The League of American Bicyclists proclaims Delaware the third “most bike-friendly state in the country.” If that’s the case, may I never be on my bike in any of the states ranked below the Top 20.
To say Delaware is bike friendly is like saying because you throw your plastic bottles in a recycle bin you’re an environmentalist. Sure, we’ve built hundreds of miles of bike paths over the past decade, and more are in the planning stage. We also have some wonderful group rides that welcome riders from near and far—Bike to the Bay, Amish Bike Tour, Delaware Gran Fondo.
We passed the three-foot passing law way back in 2011, which basically tells motorists who approach a cyclist traveling in the same direction: “Proceed with caution and reduce the speed of the vehicle to a safe speed and leave a reasonable and prudent distance by providing a minimum of three feet of clearance while passing such bicyclist, if changing lanes would be impossible or unsafe.”
But as a driver, did you even know about this legislation? Have you ever seen a road sign reinforcing it, much less know someone who received a ticket for violating a bike-safety statute?
Sure, we’ve made strides toward being bike tolerant. But bike friendly? Hardly.
I recently had the pleasure of visiting Montreal. My son will be attending college at McGill University this fall and I can’t wait —to visit him and take a bike ride in this wonderful city, that is.
Now, Montreal is a place that can boast of being bike friendly and it doesn’t come off like Donald Trump proclaiming to be a “great negotiator.” Bike share racks are everywhere, many streets have dedicated lanes for cyclists (protected by Jersey barriers and providing dedicated lanes in both directions), and a cyclist’s right to be on the road is respected throughout the city—bike lane or not. In fact, considering traffic and the omnipresent road construction, a bicycle is often the most efficient means of getting around in Montreal. So, people on bikes are everywhere.
However, being bike friendly is about more than laws and infrastructure. It’s a recognition that bikes belong, a viewpoint sorely lacking in Delaware and every state ranked behind us. To many motorists, people on bikes are an inconvenience. How dare we think we should share the road with cars and trucks.
Studies say there is safety in numbers. The more people we have riding bikes the more we’ll raise awareness, and reinforce our right to share the roads. OK, but we need more than that. We need an aggressive and uncompromising PR/lobbying campaign. We need a movement like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
Legislation outlawing driving under the influence existed long before MADD, but until the Texas-based non-profit began creating powerful commercials and PR campaigns, before they started a relentless attack on legislators, drunk driving laws were not aggressively enforced. Today, MADD is credited with reducing deaths by drunk driving by half in the U.S., and the organization is responsible for having mandatory all-offender alcohol interlock (car breathalyzers) laws passed in 25 states.
Cycling needs to take a page out of the MADD playbook. Hell, let’s take the whole playbook.
How about Riders Against Getting Eliminated (RAGE)? Time to put the pedal to the metal, so to speak.
Firefly Music Festival, the East Coast’s largest music and camping festival, has taken fan engagement and interaction to a new level. Through a variety of consumer-focused initiatives, including fan surveys, votes and contests, Firefly has become the first-ever fan-curated music festival.
Since the festival’s inception in 2012, the organization has embraced fan feedback regarding the acts they would most want to take stage at The Woodlands in Dover. This which has directly impacted the lineup each year. Moving forward, Firefly organizers will be incorporating fan feedback into additional major decisions and changes for the festival. Examples of fan voting options include the lineup, merchandise designs and products, attractions, cocktails and food, camping and festival amenities, and more.
This summer’s Firefly is June 15-18 at The Woodlands. Ticket sales and the lineup will be announced soon. Four-day general admission passes will go on sale at the initial price of $289 and VIP at $699. General tent camping will start at $169.
To create a profile and begin voting on a variety of attractions and topics for Firefly 2017, fans can head to FireflyFestival.com and view the Community Page.
A Neil Young Tribute
On Sunday, Jan. 15, at World Cafe Live at The Queen, tribute band Broken Arrow will play the music of Neil Young—both the electric guitar-driven favorites and the country flavored classics with pedal steel and acoustic guitar. Veteran Philadelphia rockers Joe Mass, Larry Freedman and Danny Gold promise “good old Neil with some improvisational interstellar jamming and a few very cool departures and side trips,” according to their website.
Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8. Tickets are $12 in advance and $14 day of show. Visit worldcafelive.com for more information.
Donny McCaslin Comes to Town
Saxophonist Donny McCaslin and his band—the Donny McCaslin Group—are coming to Arden Gild Hall on Saturday, Jan. 14. The band is featured on the David Bowie album Blackstar, which has garnered significant worldwide acclaim since its release last January. A three-time Grammy nominee for Best Instrumental Jazz Solo, McCaslin was raised in Santa Cruz, Calif. After playing in his father’s band as a teenager, he attended Berklee College of Music and, in his senior year, joined the Gary Burton Quintet. From there he toured with various artists and received dozens of awards while recording 11 CDs.
The Jan. 14 show is at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 for members and $25 for general admission. The concert also features Tim Lefebvre, Mark Guiliana and Jason Lindner.
