The holidays are right around the corner and to ensure your closet is ready for the hustle and bustle, we’re sharing the six looks that are sure to embellish your wardrobe. From sequins to warm wool, these styling tricks will have you ready for any festivities coming your way.
Take a risk with texture. The soft plush feel of velvet is the perfect way to up the dark toned holiday colors. We recommend a velvet suit or dress in moss green, burgundy or black.
2- ‘Tis the Season of Sequin
Elevate your favorite blouses or sweaters with a touch of sparkle. These festive beads are the per- fect touch of detail this holiday. Complete this look with your favorite skinny jean or velvet trouser.
3- Faux Fur
Make a statement in this season’s soft outerwear of choice. Pair a fur coat with an elegant slip dress perfect for a party or wear it casually with a T-shirt and denims.
4- Boots, Boots, Boots
Boots are a longstanding staple piece of any winter wardrobe. This seasons boot trends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. From thigh- high to chunky combat to elegant bootie, there’s a style for every look.
5- Oversized Sweaters
Keep it comfortable and classy in an oversized sweater perfect for running holiday errands in or snuggling up by a replace. Wear an oversized sweater as a dress with embroidered boots and tights or combine it with a skinny pant and loafers. Don’t shy away from patterns!
6- Warm Wool
Let’s get back to the basics in a classic wool coat. Both middie coats and ponchos are a quick stylish x for cold weather. Keeping colors neutral such as beige, gray or black will allow the coat to t to almost anything in your winter closet. This classic staple piece will withstand time.
Gift giving can feel great, but gift shopping is another story. From Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day it feels like the holidays never end. Don’t get your mistletoe branches in a twist this year. We have some simple and creative ways to get your holiday gifts done and dusted with a little twist on holiday wrapping.
If you’re looking for something for the spirits lovers in your life go for a mini oak whiskey barrel from Macy’s or Amazon. This is a great idea for whiskey nerds that want to age their booze in style. For your sippers, tasters and craft beer a cionados you can purchase a ight set. It’s the same kind you’ll see in many craft brewing locations that allows you to try a few beers off tap and not get stuck with a pint of something you won’t like. For wine loves there are whimsical and useful cork or bottle cap collectors sold at Target (and online) that allow you to pop bottles and save memories.You can nd plenty of variations from online stores as well. For those who are on the crafty side and have a large store of corks this December, look into creating a holiday themed cork wreath. All you’ll need is a hot glue gun, craft story pinecones, holly springs and ribbon and you can add this classy addition to your holiday decor.
For those who have a sports fanatic in mind, we have found a few options that may hit it out of the park. Fans who are always home on a Sunday the game might like a book on the history of their favorite NFL team. If you’re dealing with a baseball lover you could go the extra mile (and the extra dollar) for a blueprint of their favorite stadium. With a golf loving wife or husband that also loves a stiff when the green hasn’t treated them well, look no further than golf ball whiskey chillers. If they’re not into whiskey, but you still can’t seem to nd a tting golf themed gift take a look at custom golf link toppers. You can get their name, initials and phone number monogrammed so they won’t ever be fear of losing a club on the green.
You may have a travel obsessed friend, child in college or neighbor that has recently moved to a new city and is missing their hometown or favorite place. If this is the case but you can’t seem to think of a good gift for them you’re in luck. There are companies that have created great products for your giftees. Businesses like The Uncommon Green make an assortment of drinking glasses, slate plaques and cutting boards that can be adored with city maps, states and international spots. In the same vein there are jewelers like Talia Sari who take the city maps and create necklaces, rings and broaches. So, whether it’s the city they have moved from, a new state or country you can give a gift that allows them to appreciate their new surroundings or daydream about their old ones.
If you like the idea of jewelry, hand-crafted arts or handmade products be sure to look locally and you’re guaranteed to nd some gems. Buying from a local artisan who understands their craft and has a passion for their work means you’ll be supplied with quality goods that outstrip products bought from the big retailers. There are plenty of boutique shops to nd cute and cozy winter wear, creative and unique artwork or functional pieces like ceramic wear. A business called Taylor Made Polish, in Easton, Pennsylvania, has recently caught our attention. They’re a small business that is a great option for custom made nail polishes that can be made to match any out t, personality or event color palette.You can make a solo appointment, or book a small party, to mix your own pigments and be the creator of your own personalized nail colors.
Whether you’re an online shopper or prefer to nd local, handmade goods, hopefully you have a better idea of what direction you’re going to take for your gifts this holiday season. Yet, while we may have helped you brainstorm ideas that doesn’t mean you should slack on your gift wrapping. Keep yourself off the naughty list and skip the overpriced holiday wrapping. Swap those tired designs and colors for creative and memorable wraps that will have your recipient smiling before they even tear open their parcels. Whether it’s eight days of gift giving or a pile of presents for the entire family, this year allow yourself to spread your wings and tap into your creative outlets. If you don’t think you’re creative, no worries! We have a few ideas to help you get those pistons ring on all cylinders.
