Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Hard Rain

Congratulations to the folks who run Newlin Township for setting up an e-mail system designed to alert local residents (even non-Newlinites like me) to any problems. When a flood warning was issued before our recent heavy rain, I received an e-mail from the township secretary/treasurer, Gail H. Abel, complete with an advisory letter from the county government and a bunch of National Weather Service maps. Thank you!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


The "singing bridge" over Doe Run on Route 82 in West Marlborough was shut down for half a day so the metal plate could be fixed, and PennDOT detoured traffic onto Wilson Road, Ryan Road, Hicks Road and Thouron Road. Parts of these roads are gravel, and they're one-and-a-half lanes wide at best. We locals are used to this, but the delayed Route 82 drivers I spoke to most certainly were not.
I saw six cars coming down unpaved Ryan Road, kicking up a cloud of dust, and I pulled over at a stop sign to let them by. This kind of traffic is unheard of, except when the foxhunters come by and there are lots of car followers. I rolled down the window and asked what was going on.
"What a mess!" declared one woman, who then eyed my low-to-the-ground sports car and frankly doubted whether it would be able to manage the detour.
"You're gonna have fun," warned another driver, darkly.
I felt sorry for them. But if they want some real fun, they should try driving on Hicks Road when it's icy and rutted in the winter.

Holy hoops

If you don't know the layout of the Y, there's an elevated indoor track that encircles the gym, so while running laps you can watch kids playing basketball or row after row of energetic men and women sweating through a kick boxing or "Body Pump" class.
The other day at lunchtime, while I was slogging through the 16 laps that make up a mile, a group of middle-aged guys were shooting baskets. Once enough to make up two teams had arrived, they gathered together near the free-throw line. They bowed their heads, and a few slung their arms over each others' shoulders. The leader said a short prayer, asking God to keep them safe and thanking Him for their health and fellowship.
Well, this posed an ethical problem: Should I stop running for the duration of the prayer, acknowledging that the Sacred was being summoned into our midst -- or should I ignore them?
Why tempt fate? I stopped and bowed my head. No matter what you believe (or don't), it's never a bad thing to count your blessings.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


My sister visited from the Midwest this summer and was amazed at the variety of great restaurants around here, contrasting them to the slim pickings in her town. And she is absolutely right: in the past few weeks I've eaten at the Half-Moon, the Four Dogs, the Stottsville Inn and the Whip, and had wonderful meals at each of them. Naturally, I e-mailed her links to the menus and gave full descriptions of the wild boar and mushroom chili, the mussel bisque, the raw Wellfleet oysters, the artisanal gin, and so forth. Whatever it takes to lure her back!

Venture capitalist alert

One recent early evening my friend Jenny and I were chatting outside a local coffee shop that's in a fairly busy little strip shopping center. In the space of maybe an hour, three people driving the wrong way nearly collided with cars coming around the corner from the coffee shop's drive-through window. We just looked at each other in amazement; how could they have overlooked the huge white arrows on the pavement? How clueless can you get?
Jenny had a great idea. Instead of just arrows, she suggested, why don't they install motion-triggered warning holograms that pop up as you near the blind corner?
I guess that would be the 21st-century equivalent of those spikes in the ground that would puncture your tires if you exited a parking lot without paying.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Out of the Blue

Mike Edwards, a cellist with the 1970s British pop group Electric Light Orchestra, was killed instantly when a 1,300-pound bale of hay crushed the van he was driving in Devon, England, on Sept. 3. The bale apparently fell from a piece of farm equipment and rolled onto the highway. From this description and the weight, I'm guessing it was one of those big round ones that we see every day in pastures around here. Police are calling it a freak farm accident.
ELO was immensely popular during my college days with songs like "Strange Magic," "Evil Woman," "Fire on High," "Turn to Stone," "Last Train to London" and "Can't Get It Out of My Head."

Saturday, September 25, 2010


Invitations to fundraisers are descending upon this Muggle's house like the onslaught of Hogwarts letters that Harry Potter received by owl post. The going rate seems to be $125 for a dinner, but don't forget to add in what you'll spend for drinks and at the inevitable silent and live auction as well (we all need another piece of autographed sports memorabilia).
But one invitation tops them all. Each ticket for this ball, held at a swanky hotel in Manhattan, costs $250. Which seems excessive until you read the invitation closely: the Open Bar starts at 7 a.m., with dinner at 8 p.m.
Some typos the spellchecker just doesn't catch.
Thoughtfully, the invitation also includes hotel room rates, perhaps in case you need a nap before dinner.

