a la carte. No annual membership contracts. Ask about introductory membership specials. Questions? Call 484-584-4973 or visit DTXFYME.COM.
In the Saint Nick of time, Di Bruno Bros. in Wayne is raising the bar on takeout for holiday-crazed families.
And to celebrate and showcase their goodies, Di Bruno’s is joining hands with SAVVY and charity partner, Main Line Health’s Women’s Emotional Wellness Center, to throw a complimentary (with advance reservation) SAVVY Subscriber Appreciation party on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Join your sister (and brother) SAVVY readers at Di Bruno’s in Wayne to nosh on their expanding array of gourmet cast-iron pizzas, cut-above artisanal sandwiches from the “focacceria,” and chef-made meals, all available for takeout.
We’ll sip Di Bruno’s new DB & Friends #8 wine, a lovely Gamay made with hand-selected grapes from their partner Oregon winery.
And, yes, we’ll get savvier!
Guiding our tasting will be the ever entertaining, knowledgeable and award-winning cheesemonger/gourmand Tommy Amorim.
We’ll offer 15% off shopping that night and for 10 days thereafter (!) with a share of all SAVVY-reader sales donated to our charity partner.
Even if you can’t make the party, shop at DiBruno’s from Dec. 5 to Dec. 15 and tell the cashier you’d like the SAVVY discount. (Note: Discounts exclude alcohol, gift cards, gift boxes, Bar Alimentari and online orders.)
Our Big Fat Italian Holiday Festa [yup, festa is Italian for fiesta!] is FREE, our heartfelt thank you for reading and sharing our stories and following us on social media. You’ll help us spread the DiBruno’s love and we’ll tell you (briefly) about a vital, under-known resource for struggling local women who need professional, walk-in mental health care.
Naturally, we’d love to see and thank all of you but space is strictly limited and you must reserve in advance. Open to SAVVY Main Line e-mail subscribers and Instagram/Facebook followers only. Email Kathy Stevens [email protected] ASAP to snag your spot.
***Special Note: We realize life happens and plans can change. If you need to bow out, we would greatly appreciate it if you would email your regrets to [email protected] pronto so we can offer your spot to someone else.***
The night’s on us and Di Bruno Bros. but we would be tickled if you could bring a little cash for fun raffle prizes benefiting MLH’s Women’s Emotional Wellness Center.
We can’t wait to ring in the holiday season with you, Italian style!
SAVVY Main Line’s complimentary Reader Appreciation Party at Di Bruno Bros. in Wayne with guided gourmet food and boutique wine tastings, raffle prizes and shopping discounts is Tuesday, Dec. 5, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Benefits MLH’s Women’s Emotional Wellness Center. Space is limited. No walk-ins. RSVP to [email protected] today.
Finding Our Next Selves, at the Berwyn Farmers Market
By award-winning Devon author Beth Kephart
But what would I do with my hands?
I wasn’t the only one asking the question back then. In a world gone strange and nearly inexplicable, at a time when so much was disappearing or irretrievably lost, we always knew where we could find our hands. We paid attention to their reach and sweep, their capacity, their implacable ingenuity. What they held. What they lifted. What they healed. How they fiddled. Our hands were there to see us through. Somehow they would have to.
A writer and teacher in the pre-era days, a woman who had built her life with words, I turned, during the pandemic, with increasing ferocity, to the making of blank books. Dozens upon dozens of blank books. I marbled the cover art. I molded and deckled the endpapers. I bone folded, sliced, and awled the signatures. I threaded curved needles. I stitched. There was Governor Cuomo on the TV. There was Dr. Anthony Fauci. There was one alarming statistic or declaration after another, but I held on, thanks to my hands.
Afterward, as the arrows on the charts began to trend in a more promising direction and the masks slid, slowly, off, I had in my possession an uncountable number of paper things. Not just those coptic-stitched books and canvas journals and Japanese bound diaries, but also booklets, cards, and bookmarks, pocket accordions, origami inventions, collages, and cyanotype prints. I have a small house and a ceramicist/painter for a husband. What would we do with the things we had made with the hands that had kept us whole? Where would we find our new flock, for surely, in the long blurry season of so much handmaking, we had become new people, too?
