Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Litchfield Beach

     The eastern coast of the United States has the most wonderful beaches for walking.  It is almost as if you can pick any shore town, head toward the ocean and walk for miles!

     On one of our trips south, Jimmy and I headed east to Litchfield Beach, South Carolina.  We parked, put the leash on Daisy and headed over the dunes.  We needed to jump down to the beach, the dunes were so high.  

Off we went for our walk.  We prefer to walk close to the water where we can keep a steady pace without sinking in too much.  
On and on we walked, enjoying the sea breeze and the sounds of the waves.  However, a slight obstacle arose as we headed back to our path up into the dunes.  Which path?  What did the homes on either side of the path look like?  What color?  What style?  Did it have a shingle rooftop or tin?  Neither of us could remember.

I came up with the brilliant idea of following our footprints in the sand.  The only problem, the tide had risen.  Where were our footprints?  

            Climbing the dunes, we spotted a familiar home.  

        Yes, our Hansel and Gretel tale had a happy ending!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Little Curious

               When I visualize a Victorian home,
                                a Farmhouse,        http://www.countryliving.com/life/a37310/white-farmhouses-for-sale

or a Southern Colonial,

   I see a covered porch with a painted blue ceiling . Someone once told me, ceilings on porches were blue because it kept away the insects.   


I was a little curious -  not all porch ceilings are blue.  

    If the insect story is true, why are not all porch ceilings painted blue?


Doing some research, I read that the paint used on porch ceilings, at one time, was 'Milk Paint'.  Made by mixing milk and lime and then adding pigment for color. Possibly the spiders, mosquitos or bees were attracted to the mixture. 


No one knows for certain whether a blue porch           ceiling does keep away the insects

or that blue may seem to extend the hours of daylight when insects are less apt to appear.


One very interesting fact, I found, is that we can thank the  Gullah Culture of South Carolina's low country for starting the blue ceiling trend.  The African Descendants believed their ghosts, called Haints, could not cross water.  By painting the ceilings of their porches, and sometimes the casings around the doors and windows blue, they could ward off  evil spirits by making the ghosts think it was a river. 


       There is even a shade of paint called Haint Blue.

Whether for good luck, keeping the bugs away, or just the calmness blue can create, a blue ceiling above a porch is a must! 



Sunday, January 31, 2016

Along a Shore Road

A walk along a shore road, had me viewing many various styles of architecture.  No two were alike.  However, I did come to a block where the homes began from the same cookie cutter but each now had its own personality.  All began as raised hip roof cottages on stilts to protect them from rising ocean waters in a hurricane. Some showed their personality with color, others added a roof deck to catch the sunrise and sunset.

Others raised the roof and added a second story.

A historic home, perhaps the oldest on the beach, caught my eye.  It had been built in the 1930's.  It looked as if it had begun as a gambrel roof, shingled cottage but full length dormers were added to give more space.

Spotting that beach house made me curious about the age of the others.

The fisherman's bungalow, below, is probably from the late 1940s. 
Homes, minimal in style and traditional in design, with a low pitched roof were popular after the end of World War II.  

Again, a cottage.  This one with a higher peak 
roofline,  a fireplace,
french doors, and a trellis. Giving it a more southern colonial style, but built  a little later than the one above.

Oh those glorious 50's!
A ranch style home raised from the ground. Still sporting a cement cinderblock wall.

There are not many A Frame homes around.  They were popular in America during the 50's 60's and reached their peak in popularity in the 70's.  This one has the weather stained cedar shingle, giving it a 'beachy' feel.  The A Frame, or chalet, style has been used forever in alpine areas because snow would easily slide off the steep pitched roof.


Their loss in popularity at vacation areas and resorts was mainly because of the

There will always be people who want a home of their own.
It could be a Cape Cod style,

a Colonial Revival,

an  Antebellum.  

or the hurricane resistant, wind shield fenced, eclectic home of today.

As long as it has a porch to feel the summer breeze and hear the waves breaking, they should be happy!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Valley Green

My favorite place to go for a walk is along the Wissahickon Creek in Chestnut Hill.  A snow storm cancelled plans for heading any further south for the winter and made for a few unplanned days in Philadelphia.  The feel of snow was in the air, bitter cold, but not breezy. Bundled up, it was a perfect time to head to Valley Green with my Daisy-Dog.

Driving down the steep incline to the Valley, I  passed stone walls covered with ice,

wooden bridges and hillside paths.

