Monday, January 31 2022 1:07

Publisher’s Letter

Written by Edwin Malet

February 2022

Brrr! It’s cold! It’s a good time to think about our homes and schools. And, if you missed New Year’s, there’s still the opportunity to celebrate and think about the Chinese New Year. In general, we think it’s a good time to think. County Lines for February can help.

First, Laurel Anderson is evaluating our homes. Buying? Selling? Just checking? In “The Spring Real Estate Market,” she asks several local real estate agents what to expect in the local market this year. The short answer: it’s still strong.

We’re spending a lot of time in our kitchens these days. Maybe it’s time update that room. “Dream Kitchens” offers several inspiring kitchen redesigns to give you new ideas.

Matt Freeman found a spectacular historic home—a “Serpentine Stunner”—on Birmingham Road in West Chester. Take an armchair tour and learn some local history. Another historic home is profiled in Home of the Month. Learn more about Isabella Furnace, now on the market.

This past October, the West Chester Downtown Foundation presented its 10th Historic Preservation Awards. A special Legacy Award was made to Malcolm Johnstone, along with other awards recognizing the Benjamin Freeman House, the Lokhorst -Rittenhouse House and several other prime examples of restoration and preservation. Learn more in “Preserving West Chester’s Historic Treasures” by Jane Dorchester.

For the moment, ignore the stately mansion. Focus on the trees around it. A turkey oak, a southern catalpa, a river birch …. Kirsten Werner of Natural Lands guides you in “Stoneleigh’s Trees to See.” She says they include some of the largest, most beautiful examples in the state.

Thinking about our kids, our Associate Editor Marci Tomassone prepared “A Guide to Area Independent, Private & Cyber Schools,” while I wondered about what students were learning. Are they prepared for the 21st century? I asked teachers. In “Teaching Creativity,” see their surprising answers.

Shannon Montgomery, our Assistant Editor, thinks combining mindfulness with exercise is worth exploring. Taking care of our minds is just as important as taking care of our bodies, and you can combine the two. But how? Read “Mindfulness in Motion.”

Wondering what to do to celebrate the Chinese New Year? Alyssa Thayer of Brandywine Table describes how a group of eight friends have been doing just that for almost 30 years! And she shares some of their recipes for a memorable dinner.

Our Best Local Events section is filled with things to do for you and your family.

Hopefully, you already have County Lines delivered to your mailbox. Save it for future reference. At, you can read the February issue online. At, you can read the digital issue. Or click How to Get a Copy on our website to find locations to pick up a print copy.

We hope you’d like to subscribe to County Lines. Do it on our website or call 610-918-9300. For single issues, try Wellington Square Bookshop, Main Point Books or Reads & Co. Bookstore. Visiting an advertiser is also a great—and free—way to find copies!

Serpentine Stunner
In 2007, John and Doris Rudibaugh were just settling in to their 19th-century Gothic Revival home, known as Edgewood, when neighbors invited them to dinner. The friendly dinner became serious as the Rudibaughs were informed of their responsibilities: to be stewards of their new home’s historical heritage. The couple had always planned to rehabilitate the house, but the extent of the renovation was immense. Electrical, heating, plumbing, extensive woodwork, a tower needed a new roof. The result is indeed a serpentine stunner!

Teaching Creativity
Creativity is a modern skill. It wasn’t explicitly considered a skill to be taught when I attended school in the ‘60s. But times have changed. Today creativity is encouraged. And taught—in the arts, sciences, engineering, technology and more. Read what the current philosophy and methods are among teachers at area private, independent and cyber schools. See what they’re doing to stimulate this all-important skill.

Stoneleigh’s Trees to See
The magnificent trees of the Stoneleigh estate in Villanova, now owned by the nonprofit Natural Lands, represent more than 150 years of planning and stewardship. Many of the largest trees were planted by famed landscape architects, the Olmsted Brothers, perhaps the most respected landscape designers of the 19th and early 20th century. The tree collection includes a Southern Catalpa, third largest in Pennsylvania, a Franklin Tree, the fifth largest, and an Eastern Hemlock, the state tree of Pennsylvania, as well as many others. Tour them on the grounds that are open to the public.

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