Pressing Strings at Grain
Pressing Strings, a trio based out of Annapolis, Md., blends American roots, blues, folk, rock and reggae. They’ll be at Grain Craft Bar + Kitchen in Newark on Saturday, Jan. 7. The music stems from lead singer Jordan Sokel’s bluesy and soulful songwriting and is firmly anchored by drummer Brandon Bartlett and bassist Nicholas Welker. The band released two recordings last year, Five from Three (March), a five-track EP done mostly live with minimal overdubbing, and Most Of Us (summer) on which the band teamed up with producer Scott Jacoby (John Legend, Jose James, Vampire Weekend) and engineer/producer Neil Dorfsman (Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits, Bob Dylan).
Local jazz, blues and funk quartet Ace of Hearts is performing Thursday, Jan. 19, at Gallucio’s Restaurant at 1709 Lovering Ave., Wilmington, from 8 to 11 p.m. The group melds guitars with electric bass and drums. Ron Sherr is on guitar and vocals, Dillingham McDaniel plays electric bass, Harry Spencer is saxophonist and Desmond Kahn plays drums. Check the band’s Facebook page—The Ace of Hearts Delaware—for more upcoming appearances.
The pedigree of In The Heart of the Sea would appear fool-proof: a competent cast, with Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland and Ben Whishaw; a true adventure story that had already inspired Moby-Dick, and the Oscar-winning directorial vision of Ron Howard.
Although exquisitely photographed, Sea sadly sinks under its own ponderous weight as it rehashes any number of prior sailing and shipwreck epics. More problematic for this whaling story is the evolved mores of its audience. In 21st century America, it is difficult, if not impossible, to make heroes out of men who hunt these magnificent creatures for glory and profit. Whaling may have been a noble and economically crucial profession in early American history; but to modern eyes, it’s simply barbaric. And it certainly is no longer satisfying as entertainment.
Critic’s Note: There has been a lot of media coverage in recent months about the lack of roles for women, both in front of and behind the camera. I mention that now because these two major studio films featured only a small number of roles for women; none were of narrative consequence, and one involved a bubble bath. Although I can do little to change this sorry situation, I can at least call attention to it.
Cocina Lolo Sangria Cocktails
Since Cocina opened (the newest culinary baby of Bryan and Andrea Sikora, located at 405 N. King St.), they’ve enjoyed a great dinner buzz. But I feel everyone should know they also have a terrific at-bar Happy Hour too (Tuesday-Friday, 4-6 p.m., with $5 classic margaritas, $3 cervezas and $2 tacos). Above all that, my favorite new thing is their homemade BLANCO (white) Y TINTO (red) sangrias: Spanish wines mixed with oodles of brandy-soaked fruits and a touch of Cointreau—the perfect “something new” for your everyday HH party. P.S., also try their mushroom fundido for another something new.
— Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald, Contributing Writer
Hop Sing Laundromat in Philly
The best bar within 100 miles of where you are right now. It’s this crazy hidden speakeasy in Chinatown. You give a big, scary, ex-football pro your ID when you buzz in. He disappears for an uncomfortable amount of time, then returns to read you the rules. Sneakers or jeans? Don’t even bother knocking. Take a photo, even with your phone, and you get kicked to the curb. But man, the drinks…I recently had the Funkify Your Life (Thai pepper with gin, ginger liquor, mint and lemon juice), which is so spicy if it touches your lips you are toast. But it is all delicious and worth the dance, whatever your poison.
— Joe del Tufo, Contributing Photographer
Narragansett Allie’s Donuts Chocolate Porter
I have a love/hate relationship with chocolate beers. Simultaneously, they’re my most favored and most detested brews. This beer is sweet as expected, and proves to be light, uncharacteristic of many chocolate-based batches. I found my pack of six at Inner Spirits in Trolley Square.
— Ryan Alexander, Contributing Designer
Wine & Cider-making
Creative Director Matt Loeb and I have always suggested home brewing beer in O&A Worth Trying editions, but each time we try to offer something different. This past fall, I tried my hand at making hard cider with locally-sourced apple cider from Highland Orchards. Everyone who had a chance to try it fell in love with it, and making hard cider is much easier than home-brewing beer. With wine or cider-making, you cut out the actual “brewing” part and just add some yeast to your “juice,” let it sit and follow regular home brewing procedures.
— Tyler Mitchell, Graphic Designer
Born in moonshine country, this American single malt whisky was a spontaneous buy at Frank’s Wine. I finally tried it and was pleasantly surprised. It’s obvious that Blue Ridge Distillery mastered this blend before it hit the bottle and the shelves. It’s the perfect sipper to enjoy with holiday guests.
— Matt Loeb, Creative Director & Production Manager
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout
The eerie mystic on the label of California’s North Coast Brewing Co.’s Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout is anything but welcoming. But the bitter brew, an enigmatic blend of coffee, dark cocoa and dark malts, is rich and smooth. At 9 percent ABV, it’s one to sip slow and savor.
