Sunday, July 31, 2011

SISTERS' WEEK -- DAY 6 (FRIDAY)

We got up fairly early this morning and Elaine made us breakfast.  Then we tried to decide what we were going to do.  We knew we wanted to go to the Craftsman Farms, but that didn't open till noon.  So we decided to go to the Ledgewood Mall first since that was on the way to the farm.

Google image
I needed new shoes for work and I found them at Payless Shoes there.  I have a Payless a few blocks from my house, but I can never find what I want.  I always find them in North Jersey.  Go figure.  We visited a few other stores and I got a couple of Christmas gifts.  I always start my Christmas shopping this week.  Then it was time to head for Craftsman Farms.


This is the 1911 home of Gustav Stickley, one of the patriarchs of the American Arts and Crafts Movement.


The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms is the living laboratory of visionary industrialist Gustav Stickley, whose furniture designs (sometimes called "mission"), home designs, and publication of The Craftsman magazine influenced the way Americans looked at decorative arts and architecture at the turn of the last century.


We were allowed to take pictures outside, but not inside.  The rooms were incredible.  If you want to see them, they are on the website.  Click here to see.  Gustav Stickley furnished his home with furniture and accessories designed and crafted not only by his own firm, but by some of the leading craft shops of the early twentieth century.

Stickley had very strong ideas of how things should be.  And NO ONE could talk to or reason with him once his mind was made up.  Even when his business manager told him he needed to change the way he did things or he would go bankrupt he wouldn't listen.  And so he went bankrupt.  But he also had ideas that were way ahead of their time.  What an interesting man.  I didn't know much about him before this visit and now I want to get a biography and read about him.


Stickley electrified his home.  This was unusual in 1911.  But he didn't believe in central heat.  Huh????  So he has huge fireplaces in each room (the downstairs sitting room has two -- one each end) with brass hoods over them.  The brass would heat up and cast the heat into the room.  There are holes with brass covers in the inside stone fireplaces.  As you can see here he also cut holes in the chimney outside.  This would let in the fresh air.  I'm not exactly sure why.  I think it made the fire burn brighter and gave fresh air to the room.  Each brass hood had a quote engraved on it that was intended to make you introspective.  All the furniture was made in his factory or was made by someone of his day with the same leanings.  Even the piano was made in his factory.


Stickley had over 600 acres of land.  There are 31 acres left that were not sold off to developers for malls and housing.  These stone pilars are planters that were in his garden.  He had orchards and a vegetable garden surrounded by hedges and flowers.  Strange.

After the tour we wandered around taking pictures.  Here is Elaine sitting on the stone bench in front of the house.


And here I am in front of one of the many unusual trees.


Many of the trees were twisted into interesting shapes.



And very tall trees.

All in all it was very interesting and I'm really glad I got a chance to see it.



After we left, we went home and changed and then went to the Jefferson Diner for dinner.  We had been wanting to go there for awhile.

Google image

It was featured on the Food Network show "Diners, Drive-ins and Dives" with Guy Fieri.  It is across the street from where my sister works, just about 10 minutes from her house.

She had Moussaka and I had Chicken Francaise.  We both had cream of butternut squash soup.  Let me tell you, it was the best food I have ever eaten.  And I mean EVER.  And the portions were huge.  We ended up taking half of it home and having the leftovers last night.

So it turned out to be a busy, but wonderful day.

Next stop on our itinerary is Chester, NJ.

SISTERS' WEEK -- DAY 5 (THURSDAY)

Not much to say about today.  Didn't even take a picture.  This was a travel day for me.  I left later than I wanted to because I was trying to get everything done around the house and not leave anything for Joe.  I really hate leaving him, but I really needed to get away by myself for a few days too.

It takes 2 hours to get to my sister's house.  The traffic was so bad that it took me about 2 1/2 hours.  It was a long drive.

When I got there her friend Frank was there.  Frank watches Elaine's dog, Cody, while she is away.  It was Elaine's actual birthday and she ended up cooking dinner for us.  We were going to go out to a restaurant, but it was raining.  The restaurant we wanted to go to has outdoor seating on the lake.  Not a good idea in the rain.

