Monday, January 30, 2012


Last week, Susanne and I headed to Mechanicsburg to meet with our financial advisors to find out just how rich we are. We were afraid that Mitt Romney was getting ahead of us. Well, guess again. He has quite a way to go to catch up with us. I wish!

Afterwards, we drove west on Route 11 toward Carlisle, the ultimate goal being an antiques mall in town. We passed through Hoagstown, noticing some fine old houses trapped between the two lanes of the highway, and through New Kingston, where a by-pass fixed that problem. Knowing that we could still afford lunch, we stopped near Middlesex at a restaurant frequented by truckers. Those places often have the best food. Sure enough, we enjoyed a tasty meal and were soon on our way.

Bedford Street Antiques is housed in an old building that was formerly a Lutheran church. It has two levels and an annex, chock full of "stuff," some of which is pictured below. Click on the link to see a photo of the place when it was a church.

On the way into the antiques mall, we passed by the Episcopal Church (center) and Presbyterian Church (lower right hand corner) just a block away on the Square.

Almost the first thing I saw was this watercolor of Historic Peace Church in Hampden Township, Pa. The church was built in 1798 and used by Lutheran and Reformed congregations. Today it is owned by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission and operated by Friends of Peace Church. I played the 1806 organ there for many weddings and for inauguration day services for Governors Thornburgh and Ridge.

Almost next door to the picture of the church was this papier mâché barrel bank sporting the name James. I thought of James T., recently-born son of a young couple I know. Later I saw several more of these banks, but none had a name on it. This one even had the apostrophe in the right place.

Susanne considered these colorful little glasses to fill up a divided metal tote she bought at some other establishment. She is a sucker for tin and metal objects useful in the early part of the last century.

I thought about buying this thumb for my sister Rachel, who recently tried to chop off her own while cutting vegetables. It was in a glass case, so I was not able to look at it closely enough to determine its function.

Next was this Majolica teapot. We have a plate in this pattern. Can you see that it is a cauliflower poking its head out from among the leaves? I found two of these on the Internet, one for $995 and one for $495. I wish I had looked at the price on this one!

This gizmo was used in the 19th century to carry charcoal or coal to places like your carriage or church, where you could rest your feet on it, then wrap your feet and legs in a blanket to keep warm. Guess what they call it. A footwarmer. Go figure.

I am always attracted to miniature structures, and this one was no exception. It appears to be home-made and in good condition. Alas, I have no place to store or display all the houses, churches, barns, and sheds I see.

They should market this as "PERMA-HAM® -- THE ONLY EASTER HAM YOU WILL EVER HAVE TO BUY." Doesn't it look delicious?

Soon I found this pair staring out at me from a case. They may be French santons, "little saints," representing the common people of rural southern France.

I seriously considered this cupboard for our upstairs hall. I thought it would look good with smaller pieces of Lesterware in it. Fortunately, we measured it and when we got home discovered that it was too wide for the space we had in mind.

Upstairs, where the church's worship room was, I found this row of scales by the window. You know how I like rows or stacks of like things.

I love old religious art. It's so colorful and to the point and often sort of naïve. Here the Holy Family contemplates the Cross that is in their future.

Susanne heads back down the spiral staircase to the first floor of the former church building.

These salt shakers might be just the right thing for that metal tote we've heard about. Red or yellow caps?

This display proves that a table setting can be beautiful if there is one unifying thing in every piece -- here, it's the pink.

This chintz-patterned china caught my eye. It's colorful, and despite its name, anything but chintzy, price-wise. This is from the online etymology dictionary: "Disparaging sense (in form chintzy), from the commonness of the fabric, is first recorded 1851 in George Eliot"

This 19th century coverlet appears to be in good condition.

Okay, here's the last bit of "stuff" -- things your mom had for many Christmases when you were young, still appealing because of the memories they bring back. We had the plastic snowman, complete with a broken pipe.

On the way back to the car, we passed another Carlisle landmark, the 19th century brownstone Cumberland County prison, now used for other purposes.

In closing, here are gratuitous photos of a little dessert I made with crescent roll dough and cherry pie filling.

Thanks for shopping with us!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG... show you a discovery almost beyond belief. Those of you who follow this blog know that I have a "thing" for whoopie pies, that (maybe) Amish goodie called "gobs" in western Pennsylvania and also claimed as their own by the people of Maine.

What can be better than a treat with plump soft cakes/cookies held together with luscious white creamy icing? Probably nothing, but something new has come on the scene -- in a limited edition -- to challenge it.

Yep, it's Turkey Hill's latest flavor. You can imagine my reaction when I saw it through the frosty glass of the freezer in the grocery store. My eyes were riveted as I breathlessly approached the freezer. Could it be? Had the whoopie pie crossed over into a whole new world? What would be next, I asked myself? Whoopie pie popsicles? Whoopie pie candy bars? Whoopie pie shampoo? The list was endless.

Knowing that the ice cream might clog my arteries and do me in, I bought it anyway. What a way to go!

Do you want to see what it looks like? Watch this!


"Third in the Burg" is a relatively new activity in the city of Harrisburg. On the third Friday of the month, art galleries and other establishments stay open late and encourage people to come into town to enjoy them. So, recently my sister Rachel and I had dinner and visited one of the places that was open -- not a gallery per se, but a bed and breakfast that had an exhibit of artwork on its walls.

