Review: County Seat Spirits and the gems of the Silk Mill in Easton

As mentioned in yesterday’s post, William Prystauk and I ventured down to Easton’s Silk Mill. We had enjoyed a lovely sushi dinner and wanted to imbibe a classy cocktail and some decadent ice cream.

Our plan was to hit County Seat Spirits and Ow Wow Cow. Neither Bill nor I had ever been inside County Seat Spirits as I had discovered them during pandemic “lockdown.” I ordered quite a few of their to go items during last summer. (More about my history with County Seat Spirits here.)

So Saturday was my first visit inside the venue and I was not disappointed, especially in the afternoon light.

I had the Mint Condition and Bill had the Pommes 76 while listening to a talented female soloist.

We later grabbed some MIXO gin lavender lemonade to go.

Bill and I meandered around the Silk Mill as he had photographed it when it was still abandoned and later he visited when it was unfinished and hosting a film festival. He marveled at the transformation as the complex came alive with various live entertainment at many of the businesses.

William D. Prystauk

At Ow Wow Cow, I enjoyed the apple caramel cashew and Bill partook in the local peach pie. I do love the early summer flavors, like strawberry rhubarb crumble, but the autumn flavors are delightful, too.

Meanwhile, Tucker and Easton Wine Project spilled over with patrons (more on Tucker here). My experiences with Tucker again stem from the pandemic and using their online grocery service to procure some amazing produce.

I’ve visited Easton Wine Project when a local citizen hosted a fundraiser for ProJeCt of Easton there. I was still in the development office at that nonprofit and Easton Wine Project perfected a classy vibe and delightful vintages.

But there are several new businesses at the Silk Mill that I have yet to try, so this might be the perfect place to have a middle-aged date night.

The end of my birthday

The last few days became so busy, both emotionally and professionally, that I never even finished blogging about my perfectly awesome birthday.

(Gayle’s Portfolio)Art by Gayle Hendricks
(Click image for her portfolio)

That may have something to do with the bottle of Vouvray the teenager and her father selected for me to accompany a most amazing cheese and fruit platter with charcuterie that they provided for my birthday dinner.

The meal came courtesy of a trip to Wegmans and included a block of applewood smoked Gouda, dill ha art I, and intense Brie. The fruits were white grapes and some succulent watermelon. A fresh baguette. Some Italian meats, include prosciutto. (Which I love to say in my best Sicilian accent) and silly cupcakes.

And the morning after my birthday I breakfasted like a princess in chocolate dipped fruits and a cookie and a tea from Dunkin’.

And yesterday I made the birthday Spam by mom brought me. On Wonder Bread for the teenager. Me. Accordion was jealous. He offered me some recipes.

This might be why my Corona weight gain is up to 10 lbs.

The artwork featured above is by Gayle Hendricks.

My friend Gayle appears in this blog from time to time, for our silly adventures, long walks or random road trips. She is a fantastic graphic designer with a very clean style. She specializes in typography and can set books in both traditional and electronic formats. I connected her portfolio to the image above, which she made for me representing my flock. (She altered a stock image in Adobe illustrator.)

Please consider her if you need freelance graphic design and know we are available as a team. I handle the editorial and she handles the pretty stuff. And we’re efficient.

And we celebrated my 40th birthday at a Trampoline Park.

Sky Zone (Gayle’s blog—5 years ago!)

More on our silly adventures:

Niagara Falls

Honey Nut Cheerios

State Parks Weekend

Volkssport Trip to Maryland

Littleton, NC

South Carolina

Birds and beasts in Georgia (This was the day I became interested in birds)

Now today:

But back to more memories:

My first visit to Waffle House

The Juliette Gordon Low House (founder of Girl Scouts)

The teenager buys a bugle

Pizza and a bottle of wine

Tonight’s blog entry will be short.

I’ve had a lot on my mind and on my plate for days. Weeks? Months?

I did something big for me. I reached out to a friend and asked her to have a drink with me.

We had intended to go OUT for a drink, but we’re both kind of broke so I invited her here to my home to meet Nala, share a bottle of wine from my holiday party, and order cheap pizza. Dominos.

Except I didn’t think she’d like the Beaujolais I had. I feared it would be too woody for her.

I told her so.

So she brought her own bottle. And I ordered the Dominoes. One white pizza, the garlic Parmesan sauce, with feta and pineapple. The other with robust marinara, banana peppers and black olives.

(The teenager is floating the idea of vegetarianism again.)

And we got the chocolate chip cookie brownie.

I blame that damn $5.99 mix-and-match promotion.

It felt so good to mindlessly talk, just sit and do nothing, eat pizza and share wine.

I am grateful to have a friend that will do that.

Wines from the Tree Trimming Party

Wine number one:

Apothic Sparkling Red. Very light. Not too sweet or rich. Very celebratory and delightful with fresh raspberries in the glass.

Wine number two:

Ribshack. A wine from Western Cape, South Africa. Reminiscent of a hearty French red. Described as a wine to accompany meat, whether venison or other red meat as you braai. As the bottle says, this is a good wine for a dinner party though I see it as a winter wine to complement a thick beef stew.

