History Lesson

A few Saturdays ago, on an absolutely gorgeous September weekend, I headed out for a drive to Chadds Ford Days, a yearly two-day event held on the grounds of the Chadds Ford Historical Society. The air was cool, the sky was deep blue, and my drive along the back roads to get there brought back fond memories of growing up in rural Pennsylvania. Fall has always been my favorite time of year, and I was looking forward to kicking off the season with a bit of history, a hayride, music, food, and shopping. 

When I arrived at the festival I took some time to stroll around the host of vendors who were there with their wares. The array was really wonderful, from woodworkers and potters to soap-makers and basket-weavers. The hand-crafted goods on display were quite remarkable, exhibiting a pride of workmanship that’s a welcome change from what’s found in the average big box store. After shopping a bit I sat on a hay bale and enjoyed the sounds of bluegrass music played by the talented Skyline Band.

When the music was done I headed off to watch a demonstration by the Second Pennsylvania Regiment of the Continental Line, a volunteer group of history enthusiasts who’ve been authentically re-creating Revolutionary War units and battles since 1966. What a treat! The re-enactors were at the festival all day long to talk about the uniforms, flags, and lives of Revolutionary War soldiers, offering visitors a realistic look into this integral piece of American history, including my favorite, the firing of the regiment’s cannon.

There was plenty of great food to be had, too, from local favorites Jimmy John’s and MomPops, but the highlight for all had to be the chocolate milk from Baily’s Dairy at Pocopson Meadow Farm. The milk was delicious, yes, but accompanying the farmers were two lovely mascots—Prada, a 6-year-old Jersey cow, and Naomi, a brown Swiss calf that was just born on August 26. Pretty much everyone stopped to pet these beautiful, docile creatures, who seemed remarkably unbothered by the cannon fire around them.

After visiting with Naomi and Prada, I took a tour of the John Chads House, a two-bedroom stone-built home that dates back to the mid-1720s and gives visitors a look into Colonial life during the period of the Battle of the Brandywine. Then I strolled through the demonstrations area to see authentic representations of  Colonial caning, blacksmithing, spinning, and more. I also chatted with several young men and women from the society’s Junior Guides program, a group of young history buffs who learn eighteenth-century crafts and skills and then volunteer during Chadds Ford Days. The enthusiasm these kids showed for the day’s events was really incredible. I was even able to by a loaf of bread that they had baked authentically in the John Chads House’s beehive oven.

After having such a wonderful time at this event, I’m definitely going to check out the upcoming Great Pumpkin Carve (October 24–26), featuring the artistry of 60+ local pumpkin carvers, and the Annual Candlelight Christmas tour of homes in the Unionville area and Marlborough Village (December 7). For more information about these events, visit the Historical Society’s website, where you can also find out about the many benefits of membership.

—Michele Kornegay


“Like a Painting by Monet”

A few weeks ago, during the one sunny afternoon in the midst of what seemed like days upon days of rain, my son and I headed out to the gardens at Chanticleer. I hadn’t been there in over 10 years, since before he was born. He’s a lover of all kinds of plants, so I was looking forward to showing him this wonderland in Wayne as an end-of-the-school-year reward.

Built in 1913 as the country retreat of Adolph Rosengarten, Sr., and his wife Christine, Chanticleer has been open to the public as “A Pleasure Garden” since 1993. Thirty-five gorgeous acres are accessible from April through October, the perfect months for viewing blooms, foliage, woods, ruins, and water features; meandering on the mile-long main path; and enjoying the whimsical and imaginative setting. Honestly, it’s hard to find superlatives that measure up to the beauty of this unique yet little-known spot—but I will try.

We started our visit at the Teacup Garden, located just beyond the entrance. This lovely terrace is chock full of seasonal, tropical, and subtropical blooms both large and small, all surrounding a central fountain that just begged to be dipped into on the hot day. We also came across the first of many artists there that day capturing scenes from around the gardens on canvas. I made a note to be sure to return with my husband, who always has a sketchbook in hand.

From the Teacup Garden we headed to the Cut Flower Garden and Vegetable Garden, which was just beginning to burst with the promised bounty of the season. I can imagine that as the summer progresses, the twig arches will become entwined with flowers and veggies and vines of all sorts! We took a seat at a bench at one end of this garden, pausing to take it all in. (It should be noted that benches and chairs are scattered all throughout Chanticleer, encouraging visitors to linger, relax, and enjoy.)