— Krista Connor, Associate Editor
Aperol Spritz at Capers & Lemons
I’m typically a beer and red wine drinker, but at our office holiday party at Capers & Lemons I was in the mood for something different. They had lots of delightful looking options, but our server recommended the Aperol Spritz: prosecco, aperol (an Italinan liquer made with bitter orange and rhubarb), club soda, and a splash of fresh orange juice. It was delicious! Exactly the festive-type cocktail I had in mind.
— Marie Graham, Director of Digital Media
Dark and Stormy
A colleague introduced me to this concoction during a recent holiday dinner. Trust me, I will be having another. Created with Crabbie’s ginger beer, Gosling’s Black Seal Bermuda dark rum, and a twist of lime, the drink has a nice bite, is not too sweet, and the perfect option when you’re looking for a break from a filling craft beer or glass of wine.
— Jerry duPhily, Publisher
Swigg – Wine, Craft Beer & Artisan Spirits
Located in Independence Mall, David Govatos’ new shop is both stylish and thoroughly engaging for the adult beverage aficionado. It focuses on lesser known producers from all over the world, quality products are offered at very competitive pricing. One wall features an ever-changing roster of 15 red wines and 15 whites, all under $15. If craft beer is your thing, craft is all they sell. An impressive collection of local, regional and other quality American brews are chilled and ready for a session with the crew. And an outstanding selection of premium artisanal spirits make excellent gifts or additions to your liquor cabinet or winter sipping list. Located at 1601 Concord Pike, Wilmington.
Welcome to our sixth annual Worth Trying Issue. Though we feature Worth Trying suggestions monthly, each January we devote much of the magazine to personal recommendations from staff, contributors and friends of Out & About. These suggestions on where and what to eat, drink, see and do are scattered throughout these pages, interspersed with our usual assortment of feature stories, news items and other fun stuff.
Enjoy, and have a very happy New Year!
Trolley Grooming Lounge
Technically, this isn’t from me, it’s from my hubby. On a tip from our bestie living in “Trolleywood,” Scott visited Trolley Grooming Lounge for a quick haircut. He loved the stylists and the chill atmosphere. It’s become location of choice for all his ‘scaping needs. (And it’s not just for the boys. Gals are welcome too, and they now have their own product line.) Best of all, it comes with the “MKF Seal of Approval.” You can “like” them on Facebook at Trolley Grooming Lounge.
— Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald, Contributing Writer
The Central YMCA
This time of year we all make resolutions to get in better shape, so if joining a fitness center is in your plans, pay a visit to the Central YMCA. Though the facility has been serving the Wilmington community since 1929, the fitness center is state-of-the-art, offering 96 high-end workout machines in an invigorating setting accented by a giant glass wall that overlooks 12th Street. But what’s unique about the Central Y is its egalitarian feel. One day you’ll be working out next to a U.S. Senator, the next day you’ll be sweating it out with your mailman.
— Jerry duPhily, Publisher
REI (Recreation Equipment Inc.), Christiana Fashion Center
When REI opened its voluminous (23,500 square feet) Christiana store earlier this fall, outdoor cognoscenti anticipated a serious dose of “wilderness porn.” The store does not disappoint. Although many sporting goods stores carry basic hiking, camping, and other outdoor gear, REI focuses exclusively on those pursuits with a larger and more varied selection of clothing and goods. The store also offers seasonal classes, trips, and bike repairs. An added benefit: REI provides a low-cost membership that gives discounts and an annual rebate based on one’s purchases.
— Mark Fields, Movie Reviewer
Himalayan Salt Lamp
These are big, hollow salt crystals that are mined from underground salt mines in the Himalayan Mountains with a light bulb inserted in the middle. People claim they can neutralize pollutants in the air caused by electronics, like TVs and computer screens, by emitting negative ions. They also claim other “benefits,” such as reducing respiratory symptoms and improving mood and creativity. I have one next to my computer screen at work, and one at home in the living room. I’m not too sure how beneficial it’s been to my health, but I think it’s definitely improved my mood and creativity, especially on rainy days. And it looks pretty cool. I got mine at Home Depot.
— Tyler Mitchell, Graphic Designer
I wanted to repaint some of the rooms in my house recently, and in an attempt to save a few bucks I bought paint from Home Depot. What a mistake! It wasn’t too long before I stopped using that stuff and headed down to Shinn’s on Lovering Avenue—where I should have started in the first place. Higher quality paint requires far fewer coats and applies so much better. And when you need advice on the best products for your job, the folks there never steer me wrong.
— Marie Graham, Director of Digital Media
Balance That Body
At 36, it takes more effort to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. A friend and co-worker introduced me to Scott at Balance Strength and Fitness Center and I’ve never felt better. It’s conveniently located at 4th and Greenhill, so I can work a visit into almost any busy day. BalanceFitnessTraining.com.
— Matt Loeb, Creative Director
John Saward, Vice Magazine
I used to write, but I stopped when I started taking photos. Others do it much better. Take Vice Magazine’s John Saward (Google him, but be prepared to lose your afternoon). He’s young, unflaggingly honest and writes these gloriously poetic tantrums. He wrote that American Bro (“The Worst Person In The World”) article that went viral last year. I love everything I’ve read of his, and it’s been a long time since a new voice stopped me. I predict Bob Yearick will hate him because his grammar takes liberties, but they do have their similarities.
