Friday, September 30, 2011


A couple of blog entries ago, you read about our trip to Red Lion, York County, to visit the Family Heirloom Weavers. They were willing to make a sample of cloth in the colors and style that Susanne liked. Soon we got a call that they had made not just a sample, but a queen sized bed cover! We ran down to Red Lion and brought it home to try it out, but I really did not care for it, so we decided to take it back.

Our friends Debbie and Bill had been wanting to go to see the "weavery," too, so we decided we'd all go together. Debbie taught school with Susanne, and she and Bill are a great couple, funny and laid back. We always enjoy our time with them. So we arranged to pick them up at their place. They invited us in to see some recent redecorating and to visit their collection of auction purchases that they are transforming into snazzy shabby chic painted furniture. They're busy getting it ready for an art show and sale coming up.

Soon we were all buckled into the van to set out for the York area. Since we had enjoyed time together at home, it was now almost lunch time, so before heading out into the countryside, we high-tailed it to a cool deli that Debbie knows from taking art lessons in that area once a week.

We ordered sandwiches and drinks and enjoyed the atmosphere. Unfortunately, I was seated near a display case loaded with tantalizing desserts. I had to put up my magical carbohydrate shield, which worked well (this time, anyway), and I got away with just a picture of a big white cake in the front of the case. (I may print out the picture and eat it later, though.)

Listening to the lady who lives in our steering wheel and tells us where to go, we got back on I-83 and went about two feet to the next exit, the road to Red Lion. Soon we were turning onto a side street that led out that little town  and into the country, passing woods and streams, a farm with all sorts of animals grazing, and then a small group of houses and a church. The "weavery" is just beyond the church.

We looked through the show house, where the ladies made their choices, and then we stopped in the factory/office to settle the bill. Everyone there is really nice, and no one was concerned that they had made the whole cover but we did not buy it. They knew someone else would buy it one day. I felt sort of bad, knowing that these weavers had made authentic reproductions of fabrics and carpeting for Presidential homes and other famous historic sites. And here I was rejecting their work!

On our way back up I-83, we stopped in York at Refindings, York's architectural warehouse, where remnants of great old buildings were rescued and saved before demolition. Debby had seen examples of this kind of place but did not know there was one in central Pennsylvania. She was convinced they existed only on HGTV. When the back doors to the van rolled open, she made a bee-line to the closest display, the one of antique fencing and garden ornaments. It was all poor Bill could do to keep up with her. She left him in the dust.

Needless to say, we all enjoyed seeing the goodies inside, and Debbie especially was eyeing things with the thought of how she could put them to use. Susanne liked a bunch of shutters she thought we could screw to the outside wall behind the house -- you know, where no one would ever see them.

Finally we called it a day and headed home sans purchase, crossing the river on the Pennsylvania Turnpike to avoid the congestion on I-83 during rush hour. We took the back way to our friends' house, passing horse farms with those beautiful long-legged creatures gamboling about in the emerald green grass. Next we passed an orchard and Debbie and Bill's house came into view.

 Bill and I await the women outside the "weavery."

The deli cases were loaded with exotic cheeses.

This evil cake kept calling my name.

I liked these Palladian windows at Refindings..

There was a lot of good stuff to see.

This charmer must have been from a hair salon.

 More treasures.

 Something for everyone.

As we pulled into the turnpike plaza,
we were greeted by a rainbow,
sign of hope and renewal.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Since we're going on a day trip with friends on Thursday, the day I usually work in the choir library at Market Square Church, I decided to go there today instead. I also wanted to help the church sexton to move a model of the church that the church administration had offered to the Historical Society of Dauphin County.

I pulled up into the "loading area" by the door from the city garage into the church and searched for the Box's blinker light switch. I found I had no idea where it was! By turning on the headlights, the dashboard lit up like, well, a dashboard, and there was the telltale pyramidal shape, the universal symbol for blinkers. As I went to open the door, I met the sexton on his way out to an appointment.

I was worried about where the model was being stored, so I decided to try to move it myself. Grabbing a cart from the kitchen and bending over like a big ol' Quasimodo, I crawled into the dungeon where it was stored on the floor (in sections) and cautiously moved it out onto the cart and then up the elevator to the car. Then I went back for the second section. I had to leave behind the heavy wooden base and h-u-g-e acrylic box that covers it.

Soon I was rounding the corner of the church, heading west toward Front Street, then south a block or two to the Historical Society, where I met the curator. He and another staff member moved it into the mansion to be held temporarily there. In the course of our conversation, I learned that the society has other models, including one of the Harris-Cameron Mansion  and a house north of the sit-ee.

We made it just in time to avoid a huge downpour. I dashed into the society office to make some copies and speak with the librarian on another matter. When I left, it was still pouring, and everyone in the office was scurrying around completing projects.

On the way uptown, I stopped first at a friend's house to drop off a copy of Pennsylvania Heritage magazine, for which I had written an article this summer. Ernie lives in a lovely brick townhouse (at right) filled with collections of all sorts of things that fascinate and appeal to the eye.

Then at Third Street Used Furniture I stopped to look for a wooden book shelf that could be fitted with wheels and turned into a library cart for use in the choir library. Alas, there was none, but there were plenty of buckets collecting rainwater seeping through the roof. Upon leaving, I spotted an interesting bit of advertising on a white panel truck. You'll see photos below.

I took a circuitous route home since the radio said that I-81 was very slow-moving. Opposite the state Farm Show Building, Maclay Street was already flooded. We had to slosh through standing water right in front of the old International Harvester building where my mom worked when we were kids.