At some point we put away our map and decided just to wander. We spent the afternoon traversing a bridge that looks like a fallen tree and following the shady streamside path on the other side, marveling at the Ruin and its incredible  sculptures and water features, escaping the heat in the Asian Woods and Bell’s Woodland, and enjoying every moment we spent in this gloriously informal escape.

We finished our visit at the Pond Garden, which we were told not to miss when we entered the grounds earlier that day. The pond teems with an impressive array of huge koi, but what we really wanted to see were the poppies, which were promised to be “like a Monet painting.” Indeed they were! Huge swaths of orange blooms streaked across the hills surrounding the pond, dotted here and there with yellow and purple and pink. Imagine, our own Giverny right here in the Brandywine Valley! The scene was absolute perfection. I guarantee you’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Chanticleer, located at 786 Church Road in Wayne, PA, is open April through October, Wednesday through Sunday, from 10am to 5pm (extended hours to 8pm on Fridays from May through Labor Day). For more information, visit Chanticleer on the web and Facebook.

—Michele Kornegay

“And of Their Memorial There Shall Be No End”

Summer is here! I just love this time of year, with late nights under warm, starry skies; cookouts, lemonade, and ice cream; and trips “down the shore” for sun and sand. To kick off our summer-long festivities this year, we headed to State Street in Media for the town’s Memorial Day parade. After a rainy, chilly start to the holiday weekend, the weather couldn’t have been more perfect for the annual event.

I still can’t believe I’m able to be so close to the city yet still live a small-town life. Nothing beats a parade down Main Street USA in terms of Americana, and Media’s was no exception. Hundreds of peopled decked out in red, white, and blue joined us in a festive celebration of local heroes, complete with classic cars, a marching band, little leaguers, and fire trucks to delight the little ones.

Young and old from all walks of life—and a whole lot of dogs, too—lined State Street for the parade. The crowd cheered and applauded as veterans from all branches of the military from World War II forward, men and women, passed by. I thought of my 94-year-old grandfather, a Pearl Harbor survivor who lives in Harrisburg, and how touched he would be to see the outpouring of respect. Beneath the excitement over the unofficial start of summer was a palpable solemnity. The playing of “Taps” at the memorial wall honoring Media’s veterans at the start of the parade reminded us all of the true meaning of the day. 

Following the parade, we strolled down State Street to the Pennsylvania Veterans Museum, which preserves the living history of veterans in its remarkable collection. Normally open Thursdays through Sundays from noon until 5pm, the museum, located at 12 East State Street in the Media Armory, opened its doors especially for the holiday.

Dioramas, interactive kiosks, a mini movie theatre, and exhibits display memorabilia and tell of the true cost—and the valor—of war from the perspective of both the military and civilians. The museum is always free, and there are many excellent volunteers there to guide you through the collection. If you’ve never been, I urge you to visit this remarkably moving museum. We all could learn something from what’s contained in its walls.

Now that the summer season has begun, Media will be abuzz with lots of great events each week. Check out the calendar at visitmediapa.com for a complete listing. See you downtown!

—Michele Kornegay


In Bloom

Spring is here, which means it’s time to pay a visit to Tyler Arboretum!

Maybe I should rephrase that a bit. Truth is, I love to visit Tyler year-round. My family and I have been trekking through Tyler’s snowy grounds in winter; hiking through their cool, shady woods in summer; and enjoying the colorful splendor of the season in fall—in addition to celebrating the arrival of spring blooms—for nearly a decade now, since we first moved to the area.

Last Sunday was a perfectly crisp spring day, so we headed to Tyler to check out the newly completed Scenic Loop Path. But before we made our way to the path, we lingered among the magnolia trees and basked in their pink-and-white beauty. I honestly don’t think there’s a better place anywhere to see such perfect specimens of this early spring flowering tree. Families were spread out beneath the blooms enjoying snacks and picnics with their little ones, a scene we saw repeated throughout the arboretum that day. Looking upward, I noticed the contrasting pink flowers against the day’s blue sky—a picture so perfect that it took my breath away.