— Joe del Tufo, Contributing Photographer
Winterthur Museum Store
This under-the-radar treasure boasts some of the most unique home-decor accessories (and wow-worthy gifts) in the state, but few know it exists—or that Winterthur conveniently allows shoppers to park near the shop instead of taking a shuttle all the way from the visitors’ center.
— Eric Ruth, Contributing Writer
Gloss Hair & Makeup
I have been going to Tateum at Gloss for several years and love her and the salon. They always make you feel and look great. They offer a wide variety of options from wedding services to eyelash extensions. For more information, check out salondelaware.com.
— Kelly Loeb, Account Manager, Catalyst Visuals, LLC
My 2-year-old daughter wanted pink boots for Christmas. I wanted to get her something warm and functional. My research led me to Bogs. The company started in Oregon with a focus on footwear for the farm industry. In addition to being super durable, comfortable, and easy to maneuver in, they are machine washable! After hearing all that, I was sold. So I was even more excited to find out that the company dedicates a portion of its sales to outdoor education and urban farming. I can’t wait to get a pair of my own. (Available online and locally at Trail Creek Outfitters in Glen Mills, Pa.)
— Marie Graham, Director of Digital Media
If you haven’t paid a visit to the up-and-coming little town of Smyrna recently, pick a Friday night and swing by Blue Earl Brewery for some seriously good suds, food truck magic and live music. Things get started at 5 p.m., when the designated food truck or cart (usually Mr. BBQ or The Wise Pig) starts cranking out its wares, followed by local acoustic musicians like Nik Everett and Bruce Anthony, playing from 6-9 p.m. All the while, you’ll be able to drink craft brews like Walking Blues IPA and the Top of the World Imperial Stout. The 45-minute drive from Wilmington is totally worth it.
— Rob Kalesse, Contributing Writer
The Conowingo Dam
A trip to the banks of the Susquehanna River around the Conowingo Dam is an excellent outdoor adventure. Birds, birds and more birds await you. Bald eagles, 11 species of gulls, blue and black-crowned night herons, terns, vultures and osprey all vie for airspace. On good days you can see more than 100 bald eagles soaring in the wind currents. There are parking and viewing spots on the Harford County side of the dam. Dress warm and enjoy the scenery.
— John Murray, Contributing Writer
River Towns Ride
Cyclists are discovering that the 10-mile stretch of road between historic New Castle and historic Delaware City is a great circuit. Both ends of the route offer fantastic views of the Delaware River, it’s mostly flat, the majority of the road is recently paved, and a wide shoulder complete with sharrows (bike path designations) allows riders to feel safe. You can do the official River Towns Ride the first Saturday in October…or you can check out the ride on your own. rivertownsride.com.
— Jerry duPhily, Publisher
The Restaurant Depot
Opened last February, this big-lots food wholesaler targets restaurant owners, but membership is open to owners of any business. Just provide your EIN (employer identification number) for your free membership card, and start shopping instantly. Imagine paying wholesale for items like whole beef tenderloins and pork rib racks, an extensive selection of fresh produce, frozen hors d’oeuvres, dairy, dry goods, even paper and chemical products for the kitchen, home or small business. Located at 200 Cornell Rd., Wilmington, it’s part of a chain of stores open in 34 states and first in Delaware.
— Chef Robert Lhulier
Francesca’s for Accessories
This Greenville shop is my favorite go-to when I need jaunty, fun baubles (earrings, necklaces, etc.) for dress-up or if I need a new swag bag, tote, or wallet. The staff is friendly, fun and helpful, and I always seem to walk out with something cool…mostly just what I was looking for, but also things I never knew I wanted!
— Michelle Kramer-Fitzgerald, Contributing Writer
After the crazy holiday time, do yourself a favor and head to Pure Yoga in Trolley Square for a yoga, Pilates, yoga/Pilates fusion or barre class. This intimate studio allows you to practice in a class where the teachers are able to be attentive to your needs. I love this place and its teachers. For more information about class times and schedules visit pureyogapilatesstudio.com.
— Kelly Loeb, Account Manager, Catalyst Visuals, LLC
Look for more Worth Trying suggestions throughout this issue!
Say farewell to cabin fever with this collection of classes, exhibitions, performing arts, and more
Ushering in post-holiday doldrums and cooped-up blues, winter is arguably one of the dreariest times of year. But fear not: we’ve compiled a list of fun indoor options to get you off the couch and out of the house. From concerts to children’s activities to beer-or-wine-and-yoga sessions (yes, you read that right), we’ve got every taste covered.
Floral Fun at Longwood Gardens
At Longwood Gardens, winter is far from bleary, thanks in part to the annual Orchid Extravaganza, on view this season free with Gardens admission from Jan. 23-March 27. The Conservatory transforms into a tropical oasis featuring Longwood’s largest and most diverse display of orchids ever.