  After crossing over an old stone bridge, I arrived.

I heard the sound of water splashing over the stones,  the quack of ducks, the clip-clop and neighing of horses. 

All I could think was 'what is better than this?'  Then, I thought, 'I must get back to writing my blog. This beauty must be shared!'

Valley Green is part of the Philadelphia Park system and a section of Fairmont Park.  Where I like to wander, was first home to the Lenape Indians.  The land had been given to William Penn by King Charles II of England and the first settlers to arrive along the Wissahickon were from Germany and were a community known as 'Hermits or Mystics of the Wissahickon',.  As a little girl, I remember pretending to be an Indian, running and hiding along the hills or looking for the caves where the 'Hermit' lived.  Of course, my friend, Linda, nieces and I had no idea that we were reenacting history and those people actually lived along this creek hundreds of years ago.

As I strolled along the bridle path following the creek, I thought of the Indian statue hidden high in the hills.  His name is Tedyuscung where the Lenapes were supposed to have held their pow-wows.  Many times I have tried to find him but never have.

  I did spot remnants of ancient stone walls where                   more than 50 watermills once stood.

Some milled grains or gunpowder, others cloth or paper. As I walked along, I could not imagine that ever occurring in this  tranquil setting.

I had read that Benjamin Franklin talked about the clear fresh water from the Wissahickon.  In his will, he had made suggestions that the creek be the source of drinking water for the town of Philadelphia and left money for this to be done. Eventually, the mills were torn down and the pure water returned. 

I can still see my children running along the path, stepping along the stones at the water's edge and drinking from the rock springs along the way.

The Valley Green Inn

seems like home to me.  Special occasions have been celebrated there with my family.  Whether it was  homecomings, 

weddings, rehearsal dinners, brunches, lunches 

or just a quiet dinner with my parents, it was a special place to go. One where I would end my meal with a slice of warm blueberry pie and a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Comfort food and sitting by a fire, what is better?

Some would say that feeding the ducks is.  And, a trip to Valley Green must include a stop for a feeding.

When I was there, a lady had come with a large container of cereal grains.  She said with the upcoming storm, she wanted to make sure the ducks and geese had plenty of food. She made sure they did!

 No matter what season of the year, I happen to go there, I am moved by its' beauty, its' peacefulness,  it's sounds and smells.  Artists try to capture it with paint,

                    And writers try with words...

 Edgar Allan Poe wrote an essay titled "Morning on the Wissahiccon".  It begins, "Now the Wissahiccon is of so remarkable a loveliness that, were it flowing in England, it would be the theme of every bard, and the common topic of every tongue…"  

It is a scenic wonder, and a place I want to share. 

Friday, September 6, 2013

A Simple Little Jersey Dress

Shopping on Carnaby Street in London at the famed store, Biba's.  Buying lingerie at boutiques in Paris or dresses on 5th Avenue,
New York, the world was mine as a Pan Am stewardess.  Whatever was "hot" in the world was at my fingertips. At the time, the look was mod and mini and that is what I wanted. I would just schedule to be on a flight to that destination and buy or drool over the hot fashions... This was the 60's. 

By the 70's, I was home with two little children and a husband just finishing law school.  I was working part time and trying to make enough money to help pay our bills.  Now, clothing was something I borrowed. Luckily, my sister-in-law and friends were the same size and swapping clothes was something we always did.  One of my friends was working at a clothing boutique, and always wore the most cutting edge fashions.  At the time, I remember, Diane Von Furstenberg and her jersey dresses were the most sought after pieces to wear.  I had a rehearsal dinner to attend, and immediately went to Helena's closet to borrow one.

The dress fit perfectly and could be worn today, 35 years later and still look great.  The colors were just right for fall and the pattern, timeless.  From that night on, I have loved Diane Von Furstenburg fashions.  I think this was one of the first designs Diane Von Furstenburg had made and brought to America.  It was a shirtwaist dress and a classic, before her signature wrap dress became popular.

It was at least 25 years later before I actually bought my own wrap dress.  I remember the first night I wore it.  

Jimmy had taken me to a romantic little French restaurant.  I felt like a movie star wearing it and decided the wrap dress was going to remain in my wardrobe.
Since that first aqua and indigo blue jersey wrap dress,  I have bought others.  

Each time I wear one, I still feel as special as I did in the original.

          And, I still like to borrow and share the creations...