The WC Press Fresh Start Issue - July 2021

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Welcome Back, West Chester! Inside this Issue:

Introducing the businesses that opened during lockdown, exploring the trend towards growing food at home, and how Uptown! is getting us back to going out.




from the


Dan Mathers shares some personal insight into this month’s theme

If I had to describe, in just one word, the time spent between our last regularly published issue in April 2020 and this one, I think I’d settle for “tedious.” Sure, the early days of lockdown were fun. It was an extended snow day for grownups, back when we were all underestimating everything. There were some interesting moments, like when The WC Press account director Nick Vecchio, aka DJ Romeo, hosted digital power hours in which participants drank 1oz of beer every minute for what was intended to be 60 minutes but inevitably multiplied because, hey, none of us had anything to do the next day. In time those novelties grew tiresome. We yearned for genuine human interaction. You know, doing your drinking face-to-face around people you don’t cohabitate with. I settled into a routine that dispassionately carried me through a frightening winter, a slightly exciting spring and summer, and then a dreadful autumn. But that winter, news arrived of hope in the form of an injection. We would, in descending age order, finally receive the opportunity to visit the grocery store without fear, or eat food someone else prepared, sitting within the building in which they prepared it! That freedom was refreshing, at first, but there were still rules about where you could go, who you could see and a lack of consistency in the messaging about all of it. We weren’t really back to normal life, we were back to a watered-down version of it, full of fragments of camaraderie and nearly normal diversions that served only to remind us of how good we’d once had it. Now seems different. I’m hopeful and excited and ready to work. I knew I’d missed friends and family, but I didn’t realize I’d also missed being hunched over this keyboard for days on end. In the Before Times, producing The WC Press had begun to feel laborious. Now that I’m back at it? Oh, how I’ve missed you, Adobe. That’s the beauty of all that we’ve been through. There’s a dozen cliches about how the sun shines brightest after the storm, but none have ever felt as true as they do now, when every bit of normal life that I recover feels like a new spark of joy. This issue is all about celebrating those sparks. While in lockdown, most of us missed out on awesome new businesses that made their way to our town. Their owners and employees faced extreme adversity to bring dreams to reality, and we’re excited to introduce you to some of our favorites. We’re also exploring what seems the borough’s hottest trend: gardening, which combines the survivalism we all embraced with a fun, healthy hobby. Finally, we’re also featuring some of the best live entertainment opportunities coming to town this summer, because we’re all just so sick of Netflix. This return to routine will inevitably lose its shine. It may be months, it may be years, but it’s likely that, one day, we’ll take our regular lives for granted and slogging away at my keyboard may again feel tedious. But, until that day comes, I’m going to seize every opportunity West Chester offers, and as of writing, the options are beginning to feel limitless. —


Press PUBLISHER Dan Mathers

ADVERTISING MANAGER Nick Vecchio MANAGING EDITOR Kate Chadwick GRAPHIC DESIGNER Nazarena Luzzi Castro CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Jesse Piersol Danielle Davies STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Erik Weber @westchesterviews

“Sometimes the best thing we can ask for is change, and a fresh start forces us to confront change head-on.” –Natalya Neidhart COLUMNISTS Becca Boyd Jamie Jones Andrea Mason DJ Romeo Kate Chadwick Published By... Mathers Productions 1271 Phoenixville Pk West Chester, PA 19382 610-344-3463 The WC Press is a monthly magazine distributed free of charge to more than 250 businesses. For a free digital subscription, visit For more information about specific distribution locations, visit



Our no-nonsense table of contents


#THEWCPRESS Our favorite social media posts from fans are getting printed


NEW IN TOWN West Chester is home to several new small businesses


GOING (BACK) UPTOWN! The best way to get back to living is live entertainment


WHAT’S GROWING IN THE BOROUGH Exploring the bounty of the West Chester


PHOTO HUNT Spot the five differences and win a Barnaby’s gift card



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Market Forecast

Resident astrologer Kate Chadwick provides your planetary predictions with a particularly local twist Aries (3/21-4/19): Things are looking fab for you this month, rambunctious ram: stars aligned in love, fam, health, and social life. Oh, wait—remember work? If home is too distracting, reserve a spot at Align Space and check in at the office. Taurus (4/20-5/20): Oh, steadfast bull, your stubbornness is legend, but you get in your own way, particularly in love. Anticipate bumps late in August. Meet your S.O. for oysters at Greystone Oyster Bar and compromise. Gemini (5/21-6/20) August will shake things up for you, dualistic dynamo. Things can get testy on the family and work fronts. Your love life, however, is in for a positive jolt. Travel aspects look good—call Whirlaway and plan a trip. Cancer (6/21-7/22) Career stressors are looming this month, crab friends, and watch your spending!. Plan a staycation. You’re a homebody anyway; spend time with children at Everhart Park— borrow someone else’s if necessary. It’ll ground you. Leo (7/23-8/22) To quote the Talking Heads, you’re talking a lot, but you’re not saying anything, majestic amigos. Communication is a two-way thing, and your reckless conduct hurts others. Have coffee with a friend at Gryphon Café and listen. You’ll feel better Virgo (8/23-9/22) Your meticulous standards can isolate you, methodical Virgo. Your expectations bring out the best in people but might also push them away. Work on yourself with likeminded others in a group fitness class at ACAC. Libra (9/23-10/22) The second half of August might have some love in store for you, light-hearted Libra, likely someone introduced by a friend. Every outfit is a costume for you, but be ready with a wardrobe or accessories refresh at Kaly. Scorpio (10/23-11/22) Your charisma is through the roof this month, dearest Scorpio—people are drawn to you and your career is on a roll. Take the colleagues to Saloon 151 for happy hour. You’re buying. Sagittarius (11/23-12/21) Oh, impatient archer, slow your roll. There’ll be some chaos on the home front and someone’s gotta fly the plane. Guess what? That’s you. Sign up for yoga at eat.drink. om.Yoga Café. You’ll need it. Capricorn (12/22-1/19) You may hit a bump in your career road this month, go-getting goat, but no one works harder than you. So, here’s an idea: put that industrious nature to work around the house. Visit Pine + Quill for home and garden ideas. Aquarius (1/20-2/18) Besides Gemini, they don’t really make them more independent than you, water-bearing friends. But August will ask you to rely on others. Thank your friends and fam with an end-of-summer party. Peter Clark Kitchen caters! Pisces (2/19-3/20) The universe will be sending some interesting prospects your way this month, faithful fish—ready or not!—in both love and career. Throw your typical caution to the wind, and be bold and brave. Maybe a whole new look at Velvet Hair Studio? –





story by kate chadwick photos by erik weber






e don’t need to tell you that the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the world in numerous and horrific ways, and small businesses have taken a particularly hard hit. According to the Harvard University-based project The Economic Tracker, which is an online platform showing real time data, as of June 8th of this year, there were 37.5% fewer small businesses in the United States than in January 2020, just prior to the pandemic. However, that hasn’t stopped the entrepreneurial spirit of several local business owners who learned the valuable life lesson that when you can’t get around something, you have to go through it.

