It was the late 1960's and Joyce Byers, an amateur artist with a degree in fashion design, was disappointed in what she was seeing in the stores: aluminum tinsel trees with garish blue lights. She was looking for holiday decorations with warmth that showed respect for timeless traditions and her own memories of Christmas.
Joyce Byers QuoteThe first Carolers graced the Byers' dining room table that Christmas, and they received compliments from all of the relatives. On a tight budget, Joyce knew what to make for presents the following year. A neighbor suggested taking some to a local store, where they sold quickly. The store was part of a federation of Woman's Exchanges and introduced the Carolers to other exchanges around the country. Soon a couple of dozen stores around the country were asking Joyce to supply them with Carolers.
Joyce pressed her husband, Bob, and their two sons into service to help produce the figures each autumn. It wasn't long before the Carolers overwhelmed the dining room table, where the family gathered to work together. "Every year the house would be a total wreck, and I'd say that we're never doing this again!" remembers Joyce.
But when a downturn in the economy hurt his construction business, Bob looked around and saw some potential in the Carolers. He decided to devote more of his energies to the fledgling business, and in 1978, the couple hired their first employee, and turned the garage into a workshop.
The unique appearance and handcrafted quality of the Carolers quickly gained a following. Each year, Bob & Joyce would work with their crew of trained artisans up until Christmas Eve putting the finishing touches on Carolers.
The two sons joined the company upon graduating from college and have played an important role in the growth of the firm, with Bob working in production and Jeff helping with marketing and design. "We always say that mom's hobby has gotten a little out of control," jokes Jeff.
Together, the family now overs
Asher’s Chocolates is the oldest continuously family-owned confection company in the United States. It began in 1892, when Chester A. Asher opened a small candy shop in the heart of Philadelphia. In addition to candies, Chester and his staff of six also made jams, jellies, maple syrup, freshly baked cakes and ice creams. Beautiful European-style bonbons and rare candies were displayed in the window to tempt passersby. The Asher name quickly became associated with superb quality, and the store acquired larger space in the Philadelphia’s historic Germantown neighborhood.
When Chester’s son John died in 1966, the third generation of Asher's took the company’s helm. With the increased use of air-conditioning in stores, homes and automobiles, chocolates were becoming more popular as a year-round candy. Jack and Bob decided to expand their selection of chocolates and began producing sugar-free (what was then called “dietetic”) chocolates.
The brothers understood America’s changing tastes in candies and had a knack for business. Asher’s quickly grew. By the 1980s, Jack's and Bob’s sons, David and Jeff, continued the business into the fourth generation. They soon moved the company to Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania. When that space became too small, The Asher Familiy purchased 31 acres of farmland in Souderton, Pennsylvania. This is where Asher’s Chocolates are made today.
The family also purchased the former Goss Candies in Lewistown, PA. There, hand-made confections are created including Chocolate Smothered Potato Chips, moulds and buttery toffee.
From candy shop to chocolate factory, Asher’s has maintained a tradition of fine American chocolates. Asher’s Chocolates is currently under the direction of the fourth generation of Ashers: David Asher, President and CEO, and Jeff Asher, Vice President Sales and Marketing. Their fathers, Bob and Jack Asher, remain co-Chairmen of the Board.
Wine in PA? You bet! Sip and savor premium wines at Chaddsford Winery, Pennsylvania's largest and most recognized winery. The winery offers tours of the winemaking and barrel aging cellars, tastings of Chaddsford's nationally acclaimed varietal wines, and picnicking on the scenic grounds. Check their website's calendar of events for special happenings, including outdoor concerts and festivals, dinners and wine education classes.
While not a local attraction, Chadd's Ford Winery is highly recommended.
Housed in a former firehouse, the intimate 122-seat Montgomery Theater offers new and classic plays in a unique setting. The company describes its mission as a uniquely intimate, non-profit theatrical enterprise dedicated to bringing new life to old tales and giving age and wisdom to new ones.
Located in Bucks County, Sesame Place is part amusement park and part interactive play experience for families with children ages 2-13. Enjoy over three dozen play activities featuring water attractions, live stage shows, musical parades and Sesame Street character greetings.
