Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A stroll down America's oldest residential street...

America's Oldest residential street which has been continually occupied since 1720.  Built in 1720-1830 in Philadelphia in the heart of Old City. It's located between Front and 2nd Street just north of Arch Street and Race Street. Since the 1720's it's been home to over 3,000 residents. Notice the perfectly formed cobweb on the upper right corner of the sign. Hate spiders but admire their industrious web design work!

"I love the dignity in the name Philadelphia, but at heart, we're Philly."
~Lisa Scottoline~

Welcome back to our row home, I hope you wore comfy walking shoes. Can I interest you in a cappuccino or a cup of English breakfast tea as I show you a few new Fall additions before we go on our walking tour. 

This photo is of 4 pumpkin stems saved from last Fall's pumpkins and 2 silk velvet quarter yard remnants. One dark grey the other golden iridescent orange. From it I made more velvet pumpkins for Fall 2014. Interesting stems excite me and I pick out my pumpkins for their stems!

Golden orange iridescent silk velvet duo I made last week. Look at the shadow of the larger stem ... Do you see a Praying mantis bug? Another love of mine is shadow play.

Newly displayed are the park bench photographs. Printed on canvas and displayed on our seasonal changing Living room floating art wall. I found the color photos on google free images and asked John to convert them into Black and White. John printed them onto canvas and then mounted both to foam core. I'm in my extreme admiration of Black and White photography. The one on the left is during Autumn and the right photo is early snow in late Autumn.

I've always loved parks, as a child I grew up within a mile from Washington's Crossing Park in Titusville, NJ. Now I live mere blocks away from a park, that is part of the Fairmount Park system. Whether located in a bucolic area or urban setting I find parks to be peaceful and majestic. Picnic anyone?

Another draw for me is living in historic area's. One day I'll take you on a tour of the museum in Titusville where I grew up and show you a famous oil painting of George Washington crossing the Delaware on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Eve Titusville annually re-in-acts the crossing, no kidding... no matter the temps of the river, no matter the amount of snow on the ground. Drums, bugles, historic garb, it's the real deal! I'm a totally modern woman, who has a fascination with our historic past. Absolutely the reason why in my design style choice in our row-home I surround John and myself with the past, the present and a wink and nod to the future.

We recently went to NYC to visit our friend Kim and his boy friend Paul. We met Kim 19 years ago through our Citroën car events. Yup, another vintage French car enthusiast. Long story short Kim is an artisan who can tell the most amazing stories, joyfully retelling his life adventures. Someone we admire, love and adore. 

Two dark grey pumpkins I made from the velvet remnants that are placed in a basket and displayed on the Über cool old vintage bench/stool. Time-worn patina and sweet as can be. After drinking Prosecco and having appetizers before our dinner reservations we walked over to Kim's gallery/store Jack and Marcel near the 59th Street (Queensboro) bridge he co-owns with his business partner. Source for Jack and Marcel at the bottom of post.

Kim used to teach Industrial Design at Pratt university so his eye and appreciation to design is very keen. Jack and Marcel is a visually exciting place. ... An exciting treasure trove. Well, after lingering (OK loitering) around the art, furniture and accessories I fell in love with this. Be it humble and utilitarian it simply whispered my name, adding tactile rustic interest and mingling with other wooden pieces in our Living room.

Photo of the very worn cobblestones of Elfreth's Alley... Truly a step back in colonial times.

I moved to Philadelphia shortly after meeting John at Doc Watson's a pub/restaurant. Our story is about falling in love during the bi-centennial celebration/festivities through Spring into Summer in Philly. In love with both the city and John we soon moved into an apartment together. Certainly Philadelphia in 1976 was an exciting place to be. During early June of 1976 John took me on my first stroll of Elfreth's Alley. Hand in hand exploring 300 years of history in it's 32 residential buildings. It was on Fete Day. Fete Day has been celebrated for more then 70 years and when residents of Elfreth's alley open their homes to the public. A day of festivities and historic re-enactments. For the past 10 years Elfreth's alley also opens their doors at Christmas time for an event named "Deck the Alley".

Elfreth's Alley was named in honor of Jeremiah Elfreth an 18th century Blacksmith and property owner who lived on the alley along with other artisans, furniture makers, ship builders and craftsmen.

