Landenberg Life Fall/Winter 2023 Edition

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Fall/Winter 2023 Magazin Landenberg Life Complimentary Copy Inside: • Avon Grove High School Color Guard • Open door artists in the 19350 • Family photographer Jamie Latsley The Brandywine Polo Club Polo, for the people Page 04 The Brandywine Polo Club Polo, for the people Page 40
4 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 |

Landenberg Life Life

Contents Landenberg Life Fall/Winter 2023 58 44 8 18 8 Blueprint Photography: Preserving special moments 18 The D’Amicos: A family business, started with stone 22 Q & A: Christopher Himes, New Garden Township Manager 30 Avon Grove High School Color Guard: Flying colors and rifles and sabres 40 Photo essay: Polo, for the people 44 Open door artists in the 19350 58 Wineries around Landenberg 6 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 |

Landenberg Life Fall/Winter 2023

Letter from the Editor:

As this issue of Landenberg Life arrives, a new and exciting event is coming up in the community.

On October 14 and 15, eight Landenberg artists will open their workspaces and homes for the first Artists of Landenberg Studio Tour. It will offer an unprecedented, behind-the-scenes glimpse into the growing vibrancy of the local artistic scene.

This edition also features a profile of Blueprint Photography owner Jamie Latsley, who specializes in photographing infants and their families. Latsley grew up in Maryland and Delaware. Prior to starting Blueprint Photography, she was an elementary school teacher in Delaware. Impressed by the area and the Kennett Consolidated School District, she settled in Landenberg seven years ago with her husband, two children, and two dogs.

Writer Ken Mammarella offers an in-depth look at the Avon Grove High School Color Guard. Its members work hard and have fun as they strive to represent Avon Grove High School with pride.

Local writer and historian Gene Pisasale offers an interesting story about the wineries around Landenberg, focusing not only on three local wineries, but also on how those businesses, and the land they are situated on, have deep roots in Pennsylvania history.

When Christopher Himes began his position as the new Manager for New Garden Township on Jan. 23 of this year, he not only was stepping into the overall steerage for a municipality of nearly 13,000 residents, he was uprooting his family from Manassas Park, Va., where he previously served as assistant city manager. Recently, Landenberg Life caught up with Himes to learn more about his career, his military service, and get a status report on some of the major initiatives underway for the township.

We also have a story about the D’Amico family legacy in the Avondale area, which began in 1932, when stonemason Joseph A. D’Amico bought a quarry (with a small mushroom house) just south of New Garden Airport.

The subject of the photo essay is the Brandywine Polo Club, which offers a packed social calendar of public events each year.

We hope you enjoy these stories that illustrate what a wonderful community Landenberg is. As always, we welcome comments and suggestions for stories to highlight in a future issue of Landenberg Life. We look forward to bringing you the next edition, which will arrive in the spring of 2024.

Cover Design: Tricia Hoadley

Cover Photo: Jim Coarse

Randy Lieberman, Publisher, 610-869-5553 Steve Hoffman, Editor, 610-869-5553, Ext. 13 30 22 | Fall/Winter 2023 | Landenberg Life 7

Preserving Sp

A turn of the head. A dip of the shoulder. A bend of the knee. Blueprint Photography owner Jamie Latsley arranges and molds a newborn baby just as a sculptor does clay, resulting in a work of art forever captured on film. She captures precious moments that have never happened before and will not happen again.

Latsley specializes in photographing infants and their families. She feels that the first two weeks of life are a special time that should be memorialized. “The older they get, the more alert they get,” she said. “Their bones are forming, their muscles are forming, they’re not as moldable and they’re also awake longer throughout the day. For a lot of what I do, I like them to be sleeping.”

Latsley grew up in Maryland and Delaware. Prior to starting Blueprint Photography, she was an elementary school teacher in Delaware. Impressed by the area and the Kennett Consolidated School District, she settled in Landenberg seven years ago with her husband, two children, and two dogs.

She has always loved photography, and took classes in high school and college. Looking for more flexibility in order to focus more on family, she decided to turn her hobby into a career. She started photographing friends’ weddings, and eventually moved on to their new families and, at her husband’s suggestion, photographing infants in their first two weeks of life. With so few photographers specializing in newborns, it created a special niche for her.

She started Blueprint Photography 13 years ago. For the past seven, she has been working out of a quiet backhouse on a cul-de-sac just over the Delaware line in Newark, a stone’s throw from her Landenberg residence.

Prior to a photo session, parents complete a questionnaire so Latsley has an idea of the baby’s size and the parents’ color preferences. Based on that information, Latsley’s well-stocked studio supplies the baby’s outfit, pillows, infant baskets, blankets and background.

She asks for clients to set aside four hours so they are not rushed, but the session rarely takes that long. Sometimes, when an older sibling is in the photo shoot, sessions do run on the longer side.

“Photographing an infant with a sibling who is between 18 months and three years old is the hardest,” she said.

Due to her experience as an elementary school teacher, Latsley feels she has a little extra patience which helps. She says that four- or five-year-old siblings can be persuaded to cooperate, as they can be rewarded with, for example, an ice cream cone after the shoot.

“I start with the baby wrapped for family photos. They’re snuggled, they are falling asleep. Then I move into the baby sets,” she said. “I keep the studio at 79 degrees, so it keeps the baby nice and sleepy.”

There are many elements to a great photograph such as lighting, set design, and posing. When dealing with families, she makes sure the poses are just right.

“I might give them seven different things to adjust, and then I’d tell them, ‘Okay, shake it out,’—and now go back

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|Landenberg People| 8 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 |
Jamie Latsley of Blueprint Photography

ecial Moments

All photos courtesy of Blueprint Photography

Blueprint Photography

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to that. Then they’re much more relaxed because they kind of know where they are going and what they’re doing. And I think that it helps them relax,” she said. “One of the things I say is that if it feels awkward, you are probably doing it correctly.”

