215 Southwind Drive

We have been here 17 years and its time to retire down South.We just listed the home we’ve come to love. It will be hard to leave this quiet cul-de-sac in Doylestown. I hope if you read this and like what you see, you’ll contact me or your realtor to arrange a showing. It will make some buyer very happy. If you know that buyer, put them in touch as well.

The full write-up of this Glenn Hess/Phil Mack custom built home is here. Its ~4300 square feet and now listed at $609k

Exterior

First Floor

Second Floor

The hardest part of course is leaving the many friends and few family members behind here in beautiful Bucks county! We will, of course, have a big bash after we sell! And all are welcome to come visit in SC to cycle, play golf, hang out!!

Covered Bridges of Bucks Series – part 3 (Frankenfield)

Location: Cafferty Rd., Tinicum Twp. (Google Map)
Height Limit: 9.5 ft. Width: 12 ft.
Length: 130 ft. Weight Limit: 15 tons

Frankenfield Covered Bridge

_dsc7144

This covered bridge was built to allow people, horses and wagons a dry passage across the Tinicum Creek, an area once known for an abundant turtle population, on a common travel route of the day. In the winter time workers would “snow” the bridges for the benefit of uninterrupted sleigh rides.  Historically covered bridges have been called “kissing” or “Wishing” because young couple used the shaded passages to steal a kiss or make a wish before entering a new bridge for the first time.  The bridge was made with a roof to protect the wood and timbers from rotting.  People were not to drive or ride over the bridges faster than a walk (about 3 to 4 miles per hour) and smoking was prohibited.  Ithel Town, an engineer and architect from new Haven, CT, Patented the lattice like design in 1820.  Timbers were held in place by wooden pegs know as “tree nails,” allowing the bridge to be built by less skilled workers.

 

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649

According to a 1982 publication on covered bridges, the county had recently restored it.  It is in excellent condition with vertical plank siding, gable roof, inside walls in the portal area and cut stone abutments.  In 1984 it was one of thirteen remaining covered bridges in Bucks County of the 26 that had been built. Haupt’s Covered Bridge (Which bears the name of some of Simon Frankenfield’s descendants) was burned in January 1985 to bring the number of covered bridges in the county to 12.  In October 1991 arson destroyed the Scholfield Bridge in Tyler State Park.  hence Bucks county had only 11 covered bridges left in 2000.

Bing

Thanks to friend and fellow photographer, Mike Rubillo, for braving the cold to go take pictures! Additional thanks to John C. Frankenfield forthe history. 

The Saga of the (World’s Richest) Trailer Park

While on vacation this week, I decided to share the most unbelievable story of wealth and greed. Oddly, you might not expect that involves a trailer park!  This is the saga of Briny Breezes, Inc. in Palm Beach County, Florida. The trailer park (411 residents as of 2000) has been incorporated into a town since 1963, It is only 1 of 2 trailer parks in Florida incorporated and the only one with beach-front property.

I was staying right across the street at a friend’s Casita in Delray Beach.  I shot some photos (ableit without getting a fine) to give you a feel for the community.

_dsc7091

In October 2005, developer Jean Francois Roy, of Ocean Land Investments, made an offer to buy the entire town for $500 million. This would equate to an average of slightly more than $1 million per residential lot. In December 2005, it was announced that 73 percent of the 488 lot owners had voted to hire a lawyer to pursue the sale. Later, Roy raised his offer to $510 million.

_dsc7094

Had the sale gone through, it would have meant a huge windfall for each lot owner. Many people paid between $30,000 and $40,000 when they purchased their homes. In comparison, the 2000 census reported $129,000 was the median value of a home in Briny.

_dsc7090

A vote to ratify the deal was set for January 10, 2007 and 80 percent of residents approved of the sale, with 97 percent of owners voting. The residents would not receive any compensation until 2009 and the plan was yet to be approved by state and local officials, due to zoning concerns.