My son wanted to visit some of Tyler’s treehouses, now open for spring, so we meandered through the grounds to see his favorites. I still remember when the treehouses were installed at Tyler several years back. My son was so excited to check them out, and his enthusiasm hasn’t waned a bit over time. He loves them all, but I think his favorite is the Cape May Birdhouse, inspired by the arboretum’s Bluebird Trail and featuring architectural details and a paint scheme reminiscent of Cape May’s Victorian beach houses.

Still on our way to the trail, we stopped at the Pond in the hopes of seeing some of Tyler’s resident frogs and toads. Originally dug to as a source of irrigation water in the late 1940s, the Pond is fed by Rocky Run Stream, which runs through the arboretum and along the Blue Trail (our favorite!) on its way to Ridley Creek. The frogs and toads must have been hiding the day we visited, but we did get a kick out of several turtles sunning themselves on a makeshift “raft” in the center of the pond.

In time we arrived at the Scenic Loop Path, which begins just past the Pond. The paved path circles around the Meadow Maze, past the Giant Sequoia, into the heart of the Pinetum, and along the border of the Rhododendron Garden to complete the loop. The path allows ADA access for all visitors and is perfect for strollers, wheelchairs, and visitors of all ages and abilities. As we wandered along the path we were surprised to see early blooming azaleas and noted the dogwoods and redbuds that were just beginning to bloom. I plan to go back in a week or two to see them in their full glory—you should, too! It promises to be a magnificent display.

Tyler Arboretum, located at 515 Painter Road
 in Media, is now open for spring and summer hours: Monday through Friday, 9am–5pm, and Saturday and Sunday, 9am–6pm. Admission is $9 for adults ages 16–64, $8 for
 seniors 65 and older, $5 for youths ages 3–15, and free for children younger than 3. Become a member and enjoy unlimited free general admission and many other benefits, including members-only events and special discounts. And be sure to check out Tyler’s education programs for adults, which run the gamut from gardening to health and wellness, and children, including their renowned summer camp and eco-birthday parties.

—Michele Kornegay

Art in the Family

Last weekend my husband, son, and I visited the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington. Founded in 1912 in honor of artist Howard Pyle, the museum is situated in a residential neighborhood on a beautiful tree-lined street. With the cherry blossoms in bloom and spring finally here, the drive to the museum was just as lovely as what we found inside.

Before we ventured inside we strolled around the outdoor Copeland Sculpture Garden on the grounds of the museum. What a perfect day for it! Magnolias were in their full glory, the sun was shining, a cool breeze was blowing, and people were out among the grounds sketching buds and blooms. Someone was walking in the labyrinth toward the back of the sculpture garden. Built using seven tons of Delaware River Rock, the labyrinth gives visitors an opportunity to slow down and find quietude—the perfect state, in my opinion, for appreciating art.

The museum’s collection includes 12,000 works for art-lovers of all types to enjoy, from Pre-Raphaelite through postmodern American pieces. In addition to the permanent collection, the museum is showing five other exhibits, including “State of the Art: Illustration 100 Years After Howard Pyle,” which features more than sixty works from eight important illustrators. I was pleased to see “Creative Powers: Selections from Art Ability,” which showcases works by people with disabilities, and was particularly entranced by “Imagined Places: The Art of Alexi Natchev.” Natchev’s watercolors from his work as a children’s book illustrator pop with color and whimsy. I couldn’t stop looking at them!

A trip to the Delaware Art Museum is wonderful for families like ours who want to start their children on the path toward art appreciation. Between the sculpture garden, Natchev’s children’s book illustrations, and the illustrations from Finding Nemo, Wall•E, and Ice Age that are part of the “State of the Art” exhibit, there was much to keep my son enraptured. He marveled at the Chihuly Bridge and its extraordinary pieces of glass. But by far his favorite work was an art installation piece, Tunnel (found in the postmodern gallery), which you just have to see to believe. 

In addition to changing exhibitions, the museum has a full slate of evening events, activities, and programs throughout the year, including the upcoming Art Is Social, Artful Yoga, and Movie Night in the Sculpture Garden. Studio art classes at all levels are also offered for adults, teens, and youth. Be sure to check their website for more information!

Visit the Delaware Art Museum at 2301 Kentmere Parkway in Wilmington (phone: 302-571-9590; toll free: 866-232-3714. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. (closed Monday and Tuesday). Visit the website for more about upcoming exhibits, events, and classes, and be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter, too!