We met at the Uptown Chicago Grill (formerly "Da Pits") at Second and Maclay, just across the street from the Governor's Residence. When we arrived, the place was almost empty, but soon there were quite a few diners. We enjoyed our meals and catching up on things. Susanne, my lovely spouse, was in New Brighton with Sarah and her kids, so she was not able to join us.

After dinner we had some conversation with the owner, who told us that the name of the restaurant had to be changed when he bought the place a few years back, because the seller had reserved the name "Da Pits" for future use. It's still known for the same menu, including those famous grilled vegetables!

Now it was time to head out to City House, a bed and breakfast on Front Street just north of Forster. Rachel got bundled up against the chill of the evening.I probably still had my coat on, because I am cold everywhere I go!

City House used to be a private residence and then a group home (for troubled youth, I think). Not too long ago it was turned into a B&B, managed by a lovely young couple I had met when I gave them a tour of the John Harris-Simon Cameron Mansion, the home of the city founder (Harris, of course) and A. Lincoln's first Secretary of War (Cameron). They invited me to visit their house when I had the chance.

According to its web site, "City House was built in 1925 by D. Bailey Brandt, Secretary-Treasurer of Harrisburg Storage Company, as identified in Building Harrisburg: The Architects and Builders, 1719-1941 by Ken Frew. The architecture of 915 Front Street was inspired by Spanish prototypes that were being architecturally explored during the era. The home has endured much over the years, including being divided into two homes in the 1940s and serving as a group home in the 80s and 90s."

Here's a picture from the Internet of City House during the daylight!

We were greeted at the door by Bruce, our young host, who showed us through the house. It's a beautiful and stylish restoration and would be a very comfortable place to stay. We imagined renting the two rooms in the front of the house on July 4, bringing our spouses Jack and Susanne, and watching the fireworks while sipping wine on the front veranda. In the morning we'd enjoy breakfast before heading home to real life.

This enclosed porch offers comfortable seating, and in the daytime, a lovely view of the Susquehanna River.

The dining room offers a view of the dome of the Pennsylvania State Capitol in the distance.

The end wall of the dining room has built-in cupboards and a beautiful fireplace surround.

 Even the telephone in the hallway at the bottom of the stairs recalls 1920s elegance.

This small sitting room has some very comfy leather chairs for TV viewing and relaxing.

How'd ya like to fall asleep in this cozy atmosphere? Then wake up to hot coffee and breakfast treats? Rachel gives her opinion to the manager.

Look at this glamorous bathroom! We like the blue, white, and black color scheme and the oval mirror.

In the living room we enjoyed a glass of wine while we talked more with the managers. Several young couples were also taking advantage of touring the house, which can also serve as a site for small wedding receptions and other activities.

We had a very nice time at "3rd in the Burg" and hope to join in some of its other offerings in the future. Oh, and by the way, if you're looking for a place to stay when you come to town, consider City House. If you live here and need a place for visiting family and friends, you can't do better! (Can you tell we liked it?)

Friday, January 13, 2012


This morning I was awakened by a call from a temp agency to come at 11:00 a.m. today to "greet" in a townhouse development being built by Charter Homes of Lancaster. I have done this in several of their "neighborhoods," and you have seen pictures of them here.

I got ready and guided the Box east on US 22 to stop at the Subway franchise for a sandwich to have at lunchtime. Then we headed down Pa. 39, around the loop west of Hershey, and onto 422 west to the Hummelstown-Middletown Road. Passing Indian Echo Caverns, I soon arrived at Deer Run Commons.

If you look closely at the photo above, you will find a clue as to how much these places go for. I think they are appealing, because they are nicely designed and built, and there is no outside maintenance. Still, unless you had one with a basement, they may be too small for collectors like me and Susanne!

Like most Charter Homes, this one has a nice classical look, with simple lines and pleasing dimensions. Let's just go in and see what's what.


The central hallway runs the whole length of the first floor.

To the left as you enter by the front door is found a small but attractive study.

Next comes the powder room, far enough from the Great Room to ensure privacy.

The Great Room is made up of the kitchen, dining area, and living room. There's a nice gas fireplace, but alas, no wide screen TV. At least not yet. As all greeters do, I made four cookies and two cups of coffee. There being no visitors today, I was forced to consume them mid-afternoon.


Upstairs, the "owner's suite" or master bedroom was nicely decorated and included a walk-in closet and bath.

I thought this "frosted" glass pointing out one of the features of the house was sort of cool.

Here's another marketing tool, this one on the master bathroom window.

Oops, quick, call the painter. He must have been on something when he painted around the tub!

The second bedroom was set up like a family or media room. I like the wall color a lot.

Here's the other side of the room.

The third bedroom is right next door.

Here's another one of those little "get more" marketing tools.

The upstairs hall offers a generous amount of space. Behind the double doors is a large laundry room.

The upstairs bath, like the powder room, is not, shall we say, "out of the ordinary."

Well, now you have seen most of the rooms. The rest of the pictures are some of the decorative details that caught my eye.

This little green shaggy dog sat quietly on the couch the whole time I was there.

Soon the day had come to the end. I packed up my things, including a great book by a local author. It's called "The Chocolate Assassin," written by Pete Durantine, who publishes a monthly news magazine called 'The Burg.' I headed out the door, locked up, took one last picture, and headed for home.

Exactly one-half hour later, I arrived at our front door. Do you think I need gas?

Oh, one last photo. This one is of the townhouse complex across the street, where another builder is selling something for about $250,000. This model has one heck of an antenna on the roof! I bet their reception is great.