David Katz Gallery 128 East Gay Street

A visit to the David Katz Gallery is a breath of fresh air—literally and figuratively. Open just over a year as of this writing, the vibrant, breathtaking paintings of West Chester and the surround-

“ it was a shot i had to take. thinking too hard about it would have been counterproductive.” -David Katz, david katz gallery

ing Chester County countryside are causing a lot of buzz. A native of Israel, David emigrated with his Holocaust survivor parents to Philadelphia in the early sixties, and worked in retail hotels, and auto sales for most of his adult life. After retiring, he began painting, taking the occasional night course at the prestigious Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. And then, everything changed. A neighbor who was a teacher at the Academy walked into his apartment, saw some of the paintings he’d been working on (“still lifes of tchotchke”) and said “You’re going to PAFA.” He attended for four years, and it changed his life forever. “If you’re young, as I was then, Philadelphia is the best place to live,” David says, but after graduating, he abandoned city life and relocated to Chester County. David was blown away by what he saw here; it pushed his eyes to the sky

and his art to a new level. He decided to open a gallery in his newly adopted town… and then the pandemic hit. What to do? “I went full steam ahead anyway, come what may,” he told us of his opening in June 2020. “It was a shot I had to take. Thinking too hard about it would have been counterproductive.” At first, it was patrons and fellow artists who visited the gallery, as David quickly assimilated into West Chester’s active artists’ community. “Then passersby. Now, it’s become more and more referrals and internet sales. I love browsers and art patrons. I love meeting people.” Indeed, if the gallery is open, David is onsite, fully engaging with his patrons and his work, chatting amiably with everyone who stops by. You don’t have to be well-heeled to add a David Katz piece to your art collection. “My price range starts at $50 for small handmade original paintings,” he said. He also pays it forward by featuring the works of other local artists in the gallery. But some work is too close



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to heart to part with. “I definitely paint pieces that I will never sell. One series of portraits I did of homeless people—17 pieces—hangs in my home.” All in all, David is a happy man in his happy place. “The air is better in West Chester. And nothing beats the smalltown mentality.” David Katz Gallery is open Tuesday through Thursday Noon-5pm, Fridays Noon-9pm, Saturdays Noon-5pm, Sundays Noon-4pm. Closed Mondays. On Instagram @ the_skypainter_.

Little Shop of Nightmares 109 North Church Street

Nina Frangieh has what she refers to as a “shopping disorder.” The upshot of this is that there will always be new merchandise at her new Little Shop of Nightmares on North Church Street. “Technically, we’re a thrift shop with a disturbing twist.” Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Nina grew up in a war zone until her family came to the U.S. in the mid-seventies. “I was about 11, and I’d already seen more horrors than most will in a lifetime,” Nina said. “Fast forward to adulthood, I wanted to open a store since my family retired from the restaurant business almost a decade ago, but I never thought it would manifest into this!” Nearly deaf, Nina was not born that way, “But the bombs did a number on my ears, as did Ozzy [Osbourne].” Nina says “boredom during the pandemic” spurred her forward. She cleaned out her own home and her mother’s, giving her “enough merchandise for three stores.” She explored the borough to figure out where her new venture would fit. “I walked around West Chester, basking in the beauty of it and loving every charming corner. It was almost too perfect, every place gorgeous with their happy colorful windows. I decided that the only way I could stand out was to be the fly in the ointment.” So, what will you find here? Offbeat collectibles is the best way to describe it. “I have various skulls, and many dolls—some with souls, some without. I have a doll made of wax from the 1800s that crawls creepily towards you.” The price tag for that rare antique creeping

doll will be in the $2,000 range, but Nina says that something can be had for every budget in her shop. “I have a 9-foot oil painting for $11,000, my biggest and most expensive item, and an amazing pewter and gold chess set for $10,000,” Nina said. “But I’ll have miniatures and trinkets from a dollar to purses for 20 bucks, even a few garments.” Other oddities at the shop include wigs, masks, and mannequins for sale— even various freebies up for grabs. “It’s hard for me to part with some of these items, but I gotta suck it up! I tell people I’m very negotiable—make me an offer. If you like something, I want you to have it and will work out a price, like a yard sale.” “Some people may be frightened by my shop’s appearance, but I want them to know it’s just paint and plastic, all in fun really, purposely done to keep you talking,” Nina said. “In my experience,

“ i walked around west chester, basking in the beauty of it and loving every charming corner. it was almost too perfect, every place gorgeous with their happy colorful windows. i decided that the only way i could stand out was to be the fly in the ointment..” -Nina Frangieh, little shop of nightmaresbar

ghosts or spirits help you more than the living, no fear there. But nothing is more terrifying than snapped people.” As of this writing, Little Shop of Nightmares will be open on Fridays and Saturdays, 11am to 7pm. And all are welcome here. “I speak, read and write Arabic and French and am familiar with American Sign Language,” says Nina. “And I’m a total dog mama. All pets are welcome in my store, but kids must be on leashes.” Little Shop of Nightmares is open Fridays and Saturdays 11am-7pm. On Facebook @ Little Shop of Nightmares





Greystone Oyster Bar

7 North Church Street

Why sit in shore-bound traffic for hours when you need only travel as far as Church Street for mouth-watering fresh seafood, we ask you? Originally slated to open at the end of February 2020, according to Chris Jones, General Manager of Greystone Oyster Bar, this sparkling new addition to the downtown food and drink scene didn’t officially open until over a year later on March 22, 2021. But all good things, as they say, are worth the wait. “Staffing was a huge issue, especially with the layout of the restaurant when there was no indoor dining,” Chris told us. “Also, seafood and raw oysters don't lend themselves to takeout, so we couldn't run the business during the takeout-only portion of lockdown. No one was allowed out to fish and harvest oysters due to the restrictions, so we wouldn't be able to stock most of the menu items. And lastly, we had to halt some of the finishing touches to the construction.”

A daunting task indeed—never mind throwing in the fact that Greystone makes its own beer. A huge vat dominates the back of the sleek, mostly white space with its cool black accents and industrial light fixtures. “The big tank in the back is the last step in the brewing process,” Chris said. “There are actually five huge ones in the basement that are also part of the process.” FYI—you’re not going to get a White Claw or a Bud Light here. “Because we brew our own beer, the state of Pennsylvania says we can only carry PA wine, beer, and spirits,” Chris told us. “This was a challenge at first, but I discovered a lot of great options out there, from places like Way Vine Winery in Nottingham to Hidden Still Distillery in Hershey. I've had the pleasure of hand picking (and tasting) the best ones I could find.” This was a huge help when it came to creating the cocktail list, as it turned out. “Like the Beet Eau de Vie, which is a spirit made of 100 percent beets from Boardroom Distillery. We use it in our Beets by Gre cocktail.” (See what they did there?)