The Fair

Everybody's getting ready for this weekend's Unionville Community Fair (when we're not dealing with stink bugs, that is).
Kids are scrutinizing their artwork and Lego models, assessing their chances of winning. Two friends who have chickens have already started sorting their eggs by color and size. And I'm sorting through recipes, trying to decide what to bake for the competition. I asked a friend if he thought I should enter my ginger snaps.
"No," he replied promptly. "Give them to me."

Starbucks and Staples

Don't even bother honking at me: I refuse to make a right turn on red coming out of the Longwood Shopping Center onto Route 1. There's just not enough sight distance to see oncoming cars speeding toward you on Route 1, especially those in the far-right lane, which is supposed to be a turning lane but which impatient motorists use as their own private passing lane. It's a horrible intersection.
Twenty years ago -- when the Coffeeklatsch gentlemen still met at the Longwood Inn -- I remember seeing a plan depicting that stretch of Route 1 as it could be if every property were developed. It showed new traffic lights, new shopping centers and a greatly widened Route 1. It seemed highly unlikely back then, but sure enough, it has come to pass in every detail.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Who knew? Our area, it seems, is a hotbed of high-quality garage sales. A friend who is a seasoned shopper told me over breakfast the other day about her hobby. She goes out bright and early every Saturday morning and stops at any number of these sales, mostly picking up inexpensive items that she stockpiles for use in her many volunteer jobs (it helps that she has an SUV and a house with a lot of storage space). For instance, she buys pieces of furniture and gives them to a charity that furnishes apartments for veterans down on their luck. Recently she found little necklaces, for $1 each, that she'll give as Christmas presents to underprivileged kids.
The attraction is not only buying useful things inexpensively, but also the excitement of never knowing what treasures you'll find. 
As a bonus, she said, it was also fascinating to see the inside of the Chalfant Mansion at 220 N. Union St., which was open a few Saturdays ago for a sale (she loved the fireplaces).

Good one!

Bumper sticker spotted on a truck at the Unionville Post Office: "I May Be Old, But I Saw All the Cool Bands."

Former Fans

Two dog-lover friends reacted viscerally to the surprising news that Michael Vick will be the Eagles' starting quarterback.
One friend vowed to rename her rooster, who had been dubbed "Eagle' because of the greenish cast to his legs. "Steeler" is a possible new name.
And a lifelong Philadelphia sports fan said he will now watch the Eagles only so he can root against them.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

When I Was Your Age...

Dr. Ken Ginsburg will be speaking at 7 p.m. Oct. 28 at Patton Middle School on the topic of building resilience in children.
"Today's children face a great deal of stress: academic pressures, heavy scheduling, media messages, peer pressure and family tension," according to a press release for the talk.
Certainly today's kids do face unique pressures, but we wish that before deciding they lead such miserable, stress-filled lives, parents and kids would spend a few minutes chatting with members of "The Greatest Generation." Perhaps they'd gain some insight into what it was like growing up when hardship meant something far more serious than being seen with last month's electronic gadget.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tick Tock on the Clock

The pupils at one local elementary school are getting an early taste of the real world.
According to an e-mail from the principal, the only acceptable excuse for being late is a doctor or dentist appointment. Not acceptable are excuses such as "missing the bus, running late, forgetting your lunch, etc."
And in another school announcement, the rules for a fifth-grade art contest state that "any entries with misspelled words will be disqualified."
Welcome to the working week, kids.
However, we were dismayed to learn that in some schools teachers can no longer use red pen to mark mistakes; apparently it is "too alarming" to the pupils. Green and orange are acceptable alternatives. We are alarmed by red ink, too, but only on financial statements.