John and I photographed Elfreth's alley on Friday September 12th for this post. It was 93 degrees with oppressive humidity!!! The sun was intense and I feared the photos would be washed out. In the photos you will notice that being the end of summer flowers are pretty much spent, yet there is beauty in their growing cycle.

Row-homes and Cobblestone in the city of Brotherly love. 

See to the right of this lovely blue shuttered rowhome? There is an alley in an alley, named Bladen's Court.

Walking through this alley will take you into Bladen's Court.

Bladen's court, on this glorious sun filled day, shadows of history were at play.

Strolling one can almost hear the echoes of the past if you listen.

Bladen's Court is brick paved.

Number 115 Bladen's Court, notice the time worn wearing down of the marble step.

Another photo of 115

On Elfreth's alley a British flag is displayed.

Orange shutters and cellar, I'm drawn to this home, it's the color choice.

Number 124 and 126, store and a museum to tour, explore and buy a souvenir.

Store and museum placement on Elfreth's Alley.

Like everywhere else in America - homes for sale. Some are small Trinity homes, in Philly referred to Father, Son and Holy Ghosts. Other homes are large and have renovated interiors to reflect our present time.

Looking down Elfreth's alley charming historic street.

The 13 stars of our Colonial flag proudly displayed. On the day we photographed Elfreth's alley we also photographed The Betsy Ross house tour. I will post that tour in November and weave it into my Thanksgiving post. I know you just said "WHAT ?" but you wait and see, it will be a post about being thankful for simple blessings.

A close up of house # 132

So I end our little stroll and announce my next post will be on October 7th. It will be my Halloween post featuring our Edgar Allan Poe decorations in our row-home, a tour of Poe's historic house in Philly, a spooky poem and a really fun giveaway of Edgar Allan Poe writings. So please join me on Oct. 7th, it will be entertaining I promise. BTW the giveaway will be worldwide.

My poem I leave you with today is a simple little one. whose words popped into my head after midnight and demanded to be written before I could fall sleep. Words will often flood my brain and unless I write down the poem it's like a song stuck in my head! Seriously. So here goes a poetry share of what I refer to as an after midnight brain fart. 

Oh to be a Superhero...

During the nightly local news coverage of murder, mayhem and madness,
after watching for 30 minutes it leaves me feeling frustration and sadness.

In my sleep I dream every night of soaring the sky like a Superhero,
Freeing us all from villains and thugs to bring crime rate down to zero.

The city of brotherly love, a beacon of historical freedom and peace,
as I work in harmony and cooperation with it's citizens and the police.

© Vera

Bench source:

Located in the Interior Design Building at 308 E 61st Street, 4th Floor in New York City.


  1. Vera,
    Ohhhhh loved this tour with you. The homes have such a simple beauty to them. I would love to stroll down those historic streets and remember all of those that walked those cobblestones. What a lovely alley. I cannot wait to see the Halloween Poe in October. I love Edgar Allan Poe and his writings. I certainly will love the Betsy Ross for Thanksgiving too. One of my fave women of history.
    Thank you for the lovely tour it was really enjoyable to come along with you.

  2. Dear Vera,
    What a fun walking tour! I love those handsome historic row houses. And your beautiful velvet pumpkins. So impressed that you made them. Please share with us how we can make our own.
    Happy first day of fall.

  3. I was in Philadelphia just once, accompanied by 200 7th & 8th graders, on an historical tour after a 5 hour flight from Los Angeles. Needless to say, I don't think I appreciated that day as much as this lovely tour of your hometown.

    I love . . . the old buildings . . . the brick . . . the streets . . . the names.

    Thank you for my lovely visit!

  4. These row houses are so awesome...so different from our regular houses...i really loved seeing shutters and cellar doors painted the same color....thanks for the tour.

  5. Dear Vera,
    Thank you for taking me along on this historic tour.. I just love brick... and the orange shutters, just lovely... I would have loved to tour the museum.

    Your pumpkins are just lovely, and I adore the black and white bench prints.
    They look stunning on your wall.
    Your poem conveys your wish for peace, something we all wish for.
    Blessings dear friend,

  6. I was never lucky enough to see that part of Philly when I visited. Gorgeous area. I love the history that you find there. My hubby is John, too, and we were married in 1975. I took him to visit PA because he had never been there.

