Downingtown Log Cabin, Downingtown, PA


On a lovely summer day in June, 2016, we drove down business Route 30, Lincoln Highway, going through Downingtown, Pennsylvania.  We came upon the Downingtown Log House which was built in 1701.

Through online searches we were able to learn that the building is open to the public on the first Sunday of every month from 1 to 4pm, May to October.

The sign by the front door says:  Downingtown Log House Has Been Placed On The National Register Of Historic Places By The United States Department of the Interior.

There is a parking lot next to the Log House that is owned by the Borough of Downingtown.  You park in a space and place 50 cents in an rusted metal box corresponding with your parking space number. It’s puzzling to us as to how they know who put the 50 cents in the old machine since there is no record or indicator that you paid.

Next to the parking lot and log cabin is a Brandywine Trail which looks very inviting.

The following information about the log cabin is from wikipedia:,_Pennsylvania

“Downing acquired the Log House in 1739. It remained in the Downing family until 1940, when Thomas W. Downing died and left it to the borough of Downingtown. The borough did some restoration work to the Downingtown Log House in 1947. It served as the home to the Downingtown Chamber of Commerce from 1950 until 1988. But the Log House was deteriorating as Route 30 had been built close to it. Located 18 inches (46 cm) below street level, the house suffered water damage due to runoff from Route 30 and vibration from traffic weakened the structure.

From 1988 until 1990 the Downingtown Historical Society relocated the house and did an extensive restoration with money raised for the project. It now sits approximately 70 feet (21 m) west of its original location, 22 feet (6.7 m) from the Route 30 sidewalk, and slightly above street level.”



Colonial Monmouth Battlefield

My husband have a few Colonial events that we dress in colonial reenactment attire every year.  I sewed my outfit several years ago, and my husband borrows his, but is slowly collecting parts to his outfit.

This event was for the New Jersey State History Fair which was held at the Monmouth Battlefield State Park.  This history fair had been held at Washington’s Crossing State Park, but the Park Staff made a decision to move it to Monmouth for 2016.

We had many items on display, including a Hornbook that my uncle and I made, and several authentic colonial books of the period, mostly regarding 18th Century Schooling for children.  The Bible was the primary book used to learn to read and write.  The New England Primer was like a small Bible with Psalms, Poetry and lessons.  The Battledore was a single folded sheet with the alphabet and farm animals, since the colonists survived through agriculture and therefore could relate to lessons with farming drawings in the lessons.

I offered for sale several turkey feathers that I had cut into quills.  Each visitor had an opportunity to try their hand at writing with a quill pen, with turkey and goose feathers whose tips I cut into the shape of a nib, with a slit that allows ink to flow.   I made ink out of Black Walnuts, and another batch out of berries.

Cliff and Brenda at Monmouth IMG_20160514_110345818

Colonial Ridley Creek State Park Mansion

One the way home from the Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation, we stopped at the Ridley Creek State Park Mansion to get a closer look.

The park office is only open on weekdays, but I was able to take some inside photos from the windows.

The building in the center is from the 18th century, but it was expanded in the 1900’s.  The stone masons did excellent work blending the old with the new.

Ridley Creek State Park Mansion


Park Office inside of the Mansion


Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation Christmas

The Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation had their Christmas on the Farm event today, before closing for the season.

We toured a house where the hearth cooking was taking place.  The house was decorated beautifully for Christmas.  The upstairs has two bedrooms and another fireplace.  One of the beds is surrounded by curtains for warmth.

We tasted cider that had been heated over the fire, which gave it a strong smokey flavor.

A weaver gave us a hands-on experience working with wool, and an in-depth description of making flax into linen.  The weaver’s house has an authentic weaving loom from 1750.

The hearth room has a fully stocked colonial display of authentic colonial cookware and clay pottery.  The woman who did the cooking and baking out-did herself with exceptional delicacies.  She even made marzipan hedgehogs!