After the family photo shoot, she moves on to the sleeping baby.

“They’re so snuggly and sweet and and cute,” she said. “It’s just fun to design the set for them.”

In describing the sets, she said, “I call it earthy organic. Nice neutral colors, neutral props and things.”

Getting the baby into the perfect pose is usually a process. “Sometimes babies like to pull

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in, so I take what’s called a ‘safe shot,’” she said. “If they are a little jumpy, I take that shot. Then I’m going to adjust the fingers – maybe his pinky was curled in and I don’t want it to be curled in – so I am going to take that safe shot. Then I’m going to adjust his legs and take that safe shot.”

She thinks of the session as being “baby led.” She’ll keep adjusting and taking photos until she arrives at her version of perfection, or until the baby starts fidgeting.

Latsley proceeds to take close ups and photos from different angles using varying lighting techniques. These variations, as well as the family shoots, are then available for the parents to purchase in the form of enlargements, photo albums, panels, and digital files.

Since she feels that files on a computer will rarely be viewed and could one day be forgotten, she doesn’t recommend her clients purchase just the digital files. She says companies like Shutterfly and other retail photo services don’t offer the same quality prints as she does.


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Blueprint Photography

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“The quality of those printers can’t read the quality of these pictures,” she said. “Anything you are displaying loud and proud should come from the professional lab. Yes, it is an investment, it’s a lot more than going to Shutterfly, but it’s going to look a thousand times better. And anything from here is going to outlast our lives, the baby’s lifetime, and your grandkids’.” And who would not want to look at a picture of a beautiful, peaceful, and perfect sleeping baby?

Blueprint Photography is located at 1104 Kelly Drive, Newark DE. The phone number is 302-668-6058. More photos and session information can be found on

Continued on Page 14

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Blueprint Photography

Continued from Page 12

Latsley offered this advice for taking better cell phone pictures. While it may feel awkward, lean a little forward, because it elongates the infant’s face and upper body. and upper body. Shoot from eye level or above, never from below. In a term she calls “turtling,” move the infant’s head forward, which will help smooth the neck area. Moving one leg back is slimming, while one foot forward will make the infant look bigger and broader.

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The D’Amicos: A family business, started with stone

The D’Amico family near Avondale is world-famous for its multiphase techniques to create mushroom compost, the fickle medium for growing mushrooms.

The family’s business is also famous in a different way: It sometimes gets so many requests to collect stones from building demolitions and excavations that it pauses its quarrying.

“Making compost is a challenge and an art,” said John A. D’Amico, who with his wife, Sharon, own interlocking businesses that sprawl over 115 acres.

They include D’Amico & Sons Farming, which is developing those stateof-the-art techniques to create compost; J.D. Mushrooms, handling mushroom growing, picking and wholesaling; and D’Amico Quarry. Their son John J. runs the mushroom operations, and their son Mario runs the quarry. Cousins run To-Jo Mushrooms, which sells mushrooms produced by the other branch of the family.

“We are one of the best in America” in a second phase of composting, Mario said. The family is helping to lead the world in developing a way to automate and speed up a third phase of production: compost that’s inoculated with mushroom spores.

Although they don’t market to consumers, the D’Amicos are ready with tips for them. John J., for instance, touted “the Blend,” a Mushroom Council concept of adding chopped mushrooms to ground meat, to increase umami, reduce costs and help the environment.

“People don’t realize what a fresh mushroom tastes like,” said John A. “It tastes like a radish.”

An emphasis on recycling

Composting means creating the mix that mushrooms grow in. The most important ingredients are straw, hay and horse manure, John A. said, noting it’s critical to get the right carbon-nitrogen ratio. The family recipe also includes fodder (corn stalks and leaves left over after harvest, and also known as stover), powdered chicken manure, cocoa hulls (another leftover,

18 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 | |Landenberg Business|
Photo courtesy of Ken Mammarella John A. D’Amico and his sons Mario (right) and John J. (left).

after beans are sent their way to create chocolate), corncobs (one more leftover) and gypsum (a mineral that causes other materials to make clumps, a process called flocculation, which allows for air to flow more freely through it all).

“Mushroom farmers are the biggest recycling industry in the world,” said John J. Recycling also extends to water. A million-gallon tank – the largest in the area – holds well-water and water recycled from the growing rooms and To-Jo’s processing plant. Spent mushroom soil, which cannot be reused in mushroom farms, is sold to other companies that process and package it for use on lawns and gardens.

Hundreds of photos and a few videos show off various steps on the D’Amico & Sons Farming page on Facebook.

The first phase of composting starts by submerging bales – hay, straw or fodder – in water for two minutes and then letting them rest for 10 days. The bales are then broken open, blended with the other ingredients and then spread in long rows on concrete pads. The rows – starting 8 feed high and wide – are called ricks, and the pads are called wharfs.

For 18 to 20 days, the ricks are monitored, moistened and turned so fermentation occurs properly. Automatic turners regularly run down the rows, picking up the material, running it through what is essentially a giant blender and depositing the aerated mix. The process naturally hits 160 to 180 degrees. Improperly handled ricks, unfortunately, can develop a strong-smelling anaerobic core.