    Your black & whites are phenomenal pieces of artwork. I just love them!

    We have one more thing in common, too, Vera. Poetry. I have reams of it that I have written and sometimes post bits and pieces of it on my blog.

    I hope you have a wonderful week! xo Diana

  7. Good morning dear, dear Vera!

    You know that these days I am always going to be a tad late with school and all, but I am always enthusiastic about the creativity that comes from so many perspectives here in Blogland!

    Having lived north of Boston and frequenting the city for 11 years, we came to love Beacon Hill, a very similar area of Boston to this incredible place you are sharing. To think that people walked these streets in the 1700s just tickles me. The architecture, the mood, the styles, everything.

    Your share today is stunning with the combination of your own row home, its interiors (GORGEOUS) and the neighboring homes. You have the perfect setting for a POE-esque party! OH, what a great idea that would be.....

    I must run off to work. ENJOY YOUR DAY dear friend! Anita

  8. Almost like being right there with you, Vera! I love touring old cities. Haven't done so in years, so this was a delight!

    Have a beautiful one.

  9. Hi Vera, what a wonderful visit and tour today. Starting with your home and the special fall accents you have created. Love the pumpkins and the rustic and distressed wood bench. So charming!!
    Your black and white art is beautiful and I love the subject of park benches.
    The pic of the cobblestone walk is incredible. I love anything with rocks like this.

    Elfreth's Alley is an amazing place. I did not see this when I visited Philly and surely missed a treasure. Love the shutters and contrasts of color.

    Thank you for sharing your poem. It is special for our times!! You talents are over the moon!

    Have a wonderful fall day!!

  10. Thank you for this wonderful walking tour of the Cit of Brotherly Love, Vera!! It truly has some of the most charming alleys and historic homes. So much rich history as well! I really enjoyed this post because in our younger years, when we lived in Haddonfield, we wandered through these same beautiful alleys.
    Mary Alice

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  12. Hi Vera, I would have been your first visit but waited until the morn to get with you. I was up so very late last night finishing up projects and business.
    Where do I start, loving your pumpkins of course, and yes I was going to say that I see a praying mantis before you mentioned it, but yes I too am attracted to the most interesting of stems as well.
    Love, love, love your bench, you knew I would. As for your city of row homes and the soulful history they hold it's shear beauty that you actually live in one. I have always wanted to live in a brownstone, row home, NY. City flat, brick walls and interesting company. I would choose the row home with the creamy white trim, shutters and red door, but I would paint the door grey! :)

    You have so much in your city to be entertained with, beauty and walks like these favor. The alley ways are soooo cute! Love the lanterns, and street pole lanterns.
    What colors have you used on your row home, and could you see yourself painting the tangerine and orange colors that you are drawn to on the tours row home painting your home to match. Do you have to have community approvals to paint your home? I know around here and in some communities one has to get paint approval or they are funded if they take it upon themselves to go ahead and paint before approval of colors.

    Love that John is so accommodating to your print needs, he just prints up on a canvas wish for you photos that not only speak to you, but to myself as well.
    I imagine myself sitting on one of those benches in deep creative thought, or taking in the quiet.

    We here are looking forward to your next posting, poetry of spookiness, a GiveAway! And more beauty of your home city what more could your visiting bloggers ask for??

    Well my dear, I am off to check on a job site and home to then finish up my mess!

    Love all you share, and now I am even that much more jealous of your Row homes, that they are in your city and not mine:)

    Thank you for all the encouraging email's, comments on my postings, and best your honest caring friendship! :)

    Love yah girl!


  13. VERA DEAR!

    Good morning! I am here at the tail end of my blog visiting before I go off to work...but I read your very kind comment and just had to come give ya a hug before I took off!

    I TOO got some mini white pumpkins yesterday!!! I hope, I mean, I REALLY HOPE to take some photos this weekend and I'd like to take photos of these in my primitive wooden bowl...they look so great and do make me feel as if fall is on its way. It's still warm here, and that's fine with us! But fall is a gracious month.

    Dear one, I MISS YOU! My work this year is wildly time consuming, but blogging is still my passion - I just am not posting as frequently.


    Much love, Anita

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  15. Vera...this post is so chock full of interesting tales and adventures and ruminations! I know we are going to get along fine!!

