Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pepper Tree Art Stable and Coffee Shop (Part 2 of Philadelphia Outing!)

Signpost on the street corner directing visitors to the restaurant and coffee shop.

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Here I am, back at my post after all the excitement of Carol Wyer's On-line Book Launch Party. If you missed it, you can still visit her blog, as she will be keeping the show open all next week for viewing and enjoyment. Her hilarious debut novel, Mini Skirts and Laughter Lines is on sale now. It was ranked amongst the Top 50 Best Sellers on Amazon, yesterday! You will find all the details on her website (and, no, I am not being paid to direct you there!)

This has been a particularly busy week for me. Apart from my normal daily activities, we spent two days away from home, but you will need to wait a while longer to hear what we got up to. Right now, I am going to finish telling you about the day trip we enjoyed last week (see previous post

Philadelphia is a rather cute, historical village situated amongst the lush  green, rolling hills of the Swartland farming community, the wheat growing region of the Western Cape. To read more about this enchanting settlement, click on the link

The comely village centre. Parking is generally not permitted in this street. As it was drizzling when we were there, some visitors clearly chose not to adhere to the polite request to park on the Church Square, which is conveniently situated just a few steps behind and to the right of where this picture was taken and which provides ample parking for the influx of visitors on weekends, especially during the summer months. 

The hubbub of Philadelphia is the delightfully quirky Pepper Tree Art Stable and Coffee Shop, which also houses a Pottery Studio and a lovely gift shop. The huge Pepper Tree, after which it is named, dominates the entrance to the stables complex. I loved the gnarled and bulbous trunk girth.

During summer, the courtyard is furnished with outdoor tables and chairs for guests who wish to eat al fresco. As it was a rainy, late winter/early spring day, we were comfortably seated inside the pleasantly toasty, original stable, the building you see on the left. The adorable little, Boomer-lookalike dog belongs to the resident Potter.

The courtyard is home to several whimsical sculptures fashioned out of repurposed rusty implements. Here we have a donkey, I think!

We rather liked this sturdy old wood and iron trestle table which was resting beneath the ample shade of the Pepper Tree. It will accommodate quite a large gathering of guests enjoying an open-air meal at the restaurant, on a balmy summer's day.

A charming old wood and zinc shed, draped in sweet-smelling Jasmine!  As you can see, the sky was very gray on the day we visited, but that in no way dampened our experience of this delightful little town.

Several of the tables were occupied when we arrived. We sat at the back of the large Gallery-cum-Restaurant. While we were waiting for our wine order and starter course to arrive, I had fun viewing the paintings in this room and the various items on display in the Pottery Shed, which leads directly off the dining area, behind and to the right of where I was standing. The grinning man belongs to me! I'd asked him to smile at the camera and he was giving a cheeky retort, much to the delight of a table of older ladies opposite.

This large room is hung from floor to ceiling with framed paintings (all for sale) and old collections of tins are displayed high up on the rafters, all adding to the beguiling atmosphere.

"Hi, nice lady. My name is Boo. What's yours?" Really? Boo? That's too cute! Hey, Hon, it's "Me and you and a dog named Boo!"

Glutton that I am (it was chilly and I was HUNGRY!) I only remembered to take a pictures of my starter course! It was a deliciously creamy broccoli and brie soup, served with a freshly baked rye roll. For mains, I had garlicky chicken, roasted tomato, herb and leek pancakes served with a deliciously fresh baby-leaf salad and, for dessert (you honestly didn't expect me to miss out on that, did you?), I had a scrumptious, warmed apple crumble with fresh cream. The whole meal was very tasty and attractively presented.

Painting in the gallery of a view down the main street of the village (I took a picture of the same scene, but from the opposite direction...see below).

It is spring in South Africa and our glorious annual display of indigenous flora has arrived. Should you wish to find out more, click on the link provided This painting depicts one of the colourful scenes in the veld (countryside) outside Philadelphia.

At this time of year, the cultivated fields in the region are swathed in bright yellow canola flowers and bright green wheat bushels! Another painting of the area that was hanging in the gallery.

Boo acting as Concierge, welcoming guests to the gallery and restaurant. Such a friendly, sweet-natured and well mannered little dog he was, too!

The Pottery is owned and run by Ferdinand, Boo's very friendly owner. I thoroughly enjoyed myself looking at all of the interesting and fascinating items on display. Yes, I did have permission to take pictures and, in fact, I mentioned to Ferdinand that I would be putting a selection on my blog for my readers to see. He rather liked that!

Ferdinand, the resident ceramic artist offers weekend and evening classes, as well as once-off workshops. I felt really inspired by what I saw both in his gallery and in the workshop and may well find (make!) time to book myself in for class. I'd love an excuse to return to Philadelphia and to be able to spend a night in one of the self-catering cottages.

Unfortunately, my photographs cannot do  justice to the many items on display.