“because we brew our own beer, the state of pennsylvania says we can only carry pa wine, beer, and spirits.” -Chris Jones, greystone oyster bar

But at the end of the day, it’s the food drawing crowds to Greystone. Even a landlubber will find something to love at this seafood spot, with items like the Chicken Lettuce Wrap, Greystone Gnocchi, and Fried Goat Cheese. But the oysters are the stars. “We have access to fresh oysters all year long and we get them every single day, so they are always super fresh,” Chris said. “Some types are seasonal and some you can get all year round. Oysters are very much like grapes and wine making. It depends where they’re harvested, cold or warm water, north or south, east or west, inlet, bay, or ocean, all come into play when it comes to taste. And our oyster shucker Miguel does a fantastic job, which isn't as easy as it looks!” Open 7 days a week, lunch Thursday to Sunday at noon. Happy Hour M-F, 4-6pm at the bar/on the patio. On Instagram @greystoneoysterbar



“supporting other small and local businesses is and will remain a part of our core values.” Peter Clark Kitchen 698 East Market Street, Unit 3

For some people, the pandemic represented the end of something. For Erin Morrison, Executive Chef/owner of Peter Clark Kitchen, it was the beginning, according to General Manager Diane Capone. While many businesses launched, then were assaulted by the pandemic, for this crew it was a concious choice to begin in quarantine. “Erin was laid off from the Main Line catering company he had been with for the previous 10 years. The catering industry was especially devastated by the pandemic.” For a man with over 30 years of experience in kitchens plain and fancy, here and abroad, twiddling his thumbs waiting out the pandemic was not an option. “For the first time in his life, he didn’t have work,” Diane told us. “Knowing he could not just sit around, he decided to start selling soup by the quart.” This seemingly small, simple solution soon snowballed, and Erin found himself adding dinners, which then segued into holiday packages. “He decided it was time to start his own business, applied for a small business loan, and then we started planning,” Diane said. That plan was to create a takeout and catering business with a market. Not only was this a way to help himself, Erin used it as an opportunity to help oth-



-Diane Capone, peter clark kitchen

ers who were similarly impacted by the pandemic. “This gave him the ability to hire other out-of-work chefs,” according to Diane. “Supporting other small and local businesses is and will remain a part of our core values.” Diane added that she immediately came on board as GM, thrilled at the chance to be part of the team, having worked with Erin for over eight years. One of their best-selling items is the Shaved Garlic + Herb Prime Rib Ciabatta, Diane tells us. “The flavor components definitely make this sandwich one that people order over and over. The spiciness of the aioli, the sweetness from the onion jam, the cheese has a bite [it’s sharp cheddar], and the beef just falls apart and melts in your mouth.” The crab cakes also fly out of the Kitchen. “Hands down, Erin's crab cakes are the best you will ever have. It’s pretty much all crab. You won’t find a ton of fillers here.” This is a business focused on families, and the menu reflects that (Crunchy Fried PB+J!). Diane said that’s influenced by Erin’s own young children— the place is even named after his dad. “Erin's passion is to provide high-quality food for families,” Diane told us. “Making it easier for today’s busy parents

and kids to still enjoy a delicious meal that is also nutritious. Erin is mindful of all the ingredients we use. He sources local and organic meat and produce, and everything is made in house and from scratch.” The regular menu is available for pickup or delivery, starting at 11:30am, dinner items after 4pm. It runs the gamut from a Pork Cubano sandwich to Duck Leg Confit. They even make their own seltzers. Their catering menu is three pages long (pro tip: don’t read it if you’re hungry), with tastes from around the world and around the country. “We are thrilled that life is starting to get back to normal!” Diane said. “We plan to keep things as they are. For now.” Peter Clark Kitchen is open 11am-6pm, Tuesday through Saturday, 11am-4pm on Sunday. Closed Monday. On Instagram @peterclarkkitchen

West Chester Cooperative 142 East Market Street

On a Wednesday afternoon in late June, the dizzying scent of fresh strawberries wafts all the way from the back of West Chester Cooperative’s store at 142 E Market Street and out through the front door, beckoning passersby to come in and spend their money on the freshest, most local foods around.

The boxes of strawberries in the produce area, as well as blueberries and red raspberries, were picked this morning at Highland Orchards. At the checkout counter, fresh flower bouquets from Paradise Organics in Lancaster sit in a basket next to an assortment of freshbaked baguettes from La Baguette Magique. Folks mill around, filling cardboard boxes with produce, cheeses, bulk packaged beans and nuts, pickles, and meats. As they shop, many customers also sip from Solo cups of Wrong Crowd Brewing beer, which on Wednesdays is available on tap along with cans. Although West Chester Cooperative is a member-owned cooperative, their offerings are available to anyone, regardless of member-owner status. The storefront opened to the public at the end of April and currently offers two days a week to shop in person: Tuesdays from 3 to 6pm and Wednesdays from 2 to 6pm. More shopping hours are on the horizon, currently limited by the availability of the all-volunteer staff. With current membership standing at 421, the goal is to get to 600 by year’s end.

Curbside pickup has also been offered since October through the coop’s GoBox program. Using their website, customers can order any of their products and pick them up on Tuesday between 3 and 6pm. Board member Judy Carrino notes that they are adding four to five new producers each week, with one of their latest scores being Wild for Salmon, a local fish processing company with offerings that include salmon, albacore tuna medallions, peeled and deveined shrimp, and halibut. Even cocktail mixes grace the shelves, with board member and treasurer Sue Patterson singling out the cardamom lime flavor from Bar Spoon Beverage Company as a popular choice for the summer. She mixes equal parts mixer and rum, and then adds seltzer. “It’s almost like a rum margarita,” she explains. Another of Patterson’s favorite products surprises even her: creamy Greekstyle yogurt from Conebella Farm. With several varieties that feature fresh fruit

“there are people who come in here every week for the first time and they are so excited to learn about us.” -Judy Carrino, west chester cooperative

preserves, Patterson is a convert. “I wasn’t a yogurt eater, and now I am.” Patterson is excited for what the future holds. “We have a physical space now,” she says. “That really helps people believe that the ultimate goal of a real store is possible. They don’t have to imagine it. It can be a place for community groups to meet, a place to meet your neighbors, a hub.” For now, she is enjoying the moment, which is six years in the making. “We finally have the opportunity to actually be with people,” she says. “They can meet us and learn about us. There are people who come in here every week for the first time and they are so excited to learn about us.” West Chester Cooperative is open Tuesdays 3:30-5:30pm and Wednesdays 2-6pm. On Instagram @westchestercooperative