“If you ask any mushroom grower anywhere around here ‘Do you smell that?’ They’ll say ‘Yes, It does smell like

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money,” John J. said, using the classic light-hearted line about that aroma. Photo courtesy of Ken Mammarella The D’Amico family specializes in Agaricus bisporus, aka white or button mushrooms. Operations run 24/7, John A. D’Amico said. “The mushrooms are alive, so the only day we don’t operate is Christmas.” Photo courtesy of Mario D’Amico In 1932, Joseph A. D’Amico bought land that now houses a quarry and part of the mushroom operations. Photo courtesy of Mario D’Amico The saw room is the final stop in creating natural stone veneers.

D’Amico Mushroom Farm

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New frontier for inoculation

The second phase involves pasteurization in tunnels, with more moistening and monitoring over six days. The air is first kept at 114-118 degrees for conditioning, then hotter, with the compost at 140 degrees for 10 hours for pasteurization, then cooler for more conditioning. “This is the best technology you can get for the way we do it,” Mario said.

The family’s tunnels use an unusual spigot floor, John J. said, with spigots pushing air into compost. “Our trucks are a lot different, too. They go directly down onto a conveyor belt. We’re cleaner.”

The third phase, now being tested, involves inoculating the compost with mushroom spores. The spawn run traditionally occurs in mushroom houses. “The only other person doing phase 3 on a spigot floor is in Italy,” John J. said.

By handling the third phase in bunkers, they shorten the time each room in the mushroom houses are used to grow a crop, from eight weeks to six. Staffing and utility costs would drop, and gross revenue would increase.

All that’s a big deal in Chester County, which, coupled with nearby facilities in Berks and Cecil counties, grows more than 60 percent of all mushrooms produced in the U.S.

“Labor inflation is driving us to more efficient equipment,” John A. said. “The family farm is struggling, but we’re looking to be a survivor.”

20 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 |
Photo courtesy of Ken Mammarella A storage shed near the quarry is covered in some of the types of stone that are available on the farm. Photo courtesy of Ken Mammarella The creation of mushroom compost is a lengthy process. After the ingredients are combined, their natural fermentation sets off steam. Photo courtesy of Mario D’Amico The compost is later spread in long rows, which are regularly turned. Photo courtesy of Ken Mammarella The compost is pasteurized indoors.

Stonemason began the family business

The D’Amico family legacy in the Avondale area began in 1932, when stonemason Joseph A. D’Amico bought land that is just south of the New Garden Flying Field, where he created a quarry and a mushroom farm.

Some quarry products are marketed as Avondale brownstone and D’Amico mica. Brownstone is, yes, mostly brown, but it can also feature blues and grays. The quarry also sells stone quarried elsewhere, such as pieces from India as nicely matching windowsills for the brownstone.

The family is proceeding slowly on the quarry, said Mario D’Amico, with staff sometimes devoted to handling stone from demolished buildings and excavations.

Quarrying starts with a hydraulic hammer breaking into the hill, and then the hammer is used again to break the stone into more manageable pieces. The pieces are then split along by a machine called a guillotine and cut with a diamond-tipped saw into usable pieces, often as a 1¼-inch-thick veneer.

Details are at

Photo courtesy of Mario D’Amico Quarrying and mushroom operations are split over two nearby properties.

“I love rocks,” said quarry manager Saul Torres, an employee for 28 years. “Outside my house, inside my house, but my wife stopped me from adding it beside our bed.”



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Stone from the quarry is used on structures all over the property, and it also covers facades of the new Kennett Library & Resource Center and the Hockessin Athletic Club. It is also found in a grotto in the main fountain garden of Longwood Gardens. Longwood calls it a “rough-hewn cave that feels centuries older than its surroundings” and says it’s “hidden in plain sight.”

Christopher Himes

New Garden Township Manager

When Christopher Himes began his position as the new Manager for New Garden Township on Jan. 23 of this year, he not only was stepping into the overall steerage for a municipality of nearly 13,000 residents, he was uprooting his family from Manassas Park, Va., where he previously served as assistant city manager. Recently, Landenberg Life caught up with Christopher to learn more about his career, his military service, and get a status report on some of the major initiatives underway for the township.

Landenberg Life: Just to let the readers of Landenberg Life know, this interview was originally scheduled for the spring-summer edition, but you told me at the time that you felt it was important to get your feet wet first – to better absorb the many policies, procedures, people and projects that make up township government. By virtue of your role at public meetings, your feet are not only wet, your boots are firmly in the ground of the township. After several months on the job, describe your impressions about the governance of the township and its role in the lives of the residents it serves.

Himes: My initial impression of New Garden was that it is very active for being classified as a semi-rural exurb of the metro-Philadelphia region. With the sizable amount of industry and our population, there is a consistent hum of activity, which means something is always happening in the township.

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|Landenberg Life Q & A| | Fall/Winter 2023 | Landenberg Life 23
Photo by Richard L. Gaw

Landenberg Life Q & A

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As for the role, the primary purpose is to meet the needs and expectations of the community by enhancing the quality of life for residents and businesses. This is accomplished by providing excellent public services that range from Public Safety, Community Development, Parks and Recreation and Public Works, in addition to the more unique offerings that set the township apart, such as the municipal Airport at New Garden Flying Field. It’s also important for the community to understand the critical function of administration that ensures our township has strong financial management, legal compliance, reporting transparency and communication.

Prior to joining the township, you served as assistant city manager for Manassas Park, Va. What intrigued you about the possibility of becoming the New Garden Township Manager? Where did you see the benefits and the challenges?

The immediate reason I was interested was that I was very familiar with the area, having previously lived in Wilmington, right after leaving Active-Duty service with the Navy, and thought this would be a great place to live long-

term should an opportunity arise. After learning more about New Garden, some of its unique assets and service offerings, meeting the Board, and getting a better understanding of the values of the community, I knew this was the right opportunity for me at this time in my career. As for the challenges, that’s what makes the job interesting and fun, so for me the benefits of serving New Garden far outweigh the challenges.

