Thursday, December 13, 2018

Audubon Trails at Mill Grove

Most of the more interesting places I have visited in my travels were not the planned destinations, they were the unplanned stops along the way.

John Audubon's Home at Mill Grove is one of those places and very much worth making it a chosen destination, just not on a Monday, the day I was there.  It is closed. However, it was a opportunity to enjoy the surroundings almost people free. The construction workers were working on the new visitor's center, scheduled to open in the summer of 2019. I did get a chance to meet some of the permanent residents on a one on one more intimate experience, but will have to go back to get inside the first home in America of John Audubon. It looks most inviting.

John James Audubon lived at Mill Grove in Montgomery County from 1803- 1806.

From a distance the home looks palatial. Who wouldn't want to spend some time there but it is when you get up closer and wander around out back you get a sense of what entranced John James Audubon.

Most likely these rockers were not in place when he lived there but they serve to create a magnificent threshold into the many facets of nature to behold. It was late in the afternoon on a cloudy day so I was not able to get my bearings on directions. It does seem like this porch was just made for watching the setting sun in the west, so very peaceful.

Audubon is known as an ornithologist, naturalist and painter. This area would no doubt inspire such an interest, beginning first with observation. Like I said from the front view of the house, looking up at the cozy observation deck think inspirational and classic, something very special.

 The trails are not huge but unlike Audubon who did all his discovering on his own, you might want to use the map. You will need a map, especially if you are somewhat like myself with a bird brain and tend to wander into the woods and then wonder, where am I? It also helps identify some of the more interesting structures you will pass along the way of times gone by and much to my delight creatures still around to charm and communicate with if you stay with the journey. You won't need my map copy,  they provide them, just make sure you pick one up.

If you start on the trail behind the house, you will most likely take what the map labels as John's Trail. and it provides, I thought the historic trail. Perhaps one that a young Audubon may have taken just by the list of old structures that could have been in operation back then.

 A stone bridge across the creek first appears. Is it made of the same natural material as the structure of the house. It looks just as aged and sturdy. I checked the map it is not listed. I think it has withstood the test of time and should be noted. I am impressed by it.

The map does list the Pump House Ruins and I am sure I have discovered it, the Pump House.  The waterway seems wider here so I am thinking this is the Perkiomen Creek and my previous reference to the creek was a stream.

The next discovery was a fleet of canoes just sitting there inconspicuously in the woods. These must be available for a fee to cruise the Perkiomen Creek.

Not much further up the steep incline along the path, the next sighting appears to be an elaborate pathway where you can view the Spring House Ruins down stream.

In another section of the woods working our way backwards, you may be able to find more structures.

I was able to find the smoke stack. How do I know? It was marked unlike the other items on the list unless I just missed them.  It was getting closer to early evening and after 4 hours on various trails, this lover of nature was done looking but I hope to return some day and scout it out again. I would like to find the "unmarked" miners graves. I was also curious about the Samuel Wetherill Jr. name connection to the mine property and wondered if there was a connection to the Wetherill Family from Chester and the Wetherill Plant. I was unable to put that all together but it is possible.

I did mention meeting some of the current residents. I will introduce them tomorrow. They continue to bring the natural artistry to the area just as in the days Audubon was there.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Upcoming Weekend Events for Dec 15 and 16

Dec. 15 and 16 Photos with Santa at the Philadelphia Zoo.

Dec. 15 Saturday morning beginning at 9:30 a.m. The Healing Power of Art -  A Celebration of Life Portraits will be on display at Chester Friends Meeting located at 24th and Chestnut in Chester.  There will be no session Nov.10 or 24. Free and open to the public.

Dec. 15 A Very Bovine Birthday Party at the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation. Rust, our working steer, will turn 4 years old.  This alone might be a cool reason to party, but at 4 years old a working steer that is fully trained is allowed to be called an Ox. So what’s the big deal?  Well, the Plantation has never trained a bovine from calf to ox. In fact, very few people in the country are left who can train oxen.  This is a BIG DEAL, and to celebrate we want to have a BIG PARTY.  There is fun to be had for all ages, whether you’re a calf or an ox! Your admission goes directly to our Animal Fund, which helps to support Rust and his other animal buddies.  We’ll have a BIG birthday cake, hot cocoa and hot cider.  Visitors will also have a chance to be a teamster and help drive Rust and learn the voice commands we use to work with him. Young visitors can decorate a Rust-shaped cookie, make their own set of horns, and more. 12 – 3 p.m.