For a chic and fancy look, wrap your gifts in royal purple with silver ribbon bows or navy and gold ribbon so that even if the gift is a budget restricted coffee mug meant for a Secret Santa, it will look like a million bucks before it’s even opened! If you’re wrapping gifts for relatives get the kids involved, or even the dog, and work with butcher’s paper to create your own wrapping paper. Simple brown butcher’s paper can turn into some truly terri c wrapping with the help of markers, stamps and little helping hands with big creative brains. Try ink pads and puppy paws for cute prints to decorate your wrapping. You can use glue, glitter, markers, or crayons. Go wild or stay mild but it’s 100% up to you and your imagination! If brown doesn’t work with your concept, you can substitute butcher’s paper for stencil paper to give your gifts a white base color.
Paper itself isn’t completely necessary when wrapping presents. For other out-of-the-box options you could forget the box (and the paper) and instead raid your cupboards for mason jars. Fill them with the dry ingredients for a holiday cookie mix, wrap the jar with a simple bow and string on an instruction card! Leftover fabrics are a great soft-to-the-touch option and for unusual name tags, skip the card-stock normality and try tiles from an old Scrabble set. Arrange your letters, glue them vertically or horizontally on top of a ribbon and then tie to your gift. Additionally, any old atlases or maps lying around could make great wrapping for any geography or travel nerds. With smartphone apps directing us everywhere, who is really going to miss those paper directions? Now that you’re better prepared, don’t let gift panic get you this year, spread your holiday cheer!
As summer comes to a close, we pack up our swimsuits and flip-flops and pull out the sweaters and boots that were just a cold distant memory a month ago. With every seasonal transition we find ourselves swapping these items in and out of our visible closets, but when do we actually sift through them and pull out the dresses and shoes we unpack and repack every year that haven’t made it out into the sun during their 6 month wearable window. Instead of packing them away for another winter of being unworn under the bed, take the time to clear out the clutter and help those in need.
When it comes to donating clothes there are usually two questions, “Where should I donate” and “Can I get money for these?”. There are plenty of places that would be more than happy to accept your donations although it’s important to check their online guidelines before dropping off anything or scheduling a pickup to make sure what you’re donating is appropriate for the charity. As a rule of thumb, while sifting through piles of old t-shirts and items that just aren’t for you; Look for clothing that still remains intact. If it’s missing buttons, ripped (but not intentionally), fray- ing, stained or just severely outdated put it in a separate pile.
There’s nothing better than a little “getting back” with your “giving back”.
While brainstorming places to take your donations there are a few “oldie-but-goodies” that may come to mind like The Salvation Army and Goodwill. Both are excellent choices. If you’re concerned about tax-deductions, The Salvation Army’s website has a comprehensive list of cloth- ing and its estimated taxable worth on their website. Goodwill on the other hand has a great drop-down list on their site that allows you to enter the belongings you wish to donate and details how those donations will positively impact lives of those they help. Regardless of which avenue you might decide upon you should always get a receipt for your donations because there’s nothing better than a little “getting back” with your “giving back”.
If you’re a woman with office attire that you won’t wear next season, you can consider donating to Dress for Success. With locations throughout Pennsylvania, Dress for Success has a goal to provide women the condense to interview for employment and remain employed. DFS Clients receive one suit for a job interview and can return for a second suit or separates when they find employment. More information can be found on their website.
It’s always best to call ahead and ensure they take used clothing donations.
If you like the idea of Dress for Success but would like a place that accepts men’s work attire, look no further than Career Wardrobe in Philadelphia. They not only give job seekers the ability to show a presentable and professional appearance at interviews; they also offer education courses to help men and women become more knowledgeable on applying for jobs and retaining employment.
Easton’s Salvation Army profits are used to supply food for feeding the homeless breakfast and lunch daily.
While you may feel inclined to donate to your local women’s and children’s or men’s shelters, it’s always best to call ahead and ensure they take used clothing donations. For example, a quick call to Third Street Alliance for Women and Children of Easton resulted in a helpful talk with a receptionist. She informed me that while they don’t accept used clothing due to storage concerns, they personally suggest donating to the Salvation Army. Easton’s Salvation Army profits are used to supply food for feeding the homeless breakfast and lunch daily.
Additionally, if you’re in the Philadelphia area and in need of a place for gently used children’s clothing consider Cradles to Crayons. They have a comprehensive list of accepted donations on their website which include other items such as diaper bags, baby carriers and bibs. Similarly, Pregnancy Resource Center of the Poconos takes baby clothing donations and gently used maternity clothing. If those aren’t near you then Life Choices in Phillipsburg, New Jersey (just outside Easton and closer to our New Jersey readers) accepts the same types of items.
Making a contribution that helps your local community may have more benefit than the risk of your good intentions being boxed and placed aside.
