Gift-giving dilemma? Membership to the Newtown Library Company provides a year of wonder

With the gift-giving season upon us, many may be struggling to find just the right present for the person who has everything. A membership to the Newtown Library Company is a unique offering that provides a year of wonder to the recipient.

“The Newtown Library Company has been nurturing the area’s need for knowledge since 1760,” explains Donna Gusty, president of the library’s board of directors. “This gem of a resource has thousands of books, including recent best-sellers, plus hundreds of DVDs, and audio books to choose from.” 

What’s more, the Newtown Library Company offers a sense of community to its members, with programs like story time for youngsters, poetry readings, speaker series, and literary-themed teas and social gatherings throughout the year.

“There’s so much more to being a member of our historic neighborhood library than just the ability to sign out a good book,” adds Donna.

You’ll also be giving a piece of Bucks County history. The Newtown Library Company was founded on August 9th, 1760. Since then, the subscription library has continually thrived and expanded its collection to meet the needs of its members.

The collection includes historic books as well as some historic artifacts. For example, William Penn’s dining-room chair is on display. The library owns three of Penn’s chairs; the other two are on loan to Pennsbury Manor, William Penn’s home, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Another artifact is the library’s hand-painted sign, on display in one of the reading rooms. In 1825, the famous primitive artist Edward Hicks was commissioned for $1 to paint a sign for the library. It includes a portrait of Benjamin Franklin and a Latin inscription that translates to “A library is useful to both young and old.”

A one-year membership to the Newtown Library Company is only $25 for a family, $20 for an individual, and $10 for students and seniors. New members are asked for a one-time donation of $1 to become a library shareholder, a tradition that has continued since 1760. An annual shareholders meeting is held each October.

To purchase a gift membership, stop by the Newtown Library Company at 114 E. Centre Avenue, Newtown, visit and click on “membership,” or call 215-968-7659. The library will send out a beautiful card notifying the recipient of the gift.


Get ready for Lambertville-New Hope Winter Festival 2014!


by Mimi Rowland

This year’s Winter Festival offers both new events as well as the much-loved standbys, and promises fun and entertainment for all.

This will be the 18th year of the incredibly popular Chili Cook-Off, featuring the best chili recipes from a wide variety of local restaurants. Nothing goes better with chili than beer, so of course plenty of that will be on hand as well. This year it is being provided by a local favorite, Triumph Brewery. You even get to take your commemorative pint glass home at the end of the Cook-Off! Come to the new location at the New Hope Fire Company on January 26th and see who will take home the coveted trophies this year, with winners awarded by a panel of judges and also by the Cook-Off patrons. Tickets always sell out for this event, so get yours soon!

Also at the Fire Company this year is the Taste of Winterfest. This sampling of delicacies and specialties from local restaurants of both riverside towns is just the ticket to warm you on a cold winter’s day. There will also be tastings offered by breweries and wineries in the region, so be sure to save the date, January 23rd, for this delicious event.

Want to get up and dance? Get out to the Fire and Ice Ball on January 18th. There will be live ice carving and, since it is Fire and Ice, there will be fire dancers as well. Food and drink and door prizes will add to the festive atmosphere of this fashionable Winter Festival party.

The kids will surely enjoy the annual parade, which follows the route from New Hope-Solebury High School all the way over the bridge to Lambertville. The parade will feature Mummers, marching bands, jugglers, floats, dancers, and more. Onlookers can watch from the bridge or anywhere along the route on Bridge Street. Before the parade, take the kids to St. John’s Church for a puppet theater and ballet time. Afterward, there will be many kid-friendly musical activities to enjoy, including a performance of Sleeping Beauty, Glee PAC, and a Broadway medley by the Theater Arts Center. Bring the whole family out on January 25th at to enjoy all of the offerings.

January 26th features many activities for the whole family, beginning with a pancake breakfast to benefit the New Hope-Solebury girls’ soccer team. After enjoying all-you-can-eat pancakes, French toast, sausage, and eggs, head to the Children’s Activity Center sponsored by the Solebury Township Parks and Recreation Department. There will be arts and crafts, an obstacle course, dodge ball, and more! There will also be a Snow Folk Art exhibit to enjoy, the winners of which will be announced at the Pancake Breakfast. All of these activities are located at New Hope-Solebury High School.

