The WC Press Outdoors Issue - April 2015

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COLUMNISTS Becca Boyd Diane LeBold Brad Liermann Jennifer Ozgur DJ Romeo Published By... Mathers Productions 13 South Church Street West Chester, PA 19382 610-344-3463

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Noting 12

17 19 29 37 39 49 53 57 59

Our no-nonsense table of contents

FROM LIMB TO LIMB The fanciful craft of treehouse building OWNER OF THE MONTH Chatting with Randell Spackman of Thornbury Farm CONSERVATIVE THINKING Natural Lands Trust and its mission to sustain Stroud Preserve WEST CHESTER GOLF GUIDE Previewing our hometown courses THE LOOK Previewing spring fashions with Nich IN THE SLIPSTREAM A snapshot of two-wheeled life in West Chester BARTENDER OF THE MONTH A quick convo with Courtney Hope at Kildare’s Irish Pub LOCAL TALENT Catching up with Emily Alice THE VIEW FROM ABOVE Powered paragliding in West Chester THE MAKEOVER Balance Hair Spa Stuido perform a transformation





From the


“Live in the sunshine. Swim in the sea. Drink the wild air.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

I recently made a mistake and visited, a decision that always leaves me confident I have some terribly debilitating disease. This time was no different: while it’s still self diagnosed, I’m fairly certain I have seasonal affective disorder, or—as many call it—seasonal depression. I suffer, from one degree or another, from every symptom listed on the disorder’s WebMD page. The most prominent manifestation is that I just can’t sleep enough, and I never feel rested. If I sleep fewer than eight hours, I’m dragging all day long, but even if I get eight or more, I’m still ready to climb back under the covers by 4pm. I’m not just being negative, or weak-willed, or a “coddled millennial.” I work hard to combat the constant negativity and nascent pessimism. I run, I ride stationary bikes, and I try to eat healthy (although calling my caffeine consumption excessive would be putting it quite delicately). I play soccer every Wednesday, I lift weights and I hang out with friends even when all I really want to is pull shut my blackout curtains and close my eyes for the next few months. These efforts, while not in vain, make only a minimal impact. There is, however, one activity that has made a significant difference: I go tanning. Every other week I drive to Majestic Sun Tanning Salon and lay in a UV bed for 8 minutes. And it’s bliss. I close my eyes and for those 16 minutes a month I’m laying on a beach somewhere; the endorphin release is palpable. I haven’t admitted this guilty pleasure to many because, frankly, it’s a little embarrassing. Heck, I’m even embarrassed every time I have to ask whichever cute girl is working the front desk to snag my bottle of “Couture” tanning lotion from beneath the counter. There are plenty of stereotypes associated with people who go tanning, so every time I admit to the practice, I have to immediately explain just why it is that I go, or—even if my audience doesn’t say anything—I can see in their eyes that they’ve judged me superficial and narcissistic. But I’m not. I just really, really miss the sun. I miss being outdoors. What I’m getting at is that putting this issue together made me very, very happy. Sure, while assembling it we battled an inexplicable snowstorm that dumped six inches on the borough, but the knowledge that all these outdoor activities were just around the corner helped keep my seasonal depression at bay. Spring brings with it an incipient sense of optimism, and I intend to harness that positive energy to take advantage of all the activities we’ve featured in these pages. I’ll hike Stroud Preserve (page 19). I’ll pull my bike out of the basement (page 39) and dust off my clubs (page 29). Maybe I’ll build a fantastic treehouse (page 13) or find the courage to paraglide (page 55). Most importantly, while partaking in all these activities, I intend to roll up my sleeves, turn my face toward the sky and soak up all those mood-enhancing UV rays. And this time it ain’t gonna cost me a penny.



From Limb to Limb How a local craftsman took the fanciful skill of treehouse building to a national audience by Kate Chadwick


igger lives in a tree house. Scout and Jem seek solace in one in To Kill A Mockingbird. The elves in Lord of the Rings make their forest homes in them, and on it goes: the Swiss Family Robinson; Hook’s Lost Boys, Star Wars’ Ewoks and even Calvin & Hobbes had a leafy hideaway. Literature and pop culture are filled with references, images and homages to dwellings built among the branches of trees. What is it about them that so captures the imagination? I can’t answer that definitively, but I can say that when I got the email assigning me this story, I immediately turned to my seven and ten-year-old children and fairly shouted at them, “Guess what, you guys?! I get to write a story about a company that builds treehouses!” I mean, I love my job and everything, but there is something about treehouses that conveys a bit more… magic, maybe, than your average subject matter.

West Chester’s own Tree Top Builders is a leader in this niche industry, and not just on a local level. Founder Dan Wright is a carpenter, but he’s also an arborist, and has coauthored a book on the craft, Knack Treehouses: A Stepby-Step Guide to Designing & Building a Safe & Sound Structure. Tree Top is a team of a dozen members, made up of marketing, support, and construction staff—not to mention treehouse interior designer, Tanya Breck. Dan’s been building treehouses professionally for 12 years, and selling parts and plans for do-it-yourselfers to make their own for six years. Their work has taken Tree Top Builders not only all over Pennsylvania, but all over the U.S. , and their mini ( 5’ in diameter), and not-so-mini (a 3,000 square foot, 3-story tree house in the California Redwoods) masterpieces have also been featured on television shows like ABC’s Extreme Makeover. I talked to Dan while he was on his way to work on a project in North Carolina. The first thing I wanted to know was how Dan handles this scenario: he’s at a cocktail party, making polite chatter with people he doesn’t know, and is asked the standard small talk question “What do you do for a living?” How does he answer? Does he say “I build treehouses,” or does he just go with a lower-key “I’m a carpenter” or “I’m an arborist”? There was a long pause before Dan replied, brilliantly: “I try to avoid saying that I build treehouses, because I’m an introvert. And since it IS the coolest job you could possibly have, by saying that’s what you do, you immediately become the center of attention and people bombard you with ques-

tions. I try to avoid that stuff and keep the focus off of me.” So, was the introversion what drew him to treehouses to begin with? It seems a logical assumption—talk about a great way of getting away from people. “No,” Dan said. “I don’t think that had anything to do with it. For some people that’s what it is, but I think it’s creativity for me. I was framing and trimming houses for somebody else, and it was boring. I figured if I was

The bridges on this treehouse built in Wayne, PA (above) feel more like a high adventure park than a backyard treehouse. The bay window on this house in Bryn Mawr (left) makes the interior feel much larger going to lug plywood and two-by-fours around all day, I might as well build something that was fun to build.” Was it scary to take that leap? “I honestly didn’t know if I would be able to make a living at it,” he told us. “But my dad was an entrepreneur, and so it wasn’t a scary thing to step out on my own and start a business. Through some measure of hard work and good luck, it worked out, and here we are today.”

“I honestly didn’tknow if I would be able to make a living at it...”