She made steak with mushrooms, real mashed potatoes and corn on the cob that I brought up.  It was a wonderful meal.

After dinner Frank left and we got into "bum around" clothes and watched TV.  A real exciting day, huh?  But I guess we needed a down day.

Tomorrow we get to see the Craftsman Farms, home of Gustav Stickley.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

SISTERS' WEEK -- DAY 4 (WEDNESDAY)

This was the down day of our vacation.  My sister Elaine left this morning to spend the day with her best friend Donna who lives nearby.  She is staying overnight there and will leave to go home tomorrow morning.  Then I will be going to her house tomorrow afternoon.

It finally cooled down today.  The cooler air was just beautiful.  We opened the windows in the house and let the fresh air in.  Eating breakfast at the kitchen table with the windows open and the air blowing in was just wonderful!

This was a day for me to spend with my beloved husband Joe.  We really didn't know what we were going to do.  I had won a $3 off coupon for a movie ticket at the AMC Loews theater in Cherry Hill from eating m&ms.  Love that candy!  So that's where we decided to go.

Google image
We thought the theater was in the Cherry Hill Mall and headed over there.  But it wasn't.  It was about a half a mile away down Route 38.  We kept asking people where it was and getting all different answers.  Finally I pulled into a parking lot and Joe pulled out the GPS and found it.  It isn't hard to get to once you know where it is.  The theater was beautiful.  Obviously we had never been there before.  It had stadium seating, so there wasn't a bad seat in the house.  It cost us $15 to get in and $20 for two small popcorns, a small soda and a bottle of water.  They really have you at those concession stands.

We saw the movie "Zookeeper".  It was funny.  I think Joe liked it more than I did, but I did like it.  We almost never go to movies.  I think in the five years we've been married this is the third time we've gone.

We were going to go out to dinner, but neither of us was hungry and we had just spent all of that money, so we ended up just going home and having left overs.  It was nice to have a day to just relax.

Since I will be at my sister's house and not have my computer, I will have to wait until I get back this weekend to post again.  But I will catch up.

SISTERS' WEEK -- DAY 3 (TUESDAY)

Sorry I didn't get anything posted yesterday, but I was just TOO TIRED!  Here is where we were.



Ocean City, New Jersey.  Look how crowded the beach was.  I am used to being there either before Memorial Day or after Labor Day.  It is not crowded then.  We even saw people parasailing!



It was hot.  Very, very hot.  I was so glad a lot of the stores were air conditioned.  We kept going in places just to get cool.


I had slathered myself in sunscreen to avoid getting burned.  After the sun poisoning last year I was not taking another chance.  But I had forgotten a hat, so I went into a store and bought an OC hat to wear.  It was so much better with the sun not beating on my head.

My brother Henry met Elaine and I to spend the day with us.


We had lunch at Primavera's and then went to Jilly's Arcade and spent a long time playing pinball and skee ball.  The "Lord of the Rings" game in back of Henry and Elaine is the one they challenged each other on.  Elaine got around 27 million points (I think), but Henry got over 83 million points!  I never saw someone use one ball for 20 minutes before.  He is good!  Elaine is good on skee ball though.  Over 250 points.  I, on the other hand, stunk at everything.  I only got 70 points on skee ball and couldn't keep that ball rolling on the pinball for anything.  But I still had a lot of fun.  We were there for an hour and a half and between the three of us spent only $5.

We walked the boards, went into some stores, and got some Polish Water Ice.  It is completely different than Italian Water Ice.  So much better.  Yum, yum!  They both had root beer and I had mango.  The best water ice I have ever had.

My family is always teasing me about being the shortest one in the family.  So they were saying I needed a box to stand on to get in the same picture frame as Henry.  I said, "I'll just stand on a bench."  And I did.  We were laughing so hard.  What a great day we had.


At the end of the day Elaine said she had to go into the ocean at least once.  We didn't have beach tags, but it was 5:20 p.m. and the beach is free after 5:30 p.m. so we just walked on.  Who was going to stop us for 10 minutes.  I stayed with the packages and Elaine and Henry went down to the water.