Afterwards, we enjoyed a tour of the farm and were personally introduced to chickens, geese, sheep, cows and horses, up close.

The colonial shop is also well-stocked with just about anything a colonial lover would want, with an end of year clearance.

The plantation will not re-open until April of 2016.



This is the amazing hearth chef.  My cell phone photos do not do her creations justice.


This loom is from 1750


Colonial Tennent Church

The 1751 Old Tennent Presbyterian Church is located on the Monmouth Battlefield State Park on White Oak Hill.  The address is 450 Tennent Road Near Rte 9 in Manalapan, New Jersey.  The congregation was formed by a group of Scottish Calvanist “Covenanters”, worshipers who disagreed with the state church.

Leaders of the Great Awakening, George Whitefield, Jacobus Frelinghusen,  Gilbert Tennent and Jonathan Edwards have preached at this property.   David Brainerd administered communion to his Indian converts here.

We were given a fascinating tour of the church by the friendly Pastor.  This church was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers during the revolutionary war, the Battle of Monmouth.

One solder was sitting on a tombstone and a canon struck him.  He was carried into the church and died there.  The Pastor showed us what seems to be possible surgeon’s saw marks and blood stains from wounded soldiers on one of the pews.

William Tennent, 1733-1777, a Pastor and leader of the Great Awakening, is buried under the church.  The Pastor informed us that when restoration work was being done, contractors accidentally bumped into William Tennent’s tomb, and after it was examined, it was verified that he is indeed buried there, with his Bible.

When you visit the church, at the entrance door you will find a button that you can press to hear a brief history of the church.  If the bell doesn’t work it’s because a piece of wood that the wire is secured to is loose and needs to be screwed tightly in place.

Church bells are played almost every day from the church steeple.  They are actually recordings of church bells and not actual bells, but one would never know that when listening to the beautiful bell chords.  I recorded a video of the church bells with my cellphone below.

Tenant Church 10-18-15  IMG_20151018_163304733


Thanksgiving Ferry House Harvest Day

On the Saturday before Thanksgiving, Cliff and I participated in the Washington’s Crossing State Park Ferry House Harvest Day event.

Children and adults were given the opportunity to try their hand at writing with a quill pen made from goose and turkey feathers. I offered for sale turkey feathers that I had cut into pens, and I made ink from Black Walnuts for the event by boiling ripened Black Walnuts, simmering until reduced and thick enough for ink, and then straining out the walnut particles, and finally pouring the ink into labeled jars.


My husband, Cliff Jones, portrayed a Colonial School Master and showed visitors samples of a horn book, New England Primer, George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour, and a Battledore.

Susan McLellan Plaisted, a colonial Hearth Cooking reenactor prepared Harvest feast recipes over the fire, while another reenactor greeted visitors and offered hot cider.  Nancy Ceperley, Ferry House historian, gave the history of the Ferry House building and a history of what would have happened at the original harvest feast in 1621.

Brenda Jones, (blog author), teaching about quill pens
Cliff Jones, (my husband), Colonial School Master


Susan McLellan Plaisted, Hearth Cook demonstrator



Susan Plaisted hearth creation,
Nancy Ceperley, Ferry House Historian, Interpretor
Kathleen Hyland introducing visitors and offering hot cider

Colonial Tyler Arboretum

In 1681 Thomas Minshall purchased the property that is now the John J. Tyler Arboretum from William Penn.  It is located at 515 Painter Road in
Media, PA 19063.  Thomas, an English Quaker, and Jacob Painter collected plants for study.  Over the years, eight generations of the Minshall, Painter and Tyler families lived on the property.

In 1825, the families planted thousands of varieties of plant species, and in 1944, the land was willed to a board of trustees with horticultural expertise to preserve the property, and it grew into what it is today.  Collections include “collections representing conifers, magnolias, lilacs, hollies, narcissus, peonies and rhododendrons”.

New structures in one section of the arboretum are designed for hands on climbing and exploring as seen in the photos below.

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Large “Birdhouse”