Dan and his wife Amy have three boys, ages four, seven and nine, and yes, he’s got his own backyard retreat at home, too. “I do have a couple platforms, a couple bridges, and a zipline in my yard. I camp out on the big platform with my boys from time to time.” He admits that the traveling is the hardest part of his job. “It’s by far the number one thing that causes early retirement from this line of work, not to mention staff turnover,” he said. ”The thing of it is, there are only a handful of companies like this that really know what they’re doing, so if people are looking to hire a pro, they’ll probably end up hiring someone from out of town, if not out of state. This raises costs, because you have to feed and house workers, etc.” It would be great





if the work of assembling the structure could be done at their space in West Chester and then simply transported to the jobsite, but because the house is being built in and/or around a tree or trees, most of it has to be done on the premises, Dan said. It depends on the design; in some cases, parts of the building are prefabricated. Dan said that 60-70% of their work takes them out of state, in places as far flung as California, Ontario, and Panama. For designer Tanya, the travelling is challenging but also fun. “Typically I spend a couple of days with the clients, going over their design options, checking out the trees on the property,” she said. There are lots of things to take into consideration, and Tanya said that it’s more technical than a typical interior design project. “There may be what we call ‘dirty trees,’ which lose limbs often. Also, decisions are made and changed based on whether a tree will be simply supporting the structure or is growing straight through it.” She said her background, with an architect dad and other family members in the designer field, while useful, wasn’t quite enough. “It was a lot to get my head around at first, but now I can’t imagine doing anything else.” She said that Dan is not only a great boss, but that “He really, really cares about the clients—we all do. You work closely with people at their homes, and they become like family.” She said Dan is all about getting the client exactly what they want, and that he “gets giddy” as a project nears completion. “If there’s extra wood left over, he’s always like ‘How about if we do this, or build that with it?’ she said. “It’s wonderful, because I feel like I work all day with adult children. In a good way.” Oh! Speaking of adult children and climbing trees, about halfway through my conversation with Dan, he casually mentioned Treehouse World. This a property the company is developing on Phoenixville Pike in

company is developing “...the [a property] in West Chester

that will be a treehouse-themed adventure park...”

West Chester that will be a treehouse-themed adventure park, opening “in the next month or two,” according to Dan. Right about here is where I may have lost my cool just a little; in transcribing notes from our recorded interview, I distinctly heard myself say “No WAY, shut UP!” when Dan was describing this new venture. (And I’d like to formally apologize to both Dan Wright and Dan Mathers here for that unprofessional transgression.) “It’s the idea of making the experience of a treehouse accessible to average people. It’s being able to spend a day and 10 or 20 dollars to experience the fun of tree houses, instead of 10 or 20 thousand to build your own. We don’t want the experience to be out of reach for anyone.” Tree Top marketing assistant Madeleine Stockdale said Treehouse World is going to be a unique treehouse attraction. “This summer, we’ll have several themed tree houses, a dedicated tree climbing area, and our Big Swing, a 50 foot high swing. There will be walking trails as well. The plan is to host birthday parties, field trips, and even day trips for families.” Finally, we asked Dan if there is a Plan B in place if the market for treehouses dries up? “That’ll never happen,” Dan said. “It may slow down, but there will always be people who want treehouses. They were popular first in the UK and Europe, so it’s not that we invented them. But It’s embedded in our literature and in our psyches to seek independence and freedom, and I think that’s what makes it a uniquely American obsession.”





Owner of the


PHOTO Andrew Hutchins


Randell Spackman of Thornbury Farm is passionate about produce and sustainability... and ghosts. How did you come to run Thornbury Farm? It was my grandfather’s farm, bought

back in the early 1940s, but it’s been in and out of our family over the centuries. I grew up on the farm, went to University of Delaware, got my degree in agriculture, and now I’m running the place and living here with my wife, four daughters and infant son. It’s a busy household. Is it a busy farm? It is a very busy farm— we do all kinds of different things: we grow organic produce; we have a CSA; we give farm tours; we offer classes on topics like canning and bread-making, as well as classes on planting, sustainability, history, map-making and ghost-hunting. We also have ghost tours in the fall. That’s a lot. Let’s take it one at a time and start with how, I think, the community knows you best: as a CSA. What’s a CSA?

Well, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture; it’s where people buy a membership from a farmer and become partners. Then, over a given number of weeks, the members receive a share of what’s grown on the farm. If the farm does well, members get a greater share. It’s a great way to help limit some of the risk to the farmer and support local agriculture. What are the benefits to the consumer?

One of the benefits of buying from a local farm is knowing what you’re getting, where it’s coming from and how it’s grown. People can walk right outside our market door and see the fields of cherry tomatoes, peas, asparagus… all the crops are right there. How about price-wise? Is it comparable to going to a Giant? It’s a little more ex-

pensive than Giant in some regards. We’re not a subsidized farm—which can drive up our prices—but we are organic; it’s a reasonable price for organic. Plus, you get the benefit of your dollars going to local labor. So it benefits the whole community. Exactly. Your money stays in Chester County.

Do you sell produce outside of the CSA?

During the summer we have a wonderful public farm market open from 10am6pm every day during the week where people can come in and purchase local honeys, jellies, Amish goods, and other local goods and produce. Plus, they can see the animals, check out the farm, sign up for classes and find out about the history of this farm. Let’s talk about that history. The date stone on the main house says 1709, but the property actually goes back much further than that, back to the 1600s. It was the first quarried house in Pennsylvania, the first public library in Chester County, and it’s also the site of the Battle of Brandywine. This farm is the site where the flag was first fired upon during the battle,

on September 11, 1777. General LaFayette was wounded here, and we even have two mass burials of soldiers on the property. Then it’s no surprise that ghost stories are so prevalent here. We were the pre-

miere episode of season five of Ghost Hunters on Syfy. They give a variety of rankings to describe just how haunted a place is, and they gave us the highest ranking. What sort of stuff happens? Well, the lights go off and on, the doors randomly close, the typical ghost stuff. But if you ask them very nicely, they’ll stop because we have what they call intelligent haunts, where the ghosts will stop and talk to you. And you live here… People sometimes ask if we get scared of the ghosts, but it’s sort of like living next to a busy street—after a while you don’t hear the cars.






Natural Lands Trust and its mission to sustain Stroud Preserve by Kate Chadwick


ou can’t tell by looking at it, but for a place as lovely and serene as Stroud Preserve, it certainly works very hard, in that quiet, barely perceptible way that Mother Nature has of doing things. The Preserve, if you’re not familiar with it, is located on North Creek Road in West Chester, and is comprised of 574 acres of natural wildlife habitat. And even if you are familiar with Stroud Preserve, you may not be aware of the behind-the-scenes work of the organization that maintains it, Natural Lands Trust. The agency is the largest private owner of preserved lands in the region, overseeing and maintaining 42 nature preserves in eastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. We spoke with Natural Lands Trust’s Director of Communications, Kirsten Werner, about how and why the organization does what it does. “Many folks in the region are familiar with our nature preserves,” Kirsten said. “But few know that these are privately owned preserves—not state or township parks—owned and managed by Natural Lands Trust.” The scope of work goes far beyond those preserves, she told us, noting that Natural Lands Trust has saved more than 100,000 acres of land from development over its 62-year history.