For a personal challenge, try the Botanical Illustration Studio. Use your artistic skills to illustrate plants and flowers from Longwood’s greenhouses and grounds. The studio time gives you a chance to receive individual attention, constructive suggestions, and encouragement. Work at your own pace on your project, large or small, surrounded by fellow artists. This is a six-session course, on Mondays from 12:30-3 p.m., Jan 4-Feb. 8.
Johnny Gallagher at The Queen
Wilmington native Johnny Gallagher—musician, award-winning actor and Broadway performer—will come to World Cafe Live at The Queen on Friday, Jan. 22, to showcase his singer-songwriter skills.
His debut album, Six Day Hurricane, is set to be released Jan. 15 via Rockwood Music Hall Recordings. The first single of the album, “Two Fists Full,” is available through Soundcloud.
The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15-$25.
For those up for a jaunt to New York City, Gallagher can be seen on Broadway in the Roundabout Theater Company production of Long Day’s Journey Into Night starting in March.
The Musical Box: Recreation of Genesis’ Foxtrot
In 1972, the English rock band Genesis toured to promote their fourth album, Foxtrot. The first concert on the tour began a trend of combining music and theatre.
The Musical Box—a Sunday, Jan. 17, performance at the Grand’s Copeland Hall—undertakes the reproduction of the original concert to give people an illusion of being at the actual Genesis show. Visual reconstruction of the show is based on photos and slides of the original concerts, magazine articles and first-hand experiences. Tickets are $32-$39.
Cinderella at the baby grand
First State Ballet Theatre—Delaware’s professional ballet company—presents Cinderella, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 20-21, at the baby grand in Wilmington. The classic fairy tale with the ultimate happy ending is told with wit and elegance. Tickets begin at $14 for students ages 18 and under. Senior, group and military discounts are available. The performance starts at 7 p.m. on Feb. 20 and 2 p.m. on Feb. 21.
Wine, Cheese & Honey Pairings at Penns Woods Winery
Penns Woods Winery in Chadds Ford, Pa. is teaming up with local cheese and honey artisans to bring exclusive wine, cheese, and honey pairing events on select dates (Jan. 9, 10, 16, 17, 23, 24, 30 and 31). Indulge in a sit-down pairing of five premium Penns Woods wines matched with various cheeses and honey from local farms. Admission is $28; reservations are required. Live music is on Jan. 9, 16, 23, and 30 from 2-5 p.m.
Contact Penns Woods at 610-459-0808 to make a reservation.
Great Balls of Fire!
From Feb. 6-May 30, the Great Balls of Fire! exhibit at Delaware Museum of Natural History explores the pop culture fascination of a catastrophic impact from an asteroid or comet. If there was a dinosaur-killer in earth’s past, is there a human-killer in our future? The exhibit asks: What are the chances and how do we assess the risks? For that matter, what are asteroids, comets, and meteorites, and where do they come from?
Chicago—The Musical at The Playhouse Chicago – The Musical has it all: a universal tale of fame, fortune and “all that jazz,” one show-stopping song after another, and fantastic dancing. The award-winning show is coming to The Playhouse Feb. 23-28. Based on a 1926 play of the same name by reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins, it’s based on actual criminals and crimes she covered. A satire on corruption in the administering of criminal justice, the performance explores the concept of the “celebrity criminal.”
Poetry in Beauty: the Art of Marie Spartali Stillman
Marie Spartali Stillman (1844-1927), one of a small number of professional female artists working in the second half of the 19th century, was an important presence in the Victorian art world of her time and closely affiliated with members of the Pre-Raphaelite circle. Poetry in Beauty, the first retrospective exhibit of Spartali Stillman’s work, runs through Jan. 31 at Delaware Art Museum. In addition to approximately 50 of her pieces, works from public and private collections in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, many of which have not been exhibited since Spartali Stillman died, will also be on view. After the exhibition, her art will be transported overseas and on view at the Watts Gallery in Guildford, England, through June 5.
Winter Classes & Fun at CCArts
Center for the Creative Arts in Yorklyn offers a bounty of fun and productive wintertime activities. First up, “Ballet for Adults” runs Tuesdays (10-11 a.m.) from Jan. 12-March 15. Study under Ballet Master Val Goncharov in these adult classes. Tuesdays (9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.) from Jan. 12-March 1, try your hand at oil painting. Learn basic techniques through demonstrations, discussions and application. Tuition is $184 for members and $204 for non-members. For a one-day class on Saturday, Jan. 9, “Glass Fusion” (9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.) will explore the art of melting glass into designs to create one-of-a-kind pieces. Create a sun-catcher, pendant, tray or dish using glass that will be provided. Tuition is $40.
Additionally, try out “Yorklyn Live,” a CCArts Open Mic Night every third Thursday. It’s free, with a cash bar and food. Lastly, a Dinner Theater called “Blind Love” on Saturday, Feb. 6, is about how a blind man sees what a fool does not. People can come for dinner, drinks and dessert. The show is at 7:30 p.m. and tickets, which can be purchased online, are $35.
