Sipping limoncello and sangria in a country-like setting, listening to live performances on an open mic, nibbling on cheese and olives — I was whiling away a summer evening at Sunday’s Italian Night at the Rose Hip Barn in Thornton. Hosted by “Ciao Bella Living Italian Style,” the event was a perfect way to cap a weekend!
When I received an invitation to the Italian-themed event, I jumped at the chance to visit Rose Hip Barn because I always wanted to check it out. Sometimes I get so caught up in all the fun stuff going on in the heart of Delco, I forget about all the cool stuff sitting right on the fringe.
The 100-year-old barn is “hip,” just as part of its name implies. Seven years ago, owner April Margera purchased the barn at 371 Glen Mills Road to fulfill her dream of opening a shop where she could display her unique array of hand painted furniture, linens, vintage furnishings, antiques, jewelry, rugs and much more. April has been painting and “re-working” furniture for over 25 years. She used to sell her creative “Enchanted April” pieces at festivals, craft fairs and flea markets until she could realize her dream of housing them in a beautiful place like the rustic Rose Hip Barn.
April and her husband, Phil, had an unexpected twist to their lives in the early 2000s, when their son Brandon “Bam” Margera catapulted their family into MTV fame in “Jackass,” “Viva La Bam” and “Bam’s Unholy Union.” While April and Phil occasionally showed up on “Jackass,” they were prime candidates for torture on “Viva la Bam,” where Bam and his friends would literally destroy his parents’ house, cars and anything else he could get his hands on. April jokes that through those years, she “learned a thing or three on how to fix things and put them back together again out of sheer necessity.”
She also earned enough from her participation in the shows to purchase a permanent address to showcase her beautiful creations and host memorable, special events. Rose Hip Barn has earned the Best of the Main Line award twice for Best Vintage Home Furnishings. Also, the Heritage Commission of Delaware County awarded April the honor of Outstanding Contribution to the Preservation of a Historic Building shortly after she renovated the barn.
April brought in friend Donna Wetterlund, who had the same interests in estates, auctions and unique, one-of-a-kind vintage pieces. Together, they fill each room with items that they’ve found and restored, updated or reworked into affordable, stunning pieces for their customers. The friends and business partners are gracious hosts, with warm and outgoing personalities, and are always at the Barn to greet and help customers find the perfect pieces and accessories to add charm and character to their homes.
Trust me, the items you’ll find at Rose Hip Barn are nothing that you’ll ever get at an Ikea or Walmart. The Rose Hip inventory is not only different than anything you’ve ever seen before, but items on display are the kinds of pieces that will stand out as the focal point of the room where they’re placed. Rose Hip Barn is open periodically for destination shopping events, and each event offers fresh, exceptional merchandise that April and Donna have hand-selected and transformed with their magic touch and talents. The barn has two floors and a porch full of eye-catching merchandise, plus a quaint tea room.
Just like the scenic Rose Hip Barn can be rented out for private parties, group celebrations and business meetings, so can the Orchard Tea Room. Operated by Karen Donnelly, owner of Greenhalgh Tea, the Orchard Tea Room at Rose Hip Barn offers a wide selection of teas, tea accessories and gifts, as well as an afternoon tea on select days. For $25, tea lovers can attend an afternoon tea with tea sandwiches, scones and other tea-related specialties. Guests can sip tea and browse the vintage furniture and collectibles in the barn or stroll outside to the beautiful grounds to enjoy their tea. The Orchard Tea Room/Rose Hip Barn also offers themed teas, like a Wizard of Oz Tea, and special events like an Ask the Herbalist speaker event coming on Sunday, Aug. 12.
The best bet to visit the Orchard Tea Room and the Rose Hip Barn is to call or visit their websites or Facebook pages to get times and dates of all openings and special events. For Rose Hip Barn, call 610-558-1816 or visit rosehipbarn.com, and for the Orchard Tea Room, call 610-800-9597 or visit greenhalghtea.com. Both can be found on Facebook.
One of the highlights of Sunday’s Italian Night was discovering the delicious Pezone, “rowhome grown cello.” If you like homemade limoncello, an Italian traditional liqueur, Sal Sansone and Dan Pezzetti of South Philadelphia make a wide variety of cellos, including chocolate, lemon cream, orange, chocolate banana, pumpkin spice, caramel and more. Their orange cream cello tasted just like an orange creamsicle, with a kick, of course! The business partners met through their wine-making ventures.
Soon becoming good friends, Sal was helping Dan clean out his aunt’s house a few years ago when they accidentally found her original limoncello recipe. Already proficient at wine making, the guys gave the limoncello recipe a whirl. What happened next was life-changing for them both. The homemade limoncello was not only amazing to them, but neighbors, friends and family found it also amazing and told others who told others. Before they knew it, they were making homemade cello, not just for friends but for friends of friends. They soon trademarked their special, raved-about formula, formed a company and named it “Pezone,” taking part of both their names.
Next month, the Pezone Cello line will go from rowhome tables to state store shelves when it debuts in Pennsylvania State Stores. For those who can’t wait or want it fresh for their summer gatherings, can contact Dan or Sal at 267-374-7590 to place an order that can be picked up at their location, 38 Jackson St., Philadelphia. Believe it or not, if you place an order, they will even deliver it! To read all about their yummy new cellos, visit pezonecello.com.
There were other unique touches to the “Ciao Bella Living Italian Style” event Sunday night. Pam Mariani presented delicious treats from Pronto Catering. Juliette Turturro showcased her jewelry in a silent auction to raise funds for taking “Ciao Bella Living Italian Style” on the road. Formerly filmed at Radnor Studio 21 in Wayne, the popular “Ciao Bella Living Italian Style” TV episodes featured all-things-Italian, along with interesting and newsmaking Italian-American guests. Host of the show, Barbara Ann Zippi, will soon be hitting the road, taking “Ciao Bella Living Italian Style” on location. For more information on past episodes and upcoming ventures and sponsorship opportunities, visit ciaobellalivingitalianstyle.world.
In the meantime, sign me up for another fun shopping night like this one! I don’t know about you, but noshing on hors d’oeuvres, listening to some live music and sipping limoncello while browsing interesting merchandise in a rustic country barn surrounded by flowers and greenery sure beats my usual shopping experiences in a noisy, crowded big box store! Thanks, “Ciao Bella Living Italian Style” for introducing me to this other, more relaxed world of retail therapy, all while celebrating my Italian roots. Oh, what a night — I will be back!
Readers can reach peg DeGrassa at firstname.lastname@example.org.