Each year, the Winter Festival takes time to recognize an individual who has contributed to the New Hope-Lambertville area. This year’s honoree is Jim Hamilton, a well-known restaurateur and owner of Hamilton’s Grill Room, Broadway set designer, and all-around community supporter. His tireless dedication to local non-profit groups has earned him the respect and admiration of the community. January 25th will allow the community to thank him at a dinner in his honor.

Winter Festival wouldn’t be complete without a big concert performance, and this year will not disappoint. Although you may not know the name Jimmy Webb, you certainly know his music. He has written such classics as “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Wichita Lineman” for Glen Campbell, “MacArthur Park” for Richard Harris, “Up, Up, and Away” for The Fifth Dimension, and the country standard “The Highwayman.” He has won numerous Grammys and a Lifetime Achievement award from the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. You will undoubtedly enjoy seeing and hearing this legend in person! Opening for Webb will be local favorite John Danaher, performing with Eric Aceto on violin and guitar and Doug Robinson on bass and vocals. There will be a VIP Gala Reception before the concert, which includes transportation between the concert and the reception at Nicolas at the Logan Inn.

There are even more events, including an Art Crawl at local galleries, tours, and a Beef ‘n Brew, all to benefit Fisherman’s Mark food pantry, local parks and recreations departments, and many other community organizations. Come have fun and support your community at the same time!

For more info visit

PHOTO CAP: Jimmy Webb appears this year at Winterfest


Lenape Valley Foundation seeks donors to spread holiday cheer

While holiday time is one that is supposed to be filled with joy and happiness, that is not the case for many of our friends and neighbors in Bucks County. Lenape Valley Foundation (LVF) hopes to make the holidays a little brighter for those in need. 

The Holiday Assistance Program, an annual effort organized by LVF staff and volunteers, was developed for just that purpose. For the past 55 years, the compassionate and caring staff of LVF have been there to provide treatment, crisis services, case management and community supports for children and adults in need. 

More than 7000 residents of our community utilized one or more of LVF’s critical services this past year. The doors of LVF’s high-quality programs are always open to those who have the greatest needs. This year, as it has done over the past few years, LVF is helping consumers who are in need during the holiday season. 

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Sending thanks to our military heroes


With the holiday season upon us, young artists in Newtown have taken the time to send thanks to our troops in the form of handmade cards through the Red Cross “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program. Their individuality and thoughtfulness are evident in each and every card. 

These children understand that one of the many sacrifices our troops make is not getting to spend the holidays with their own loved ones. It is because of that sacrifice that the rest of us celebrate our holidays safe and free, which makes this an important time to remember the heroism of our troops and thank them for their service. 

Shown from left are Anna Lee, Hanna Lipski, Sarah Williamson, Connor Boucher, and Jackson Boucher.


Cheer up the holidays with Northampton Parks & Rec

Do your holiday shopping with Northampton Parks and Recreation and find great gift ideas, including classes, programs, gift certificates or tickets. It’s one stop shopping for everyone on your list.

Regal movie tickets are only $8 when you purchase them at the P&R admin office. Discount lift tickets to area ski resorts are also available. Save money and avoid long lines at the mountain. Check the website for a list of Pocono resorts.

Early discounted rates for Signature Summer Camps are now available. Register with a deposit and pay the full camp fee by January 15th, 2014 to receive 2012 rates! Yes, lower rates than 2013 on most camps. Visit the web for complete details.

The Second Annual Northampton Winter Floor Hockey Classic is coming soon. Kids, challenge your parents to a friendly game of hockey as the “puck” drops on Sunday morning, December 15th at the Northampton Recreation Center. Fee is $ 25 for parent and child with discounts for multiple children. Visit for times, details and registration info.

For the college-bound high school person on your list, a new Kaplan SAT Classroom Prep course starts January 21st and continues through March 4th. It’s a 10-week session, Tuesdays 6:00pm to 9:00pm, and Saturdays 9:00am to 1:00pm, held at Council Rock South High School.  Register online.

Become a friend on Facebook and get up to the minute info on programs. Browse the Recreation brochure on the website,, for your complete holiday shopping list.

For details call 215-357-6800 ext. 249.  


Fonthill Castle’s Winter Wonderland Holiday Tours

The castle home of tile maker Henry Mercer is dressed up for the holiday season as it prepares to host a series of captivating events.

The visual splendor of Fonthill Castle, located at 525 E. Court Street in Doylestown, is on full display with themed Christmas trees in each room, Victorian decorations and greens throughout the castle. Winter Wonderland Tours run until Sunday, January 5th and reservations are recommended. Tours are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, and $6 for youth ages 6-17. 