You may be wondering why there wasn’t mention of donating to disaster relief funds such as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma? Multiple news reports have shown that the most useful and resourceful contributions during disasters such as these are monetary donations. Unfortunately, relief organizations end up with entire warehouses filled with clothing, blankets and toys that do not meet their specific relief needs. Those who work to organize and distribute donations are over- whelmed by the sheer amount of items received and while the gesture is undeniably appreciated, it unfortunately slows down the relief process significantly. Making a contribution that helps your local community may have more benefit than the risk of your good intentions being boxed and placed aside. All donations efforts are great but research prior to execution is a wonderful place to start and with finishing this article you’re already a step ahead!
Picking a place to vacation can be stressful. Ironic, right? There’s so many options, literally anywhere in the world, and somehow we always find ourselves falling into a pattern of frequently traveled to locations. In the beginning of the summer, you start to see an in flux of vacation photos across social media and the most common question asked during small talk is,“Are you going anywhere this summer?”.
Where to visit and when to go? That’s a good place to start, but possibly the hardest part. Living in Pennsylvania, the summers are great because there are plenty of beaches an hour or so away that you can turn into a day trip or full vacation. Summers are also a popular time to travel, especially with kids, so any destination city will be packed with people from all over with the same idea as you.
It’s become especially popular over the last few years since they started filming Game of Thrones in the town of Dubrovnik.
This year we waited until schools were back in session to take a trip to a place that wasn’t on my radar until recently- Croatia. Some people are knowledgeable of Croatia as a vacation spot for the last decade, but it’s become especially popular over the last few years since they started filming Game of Thrones in the town of Dubrovnik. It’s still nowhere near as well known as Italy, Spain, France or Greece, but give it a few years and you’ll know at least one person who’s visited.
I knew we needed a mixture of historical sites for him, and beach time for me so we decided on Dubrovnik and Zagreb.
Croatia has a long coastline filled with tall cliffs and terracotta rooftops, multiple islands with beautiful beaches, and great historical sites to get your x of European culture and history. When breaking down where to visit in Croatia, there are three popular cities. The first two, Dubrovnik and Split on the coast and third, Zagreb which is their capital city. Based on what you want to get out of your vacation, each place has its unique benefits. When deciding where we were going to visit, I knew we needed a mixture of historical sites for him, and beach time for me so we decided on Dubrovnik and Zagreb.
There was so much to do and see in both cities, that 4 days each was barely enough. Inside Dubrovnik, you have the walls that wrap around the old town.You can spend days trying to cover and see each alleyway filled with different cafes, shops, and bars. Live music fills the streets and it’s almost impossible to pick which restaurant looks best. We ate at a ton of small places inside the walls but two really stuck out in terms of food, service and views; Dubrovnik 360 and Nautika. If I had to choose, I would say the food was better at Dubrovnik 360, but the overall experience was more memorable at Nautika. The night was made by the incredible views of the sea and walls, my drink coming out on rose pedals under a bird cage, each course being paired with a different olive oil native to a place in Croatia, and to the server being the incredibly knowledgeable about every meal, cocktail and wine on the menu. If you’ve got the time, I defiantly recommend visiting both restaurants.
If you’re looking for the best view in town, take the cable car up to the mountain top and watch the sun set over the city.
When you’re ready to relax, you can enjoy one of the many beaches in Dubrovnik or take a boat ride to any of the nearby island beaches.You can also take day trips to see the bridge in Mostar, Bosnia and the Bay of Kotor, Montenegro, an awesome way to add two more countries to your trip. We stayed at a hotel ten minutes from Old Town named Neptun that had a great rock beach perfect for watching the sunset. If you’re looking for the best view in town, take the cable car up to the mountain top, or an Uber to save a few bucks and skip the line, and walk out on to the mountain top and watch the sun set over the city.
When you leave the coastline and head for the capital, you won’t believe how clean and colorful the city is. Take a day to walk around and explore.You’ll want to see the Dolac Market, Ban Jelacie Square, shop on Illiac Street, eat on Tkalciceva, visit the Zagreb Cathedral, and ask the locals what festivals are going on nearby.
We chose to spend one afternoon in a cooking class learning how to make some traditional Croatian cuisine. Our instructor was great and taught us how to properly prepare everything from dicing up an onion to cutting the head and scales off a fish. The class ended with learning how to make delicious fritters with skuta that were so easy and so good I’ve pulled the recipe for you.
Add another stamp in your passport and head to Bled in Slovenia for the day.
Once you’ve done everything on your list in the city, you can take a day trip to see one of the most photographed places in Croatia, the Plitvice Lakes National Park, or add another stamp in your passport and head to Bled in Slovenia. Both places will not disappoint. If you visit during the busier months, I suggest booking a private tour so you can do everything on your own schedule and spend as much time as you need in each location to make the most out of your vacation!
If you’re looking for something different don’t worry, there almost 200 other countries out there and I’m sure one of them will be a great t and an amazing new experience. Keep exploring and let us know if you’ve found your own hidden gem worth sharing!