Wine number three:

Franklin Hills Cake. Is it wrong to buy a wine because the bottle and graphic design is intriguing? This wine was very sweet, certainly smelled like cake, even made the room fragrant. It was like burning scented candles. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t taste like white wine. More like liquid candy with the tang of wine.

Trimming the tree (and soft debut of our living room)

I think I’ve stunned my friend Gayle, whose known me for more than 20 years.

My new burst of holiday spirit is of concern to her.

The teenager and I worked really hard this week to prepare the house for our tree-trimming party last night, an informal tradition meant to counterbalance my anti-Christmas energy.

We really needed a few more days to finish the painting and what not. But life doesn’t always accommodate. When you plan a gathering, especially at the holidays, you can’t shift the date because you only got one coat of paint on the walls.

The featured photo in this post is my neurotic habit of dissembling the taps and soaking them in hydrogen peroxide before a party and scrubbing the caulk with an old toothbrush before a party.

This is going to be a mini-blog entry. An introduction. Because I’m behind on blogging.

Last week I attended the Hess’s nostalgia day and toured the Hollywood costume exhibit at Allentown Art Museum. I would love to tell you about that.

And then show you how the living room is shaping up.

And then tree trimming.

So stay tuned. My goal for today is to do several loads of laundry, update my budget book after getting my nails done yesterday, buying wine, and purchasing a tree. That reminds me! Add wine review to that list.

    Allentown Art Museum
    Living Room
    Tree Trimming
    Wine review from party: Apothic Sparkling Red, Rib Back (from Western Cape South Africa) and Franklin Hills Cake

O Canada

I can’t believe the trip with the Liberty Ball Wanderers has reached its final night in Niagara Falls. A tad sad really. Today I hit my 35,000 steps in one day milestone from Fitbit. I’ve gotten close many times but never made it…

But let me take a small step back. We went to Bollywood Bistro last night, a vegetarian-Jain Indian restaurant (one of nine Indian restaurants nearby), for dinner. I ate about $30 worth of food by myself I was so hungry after the 14 miles I covered during the day. The food was scrumptious.

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After that meal, we went on a 5k around Goat Island. I collapsed in bed around 10 and woke up still stuffed from dinner. I wandered down to the lobby for my first cup of coffee and managed to eat another oversized breakfast before embarking on the boarding crossing walk into Canada. We walked about 4 miles along the Canadian side of the falls, exploring various gardens and historical markers in addition to the breathtaking views of the falls.

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We came back to the hotel to play the Hampton Inn version of Mr. Potato Head.
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Then back onto the bus we went to visit Cave of the Wind (otherwise known as the place where you get dressed in a yellow garbage bag, wear cheap sandals, walk along some wooden steps and stairs to be sprayed with ice cold water). All kidding aside, the views of the falls were amazingly majestic. I think it may have been more fun than Maid of the Mist.

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We reboarded the bus for our long awaited border crossing into Canada as a group. Our first stop in Canada was the gardens near the Butterfly Conservatory. My husband and I visited here about 15 years ago and we adored the Butterfly House. But time did not allow it today. From the gardens, we traveled to Niagara on the Lake which I heard compared to New Hope and Cape May. It was cute.

We did a 5K that took us down to the waterfront, to the park across from Old Fort Niagara (which I visited once with my grandmother probably nearly 30 years ago), along Queen Street and back to the main drag.

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We bought butter tarts (a local dessert) and wine. We had to buy the wine after we had an amazing wine flight and cheese platter at Shaw’s Café and wine bar (named after George Bernard Shaw the playwright).

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Not to mention our waiter Andrew was a sweetheart and easy on the eyes. Okay, so the restaurant was gorgeous too, with winding stairs and a path through the kitchen to get to the washrooms…
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I’m so tired right now I have to postpone any further thinking… We leave at 8 am for another town and another 5k before we head home. Hopefully I can post a gallery of some of the pictures I have here, including phone booths and mail boxes.

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Excerpt: Orphans and French Masculinity in the Interwar Era

This is an excerpt/introduction from a paper written for a seminar at Lafayette College, taught by Joshua Sanborn, inspired by a class taken at Moravian College, taught by Jean-Pierre Lalande.

EXAMINING FRENCH MASCULINITY & THE GREAT WAR:
DID LES PETITS POUSSINS OF THE INTERWAR PERIOD BECOME
LES COQS GAULOIS?

Angel Ackerman
History 353 Gender and Sexuality in Modern Europe
May 12, 2009

When researching French masculinity, it quickly becomes apparent that on some level every stereotype—the seducer, the adulterer, the drinker, the connoisseur, the philosopher, the artist, the swordsman, the braggart—bears truth.  (1) In fact, various scholars have agreed that Cyrano de Bergerac, “…swashbuckler, poet, unsophisticated lover and universal character; the most accomplished expression of gallantry for Frenchwomen,” serves as an icon of nineteenth century
French maleness on the cusp of modern martial masculinity. (2)

But manhood, and many social institutions, would undergo great change throughout Europe as science—beacon of hope at the end of the 1800s, a great force to improve the quality of life— created weapons that would decimate many parts of France and inflict upon all European nations a brutal loss of life previously unimaginable.  The devastation permanently altered the social, political and economic landscape in Europe.  The battles of World War I slaughtered nine million
men, with one-third of them leaving a widow and average of two children.  In France, the Great War robbed 700,000 children of their fathers and more than a million “wards of the state,” a term that could mean either orphan, child without father or child of a permanently disabled man.  With about 1.5 million men dead, an entire generation in France grew up without a father (3)(which would make them orphans as the French orphelin means simply “child without father” unlike its
English equivalent).