Mae’s West Chester 39 West Gay Street

“I didn’t want tablecloths. I didn’t want people to feel like we’re pretentious,” says chef and owner Josh Taggart of Mae’s West Chester, a BYOB farm-to-table restaurant that opened on Mother’s Day 2020. “You can bring your kids in and have a nice meal, or a first date. I want you to feel like you’re relaxing at home, enjoying everything.” It’s late June, and Taggart is finally debuting his summer menu. “We were a little behind due to being short staffed,” he notes, “like everybody.” That menu includes gazpacho, a perennial favorite. He also suggests the heirloom tomato salad as a must-try. With marinated shaved beans and peas in a cucumber salsa, topped with a dollop of ricotta and crispy salami, it offers a different spin on the traditional dish. Taggart grew up in rural South Jersey, later moving to Philadelphia. He earned his chops at Tony Clark’s before moving on to eventually become chef de cuisine for renowned chef Jean-Marie Lacroix. One of the best lessons Taggart learned from Lacroix was about the hospitality

“i want you to feel like you’re relaxing at home, enjoying everything.” -Josh Taggart, mae’s west chester

aspect of the business. “Anybody can be a great cook, if you work hard enough,” he explains. “But you’ve got to talk to your customers, too.” Taggart loved the intensity of the kitchen and the city, and he met his wife, a West Chester area local, while they both worked in Philly. But he found the perfect combination of city and country life in West Chester. “I started coming out here with her and I just loved it,” he recalls. “I can drive a mile and be outside of town at Stroud Preserve.” January through March of 2021 was a low point for Mae’s. “The town was dead. Everybody stopped coming in. I guess they all went to Florida for the winter. We were only doing business on Fridays and Saturdays.” Scoring government help has been frustrating. He missed out on the first round of financial support because he hadn’t been open prior to the pandemic. When the second round of funding rolled around, he didn’t get that either.

The PPP loans ran out. “We kept people employed this whole time,” he says. “They’ve been working and pumping money into unemployment.” Now he’s got his fingers crossed that the Restaurant Revitalization Fund will provide some relief, emphasizing that the program needs to continue for another year. “These places have spent thousands on building outdoor spaces, and they’re just going to lose all that investment if they can’t use that space anymore.” Indeed, the Gay Street closure last year saved Mae’s. “People love to eat outside,” he notes. “They’ll eat outside even if their table is right next to 202.” In the dark times, Taggart persevered, and it paid off. His wife helps him with social media and staying organized. “It’s definitely picked up in the last few weeks,” he says. “We’re doing well. I really want to expand my catering. My goal was to open a few restaurants. Once we get it straightened out, though, we’ll start thinking of the next place.” Mae’s is open Wednesday through Friday 11am-8pm, Saturdays 8am-8pm, Sundays 8am-2pm. On Instagram at @maeswestchester





Design Dilemmas Andrea Mason of Andrea Mason Design is a professional interior designer who wants to help you upgrade your space

Through the past year we’ve seen a big shift in the workplace, and many of us are adapting to a new and permanent way of working from home. Our dwellings have become the center of our lives. Because many of us now relax and work in the same place, separating the two is very important to our mental health. Luckily, I have a few design solutions to make your space feel both comfortable and productive, while providing you with a designated office area where we can get inspired to start the day. When designing anything, the most important consideration is how to make it your own. And, when designing any space, you want to create a unique spot that makes you happy. This couldn’t hold more truth than in an office space. It could mean hanging a photo or piece of artwork that you love, or inspirational pictures on your pinboard of a vacation you want to take or painting the room your favorite color. Hone in on the elements that bring you joy and implement them; you are going to be spending a lot of time here. Organization is key to keeping a constructive workspace. This may mean a designated drawer for tools you use often, a pencil holder, paper tray, shelving, filing system, or a message board— all things that can help you stay on task and make the mess disappear. Appropriate lighting eases stress on your eyes and eliminates headaches. Natural lighting is the best source for a warm and inviting environment. It’s optimal when your computer screen is facing away from a window to reduce glare. A bonus is the nice view if the window is in front of you! Implementing sheer shades or drapery can help diffuse the light if necessary. Instead of overhead lighting, which can cause glare and shadows, a few scattered table lamps with shades can provide even light all around. An articulated and adjustable task lamp is also a helpful tool when focusing on a particular project. Keep things green in your workspace. A potted plant or vase of flowers, faux or real, adds color to your room and creates a cheerful ambiance. Any way that you can bring the outdoors inside your workplace—even simply opening a window—can bring back a little pep in your step and help you to finish off your workday. Not every home has a designated room for an office. If you are sharing a space used for other functions, or if you are sharing your desk with another person, there are tools to help keep things in order. Furniture like mobile file cabinets or organizer carts on wheels are nice pieces to push work away at the end of the day and make room for another person or another activity. Now is the time to get comfortable working from home and surround yourself with things that you love that are functional. This will help give you the strength to make it through the work week. That, and a big cup of coffee! –





There’s no better way to get off the couch and get back to living than with West Chester’s premier live entertainment venue.

Here’s what’s happening...

Story by Danielle Davies




hen the world shut down in March 2020, it was a lot to process. From a shortage of toilet paper to a premium on hand sanitizer to threats to our physical and mental well-being, the COVID-19 pandemic—and subsequent lockdowns—took away much of what we previously took for granted. Among those things? The joy of live performances. At first, in the midst of the everyday panic that consumed us—did we have Clorox wipes? Where could we get a COVID test? Did we have to clean off our groceries?—the lack of live music, theater, dance, and more didn’t seem all that pressing, unless of course, you were a performer, in which case the lack of work was most pressing indeed. Musicians and performers utilized novel mediums to reach their audiences, performing concerts from home on Facebook hosting drive-in shows, and putting on Zoom plays and staged readings, all while the rest of the world grappled with a sort of communal quiet. And while some of us managed to get our live performance fix with the aforementioned strategies, it was never quite the same. There is a connection and an energy that comes when many people share an experience as a live audience—and it’s something that simply can’t be replicated from our living rooms. Fortunately, and finally, after prolonged tragedy and an almost incomprehensible year and a half, live performances are back. And we couldn’t be happier.



Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center was still a fairly new venue when Covid shut down their live shows. “We had our grand opening gala on December 31, 2016,” says April Evans, Uptown’s Executive Director. “So we’re still relatively young.” Housed in a former National Guard Armory, which was built in 1916, Uptown did a huge renovation of the building before officially opening. “Before there was an Uptown, that was the discussion: what’s missing (in the borough)? It was such a thriving restaurant and small business atmosphere,” says Evans. “It was just doing so amazingly well, and the only thing that was missing was an arts venue. There were performing arts utilizing different spaces, but there wasn’t an actual home for everyone to visit that the community could come to expect.” With a 327-seat main-stage theater as well as a small cabaret-style space with about 80 seats, Uptown! is a full-scale performance venue with an extensive list of shows. They also offer classes in acting, improv, singing, and more. And there’s Mac’s Foxhole, a bar and lounge, complete with crushed velvet couches—named after founding members of Uptown, Tom and Connie McEvoy. While still fairly new on the scene, Uptown! quickly became well established. It was home to several resident companies of different genres—Better than Bacon Improv, Dueling Pianos, Latin performers, jazz musicians, opera, theatre and more— when it had to pull the plug on live performances. “It was really devastating,” says Evans.

SAT. JUL 13 Live at The Fillmore has become the most popular tribute to the original Allman Brothers Band. Great attention is paid to recreating the music with an unparalleled degree of authenticity. The band has been chosen as featured performer on next year’s Time Life Southern Rock Cruise and received rave reviews for their Spring 2017 performance on national TV as part of AXS TV’s World’s Greatest Tribute Bands. As one of the only places for ongoing live performances in the borough, Uptown! has been vital for the community, as evidenced by the results of their recent fundraiser. “During our shutdown, we had a huge fundraising campaign, and we exceeded our goal of $500,000 in a very, very short amount of time,” says Evans. “We can see how important the arts are to this community." “That’s why it was so painful in 2020,” continued Evans. “We were getting such momentum and people were really feeling good. People were coming from all over [for events]— it was a huge economic driver. Restaurants had to hire more staff to be able to accommodate all of the outsiders that were coming through town for shows.”

Guests can expect performances from resident companies like Dueling Pianos and Better Than Bacon over the summer. Additionally, The Allman Brothers Tribute is slated in July, and new artists The Talking Sticks and Brasilian Vibes are booked in August. While they were closed for live performances, Uptown! did its best to keep the community involved by streaming shows— both at home with the artists as well as from the theater—when possible. “It was great as a way to connect with the artist and in the community because we couldn’t have anything here.”

Events and Activities for the Smaller Set (at West Chester Public Library) Adults aren’t the only ones missing shared experiences. In the midst of the COVID pandemic, even the preschool set—as well as their befuddled caretakers— have had to deal with park and school closures and Parks & Recreation event cancellations. Luckily for all of them, our gem of a library has something to occupy even the most finicky five year old. While most of it is online, the Summer Storytime event is in person. Each Wednesday, the library offers Summer Storytime at Marshall Square Park, where preschoolers can enjoy a half hour of stories, rhymes, and songs with Miss Treena. Fresh air and safely occupied children? A true win-win. Families can finish off their days with Virtual Family Trivia on Wednesday nights. Geared towards ages five and up (as well as their families), each trivia evening has a different focus, from animals to all things Disney to Pixar movies. Thursdays provide another opportunity for kids to connect, albeit online, with Zoom Tinker Days, where





SAT. AUG 14 Spend an amazing evening with Echoes, the American Pink Floyd, North America’s number one Pink Floyd tribute, as they perform five complete album sides from some of Pink Floyd’s best selling albums! With 10 musicians, a dedicated light and laser show and over 2 hours of very ideo content, you’ll be transported back to the Golden Age of Prog Rock and see why Echoes is rated number one by Pink Floyd fans everywhere. And they plan to take that experience with them into the future, as appropriate. “It’s just something that adds another element that people can tap into,” says Evans. “Maybe they couldn’t come in, but they love an artist and they want to be able to support them.” In addition to streaming events, Uptown! managed to continue with some of their classes. “Our classes were the only things that kept going through the pandemic. It was on a much smaller scale, of course, but we’re now back to our regular-size classes. We have camps happening in the summer, and the fall classes will be listed in the next couple of weeks.” “But I am really excited about bringing our resident companies back in. They are our first love, they’ve been here,” says Evans about the return to live performances. “Those are where our heart is, and we love having them back.” And though there are shows on the docket—exciting news in and of itself after such a long drought—it’s a slow and careful rollout. Guests can expect performances from resident companies like Dueling Pianos and Better Than Bacon over the summer. Additionally, The Allman Brothers Tribute is slated in July, and new artists The Talking Sticks and Brasilian Vibes are booked in August. “Over the summer, it’ll be a little bit slower of an intro, but we plan on doing our grand re-opening in September,” says Evans, of the still-under-wraps official re-opening event. Sep-

kids ages five and up are walked through a project— making paper airplanes, performing chemistry experiments, making dog toys—with a librarian. While Fridays in July are reserved for West Chester Public Library’s (Adult) Trivia Night, there’s no reason the young adult or savvy middle schooler can’t participate, especially from the comfort of their own home. Virtual trivia night, like all library programming right now, requires registration.

Did you know that the library offers discounted and/or free passes to area attractions like the Chester County History Society, the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, and Longwood Gardens? On Saturdays, kids can meet up at the library to pick up their make-and-take craft supplies for “Crafty Saturdays,” then head home (with or without a playdate) to create some magic. Please note that craft kits are left outside the library for pick-up until supplies run out. For the older school-age kids, the library offers some more challenging opportunities for mingling, like Monday night coding classes in things like Java, C++ and





SAT. AUG 21 Brasilian Vibes Trio - Nanny Assis (vocals/ guitar/percussion), Leonardo Lucini (basses), Arthur Lipner Vibes/ marimba) will present a concert set of Brazilian music. Following the show, join the band as they Samba march into the streets outside the theater! This is an all-ages evening not be missed! tember will also see shows from Kasim Sulton, Kim Richey, and more. “There are these new, really, really cool entities that are coming in.” Though pandemic restrictions have eased and the theater can now be fully occupied, Uptown! still employs several COVID safety precautions. As of this writing, masks are still required, though that will change as more restrictions are lifted. Other, more long-term precautions include multiple hand sanitizing stations, an updated HVAC with an IWAVE air purification system, additional exits to prevent a traffic bottleneck after a performance, and an increase in cleaning services and protocols. “We want to meet guests at their comfort level,” says Evans. And that means getting audiences comfortably back into their seats, which is where plenty of people found themselves during the recent screening of a movie complete with an audience sing-along. The show? Bohemian Rhapsody. And while it wasn’t live—no member of Queen was in attendance, nor was there even a Freddie Mercury lookalike— the energy coming from the audience was palpable. That’s the magic of shared experience. And we’re so glad to have it back.

Located at 226 N. High Street. Go to for more information.