Girl Scouts

Your Blogger, who was an avid Girl Scout in her youth, is delighted to hear that the scouts are still extremely active. The local scouts recently had a "Gals and Pals" event for girls and their fathers or grandfathers at Anson B. Nixon Park in Kennett Square. Upcoming events include a sleepover on the Battleship New Jersey, an engineering program at the University of Delaware, a nursing program, "Local Lore" at the Brandywine River Museum "and then the usual hikes, camping, orienteering, dances and field trips and leadership opportunities," according to Karen D'Agusto, who is still very involved with scouting even though both her daughters are grown. E-mail her for more information at

Unforeseen Consequences

The other day a friend of mine broke two ribs when, in his wife's words, he served as the airbag when his horse fell on a slippery road. (The horse is fine.)
And this reminded me of a sad event that happened at the Epsom Downs Racecourse in England in 1913. At that time women were fighting for the right to vote in England, and the "suffragettes," as they were called, were becoming increasingly militant. One of them, Emily Wilding Davison, went to the Epsom Derby on June 4. Her exact motive is unclear. Some think she may have wanted to attach a suffragette flag to the bridle of King George V's horse, Anmer (as impractical as that sounds). Others think she wanted to become a martyr for the cause (even though she bought a round-trip train ticket to the race).
Carrying her banner, she walked out onto the track in front of Anmer and, as will happen when you step in front of a galloping horse, was trampled and fatally injured. The jockey, Herbert Jones, suffered a mild concussion but was haunted by the event the rest of his days. Anmer went on to race again.
Ironically, apparently Miss Davison's actions damaged the suffragette cause, providing the men who ruled the country with another argument against granting women the vote: if a well-educated woman like her could perform such an act, they feared, what would less-educated women do?
In 1918, women in England were finally permitted to vote -- as long as they were over 30, had their own household, were married to the head of a household, or had a college degree. The right to vote was not extended to all women over 21 until 1928.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Halyomorpha halys

A surefire conversation starter: "So how do YOU deal with stink bugs?"
The nasty, smelly little creatures, sensing the cooler temperatures outside, are flocking into our homes. Literally dozens of them gather on my walls, curtains and windows. They get into closets. They fly slowly, with a droning noise, and land with a little thud on the wall -- or worse yet, on your shoulder or pillow.
And you can't squish them like houseflies, because then they emit the foul odor that gives them their name.
So I vacuum them up. I don't even bother to unplug the little Oreck vacuum because I use it so often. Other people drown them in the toilet, flushing after every dozen or so victims, or scoop them up, take them outside and crush them. Another friend goes outside with his tennis racquet and flails away at them, sometimes taking out two at once!
Yes, I know what you're thinking: I really do need to get out more often.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Barnard's Orchards has officially opened "the madness and wonder that is pick-your-own" season, according to its Facebook page. In addition to apples, there's also delicious cider, pears, vegetables, chrysanthemums and pumpkins at the farm market. This wonderful fourth-generation orchard is located on Route 842 east of Unionville (1079 Wawaset Road). Say hi to Lewis!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Not til next year, at least

Some Chadds Ford residents mentioned they had heard that the Route 926 bridge over the Brandywine will be closed this autumn for reconstruction. They are used to finding ways around the bridge, because it often floods, but were surprised that no signs were up warning of the imminent closure.
I did some quick research and found out that yes, the bridge is in fact scheduled to be rebuilt, but construction bids won't even be opened until October 2011. The Pocopson Township website,, has more details on the forthcoming project.

Oak trees

I don't think there have ever been so many acorns on the driveway. My car crunches over them like dozens of bags of Herr's potato chips. Is this an indicator that it will be a snowy, cold winter? Or is it that the oak trees along the driveway have reached a certain level of maturity and upped their acorn production?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Good company

Nancy Penn Smith Hannum and Roy Jackson will be inducted into the Chester County Hall of Fame on Saturday, Nov. 13.
The one-of-a-kind Mrs. Hannum, who died this spring, was the master for Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds for more than 50 years and was an ardent conservationist.
Mr. Jackson, who will join his hugely popular racehorse Barbaro as a Hall of Fame member, is being honored for his commitment to baseball. It came as a surprise to me to learn that Mr. Jackson used to own the minor-league baseball teams the Tucson Toros and the York Pirates; served as president of minor-league baseball teams; and was formerly president of Convest, Inc., which represented professional ballplayers. (Thanks to AlexBrownRacing's website for the info.)