People who value what hands can do. People who celebrate the fruits of the earth and the artistry of people who sew, knead, cut, stitch, wedge, paint, carve, arrange, or make, of distilled water, fresh herbs, essential oils, and sodium hydroxide, fragrant bars of soap.
What would it take? A tent? Some tables? A sign? An additional insurance policy and some decent, low-cost cloths and crates? Add it all up, and it was a bit of a fiscal stretch, but we were eager for lives beyond our own—for spontaneous conversations with strangers that had nothing to do with data, charts, or politics.
We bought our things. We outfitted my mini Mini with heavy-duty roof racks. We claimed no expectations. We took our handmade wares out into the world to see what the world had become, and who we were, in it. We found ourselves scheduled into occasional Berwyn Farmers Market Sundays on a parking lot made famous by a handmade ice cream shop. We waited for our next iteration of us.
The first market Sunday brought with it cataclysmic floods. The second dawned with thick wafts of paper-swelling humidity. The third was held on a beautiful blue-sky day when almost all potential patrons were at the beach. The fourth brought display-crashing riffs of wind—cloths flying, bookmarks sailing, pots nearly teetering to the ground. And yet, inside the howling of the storms and the tempers of the wind, within the terror of new headlines and profound worries for our world, we found our place among strangers who quickly became our friends.
The organic farmers who handpick the lettuce leaves, the cherry tomatoes, the strawberries, the peaches. The jeweler who was once a stained-glass window historian. The florist with a vision of a local artisan collective. The designer of well-known fabric patterns by day who, by night, knots macrame plant holders and watercolors cards. The high school teacher who keeps the bees and collects their honey and converts the golden stuff into age-defying lotion. The soapers who rock the artist’s plaza with fashionista flair. Diego, who doles out the chicken tortilla soup and floutas with endearing elan. Carlo Luciano, who, along with Sam Kennedy, launched this vision of a post-pandemic market that would sustain local farmers and small makers like us. Erika Duncan, coordinator extraordinaire, who makes the whole thing run from beneath a broad sun hat, walking booth to booth to booth each Sunday, making notes on her clipboard and praising the new wares, and rushing toward the storm-soaked novitiates with plastic bins.
The wild weather is upon us. The news is shattering. The worries do not cease. But, during those Sunday mornings when my husband and I set up our wares at a booth called Bind Arts, when we clip our hand-painted sign, when we talk to the little girls who want to know how every last thing got made, when we come to know something we will always remember about the former opera star and the rising writer and the traveling tattoo artist and the neighbors we are just, again, coming to know, we feel safer, more alive. Old friends find us. New friends share our sky. And on either side of us, and all around are those who chose to listen to their hands—to emerge with new art, new ideas, new hopes, new versions of themselves.
Beth Kephart is the award-winning author of some three-dozen books, an award-winning teacher at the University of Pennsylvania, co-founder of Juncture Workshops, and a book artist. My Life in Paper: Adventures in Ephemera is available from Temple University Press. More at bethkephartbooks.com and bind-arts.com
Berwyn Farmer’s Market at the Handel’s lot is open rain or shine, Sundays through Dec. 17, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
By Wendi Rank
Nosh on shareable small plates, sip a craft cocktail, chill out on a sofa, try your hand at pool or PlayStation, or plan a private party – the choice is yours at the Main Line’s new hangout hub, Midtown Social.
The menu at Michael DiDomenico’s revamp of 30 Main is peppered with items easily devoured while you get social. Replacing the traditional Italian/continental fare of 30 Main, are, among other goodies: sushi from neighboring Motto, indulgent lobster sliders, fra diavolo mussels, flatbreads, and shareable platters of bruschetta and fruit-and-cheese.
But it’s the fondue that catches this writer’s eye. I picture myself lingering as I dip marshmallows in chocolate, pair fig jam with baked brie, or bask in the eight-person French onion fondue. Mmmm…
Midtown Social is meant for lounging. “It’s very casual,” DiDomenico tells me. “We want people to come and not be in a hurry.”
It can also host private affairs like 150-person cocktail parties, sweet sixteens and birthday brunches. Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays are set aside for private events.
