Tuesday, February 2, 2010


"The community of West Reading is experiencing a transformation resulting from the growth of the Penn Avenue shopping district and the expansion of its larger companies and institutions. Over 35 new retail and restaurant businesses have opened on Penn Avenue since 1999." These words online and a suggestion from friends sent us to Penn Avenue today to see what all the excitement is about!

The Box is piling on the miles these days. We headed east on I-78, then south toward Reading. It was a pleasant day for a ride through the countryside. We passed the Vanity Fair outlets and found a parking spot on Penn Avenue in the very block we wanted to visit. The spot was so big that we could have parked a second Box in there! And no meters!

We checked out Papillon, a French brasserie, and found it to be way too expensive for a quick lunch. So we hustled across the street to Bistro 614, a very smart move! The place was empty because we were too late for the lunch crowd and too early for dinner. Susanne had a portabello mushroom sandwich and the house salad. I had a roast turkey sandwich and the salad. They were exellent and quite satisfying. The staff was pleasant and engaged us in conversation. Stop there if you get a chance.

After lunch, we walked down the street, toward downtown with the famous Pagoda visible in the distance. We visited a candy shop (alas, no Zipf's chocolates there); an antiques, gifts, and framing shop; a consignment shop with all sorts in interesting "stuff" for your home and yard; and the Baldwin Brass Center, where they sell their own product and other upscale home furnishings.

As daylight dimmed, we headed a few blocks to the Reading Public Museum to browse in the museum store. It's a very good museum, and we will come back to see the exhibits one of these days.

On the way home, the Box made a quick right turn west of Ephrata into a 55+ community called Home Towne Square. Spiffy Craftsman-style homes on nice flat lots were very attractive. We plan to return to see the model and imagine the good life in a retirement village!

The bar at Bistro 614.
This row of historic homes now houses
a restaurant, antiques shops, and other businesses.

Shoo! offers some weird footware --
Sarah might like it!

These bike trail markers grace the lamp-posts
on Penn Avenue.
Susanne's mother worked
at the Berkshire mill.

Model home at Home Town Square for Old (Rich) Folks.

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