In the midst of this fatherless phenomenon, French masculinity shifted shying farther from traditional martial masculinity even as the country sought to restore its former paternalistic glory. Literary themes of the early twentieth century and interwar era discuss the societal struggles caused by absent father figures, floundering government and the threat posed by neighboring Germany, but how does the generation of fatherless boys contribute to France’s changing expectations for men?  Did French war orphans fit the traditional male gender roles or did they become “a pampered bunch of wimps” from single-parent households led by women? (4)

With this in mind, one potential answer to whether or not single mothers reared a generation of wimps is this:  It was neither the absence of paternal role models nor the actions of French mothers that created a generation of men who would not subscribe to martial masculinity of the previous age.  A societal backlash against the sufferings of the Great War caused this shift, potentially exaggerated in war orphans because of their familial loss.  The orphan’s experience
served as an allegory for France as a whole as it dealt with altered masculine roles; fatherless orphans did not cause the change.

To examine this idea, one must establish a selection of men who lost their fathers in World War I.  This seems simple enough.  Search some prominent historical figures and politicians, seeking those born between 1905 to 1910.  I skimmed hundreds of biographies in encyclopedias, academic databases and even, in quasi-desperation, Wikipédia (French Wikipedia).  Articles in French yielded the best results, as could be expected, especially when searching terms like
“pupilles de la nation” (wards of the state) and “mères de deuil” (mothers in mourning).  But, with a limited time frame for this particular project, I could only locate two orphans to use as my case studies:  author Albert Camus and playwright/ actor Jean-Louis Barrault.

For Camus and Barrault, their status as orphans altered their interior attitudes regarding masculinity, not the behaviors that would define them.  War orphans cannot be blamed for the wimpish state of French manhood after the Great War, because the war had changed French maleness for the entire nation.  War orphans were one voice among many reacting to the loss of traditional masculine honor codes.  Barrault and Camus, like their artistic peers, lamented this
lack of masculine definition.

Of course, the experiences of two men do not lead to firm conclusions.  But these two men, thanks to their creative sensibilities, have contemplated these questions of what it means to have a father and what makes someone a man.  Raised in different family environments on different continents, these two men came to many of the same conclusions.  If coupled with the observations of significant playwrights of the Interwar era, the experiences of Camus and Barrault verify the cultural context of the 1920s and 1930s.  Orphans articulated the dilemma of shifting masculinity which continued into World War II with the French surrender.

ENDNOTES
(1) My title plays tribute to one of the World War I postcards featured in Marie-Monique Huss’ book, Histoires de Famille 1914-1918. (Paris: Noesis, 2000) Le petit poussin is the little chick on one postcard expressing his hope that he will one day become a great rooster of Gaul. (213)  Why the rooster?  According to the French president’s official web site (www.elysee.fr) The rooster is one of the symbols of the French republic because of its appearance on the coins of the Gauls. It is often used by foreigners today to represent the French in sporting events.  “Le coq apparaît dès l’Antiquité sur des monnaies gauloises…Il est surtout utilisé à l’étranger pour évoquer la France, notamment comme emblème sportif.”

(2) The quotes comes from Edmond Rostand, Cyrano de Bergerac (Paris: Bookking International, 1993). This quote comes from the back cover of an edition purchased in Paris in 1995: “Cyrano de Bergerac, héros au grand nez et coeur d’enfant, bretteur et poète, amoureux ingénu, est un personnage universel; c’est l’expression la plus accomplie du panache à la française.” Scholars who have cited him include Robert A. Nye, Masculinity and Male Codes of Honor in Modern France (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993) labeling Cyrano de Bergerac as an example of French panache, modesty, and swordsmanship (226) and Huss in Histoires de Famille calls him moral, elegant and displaying the appropriate war scars to be a proper French male (117).

(3) Olivier Faron, Les enfants du deuil: orphelins et pupilles de la nation de la Première Guerre mondiale, 1914-1941 (Paris: Éditions la Découverte, 2001), 13.

(4) The idea for this paper came from Jean-Pierre Lalande’s Twentieth Century French Theatre class at Moravian College in fall 2008. From my notes on Jean Anouilh’s Antigone, 22 October 2008: “Hémon- represente les hommes pragmatiques… ‘je ne vive pas sans elle [sic]’ ‘that’s totally stupid.’ stereotype of a spoiled young man. a né [sic] après la première guerre. 1920- pampered bunch of wimps- Hémon. No 45-year-olds in 1942. lost generation, les jeunes ne sont pas capable.”