Dec. 15 and 22 Radnor Hotel Annual Holiday Tea for Children 1 - 3 p.m. Advanced tickets and reservations required. 

Dec. 15 Philly Pops Christmas Kids Spectacular at the Kimmel Center includes an appearance from Gritty and the first act of The Nutcracker. It is tradition that Santa Claus makes a surprise appearance.

Dec. 15 The Mansfield Brass Quintet will play Christmas Carols at the Gladstone Manor section of Lansdowne weather permitting 6 - 8 p.m. Begins at Mansfield Rd and Madison Ave. and will end at the community center where the Christmas Tree is located.

Dec. 16 Breakfast with Santa at the John Wesley Cross American Legion Post 507 from 9 - 11 a.m. Adults and those over 13, $7  Children 7 - 12 years $5 and children under 6 Free. Located at 20 W. Cleveland Ave. in Norwood.

Dec. 16 Colonial Christmas Open House at the 1785 Country Home of Thomas Leiper 521 Avondale Road in Wallingford 1 - 5 p.m. 

Dec. 16 Reenactment of the 1782 Cedar Bridge Tavern skirmish 2 p.m. at 200 Old Halfway Road in Barngat, N.J. The tavern will also be open for tours. 

Dec. 16 Meet and Greet with The Grinch  2 - 4 p.m. at One Liberty Observation Deck 1650 Market St. in Philadelphia.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Port Deposit Christmas Candlelight Church Tour 2018

Part of the Port Deposit Christmas Candlelight House Tour 2018

The Churches of Main Street

There are 5 churches in an approximate one mile stretch of Main Street in Port Deposit, Maryland.

The Tome Memorial United Methodist Church was not open during the tour date but its presence could not be missed, so I have included it. Then I could not help myself and investigate why they had not been open. The church closed its doors on September 30 due to declined enrollment. I found a video of the final service on Facebook provided by the Paw Paw Museum, the historical society of Port Deposit. The church opened in 1872 and shares the namesake of one of the towns famous residents and philanthropists Jacob Tome.

St. Theresa'a Catholic Church remains. According to the tour pamphlet guide, the church was built in 1866, late Federal style. The church of St. Theresa of Avila was constructed of Port Deposit Granite. Sunday Mass was first offered here by the priests of Harve de Grace. During the early 1890's, as a member of Port deposit Town Council, Father Arnd was instrumental in having popular trees planted along Main Street.

View from the choir loft.

Inside the Bethel A.M.E. Church waiting to greet guests sat the nicest ladies full of pride for their church. They had a special bond and connection to the church, their ancestors built it. The first Bethel was at Bethel Hollow at the south end of town. In 1877, the property was sold for the Tome School. The church moved to Rock Run and meetings were held in a tent in the summer and in Church Hall (which has since burned) in the winter. In 1911, the congregation moved to the current location.  On Nov. 6 1966 the church was destroyed by fire. One year later reconstruction was begun and the congregation moved back in although the interior was not completed until 1970.

The First Baptist Church instantly presented a united family front. We met the preacher, his wife, his son and the talented singing grandson. This large stone church was originally a Presbyterian House of Worship. The construction date is linked to Rev. John Squire for that is the date this first pastor "assumed charge." In 1902 it became, the First Baptist Church. The original structure was built in 1836, then rebuilt in 1872. Rev. Benjamin Brown was chairman of the meeting in 1898 at which the First Baptist Church was legally organized. Rev. Brown is said to have mortgaged his home to obtain this building for his congregation in 1904.  For many years, in the mid-twentieth century, Rev. St. Paul Freeman shepherd this church. Today this historic church is cared for by a large and active congregation led by Pastor Rev. Steven Deveaux.