At 85 Old Dublin Pike in Doylestown, PA, Aldie Mansion is a fitting home for Heritage Conservancy, a nonprofit membership organization whose mission is to protect our natural and historic heritage. Aldie’s story is rich with history and its survival is the result of a cooperative effort at preservation.
Aldie Mansion began its history as a beloved private residence. Commissioned by William and Martha Mercer as an ode to the English Tudor manor, this stately 1927 mansion evokes a time in America when craftsmanship reached an art form. The Aldie gargoyles, intricate brickwork, vintage leaded glass, antique tiles and charming garden ornaments have been faithfully preserved as part of Bucks County’s unique heritage.
The William Brinton 1704 House is a restored historic Quaker home which is owned, maintained, and operated as a museum by the Brinton Association of America. The home is situated on part of a 450-acre land grant from William Penn and resembles medieval English architectural style. It is furnished authentically and boasts many interesting features, such as leaded casement windows, an indoor bake oven, and a colonial herb garden. Located just off of U.S. Route 202, south of West Chester. Tours are available to the public daily, May through October.
Tour the Pearl S. Buck House and see the beautiful results of our eight-year journey towards full restoration and preservation of the home's interior and exterior. Tours of the national historic landmark home will feature increased access to collections and never displayed artifacts including select wardrobe items worn by Pearl Buck, a 1927 office Edison-Dictaphone, crystal stemware and china table settings.
$12 Adults | $10 Seniors | $6 Students | Complimentary for Members
Monday - Saturday: 11 am, 1 & 2 pm
Sunday: 1 & 2 pm
The Wentz farm served as headquarters for George Washington during the fall of 1777. While there, Washington planned his attempt to keep the British forces from occupying Philadelphia that resulted in the Battle of Germantown on October 4, 1777. The site has been restored and the house furnished to reflect its appearance at the time of the American Revolution. Located east of intersection of Routes 73 and 363 in Worcester. Tues-Sat 10 am – 4 pm; Sunday 1 – 4 pm
The picturesque, rolling hillsides of 3,600-acre Valley Forge National Historical Park are where General George Washington forged his Continental Army into a fighting force during the winter encampment of 1777-78. The Welcome Center features exhibits, artifacts, a gift shop, light refreshments and an 18-minute film. Located at Route 23 and North Gulph Road, Valley Forge, PA. It is open year-round from dawn to dusk, and the Visitor Center and other park buildings are open 9 am – 5 pm daily. 610-783-1077.
Towers, terraces and tiles are the themes at the exotically decorated home of Pennsylvania's Renaissance man, Henry Mercer. Fonthill is Mercer's unusual castle built entirely of hand-mixed concrete. Built in 1910, the castle has 44 rooms, 18 fireplaces, 32 stairwells and more than 200 windows of varying shapes and sizes. Prints, objects, furniture and art from around the world mix with an incredible array of Mercer's original decorative tiles. This odd and striking dream home is a must see. Mon-Sat 10 am – 5 pm, Sun 12 – 5 pm.
Now into its second century, this working tile factory, history museum, and National Historic Landmark still hand-makes decorative tiles and mosaics inspired by the designs of Henry Mercer. The concrete building itself includes hundreds of ceramics designs and reflects a Spanish mission architectural style. Located on Fonthill grounds. Self-guided tours. Gift shop. Daily 10 am – 4:45 pm.
Six stories tall and chock full of 18th and 19th Century treasures, this distinctive museum houses Henry Mercer's vast collection of early American objects and implements. Experience fascinating displays of furnishings, folk art, farm tools, and more — all profiling everyday life in earlier times. Victorian-era transportation displays include a whaling boat, horse-drawn carriage, and an antique fire engine. Hands-on activities and a museum shop enhance your visit. Mon-Sat 10 am – 5 pm, Tues 10 am – 9 pm, Sun 12 – 5 pm.
Located across the street from the colossal Mercer Museum is this wonderful small art museum. Dedicated to promoting works by Pennsylvania artists — particularly sculptors and impressionists, the museum features quite an impressive collection. This museum and a sister museum in New Hope preserves the arts and cultural heritage of Bucks County with both permanent and changing exhibitions. Tues-Fri 10 am – 4:30 pm, Sat & Sun 10 am – 5 pm.