Fonthill’s Holiday Lights Meander on Saturday, December 14th, includes a self-guided candlelit tour of the castle, holiday music and refreshments. Docents will be on hand to answer any questions. Tours run from 6:30 to 9:30pm  and are $15 per person. Registration is required.

Fonthill closes out the holiday season with its Candlelight Holiday Tours on Saturday, December 28th, from 6:30 to 9:00pm. Guests are taken through the 44-room castle to enjoy its special candlelight glow and to learn about Henry Mercer, his decorative tiles, art, life, and passion for collecting. Tours are $15 per person and registration is required.

Registration for Fonthill Castle’s holiday tours can be done by calling 215-348-9461 or by e-mailing Visit Fonthill Castle on the web at


Doylestown’s Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony marks beginning of Christmas season

by June Portnoy

Approximately 2,000 people lined the streets of Doylestown Borough on November 29th, the day after Thanksgiving, to watch the annual tree lighting ceremony, organized by the Doylestown Business and Community Alliance (DBCA).

People began congregating by the decorated Christmas tree, located at the Courtyard by Starbucks on Broad and Union Streets, at 5:00pm. DBCA volunteers served free cider and cookies while the community came out to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season. The Central Bucks High School West Chorus sang holiday songs, entertaining the crowds of people waiting in anticipation for the annual parade that would soon stop by the tree.

At 6:00pm, the parade began at CB West, making its way through town to Main and State Streets. Leading the parade was the Doylestown Police Department, followed by the CB West Marching Band, DBCA volunteers, and finally, the man of the hour, Santa himself, waving at spectators from an antique fire truck.

The procession ended by the Christmas tree where crowds cheered as Santa emerged from the truck.

Doylestown Mayor Libby White stood by the porch at Starbucks with MC Matt Abelson. Even “Henry Mercer” made a return visit to participate in the festivities. Santa welcomed the Doylestown community and then asked them to count down from 10 to magically light the Christmas tree.

Much to the delight of young children, Santa, accompanied by the marching band, walked to the Santa House on Hamilton and State Streets, where inside he waited to hear what “good boys and girls” wanted for Christmas. At least 100 children waited outside in a line that went down the street as far as the Doylestown Inn.

The rule is that Santa always waits until he sees the last child, and this year was no exception. For boys and girls who were unable to see Santa that evening, there’s still time for them to make their Christmas requests. Santa will be at the Santa House from now through Christmas Eve on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, Saturdays from 1:00am to 3:00pm, and from 5:30pm to 7:30pm, and Sundays from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.

“The tree lighting and Santa parade is a long-standing tradition in Doylestown,” says Cathy Hoot, DBCA President and Holiday Chairperson. “Lots of people make a point of taking pictures by the tree every year.”

In addition, some children bring homemade ornaments that they place on it.    

A woman on the DBCA board remembers coming to the tree lighting ceremony as a young girl, and she is now bringing her son.

“We are well into our third generation of people coming out to this ceremony,” adds Cathy. “This is a real community event, and we like to emphasize people’s love and enjoyment of Doylestown.”

But the festivities didn’t end November 29th. The following Wednesday evening on December 4th, DBCA hosted a celebration by the brightly colored dreidel on State and Main Streets led by a local rabbi, which also included a sing-along.  Small gifts, including Hanukkah gelt, were given out during the ceremony.

On Friday, December 13th, join DBCA’s “Holiday Magic” at Doylestown Borough’s shops and restaurants from 6:00pm until 10:00pm. It will include strolling carolers, as well as special surprises and discounts from select stores in town. Come and support your local businesses.

The DBCA is a volunteer group whose goal is to encourage a sense of community and to foster a quality of life beneficial to the Doylestown community. The DBCA is always looking for new volunteers and members.

If you’re interested, contact Margie at 214-340-9988. For additional information about the DBCA, visit


VOICES Chorale to present ‘Christmastide’ Holiday Concert December 15th

On December 15th at 3:00pm, at Anchor Presbyterian Church, 980 Durham Road (Route 413), Wrightstown, VOICES Chorale will present its annual holiday program, Christmastide. The concert will feature classic holiday music, including Rutter’s Christmas Night, Biebl’s Ave Maria, Britten’s A Hymn to the Virgin, and a short cantata by Michael Haydn.