photo Alessandra Manzotti





Stroud Preserve—“one of our most visited and loved” sites, according to Kirsten, was established in 1990 with the bequest of the 322-acre Georgia Farm to Natural Lands Trust by Dr. Morris Stroud. The preserve grew to its current size through donations and the purchase of neighboring properties. Dr. Stroud’s property was originally part of a large cattle farm that stretched from the city of West Chester west to Wawaset Road, but, according to Kirsten, the preserve’s history stretches as far back as the founding of the colony. There’s a stone farmhouse on the property, built by Thomas Worth in 1740, that is listed on the Natural Register of Historic Places. The Preserve provides miles of walking trails, tranquil meadows and majestic woodlands, horseback riding trails, hayfields, streams and wetlands. But while the Preserve appears to be a bucolic site for both communing with nature and recreational activity, most people are unaware of the fact that it’s also protecting watersheds that provide drinking water for tens of thousands of people. This is because one of the stipulations of Dr. Stroud’s will was that Stroud Preserve be available as a long-term study site for the Stroud Water Research Center, which is internationally acclaimed for its pioneering stream and river research. “Scientists from the Center have set up experiments on the preserve to evaluate how to create riparian forest buffers and how they can filter out sediments, nitrogen, phosphorus, and other chemicals that threaten downstream waters,” Kirsten said. “Because the Center has permanent access to the preserve, they’re able to conduct studies that last decades instead of just a few years.” Indeed, Stroud Preserve is part of the Environmental Protection Agency’s National Monitoring Program, a network of nationwide sites established in order to evaluate how land use and human practices affect water quality. It’s the only such site in the state of Pennsylvania. “At Stroud—and many other Natural Lands Trust-owned preserves— protecting land from development is

David Deaville just the first step,” Kirsten said. “For decades, our stewardship staff has been caring for the meadows, wetlands, and woodlands so native plants and animals can thrive and visitors can enjoy them.” In the Geoff Creary early 20th century, according to Kirsten, changes in agricultural technology and population growth caused a decline in the quantity and quality of grassland habitats for birds. “At Stroud Preserve, we’ve been working to reestablish these once plentiful habitats by transforming retired farm fields to native grassland meadows,” Kirsten told us. “By delaying annual mowing of Stroud’s meadows until July, we allow ground-nesting birds like Bobolink, Eastern Meadowlark, and Grasshopper Sparrow—whose numbers are declining due to habitat loss—to safely nest and fledge their young.”

At Stroud–AND MANY OTHER NATRUAL LANDS TRUST‫ـ‬OWNED PROPERTIES– PROTECTING LAND FROM DEVELOPMENT IS JUST THE FIRST STEP In fact, Stroud is one of the few places you can reliably observe mating and nesting of (the fantastically named) Bobolinks, and on May 30, Stroud is hosting a Brunch with the Bobolinks event. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to visit the preserve during spring mating season and see these amazing birds in person,” Kirsten said. Maintaining Stroud has its challenges, according to Kirsten. “The sheer num-









& DINNER BRUNCH 11AM-3PM (610) 429-4046




ber of people who visit Stroud does present a challenge in terms of making sure we don’t all ‘love it to death,’” she said. In particular, educating visitors about the importance of keeping dogs on a leash at all times is an issue. Dogs are always welcome at the Preserve, but unleashed dogs are a safety concern for other visitors—human, dog, and equine— as well as for nesting birds and other wildlife. Even with all that goes into preserving and maintaining Stroud, much of Natural Land Trust’s work happens off the preserves: working with townships to plan trails and greenway corridors, helping municipalities adopt zoning codes favoring conservation during development, encouraging landowners to place their properties under conservation easement so that they’ll never be developed (but can remain in private ownership), finding grant money to purchase land and transfer it to state parks—these are just a few examples. Fortunately, Natural Lands Trust has some seriously dedicated employees. “Interestingly, our staff of 65 employees has an average of 15 years in conservation,” Kirsten said. “The people who work here are passionate about what we do!” Her own story is a perfect illustration of that passion. “In my mid-twenties, I was working for a pharmaceutical company and hating every beige-cubicled minute of it,” she told us. “I started thinking of a way to combine my personal passions—including nature—with a career. I quit the corporate job (to my parents’ dismay) and found a job at a public garden. I took a big pay cut but

Geoff Creary

gained a lot in terms of job satisfaction. Natural Lands Trust was an organization I’d known about and contributed money to for years. My boss jokes that he was either going to hire me or take out a restraining order… I really wanted to work here!” That kind of dedication is one of the things that helps Natural Lands Trust fulfill its three missions: saving land, stewarding resources, and connecting people and nature. We asked Kirsten which of these is most critical. “They all go hand in hand,” she replied. “We’re passionate about owning land so we can steward it. We often say that saving land is just the first step—open spaces require active stewardship. That’s more than just mowing hiking trails and picking up trash. It’s about helping to restore and maintain nature’s balance: keeping invasive plants in check so they don’t entirely crowd out native plants, working through controlled hunting to maintain the population of white-tailed deer so they don’t upset the balance,

opeN spaces require active stewardship

APRIL 2015 THEWCPRESS.COM Kirsten Werner 23



Bobolink's are a rare sight—they breed in North America and migrate as far south as Argentina in the winter

C. Alejandro removing dams and man-made ponds to restore wetlands, restoring old farm fields to native grassland and wildflower meadows that support ground-nesting birds and pollinators, controlled burning of these meadows to keep them from turning into forests, planting trees in other areas to reforest, planting around riparian areas to help improve water quality and reduce erosion… the list goes on and on.” And while having a beautiful natural landscape retreat at our disposal is restorative to the spirit, another quality-of-life consideration is economic. “The preserves are productive assets that generate significant economic value for our region,” Kirsten said. “Studies show that they increase nearby property values and help us save on everything from health care to recreation. They also naturally improve the air we breathe and the water we drink, reducing the cost of providing these basic needs.” Speaking of economic considerations, we wondered about where the funding comes from to maintain the preserves. “Active stewardship is required to keep our preserves healthy and thriving, and it’s an expensive, long-term commitment, best underwritten by endowment,” Kirsten said. “Some of our preserves have

David Deaville endowments that yield annual operating budgets for land stewardship. But of the 42 properties that Natural Lands Trust owns and manages, more than half of them have no endowments, or have endowments that are insufficient to fund basic operating and capital expenditures.” Over the last two decades, according to Kristen, Natural Lands has established 13 new preserves and expanded 15 existing ones, often through the use of public funds. “Public grants have allowed us to save thousands of acres of important natural areas, but they don’t provide endowment. And remember: we’re in the perpetuity business. We’ve made a commitment to care for these properties forever.” Natural Lands Trust was given an extraordinary funding boost in 2011, courtesy of longtime supporter and endowment advocate Penny Wilson, when she offered to match gifts for stewardship endowment on a dollar-for-dollar basis, up to $1,000,000. “At the close of 2012, we met Penny’s ‘Wilson Challenge,’” Kirsten said. “The $2,000,000 that now resides in the Penelope Wilson Endowment for Natural Lands Trust Preserves will generate welcome funds to underwrite needs associated with some of our most ecologically special preserves.” And in return, West Chester area residents have access to Stroud’s Preserve and can seek refuge and recreation in Natural Lands Trust’s beautiful, serene and well-maintained natural spaces for as long as they wish. Which, according to Kirsten, ties in nicely with the “connecting people to nature” part of their mission. “I can’t emphasize its importance enough,” she told us. “In decades past, many organizations—ours included—protected land from people. Today, we focus on protecting land for people.” For more information on Stroud Preserve and Natural Lands Trust—including events, membership, and volunteering opportunities—please visit