—Michele Kornegay

Jolly Good

For the past several years, my mother-in-law has been taking me to a tea room in Emmaus, just west of Allentown, to celebrate my birthday. We always have a lovely time sipping tea, feasting on sweet treats, and talking about life as part of the Kornegay clan (for the record, my mother-in-law is fabulous; I consider myself lucky to have such an incredible extended family).

I’ve often wondered if there was a local tea room that could offer up the same kind of experience—a relaxing place where ladies (and gentlemen) could go for a few hours of escape from the hectic world outside. I found it earlier this week, at Special Teas Tea Room in Chadds Ford. This quaint little spot in the Olde Ridge Village Shoppes, just off Route 202, is an oasis from the hub-bub of everyday life. Owned by sisters Carole Bradley and Judith Finnigan, Special Teas has been offering visitors homemade treats and a tremendous selection of teas for nearly 15 years.

The day I visited the tea room was cold, dreary, and drizzly—like many days lately, it seems. Although I love winter, I’m sure I’m not alone in longing for sunny skies. Spring is just around the corner (or so the groundhog tells us), but for now, I needed to feel warm and cozy again. I settled into my beautifully set table and ordered the Afternoon Tea for one, with Pai Mu Tan (white peony) tea. While I waited for my order I enjoyed the lovely instrumental music in the background and the sounds of quiet conversation around me.

What a treat it was when this gorgeous display arrived! The Afternoon Tea includes a selection of assorted tea sandwiches, miniature pastries, and a choice of a raisin or plain scone (I chose raisin), served with Devonshire cream, preserves, lemon curd, and a pot of tea. It was almost to pretty to eat. I later learned that Judith is responsible for baking all of the homemade pastries and other sweets on the menu, while Carole makes the salads, sandwiches, and everything else coming out of the kitchen. These sisters have definitely hit on a winning combination. Everything I tried was superb.

The menu also features a Children’s Tea for ages 10 and under that includes a pot of tea, six tea sandwiches, and two cookies—how much fun would it be to bring a little one for a fancy afternoon tea “party”?—as well as soups, quiche, salads (Caesar, chicken, tuna, egg), and sandwiches. Tea lovers will marvel at the variety of teas offered; I counted more than 30, including traditional black, flavored black, oolong, green, white, decaffeinated, herbal, Rooibus, and fruit-infused teas.

In addition to two rooms for enjoying tea, Special Teas also has a gift shop where visitors can purchase any of the teas on the menu, tea accessories, honey, curds, teapots, teacups, and other items. Hours for the tea room are noon to 3pm on Monday and 11am to 3pm Tuesday through Saturday; reservations are recommended, especially on Saturday. The tea room is also available for private parties and catering. Stay up to date on Special Teas’ newest teas and special events by following them on Facebook.

As these last few weeks of winter linger and the skies continue to be gray, treat yourself and a loved one to a spot of tea at Special Teas Tea Room. You’ll leave feeling relaxed, warmer, and oh-so-civilized. (British accent not required.)

—Michele Kornegay

Sips and Sweets for Valentines Day

Wine and chocolate seem to go together naturally. Both are aromatic, smooth, and a welcome treat at the end of the day. Wine, like chocolate, can be light or full-bodied, sweet or complex. Enjoying a fine piece of chocolate and sipping a great glass of wine are two of life’s simple pleasures. Unlike some indulgences, though, these treats contain heart-healthy antioxidants; in combination (and in moderation, of course), this is a power-packed duo that even your doctor would approve. Thinking about wine and chocolate just makes me happy—tasting it, even happier.

We’re fortunate here in the Brandywine Valley to have a host of local wineries producing some amazing award-winning wines. A great way to check them out is during February, Wine and Chocolate Month along the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail. If you love chocolate and wine like I do, grab your sweetie, your best buddies, or your family and check out one—or two, or more—of the area’s incredible wineries over the next few weekends. Here’s what some of my favorite wineries along the Wine Trail are offering up in honor of the month of love. Be sure to call ahead for reservations when noted; these events are popular and fill up quickly.