Mason-Dixon line

In the late 18th century, astronomer Charles Mason and surveyor Jeremiah Dixon established the border line between Pennsylvania and Maryland with astonishing accuracy in order to settle a boundary dispute. They placed stones (imported from England) every mile and crownstones every 5 miles.
On Wednesday, Oct. 20, Todd Babcock, chairman of the Mason and Dixon Line Preservation Partnership, will be discussing this remarkable feat in a lecture at Primitive Hall in West Marlborough. Tickets are $35 and include a reception before the talk. For more information visit the Hall's website,

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Flat Coca-Cola and applesauce

The stomach bug scourge has made its unpleasant way through our household, and we are back in business. An appetite is a wonderful thing! I was ridiculously pleased to learn that many others around here were similarly afflicted; misery does indeed love company.


Friends from two local Quaker meetings have mentioned that latecomers are becoming an issue. This is especially disruptive in the Quaker tradition because, rather than a hymn or procession, First Day worship begins by settling in, sitting in silence and quieting the mind. It seems that a tactful word to the offenders and even notices in the monthly bulletin haven't solved the problem.

On Line

There's a for-sale sign at Verizon's office building and garage on Line Road, near Newark Road. And just to the west of it, at the vacant lot at the corner of Line and Newark Roads, the graffiti-scarred decorative gate has been removed, the goldenrod and vines have grown back, and I'm assuming plans to build medical offices are permanently off the table.
It seems to me that both parcels are in a strategic location, just off the Route 1 bypass and on a nicely repaved road.
And out in Avondale, J&L Building Materials Inc. will be moving into the former Pyle's hardware store. When we drove past the other day, there was lots of site work already going on.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The art world

A belated RIP to Deborah Remington, an abstract artist who lived in Manhattan but had a summer place on a quiet back road near Embreeville, where she would paint, garden, entertain -- and fight a never-ending battle against groundhogs. She died this spring at age 79.

One Sweet app

Call me behind the times -- and I won't deny it -- but I found this utterly remarkable.
During exercise class at the gym on Monday afternoon, our instructor was playing an oldies mix, and one song was "Fox on the Run."
"What band is this?" I asked.
Rebecca, the young woman next to me, simply picked up her smart phone, went over to the speaker and held it up. "Listening," said the message on the device. A screen labeled "Shazam" popped up, she pushed a button on the screen and after a moment it rendered its verdict: "Fox on the Run" by Sweet.
I'm speechless.

Cheshire news

One week after the opening meet of Mr. Stewart's Cheshire Foxhounds, Nina S. Strawbridge resigned as one of the hunt's masters of foxhounds. Russell B. Jones Jr. and F. Bruce Miller remain as the masters and Michael Ledyard joins them as a new master.

Garden report

This year's Epic Fail in the flower garden was, believe it or not, cosmos. This beautiful annual is usually an easy mainstay of my garden, but this year I decided to buy already-growing plants rather than starting them from seed. Bad choice: The plants withered within days, leaving an embarrassingly empty half-row.
2009's disappointment was celosia, which also withered. As a result I have great admiration for the gorgeous crop of maroon-colored crested celosia (also known as cockscomb) that's thriving in someone's front garden along Street Road, between Mill Road and the New Bolton Center.

Monday, September 13, 2010


West Marlborough residents and township supervisors alike are curious about Richard Hayne's plans for the three adjoining properties he has amassed near the village of Springdell. Mr. Hayne, the founder of clothing chain Urban Outfitters, has purchased the Thouron estate; the large house just across Thouron Road built by now-disgraced investment advisor Tony Young; and another farm south on Thouron Road and is doing extensive renovations, including erecting greenhouses and installing a creamery for the production of artisanal cheese and yogurt.


On Monday morning in downtown Kennett we saw tireless volunteer Pat Horrocks of the nonpartisan League of Women Voters registering citizens for the Nov. 2 general election. The deadline to register is Oct. 4.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

We miss you, Judy!

Judy Manning was a healer and masseuse who had a big following here in the country.
It's a little surprising that her clients were so loyal. She specialized in a form of deep massage, which could be pretty darned uncomfortable. She made us listen to bizarre music. And she always had some laughably oddball new treatment: I remember her dangling a little bottle of milk over my belly to see if I was allergic to dairy products. (She thought I was.)
So why did we keep going back? Because she was so much fun and so loving. She always had the latest news to share about local people and parties, and she was always upbeat and cheerful. Despite her encounters with brown recluse spiders and carbon monoxide fumes from her car, she was remarkably energetic and health-conscious and you could often see her striding through her beloved Laurels or along country roads.
Her ovarian cancer came as a complete shock to all of us. She died in the spring of 2008 and I hope she's at peace -- and has found some better music than that Buddha Bar mix.