You are a graduate of Virginia Tech and the University of Southern California, but you also served as an officer in the U.S. Navy for ten years, primarily as a helicopter pilot, where you amassed over 2,000 flight hours. What led you to pursue the military?

I joke that pursuing naval aviation was me simply joining the family business, but it’s true. My grandfather served a brief stint as a naval aviator in the early ‘50s, flying the PB4Y-2 Privateer patrol aircraft before his career in public education. My dad was a naval aviator as well and flew the S-3 Viking for the majority of his 27-year naval career, so when it came time to find a career path, naval aviation was in my blood and I loved every minute.

|Landenberg Life| 24 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 |

I have to ask: Is there any operational style overlap between serving in the military and helping to run a township?

While flying was the fun part of the job, the most important function for any military officer is leading and serving others, which translates directly to public service and local government management. At its core, great managers figure out how to best create an organization with a culture of high-level performance that rises to the community’s expectations.

To accomplish that, you have to lead. While serving in the military, I witnessed a lot of exemplary leadership styles, workshopped my own, made tons of mistakes and eventually figured out what works for me, which boils down to communication, collaboration, empathy and a good sense of humor.

You have stepped with full force into a township for which it can be argued is more saturated with long-term projects than at any other time in its history. Let’s talk about a few of those projects, beginning with the town-

ship’s purchase of 105 acres at Loch Nairn for the purpose of converting it to open space and nature trails. What is the latest update on the township’s plans?

The township just finished its second public workshop with the help of our partners at Natural Lands and will continue scoping the final concept of the park that will be presented to the Board of Supervisors later this fall. Based on the progressing plans, the former golf course will primarily function as a network of walking trails, leveraging the existing cart path with some additional public parking. The project also provides an opportunity to restore the course to its natural state that meets the township’s larger goals of protecting natural resources, improving water quality, and educating the public on the importance of doing so.

In 2018, the township spent $1.5 million to purchase 137-acre Saint Anthony’s in the Hills, which has since been re-named New Garden Hills. While the complexity of fulfilling the wish lists of local residents at the park rests on the township’s ability to eventually get the funding to do so,

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Landenberg Life Q & A

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there have already been strides made. Phase I of the plan is set to be available to the public this fall. What can the readers of Landenberg Life look forward to enjoying when Phase I opens?

New Garden Hills Phase 1 represents about 40 acres of the park and is primarily about passive walking trails and protecting natural resources. The roughly 1.5-mile round-trip trail offers a bit more undulation through a heavier forested area that eventually opens into a flatter watershed, where a few restoration projects are already underway designed to improve water quality and address stormwater issues. In preparation for the opening later this year, staff have been addressing trailhead parking, signage, and safety to ensure a great experience for anyone interested in visiting the park.

The Route 41 corridor slices through the township and is its main transportation artery. Over the past several years, it has been the subject of possible – and planned – largescale mixed-use development. While there are some in the township who vehemently oppose any/all development ideas like White Clay Point, most will accept some form

of smart-growth development along Route 41 as long as it does not irreversibly re-define the township. How is the government of New Garden Township positioned to create a smart-growth principle that accepts new development but does so with an ear pressed to the concerns of its residents?

New growth and development opportunities aren’t immune to NIMBY-ism. However, the township spent considerable time and energy preparing its 2018 Comprehensive Plan that included community inputs on how and where future smartgrowth initiatives are achievable. Such initiatives include economic resilience, improved transportation and increased housing opportunities.

When a development project comes forward, the role of the township is to ensure the developer understands these goals and addresses as many smart-growth initiatives as possible, as well as communicate at large what is happening, how the project aligns with the Comprehensive Plan, and be able to address the impacts, the positives and the negatives, provide a forum for the community to address any concerns and ultimately let the process define the outcome.

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Landenberg Life Q & A

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In your estimation, what contributes to a great municipality, and of those components, where do you feel New Garden Township is strongest?

A great municipality consists of a Venn diagram of excellent public safety, schools and economic opportunity. It may vary within the margins, but typically those are the primary elements that make communities thrive. I believe New Garden has an equal amount of all three, including the many agricultural, commercial, and industrial employers based in the township and the strong reputations of the Southern Chester County Regional Police, Avondale Fire Company and the Kennett Consolidated School District.

What is your favorite spot in Landenberg?

This one was easy. New Garden Township Park, primarily because my son loves the playground area and investigating the creek beds. We’ve logged a ton of hours in the park since moving here.

If you could throw a dinner party and invite anyone – living or not and famous or not – who would you like to see

sitting around that table?

In answering this question, I asked myself, ‘What is the goal of a dinner party?’ and for me, it’s that I want to laugh. I want to have big, infectious belly laughs. My two favorite comedians of all time -- in terms of their ability to hold a room and also provide that introspective, social commentary at the same time – have always been George Carlin and Robin Williams. I feel as if they would not only provide laughter but bring a learning moment to it.

I would also like to have family involved, so that would include my wife and my grandpa on my father’s side, who unfortunately passed away during my college years. He had that booming and infectious belly laugh and always knew what to say. His interests and his experiences across the board were something I always admired and valued, and he always found the easiest way to make a joke.

What item can always be found in the Himes’ family refrigerator?

Juice, bacon and coffee.

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~ Richard L. Gaw | Fall/Winter 2023 | Landenberg Life 29

Color Guard represents Avon Grove

High School with pride

Flying colors and rifles and sabres

|Landenberg Life| |Landenberg Spotlight|

Color guard uses an evocative language, with elemental moves called spinning, tossing and carving incorporated in their coordinated routines, and the Avon Grove High School Color Guard has adult leaders using their own evocative spin on language.