Port Deposit Presbyterian Church. This church of Port Deposit granite, erected in 1902 in the Norman style, was largely a gift from Jams Harvey Rowland. The sanctuary has a handsome wooden beamed ceiling. The organ, with decorated pipes, was a gift from Mr. Rowland's son, Samuel , while the pews were donated by his daughter, Mary Rowland Platt.  Most of the stained-glass windows were commissioned as memorial. As early as 1804, having no church building of their own, the Presbyterians were preached to from horse-back or standing on an upturned box by Rev. James Magraw, the minister from West Nottingham.  When Rev. Magraw died in 1835 the congregation, in one month raised $1924.80 to be used as part of the construction cost for their own church.

Most of the descriptions were given on the tour pamphlets.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Crafts, Lights, Music, Lecture, Gingerbread, and Feed Your Soul Events

Congratulations to Army winner of the 2018 Army-Navy Game. I continue to Support Our Troops but I will still root for  Navy on game day. We will get 'em next year.

Dec. 10- 14  Check out the 12 Days of Christmas Crafts at Middletown Free Library.

Dec. 10 Festival of Lights at Rose Tree Park 5:30 - 9:30 p.m. daily.

Dec. 10 Holiday Music Concert for All Ages with Vincent Jams and 88 Ways Music at Middletown Free Library 6:30 p.m. Registration required to attend.

Dec. 10 Here Lies H. H. Holmes or does he? Join Science and Technology Writer and editor of "Holmes: A Serial Killer in His Own Words," Matt Lake, in an exploration of the recent exhumation in Delaware County of the notorious killer's grave, and the quest to identify his remains.  Was he buried or did he escape execution by substituting a body in order to kill again?  Learn more about Mr Lake's book here. Lecture at the Delaware County Institute of Science 7:30 p.m.

Dec. 11 Gingerbread Enough to Feed an Army at Museum of the American Revolution 5 - 8 p.m. Tickets $10. Bring a canned item to donate to Philabundance and get $2 off admission.

Dec. 12 Author Christine Burke , "The Well-Nourished Artist: 8 Ways to Feed Your Creative Soul" will speak at Tinicum Library 6:30 p.m.  Registration is required.

Dec. 13 Catholic Community Choir "Holiday Event" 5:30 - 8 p.m. at Cardinal O'Hara High School, Sproul Rd. in Springfield. Santa will be in the lobby 5:45 p.m. - 7 and The Polar Express Movie will be shown in the theater.

Dec. 14 State Representative Kruger-Braneky will have an Open House from 4 - 6 p.m. at her district office 701 MacDade Blvd. in Folsom. This office is also collecting new unwrapped toys for the Toys for Tots program 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Dec. 14, 15 and 16 Breakfast with Santa at Longwood .

Friday, December 7, 2018

WW II opened United States Naval Training Command Bainbridge


December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor was attacked and began the United States entrance into World War II. USNTC operated as a training center from 1942 and closing in 1976.

USNTC Bainbridge Museum is located on Main Street, Port Deposit, Maryland.

Dressing for success

The Ladies

Funny thing about the pretty lady pictured on the right, she was heating up the cider and placing cookies on the tray for visitors at the museum last weekend. She is still serving.

If you have driven over the Susquehanna River on Interstate 95, Port Deposit is to your right headed south and your left headed north.

Treasured souvenirs can be found in the former buildings, bank vault.

From my private collection that includes my father, my hero from technically the silent generation but collaborated with the greatest generation that fought in World War II. Of course now I am conflicted, all heroes deserve to be in a museum and properly displayed and preserved in time. Should I donate the original or make a digital copy? It looks like there is room on the wall.
 Class of May 9, 1944

More close up, maybe you can find your American hero
I also remember a photograph of my father playing Santa Claus in the Philippines, I remember looking at it all the time when I was little. I had an inside track, not all little kids knew their father was Santa Claus but I did.  I was able to find this one where he was assisting the Navy Chaplin in distributing gifts to the children in that country. He was between 17 and 19, barely an adult himself and handsome. I am just a tad bias.

Merry Christmas to all current and retired military and to all that have served and their families. The Army - Navy Game will take place tomorrow at Lincoln Financial Stadium 3 p.m. Army won last year. Respect to all branches, I do have a special Christmas wish.

Go Navy! 

Ceiling And Visibility Unlimited 
Smooth Sailing

About 500,000 recruits went through basic training at USNTC Bainbridge in Port Deposit, Maryland during the 34 years it was open. The museum will make you feel proud if you are related to the 1 in 500,000.