Friday, April 26 2024 9:50

Publisher’s Letter

Written by Edwin Malet

May 2024

County Lines is off to the races! Horse shows, galleries, tailgates! Flowers, garden shows and nature preserves! It’s a glorious time to be in Brandywine Valley!

Equestrian fans will have three major opportunities to spend a May day in the countryside: Winterthur’s Point-to-Point, Willowdale’s Steeplechase and the Radnor Hunt Races. For details, read “Steeplechase Season Fills May Weekends” by Eric Monaghan and Laurel Anderson. Choose a race. Cheer your horse. Join friends and families for tailgates.

Later in May, go to the Devon Horse Show. For 128 years, this event has brought top horses and riders to the signature Devon blue show grounds, along with reasons to shop, dine and marvel during 12 days at the end of May through June 2. Laurel Anderson reviews the festivities. She says, “The Devon Horse Show is Better than Ever!” And Brenda Carpenter’s photos prove it.

There’s also the Annual Therapeutic Riders Division on May 25. Madeline Iacobucci calls it “A Special Equestrian Competition.” Thorncroft Equestrian Center welcomes 125 riders from over 15 therapeutic riding programs to test themselves, and win ribbons, in equitation, dressage and trail riding.

Whether you’re heading to the steeplechase or planning a picnic at one of our public gardens, plan to bring something tasty to eat. Shannon Montgomery simplifies it for you in “Easy Picnics and Tailgates.” And to drink? We’re suggesting bourbon — a perfect fit for the season. “Bourbon and Horse Racing” gives a little bit of history and several ways to enjoy it. Here’s to Pappy van Winkle!

John Holback, of Willistown Conservation Trust, takes us on a “A Walk Through the Preserves” — Ashbridge, Ruston Woods and Kirkwood Preserves to be precise — covering about 7,000 acres and open year-round. Enjoy rolling fields dotted with magnificent sycamores, stone barns and pockets of native ecosystems.

Plan to get outside and enjoy the spring weather. In “Home & Garden,” Marci Tomassone will tell you where, exploring about 25 gardens, plant sales, arboretums, markets and festivals in County Lines country. Our “Dream Barns” and “Landscape & Garden Design” photo essays offer ideas from several local contractors and experts for projects for your property.

May is also the perfect time to discover local artists bringing color, light and beauty to our lives, writes Elizabeth Hughes. In her “Art Gallery Roundup,” she finds the Brandywine Valley blossoming with art shows, tours, exhibits and other events.

In Brandywine Stories, Malcolm Johnstone tells us about William Everhart, 19th-century Chester County businessman. One of eight to survive a shipwreck off the coast of Ireland, “West Chester’s Shipwrecked Entrepreneur” returned to West Chester, built several businesses, a mansion at West Miner Street and the Lincoln Building, and became West Chester’s richest man. And he served as its Representative in the U.S. Congress as well.

Less than one year old, Mimi’s Tea Cottage is the only English tea room in West Chester. Courtney H. Diener-Stokes writes in Brandywine Table that the idea of having tea is not just about the food, but about socializing. In “Spring Into Tea Time,” she shares recipes, local sources of tea and several places to enjoy a lovely tea service.

Hopefully, you already have County Lines delivered to your mailbox. Save it for future reference. At, you can read the May issue online. At, you can read the digital issue. Or click 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 — County Lines Online — 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!

Ed Malet, Publisher


The Devon Horse Show Is Better Than Ever!

Photo: Brenda Carpenter

It lasts for 12 days, from May 22 through June 2. Come for the breed classes, hunters, jumpers and arena eventing, plus coaching, pony races, horns and hounds. See saddlebred horses and sidesaddle riding. Visit kid-friendly events and enjoy all kinds of treats. Compete in the Ladies Day hat contest. Shop for antiques, accessories, souvenirs and art. Dine on pizza, tea sandwiches, lemon sticks and — from a time-honored recipe — Devon fudge.


Steeplechase Season Fills May Weekends

Photo: Bob Plant

Join the fun as friends and families meet at their regular tailgate spots or at hospitality tents to nibble elegant picnic food and toast the races with everything from champagne to mint juleps to Liquid Death (for those forgoing alcohol). Winterthur Point-to-Point is May 5, the Willowdale Steeplechase is May 11, and Radnor Hunt Races are May 18. Each raises funds for a good cause. Choose one or attend all three, and be part of a Brandywine Valley tradition.


A Walk Through the Preserves

Photo: Jennifer Mathes

The Willistown Conservation Trust protects 7,000 acres, maintaining three preserves, publicly accessible and open year-round. Each preserve — Ashbridge, Ruston and Kirkwood — is unique and changes dramatically from season to season, offering a different experience with each visit. The preserves also provide a quiet respite from the busyness of urban and suburban life and serve as a critical ecological resource for our region’s water and plant and animal communities.

Our Favorite Resources