Becca Boyd has a passion for good food


There is absolutely nothing like that first warm-ish day in early spring. After that day, every afternoon on the couch is an afternoon wasted—it just feels right to be outside. With that in mind, these chewy granola bites are a must for trips to the park or long walks, and this pizza is a favorite of mine from years past—something about the blend of the salty bacon, sweet Brussels sprouts, and sharp parmesan cheese tastes like spring. Brussels, Bacon and Parmesan Pizza serves 2-4 1 lb. pizza dough; 4 c. trimmed and quartered Brussels sprouts; 5 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided; 2 cloves minced garlic; 1 tsp. kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste; 6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped; Juice of 1/2 a lemon; 1/2 tsp. kosher salt and pepper to taste; 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese; block of parmesan, for shaving 1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place stone in oven. Ideally stone should preheat for 1 hour. 2. Toss Brussels sprouts with 3 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. kosher salt and pepper. Spread on a baking sheet and place in preheated oven. Roast for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and increase heat to 500 degrees. 3. Meanwhile, combine remaining olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt and pepper in a small bowl. Set aside. 4. Roll pizza dough thinly on a large piece of parchment paper and spread with oil/lemon mixture. 5. Top with bacon and Brussels sprouts. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, then, using a vegetable peeler, shave parmesan to cover most of the pizza. 6. Transfer pizza (while still on paper) to preheated stone in oven using a cutting board or pizza peel and bake for about 12 minutes or until cheese is melted and turning golden and crust is lightly browned. Chewy Granola Bites makes 20 bites 2 c. old fashioned oats, divided; 1/4 c. packed brown sugar; 1/2 tsp. kosher salt; 1/2 tsp. cinnamon; 1 c. almonds; 1/2 c. dried cranberries or cherries; 3 tbsp. butter, melted; 1/2 c. bittersweet chocolate chips; 2 tbsp. honey; 1/4 c. agave or maple syrup; 1 tbsp. water; 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 2. In a food processor, grind just 1/3 c. of the oats. Add brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Pulse to combine. 3. Pour mixture into a medium mixing bowl and add the remaining 1 2/3 c. oats. 4. In the (now empty) food processor, pulse nuts and fruit until finely chopped. 5. Mix chopped nuts/fruit with dry ingredients. 6. In a glass measuring cup or bowl, melt butter. Add agave or maple syrup, honey and water. Whisk well. 7. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until combined. 8. Spray an 8x8 in. baking pan with nonstick spray. Pour mixture into pan and press down well with water-moistened hands. 9. Bake for about 35 minutes or until lightly browned and lightly puffed. 10. Let cool for at least an hour before slicing. Best stored in the fridge.





west chester


ecause our climate has seen to it that golf is only a seasonal game in West Chester, forcing the most avid players south in pursuit of lush fairways in February, the return of warm weather has golfers dusting off their clubs and hitting the driving range in eager anticipation. But, before you blindly trundle off to the nearest tee, take a look through our guide previewing the best courses in West Chester.

Broad Run Golfer's Club 1520 Tattersall Way | | (610) 738-4410 The golf course offers a fantastic challenge if you play from the back tees at 6,751 yards, and is very player-friendly from the front tees at 6,080 yards. Either way, the layout and views provide all golfers with an incredible experience. Claim to fame: After a change of ownership in 2012, the course is now the sister of Iron Valley Golf Club—the 8th highest ranked course in PA designed by P.B. Dye—and players can purchase passes and memberships to play both courses. Why you should play: The change in ownership also brought a renovation to the course in 2013, returning it to the high-end experience it was intended to be.





Concord Country Club 1601 Wilmington Pike | | (610) 459-2200 Concord is a family-oriented country club centered around a William Flynn-designed, 18-hole golf course with a full-service practice facility, including a grass tee driving range, short game facility and putting green. Claim to fame: As the host of the 2015 PGA Philly Section Championship, Concord Country Club is widely regarded as one of the most interesting and challenging courses in Eastern Pennsylvania. Why you should play: If you know a member, make sure they take you out to sample some of the best-manicured courses in the region. Even if you've played before, extensive changes this past winter present a new set of challenges.

Penn Oaks Golf Club 150 Penn Oaks Drive | (610) 440-3627 This 18-hole championship golf course is located in a historic Chester County setting, featuring rolling hills and beautiful natural terrain. The course can be as tough as you’d like, with a lot of different tees, a significant challenge for both skilled players and beginners. Claim to fame: Not one hole is the same, so prepare to use every club in your bag. The original course architect Russell Roberts intended to offer limitless variety with sweeping right fairways, sharp left turns, and big and small greens. Why you should play: While golf courses are pretty by nature, Penn Oaks is truly picturesque, and it's 6700-yard course is one of the area's best-kept secrets.





Radley Run Country Club 1100 Country Club Rd | (610) 793-1660 Radley Run is a beautiful championship layout designed by Alfred Tull and built in 1965. The course features beautiful views, rolling terrain and plenty of challenges. There are some great short holes with risk reward options as well as some long and tough holes. Claim to fame: The Mansion House on the property dates back to 1770, and the course has played host to the Delaware Open, Philadelphia PGA events and various Pro-Ams including Dick Hendrickson’s Senior Tour Pro-Am. Why you should visit: The private club is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year over Independence Day weekend, capping off the festivities with a community day on the July 5 which is open to the public culminating in a fireworks show over the course.

West Chester Country Club 111 Ashbridge St | | (610) 696-0150 This nine-hole course offers a challenge for players of all abilities. The parkland design measures only 5,606 yards, meaning distance is not the key to success—accuracy is a must with water hazards and out-of-bounds impacting almost every hole. Claim to fame: This member-owned, private establishment holds the title of hometown club; it's located on the northern edge of the borough, and its history dates back to 1898. Why you should play: Being that it's a nine-hole course, it lends itself perfectly to today’s active lifestyle, but if you have time for 18 holes, you can play the same nine holes from a different set of tees, giving each a new and different look.





Tell Me something


Kate Chadwick takes a moment to spotlight a local citizen for doing something swell

Who he is: Eric Lorgus is a third-generation West Chesterian. He was born at Chester County Hospital and graduated from Henderson High School. What he does: Eric is “one of the original rabble-rousers” in the movement to save The Barclay Grounds, at the intersection of North High Street and West Marshall, from development. Why he’s on this page: Eric heard about plans to build on the Barclay Grounds on a Sunday afternoon in August 2013, saw a yard sign while driving down Darlington Street the next day, and promptly sent the organizers an email with ideas on how to go about saving The Grounds, based on his knowledge of the borough’s Home Rule Charter. “I also encouraged the initial strategy of taking the property by eminent domain,” he told us. The group adopted that plan, and, at the September borough council meeting, asked members to take the first step towards taking the property by eminent domain. “To everyone's astonishment, they DID!,” Eric said. “The vote wasn't even close. And they did this at the same meeting that they also granted the developer permission to build houses (since his plan complied with the zoning, council had no choice). To this day, I still savor the irony of how close we came to losing The Barclay Grounds. Had the vote to start the eminent domain process come a month later, it might have been too late.” What he likes about West Chester: “The architecture! It’s the most public of the arts, and West Chester has been blessed with many amazing buildings, blocks, and streets,” Eric said. “It’s full of architectural gems.” For dining out in the borough, Eric’s a fan of Iron Hill Brewery—“I can remember having lunch in that same building years ago when it was a Woolworth’s 5&10.” What we like about him: He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk, not only for the Barclay Grounds cause, but for other causes as well. “I’m a strong believer in historic preservation, and I’m also looking forward to the success of those who want to convert the old Armory into a performing arts center, and to turn the post office into a food co-op.” And that vision extends beyond the borough. “What happened in West Chester may become a model for other cash-strapped older towns that want to preserve what little open space remains.” Moral of the story: Think big. “No one thought we had a chance when we convinced council to acquire the land based on our promise to find the money, but in the span of just over one year, we’ve raised one million in donations and grants. We still have $160,000 more to go, but we’re so close we know we'll succeed.” For more information on The Barclay Grounds, please visit their website,, call 484-401-9310, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Do you know a WC resident who’s doing good things and deserves a little recognition in Tell Me Something Good? Let us know! Email details to