Fritters with Skuta
50 g (1.75 oz.) raisins 3 tbsp. of prošek (Dalmatian dessert wine) 300 g (10.5 oz.) skuta (ricotta) 50 g (1.75 oz.) sugar 2 eggs 1 orange 1 lemon 1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon 100 g (3.5 oz.) soft our Frying oil
PREPARATION Soak the raisins in prošek. Mix the skuta (ricotta), sugar, eggs, cinnamon and grated lemon rinds of lemon and orange. Gradually add sieved our to the mix. In the end add raisins with prošek.
Heat up the frying oil well. Use two spoons to put the dough in oil. Turn them during frying to get an even color. Remove the fried fritters with a slotted spoon and put on absorbent paper to remove the excess grease.
If you haven’t stepped inside Easton’s newest steakhouse yet, you’re going to want a reservation. Oak, the four-story restaurant that opened in July 2017, is home to not only some amazing in-house, aged-to-perfection steaks, but also breath taking architecture paired with contemporary rustic design sure to impress.
“Despite the simplicity, it’s amazing how satisfying it is for people, young and old, to eat a good steak.”
The concept of a restaurant in the space first came under construction in the fall of 2015 when owner, Mick Gjevukaj, who also owns River Grille and Ocean, was ready to start his next venture. “After 3 decades spent in restaurants, I have seen trends come and go, but steak and potatoes have stood the test of time. Despite the simplicity, it’s amazing how satisfying it is for people, young and old, to eat a good steak.”, says Mick. With the dream of a steakhouse in a prime location just about 100 yards from the circle and next to the Easton Public Market, Mick’s plan went into action and construction started.
“After the collapse of building, everything ground to a halt and we were faced with the reality that all of our plans, ideas, hopes, dreams, funds, everything was gone.”
Just a few months into the renovation, unexpected delays occurred when a storm rolled in with heavy rain and wind gust collapsing the building. “After the collapse of building, everything ground to a halt and we were faced with the reality that all of our plans, ideas, hopes, dreams, funds, everything was gone. So from nothing we had to start over and build something strong and powerful that could withstand anything that came its way. As the proverb says, from the little acorn does the mighty oak grow, and so it did.”, says Mick, and we couldn’t agree more. When you first enter what now is Oak, you can’t help but me taken back by the beautiful structure of the building.
As you tour the restaurant from bottom to top, each floor has its own elements that make it unique from the rest. The bottom floor holds a giant oak table in a private room that you can rent out for your next party or event. The wall is lined with a few hundred of the 2,000 bottles of wine that can be found in the restaurant.You can also peer through a window into the dry aging room that holds many of the different cuts of steak you can find on their menu. Above the table hangs a gorgeous chandelier that Mick’s brother, Bekim, custom built for the space. As you walk up the stairs to the main level, don’t miss the wall to your left made entirely of corks Mick collected starting in the 1990’s.
The first floor has everything from exposed beams that date back 100 years to soulful brick walls and even a life sized oak tree climbing up to the second floor making it a great place to sit back and enjoy your meal. It’s hard to imagine there is even more to explore but as you walk back and enjoy the tastefully designed decor lining both walls, you come to an open kitchen where you can watch cooks preparing the delicious dishes, like my personal favorite, the filet mignon and lobster mac and cheese.
Walking up the wooden staircase to your right leads you to the second floor, another space where diners can be seated. If you arrive early for your reservation, you can head up here for a drink at the bar and enjoy a different view of the oak tree and OAK logo painted on the brick wall that overlooks the entryway. As you walk to the back of the second floor, there is another room that can be rented for private events. This room hold a mural that gives tribute to the collapse and rebuild of the building.
It makes the perfect place to enjoy a dessert drink under the stars. The final floor, one of owner Mick’s favorite places, and possibly the most charming, is the rooftop. A glassed-in patio perfect for drinks and small plates is located at the top of the building. With a retractable glass roof, high-top tables and bar, open on weekends, it makes for the perfect place for a dessert drink under the stars.
With all this amazing architecture and decor surrounding you, the perfectly seasoned steaks, seafood and desserts complete the package. With a 4.9 star rating on Google out of nearly 50 reviews, it’s hard to pick favorites from the menu. When we asked Mick to choose his favorite dish, he said “the Kansas City Steak. It’s similar to a NY Strip but with the bone in.” Some of the Home + Table favorites are the charred thick cut bacon, sweet and spicy shrimp, prime let mignon, chicken, sweet potatoes au gratin, skillet cookie for 2 and New York style cheesecake.
Oak is open Thursday–Saturday for dinner starting at 5pm, and Sunday at 4pm. They strongly suggest that guest make reservation, so check your calendar and plan your date for dinner.
Let’s face it—air travel isn’t what it used to be. With interminable security lines, frequent flight delays, and overcrowded planes, flying the “friendly skies” seems to be a thing of the past. Add to that the current climate abroad, and staying close to home is an increasingly appealing option.