Python, as well as a 3D Design and Coding class starting in late July. On Tuesdays, the library hosts a variety of activities for youngsters, from virtual cooking for kids—geared towards ages 5 to 12, where families can cook along at home after receiving an ingredient and supply list— to events like Wild and Wonderful Pennsylvania, a live Zoom program for families of all ages about local wildlife. There’s more, from special programming events like Fun with STEAM and Lego Club, to online access, to a series of stories read by members of the Chester County Sheriff’s Office. And did you know that the library offers discounted and/or free passes to area attractions like the Chester County History Society, the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, and Longwood Gardens? Well, they do — on a first-come, first-served basis. Give them a call for details. The library has something to offer everyone in the family. And that’s something we can all celebrate this summer. Most library events require online registration. Register at Located at 415 N. Church Street. Open 10am to 7pm, Monday through Thursday. Open 10am to 5pm, Friday and Saturday.






Becca Boyd shares tips on life and cooking on her blog at


Below you’ll find a recipe that, in an ideal world, we’d eat for lunch every day. The healthiest greens, good fats, and small portions of the things that elevate a salad — nuts, cheese, dried fruit. Last week my husband brought my leftovers to work (intended for MY lunch), and you’d better believe he got quite the earful. Because life is short, I’m also sharing a recipe for a tender, slightly chewy, buttery, rich cookie bar. If you eat kale salad for dinner you can have two cookie bars for dessert. Now that’s balance. – Rice and Kale Salad with Apples & Goat Cheese serves 4-6 Dressing 1/4 c. olive oil 1 Tbsp. champagne or white wine vinegar 2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice 2 tsp. maple syrup 1 tsp. Dijon mustard

Salad 1 large bunch Lacinato kale, stems removed and leaves chopped 2 c. cooked brown or wild rice 1 large Fuji apple, cored and diced 1/4 c. dried cherries or cranberries 1/4 c. toasted slivered almonds 1 c. crumbled goat, blue or feta cheese pinch kosher salt and pepper 1 avocado, diced, to serve

1. Combine dressing ingredients in mason jar or bowl. Whisk or shake to combine. 2. In large mixing bowl, place kale and rice. Add dressing and massage greens and break up rice with hands for several minutes until kale is tender and dressing is evenly dispersed. 3. Add apple, cherries, nuts, cheese, salt, and pepper. Stir to combine. 4. Serve or refrigerate until ready to eat. Serve with diced avocado and more cheese, if desired. Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Bars 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour 1 1/4 tsp. table salt 1/2 tsp. baking powder 12 Tbsp. unsalted butter 1-3/4 c. light brown sugar

3 large eggs 1/2 c. corn syrup 2 Tbsp. vanilla 1-1/2 c. bittersweet choco chips 1/4 tsp. flake sea salt

1. Heat oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9x13 glass baking pan liberally with nonstick spray. 2. Whisk flour, salt, and baking powder in a small mixing bowl. 3. Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add butter. Once it’s frothy and melted, reduce heat to low and whisk continuously as butter begins to brown. 4. Once toasty smelling and golden brown, pour into large mixing bowl. 5. Add brown sugar to butter and whisk well. Add eggs, corn syrup, and vanilla and whisk well. 6. Add dry ingredients and combine. Fold in chocolate chips. 7. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle with sea salt. 8. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and set in the middle. Let cool at least one hour (two is better). 9. Slice into squares. Will keep at room temperature in tightly covered container for up to five days. JULY 2021 THEWCPRESS.COM




in the borough Story & Photos by Jesse Piersol


y grandparents always had gardens. I wasn’t terribly helpful other than eating the strawberries in my grandfather’s berry patch, but I liked being outside and thinking I was helping,” recollects borough gardener Ashlie Delshad. In her exquisite, meticulously maintained backyard garden near West Chester University, her recent focus has been on growing plants vertically to make better use of space. Innovations abound, such as a sloped trellis for cucumbers to climb while simultaneously providing shade for tender lettuce tucked underneath, and zucchini plants staked to encourage height and reduce disease by providing greater air circulation. Dr. Ashlie Delshad knows a thing or two about gardening: She has taught courses in environmental policy, social inequality, and food politics at WCU since 2011. In 2015 she founded the garden on south campus as part of her environmental politics and policy course, which continues to expand under her leadership. During spring break, she takes WCU students for a week of volunteer work in Philadelphia community gardens through City Harvest, an extension of Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. On top of all that, she is currently lead site manager for the new community garden at the Melton Center as a member of the West Chester Green Team. Established in 2019, the Green Team is an alliance of four separate environmental groups dedicated to promoting sustainability. Delshad notes that an overwhelming number of people wanted to garden during the pandemic. Her favorite local seed company, True Love Seeds, quickly ran out of inventory last spring. “It’s a testimonial to how therapeutic gardening is,” she says. “Cut off from other activities, it became something that folks latched onto.” Indeed, her backyard beds are joined by countless others sending seedlings forth into the world. From the solitary tomato plant scaling its porch planter to the bustling community vegetable beds around the borough, from low-maintenance yard design to exuberant blooms shipped all over the country, West Chester’s gardens—and gardeners—are in their prime.




West End Community Garden

“Gardens can grow fruits, they can grow vegetables, and they can grow community,” Delshad quips. “Even when I’m out in my own yard, working in my own garden, there is still a sense of community. I’m seeing my neighbors across the fence. I’m giving them produce.”

Prior to 2009, the abandoned water tower site at the corner of West Gay and North New streets was an eyesore slated for development as a parking lot by the Borough of West Chester. But the Historic West End Neighborhood Association, a group of west end residents committed to strengthening the sense of community in their neighborhood, had a better idea.

She believes that everyone who wants to garden should have access to one. “Most people don’t have the green space to garden,” she explains. “We have these large parks and we put in playgrounds, which everyone recognizes is for public recreation. But we need to rethink gardening as a public recreational activity, too.”

Today, the land hosts 23 raised beds teeming with fruit and vegetable plants as well as perennials and annuals, all maintained by the members of HWENA. One of the beds is reserved for their gleaning project, which grows food for community members in need.

G reen Team Gardens: Melton Center, Barclay Friends, and Private Residence This past winter, the West Chester Green Team explored "transition" thinking, which, according to Green Team member Margaret Hudgings, is “built around creating happier and healthier communities as we move beyond (or ‘transition’) to a new way of interacting as the fossil fuel-based economy is being replaced. Transition asks that each community has brainstorming sessions to explore what their area needs. In the case of West Chester, the number one need cited by the brainstormers was community gardens.” As a result, West Chester now boasts three new gardens: Barclay Friends, the Melton Center, and a private home. “Our goal was 20 garden plots for our first year,” says Hudgings. “In our agreements with Barclay and Melton, they agreed to offer the garden space in exchange for specific requests. Barclay wanted gar-

dening education for staff, herb growing for the dining hall, and an outdoor concert in the garden. The Melton Center asked for a Little Library for the center, along with children's programming.” “The Melton Center really wanted to be intentional about involving kids in after school and summer camp programs,” adds Delshad. “So they kept half of the beds for kids and allocated the other half to community members.” One of their kid-focused offerings is “Mondays at Melton,” a series of summer environmental, educational, and cultural activities designed for ages 5-10 that runs through August 9.