Nich shares some great looks for spring



Look PHOTO Andrew Hutchins

Outfit One Boho Dress in Ivory Jack by BB Dakota, $64 Floral Headband Oh Hey Chrisi, $20

STORY Kristy Mak

Nobody likes to get the cold shoulder... unless it's this kind—cold shoulder tops are a huge trend for spring. They give you the off-the-shoulder look without the hassle of constantly pulling it up or worrying that the creepy dude behind you might "accidentally" bump into you and pull it down farther than is socially acceptable. This detail goes back to the ever-popular Boho look, and if Coachella or Firefly are calling your name, this is a must-have. Mary's wearing both a dress and top. Pair with flowy printed pants and a pretty hippy headband, and your inner flower child will be dancing like no one is watching. So remember: if you're worried about rejection, this cold shoulder will automatically put you on the hot list.

Outfit Two Hippy Top Patrons of Peace, $45 Charis Paisley Pants Eunishop, $38

When it's warm outside, Nich suggests trying the cold shoulder APRIL 2015 THEWCPRESS.COM




In the Slipstream.

A Snapshot of Two-Wheeled Life in West Chester by Jesse Piersol


hen I was 23 years old, I packed up a van with four of my teammates and drove down to Davis, West Virginia for a 24-hour relay mountain bike race. At the time, 24-hour racing was a bold new frontier that attracted a certain type of competitor. My mission was two-fold: do the race, and also collect data for my master’s thesis, an ethnography of the culture of the event. The weekend was a high spot in my less-than-spectacular racing career, and to this day, my thesis is probably the best thing I’ve ever written. Whether you’re a cycling addict yourself, or you can’t stand getting stuck behind a pack of riders spinning out 842 early on a Saturday morning, one thing is undeniable: West Chester is an epicenter of the sport. It is home to past and present top-level professional racers, a thriving community of recreational cyclists, and events galore. Uniting it all are the parallels between cycling and life itself: victory, camaraderie, tragedy, and redemption. “Cycling can be fast paced, or nice and easy.” These are the ruminations of Viktor Ohnjec, Ride Director and Ride Leader for the West Chester Cycling Club. “Sometimes you’ll work hard and achieve your goals and it feels great. Other times, you work like a dog and don’t achieve anything. You might ‘bonk.’ Life’s the same kind of thing. Maybe you’re not prepared, or even if you are, you might fail.” Hey, somebody should write a book about it. 





The High Road It turns out West Chester resident David Chauner (pictured at right) did write a book about it. Released in February of this year, High Road: Chasing the Yellow Jersey is the fictional tale of Kurt Dufour’s transformation from coddled rich kid who gets in trouble into a top competitor in the Tour de France. It’s an engaging read regardless of your interest in the sport, mostly because bike racing is a microcosm of life. “At least in my life, cycling has taught me about more than just cycling. Any sport where you put yourself on the line teaches you about your own character.”

year, a young racer named Oliver Martin broke away in the junior race, and Dave was hooked. “My dad said, ‘You think you’d like to do this?’ I said ‘Yeah.’” After his years of racing, Dave felt like he had something to write about. “I’d seen so many characters and situations that were so unique. The events, the challenges.” Although he never went to school for journalism, he had always dreamed of writing for big publications like Sports Illustrated. “I contacted them and they gave me an assignment. Lots of people won’t try,” he says. “But I’m a big believer in possibilities. You’ve got to see a vision of yourself doing it.”

Dave certainly has the street cred to write a novel about bike racing. He was a member of the Olympic team in 1968 and 1972, and points to his win on the last stage of the Tour of Britain in 1975 as the high point of his racing career.

Dave’s career extends beyond racing and writing. He’s also an organizer, a path that started in 1975 with a trip down south to the Dick Lane velodrome in East Point, Georgia to train and to help a buddy organize a race. With no

He fell in love with the sport as a young teenager when his older brother and some of his friends started a junior division of the “Main Line Milers” in their hometown of Rosemont. When he was 15, he went to watch the Tour of Somerville in central New Jersey. “It was amazing. There were all these guys speaking German and Italian. Here’s this guy from Germany with shaved legs rubbing liniment on them.” That

budget to work with, Dave hustled the local Pepsi bottler in town for some sponsorship after getting a local TV station to run a piece about the upcoming race. Pepsi gave him $3,500. “At the end of the day, I made $1,000 myself, left $500 in the treasury, and paid all the riders. I thought ‘hey, I can run bike races.’” You know that big bike race in Philly with the Manayunk Wall? Dave started

photos courtesy Krista Patton & West Chester Cycling Club

it, along with two partners, and he’s been at the helm of a long list of other events over the years. “Dave has been a significant supporter of the local race scene,” says Chester County Velo race team president Scott Gamble. Scott should know, since he’s been training and racing in Chester County since

1987. “In the past, Dave has organized everything from the Saturday morning Willowdale Chase (a performanceoriented winter training ride) to the Chesco Grand Prix, and even the Pennsylvania state road race championship. Dave has leveraged everything Chester County has to offer, town centers like Kennett Square and Coatesville for criterium racing, and beautiful country roads for road races and training rides.”





Sitting in the Pack

Facing the Worst

Cycling is a social sport. “Sure, you have your solo riders,” Viktor Ohnjec weighs in, “but you see more people riding together than anything else. There are rolling hills, farm fields, all five minutes away from downtown West Chester. I don’t know that our terrain is unique, but the camaraderie is. We are a group of cyclists who all got together after Chris LaPierre (then master brewer at West Chester’s Iron Hill Brewery) and Sarah Toms, a local businesswoman, created the club over 10 years ago.”

February 23, 2015: It’s Dudley Day in the emergency ward of Chester County Hospital.

West Chester is a hub of cycling activity, as evidenced by all of the events centered right here in town.

Members of the staff zip around in a smooth choreography of ER drama, many of them wearing Hawaiian shirts and goofy socks. The tables in the nearby break room are lined with crockpots brimming with homemade soup and an expansive selection of desserts, sandwiches, and vegetable trays.