Audiences will be invited to join the chorus in singing What Child Is This and Joy to the World. Rochelle Ellis, soprano, will be the featured guest artist on the program. She will perform her signature piece, Sweet Little Jesus Boy, as well as Fraser’s This Christmastide and music by Bach and Michael Haydn.

Ms. Ellis has sung with VOICES many times, to the delight of singers and audiences alike.

The 50 singers in VOICES from central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania are united in their desire to sing outstanding music well, and this concert is no different.

According to VOICES founder and music director Dr. Lyn Ransom, “This is VOICES’ 26th season, and we are looking forward to sharing holiday music in Bucks County. Each year, people in the audience tell me that they simply don’t have the Christmas spirit until they hear our concert. The singers love the music for this concert, and I hope the many people that begin their season with VOICES will love it, too. I think we’re all in for a real treat!”

General admission tickets are $25, a family pass $55, and a child $10. Students with a school ID may attend the concert free of charge. Buy your tickets in advance at to save $5 on each general admission ticket or family pass.


Audubon Society welcomes Santa to Honey Hollow

Bucks County Audubon Society (BCAS) has announced a holiday open house on Saturday, December 14th to ring in the season and celebrate the magic of Christmas!

The Honey Hollow Visitor Center will be beautifully decorated with natural materials and fresh-cut pine garland just in time for Santa’s visit to meet the little girls and boys!

There will be activities for the entire family from 11:00am to 3:00pm. Ride on a tractor-pulled wagon over the river and through the woods to Tuckamony Farm; decorate donuts with sugar sprinkles; shop for unique one-of-a-kind holiday gifts from woodcarvers, metal work artists and fine artists; make toasty s’mores over the fire; enjoy hot cider, and visit with Santa. Tractor rides in between the visitor center and Tuckamony Farm will be on a schedule for families shopping for Christmas trees.

In case of inclement weather, Christmas in the Hollow will take place on Sunday, December 15th.  The cost per person is $5; kids under three are free. Admission is free with the purchase of a BCAS membership. For more information e-mail

BCAS is located at 2877 Creamery Road, New Hope, phone 215-297-5880. Visit for updates and other events. 


Pennsbury Community Chorus set for musical feast at 14th Annual Christmas Concert

The Pennsbury Community Chorus (PCC) is doing an encore five years later! Due to popular demand, the Chorus’ 14th Annual Christmas Concert on Sunday, December 15th will feature the return of “Missa Carolae,” a choral setting of the Latin Mass set to the music of Christmas carols from several European countries by British composer James Whitbourn.

The mass setting, last performed by the PCC in 2008, will again be under the baton of PCC Music Director James D. Moyer. It will be held in Keller Hall on the West Campus of Pennsbury High School, 608 South Olds Boulevard, Fairless Hills, starting at 3:00pm.

Tickets are $12 for adults, $8 for seniors 65 and over, and $6 for students with ID. They can be ordered in advance by calling 215-949-6780 ext. 70975, or purchased at the door just prior to the show. Group tickets for 20 or more are available by phone for a 20% discount.

Moyer, Director of PHS Choral Activities and Coordinator of Vocal/Choral Music K-12, said that while the Whitbourn work is the major concert piece, the afternoon will include well-known Christmas carols, some with invited audience participation, as well as both new and newly-arranged older seasonal works.

“A most unusual feature of this presentation of ‘Missa Carolae,’” Moyer noted, “will be the substitution of a children’s choir for several sections normally sung by a soprano soloist. This role will be taken by the 30-member Select Chorus of the Quarry Hill Elementary School from Yardley under the direction of Kathy Setash. In addition, the Pennsbury High School Chamber choir will join with the Community Chorus in the Mass, as well as take the stage by itself for three seasonal choral pieces.”

Instrumental accompaniment for the concert will be provided by a guest brass ensemble as well as organ and piano. Jason Vodicka, a former Pennsbury High music teacher and current assistant professor of music at Susquehanna University, will play the Allen organ. Playing piano will be Brian Krajcik, a PHS music faculty member. Another PHS music faculty member, Dereck Cressman, will conduct one of the concert’s briefer works, “Awake, Arise and Hail the Morn,” an anthem for voice, brass, percussion and organ arranged by Mack Wilberg. 

Other Christmas songs on the program include “Joy to the World”; “O Come, All Ye Faithful”; “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”; and J.S. Bach’s “Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light” from the “Christmas Oratorio.”