Garden of the Future The John O. Green Memorial Park at the intersection of Matlack and Miner Streets underwent a refurbishment two years ago, adding kid-friendly equipment such as a splash pad. But another one of the features requested by community members was a garden. The borough started the project by installing terraced

beds alongside a new retaining wall, with the completion date still to be determined as of this writing.

BOROUGH GARDENS Tucked away all over town are pockets of individual expression of style and substance. Here are two that offer a unique perspective.

A Natural Habitat: Sallie Jones’ Yard Sallie Jones’s front yard landscape is low maintenance and focuses on plants placed in aesthetically pleasing groupings of colors and textures that are also ecologically valuable. Featured as part of the Green Team’s “Green Man Tour” at the end of June, her front yard contains only herbaceous perennials and bulbs. She created a palette of plants that provides changing colors, heights, and textures throughout the growing season, as well as food and habitat for birds, bees, and butterflies. “The idea to create an ‘urban meadow’ came from a garden-de-





signer friend, who referred me to the book, The Know Maintenance Perennial Garden by Roy Diblik. Important tenets of this style of garden include knowing your plants, knowing your garden’s light, soil, and moisture requirements, and positioning the plants in drifts or swaths with occasional accent plants.”

A Piece of History: Christina Wilcomes’ Courtyard Christina Wilcomes, owner of Hackberry Hill Flowers, also owns a house built in 1933 by scientist Raymond Rettew, whose name may be familiar as the person who discovered how to mass produce penicillin. In between the house and the laboratory that Rettew later built is a courtyard which has become Wilcomes’ favorite part of the garden. “We planted three 'Nishiki' dappled willow trees for height and then put in a row of ‘Phantom’ hydrangeas,” she describes. “Phantoms are a wonderful paniculata variety of hydrangea that get these enormous flower heads. It puts on quite a show beginning in July.” While updating the landscape, Wilcomes kept the courtyard design simple, in greens and whites with touches of pink through three seasons, utilizing boxwood, variegated liriope, Creeping Jenny, and Viburnum burkwoodii. “The courtyard is filled with the most amazing scent in early spring when the Burkwood viburnum are in bloom. We framed the space and view with an arbor that bursts into color with ‘Bees’ Jubilee’ clematis (an early bloomer), Sweet Autumn clematis (a late bloomer) and fragrant honeysuckle.”

WCU’s four gardens are supported solely by volunteer efforts. They follow organic principles, offering a place for research, teaching, learning, art, and recreation, along with helping to alleviate food insecurity for students.

City Harvest, a program affiliated with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society to alleviate food insecurity by supporting city gardens, provides seedlings and materials each year. The relationship is symbiotic, with WCU students volunteering in City Harvest’s Philadelphia greenhouses as part of alternative spring break each year, readying seedlings for distribution to City Harvest’s 150 gardens.

South Campus Garden

Tanglewood Garden

Ashlie Delshad started the South Campus project six years ago, incorporating its creation into her environmental politics and policy course. In addition to serving students directly and through the distribution of produce through the WCU Resource Pantry, South Campus is open to the West Chester community as well.

When West Chester University President Christopher Fiorentino and his wife Susan moved into Tanglewood, the President’s residence, they requested a garden. Dr. Joan Welch obliged, beginning with asparagus and herb beds, along with another raised bed, with new additions each year. Like South Campus, Tangle-

Hardy Fig’ trees, citrus trees, and ‘Limon’ Talinum (Jewels of Opar).

WEST CHESTER UNIVERSITY A bricked courtyard leads to her back CAMPUS GARDENS

garden which then opens up into a more modern, bluestone patio where she has filled dozens of terracotta and concrete pots with the flowers and greens she uses in arrangements for her business, most of which are grown from seed. “In fact, my business is named for this house,” she says. “After coming upon a sketch of our house labeled 'Hackberry Hill' in Rettew’s autobiography, I knew it was the perfect name.” Her pots are filled with ‘Covent Garden’ baby’s breath, Amsonia hubrictii foxgloves, ‘Pacific Giants’ delphiniums, every kind of cosmos, sweet peas, Ruby Hyacinth Bean vines, zinnias of every type, Apple and Orange Mints, ‘Chicago





wood also receives its seedlings through the City Harvest program, and Welch, who teaches courses including the geography of agriculture, food, and sustainability, says that they take the vegetable varieties that students may not recognize on the shelves of the resource pantry. “If you’re a student for whom purple carrots or peas are not part of your culture, you’re going to leave them on the shelf,” she says. Much of the bounty is used by the President and his wife, and during the pandemic, excess produce was taken to the West Chester Food Cupboard. The Tanglewood property has a long history with growing food; it was formerly an apple orchard. Today, a single remaining apple tree still inhabits the property along its western edge.

North Campus Garden In the early morning sunshine, Urban and Environmental Planning major Tyler Montgomery is weeding and mowing as part of his duties as an intern for the north campus garden and outdoor classroom space framed by the planetarium and science buildings.

As a new resident in the borough, he loves the experience of working outside in nature, but the internship has provided him something else, especially in the isolating time of the pandemic: connection. “It’s given me something to do, but also a new perspective on the student/campus relationship,” he relates. “Not only have I met new people, it’s lit a fire in me to get more involved in things on campus.”

Pigment and Dye Garden Kate Stewart, Professor of Art and founder of the garden, has always loved discovering the origins of various art practices, processes and materials. “In my painting and drawing courses I have designed lectures that identify the technological, political, and cultural shifts in our shared history that have had incredible influence over art historical movements. Also, particularly relevant to these lectures is the influence of technology, politics and culture over the materials available to artists in the creation of art works throughout history,” she writes in her description of the Pigment and Dye Garden located outside the E.O. Bull Center.

The varieties of flowers were selected for their potential to be used as natural pigments for paints and dyes for textiles.