School choice

We just received an e-mail from the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District alerting parents to President Obama's yearly speech to schoolchildren.
"Students in Unionville-Chadds Ford, and across the Nation, will have the opportunity to view the speech through an Internet video stream," it read. "Last year, President Obama encouraged students to study hard, stay in school, and take responsibility for their education....Families wishing to have their child excused from viewing the Presidential address are asked to provide a note requesting an alternative educational opportunity."

Friday, September 10, 2010

Only in Willowdale...

does the convenience store have a boot cleaner mounted outside the door so you can scrape the mud, etc. off your boots before you go in and get your coffee.

Fashion victims

Attention, kids who are getting their school photos taken: Please, give your outfit some thought! These photos will haunt you. To much hilarity, my classmates have started posting on Facebook class photos from the 1970s. In the fourth-grade photo I'm wearing blue Keds and knee socks. In seventh grade I'm wearing a loud brown-and-yellow paisley dress.
So I beg of you: Think tasteful. Think classic. Remember, your kids will see these some day.


What I remember most vividly is how quiet it was.
I mean, it's always pretty quiet out here, but for days after Sept. 11, 2001, there were no commercial flights, and the silence was pervasive. The rare times I heard a plane, I'd run outside and look up and wonder where it was going and what important person was on it. I'd check the news all day long to see if something else had happened, because there was a scary sense that there were no rules anymore; anything was possible.
And I remember the need we all had to talk about it, non-stop, and to be with other people. I remember going to the Y for our usual class and we just wanted to talk: Is your family OK? What have you heard? Cindy, our instructor, did her best to get class started, begging us, "Ladies, please, just give me an hour."
I was a little kid when President Kennedy was shot, but I remember where I was when I heard the news: a neighborhood boy cutting through our yard on his way home from school told my mother and me. Now people share their Sept. 11 stories: we still need to talk about it.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Yes on both counts.

Advertising sign in Jennersville from, presumably, an exterminator:

Signs of fall

I don't think any other season has so many "indicators" as autumn does: back to school, chrysanthemums and pumpkins, football, ragweed pollen, gingersnaps and apple cider, hearing the hounds and the huntsman's horn, planting tulip and daffodil bulbs, walnuts hammering down on the roof, reaching for jeans instead of shorts -- and starting to get political ads in the mail.
Speaking of the latter: Could we please put a moratorium on using the word "idiot" to describe politicians we disagree with?

At rest

On the way home from Lancaster County over the weekend, we stopped at the small cemetery of the Friendship United Methodist Church, which is on Friendship Church Road near the village of Gum Tree, Highland Township. I was surprised at how many very old tombstones were there, dating from the early 19th century. Veterans from just about every war since then are represented -- the Civil War (the Grand Army of the Republic), both World Wars, Korea and Vietnam. Many of the old white stones are engraved with a willow tree and a Bible verse; some of the contemporary ones list the person's hobbies and have a photograph. It's a peaceful spot, and it looks as if relatives visit regularly.
I noticed a real estate ad recently that mentioned that the house for sale was next to a cemetery. For me that would be a selling point, but when I mentioned it to a friend, she shivered.
And speaking of nicely kept cemeteries, it's great to see that the old African American graveyard on the south side of Route 842, west of Ryan Road, West Marlborough Township, is being well taken care of.

The changing health-care landscape

I've heard good reviews of Premier Immediate Medical Care, the new health-care office off Baltimore Pike near Bayard Road (300 Old Forge Lane, to be exact). One friend went for some lab tests, another for a case of strep throat, and both reported that they were treated quickly and efficiently, at a reasonable cost. (And the latter is increasingly important to people without health insurance or those with high-deductible plans.)
The office is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., every single day of the year.