Enjoy wine & chocolate samplings at Chaddsford Winery on February 16, 17, 23, and 24 from noon to 6pm. Participants can buy a box of chocolates ($14) to pair with their wine tasting. Explore tasting combinations on your own to find out which flavor combinations you like best. A written guide with suggestions on pairing and information on the chocolates will be provided. Indulge in your chocolates at Chaddsford’s Tasting Bar, in the winery’s cellar with a glass of wine and your special Valentine, or at home with a bottle of Chaddsford wine—your choice! No reservations are required; find out more at the link.

If you like your chocolate in fondue form, you’ll want to head to Kreutz Creek Vineyards in West Grove on February 16 and 17 to sample their incredible fondue made with dark chocolate from Bevan’s Own Make Candy dark chocolate and the winery’s Ruby “K” Port. To put you in the mood, harpist Maureena Spadaro will be playing love songs on February 16 from 2–5pm. No reservations are required; winery hours are 11am to 6pm. Or visit the winery’s tasting room in downtown West Chester on February 15, 16, 22, and 23 for live music from 7pm to 10pm; bring your own chocolate, cheese, or romantic picnic! Learn more about both winery locations on their website.

Penns Woods Winery’s wine and chocolate pairings are sure to be a real treat! Throughout the rest of February, join them on Thursdays from noon to 4pm (yes, even on Valentine’s Day), Fridays from noon to 5pm, Saturdays from 11am to 5pm, and Sundays from 11am to 4pm to enjoy five reserve wines paired with John & Kira’s handmade artisanal chocolates. The winery will also feature its limited-production dessert wine, Lacrima Dolce, paired with a chocolate-dipped, ganache-filled fig from John & Kira’s. (Side note: I’ve had this chocolate, and it’s nothing short of spectacular!) Pairings are $20 per person; reservations are required. Visit Penns Woods’ website or call 610-459-0808 for more information.

Other wineries along the Brandywine Valley Wine Trail are getting in on the fun, too–for information about wine and chocolate events at Black Walnut Winery, Paradocx Winery, Twin Brook Winery, and Borderland Vineyard, visit the Wine Trail’s website.

Best wishes to all for a wonderful Valentine’s Day filled with loved ones, chocolate, and wine!

—Michele Kornegay

Everything’s Coming Up Orchids

If I could choose to spend the rest of my days in one place on earth, it wouldn’t be Paris or Bali or even (as much as I love it) New York City. It would be Longwood Gardens. Longwood, formerly the summer estate of Pierre S. duPont, occupies over a thousand acres just outside Kennett Square and is a marvel of innovative garden design and horticulture.

I’ve been to Longwood Gardens with my family countless times in the 10 years that we’ve lived in the Brandywine Valley. We became garden members soon after moving here, and our membership has served us well over time. Our son has grown up with Longwood; from those early years in his stroller, he’s become a garden “regular.” These days he could give a guided tour possibly as well as anyone who works there, and we never leave without paying a visit to his old buddy Belin, the feline resident of the Pierce-duPont House.

But even though we’ve been to Longwood so many times, each time we visit we find something unexpected. A previously undiscovered nook in the conservatory, a fountain tucked away in the woods, a new color or variety of our favorite bloom—these are the details that keep us coming back again and again. We never know what we’ll find when we head to the gardens.

I visited Longwood last week to take in the “Orchid Extravaganza,” which opened on January 19 and will be on exhibit through March 24. I was anxious for a respite from the cold, gray days of January, but before I headed to the conservatory I walked around outside, savoring the tranquility. I was pleased to see that the treehouses are open, even during these cold days. If you come to the gardens with your children (or if you’re a kid at heart), bundle up and be sure to check them out!

When the chilly winds finally got to me, I headed to the conservatory. No matter how many times I cross through those doors, I’m always amazed by what I feel when I step inside. It’s hard to find just the right superlatives to describe it—it’s a stop-dead-in-your-tracks, just say “wow” moment. I stopped to take it all in, overwhelmed by the sights, smells, and artistry of my surroundings.

As with everything Longwood does, the Orchid Extravaganza is magnificent. I wandered around the conservatory, snapping photos and taking in the beauty of over 5,000 orchids in various displays. Highlights include six different Orchid Orbs, each weighing about 200 pounds and suspended above the East Conservatory and Exhibition Hall; the Orchid Arch comprised of 800 yellow Phalaenopsis orchids and spanning the entrance to the Exhibition Hall; and the triple-tiered yellow-and-white orchid chandelier hanging above the Exhibition Hall floor. Orchids are tucked away in every corner of the conservatory, from the Cascade Garden to the Palm House. As much as I tried, I’m sure I didn’t see all of them; no matter–this just means I have a reason to visit again soon!