Still, expect the occasional public pop-ups, like Disco Brunch or an Eagles Game Watch while noshing on Old Bay fries, flatbreads, and Chocolate Trilogy Mousse.
Don’t fret over parking, he says. “It’s a myth Berwyn doesn’t have parking,” says the longtime Berwyn Village business owner. While patrons are encouraged to use the area’s public parking lots, private affairs at Midtown Social come with valet service. Not too shabby.
Events beyond the venue are on the docket, too. A VIP experience at a Flyers game is in the works, as are catering and boxed meals for easy weeknight to-go dinners.
In response to popular demand, Midtown Social anticipates adding grab-and-go morning café service by February, complete with breakfast sliders, coffee, smoothies and a selection of DiDomenico’s sister-in-law’s killer scones.
The café menu is likely to include comforting treats from his mom’s kitchen. “I won’t be able to keep her out!” he says.
It sounds like the rest of Berwyn will line up right behind her.
Midtown Social, 660 Lancaster Avenue, Berwyn, is open Wed. – Thurs. 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Fri. -Sat. 4 p.m. – 2 p.m., other days for private events only. Reservations accepted for the lounge or game room.
This and That
Little House Shop plans to open a children’s shop in Eagle Village next to J.McLaughlin. Sweet.
P.J. Whelihan’s will open a 7,600+ sq. ft. pub in Wynnewood Shopping Center in 2024.
A huge change for Wayne’s streetscape inches ever closer. Radnor Township Board of Commissioners (BOC) just approved the “Preliminary Plan” for the redevelopment of the outdated building at the corner of Lancaster and Louella Aves. The strip of stores to be bulldozed includes the old home of Gingy’s boutique (now on North Wayne Ave.), Au Petits Delices (closing at year’s end) and Playa Bowls (moving to the former Nick Filet space near Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza). As redrawn, the project has just under 10,000 sq. ft. of retail, 24 apartments and underground parking. Next step: The building’s owner/landlord/developer, Wayne-based Berger Communities, submits a final plan for BOC approval.
Bling it on. Bernie Robbins Jewelers in Villanova and Wayne Jewelers in downtown Wayne are both running retirement sales this week. Robbins’ owners Harvey and Maddy Rovinsky are stepping back after 57+ years in the bauble biz and – get this – are gifting their luxury jewelry business to a group of longtime employees. (Talk about mensches.) Their sale will be brief and starts Thursday, Nov. 16 with $25 million in inventory in Villanova and Somers Point marked up to 60% off.
Meanwhile, in Wayne, several businesses are eyeing the soon-to-be vacant Wayne Jewelers space, says Ken Kearns, whose real estate group owns the building. No surprise: this may be Wayne’s most primo spot. After 76 years, the Wayne mainstay is hosting a storewide sale with everything up to 70% off. (Extra 10% off if you mention their IG posts.) Owner Wayne Reid is retiring; stop in and wish him well.
Instead of recapping local election results, here’s the headline: Dems sweep pretty much everywhere – Main Line school boards, township and county boards, in some cases – lookin’ at you, Radnor – by unprecedented margins. Off the Main Line, even reliably red Bucks County went blue.
WHYY just released a fascinating video about South Ardmore, “Ardmore, Seen and Unseen.” View it here.
Talented Wayne pop artist Peter Strid will open his first gallery in the former Pat’s Barbershop space on North Wayne Ave. next week. Drop by during “Christmas in Wayne” Friday, Dec. 1, 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
More than 100 Villanova students protested in support of Palestinian human rights last Thursday, according to the student newspaper. Nova’s Hillel chapter staged an event for Jewish students at the same time. A Hillel rep told paper that he has not seen acts of anti-Semitism on Villanova’s campus. (If you missed our social media feed, we covered the gathering 1000-strong, in support of Israel at the Perelman Jewish Day School in Wynnewood on our Instagram & Facebook feeds.)
The area’s first outpost of the Big Swim franchise has started schooling minnows in Paoli Shopping Center.
Happy 40th to Club La Maison in Strafford. Kudos for staying strong – and for keeping your members strong – for four decades.