Call 239-2434 for more information about these activities.
Robots: they’ve explored the far reaches of space, the depths of oceans, and the inner workings of the human body. Now children ages 4-14 can explore robots themselves at Hagley’s Invention Convention, from Jan. 16-18.
The weekend includes robotic demonstrations, hands-on engineering challenges, and in-person conversations with professionals who use robots in their daily work. Visitors will discover how the Wilmington Police Department uses bomb robots to dispose of explosive devices, and guests also will take part in tinkering tables, create-an-invention fun, and a hands-on science fair. Invention Convention will be in Hagley’s Soda House and Library. Admission is $8 and $6 for children. Hagley members and children ages 4 and younger get in free.
Additionally, Hagley features the exhibit “Driving Desire: Automobile Advertising and the American Dream” through autumn. It explores the relationship between automobile advertising and Americans’ car buying decisions. Driving Desire is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Yoga in the Paradocx Tank Room
Uncork, relax and unwind at Paradocx Vineyard in Landenberg, Pa., on two Sundays—Jan. 10 and Jan. 24—for Yoga in the Tank Room at 11 a.m. Your focus will be drawn away from the everyday hustle and bustle with this unique yoga class in the winery tank room. Each class is designed to relax the mind—and open the senses to encourage a mindful wine-tasting experience. Tickets are $25, and the event includes a 60-minute yoga session with wine tastings of four wines to follow. (Bring your own yoga mat.)
Winterthur Book Club & Exhibition
Embrace learning and quality time at Winterthur’s Pages of Time: Mother & Daughter Book & Craft Club. On the first Thursday of each month through May, from 6-8 p.m., this is ideal for book worms and crafty girls in 4th-6th grade. Discussions will revolve around historical fiction books, and there will be tasty snacks and crafts related to the book each month. Tickets are $25 per member adult/child pair; $35 per nonmember pair for the complete seven-month series. Winter dates and books include: Jan. 7, Betsy Zane: The Rose of Fort Henry; Feb. 4, Seaman: The Dog Who Explored the West with Lewis and Clark; March 3, The Smuggler’s Treasure. Call 800-448-3883 to register and for more dates.
Made in the Americas: The New World Discovers Asia, an exhibition running March 26-Jan. 8, 2017, examines the profound influence of Asia on the arts of colonial Americans. This scholarly exhibition is the first Pan-American study to explore how craftsmen across North, Central, and South America adapted Asian styles in a range of media—from furniture to silverwork, textiles, ceramics, and painting.
Delaware Theatre Company Acting Classes
Attention, aspiring actors: ready to take a step in the right direction? Have fun while exploring characters and scenes in a six-week course at Delaware Theatre Company, Sundays from Feb. 7-March 13 (5:15-7:15 p.m.). Take on the actor’s role of examining scripts, finding characters’ objectives, and exploring various acting techniques to bring out your richest performance. Though no experience is required, students should be ready to participate, to jump in and work together—and have fun. The course is $180, and open to adults ages 18 and up. Classes are also available for children and teens.
Touch Tank: Lunch and Learn
Join the Delaware Children’s Museum staff daily from 12:30-1:30 p.m. for feeding time at the Touch Tank Aquarium. Learn about the food marine creatures eat, the habitat they live in, and special facts about the vertebrates and invertebrates who share the tank. Or stop by Try Science: Be a Physiologist, Jan. 9-10, from 11 a.m. to noon, to learn about the body’s parts that work to keep it running. Children can become junior doctors or nurses as they take a hands-on and entertaining look at the organs and systems inside a very unusual patient—the DCM’s 7-ft. doll, Stuffee.
Beer & Yoga at Victory Brewpub
Victory Brewing Company’s Kennett Square brewpub is hosting Beer & Yoga on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 9 a.m. After the yoga session, enjoy food and beer pairings. Instructor Diane Rogers will guide participants through the yoga process. Tickets are $30.
Joggers, cyclists, hands-on thinkers, car enthusiasts—and sometimes even dogs—are welcome at the 200-year-old establishment as it undergoes creative changes
But within the past five years, board members and directors have spent considerable time determining how to keep Hagley relevant to a wide audience.
“We were challenged to shift the focus—identify what’s needed, what stories aren’t being told, what’s the learning that kids need to advance, what do we need as a society in terms of advancement, and what does Hagley have to offer?” says Hoge-North.
In considering changes, three key words immediately came to mind, she says: technology, innovation and engineering, both because that’s what Hagley represents, and what is currently in high demand in the globalizing world.
“That’s what advanced America to a superpower, and if we’re going to stay there, we need more people who know how to do this stuff,” says Hoge-North. “When you look at what happened here, people were constantly pushing ideas, reinventing, trying new things to advance technology.”
Traditional Hagley options are still available—tours of the house, gardens, etc. But a 60-minute lecture about gunpowder doesn’t exactly cut it for most anymore, she says. For those who want a little more, Hagley is at the beginning of a five-year transformation to what Hoge-North calls “hands-on, minds-on activity,” which incorporates a variety of options for diverse crowds, who, hopefully, will carry the Hagley story forward.