By Susan McGrath
Staycation: (added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2009)
noun stay·ca·tion \ˈstā-ˈkā-shən\
definition : a vacation spent at home or nearby
There’s a lot to love in the Lehigh Valley. First stop, Easton. Known for hosting the oldest farmers’ market in the country, this family-friendly town is home to a vibrant culinary and cultural scene.
Not to be missed, every Saturday from 9:00 to 1:00 in the downtown center square is the famed Easton Farmers’ Market. Running continuously since 1752, the open-air market operates rain or shine from May to December, making it easy and fun to shop local and eat fresh. Organic produce, baked goods, a variety of farm-to-table prepared foods, live music, and entertainment make this a lively and delectable destination. Tip–get there early to avoid parking problems.
Summer Easton Market Days July 29 – 11th Annual Zucchini 500 August 5 – Peach Day August 19 – Tomato Day
Next to the farmers’ market is the Easton Public Market, an indoor culinary and shopping space that houses 15 vendors and an adorable activity area for the kids, the “Little Sprouts Play Zone”. The place is abuzz with cooking demonstrations, workshops, tastings and classes, and, of course, tempting treats to satisfy your taste buds. Tip–come hungry.
After you’ve indulged (or overindulged) at the Market District, take a stroll, run, or cycle along the Karl Stirner Arts Trail. The 2.5 mile scenic, paved path meanders alongside Bushkill Creek and features more than 15 sculptures by contemporary artists. It is the perfect fusion of art and nature, with its trailhead punctuated by the signature red arch by Karl Stirner.
For indoor family fun, check out the Crayola Experience where the kiddos can stay busy with 26 different attractions and hands-on experiences. Color me happy! The Nurture Nature Center makes environmental education cool for kids and adults alike, spotlighting the famed Sphere globe exhibit, as well as art galleries, docent-led programs, and shows.
For the Gents
Tucked below street level, the Gentlemen’s Barbershop keeps it old school. Owner and master barber Ronald Corales and his experienced team promise precision cuts and stellar service. Try a hot shave and haircut—you won’t be disappointed.
If Easton is the cool, hipster kid, then Bethlehem is his classically beautiful older sister. Founded on Christmas Eve 275 years ago, Bethlehem is much more than just the “Christmas City”–it is a place rich in culture and history.
Saunter down Main Street, take in the stately, historic Hotel Bethlehem.Shop in the many boutiques and peruse the vast variety of books, home decor, Christmas ornaments, and gifts at the famous and expansive Moravian Book Store.
Bethlehem Summer Festivals Blueberry Festival – July 15 & 16 Celebrating all things blueberry, this family-fun festival at the Burnside Plantation has everything from culinary and pie-eating contests to craft blueberry brews, live music, a pet parade, colonial crafts and games, and an animal presentation from the Wildlands Conservancy.Musikfest – August 4-13 This star-studded music festival is one of the largest in the country, with 500-plus shows on 14 stages over 10 days. This year’s lineup ranges from legends like Santana and Chicago to country favorites Toby Keith and The Band Perry and everything in-between.
With more than 80 restaurants and outdoor cafes in historic Bethlehem offering foods from every ethnicity, there is something to please every palate. We love the Apollo Grille for a leisurely meal downtown. But for a fine dining experience, hop in the car and head to Bolete. Located in a former Stagecoach Inn between Bethlehem and Allentown, it is consistently ranked as the best in the Lehigh Valley.
The former site of Bethlehem Steel (the second largest steel manufacturer in the country) has been reborn as the SteelStacks. The ten-acre campus is dedicated to arts, culture, family events, community celebrations, education and entertainment—putting on more than 1,000 concerts and eight different festivals, including the Yuengling Summer Concert Series, every year.
It might come as a surprise that Allentown is the third largest city in Pennsylvania. Not only is the revitalized downtown full of museums, historical sights, and cultural attractions, but Allentown also boasts more parkland per capita than any other city its size in the US.
For fun with the kiddos, head to Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom. There are more than 100 rides and attractions, including eight roller coasters, and one of the country’s top-ranked water parks on over 200 acres.
If you have a budding scientist in the family, be sure to check out the Da Vinci Science Center. The hands-on exhibits include a dark tunnel maze, KEVA plank design studio, animation station, marine tank, windy hurricane simulator, and much more.
Yuengling Summer Concert Series Hunter Hayes, July 13th Old Dominion, August 27th
At the PPL center, you can catch a Lehigh Valley Phantoms hockey game or enjoy marquis-name concerts or family favorites like Disney on Ice or Sesame Street Live.
For a little culture, visit the Allentown Art Museum.The museum’s collection of more than 17,000 works of art includes European Old Master paintings and the Frank Lloyd Wright Library (from the Francis W. Little House, designed by the famous architect), It is considered to be an important regional art institution.
For a bite to eat in the heart of downtown, The Hamilton offers seasonal American cuisine and right up the street, Grain is a stylish rustic-industrial eatery.
Right in Philadelphia’s backyard lies beautiful Bucks County. Known for its scenic countryside, covered bridges, historic sites, and art and antiques, it is also popular for its emerging wine scene. Take a tour of the wine trail and sample the many wines crafted by the nine local vintners. Tip—plan your trip to enjoy the concerts on Friday nights.
