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.