This year’s theme at Longwood Gardens is “Beyond the Garden Gates.” Visitors have the opportunity to meet Longwood’s gardeners, enjoy talks and demonstrations, and go behind the scenes during special Beyond the Garden Gates Days, Beyond the Garden Gates Tours, Talks with the Gardeners, and Insider Tours. Find out more here. Ongoing events for families and kids include OrKID Days, Kids’ Storytimes, orchid scavenger hunts in the Children’s Garden, and more. Learn about family events here. Garden gates are open from 9am to 5pm daily. For directions, ticketing, and more information, visit the Longwood Gardens website.

—Michele Kornegay

Great Skate

I may be in the minority, but I love winter. The snow, the ice, bundling up against the blustery wind, even shoveling—I look forward to it each year. With its abnormally warm temperatures, this winter (so far) has been a bit disappointing for a cold-weather-lover like me. Other than one day of sledding just before New Year’s Eve, I haven’t gotten nearly as much winter fun in as I’d like. I’ve barely even had to wear my parka!

But as much as I love the cold, I’ve never been ice skating. I didn’t grow up in a town that had an ice rink or a pond that would get frozen-over in winter (at least not one I was willing to risk getting onto). Being of a certain age, I do have plenty of experience with roller skating, but those days of pom-poms, glittery laces, and disco balls are a long-distant—albeit very fond—memory. Basically, it’s been a good 30 years since I’ve had anything attached to the bottom of my shoes other than some nice 3-inch heels.

So when the opportunity arose for me to pay a visit to IceWorks Skating Complex, how could I resist? A few hours of icy cold fun was just what I needed, I thought, to remind myself that—yes!—it’s still winter. Located just off of Route 352 in Aston (and only 15 minutes from Philadelphia), the facility was easy to find for both me and my skating companions for the day, my friend Mary and her two children, Lila (age 4) and Jerry (age 9).

Upon arriving at the complex, I was awestruck by just how huge it is. IceWorks isn’t just a skating rink; it’s four separate skating rinks, in addition to a full-service restaurant, snack bar, pro shop, arcade, and banquet/party rooms. There’s plenty of space at the facility, both on and off the ice. Friendly staff members were on hand to direct us to the skate rental area and then to the rink being used that day for public skating. On our way we stopped to watch a few national-level figure skaters who were there that day for qualifications. Watching them glide across the ice, we were all inspired to give it a try ourselves.

Let’s just say, ice skating isn’t as easy as those graceful young men and women made it look. In fact, I’d say that our time on the ice could be described as anything but graceful. I tried channeling those long-gone days of roller skating with limited success. Luckily, while we were on the ice, we met an instructor from the facility, who gave us some tips to keep us on our feet (the most helpful? “Stand up straight!”). He later told me how he’s trained one adult who has gone on to win the Pennsylvania Adult Figure Skating Championship—at age 61! So perhaps there’s hope for me. 

Which leads me to my next point: IceWorks has an incredible Learn to Skate program. Classes are offered for all ages in both figure skating and ice hockey. As skaters advance, they can join one of IceWorks’ skating clubs; enjoy camps, clinics, and an annual Ice Show; compete as part of both in-house and club-level hockey teams (the Dragons, Phantoms, and Little Flyers); or participate in the IceWorks Academy and even high-level competitive skating. Private lessons are also offered. The trophy cases packed with awards in the facility’s lobby are evidence that IceWorks knows how to teach skating.

Despite our novice attempts to skate (and more than a few wipeouts), Mary, the kids, and I had a great time—and a lot of laughs. I got my winter “fix” for the day and re-lived some of those old roller skating memories. With a little practice, I think I may even become pretty good at it, and the experience opened up a whole new avenue of physical activity for me (cross that resolution off the list!). It was great getting out of my comfort zone for a few hours—thanks, IceWorks!