We started our tour of Bucks County in the charming borough of Yardley.
Yardley is a picturesque small town, with lovely Lake Afton at its center and locally owned shops, restaurants, and boutiques within the historic downtown.
At the top of our list for dining is the Continental Tavern, a favorite of locals with a bit of hidden history. During a recent restoration to bring the building back to its 1877 glory, a cylindrical stone tunnel burrowed deep into the ground was discovered. Historians believe the building was part of the Underground Railroad, and the tunnel was its link with other stations in Yardley. In addition, a chamber was found in the basement beneath the kitchen. Inside were more than 10,000 empty whiskey bottles from the Prohibition era, many of which are now artfully displayed in the restaurant.
Fast forward to 2017 and this inviting tavern has a wide offering of draught beers, and is the perfect place to take in your sporting event of choice. For alfresco dining, a spacious outdoor porch overlooking Lake Afton provides a scenic vista.
When you’re ready to relax, Face & Body Spa is the place to find your zen. Enjoy one of their many pampering treatments like the aromatic massage. Their professional, friendly staff uses only natural or vegan product lines and will leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready for more exploring.
Be sure to stop by Yardley General—it’s not your grandmother’s general store. With high-end local products, specialty foods, and award-winning wine from Bucks County’s own Sand Castle Winery, we wanted to browse a while. Want to sip while you shop? It’s encouraged here. We say, yes, please!
One of Bucks County’s most idyllic Main Streets is in the bustling little town on the Delaware river, New Hope. There’s a lot to take in, with galleries, eclectic shops, restaurants, and of course, the famous Bucks County Playhouse.
Located on the site of a former grist mill on the banks of the Delaware River, the historic playhouse underwent a complete restoration in 2012. Known as “America’s Most Famous Summer Theater”, all of the Broadway luminaries have performed there, as it is truly a stepping stone to the Great White Way. Don’t miss this for top notch entertainment.
If you’re in the mood for adventure, try tubingdown Delaware—it’s really a leisurely float down a nine mile stretch — or rent a canoe or kayak, and enjoy the scenery from the water. You can also cycle or stroll along the 61-mile long canal towpath where mules once pulled barges along the river, and now bald eagles can be seen nesting.
Frenchtown Festivals: Bastille Day – July 15th Riverfest – September 3rd
On the restaurant scene is standout Marsha Brown, located in a 125 year old stone church in the center of downtown. With 40-foot ceilings, antique furnishings, and stained glass windows, it would be worth a visit even if they didn’t have the best steaks in town. They don’t just cater to carnivores, though — fish is delivered fresh daily and they have a premier raw bar.
Another place worth mentioning is the beautiful historic stone Inn at Phillips Mill for a romantic French dining experience. Tip—it is byob and they only accept cash.
We took a detour across the Delaware out of Bucks County and wandered into New Jersey, to scout around Frenchtown. Situated on the Delaware River, the quaint town is home to art galleries, specialty shops, and restaurants.
Our favorite finds were Dalla Terra for its for its fabulous and unusual home goods and The Book Garden—a quirky, yet delightful bookstore taking residence in a house. Yes, there were even books in the kitchen. We were in love!
Be sure to plan a visit to take in Frenchtown’s street fairs and festivals featuring great food, art, music, and theater.
The Pocono Mountains
The Pocono Mountains are a paradise for nature lovers, with an abundance of rivers, streams, lakes, and woodlands to enjoy. The rolling hills and pristine waters are perfect for hiking, cycling, fishing, camping, rafting and virtually any outdoor activity you can imagine.
The natural beauty found in the Poconos extends to the more than 30 golf courses, making them a popular destination. Among the best is Jack Nicklaus’ signature golf course at Great Bear Golf and Country Club. Buck Hill Golf Club is a 27-hole classic Donald Ross design featuring undulating greens that challenge the most skilled player. Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort was a favorite of Jackie Gleason, and Skytop Lodge never disappoints with its majestic mountain views.
The Poconos are also home to Stroudsburg, full of small-town charm, and host to farmers markets, racing, and festivals galore.
One of the premier events of the summer is The Pocono Music Festival (formerly the Buck Hill Skytop Music Festival). Founded in 2009, the festival showcases seasoned and up-and-coming performers, including chamber music, cabaret, jazz, pop, and musical theater. The festival’s education program offers local students the opportunity to study and perform with professional musicians. In partnership with NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, the festival will be presenting a new theatrical work—Danny and the Rocket, a musical by Casey O’Neil and Marella Martin Koch premiering on August 4th. This year’s season kicks off on July 28th with The Music Man, and runs through August 6th.
