Beauty at Longwood Gardens

27 11 2017

Whenever we’re in this part of Pennsylvania we pay a visit to Longwood Gardens. This time the designers decorated the halls and conservatories for the holidays for “A Longwood Christmas.”

We went in the afternoon and imagined how lovely it is at nighttime with the Christmas lights. No matter what the season, it is always a treat to see. Here’s my album.

Floating green apples and red cranberries for a design

Green apples and walnuts afloat in water

Close up of Christmas tree made of succulents

Phalaenopsis orchids cover this tree

Close up of the orchid tree

Amaryllis buds

Glass ornaments made by children

Merry Christmas


Fascinating autumn

18 11 2017

Autumn on the continent is a novelty for me from Hawaii. On a walk around the block in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, this morning we detoured down a path to the creek. Some of nature’s colors remain before winter comes.

Now we are back home where Kelly is making cabbage soup and I am baking desserts for watching the Penn State vs. Nebraska game on TV. Family of seven will be congregating.

Family time and touring with adult siblings

30 05 2016

The third leg of the trip “abroad” was a visit to Pennsylvania where DH Pete’s sister lives and his brother works.

(For the first and second legs, please head back to for my travelogue.)

The siblings were born four years apart. Their parents planned it that way for the purpose of affording college tuition. The one other time they toured together as adults was in 2004, after both parents died in Winter 2003. We arrived to spread Dad’s remaining ashes on Memorial Day and went back to the geographical middle of the state and found the family farm of yore.

So last week’s reunion was a special occasion. Penny and Paul took time off from work, and Paul drove in from New Jersey. We were honored.

I am not going to bore you with the family dynamics because every family has them. Suffice it to say that everyone was on their best behavior, and we didn’t discuss religion or politics! 😉

We had fun touring several visitor attractions in the area. Here are the pictures.

The Wharton Escherick Studio in Malvern, PA, work place of the late artist, is open as a small museum showing his architecture, wood furniture, sculpture, and two-dimensional creations. Escherick was a master of free form design.

Stone, wood, and stucco comprise three sections of the artist's studio built in increments as they were needed.

Stone, wood, and stucco comprise three sections of the artist’s studio built in increments as they were needed.



Color was mixed into the stucco for the tower. The fresco design represents sky, trees, and tree trunks. A free form deck emerges in the back and to the right.



Workshop painted the color of the workers blue jeans, left, and the garage at right.

The boys were in heaven at the C. F. Martin & Co., Inc., factory in Nazareth, PA, where 250 new guitars are made every day. The fabrication, assembly, and finishing is done by human hands as well as by robots. But how does a Martin guitar sound? Visitors get a chance to play them.

Paul and Pete, two boys in a candy store, try out the Martins.

Paul and Pete, two boys in a candy store, try out the Martins.





Winterthur is the mansion of the late Henry Francis du Pont. There he founded the premier museum of American decorative arts. Du Pont collected whole room interiors of period design and re-installed them in his own home. One time we visited at Yuletide, and the rooms were decorated as they would have been during the particular period. Very pretty! Only some floors are open for tours. There is just too much, impossible to see all of it. My favorite room was the Chinese Parlor where the wall covering was paper, hand painted in China.


Longwood Gardens is the must-see for everyone, and particularly appreciated by horticulturists, landscape architects, and lay plant lovers. Beautiful! Everything at their prime. Like Winterthur, it’s impossible to see all the acreage. DH wanted to see the Italian water fountains, and I enjoyed the views of blooming rhododendrons along the way through Peirce’s Woods, named after the family who owned the land prior to Pierre du Pont, who maintained the designed of the “rooms,” as he called the gardens within a garden.

Plein air painters enjoy lots of subject matter

Plein air painters enjoy lots of subject matter.



Italian Water Fountains



Peirce’s Woods in bloom


Brother Paul treated us to a private tour of Philly Shipyard where he works. It is perhaps the largest builder of new commercial ships (like Matson container ships vs. military ships) in the US. Small pieces of steel are welded to larger pieces that are welded to even larger pieces, etc., until the vessel is finished and launched. They are humongous.


I have to give a special shout out to Richard, Penny’s fiancé, who allowed us to ride with him in his pick-up to the Saturday-morning garage sales in Phoenixville and Collegeville. The hunt is his passion. Although the pickings were slim Memorial Day weekend, he found me a pair of brand-new Eddie Bauer shorts for a dollar. Just in time as Spring had turned to Summer in just a couple of days with temps reaching 90 degrees F.!

In between the visitor attractions we spent quality time catching up about our respective families (kids and grandkids) as well as seeing old and new friends. Hoagies, Thai food, and delicious home-cooked meals by Penny and Paul with ingredients from the fabulous Wegmans megastore…I have to mention those.


Pete, Penny, and Paul

Pete, Penny, and Paul

Thanks Penny and Paul for your hospitality. We had a great time. Now I’m back in Kaaawa, Oahu. It’s great, too.

Snowed in, part 2

23 12 2009

The down side of international travel for me is the length of time spent on planes and in airports. I understand now the feelings of winter travelers wanting to make it home for the holidays, only to be delayed by snow.

It’s why our house- and pet-sitters come from Massachusetts to Hawaii as early as they can in December every year for about three months.

Dear friends and family, know that DH and I are safe and warm.

After waking at 4 a.m. in Vienna the day after DH’s birthday (Happy Birthday Honey!), 10 hours in the air from Warsaw, clearing U.S. customs in Toronto before boarding U.S. Airways, then finally landing in Philadelphia, we arrived to see the remnants of the blizzard that caused the travel delays in the first place.

We gave a jingle to my sister-in-law Penny, who we called on on our way to Europe two weeks ago, to let her know of our situation, that we would check into a hotel and call her in the morning. We had to make arrangements to get back to Honolulu since we missed our originally booked flights. She texted a message to my iPhone, “Call me if you’re stuck.”

Our choices on Delta/Northwest were these:

No seats in the same fare category until Jan. 1.
Dec. 25: $1,000.00 additional per ticket.
How about first class? I suggested.
For Dec. 24 when our daughter was expecting us for Christmas Eve dinner: $880.00 additional per ticket.
And on Dec. 26: $53.60 per ticket.

So, dear Penny, we’re stuck! We’ll be at your house for Christmas! And to the folks at home on Oahu, we’ll see you with bells on on Sunday!

In honor of our friends and family everywhere, I am posting the photos of Pennsylvania that got lost two weeks ago while I was learning how to post from my iPhone.

I made the images prior to the snowfall of the farm in Chester County owned by DH’s college buddies Dave and Chris.

Chris foxhunts and Dave is an artist – he made the torii gate – and dentist. We enjoy catching up on each other’s travels. They have three Norwich terriers: Zoey, Maddie and Snaffles.

Snaffles holds the Grand Champion title for her breed, and CD (Companion Dog) credential. She is working on CDX (Companion Dog Excellent). We went with Snaffles to her training lesson with the trainer’s two big dogs as role models, and it was hilarious and very cute! Oh, the memory!

Betty and Joe, old friends of DH’s family who enjoy the activities and friends at their spiffy retirement community of five years, decorated the large Christmas tree.

We went to New Jersey to visit DH’s brother Paul and his wife Patty. Patty’s heritage is Italian, and the dinner she prepared included ravioli, a festive presentation of tomato-mozzarella-basil, and other yummy delights.

There’s also the view of the neighborhood from sister Penny’s front door (the first picture with snow).

Enjoy your holiday wherever you are. Peace on Earth and goodwill toward everyone.

With love and gratitude ~ Rebekah

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