IceWorks is open for public skating 7 days a week (check the schedule here). On January 21, head to the complex for extended open skate hours during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The cost is $10 for adults and children over 4; children 4 and under are free. Skate rentals are $1 (free on Wednesdays). Discount skating, family value, and annual membership packages are also available. For more information about passes and packages, call 610-497-2200.

—Michele Kornegay


Media, Dressed in Holiday Style

Looking for holiday fun? Head to downtown Media! From decorated storefronts and buildings illuminated by night to carriage rides and a chance to whisper your fondest wish in Santa’s ear, the whole borough of Media gets in on the spirit of the season. Here’s what’s happening in Media over the next few weeks.

The borough of Media is aglow for the holidays.

* Enjoy a horse-drawn carriage ride tonight from 6–9pm. With just a teeny nip in the air, the weather couldn’t be more perfect for snuggling with your loved ones on a ride around the borough. Meet in front of the courthouse; the cost is $10 for adults and $5 for children under 10.

* Kids of all ages can find Santa in his village at the Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union, at the corner of State & Olive Streets, today through Friday from 3–7pm and Saturday & Sunday from noon to 4pm. Bring your camera and take all the photos you’d like! On December 20 from 4–7, bring your favorite furry friend to pose with Santa. Use your own camera, or have the Delco SPCA photographer on hand take a photo (free!) and email it to you. (Please consider making a donation to the Delco SPCA if you bring your pet.)

* Visit The Media Theatre for a performance of Dr. Doolittle, starring Philly sportscaster Billy Vargus and a cast of delightful children. Read more about the show here. (Or, drive just a few miles outside of Media for a performance of A Christmas Carol at the Hedgerow Theatre in Rose Valley.)

* Head to downtown Media on New Year’s Eve for the Community Celebration and Ball Drop at the corner of State & Jackson Streets, with live music by Philly Gumbo. This much-anticipated annual event brings out residents and visitors for dancing in the street and the area’s only ball drop. Music starts at 11pm.

As an added bonus, parking is free in the Olive Street Parking Garage through December, and stores are open late through Christmas Eve. To find out more about these events and other happenings in Media, visit the Media Business Authority website.

Media's merchants get into the holiday spirit! Find winter items like this authentic Flexible Flyer sled at Blueberry Bog.

If you’re like me and have left most of your shopping for the last minute, you’ll find something for everyone on your list in Media’s boutiques, artisans’ galleries, vintage and home decor shops, jewelry and clothing stores, and more. Supporting local, family-owned businesses is a wonderful way to put money back into the community—and if customer service is important to you, it doesn’t get any better than at a small “Mom and Pop” shop.

Need a show-stopping outfit for a holiday party? You'll find just the right fit at one of Media's clothing stores, like Sorella Boutique.

As America’s First Fair Trade Town, Media also prides itself on its stores’ selection of items by local artisans and its focus on fair trade products. In Media, you can shop with the knowledge that your purchases will help provide a living wage for artisans both locally and globally. Such hand-crafted items are special, not mass-produced; if you’re looking for something that’s one-of-a-kind, Media is the place to find it.

Support artisans around the world with your purchase of fairly traded items at stores like Earth & State.

You’ll want to get a bite to eat while you’re shopping or paying a visit to Santa. No trip to Media would be complete without a visit to one of its fabulous restaurants—the only problem is which one to choose! Name it; Media’s got it (seriously). I can’t think of another town where you can walk down the main street and find Italian, Irish, French, Middle Eastern, Asian, Mexican, Continental, vegetarian/vegan, pizza, soup and sandwiches, pub food, and dessert—and I’m sure I’m leaving something out!—just mere steps from one another. And of course, restaurant gift certificates always make a great gift.

One of my favorite restaurants in Media is Diego's Cantina and Tequila Bar. Call 484-442-8741 to learn more about their January 16 Patrón Tequila Dinner.

I’ve gotten to know the faces behind many of the shops and restaurants in Media—the people who put a whole lot of heart and soul into their businesses to create a warm and welcoming environment you’ll want to return to again and again. If you have a chance, pay them a visit. I’m sure you’ll grow to love them, too.

Happy Holidays!

—Michele Kornegay

Note: Street scene photograph by Ralph Nardell Photography.

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Delaware County�s Brandywine CVB  |  1501 N. Providence Rd.  |  Media, PA 19063
Phone: 800-343-3983  |  Fax: 610 627-9207