“You can fail as many times as you want, but you cannot stop trying,” said instructor Adam Albright.

In 31 years of coaching, he has told only two participants to go home, after multiple warnings they need to keep persevering. That won’t happen at Avon Grove, which has a no-cut policy.

“Dolphins don’t learn from their trainers,” Michelle Adcock, the color guard director, said. “Dolphins learn from other dolphins.”

That metaphor refers to how they and instructor Melanie Buono have limited time for individual mentorship. Instead, they need to rely on the color guard’s captains and more experienced participants to spread their knowledge to the newbies.

“They grow in leadership,” said Albright, who is also a design manager at the Hagley Museum and Library. “These kids are committed to something that is bigger than themselves.”

“Color guard is one of the best-kept secrets at Avon Grove,” said Adcock, who is also a STEM teacher at Avon Grove Intermediate. “We go out there, represent our school with pride, and nobody knows we exist. It’s also a great activity fo kids who want to combine athleticism with creativity. It’s unique, and we’re very inclusive.”

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Lexi Weingarten, one of three captains of the team this year, wants to continue with color guard in college. All photos courtesy of Avon Grove Color Guard Color guards perform outdoors in the fall, such as this routine featuring Cate Schottan. The Avon Grove High School Color Guard earned a bronze medal this spring in their division in the Mid-Atlantic Indoor Network championships.

Avon Grove Color Guard

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Flags, rifles and sabres

Color guard resembles short-form musical theater. Participants are dressed in splashy custom unitards, changing for each season, and they dance (mostly modern jazz, with lyrical jazz and classic ballet), act with their body and face and create visual spectacle with equipment. The music is live for eight to nine minutes from the marching band in the fall, a recorded track half that length in the spring.

“Color guard has roots in the military,” said Buono, who is also a Spanish teacher at Avon Grove Charter, “more so in the precision of movement.”

Their equipment includes the flag (a 3-foot-long banner or silk, on a 6-foot pole), the rifle (a 37½-inch inoperable, wooden replica with a strap) and the sabre (39 inches). The sabre in used more in the spring, because it’s less noticeable, Adcock said.

The Avon Grove squad has 20 participants, mostly females, with a few males and a few nonbinary members. The three team captains have been enjoying color guard for years.

Emma Peterman and Lexi Weingarten began in fifth grade, with Adcock as their leader of a color guard club she started at Avon Grove Intermediate. Tatum Hanson started in eighth grade, and Adcock figures she would have begun earlier if she had been living in the district.

“I was looking for something unusual,” Hanson said. “It’s the best sport. It has developed great bonding friendships for all of us.”

Friendships and relationships

Peterman also cited the friendships she has formed and the relationships she has deepened. Her father, Eric, was involved in color guard when he was in school, and both participate in Drum Corps Associates, another color guard in New Jersey. Her younger brother, Jonathan, is also involved.

Weingarten started color guard at the suggestion of her mother and wants to continue it in college.

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Show makeup dramatically accentuates Emma Scheibe’s features.

Avon Grove Color Guard

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The coaches and the director also have long, rewarding experiences in color guard. Adcock and Albright have been friends since they were students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where Albright recalls being fascinated by the flow of the silks. “I live and breathe this stuff,” Adcock said. “I feel I have a hard time explaining it to people since it is so in my blood.”

Color guard has two seasons. The fall season involves appearances at the Red Devil’s Friday night football games, Saturday competitions and the school’s Homecoming Parade on Sept. 30. The spring season involves competitions in the Mid-Atlantic Indoor Network, covering five states (Avon Grove has tentatively scheduled to host one on Feb. 17, 2024) and the West Grove Memorial Day parade.

The color guard is on Instagram ( agcolorguard) and is featured on the Avon Grove Instrumental Music Boosters Association site (

Both seasons, of course, begin with practices. In the summer, that’s once a week, followed by two full weeks in August at band camp. Practices run two nights a week during the school year. Practices start with physical training (for instance,

34 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 |
Tatum Hanson is one of three captains for the Avon Grove High School Color Guard. Continued on Page 36

Avon Grove Color Guard

Continued from Page 34 dynamic stretching and other warmup exercises) before moving onto choreography.

This fall, the ‘pale blue dot’

Adcock, Albright, Buono and marching band director Michael Davino select the theme and music for each season. This fall, it’s “pale blue dot.” Adcock said it’s “basically about the Earth, and we’re going to have a a big globe on the field, and their costumes have light globes in them.”

That theme goes with “Shofukan (We Like It Here)” by Snarky Puppy, “Mad World” by Gary Jules and “Temen Oblak (Dark Worlds)” by Christopher Tin. All three support a wide range of interpretation. The “Mad World” lyrics are in English, and the video showcases distinctive aerial choreography. But “Temen Oblak” was written in Bulgarian, and “Shofukan” has no lyrics at all.

Continued on Page 38

36 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 |
Color guard costumes change for each season. This was the look from last spring. | Fall/Winter 2023 | Landenberg Life 37

Avon Grove Color Guard

Continued from Page 36

The theme last spring was “‘the only way out is through,’ basically about overcoming obstacles,” Adcock said, noting it was performed to Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill.”

Participants pay an annual $150 school district activity fee and seasonal fees. Fall fees recently ran $175 (show T-shirt, drill app license and production costs), with spring fees $185 (costume, show T-shirt and production costs). Albright – whose coaching includes 128 videos on YouTube as Glarehead and guest stints as far as Canada – said some “passionately competitive” color guards in the South charge around $4,000.

“It should look effortless so the audience thinks that they can do it,” he said of color guard performances. Of course, it’s not: it’s based on lots of training at school and at-home practice. “Our job is to create a show where everyone is challenged, and where everyone can succeed.”