The Stoogeum is the world's first and only museum of Three Stooges memorabilia. Containing close to 100,000 pieces of Stoogeabilia, the Stoogeum (rhymes with museum) offers fans a chance to view a vast array of artifacts which celebrate the legacy of this legendary comedy team. The 10,000 square-foot, 3-story building houses anything and everything Stooge. Artifacts from 1918 to the present are on exhibit, including several interactive displays. The Stoogeum also contains a research library, a 16MM film storage vault and an 85-seat theater used for film screenings, lectures and special presentations.
The Stoogeum is also the headquarters of the Three Stooges Fan Club, one of the nation's oldest and largest fan clubs with 2,000 members world-wide. An annual meeting of the fan club brings together Stooges relatives,supporting actors, impersonators and fans with the Stoogeum at the hub of the event.
Experience the Trails
Montgomery County offers its residents and visitors a premier trail system. The Montgomery County Division of Parks, Trails, and Historic Sites is responsible for constructing and maintaining all county trails. We currently have almost 60 miles of regional county trails connecting greenways, waterways, and heritage corridors within Montgomery County and are planning to construct additional trail miles.
The 5,286-acre Nockamixon State Park is in the rolling hills of scenic Bucks County, close enough to Philadelphia for a day trip, but far enough away for a vacation. Tohickon Creek, Three Mile Run and Haycock Run feed the 1,450-acre Lake Nockamixon, which is a rest stop for migrating waterfowl and a destination for boaters and anglers. Visitors can stay the night in a cabin or enjoy the many activities of the park for the day. Popular activities are picnicking, visiting the pool, hiking, biking, fishing and boating.
A magnificent flora and fauna showplace, Longwood Gardens is one of the world's premier horticultural centers. Enjoy over 11,000 types of plants, more fountains than any other garden in the US, educational and visitor programming, and over 400 performances a year. Daily programs (included in the regular Gardens admission) such as self-guided audio tours, behind-the-scenes guided tours, and other daily and special programs provide learning opportunities for all Garden visitors. Longwood Gardens is located on US Route 1, about 3 miles northeast of Kennett Square. Hours vary by season.
The Red Buffalo Ranch provides guided trail rides through Evansburg State Park. With the aid of their experienced guides and versatile horses, you are guaranteed to have a great time. Options include a one hour, two hour, or four hour trail ride. Call for hours and availability.
Check out Talamore Country Club for championship golf, tennis, fitness, and swimming. Located less than 5 miles from Joseph Ambler Inn, Talamore Country Club is the perfect place to stay and play! AS part of a special relationship between The Joseph Ambler Inn and the Talamore Family of Clubs, you are welcome to experience the many amazing amenities the private clubs have to offer. As a Golfing Member Fore a Day, enjoy championship golf courses and practice facilities. The golf course at Talamore has been ranked in Pennsylvania's Top 24 and as one of the Best New Private Courses in the Country by Golf Digest. Talamore also received a Top 100 ranking in Golf for Women. The newest edition to the Family is Applecross Country Club. This exciting Nicklaus design recently opened with rave reviews and provides golfers with a unique-to-the-area experience.
The Elmwood Park Zoo is a zoo in Norristown, Pennsylvania that houses hundreds of animals representing 100 species. It has a focus on North and South American animals but is home to animals from around the world.
This charming outdoor shopping village features 75 unique specialty shops, six restaurants and a family entertainment center — all set on 42 acres of landscaped gardens. The village holds a variety of events, classes and concerts throughout the year. Located at Routes 202 & 263 in Lahaska.
Located in a country village setting — next door to Peddlers Village, Penn's Purchase features 40 of the most recognized names in outlet shopping. Stores include Brooks Brothers, Danskin, Nine West, Jones New York, Izod, Easy Spirit, and much more.
King of Prussia Mall is the nation's largest retail shopping complex. Boasting seven world-class department stores and more than 400 stores, boutiques and restaurants, King of Prussia has more pure retail shopping space than any other attraction in America and it features stores that cannot be found elsewhere in the region. Upscale retailers include Tourneau, Thomas Pink, Molton Brown, Cole Haan, and Williams-Sonoma Home.