One way to change the way people see Hagley is through guided walking tours, says Hoge-North. The tours were brainstormed and are led by Hagley’s 80 part-time staff members.
Guests can choose from five topics. They then walk similar paths but learn completely different stories based on the topics they choose.
For “Workers’ World,” for instance, each guest is given an identity of a real person who lived and worked at Hagley. As they walk through the property, guests learn the story of that individual. Another tour is “Rocks and Roll Mill,” which takes guests through the property as a geologist would, asking questions like, “How is the Brandywine Valley formed, what’s so special about this blue rock that we named our baseball team after, and why did the du Ponts settle here?” says Hoge-North.
The tours are included in regular admission prices, are about an hour-and-a-half long, and require about a mile of walking. Additional tours include H2 Oh!, What’s for Dinner?, and Sights, Sounds and Smells. Tours run September through November and April through June on Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
A new tour is being prepared now for spring 2016 that will focus on explosions and the dangers of working at a live gunpowder mill in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
New this past summer were Bike & Hike Nights on Wednesdays. The grounds were open until 8 p.m. and guests were encouraged to cycle, run or walk and on specific evenings, and even bring their dogs. Hoge-North says those nights are unique because they are the only times guests are allowed to explore the entire property on their own. Look for these opportunities again next summer.
Additionally, Hagley members get a walking pass and are invited to come early in the morning before the museum opens, year-round. Hoge-North says many trails will be expanded within the next two years.
Fun weekend activities are also part of the facelift, she says. Last year, Hagley launched indoor-outdoor Science Saturdays. These cater mainly to family groups, with teams of family members challenged to solve simple engineering problems. Groups are taught basic principles and then asked to solve the problem. Like the walking tours, Science Saturdays are included in ticket prices.
In December, look for Twilight Tours, which capture the beauty of Hagley during the evening, highlighted by Christmas lights and decorations. Twilight Tours are Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and guests are asked to sign up in advance.
Hoge-North notes another small but important tidbit: “This year we changed our hours for the first time in 50 years,” she says. “Now we’re open until 5 p.m., and next summer we might experiment with 6 p.m.”
Rev The Engines!
Hagley’s biggest day of the year, which may come as a surprise to some, is the annual car show, which draws upwards of 6,000 car enthusiasts and participants. Sept. 20 marked its 20th year, with the theme “Fins, Chrome and the Rocket Age,” which looked at the influence of the Space Race on car design.
The annual show started two decades ago because a couple of local car groups asked to hold an event on the property, and that morphed into the Hagley Car Show of today.
For more car fun, starting Oct. 2 through October of next year, a new special exhibition will run in the visitor’s center. Called Driving Desire, it displays automobile advertising from 1895 to 2011. The exhibition asks visitors what role marketing has played in forming ideas of the American dream, specifically relating to automobiles. “Is this something we need, or did ‘they’ create it and we bought into it?” says Hoge-North.
Guests also can look forward to curator talks and a road rally next June.
There is a strong connection between cars—their invention, innovation, technology—and Hagley, says Hoge-North. She also points out that the du Ponts had an automotive history within the family. DuPont Motors produced marine engines during WWI, and later, high-end automobiles.
“Big Plans” for the Future
This year is the first in a five-year unfolding strategy for “big plans—really big plans,” Hoge-North says.
The plans include a new, year-round opportunity to walk through Hagley. Guests, whether solo or in a group, can choose their own “intellectual pathway” she says.
“For our general visitors, they miss a lot because they’re not part of a guided experience. So for them we’re installing new features that help people choose specifically what they want to learn about.”
If a guest wants to understand the workings of waterpower or black powder, for instance, repurposed buildings will be the start of his or her visit. Inside, people will be taught about the processes of their specific interest, then head out to the property to look at the real thing. This is a multi-year project beginning in 2016.
Additionally, a “makerspace” called Spark Lab is slated to open in February 2017. There, guests will be taught about the process of innovation, and they’ll be able to experiment, work on creative projects, and experience a balance of guided programs and the simple fun of tinkering with things.
“We want to show that everyone can be an inventor,” says Hoge-North. “You don’t have to even have a college degree.”
Finally, between 2016 and 2017, a playground will be built that incorporates simple machines, like the wheel, to help children—and adults—understand the building blocks of how all engineering works.
“Ultimately, what we’re looking for is to inspire people to be creative, to think innovatively, and to build confidence,” says Hoge-North. “Everybody can do it, and we’ll help them by giving them examples of what’s been done before.”
From Farm to Fork to a CSA to barn dances, the historic Greenville land is host to a cornucopia of creative and often delicious events
As stars flicker over the panoramic 352-acre sweep of Greenville’s Coverdale Farm, strings of lights illuminate a hill overlooking woodlands where 160 people are seated at long tables laden with courses of farm-grown vegetables and family-style servings of salad, ratatouille and Angus steak. Glasses tinkle lightly as guests make new acquaintances and pour each other paired tastings from Dogfish Head bottles—Midas Touch, 61 Minute, 90 Minute IPAs.