Events for everyone... Pedaling4Paws

It’s all to celebrate the memory of ER doctor Dudley Backup. “Dr. Dudley,” also a passionate member of the West Chester Cycling Club, was renowned for both his kindness and the respect he commanded. He rode his bike to work

When: June 23-27

For Scott Gamble, what began simply as an outlet for a young competitive athlete turned into a lifelong pursuit. “I do it all because I love to ride and to spend time with other cycling enthusi-

What it is: A 5-day charity bike ride through Pennsylvania to raise money for animal rescue. Benefits the Chester County SPCA. Where: Leaves from downtown West Chester Learn more:

Brandywine Valley Heating & Air Conditioning Chester County Challenge for Cancer What it is: Rides range from 5 miles for families to 65 miles of challenging hills. Benefits the Cancer Center of Chester County and the Neighborhood Hospice. When: Sunday, June 28 Where: Leaves from the Chester County Hospital Learn more:

Dog Daze Century asts,” he says. “Cycling is a sport that's as fun and challenging when you're 50 as it is when you're 20. It's fantastic to go to a race and see as many masters racers over 40 as there are category racers under 30.” Part of the appeal of cycling is what it teaches you about yourself, like how tough you can be. “Cycling can build character,” surmises Viktor. “You’ll be on a 50-mile ride in 35-degree weather, and you’re halfway in when it starts raining. Even with waterproof gear, water finds its way in, and you’re nearly hypothermic. You make it home and realize ‘that was kind of dumb.’ But it builds up your resistance to those challenges. And that’s true of life too.” Sometimes, you find your breaking point.

almost every day and made a habit of taking unwanted holiday shifts so others could be with their families. Those who did have to work the holidays, however, knew that Dr. Dudley would keep things fun, wearing outlandish outfits and accessories, such as reindeer antlers on Christmas and American flag pants on the Fourth of July. On a group ride on a beautiful November day in 2013, Dudley went down. Hard. He suffered a host of broken bones in his body and face, as well as massive brain trauma. He never recovered. His absence today is palpable. “We lost a friend and a tremendously giving member of our community,” Viktor says. “I can still hear him breathing behind me on rides. I used to tease

photos courtesy Krista Patton & West Chester Cycling Club

What it is: Routes of 25, 50, and 100 miles meander through Chester County. When: First Sunday in August Where: Starts/ends at the Brandywine Valley Association Learn more:

W.H. McIntyre Love, Hope and Courage Century Ride What it is: A 106-mile loop with 7,000 feet of climbing. Benefits the W.H. McIntyre Foundation. When: Saturday, September 19 Where: Leaves from downtown West Chester Learn more:





him that he sounded like an obscene phone caller. And he always had a witty one liner about it.” Viktor pauses. “We all really miss Dudley. His accident is a reminder that bad things can happen in the blink of an eye. But if heaven has an outdoor area, I’m pretty sure he is either cycling or hiking there.”

Circling Back For some, reaching the breaking point can provide a catalyst for healing change. The W.H. McIntyre Never Forget Foundation is a new local charity that

changes.” Andrew snaps his fingers. “You know, ‘Dad’s gone.’ Just like that.” Cycling is the activity that keeps Andrew grounded. “The only time my mind stops is when I’m out on a bike. All the mental noise is quieted down, and you’re tuned in to your senses. Cycling is a physical manifestation of your thoughts.” Andrew uses his passion for the sport to celebrate his father’s memory, and also to raise funds for the Foundation. You’ve probably seen their signature argyle jerseys on riders around town. In September, they put on their first official fundraising ride, the W.H.

West Chester is a hub of cycling activity, as evidenced by all of the events centered right here in town.

Events for racers... Iron Hill Twilight Criterium What it is: Pro-level road racing through the streets of downtown West Chester as the sun goes down. Amateur events during the day. When: First Saturday in August Where: Downtown West Chester Learn more:

West Chester Cross Classic Cyclocross Race What it is: Amateur and professional category cyclocross racing on a closed course over mixed terrain. When: Third Sunday in October Where: Bayard Rustin High School Learn more:

So, while the meditative rhythms of cycling are perfect for forgetting, they can also be a gateway to remembering.

Bridging the Gap

helps children who are grieving the loss of a parent. By providing access to grants for athletic or other endeavors, “We help kids find ‘that thing,’ whether it’s music, sports, or arts and crafts to distract them from their grief,” says Andrew McIntyre, founder of the organization. “I don’t want the kids to feel wounded by their loss.” Andrew has an intimate understanding of grief. He lost his own father two weeks shy of his fifth birthday, and the empty spot still haunts him. “As kids, we grow up in a paradise. Then everything

McIntyre Love, Hope and Courage Century Ride, a 106-mile loop that travels through North East, Maryland, Port Deposit, and White Clay Creek before circling back to the Side Bar in West Chester for an after party. A writer himself, Andrew knows the power of a bike ride to sort out your thoughts. “I once wrote a whole chapter on a ride. And I’ve written 40 haiku poems in the last three months. It’s like your body becomes a machine, and then the mind becomes separate from that.”

photos courtesy Krista Patton & West Chester Cycling Club

Daylight Savings Time began last weekend. The banks of dirty gray snow alongside the roads melt into streams that course across the asphalt. My shiny white fatbike is covered in salt and grime and I am soaking wet from the spray. The gloriously fat tires thrum on the pavement as a tactile reminder that fitness is a process and not an end product. For Scott Gamble, there is no better way to experience the outdoors. “On the road or on the trail, cycling is like therapy for the mind and soul,” he says. “It washes away the stress of daily life and leaves you energized. It's man/woman and machine in the purest sense.” The onset of springtime completes the circle, and a fresh season offers adventures that beckon from an everdistant horizon.






Diane LeBold and the West Chester Food Co-Op examine local food production and bring eaters closer to the source of their food


The big questions is: Can we land a fullservice grocery in the borough? That's because, for at least the past 20 years, the one glitch in West Chester’s “perfect town” image has been the absence of a grocery store—specifically, a store you can walk to. Now that the West Chester Food Co-op is proposing to fill that need, let’s take a look at what success requires, based on the co-op’s own recently released pre-feasibility study. First, a preliminary point: although national chain groceries haven’t found borough locations to be profitable enough (at least two of them have tried), the co-op would be based on a different financial structure, one that makes it possible to meet financial goals. That being said, what kinds of things would help a grocery like the Co-op succeed in the borough? Here are two big ones... The Right Demographic Community support is vital to the success of any food co-op, and—according to the pre-feasibility study—West Chester and the surrounding area have the kind of population that’s likely to support a co-op, where the focus is on offering fresh food from local providers, rather than profits. We have an educated, affluent population, a large percentage of which are between ages 35 and 54. Many of them are self-employed or are employed in education, health care, and government. Studies have shown that this is exactly the population likely to support a food co-op. So it’s no surprise that the co-op’s initial community survey—conducted in conjunction with West Chester University last December—confirmed a high level of potential support within the borough and nearby townships. The Right Location From the co-op’s perspective, a town center location would be ideal. It would mean walkability and offer proximity to other stores whose customers are similar to those of the co-op... and who are likely to shop at the co-op. Assuming the co-op gets the funding they need to afford a town center location, they’ll face two major challenges: a place to unload deliveries and, of course, a place for customers to park—the never-ending bugaboo in this town. According to the pre-feasibility study, the co-op is considering three possible locations: the post office at Gay and Walnut Streets (which should soon be up for sale), a store that’s currently vacant in the Cambridge Square strip mall on East Gay Street, and a space in a commercial strip on Westtown Road. It’s clear from the study that the co-op’s first choice is the post office. For one thing, it’s the only one of the three that offers a loading platform. And, believe it or not, it could also provide up to 20 parking spaces. It'd be walkable and able to accommodate cars. In the heart of town, it would offer a great space for people to shop, meet their friends, or, say, take a cooking class—all of which are important to the co-op’s ultimate vision of success. Of course, there's much ahead for the West Chester Food Co-op, and the coming months should turn studies and speculations into tangible progress. As the story unfolds, we’ll keep you updated, so stay tuned. –





Bartender of the


PHOTO Andrew Hutchins


Courtney Hope might be new at Kildare's Irish Pub, but she knows the industry inside and out. Where you from? Sullivan County. It’s 40 minutes up into the mountains from Bloomsburg. It’s the boonies. What brought you to WC? I originally came down here for school, then kinda just never left. Ya know, I’ve heard that story a few times doing these interviews. I can imagine. How long you been here? Since ‘09. What’s kept you? I love this town and

the people in it. And the job? And the job. How long you been here? I guess it’s

been a few months now, but it doesn’t feel long. Since September? I still feel very new.

