Sunday, December 29, 2013

Only in Bucks County: The Best House in Buckingham

I have friends who live in a beautiful 18th century stone farmhouse in Holicong, a small pocket of Buckingham Township here in Bucks County. With rolling country roads, the scent of sun-warmed grass and fresh air, and the scenery of well-kept horse farms, open land, cornfields, and periwinkle blue skies at sunset, I enjoy the 15 minute ride to their house as much as I enjoy being a guest there! Dennis and Armando have a place that is full of beauty, love, and warmth; and they go out of their way to make their guests feel welcome in their enchanting home.

The word that I would choose to describe their home is handsome. It's simply a good-looking house! Large and impressive with pointed stonework on the outside; exposed beams, deep window sills, oak floors and antique fireplaces on the inside. I wander around inside, exploring... and I walk around the grounds and feel as though I'm in an earlier, simpler time.

                            The road to Holicong

                                                                Holicong Road

Walking the grounds
Formal garden
                                                        Annual Christmas photo

                                                      King of coops
Autumn approches
                                              Side view
 Random width oak floors
                                                                                              Super wide sills

 I know a secret: In front of their house stands the largest tree in all of Bucks County!
(Armando tells me it used to be the second-largest tree, but the first one fell over in a storm)

iPhone photo that better shows the enormity of said tree ;)
                                                       Armando's Cocina al aire libre

 Chardonnay among Cornfields

Shadows cast by the warm glow of the fireplace
A wonderful meal on the terrace

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth,
 for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire;
  It is the time for home.”
Edith Sitwell
(September 7, 1887-December 9, 1964)
And of course.... there's always Ethel.




Thursday, September 5, 2013

Only in Bucks County: The Summer I Discovered Country Music

Those of y'all that know me know that I'm a pretty positive person. I tend to see the bright side of things and I don't think I complain alot. But summer for me has become a time where I count the days down until the next season. I hate the heat. Hate. It.  
It's been constant and inescapable. We've been living with the air conditioning running non-stop since May, and between the heat and a busy work schedule, I feel like I've been living indoors more than ever this summer.
Just this week (of course timed perfectly with the start of school), although it still gets uncomfortably warm during the days, it has begun to cool off at night! We've begun to sleep with the windows open to the sounds of crickets and cicadas, and a few mornings have actually been crisp. Now that I feel assured that my favorite season is right around the corner, I reflected on the past few months.
Two great things happened, really.
I've had to make the trip to Upper Bucks a lot this summer for work. The beauty in this thirty minute drive through farms and small towns, past orchards and open land, showcases everything Bucks County has to offer. Hot or not, I put the top down on the convertible and I go. It's become a ride that I love and look forward to, and the catalyst for me exploring Bucks County again. I have talked Scott into getting in the car and exploring these back roads as the sun is setting on our Saturday night.
The other thing that happened is that I've discovered country music!
Don't ask.
Don't judge!
I am ALWAYS late to the party!
All I know is that I went 48 years without it, and suddenly I can't get enough. I can't answer the question why. It's inexplainable, but it goes hand in hand with the freedom and the beauty of driving around small towns, driving around exploring.
And so!
I will try to appreciate the the warmth, the light, even the heat, of the last days of the summer. With the top down, and some country music blasting, of course.

River Road, Erwinna PA

 A HOT summer day
       This one right here... she's the one that got me into country music ;)
                                                         Corn fields in Carversville, PA
"Well you can come as you are, there ain't no dress code
Just some rural route rules that you need to know
Don't mess with the bull
    He can get real mean
                      If it starts to rainin' will just head to the barn
We're country boys and girls gettin' down on the farm."
                                                  ~Tim McGraw, Down on The Farm

 Ottsville, PA
                                                                  Buckingham Valley
  Passing through Pipersville, PA


You never know what you'll hear on the radio...


Randy Houser's Running Outta Midnight

        You never know what you'll see in the sky
 (Yardley, PA)


Sunday, July 28, 2013

Only in Bucks County: Nor'wester Readers

I'm happy to announce that I'm going to be volunteering my Twitter skills to another Bucks County Non Profit!

I really enjoyed helping to bring attention to Reuseyourshoes via Twitter, and I have a ton of fun being on The United Way of Bucks County's Twitter Corps, so I decided that no matter how busy I am, I'd always like to donate my time and skills to a local cause. I am pleased to tell you that the organization I've chosen is called Nor'wester Readers.

I was first introduced to this organization in 2011 when I was asked to photograph one of their events by Northampton Patch.

I was re-introduced this past Spring, when I took Cody to their  Annual Dog Walk and Family Fair.
It was an extremely well organized, family friendly event. That evening, I sent my photos to Founder Wendi Huttner, and... well.... you already know what happened from there.
After a few meetings with Wendi and Co-Director Deborah Glessner, I hopped on board to set up an account and become their voice on Twitter. I am still learning about the program, which is not just about kids reading to dogs; Nor'wester Readers is a well-thought-out and well-researched Canine Assisted Learning Program. 

Their goal is to provide certified therapy dogs to work with area teachers to build and support student motivation; and to improve student self esteem, confidence, and focus.
My goal is to bring awareness to this wonderful organization and its need for more registered therapy dogs. (There is literally a waiting list of teachers in Bucks County - especially Pennsbury School District and Bensalem Township - who have requested a dog for their classroom)
To begin to understand more about the program, I joined Debbie at the Northampton Free Library this week to see some of the dogs in action!

Dogs make great listeners.


 A lot of the books the kids read to the dogs were ABOUT dogs.
                                (Dogs love this!)
                                       "97 Ways To Make a Dog Smile"



How Can You Help???

Nor'wester Readers needs more owners/handlers and their dogs to visit classrooms on a regular basis!
If you want to volunteer for a really worthwhile cause and own a great dog,
 or if you have a friend who has a great dog, all we ask is that you spread the word!

Here is a link on how to get your dog tested to become a Certified Therapy Dog:

When was the last time YOU curled up with a good book...
...and a good dog?

Please follow us on Twitter @NorwesterReader