Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Cumberland, MD - A Whole Other American Dream World

American Dream: A great porch on which to dream American Dreams

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

More pics from Cumberland, MD.

I think the homeowners in this town compete (without admitting it to themselves or anyone else) for the title of "best porch ever."

A front door flanked by a bay window on the right, and an upstairs circular room on the left. I love the half-moon, stained-glass window, center.

This house was quite different -- painted brick. I get a big kick out of tower rooms. I used to have hair like Rapunzel.

I stayed over in Cumberland in a highway motel outside of town. In the morning, I found a diner and saw this line-up. "Deer Assassin," a U.S. Marines keychain, "B&B Meats," and "London, England." What about you? What does your cap say? 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Chambersburg, PA, American Dreams

American Dreams in Indie Coffee Shops in Unexpected Places

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

As I headed home from Athens, Ohio, by way of Cumberland, Maryland, I passed a sign for the Gettysburg battlefield. I was eager to get home, and the sign said "30 miles" which meant at least 30 minutes of driving, and I decided not to go there. 

As I drove, I regretted the decision. I might never pass that way again. So when I saw a sign for "Chambersburg, 2 miles," I took the off ramp and went on another American Dream adventure.




An indie coffee shop! Any town with one of these rates highly in my book.


Here's the interior, complete with local people.

Have a cup of coffee, sit down, and dream...


An exceptional Chambersburg door.

Falling Spring Church, founded in 1734. This building was built in 1803. The early churchgoers had big dreams of prosperity that many of us have scaled back on in today's economy. How about you? Have you scaled back on your American Dream? Comment below. And sign up to follow!



Thursday, December 19, 2013

American Dreams: Historic Homes in Cumberland, MD

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

American Architectural Gems 

On the way home from Athens, Ohio, I broke up the trip by stopping in Cumberland, Maryland. I was astonished at the historic significance of the town, and its architectural treasures.

This is the armory, with a statue of George Washington in front. It commemorates his visit here in 1794 to lead Maryland and Virginia militia against the Whiskey Rebellion.


One street was chock full of historic homes. Look at the tower! Look at the beautiful details in the moldings under the eaves of the tower, the second story, and the first-story bay window! Wow!

Another gorgeous house.

Think of the servants who slept under the eaves behind these third-story windows. What American Dreams did they have of owning a home of their own?



The doors to these incredible houses are detailed, elegant, and beguiling.

Here's someone's front porch. How beautiful!

Here's the side porch of the same home. It makes me dream of gracious Southern living…How about you? Would you like to have a mint julep while sitting on this porch? Comment below! If you like my blog, would you take 30 seconds to sign up to follow it? Thanks!!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Great Houses & Art in Athens, Ohio

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

American Dream: A College Education in a Great Town

Last fall I drove exactly 500 miles westward to visit a young friend attending Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. The town sported an historic downtown, dozens (it seemed) of bars, one spectacular indie coffee shop (cannot find the pics), and some exceptional houses (see below).

On top of a hill with a view in two directions!

Somebody had fun choosing paint!

A great house.

The next three shots are of the art on the walls of Big Mamma Burritos, where my young friend worked  part-time.

This is a college town, remember. The posters are going to be interesting, even in a burrito joint.

Great stuff, no?

Here's the sign for Big Mamma's. Even that is a work of art.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

American Dream - a Thriving Shop

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

American Dream: a Shop in an Historic Downtown

I visited Clinton, NJ in October - the flowers look great, don't they? Downtown Clinton has mostly 19th- and early-20th-century commercial architecture. The shops look so appealing in this great architectural setting.


A paper, pens, ink, cards store. So inviting!

A boutique...

Examples of more commercial architecture downtown.

This fine brick building hosts yet another appealing shop...

I liked this shop so much, I took a picture from another angle!

Notice the false front at the top of this photo -- nothing much behind those fake windows! At the end of this row is the indie coffee shop I explored a few weeks ago.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Clinton, NJ - Great Architecture and Art

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

Clinton is 60 seconds away from modern U.S. Highway 78, but be ready to take a big step back in time. It's in Hunterndon County, NJ, where the scenery is bucolic and the politics bareknuckled.


The Hunterdon Art Museum is by a mill pond, created by the Raritan River. Imagine the political maneuvering to make this museum a reality.

This bridge crosses the Raritan and takes you to...


…downtown with shops in historic commercial buildings.

                     Here's a close-up of some of the art spilling onto the sidewalk in the photo above.



The Parry House, full of professional office and studios. The sign out front said space was available. I'd like to work there.



Here's the art museum up close. Look at that fieldstone! How about you? Would you like to visit this place?




Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mystic Dreamboats

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

The American Dream of Owning a Boat

I enjoyed watching the Mystic drawbridge go up a few weeks ago. When it's up, it stops traffic on Route 1, the legendary highway from Maine to Key West.

Think of the next three photos as a slow-mo movie.




Now begins the parade of boats.

I'm not envious of this power boat, but...

Here's double envy of these sailboats.

Now I'm really in trouble, looking at this beauty.

A catamaran, a double-hulled boat, passes through.

This is the Argus, and you can go for a spin down the Mystic River anytime you want. Floating down the river is fascinating. The degree of picturesqueness makes you want to take pictures and create a calendar! How about you? What rivers have you floated down? Comment below. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Cottages and Houses in the Pennsy Countryside

By Norma Jaeger Hopcraft

Not far from my brother's house in Quakertown, PA, I found this quaint little cottage nestled under big trees. This happened in September, when everything was still lush. The cottage looks ideal (if you mentally delete the telephone wire). But it sort of reminds me of the gingerbread house Hansel and Gretel stumbled upon, took a bite of, and suffered the consequences. 


It seems idyllic...

Hidden by the garden.



Remember those warmer days?

These homeowners really did a nice job on their garden.

A close-up view.

This grand old house is in Richlandtown, a few miles from my brothers'.

Another home that captures, for me, the look of a Pennsylvania house.