BLOOMS AND BEYOND Christina Wilcomes’ Hackberry Hill Flowers offers garden-inspired florals, container services, and seasonal design workshops. “I started Hackberry Hill Flowers and not too long after the world shut down,” she recalls. “I had several exciting events on the books, and all that disappeared quickly. Fortunately, I still had clients requesting outdoor container work, holiday decoration, and everyday florals. I am very grateful to those customers as that work kept my business afloat.” This past May, Wilcomes taught several succulents classes at the Chester County History Center. “CCHC has been wonderfully supportive, and I look forward to partnering with them again on flower arranging classes in July and August. Participants will not only learn how to create a sophisticated floral centerpiece using seasonal materials but





also how to style a table that will wow guests,” she says. Another source of borough blooms is Ben Rotteveel, owner of DutchGrown Flower Bulbs. Together with his brother Pete, they are the fourth generation of the family business, which ships flower bulbs from their family farm in the Netherlands to their warehouses on Lincoln Avenue in West Chester and also in Hartford, Michigan. From there, their bulbs travel all over the country. “When our parents were younger, they lived in West Chester for a year,” he says. “They loved the area and when we grew up they always told us about it. When we needed a warehouse for distributing our online sales, there was no doubt we wanted to start off in the West Chester area.” When the pandemic hit, Rotteveel remembers that demand for flower bulbs and flowers increased, especially by Fall 2020 and during 2021. “People were nervous and not in the mood to buy gardening products or flowers. In the Netherlands, the largest flower producer of the world, in spring 2020 growers needed to throw

away millions of flowers because there was no demand. But then it happened: Flower pricing during Spring 2021 was at a record high. We do business with a lot of specialty cut flower growers in the United States, and 2020 and 2021 are record years for them. People started to buy their flowers locally. They now know when you buy your flowers fresh from the farm, the flowers last much longer and the flowers are much bigger. Fresh flowers also have much more fragrance.”

weeding, planting, deadheading, or just sitting and noticing.”


We can reap the benefits regardless of whether we work in our yards or in a community plot. And size doesn’t matter: Christina Wilcomes urges people with smaller spaces to think vertically. “Bamboo stakes tied together, willow, and even lichen-covered branches make charming supports for all kinds of wonderful climbers, such as passion flowers, sweet peas, and clematis,” she says. “Smaller spaces often benefit from en masse plantings so choosing one edging material, whether it be a Hakonechloa grass, Lady’s Mantle, or tiny Sprinter boxwood can make a space feel larger than it is. Don’t forget about container gardening, which is ideal for small spaces. Pots can be moved around and plants changed each year, fulfilling many gardeners’ desires to grow every plant on the market.”

Sallie Jones’ words, posted on a placard for visitors to her Union Street garden during the Green Man Garden Tour, capture the universal appeal of the garden. “Being in my garden brings me a sense of calm and perspective, whether I am

It is escapism in its most simple form. Ashlie Delshad muses, “There is just something energizing and rejuvenating about focusing on a menial task like weeding and not having to think about all the problems of the world.”

DutchGrown bulbs adorn parks throughout the borough after the company donated thousands of bulbs a few years ago, earning them a key to the borough presented by former Mayor (and current State Senator) Carolyn Comitta.





Far and Wide

Jamie Jones of WhirlAway Travel takes your travel queries and offers the kind of insight only someone who’s been there ( time and again) can provide.

I cannot believe it has been over a year since we last connected! I don’t know about you, but over the past 14 months I have definitely taken advantage of all of the “near” to West Chester. My family hiked every beautiful trail, filled our bellies with delicious takeout, and spent summer afternoons by the pool pretending we were somewhere exotic. There was one thing that was missing for me though, and that was travel. For the first time in a decade, I was not on a plane every month. I missed the stress of last-minute packing, the anxiety of being late to the airport because I-95 was backed up, and the relief of just making it to the gate to board my flight, ready to explore a new destination. Whether I was traveling alone or with family, it filled a part of my soul that nothing else could touch. For months, I didn’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, unsure we’d ever travel again. Well, the world is opening back up, but with new protocols and restrictions that can be confusing to navigate and often change as soon as you think you’ve figured them out. When I started this column a few years ago, the idea was to connect the content with West Chester, and Near & Far was born. When I was approached to resume writing, I suggested a new theme. COVID has given many of us a fresh start, and it felt like the right time to switch it up a bit! So, it’s time to introduce Far & Wide, my new monthly entry to this magazine that will take you out of West Chester into the world of travel. Some months I’ll answer travel questions submitted by readers like you (hint—send them in!); other months will relate directly to the theme of the issue with a focus on travel. As my team has had a year to truly hone our areas of expertise, I may even have a guest writer hop in from time to time. This new format provides an exciting opportunity to answer questions you may have, as well as to provide insight into issues that may never even have crossed your mind but that we see come across our desks all the time. I hope this column entices you to get out and explore our wonderful world. Whether you’re traveling for some R&R, to spend time with loved ones, eat your way through a new country, or brush up on world history, travel may never be the same as it was before COVID. I say this in the most positive way. COVID has made us slow down, and I believe it is having the same effect on the way we travel. Gone are the days of visiting three European countries in a week. We may be back to that pace one day, but for now, let’s keep it slow and continue to enjoy the simple things wherever we are. I am excited for this new chapter. I believe that travel makes the world a better place by opening our minds and hearts to different people, cultures, and histories. I also believe that traveling “Far” allows us to appreciate our “Near,” West Chester, even more. —



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If you can spot the five differences in this photo of WCU’s pigment & dye garden, email your answers to and you’ve got a chance to win a Barnaby’s gift certificate.



Time to see and be seen.

Summer Hits List DJ Romeo curates a list of the tracks you’ll be singing all summer long The following is a list of songs that will take over the radio stations in the next few months. You’ll soon know them by heart and play them ‘til they’re tired. And, you can now stream the list in its entirey at: @DJRomeo24 |

Alan Walker, Imanbek – Sweet Dreams Majestic, Boney M. – Rasputin Måneskin – Beggin’ Calvin Harris, Tom Grennan – By Your Side Ed Sheeran – Bad Habits Glass Animals – Heat Waves Marshmello, Jonas Brothers – Leave Before You Love Me Dua Lipa – We’re Good Riton, Nightcrawlers, Mufasa & Hypeman – Friday, Dopamine Re-Edit Bastille – Distorted Light Beam Joel Corry, RAYE, David Guetta – BED Justin Bieber, Daniel Caesar, Giveon – Peaches Nelly, Florida Georgia Line – Lil Bit Tiësto – The Business ATB, Topic, A7S – Your Love (9pm) Jubël, NEIMY – Dancing in the Moonlight Galantis, David Guetta, Little Mix – Heartbreak Anthem Miley Cyrus, Dua Lipa – Prisoner Travis Scott, HVME – Goosebumps Remix Dragonette, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, Cat Dealers, Bruno Martini – Summer Thing Dom Dolla – Pump the Brakes BTS – Butter Olivia Rodrigo – good 4 u Becky Hill, David Guetta – Remember Tai Verdes – A-O-K Coldplay, Tiësto – Higher Power Remix Anitta, DaBaby – Girl From Rio Masked Wolf – Astronaut In The Ocean Chris Young, Kane Brown – Famous Friends Florida Georgia Line – Always Gonna Love You



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