Does this town still feel new, or are you getting more acquainted? It’s always so

surprising. Every time you go out, every new bar, you meet new people. That’s why I still feel so new working at Kildare’s. Anyway, you're pretty new, and you've been named bartender of the month. It's kind of impressive. Tell me how you got the job. I saw an ad on Craigslist, and I went in

for an interview. Seems pretty straightforward. I'm guessing you had some previous experience? I’ve

been in the industry since I was 18. I was at Duffers on Route 1 for a while before coming here. I don’t know how to ask this politely, but it seems so relevant, and I need to know: how old are you? 24 So... still super young, huh? Yup. Did you graduate from West Chester? I

actually didn’t. I wasn’t sure what I wanted out of it, kept switching majors, and I decided to take a hiatus until I figured it out. Is that how you ended up at Kildare’s?

Pretty much, but I’ve had jobs since then. You think this one’s gonna stick? Definitely. It’s the most consistent job I’ve had. What’s that mean? There’s such a good flow here; things are run well and you know

what you’re going to run into. I love when people are shocked to find out that we’re not just a late-night bar. We’ve got great food and craft beer—it’s an awesome bar. What do you look for in good bar? I always feel like I’m going on bar recons whenever I go out. The menu is always a big thing for me, but I mainly just want a seat at the bar when I go out. Not looking to turn up? I guess since I’m always working with crowds, I like to sit, relax, have conversations. Do you intend to make a career of this? I could definitely see me doing this for a long time. I think it’s hard the older you get, but I can imagine doing this a while. Let’s get heavy: what do you think would be the impediments to your career as you age? It’s a tough schedule. I’m used to

it, but you have to function and do daily routines—get to the post office when it’s open—then work at night. In your twenties, that’s doable, but it becomes difficult. And let’s end on a positive note. What're you looking forward to? Opening up the

patio. I know we have some cool changes ahead. I can’t confirm any of the rumors, but we’re making strides to make it a lot of fun out there this spring and summer.





Children in


Jennifer Ozgur is a mother, wife and teacher who still finds time to get out and about with her family

I’ve always had a dry sense of humor. I was “that kid” who discovered Monty Python in high school and found excuses to slip in references to The Holy Grail any chance I got. I tried to spot oxymorons everywhere: down escalators at the mall; scented deodorant; diabetic candy… and of course, newspaper headlines that boardered on the absurd. “Police Officer Arrested.” “Ambulance Causes Pile-Up on Highway.” “Gun Shop Raid Uncovers Weapons.” That’s why I was ecstatic on the first day of spring this year. If you recall, we had snow and sleet. All. Day. While students were dragging their feet on that white Spring Friday and wishing we were all home, I was happily using the day to teach about the joys of irony. But all that stopped later that afternoon. I had picked up my son from his daycare and we went out for something to eat before going to the Y. He is a very active almostthree-year-old, and I find that those two hours of kid watch is a win-win for us both—I get my daily stress-reliever, and he gets to run around in a positive outlet. That way, we have a chance at a mutually relaxing evening. As we were cleaning up our area at the restaurant, he decided to throw out the trash and rush out the door. I leapt up with a start of adrenaline, and my blood-curdling scream stopped him short before the parking lot, thankfully avoiding a catastrophe. "That’s it," I said to myself, "I’ve got to get this kid outdoors. Bring on the warmth." I feel very fortunate to be living in West Chester. There’s a different park or playground in every direction. Marshall Square and Everhart are great for a spontaneous borough outlet. I’m looking forward to sitting on a bench, relaxing with a coffee while my little bundle of energy calls out, “Watch me, Mommy!” For a more planned adventure, there’s nothing better than the West Goshen Park. There’s plenty of open space, lots of tables for picnics and many features to entertain a variety of ages. It’s a great place to meet other like-minded families who love to get outside. I always manage to strike up a conversation and the other kids are very well mannered. Make sure to check out the marquis for upcoming events, or visit their website. at My final suggestion is to take advantage of your tax dollars and visit one of our public schools. Henderson track, for example, allows taxpayers to use the all-weather track from 5:30 pm to dusk, Monday through Friday. For more information regarding facility usage, contact the athletic department at the school of your choice. For two years in a row, we’ve had snow in October and hit the 60s for Christmas week. Perhaps these ironic moments exist to remind us that life is unpredictable and we ought to live in the moment, enjoying whatever comes our way. Going for a run when the calendar indicates sledding weather, catching a snowflakes on your tongue in April—what's and whens don't define our lives. The memories we treasure are who we are with and how we interact with them.







PHOTO Andrew Hutchins


Emily Alice is the stylist, artist, and interior designer behind the salon on High Street that bares her name So, what made you open a salon in the borough? Did you already have a bunch of clients here? Not at all. I had no customer base in West Chester at all, so I opened completely cold. So it was a leap of faith. Yeah. I had no plan. I just knew I really loved people, and I loved my line of work. How’d you get into this line of work? I was a painter before I got into makeup. Like an artist, or a contractor? An artist—acrylics and water colors and that led me to makeup years ago. I was a good colorist because I see colors,

and because I really enjoy working with people and making them feel better, this profession seemed like an obvious choice. And how’d you end up here? When I started here they weren’t open to renting the building, just selling it. But the guy that was selling the building let me have some space downstairs, and I just kinda started doing some of my friends and then… I had no plan to do this, butnow I actually own the whole building. Had you owned a business before? No. I worked in sales and did hair and makeup on the side. Then, how is it owning your own business? It's a lot to manage, especially since I have three kids: Lilly who's nine, Henry who's eight and Charlie who is six. Let's talk about this space. You walk in the front door and it’s got a much different feel than most salons. What brought that about? I think it’s just a good energy, and I think that West Chester has that energy anyway. It’s very welcoming and inviting, and I love coming to work here every day. I think the people that work here feel that way, and I think our customers feel comfortable.

Some salons you walk into, and I don’t want to trash other places, but you know some salons you walk into and you feel like you have to dress up and put your makeup on just to go to the salon. And that’s not to say it’s not nice here, it just has more of a homey feel than going to a regular salon. Is that carefully cultivated? Yes, definitely. I wanted to make sure that the décor and the colors, just the way we interact with people, that we aren’t too sterile. I think that the way we kind of move around the space is meant to make people feel welcomed. Almost like a sorority. A lot of times the customers will get up after they have their color on and will come up and talk to whoever is up working on another floor or in another room. Is there a tangible benefit to that for the customer? Yeah. I think so. One of the major benefits to the feel of this place is that we have no problem with customers working with different stylists whenever they want. Or, maybe Maureen or Dustin will cut your hair, and I’ll color it. I think that being able to work to each stylist’s strength is a huge advantage.



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The View from Above Powered Paragliding in West Chester by Terry Heyman


ou may remember when you were little, tying the ends of a sheet or a towel around your neck in a makeshift cape, standing on the edge of a bed and jumping into a pile of pillows, pretending that you could fly. For that fraction of a second, you were Superman. Or maybe Supergirl or Peter Pan. For many of us, dreams of being able to fly grabs hold in childhood and for some, the dreams never fade.

ler combustion engine between 18 and 30 horsepower. And the parachute is a canopy made from ripstop nylon or other material similar to a parachute, but shaped differently. A parachute is designed to allow a jumper to fall gently. A paraglider’s canopy is an elliptical-shaped wing that catches air underneath and creates lift, a crucial distinction when trying to remain airborne.