    The stories running from Philly to New York, to Philly again are simply fascinating, and I adore your pics. That bench (hope I got it right), is wonderful. I love velvet pumpkins...they vary so...just looking for something I can treasure for years.

    Thank you for your thoughtful comment...I'll pull though with these weak old hands and feel fine soon.

    Jane xx

  16. Vera, I love the pics of the charming row-homes and cobblestone!! I adore your pumpkins and of course the chippy bench, too! And I would love to visit over a cup of cappuccino! :)
    Thanks for all of the wonderful history and interesting tid-bits.

  17. Hi Vera,
    I must share with you that the best part of being in Susan's spotlight post was that you commented and I have found you. You are wonderful! I had such a good time enjoying this post. Loved the history, the photos, the art....oh, and your pumpkins. So happy to meet you. Looking forward to your Poe Halloween post.

  18. What a delightful tour Vera!!!!! and oh to be a super-hero, sometimes my cape is in the wash and I am grounded.... sigh!!!!!!!!!!!

    I appreciate you visits and encouraging words.
    ~ Violet

  19. Vera,
    just found you and have enjoyed browsing thru! Your black and white photos are gorgeous, my kind of art! What a beautiful area and street, so many amazing details on all the row homes! The orange shutters and door are my favorites. The pumpkins you made are adorable, the stems are perfect! Can't wait to see your Oct post!
    I'm your newest follower and would love for you to visit me!

  20. My wonderful friend,

    I can't wait to send you some photos of what's going on here with my fall décor, but school is wild, as you know. I was able to eek out a new post, and I am so thankful to you for coming by. OH! I don't have any of my own photos on that post; you may have thought those pumpkins were mine, but I have had no time or decent light to take photos! Next weekend, I hope!

    Well, we are entering into that gorgeous month of October when change starts to creep in. I hope you have some fun and spooktacular ideas for your family gatherings? What are you up to these days?

    Off to make dinner now....I'm hungry because we are NON-STOP here on the weekends!

    Big hugs to you dear one, Anita

  21. Your poem says everything I wish for too Vera. I love it and through it can see your heart.
    I am crazy about the photos of the city. You almost make me wish I lived there. City living would be foreign to me, but I love them. I don't know if you know it, but I live in very rural Idaho in a town of 600 people where the nearest 'big town' with a real grocery store is 60 miles away. So this post is so lovely for me to read . I love the history of our large cities in the US, but to actually get it from one who lives there means so much more. I laugh about going to D.C. once to some state meetings and as we were walking around the city, many of my companions kept saying "your Idaho is showing June" They were all mostly from Boise and I, the only 'chick from the sticks' there. Thank you so much for sharing your story of you and John.
    I love your park bench canvases!!!

  22. Hi Vera, so nice to stop back by and visit your wonderful post once again. I simply have to visit this area of Philly one day.
    Thank you for stopping by and your comment. Always uplifting and encouraging. Thank you for that my friend.

  23. oh what a great tour...but best of all I love your grass cloth!

  24. Thank you for visiting and leaving the very sweet comment regarding Lin's post on my blog. Row houses have always intrigued me. I'll be returning to explore more of your lovely blog. ~ Nancy P.S. I adore your velvet pumpkins!

  25. I love your decor! The homes are beautiful and unique. What a wonderful neighborhood to live in! xoox

  26. What a grand tour you took us on!! I've never been to "Philly", so this was exciting for me to see all the row homes, and cobblestone streets. What a unique place to live!
    Your pumpkins are beautiful! and so are the new bench canvas hangings. LOVE the bench!!

  27. Dear Vera,
    Thank you so much for both of your visits!
    No, not sheepskin, I used fibers of natural white Sulfolk/Hampshire cross sheep wool. The second coat was needle felted in tiny pieces of wool at a time then scissor cut.. I love this particular wool, I use it for most of my creations.
    So happy you enjoyed my little poem. Your kind words have warmed my heart.
    Wishing you a blessed Sunday.

  28. Good morning, Vera ~

    Love your home and all your decorations.

    I read Poe in school. Brilliant writer, but I've never been one for things that go bump in the night. Big chicken here. So I'm not entering the giveaway ~ just stopping by to wish you a lovely autumn.