Then they came back and I went down to the water.  Even though the day was hot, the water was still cool.  I got only my feet wet.  Elaine and Henry had the water over their knees.  I can't swim so I'm a chicken when it comes to going in the water.

When we got back onto the boardwalk we bought a Mack and Manco pizza to take home for dinner and headed out.  It was hard to see our day end.  We have not seen my brother since my wedding five years ago.  It was hard to say goodbye.  But it was 6:00 p.m. and it was an hour and a half drive for me.  We will have to get together more often than every five years.  We had a wonderful day.

Monday, July 25, 2011

SISTERS' WEEK -- DAY 2 (MONDAY)

 Today Elaine and I took a road trip to Lancaster County.  This is one of our favorite places.  It is so beautiful there.


Lots of farms.  Hard to believe it's so close to a large city such as Philadelphia.

We began by going to Kitchen Kettle Village, a group of shops in Intercourse, PA.  It is a huge tourist attraction and always crowded.  Today was no exception.  We had to squeeze through the stores.  At least the economy is good for them!  There is always some type of entertainment in the courtyard.  This time it was two men playing banjos.  They were doing old-time favorites.


There is a Christmas store there where we go every year and pick out one ornament for our Christmas tree.  It is a tradition with us now.


Elaine collects nutcrackers.  When I saw the window I knew she had to have her picture taken in front of it.


This is one of the beautiful houses in Bird-in-Hand that we passed.


There were lots of Amish out and about today.  However, as I said before in this blog, I respect them enough to not take their pictures.  I tried to take some of their buggies or horses, but things were moving so quickly all the pictures turned out blurry.

After we left Kitchen Kettle, we went to the Lenox outlet in Strasburg.  I got a couple of Christmas gifts there.  As we left the store it started raining, so we decided to just go eat.  We went down the road to Hershey Farm.  Because it was Elaine's birthday, her meal was free.  We had such a lovely waitress named Erin.  And the hostess Karen was great too.  At the end of the meal, Erin brought out a whoopie pie with a lit candle in it for Elaine.  Yesterday a cupcake, today a whoopie pie.  After we ate I ordered food to take home for Joe and we went through the stores.  Then we went back to get the food and left.  It had stopped raining by then so we decided to walk through the grounds a little bit.  The hibiscus were beautiful.



There was a part of the grounds that dipped really low.  It was surrounded by large stones.  We took our lives in our hands (ha, ha) and stood by the edge.


The landscaping is so beautiful.



See the geese by the lake?


There is a little bench by a waterfall where Elaine and I sit each year and have our pictures taken.  Here is this year's version.





Before we left we went to see the goats and chickens.




On the way home not only did we get lost (we missed our exit), but there was a horrible rain storm.  God (and my brother Larry's directions given to us at our frantic phone call) brought us home safely and Joe got his dinner.  ;)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

SISTERS' WEEK -- DAY 1 (SUNDAY)

Every year my sister Elaine and I take the last week of July off from work and have a "Sisters' Week".  Her birthday is July 28th so that is why we chose this week.  We have been doing this for about 15 years.  It's a lot of fun to have a chunk of time for us to spend together.

Today Elaine came to Philly and we met our brother and sister-in-law and two of our friends for dinner.  We went to the Country Club Diner.  The meal was really good.

Joe


 Our friends Marion and Rich


My brother Larry and sister-in-law Kim

The birthday girl, Elaine

When dessert came out the waitress brought Elaine a cupcake with a lit candle in it and we all sang "Happy Birthday".  I think she was embarrassed, but she kept smiling through it all.

As we left the restaurant the sky was threatening.


We got in the car when the first drops fell.  As we drove out of the parking lot the deluge hit.  It was so heavy that I could see less than a foot in front of me.  We don't live very far from the diner so that was good, but the going was very slow.  Hopefully this will break our heat wave and give us some cooler weather.  We so need the rain too.

Tomorrow we're off to Lancaster County.