Literary intrigue, check. Historical insight, check. Local geological feature, check. This week's local discovery again took me to uncharted territory slipped in the cracks between the paths I've worn well my whole life.
Juliana's Cave, a well known location to children of Cheltenham Township's past, I hear is visible when the foliage has fallen if you take a chance to slow down while driving on Chelten Hills Drive near Church Road. It is located on the other side of the rail road along Tookany Creek. However, in the days before the rail road tracks were laid, local lore has it that a young girl who lived with the Shoemaker family at the Wall House would frequently wander off to read in this cave. Her name was Juliana. She must have enjoyed this well sheltered spot that didn't seem so lonely with the soft sounds of the creek nearby.
Local historian, Tom Wieckowski, told me about the cave during a tour my husband and I took of the Wall House this week. Thanks, Tom!
I've been putting a lot of miles on my car this week, traveling to various sites in the Brandywine Valley in order to paint competitively.
Who knew plein air painting could be a sport?
It's been glorious. I've finished and framed 7 paintings so far (including this Bearded Billy). After training this summer, my supplies and technique have been primed, including a temporary framing station in the trunk of my car.
The most intense moment so far was the Quick Draw yesterday where I created a work then had 12 minutes to frame it before I ran it to the submission station in just under the two hour deadline. Whew!
Today is the last day so I need to get myself to the assigned location, Winterthur, which is also the location of the art sale this weekend. 40% of all proceeds go to Children's Beach House, a Delaware non-profit that supports children with special needs. Come check it out if you can! The show will be up until 3pm on Sunday.
Off I go!
As an 8 year old, I remember entering the grounds. Behind a high stone wall along a road without a sidewalk, it seemed like we would need special permission to enter.
Inside, I was a young art student. Carving linoleum, I made a print of an owl. I remember the balconies within a large room of the stone mansion. I remember waiting in the rain for my mother to pick me up and listening to "Stepping Out" by Joe Jackson.
Some things come full circle. Now I teach drawing classes in that same mansion, Alverthorpe Manor. I've been promoted from student to teacher at the Abington Art Center housed there.
After teaching my morning class last week, I made this drawing of a side of the building I don't always visit, feeling grateful that Lessing and Edith Rosenwald gave their estate to the township for local cultural and recreational use.
Imagine stumbling upon this mansion in the middle of a suburban neighborhood behind an ornate metal gate and surrounded by ivy.
I first laid eyes on it when I was about 16 years old. I was probably driving to my friends house down the street. She didn't know anything about it.
Several decades later when I moved back to the area as an adult I finally began to learn some details about its story from a few articles that were published in the paper around 2010. It just so happens that its story includes both the Titanic and the National Gallery of Art.
This 110-room, Horace Trumbauer design, gilded era mansion named Lynnewood Hall was built for the Widener family in 1897-1900. Peter was part owner of the Titanic. George, Eleanor and Harry were passengers. Eleanor survived. Joseph's massive art collection was given to the National Gallery of Art in 1940. Shortly after, the family moved out. The mansion still stands but much like a sleeping kingdom. I finally stopped, got out of the car, and spent some time with it and my easel this week.
It's currently for sale for $16.5 million. Any takers? And if so, can I come over to get a closer look?