Fist bump to the Upper Main Line YMCA for expanding its adaptive programs. On the roster at UMLY in 2024: Adaptive Gymnastics, Adaptive Lego Club, Inclusive Adaptive Dance, Open Doors (evening recreational socials) and SNAPshots Sports (intros to popular sports).
When plain old cream cheese simply won’t do, may we suggest whatever Spread Bagelry and Best Buddies concoct at the new Spread store in Wynnewood Shopping Center this Saturday, Nov. 18? The Philly-born, Montreal-inspired bagelry has partnered with the special-needs organization, Best Buddies, on a chef-driven “Bagels and Buddies” fundraiser/ribbon cutting from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The winning flavor will be announced at the grand opening of Spread Bagelry’s all-day dining outpost debuting at Ellis Preserve in Newtown Square in February.
Paul Marshall’s melt-in-your-mouth Farm Boy BBQ has moved to a permanent digs at 625 Morehall Rd. in Malvern.
Do you have a way with words and experience in journalistic writing? SAVVY is hiring freelance writers. Send inquiries and clips to [email protected].
The meadow outside Penn Medicine’s swell new Radnor digs just won the first Eco-Friendly Yard Award from the Radnor Township Environmental Advisory Council. Penn Med’s meadow was lauded for diversifying its plantings, improving wildlife habitats, cutting down on yard waste and lawn mower noise, air and water pollution.
Villanova U. has reached a final agreement to buy Cabrini and will assume ownership after the 2023-2024 school year. As part of the agreement, the Cabrini name will live on at the satellite campus. While specific plans are TBA, Villanova is planning an immigration center, an advocates for social change initiative, and a Cabrini Scholars program with Cabrini High School in New Orleans.
Shoutouts to everyone who planned and supported the Cancer Support Community’s 30th Anniversary Gala where SAVVY pal Nicole Dresnin Schaeffer accepted the Inspiration Award. The perfectly executed night raised a record $375,000 for families dealing with a cancer diagnosis. CSCGP has helped 450,000 local cancer patients and family members over the years. Amazing.
Cyclists, runners and power walkers are stoked: township and Philly officials are seriously contemplating adding a trail connecting Lower Merion’s Pencoyd Landing to the Schuykill River Trail in Manayunk.
After 12 years, Chester County’s Galer Estate Winery has closed for good. The property was sold to neighboring Longwood Gardens, which vows to preserve the green space and agricultural land.
All four White Dog Cafés will again welcome you – bleary-eyed, PJ-clad, Hair of the Dog-hunting – to their annual New Year’s Day Pajama Brunch, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Menu is à la carte. Two paws up for this three-decade tradition at which PJs are not only welcome but encouraged.
Our friends at The Gift Shop and Art Gallery at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Wayne are offering storewide discounts at a Holiday Open House this Friday night, Nov. 17, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The show of local artisanal crafts and art and unique gift and religious items benefits St. David’s outreach programs. Ditto for Bryn Mawr’s Church of the Redeemer’s Christmas Village, which will be free and open to the public this Saturday, Nov. 18, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Technically this qualifies as Main Line news because Eagles’ center Jason Kelce lives in Haverford Twp. Shhhh. On the TODAY show, Kelce the elder said it would be “incredible” if his brother Travis’ girlfriend, some know her as Taylor Swift, lent her voice to an Eagles Christmas album next year. You can be sure this year’s iteration, “A Philly Special Christmas Special,” will again raise oodles for assorted local charities.
Walter J. Cook Jewelers in Paoli continues its sparkling November TGIF popups with a rep from Spark Creations this Friday, Nov. 17, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
Team SAVVY freelance writer and fine artist Rebecca Adler is hosting a Holiday Market popup at the Terrain/Anthropologie at Devon Yard this Saturday, Nov. 18, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. To say we’re fans of her cool paintings would be a lie – we’re HUGE fans.
We said it on social and we’ll say it again: Cheers to the PHS Philadelphia Flower Show for choosing a timely theme for its March 2024 extravaganza: United by Flowers.