The occasion is Coverdale’s autumn Farm to Fork, a display of community in celebration of the harvest.
Coverdale Manager Michele Wales, who envisioned the now annual event seven years ago, describes the late-September experience as an evening of engagement and mindfulness of what’s on people’s plates.
“Sitting and dining on the land where so much of what’s on your plate came from—that makes my head want to explode,” Wales enthuses. “It’s so beautiful for me. I’m hoping for people to experience just how powerful a meal can be with other great people. We nourish folks with this beautiful food that we’ve worked so hard for throughout the year, and fall is the perfect time to celebrate what we’re growing and raising. To see our food transform to art on a plate is really exciting.” Note: the food was prepared by Susan Teiser of Montrachet Fine Foods, located on Kennett Pike.
The heart of Farm to Fork is aligned with all of Coverdale’s happenings and programs: creatively teaching the community about the sources of their food.
The farm, which dates back to William Penn’s time, was owned for years by the Greenwalt family. In the 1990s, the family turned the land over to the Delaware Nature Society, which also oversees Ashland Nature Center, the DuPont Environmental Education Center, and Abott’s Mill Nature Center.
In 2000, Wales became one of the first full-time farm staff members. “We transformed sallow fields and empty barns into a classroom where we were charged and are still charged with educating others,” says Wales.
The DNS, which recently celebrated its 50th year, is a private nonprofit environmental organization that promotes environmental education, advocacy and natural resources conservation—and is what Wales calls the gateway to connecting with the natural world.
This makes Coverdale wildly popular for school field trips, summer camps and more.
“We’re all so very passionate and dedicated to the mission of connecting people to the sources of their food by growing and raising food, and engaging and inviting everyone that comes down our driveway to get as excited and passionate as us about what we do,” says Wales.
She says an exciting seasonal change has come to Coverdale.
Aside from its dozens of events and programs, Coverdale has typically been closed to the public except for Wedneday afternoons during the season. But on Wednesdays and Saturdays this past May-September, the farm was open to the public on a more frequent basis. On these days, guests who visited could choose to stop by early in the morning to help with farm chores like bottle-feeding calves, collecting eggs and tending to pigs. They also were invited to forage in the farm’s U Pick field for tomatoes, peppers, flowers and other vegetables. For a more relaxing afternoon, guests were welcome to pack a lunch picnic at any of the tables beneath the oak trees along the driveway. Staff members were on hand to “teach you whatever you want to learn,” says Wales. She says these days are excellent low-key ways for families to enjoy the farm at their own pace.
“It’s been really successful, so we’re looking to increase activities and more opportunities for the farm to be open in 2016,” says Wales.
A mainstay for Coverdale is its Community Supported Agriculture program, in which members are signed up to receive a select amount of produce from June-October each week. Free cooking classes are offered to CSA members, who may sometimes be in a creative stupor—when, for example an Oh, No, Not Another Week of Lettuce class might be of use. At the end of each season a party is thrown, and everybody brings homemade food to celebrate.
Coverdale’s education program—school field trips, programs for children, families and adults—runs year round, with dozens of classes for everyone. This includes an upcoming family hayride series in October and November featuring pumpkin carving on Oct. 18 and learning about the cider-making process on Nov. 8.
Then there’s what Wales calls the “big event”—the annual Harvest Moon Festival, Oct. 3-4. The weekend, free for members and nonmember children under 5, and $5 for nonmembers, is filled with artisan demonstrations, children’s activities and crafts, hayrides, music and food trucks.
For adults, a basket weaving class (Oct. 10) and a cookbook club are offered. The Cookbook Club, hosted by DNS and the Hockessin Book Shelf, serves up an evening of cooking and eating on Oct. 8 and Nov. 12. And for people interested in raising and butchering their own meat, there’s the two-day Pasture To Plate: Poultry Processing & Cooking, Dec. 12-13.
The key to knowing what kinds of events to host, Wales says, is implementing options that are connected to food, the farm, and the landscape at Coverdale. She says one important theme is “putting culture back in agriculture,” which was the inspiration for a new barn contra dance series. The dances are slated for Oct. 23 and Nov. 6, and will continue on various dates in 2016. Led by an experienced contra caller, the evenings will be filled with bluegrass, and guests from beginners to experienced will learn traditional dance steps from contra to square dancing.
With so much going on, Coverdale certainly utilizes its four full-time staff members, says Wales, but as she puts it, a lot of dedicated people are necessary to make all the moving parts move fluently. That’s why volunteers are so helpful, she says. “We couldn’t do it without them.”
Qualified people are invited to work in almost any area: program instructors, educators, animal husbandry, vegetable production, and more. For more information on how to get involved, visit the website.
Ultimately, sharing ideas and encouraging others to do so is what keeps Coverdale so fresh and creative, Wales says. While she and the other fulltime staff members are behind the scenes planning, they are constantly listening to ideas from instructors and volunteers.
“We’re part of a community,” says Wales. “We know each other so well, and people have ideas, so we share.”