_dsc7096

However, on July 30, 2007, when the “earnest money” was due to the town, the deal was cancelled by the land developer over a dispute with the town board of directors over how long a period was to be allowed for due diligence.

_dsc7098

As a result most of the landowners (median household income $34,583) lost the chance to become millionaires. That said walking around and talking to residents today they all seemed to be very content with a beautiful setting and great sense of community.

Thanks to Wikipedia for verification of the story’s details!

 

 

Thankful for the 4 Fs

Its the time of the year to count your blessings. Throughout the year, I, like many others, will occasionally whine and complain. Every now and then its nice to sit back and count your blessings. I reflect on what’s really important to me as I inwardly mumble “quite ur bitchin”!

Family

Thanks to my immediate and extended family for making my life complete. Thanksgiving is a time for family and sharing all that we have with each other.

Family_icons

In my case, my family includes my 4 children who all happen to have fur.

Friends

Virtual and physical, online and offline, I am thankful for all the friends that I have made recently or over the many years, I have rekindled some friendships from high school as a result of social media.

Friends

Making friends and networking is one of the beauties of social media. As I move south, I have made good friends through a “self-selection” process online that matches interests, styles and personalities and then chosen to meet those people face to face. Much more efficient (and fun). Thank you all for enriching my life!

Fitness

So I forced this one to be “an F”. Fitness is important. Maintaining good health and quality of life is paramount.

Fitness

 

As I lay yesterday in an MRI tube for a silly wrist injury and thought, “this is horrible”, I caught myself. I said to myself that this is just a small artifact of aging and that at my age I am still able to do the things I love athletically and physically. I remembered riding across the state of PA last year and thinking of the kids I was doing it for. The Make A Wish foundation helps kids who do not have the good fortune to have the good health that I do. Thank you for my good health and allowing me to help others that don’t!

Fun

And even without the other 3 “Fs” aligning perfectly, I am grateful when I remember that life is richer and fuller when you think about smiling and having fun! It makes each day that much more fulfilling!

Fun

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

 

The Beauty of Peace Valley Park

_dsc3738

I am lucky enough to live less than 2 miles from Peace Valley, part of the Bucks County Park System. Peace Valley Park consists of 1500 acres of public land, including a 365 acre lake, Lake Galena. Over 14 miles of hiking trails afford solitude with lakeside and streamside views at the Peace Valley Nature Center. It is my conduit to my meeting spot

Media_httpsphotosakfb_bvjey

for my weekday cycling runs.

The popularity of the place has allowed me to win public office!!

_dsc3742
_dsc3753

IMG_0239.MOV
Watch on Posterous

The slowly changing water temperature, when coupled with cool air in the mornings has made for some interesting fog formations as the fog clings to the water even over the spillway as the video above shows.

IMG_1129.MOV
Watch on Posterous

This is the same “pan” shot on a clear autumn day

And its equally beautiful in January. Two shots above were the geese trying to find that warm water as the ice melted (Jan. 16, 2010)

_dsc3881

And then of course, there are always the sunrises. The next 3 photos were all shot on the same morning within 15 minute of each other.

I will miss it dearly when I move South next year. There are beautiful parks such as Pisgah and Paris Mountain (closer to Greenville), but none will have the great memories of Peace Valley

Moving can be stressful

We have been planning to move to Greenville, SC for 4 years after falling in love with the area. In 2008, we bought a beautiful lot on Cherokee Valley Golf Club north of town. Greenville has been rated in top 5 places to retire this year by Fortune.

Lot in Cherokee Valley

The lot is now for sale since its beauty didn’t make us realize it would be a bit far for me to commute to my work location in Kings Mountain, NC, even a few days a week. If this location is for you, drop me a line !!

When we went down to Greenville to check out the housing market last week, we fell in love with the East End of Greenville. The area south of I-85 in the Five Forks, Greer and Simpsonville area has a great balance of location, attractions, airport and proximity to down town.