Even among all the catchy tunes and choreography, the bonding and brandishing, there can be some, downsides, witnessed by the first aid kit that travels with them. Albright recalled once cutting his eye while demonstrating a technique with the sabre. He was patched up and back before practice ended.

“It’s time-consuming and exhausting,” he admitted. “All good things are.”

38 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 |
Emma Peterman, who began in color guard in fifth grade, is one of the three captains of this year’s team. | Fall/Winter 2023 | Landenberg Life 39

Photos by Jim Coarse

Photos by Jim Coarse

Text by Richard L. Gaw

Text by Richard L. Gaw

As evidenced by the variety of its events and the diversity of its patrons, the Brandywine Polo Club is puncturing holes in age-old myths and inviting everyone to enjoy the party


|Landenberg Life Photo Essay| | Fall/Winter 2023 | Landenberg Life 41 Continued on Page 42 money set and festooned with the formality

Polo, for the People

Continued from Page 41

While the Brandywine Polo Club is for everyone to enjoy, it is also a welcoming place to learn the sport not just on the sidelines but on horseback. Under the direction of Ata and Olivia Alonso, the Brandywine Polo School offers opportunities for students of all ages and skill levels to learn the basics of horsemanship, riding skills, mallet control and game strategy.

“It begins with showing up, signing a release, putting your foot in the stirrup, and with the support of trained professionals, you’re hitting a ball with years old,” said Bucklin, who was introduced to

competitively for the past four years. “Some people get hooked and excel to the next level, and others are just happy to hit the ball around once a week, but either way, it becomes a thrill like none other.”

Club Coordinator and Marketing Director Elizabeth Hedley said that the success of the Brandywine Polo Club -- that began with the vision of its founder James McHugh in 1951 -- continues through to today due in part to the community of friends, family, neighbors, polo players and loyal spectators who make up this club.

“The Brandywine Polo Club is so much more than a polo club,” she said. “Couples have met here, gotten married here and now their children play polo here. Attending Sunday polo is a tradition in many families, and we can only hope those who admire these photographs from Jim Coarse will be inspired to make it a tradition of theirs.”

The Brandywine Polo Club is located at 232 Polo Road, Toughkenamon, Pa. 19374 and offers summer polo June-September every Friday & Sunday and every other Saturday. For a full calendar of events, and information about the Brandywine Polo School, visit, or call the Polo Hotline at (833) BPC-POLO. | Fall/Winter 2023 | Landenberg Life 43

Arts and Culture|

Open door artists in

“For when ideas flutter in haze, we collaborate without notice and collect them as butterflies only to set them free into the world.” Shawn

There is, contained at the working space of every artist, writer, painter, sculptor, woodworker, photographer, sculptor and artisan an energy that is both delicious and intoxicating.

Areas like this are typically wedged as an afterthought into the side pocket of an artist’s home with little fanfare. They are often scruffy with the residue of trial-and-error ideas, serving as incubators of self-doubt and vestibules for the eureka breakthroughs that happen when no one else is there.

In Landenberg, there are many studios and many artists who bury themselves there in separate acts of creation, but for two days this October, eight of them will – in unity -- fling open the doors to their homes and the places they work and share all that intoxicating deliciousness with the entire Landenberg community.

Continued on Page 46

44 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 | c ce e h he e e err, an n h he e en b bah haat t h ho o wo h he e hat t ty. 46 6
On October 14 & 15, eight Landenberg artists will open their workspaces and homes for the first Artists of Landenberg Studio Tour. It will offer an unprecedented, behind-the-scenes glimpse into the growing vibrancy of the local artistic scene
Photo by Richard L. Gaw Several of the 18 artists and artisans who will form the first Artists of Landenberg Studio Tour on Oct. 14 and 15. Seated in front: Nancy Wickes, Debbie Huff and Nanci Hersh. Standing, left to right: Jenny Wood, Midge Diener, Kathy Ruck, Chad Cortez Everett, Brenda Kingham, Dragonfly Leathrum, Gail Brennan, Estelle Lukoff, Mindy Hadley Dole, Caryn Hetherston. Not pictured: Frank DePietro, Elaine Brooks, Mary Coleman, Britni Fiscus and Rachel Ruck.
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Artists of Landenberg

Continued from Page 44

The first Artists of Landenberg Studio Tour – which will be held on October 14 and 15 – will invite the public to an open, self-guided tour that will showcase the work of eight prominent local artists and introduce visitors to ten other artists whose work is regularly showcased at several artisan shows throughout Chester County and beyond.

“Like a lot of the artists in this group, I have hosted open studios on my own, and many of us have also done it as part of the Chester County Artists Studio Tour, but we have such a great community of artists here in Landenberg, I thought, ‘Why don’t we all have our homes open on the same weekend?’” said event organizer and watercolor artist Kathy Ruck, who will be one of eight hosts at the event.

“This way, our neighbors and patrons can get to all our studios within a few

miles of each other, and along the way, see the work of our guest artists.”

Ruck then began calling around to some of her artistic colleagues to gauge their ideas of creating a Landenbergonly studio tour, “and keep it within the 19350 area code,” she said.

Continued on Page 48

46 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 |
“Sound proof,” by Nanci Hersh. “Warm and Wooly,” by Kathy Ruck.

Artists of Landenberg

Continued from Page 46

The response was immediate and positive, and slowly, Ruck and other hosts began to put together a roster of other Landenberg artists, but the idea was shut down for two years due to COVID-19.

“When 2023 came around and restrictions were lifted, I thought, ‘This is the year to do it,” Ruck said.