Arriving home, I was greeted cheerfully by Susanne, and we decided to use a "Living Social" coupon I had bought for a 50s-style diner in Hummelstown. We drove there the back way, passing along the now-infamous Swatara Creek, which did an enormous amount of damage during the last tropical storm. Much of the damage was evident, with basements emptied and standing open, and a lot of debris clogging the creek and leaning against bridges.

At the restaurant, we enjoyed our food (eggplant parm and a gyro) and a floor show provided by a bratty little girl screaming in a sort of semi-private room and being in turn screamed at by her parents. I felt sorry for them all, but for the rest of us diners especially. They left just as we finished our meals.

The best part came when we paid the bill, and for the $10 for $20 coupon we had a $21.47 meal. We had to pay the $1.47, of course, and a tip, but all in all, a great deal.

We headed home through the last of the daylight, arriving just in time to endure another downpour. The Box got a nice bath while we watched from our warm and dry house.

 Can you see the large acrylic display case for the model?
It was being stored in the cave-like room to the right.

 Façade of the model.

 The rear of the church interior, showing the organ.

The front of the sanctuary.

Staffers carrying the front half of the model into the mansion.

 Do you think the tagline in quotes is from an earlier incarnation?

Arriving at the Soda Jerk Diner.

Slick 1950s décor.

The wallpaper in the men's room included a border
with 1950s cars and this map of the midwest.

I tried this talking scale, and it told me, 
"Please ask your friend to wait."

My dinner came with a little dish of tapioca.
Who knew?

Total due: $1.47

The Box looking very cool in the reflection of a
highly-polished metal panel on the side of the diner.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Well, this is getting ridiculous. My life is so exciting and colorful, I have to blog every day! I might as well go back to work. Let's get right down to it.

This morning I went to Market Square Church in downtown Harrisburg to sing in the choir. I was incredibly lucky right off the bat as I found a parking spot in the garage on the same level as the door into the church! After a short rehearsal, the choir climbed the thirteen flights of steps to the gallery in the rear of the worship room. (It's not really thirteen flights, but some days it feels like it.)

We sang our opening song, and a little later the "big" piece. At the end of it, we got the signal from the director to repeat the whole thing. We're still contemplating about whether we sang it twice so it might get better the second time, or because it was so wonderful it was worth hearing twice. Maybe we will find out at the next rehearsal.

After church, I drove through the Harrisburg neighborhood called Shipoke, which is cleaning up from the recent flood. I was surprised to see the water level on the windows at the famous restaurant, Char's Bella Mundo.

I had a bite to eat across the river and then headed to the Antique Marketplace in Lemoyne. I was not looking for anything in particular, but I wanted to see how the now-completed large addition turned out. I came across a small aquamarine-colored pitcher that I had often admired in the old Williamsburg Craft House catalog. I don't know if it's an authentic Williamsburg piece or not, but it was a bargain, so I bought it.

I also checked out Steve Ziegler's Architecturally Speaking displays of old building parts and furnishings. There's always something cool to see at Steve's. I tipped off a writer for The Burg magazine, and she wrote an article about Steve (see page 13), who is a friend of our friend Mike the deck-builder. The writer called me recently for a quote or two for the article, so look for it to come out at the beginning of October. It is distributed free at many places around town and online, too.

Remember my blog not too long ago about going up the west side of the river to an antiques barn that was open only on Sundays? Well, today is Sunday, so guess where I went next.

On the way I saw the "Scenic Overlook" sign again at Marysville, and then a similar sign caught my eye on a platform along a small street running parallel to the highway. I made a quick turn and pulled up to the overlook to see what the fuss was all about. Maybe it's better in winter when the leaves have dropped.

The Box and I continued up Rts. 11 & 15, passing through Perdix and stopping at a Sheetz store to get some gas. I cannot tell you what a thrill it is to slide in the "Sheetz My Card" and get three cents off per gallon, and earn points on other goodies! (Oh, I have to mention that Susanne's friend from college, Nancy, was here to visit this past weekend, and she is as cheap as I am -- maybe cheaper! She had some great stories to share.)

A few more miles and I came to the Cove Antiques Barn. I think the term "antiques" might be a little misleading. I might call it "stuff." Remember the little French glasses I was looking for? You see them everywhere in France, in cafés and restaurants. It seems that I was the only person looking for them, for they have been there since last Christmas. There were eight of them for $8.00, truly a bargain, except that three of them were -- to use the museum curator term -- yucky. Scratched and cloudy. The other five were fine. I talked the cashier into selling me four of them and tried to get the fifth, but he insisted on keeping a set of four. No one will ever buy them. Boo hoo. I wanted that fifth one! Waaaa! But I do understand his decision.

After that I came directly home under grey skies so I could share this wonderful day with you. So there ya go.

 These flowers greeted me as I entered the church.
 Pretty good parking space, isn't it?

 Come on, you know you need a pink stove.

 Architectural fragments are very decorative.

How great is this!? I think it's from an old Plymouth.
It's hanging on a wall!

This stone house sits along the highway
in Wormleysburg, opposite the city of Harrisburg.
I think it may be the home of the town's founder.

An SUV whizzes past the "Scenic Overlook" sign.

Here's the famous overlook. Not quite like the acrylic
Grand Canyon viewing platform.

Here's what you get to see from the overlook.

And here's a view of the Rockville Bridge to the south.

This gets my vote for the worst location of a state historical
marker. The marker is for the Rockville Bridge.

Here's the treasure house where the French glasses resided.
 On the way back through Marysville, I noticed
these colorful kayaks and canoes at the river
outfitters business between the road and the river.

 Three cents off. Imagine!