The oldest continuously running jazz club, The Deer Head Inn, isn’t in New Orleans as you might expect, but in the Poconos, in the Delaware Water Gap. The jazz scene there is big and has given rise to the the Delaware Water Gap Celebration of the Arts (COTA), which is putting on its 40th Annual Jazz Festival this year. The festival will take place September 8-10 with live performances at three venues, the Main Stage across from “the hill” on Delaware Avenue, the Hall at Castle Inn, and the the Deer Head Inn across the street from the main stage.
The Mount Airy Casino is a popular spot for a little gambling and some great entertainment. So if you’re unlucky at the blackjack table, don’t despair—concerts scheduled this summer include Smokey Robinson and 3 Doors Down, as well as comedians Andrew Dice Clay and Artie Lange.
Poconos Summer Events
Pocono’s Wurst Festival – July 22 & 23
Audubon Art and Craft Festival – July 22 & 23
Pocono Music Festival – July 28-August 6
Pennsylvania 400 at the Pocono Raceway – July 30th
Carbon County Fair – August 7-12
155th Annual Wayne County Fair – August 4-12
Sweet Corn and BBQ Festival – August 12 & 13
ABC Supply 500 Race – August 19 & 20
The West End Fair – August 20-26
Pocono State Craft Festival – August 26 & 27
COTA 40th Annual Jazz Festival – September 8-10
Tucked in the rolling hills of New Jersey’s horse country, the bucolic Bedminster Township is home to riding trails, trout streams, parklands—and, of course, a certain president’s golf course and vacation retreat, now dubbed “the summer White House”.
In this quiet, affluent suburb an hour west of Manhattan, there are expansive horse farms everywhere the eye can see, and most of the beautiful estates have green lawns spanning more than five acres. Some roads remain unpaved to accommodate the area’s fox hunts. Yes, living in Bedminster is lovely, unless you happen to be a fox. Or you are stuck in traffic when President Trump is in residence.
The grand estate once belonging to Hassan II, the late King of Morocco is now home to a
fabulous farm-to-table restaurant, Ninety Acres, which has its own 12-acre sustainable farm right on the estate. The property also has magnificent trails throughout, running alongside the North Branch of the Raritan River, through beautiful wooded areas and across meadows where you can walk, jog, bike, or horseback ride and take in the splendor of the surroundings.
Photos by Jennie Finken, Andrew Larsen and Rick Newman
In a unique home with more than its fair share of nooks, every one comes with an inspiring view of the unspoiled setting.
By Scott Edwards
Location: Ottsville, Bucks County Price: $2.2 million
When New York interior designer Laura Bohn, dubbed “the queen of soft modern” by Interior Design magazine, renovated this 50-year-old home in 2012, she capitalized on the countless interesting nooks and vantages of the surrounding landscape. The home is tucked into a hillside on over 13 acres of rolling terrain, not far from Lake Nockamixon.
The step-down great room and dining room, made even greater by a cathedral ceiling and fireplaces on each end, share views of the sprawling, partially wooded valley, complete with a pond, through a series of floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors. There’s still another fireplace in the neighboring living room.
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It’s the kitchen, however, that serves as the home’s most attractive landing spot, because of both its sheer size—37 feet by 23 feet—and attractiveness. A bank of windows and two sets of glass doors floods the open space with sunlight and enables the patio to become an extension in the warm-weather months. In the dead of summer, a pitched-roof screened porch sits just through the mudroom. At the center of the kitchen, sits a T-shaped island with a white Corian countertop that features seating for five, a five-burner gas range, a double sink and a large walnut cutting board.
The cathedral ceilings run throughout all three of the bedrooms, as do skylights and custom built-ins. Each also has its own full bathroom. And over the three-car garage, there’s a billiards room that doubles as an office. With an inspiring view, of course.
The wind chill may be hovering in the single digits, but there’s no reason it can’t be 70 and sunny inside.
By Scott Edwards
Repeat after us: March is a mindset. Start incorporating brighter colors and the warm thoughts will follow.
As I started in on the knee-high, hardened slush at the front of the driveway, and entered my third hour of shoveling, a neighbor walked by and said, “This is payback, right?” All I could do was grunt. Literally. The moment I stepped into the street, out of the protection of the hedges, I was blasted by the wind. Clamping my teeth together felt like the only thing keeping me grounded. Or maybe it was just the last part of me to seize up.
Tuesday’s sleet-storm was just the latest reason why March is my least favorite month. It arrives with all the promise of that first hit of unseasonable warmth, only to revert back to its insecure self, abuse every last ounce of its power and drag out its reign.
But, numb as I was, I realized something significant Tuesday afternoon: March is a mindset. It’s never a good time to lose three hours of your life to shoveling snow, but it’s especially demoralizing when you thought winter was behind you. And well it should be. So let’s jumpstart spring on our own. For the time being, we can’t do much about the black ice and the massive snow banks, but we can change the scenery inside.
A simple-but-effective move: Swap out your table linens. We’re partial to Izy and Oly, a vibrant, made-to-order line that Keri Bass launched a few years back in a small room in her Berwyn home. (As of this writing, she had just upgraded to a much larger room.)