After a historic donation, The Heart Pavilion at Lankenau has been re-named the Penny and Warren Weiner Heart Pavilion. Made in honor of her late husband, founder of the Deb Shops, Penny Weiner’s gift will fund much-needed diagnostic imaging and other upgrades. The Villanova couple’s donations have helped make Lankenau Heart Institute one of the region’s pre-eminent cardiac surgical and diagnostic centers.
Look forward to seeing you at Main Line Health’s Women’s Heart Initiative Holiday Sip & Shop fundraiser at Waynesborough CC, this Thursday night, Nov. 16. The response has been overwhelming. Thank you!
Stumped for holiday gift ideas for the little people in your life? How ’bout tickets to Jurassic Quest, time-traveling to the Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks Jan. 5 to 7.
Free parking in Ardmore and Wayne from Small Business Saturday through the holidays. Bryn Mawr’s free parking days are all Saturdays: Dec. 16, 23 and 30.
Jeopardy! is coming to the Main Line!!! Join yours truly, SAVVY editor Caroline O’Halloran, for a peek behind-the-scenes of the brainy game show next Tuesday, Nov. 21, 7 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at Main Line School Night in Radnor. I’ll ask three former contestants about their experiences and we’ll end with a friendly Jeopardy match. Not to worry: one panelist will play for each team and there’s no pressure to play. (Game shows need audiences, right?) Fee for this unique MLSN class is $35. Register here.
Community tree lightings and festivities:
Ardmore, Friday, Nov. 24, Schauffele Plaza, 6 p.m. Santa lights the holiday tree, poses for pics; cookies and cocoa for all.
Bryn Mawr, Friday, Dec. 1, gazebo near Ludington Library,7 p.m. Tree lighting, Carol Sing, Santa arrives on fire truck, cookies and cocoa.
Wayne, Friday, Dec. 1, North Wayne Ave, from 5:30 p.m. Carriage rides, carolers, tree lighting, crafts at the firehouse. On Saturday, Dec. 2, Radnor library’s annual Elves for Shelves 5K steps off at 8 a.m., Santa parades down Lancaster Ave. and photos at 10 a.m.
Tredyffrin, Saturday, Dec. 2, Wilson Farm Park, 5 p.m. to 7 pm. DJ, tree lighting, food trucks, free hot drinks and sweets. Rain date Dec. 3.
Malvern, “Christmas on King,” Saturday, Nov. 25, noon to 6 p.m. Beer garden, live music, food trucks and Santa surprises until 4; performances, food, drink, tree lighting and Santa visits in Burke Park 4 p.m. to 6 pm.
Radnor, Holiday Open House at The Willows, Saturday, Dec. 9, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Vendors, music, crafts, snacks. Preview party Friday, Dec, 8, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Stories we’ve been following for reporting in the New Year: a controversial proposal to limit off-leash dogs from Skunk Hollow Trail near the Willows in Radnor and the exciting expansion of Suburban Square in Ardmore (yet again).
Because we can’t resist a sweet – and in this case, sloppy – finish: a pic of St. Norbert School principal Mary Kay Hennessy becoming a human ice-cream sundae to reward students for meeting their walkathon fundraising goal of $35,000. She said she would do it … and she did. Gal’s a gamer, right?
And finally, a seasonal sea of gratitude to our SAVVY advertisers. We wouldn’t be here without you. Please patronize these small, local businesses this holiday season – they need you! (We don’t let Google populate SAVVY with national ads as most sites/blogs do. We prefer to showcase homegrown businesses and give them an affordable place to advertise.)
And to the many thousands of you out there in SAVVYland, THANK YOU for reading and sharing our stories. Our goal, as always, is impactful journalism so if you have it in your heart to help the Hoeys this holiday season…
Our sincere wishes for happy and healthy holidays and abundant blessings in the New Year. We’ll see you in January when we’ll be rolling out SAVVY’s Next Big Thing!!! Until then, follow us on Instagram and Facebook for fun giveaways and breaking news that can’t wait. And do subscribe to our email blasts if you don’t already – SAVVY subscribers get special offers and exclusive invites!
PS We’re SO excited to meet some of you at our DiBruno Bros. subscribers’ shindig in Wayne on Dec. 5. (See our story about it above.)
Caroline and Team SAVVY Main Line