The Y Shuffle

Well, another shutdown week has come and gone, and everybody is back to his or her usual Y -- Kennett, Jennersville or West Chester. Each Y closes for a week in late summer so the whole place can be cleaned, floors revarnished, weights re-stacked, new equipment installed, new logo painted and the like. It makes sense: let's face it, every square inch at the Y takes a serious beating during the year.
But the Y administrators thoughtfully stagger the shutdown weeks so that at least one Y is always open for us diehard exercisers. And looking on the bright side, this means you get to visit a new Y and try out their different equipment and classes.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Longwood Gardens' giant field of sunflowers at Schoolhouse and Longwood Roads is simply breath-taking. It's a sea of green and yellow. Don't miss it! Somebody on Longwood's Facebook page said it was like driving through Tuscany.
When I drove, by a couple of cars had pulled off the road to gawk, and a photographer was standing on a little stepladder taking photos.

Good food and good people

The Longwood Family Restaurant (where Hugo's used to be) fills a hole left vacant since the Barnwood went out of business years ago. The food is delicious, the service is quick, the atmosphere is friendly and pleasant, and the prices are extremely reasonable. You can go there wearing whatever you have on (which is always a plus), and I almost always run into somebody I know.
At a family dinner last night, I happened to see a woman I work out with, and was delighted to meet her family and introduce her to mine. And then a fellow diner overheard us talking about the Unionville Fair, stopped by the table and urged a young member of our party to submit his photographs in the Fair's photo competition.
I've been there for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and the place never disappoints.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New Stop Signs in Newlin

Residents of Powell and Brandywine Creek Roads are finding it a little easier to pull out onto, and off, Route 162 now that both intersections have three-way stop signs. Locals call this stretch of road "suicide curve" because both Powell and Brandywine Creek join the winding main road at acute angles and on a steep upgrade, making sight distances very limited. Now motorists traveling from Unionville toward Embreeville (and vice versa) have to stop at both intersections.
"You have no idea what a relief it is to have those stop signs," reports one resident. "It was bad enough with a car, but with a truck and long trailer, turning left off 162 onto Brandywine Creek was a heart-stopping leap-of-faith experience."


The Aug. 25 edition of People magazine has a story about Kevin Pearce, age 22, who is recovering from a severe brain injury he suffered Dec. 31 in a snowboarding accident while preparing for the Olympics. His father, Simon Pearce, owns the glassblowing studio, shop and restaurant along the Brandywine at Lenape as well as one in Vermont, where the family lives.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Online again, gratefully

A giant THANK YOU to the friendly folks at the Bayard Taylor Memorial Library. A couple of times this summer, due to power outages and hardware snafus, I found myself computer-less. Not a happy state for one who is heavily reliant on her computer. But thanks to the free public computers at the library, I was able to check my e-mail a couple of times a day and stay in touch with clients and Internet friends.
What a great service!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Elizabeth rocks

If Elizabeth ran the world, it would be a better and more efficient place.
I drove out to Oxford on Saturday to get my driver's license renewed -- there's a little DMV branch office just at the Route 10 exit from the Route 1 bypass. It was standing-room-only crowded. I figured I would be hanging out there for a while, so I started to text a friend -- when I was called up to the counter.
There the unflappable Elizabeth greeted me, handled my paperwork, took my photo and had me out of there in 5 minutes. And the photo is even flattering! Amazing!


Yesterday was the beginning of one of three dove-hunting seasons here in the Commonwealth, and I understand that several local hunters had an excellent first day.
"Doves are birds of cornfields, breaklines, water holes and low hills," according to the Pottstown Mercury's outdoors columnist. "They're the NASCAR drivers of the wing kingdom. Even without a tailwind they can fly 35 to 40 m.p.h. and with the pedal to the metal they're capable of even faster bursts."
It's Canada goose season, too.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Town Spirit

Sometimes it's the little things that really tell you what a town is all about.
I was driving into Kennett Square the other day on East State Street and saw, outside the garage on the left, a whimsical stuffed figure like a scarecrow with its arm raised in greeting. Now, some creative person had to think, "Hey, wouldn't it be fun to have a sort of mascot outside? We can change its outfit with the seasons!" And then he or she had to assemble it and maintain it. Wonderful!
And on the right, at another garage, was a sign bidding farewell to the shop's resident dog. The owner even ran a display ad in the local paper with photos and a fond obituary for the obviously beloved creature.
To me, those displays offer a true "Welcome to our town" better than any banner.