“When Kathy reached out to me, I was aware of a few of those who will be part of this tour, but didn’t know there were all these artists here,” said mixed media contemporary artist Nanci Hersh, whose studio will be featured on the tour. “While I have hosted open studio house parties at my home, I think this will be a lot more fun.”

For jewelry designer Caryn

Hetherston – who will be one the event hosts -- The Artists of Landenberg Studio Tour will serve to lift the frequent and clandestine veil that separates the artist from his or her public and give visitors an opportunity to see the inner workings of an artist’s craft.

Continued on Page 50

48 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 |
Jewelry by Estelle Lukoff. Courtesy images Face necklace by Caryn Hetherston. | Fall/Winter 2023 | Landenberg Life 49

Artists of Landenberg

Continued from Page 48

“People love to see where artists work, whether it’s in their studio space or even in their garden,” she said. “Even though I have what I call my creative chaos, I do clean it up a little bit for open studios, but people like to see how I lay out different elements as part of my design, show them the tools that I use, and it gets them excited about the work, because they start to see how it is done.”

Throughout the last decade of her career as a jewelry designer, host Estelle Lukoff has collaborated on home and artisan fairs with a wide variety of artists. At The Artists of Landenberg Studio Tour, she will invite artisan specialty chef Gail Brennan, weaver Elaine Brooks, textile artist Mary Coleman and clay artist Brenda Kingham to join her at her home.

“I have been in the arts for over 40 years, have gotten to know quite a few artists during that time, and as I began developing my home studio shows, I wanted to curate artists that I felt would be a good compliment to my work, and it has just evolved,” Lukoff said. “These shows have become successful and well attended over the years, and a lot of our regular customers have looked forward to it.


50 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 |
Continued on Page 52
“Crazy cat,” by Debbie Huff.
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“Getting to collaborate on an even larger scale – all with other Landenberg artists – will create an even greater sense of that collaboration.” | Fall/Winter 2023 | Landenberg Life 51

Artists of Landenberg

Continued from Page 50

Ruck said that while the inaugural Artists of Landenberg Studio Tour will serve as a showcase for 18 artists – including her daughter, Rachel – it will also firmly solidify Landenberg’s place on the artistic map of Chester County. In contrast to this year’s Chester County Studio Tour in May – which featured 200 artists at 79 studios throughout the county, the Artists of Landenberg Studio Tour will be far more intimate, with each studio only a few minutes by car from the next.

If the first event is successful, Ruck said that it may pave the way for future studio tours that will feature new Landenberg-based artists.

“This is the first of our tours, and it’s a great opportunity for people in our community and just beyond to get to know all these artists,” Ruck said. “I think people will really

52 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 |
“Boat,” by Midge Diener.

like to get to know them and be able to buy local, because we’re not just artists, we’re also small business owners. I am most looking forward to community involvement – the people in Landenberg and in surrounding communities -recognizing Landenberg as an artistic hub.”

The Artists of Landenberg Studio Tour will take place on October 14 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and October 15 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The self-guided tour is free and each studio/home is located within minutes of each other. All artwork exhibited will be available for purchase and include original paintings, collage, jewelry, ceramics, glass works, fabric art, leather goods and prints. | Fall/Winter 2023 | Landenberg Life 53
“Sunflowers,” by Mindy Hadley Dole. Continued on Page 54

Artists of Landenberg

Continued from Page 53

Refreshments will be served. Visitors are encouraged to visit all eight studios/homes over the weekend with a “passport” type promotion offered in collaboration with The Acadian Wine Company in West Grove. Get your “passport” initialed by each of the eight host artists and receive a free glass of wine or a tasting of four wines at The Acadian Wine Company.

To learn more and see the tour map, visit “The Artists of Landenberg Studio Tour” on Facebook.

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email rgaw@chestercounty. com.

Continued on Page 56

54 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 |
“Ginko tree,” by Frank DePietro.

Artists of Landenberg

The Artists of Landenberg Studio Tour and Guest Artists

1. Midge Diener, 316 Glen Road (Britni Doughten-Fiscus)

2. Kathy Ruck, 113 Stoney Ridge Road (Rachel Ruck, Nancy Wickes, Creekside Coffee)

3. Caryn Hetherston, 111 Chesterville Road (Chad Cortez Everett)

4. Mindy Hadley Dole, 526 Newark Road

5. Frank DePietro, 5 Springbenny Turn (Dragonfly Leathrum)

6. Estelle Lukoff, 283 Reynolds Road (Elaine Brooks, Mary Coleman, Brenda Kingham, Jar’d by Gail Brennan)

7. Debbie Huff, 10 Wilkinson Drive (Jenny Wood)

8. Nanci Hersh, 9 Okie Drive (Megan Flachier, Scout & Cellar Wines)

56 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 |
Courtesy image This map of Landenberg indicates all eight locations for the studio tour.
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Keeping cool and having fun: Wineries around Landenberg

58 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 |
Keeping cool and having fun: Wineries around Landenberg |Around Landenberg|

People enjoying a glass of wine at one of southern Chester County’s many vineyards may not know that they’re relaxing on property which goes back a few centuries, to a time when horses were your best transportation and independence from England wasn’t even considered.

Three wineries near Landenberg not only have deep roots in Pennsylvania history, they offer a wide selection of wines which will please the most discerning connoisseur. A visit to 1723 Vineyards, Patone Cellars and Paradocx Vineyards reveals that they each have a special story to tell.

Before you talk about the wines, it helps to know a little about the local history. The village of Landenberg has seen many enterprising characters in the area once inhabited by Lenape Indians. William Penn’s surveyor Henry Hollingsworth laid out a plot of land for his children in 1699. Originally 35,000 acres, his son acquired a patent for property in 1706 after his father had already left for England, never to return to his colony.