Hone in on the reversible placemat, because a table where everything matches will only appeal to our mothers. For the upcoming holidays, pair a set of the muted-blue hexagon, medium-weight linen placemats with the floral cloth napkins. The colors are bright without being overbearing, the designs, clearly not mass-produced. And for all the hours in between meals, throw on a lime table runner and a simple glass vase filled with a handful of fresh-cut, red tulips. You’ll be surprised with how often you find yourself stopping to smell them. Which is kind of the point here.
This coveted residency is why a Philly designer may be mainstream fashion’s next household name. By Jenna Knouse
Incubator. Say it five times fast. Want a challenge? Define it. Just kidding. Don’t. That’s why Google exists. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I picture words. Tractor? A John Deere. Neighbor? The old man with the fuzzy cow. Incubator? A chick hatchery. Pardon, my country roots are showing.
The new class, from left: Janell Wysock, Christie Sommers, Jessica Joy London, Latasha Hall, Amy Voloshin and Sara Keel.
But, that’s just my mental image. Incubators don’t have to be peep hatcheries. The Philadelphia Fashion Incubator reboots this month, and it’s hatching a different type of chick. This year’s class, its sixth, is comprised entirely of women.
Pause. Rewind. What’s the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator, again? It’s an annual 12-month residency for six designers committed to growing their labels in the Philadelphia area. The program nurtures business awareness through networking, seminars and access to resources.
“I hear them talking about their brands and think, I remember saying the same stuff, saying I’m going to do this and that,” laughs Conrad Booker (conradbooker), a graduate of the incubator’s last session. “These industry professionals come in, and they kick you in the face.” Figuratively, of course. And it’s all for the greater good.
“Being at the incubator, I changed in ways I wouldn’t have without the program,” says Nigel Richards (611 Lifestyle), another grad from the last session. “Whether I would have quit or gone a different direction, I don’t know. But, I’m grateful for the path the program’s put me on.”
The incubator’s designers-in-residence benefit from exclusive access to resources and decision-makers that can mean all the difference in making it and not.
An opportunity to change direction, that’s what the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator provides. It turns side jobs into careers, chicks into hens. How, exactly? Well, the curriculum is fluid, says executive director Elissa Bloom. It’s tailored to cater to the strengths and weaknesses of the current class. The designers themselves decide on their goals, and the incubator catalyzes the process to achieving them.
Where keeping it local is a prerequisite for the designers-in-residence, it’s becoming a more devout interest with each new class. Early on, it was meant to seed an arid scene. But now it’s evolved to become part of a larger consciousness.
“It is exciting to see our designers’-in-residence commitment to manufacture in Philadelphia and keep it all local. From the production of their collections to using local photographers and printers for marketing, they are the future, and making an impact on revitalizing the region’s once-thriving fashion sector,” Bloom says. “It is inspiring to see many of them focused on sustainability and zero-waste design and how creating social impact companies are a core part of their business models and brand DNA.”
Eveningwear and wedding dress designer Latasha Hall’s roots go hand-in-hand with her ambition. “My aunt’s best friend taught me how to sew my first outfit in fourth grade,” she says. “Since then, I couldn’t stay away from the machine.”
Still, in this industry, passion, and talent, for that matter, will only carry you so far. To advance beyond that ceiling requires access to an inside track that eludes even the most promising designers. The incubator won’t place you there, but it’ll load up your arsenal so that you stand a better chance of discovering it—or it discovering you—on your own.
Which is why the incubator has come to represent a sort of safe haven for its designers, who have already sacrificed much in pursuit of innovation. Sara Keel left her 11-year gig in corporate fashion to turn her hobby into something real. And Amy Voloshin started using her formidable print company as a springboard to craft her own designs.
Christie Sommers believes in zero-waste. She uses straight-stitch sewing, a Japanese technique, to minimize it. While knitwear designer Janell Wysock employs yarn bits in her up-cycled pieces. Jessica Joy London isn’t far removed from their spirit. She paints silks with organic patterns to encourage connection with nature.
Together, they make for a vivid vision of the future that, at this rate, appears likely to include a local designer among the household labels.
Inclined as we are to fixate on spring, there are a few awkward weeks to get through first.
Transitions are awkward. Remember middle school? I looked like a poodle with an ‘80s blowout and ducked into bathrooms to avoid boyfriends. (Truthfully, my dating habits haven’t changed since.)
Skip to adulthood, and seasonal gaps—you know, the time between seasons when it looks like we dressed without contacts, mirrors and weather apps—are the new middle school. But, they don’t have to be.
Pre-fall and resort fashion exist to make seasonal gaps less gappy. They’re the bridge between and a sneak peak of the major seasons. (Cough. Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. Cough, cough). My point? Your Turks and Caicos garb shouldn’t go bye-bye after you return to reality. Here’s how to combine resort with spring to smoothly transition from one season to the next. —Jenna Knouse
Photos courtesy Moda Operandi (trousers, sweater and mules) and Farfetch (Backpack, jacket and sunglasses)