Of course, we fell in love with a home in nearby Greer, SC. We went to put in an offer on Friday and the homeowner withdrew their house from the market. After the disappointment wore off, we realized that there are so many more important things in life such as family, health and happiness. And that right house will surface when we are ready to move (after selling our place below)

We will be sad to leave the few family members and dear friends we have here, but we are executing our early retirement plan and have some equally wonderful friends awaiting our arrival.. My friends at CB Hearthside will help us list our place here in Doylestown just after Super Bowl 2011, when the spring housing season begins

If you know of anyone who is interested in moving to Doylestown and the wonder that it and Bucks County has happening, let us know!

 

 

 

 

Covered Bridges of Bucks Series – part 2 (Loux)

Location: Wismer Rd., Plumstead Twp.
Height Limit: 11 ft. Width: 15 ft.
Length: 60 ft. Weight Limit: 15 tons

This one is also made of hemlock. It was built in 1874, and is one of two bridges to span the Cabin Run Creek.

Nestled in a scenic valley on Wismer (AKA Carversville) Rd., it was built when residents complained about crossing the Cabin Run Creek unaided. A popular local boy’s drowning precipitated the construction.

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649

Many think covered bridges were made to keep horses from being spooked when crossing. In fact, the roofs were designed to keep the decking and the weight bearing portions protected from the elements giving much greater life out of the structure. As you can see below, I used Loux Bridge to protect myself from a deluge in June, 2009

P6140025

Covered Bridges of Bucks Series – part 1 (Pine Valley)

_dsc3183

This is the Pine Valley Covered Bridge, which is located near New Britain. It is 81 feet long and was built in 1842  by David Sutton at a cost of $5553.50 of hemlock and pine timber. It spans Pine Run stream which may have been named for the white pine which were once abundant near the stream. Its the nearest one to my home in Bucks., located herePine Valley Covered Bridge is owned by Bucks County.This bridge is the oldest in the county. It is painted red with the white trim.

_dsc3185

This bridge was once repaired in 1917. Then it was closed again in the summer of 2006 to repair the deteriorating beams on the deck and other repairs to make the bridge safe for traffic. Pine Valley is still is able to sustain a high volume of traffic that uses it daily. It had only been reopened for just a few months prior to an accident in 2007. An oversized truck tried to goo through the old structure and tore off some of the roof and damaged the support beams under the bridge. The truck driver never stopped at the accident scene. Even if the truck driver didn’t feel the hit to the bridge, the truck would have damage done to it. 

_dsc3186

Each year the Central Bucks Bicycle Club hosts a covered bridges tour hitting many of the 11 remaining covered Bridges in Bucks County (at one time there were 36). On 2010, its on October 17.

Research courtesy of Sunshine Red.

 

Nantucket 2010

Some recent graphic memories of our trip to Nantucket..more to come I hope!

Griswold Inn in Essex, CT and Hyannis Harbor enroute on Wednesday

Img_0056

in town

Img_0057

vista on Milestone Rd.

Rabbit Hollow – where we stayed. thanks, Dana!

Panorama1

Panorama south of Siosconset

_dsc6816_7_8

Sankaty Light with Jack Welsh compound on horizon

http://www.facebook.com/v/439574328723

Sankaty Head Golf Club

http://www.facebook.com/v/436215168723

Wauwinet Inn and Topper’s. We had dinner there. Read my mixed review on Yelp.

IMG_0055.mov
Watch on Posterous

Madaket Beach

Peddler’s Village Scarecrow Festival

A beautiful day, Sunday 5 September to check out the scarecrow festival at Peddler’s Village!

_dsc6757

not only were the scarecrows creative but a beautiful day to enjoy the fantastic flowers and fresh air!

http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=71649

I hope you enjoy view them as much as I enjoyed being there! special thanks to my friend Tina Paparone for showing me around and Eve Gelman for organizing! Make sure to join them at their 2nd Happy Hour at Sweet Lorraine’s on Wednesday, 8 Sep!