Roughly 8,900 acres of this plot became New Garden Township, which was chartered in 1715. The London Company was active in development of the region, including what would later become nearby New London, London

Continued on Page 60 | Fall/Winter 2023 | Landenberg Life 59
Photos courtesy of 1723 Vineyards At left, the grapes of 1723 Vineyards in all of their bursting color. At right, part of the vineyard’s 7-acre paradise unfolds against the rays of the sun.

Wineries around Landenberg

Continued from Page 59

Grove, London Britain and Franklin Townships. With abundant wildlife and drainage from both White Clay and Red Clay Creek, the area was ideal for settlement.

Benjamin Franklin was a wine drinker—and he has a link to the land now used by 1723 Vineyards for their operations. Owners Ben and Sarah Cody are fifth-generation farmers with a passion for agriculture. They are “hands-on” and enjoy working with the soil. The name for the vineyard is linked to the beginnings of New London Township, which was chartered in 1723. The property upon which the winery now sits was part of the original acreage before it split off to form Franklin Township, named after the famous Founding Father. According to their website, Franklin took ownership of a portion of the property in 1764 as part of a debt settlement, along with adjacent acreage while he was ambassador to France.

The street address of 1723 Vineyards—5 McMaster Boulevard—gives you a clue to part of its heritage. In 2014, Ben and Sarah purchased 36 acres of the historic McMaster Farm in Landenberg to begin

their operations. Today there are 7 acres planted and an additional 4 acres on the former Ford Farm near the village of Kemblesville. The vineyard offers a large array of both white and red wines. Their whites/lighter wines include Riesling, Blanc de Franc and Albarino, Rose and Sparkling Rose. Their reds include Chambourcin, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Chambourcin Reserve. They also have a nice selection of edibles to complement their wine lists

Continued on Page 62

60 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 |
Photo courtesy of 1723 Vineyards A wine selection at 1723 Vineyards. Photo courtesy of Pantone Cellars Pantone Cellars offers up a bounty of delicious varietals. | Fall/Winter 2023 | Landenberg Life 61 Discover the R&D Difference Call Today. 610-444-6421 |

Wineries around Landenberg

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and live music, with a Tasting Room and yard that overlooks the beautiful vineyard. For more information visit their website at or e-mail them at

Franklin Township broke out on its own in 1852, but for more than a century, the area had been known as New London Township. New London Township made its mark in history as the birthplace of Thomas McKean, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and Governor of Pennsylvania. Patone Cellars at 1051 Wickerton Road near Landenberg has pleased people with both their wine and their food. Visitors there rave about the lovely décor, as well as the nice wine selection and wood-fired homemade pizza offered to complement it—made by host and winemaker Mario Patone.

Continued on Page 66

62 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 |
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Photo courtesy of Patone Cellars The tasting room at Patone Cellars is reminiscent of old world ambiance. | Fall/Winter 2023 | Landenberg Life 63


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Wineries around Landenberg

Continued from Page 62

Guests at Patone mention the wonderful Old World ambience which elevates the wine tasting experience. One visitor posted a compliment—her husband from Italy loved the place. Wine and pizza have been a winning combination for a long time, and Mario and associates believe in providing delicious pizza to satiate even the hungriest visitors. With a Mediterranean-looking exterior and a rustic stone fireplace inside, it is easy to see how people fall in love with the site. Patone focuses on red wines, including their Sangiovese, a nice complement to their food. The winery has recently undergone a complete renovation, but is planning to reopen in September 2023. For information, contact them via e-mail at

66 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 |
Photo courtesy of Patone Cellars The winemaking operations at Patone Cellars.

Paradocx may sound like a familiar word, but the winery got its name literally from “a pair of doctors” in the Hoffman and Harris families who started the operation. Situated on 100 acres of gently rolling hillsides, 30 acres of which are under cultivation, Paradocx takes advantage of what their website describes as a unique mesoclimate combined with stateof-the-art viticultural practices.

The winery produces a variety of both red and white wines which visitors know from their colorful “paint can” dispensers which attract attention as uniquely different from typical wineries. Their Barn Red, Leverage and Merlot contrast with their Pinot Grigio, Vidal Blanc and Viognier whites. Paradocx has hosted numerous concerts and has an active calendar, with Wine Club and Friday Happy Hour along with Music Bingo and other activities. Visit their website at www.

Some of the selections at Paradocx Vineyard. for more information.

So, if you’re thinking a glass of wine would be nice, stop in at one of these venues for a delightful break from the hustle-and-bustle of daily

Continued on Page 68

Residents have the comfort of knowing that they can receive personal care without having to move. Care is brought to them. Quality of life, combined with a comfortable setting, makes Friends Home unique. It is the residents who fill the community with their vitality and spirit that make this a very special place, indeed. | Fall/Winter 2023 | Landenberg Life 67
Photo courtesy of Paradocx Vineyard
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Wineries around Landenberg

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life. With a rich history behind them, and a variety of delicious offerings to enjoy, these establishments will bring a smile to your face as you “cool off” from the summer heat.

Gene Pisasale is an historian, author and lecturer based in Kennett Square. His 11 books focus mostly on the history of the Chester County/mid-Atlantic region. Gene’s latest book is Heritage of the Brandywine Valley, a beautifully illustrated hardcover book with over 250 images of historic maps, sites, structures, artifacts and paintings which tell the 300-year history of the region. His books are available on his website at and also on Gene can be reached via e-mail at Gene@

68 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 |
The tasting room at Paradocx Vineyard overlooks bountiful acres of vineyards and scenery. | Fall/Winter 2023 | Landenberg Life 69
70 Landenberg Life | Fall/Winter 2023 |
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