For those who still like to sneak a peak into the cockpit as they board a plane, powered paragliding could be for you. Upon first glance, a powered paraglider looks like a guy flying through the sky while sitting in a chair with an engine strapped to his back and hanging from a parachute at the same time. The engine is a paramotor, a two-stroke propel-

Flying Laundry of West Chester, operating through the website, offers comprehensive training in the sport of powered paragliding. Kelvin McKelvey runs the operation and for a $2,495 investment a novice can learn the basics. Be prepared to devote up to two weeks of intensive training before getting in the air. The introductory course





covers meteorology, site assessment, risk assessment, equipment inspection, handling the wing, and controlling the motor, among other things. McKelvey conducts the classroom sessions at his home in West Chester and the hands-on practice at Ship Road Park in West Whiteland Township. Compared to other recreational flying activities, powered paragliding is low overhead—there’s no huge airplane to deal with, no special licenses required, and setup is quick and easy. The wing fits into a sleeve the size of a sleeping bag and the powered paraglider can be assembled in the field in under ten minutes. This is the easiest, most inexpensive, and simplest way to fly.

between 200 and 2,000 feet above the ground. When ready to land, the pilot cuts the engine somewhere between 100 and 200 feet. The droning of the engine goes silent and it’s a peaceful ride back to earth. Statistically, powered paragliding is on par with riding a motorcycle in terms of the potential for injury. Hang gliding and non-powered paragliding require jumping from a mountain or cliff side where the air can be unstable, causing hazardous vertical shears (a sudden shift in wind direction and speed). All of that is avoided with powered paragliding. The addition of a motor means takeoff can occur in any open field, often with just a few steps if a breeze is present.

There’s this aggressive drone sound of the motor and you feel it pushing you... then you think ‘Oh my god, the ground is moving away from me.’ Then you’re up."

While many of Flying Laundry’s students have an aviation background or are retired airline or helicopter pilots who want to continue flying, others are drawn to the sport for different reasons. Mike Mita, a father of three from Media and West Chester University alumnus, has been powered paragliding for a year. He first became interested in the sport when he was looking for a recreational activity to challenge him. The thing that surprised Mita most about powered paragliding is how physical it is. “You’re running in the field with essentially a giant spinning machete on your back. And it’s heavy. Then all of a sudden, it gets light, but your feet are still running on the ground. The wing starts to lift and at the same time, the motor is pushing you forward. And it’s noisy. There’s this aggressive drone sound of the motor and you feel it pushing you. Imagine you’re sitting on the front of an airplane as it takes off. Then you think ‘Oh my god, the ground is moving away from me.’ Then you’re up.” Only a few loose straps around the legs and arms keep the pilot in place. “You need the freedom of movement. It’s an active sport. You’re in charge, controlling the manual throttle and the wing, traveling at 20 to 40 mph,” said Mita. “You know the movie How to Train Your Dragon? It’s a little like that. It’s like sailing in the sky.” Unlike in regular paragliding, powered paragliding pilots are able to increase their altitude at will. Most pilots fly

The sport is safe enough that some standard life insurance policies cover powered paragliding, which is saying a lot—most other types of recreational aviation activities (such as hang gliding and non-powered paragliding) are excluded. But even so, McKelvey never takes safety lightly. “The question isn’t ‘How dangerous is powered paragliding?’ But rather, ‘How safe can it be made?’” Pre-flight check of equipment, weather patterns, and inspection of the launch area are all factors. The safest times to fly are early morning and late afternoon when winds are at their mildest. According to McKelvey, ironically, the number one cause of injury in powered paragliding occurs before the pilot ever leaves the ground—failing to have the motor properly secured before starting can result in 150 pounds of thrust coming at you with metal blades spinning. But such concerns haven’t deterred Mita and the growing number of powered paragliding enthusiasts. There are no official statistics but McKelvey’s sense, going into his eighth season of operating Flying Laundry, is that the sport is expanding. He has more eager prospective students than he can accommodate. Since that first time in the sky approximately a year ago, Mita has completed eighteen flights. “I still get scared. But after flying, I feel able to take on any challenge,” said Mita. For more information, visit






Makeover Balance Hair Spa Studio take one lucky client from drab to fab photo Andrew Hutchins Jamie came in with a black box color fiasco! She had many different shades throughout her hair that needed to be corrected. Jamie's a college student and is on a budget, so she needed something professional, fun and low maintenance. Whitney Mousseau used a balayage (hand painting) technique with different shades and levels of chocolate and caramel browns to give her hair dimension and shine. She corrected the orangey tones in her hair using the Wella Illumina line, which is an avocado oil-based color line, creating softer golden blonde pieces peeking through the depth of her overall hair color. Illumina also conditions the hair, and jamie needed that! Whitney used an undercut technique at her neck line and hidden, mid ombre layers, creating fullness in jamie's hair with no effort at all. She can wear this haircut straight and chic, or curly and fun showing the color dimension! Makeup artist Annie McFetridge used Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics to give Jamie a flawless look. She contoured with deeper powder foundations, and highlighted her with a cream base highlighter. She used natural earth tones for a soft smokey eye, and defined her brows to give her eyes more depth.





BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: It's everyone’s favorite bar game, in print (and you won’t have to pay 50 cents). You can actually WIN money. Compare the two photos at right. They may look the same, but there are five subtle differences between the two. Find those five differences and identify the items that have been changed. Then send an email to listing those items. You’ll be entered to win a $25 gift card to a local business. Winners will be chosen at random, and their name will be posted to Facebook along with the solution at the end of the month. So make sure to like us and follow along if you want to play. Enjoy!

Can you spot the five differences in this photo? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.



Computer Support (clothing optional)

Introducing RemoteWC!

Remote technology support services you can trust. (Anytime, anywhere, in any attire)

Schedule your remote session today at Brought to you by West Chester Computer Doctors, located in the middle of the block at 28 South High Street  610.431.0400 


Hit List

DJ Romeo curates a list featuring the top tracks you'll hear played on the radio this month.

The following is a list of songs that will take over the radio stations in the next few months—you'll soon know know them by heart and play them 'til they're tired. But, good news: you can download them first and look like the cool musical genius to all of your lame friends.

Zedd ft. Selena Gomez – “I Want You to Know” Jason Derulo – “Want to Want Me” Meghan Trainor – “Dear Future Husband” Major Lazer & DJ Snake ft. MO – “Lean On” Lunchmoney Lewis – “Bills” Will Joseph Cook – “Message” Nate Ruess – “Nothing Without You” David Guetta ft. Nicki Minaj & Afrojack – “Hey Mama” Mumford & Sons – “Believe” Muse – “Psycho” R.Lum.R – “Show Me” Nova Rockafeller – “Made in Gold” DJ Snake & AlunaGeorge – “You Know You Like It” Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – “See You Again” R5 – “Let’s Not Be Alone Tonight” Rihanna – “Towards the Sun” Marlon Roudette – “When the Beat Drops Out” Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen” Tinashe ft. Iggy Azalea – “All Hands On Deck” Meadowlark – “Eyes Wide”



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