The vessels on display on the mid-section of this shelf were all made for drinking wine and liquers! Who says you can only enjoy these drinks from glass vessels!

A selection of assorted buttons and beads, door knobs and larger, decorative items.

Ferdinand at work in his studio off to the right. He had two or three local ladies assisting with the various stages.

"Thank you for coming! Please do come again!"

Stepping beyond the Stable Art Gallery and Coffee Shop courtyard, looking left, across to the opposite side of the street (see painting above!)

Looking down the road and to the right of where we were standing above.

These sidewalk gardeners are quite creative!

Sandbags and wooden poles have been cleverly used to create a raised bed around the base of this huge Gum Tree growing on the sidewalk outside the marvellous Gem Stone shop in the main street. This shop is a must-see, owned by a 70 + year old geologist whose life passion is evident in his astounding collections! We found it difficult to pull ourselves away. My husband bought a very attractive geode to display in his office. This is the same tree in the street scene painting that I'd photographed in the Stable's Gallery.

I loved the imaginative way this homeowner had combined colourful mosaic tiles with terracotta tiles outside the entrance to their home. These were set into the sidewalk and complemented so well by the lovely display of extremely healthy potted plants.

A very pretty feature welcoming visitors to their home! Interestingly, these facades on the streetside are deceptive, leading one to imagine quite small interiors. However, the buildings all stretch out behind, and really are quite sizeable constructions.

I do have a few more pictures to share with you, of scenes photographed in and around the village, but they will have to wait for my next posting. I really am trying to be better at keeping my posts to a more manageable length. I suspect I am still falling short of the target!


  1. Desiree I have put my comment in the wrong place! It is at the bottom of your last post - what a numpty I am!

  2. @Desiree - wow, I don't know what I like best the paintings or the pottery!

  3. What a great post again Desiree...beautiful i enjoy it have a nice from

  4. This is another astonishing post, Desiree! I forgot that you're down under and winter's turning to spring. I would absolutely love to browse around your Philadelphia and visit that shop and eatery, examine the crafts and artwork, see those magnificent trees, gardens and whimsical sculptures, and meet Boo, a delightful dog that belongs in the movies! Thank you for another extremely interesting post, dear friend!

  5. Hi Desiree! Well, at least Carol has admitted to being a numpty!! Hee Hee. What a lovely party it was, and I so much enjoyed talking to you, Eva and Pam in the chat room. It really was fun. I have to say dear friend, that you do take us to the most wonderful places - this really is just the sort of place that I love to go to and have a good old mooch round. The Pottery was amazing, with so much stuff there. And little Boo - how cute. Really adorable! I loved the painting of the High Street by the way. That meal you had looked (and sounded) really tasty, and I saw that sneaky glass of wine that you omitted to mention! Thoroughly enjoyable post, as always. Warmest wishes from a very grey looking England.

  6. Dear Desiree, I so enjoy traveling with you and seeing canola fields and the veld (in the paintings). I've never seen anything like that here in the United States.

    Philadelphia is almost a fairytale village. Your words and photographs take me there and I'd love to see the paintings and the pottery and ceramics and especially those tiles in front of the paint doors and the trees, which are so different from here.

    But what really caught my senses--especially my taste buds--was the meal you described! Wow! I'd love to be eating that with you.

    From your comments on my blog and on the blogs of others I know that you must be one of the most interesting conversationalist I've every met. Ah, to sit down with you and talk about kings and queens and sealing wax and cabbages and......the veld!


  7. Thanks for sharing this latest grand adventure. I'm really taken with little Boo! :-)

  8. Your words and pictures surely do have me feeling like I am there enjoying it with you. As always the photography is awesome. Thanks for giving us such enjoyable times.

  9. Me again Desiree - I have replied to ALL your comments on my blog posts, but just in case you don't go back to see them, I thought I'd let you know how much you have made me laugh as I'm sat at my little laptop here. As I said, I should be getting the evening meal, but this is much more fun. Hee Hee!!

  10. Your soup starter looked delicious, so I'm sure the rest of the meal tasted as wonderful as it looked too (and sounded from your description)! What an interesting trip, loved all the photos of the pottery shop, the town and the paintings (and Boo, of course!)

  11. I don't know where to start-Paintings, pottery, puppies and photographs that inspire and delight.
    The soup looked awesome and the menu sounded wonderful too! If Philadelphia is not too far you should think about going to Fernando's classes! I feel like going with you!

  12. Boo is to cute! I love that tresel table and I doubt I would have been able to be drug out of that pottery shop! Delightful as usual my friend. Thanks for stopping by today, it of course made me smile. (as usual)

  13. Besides the incredibly gorgeous countryside, I love the quaint, rustic appearance of the places you share with us. I also love how so many folks over there seem to know how to use found objects and create these rustic places and even art!

    I might have tried to take Boo home with me! He is adorable! And I'm quite sure that some of that pottery would have followed me home.

    Hubs read and looked at this posting with me. He asked if you had written a book about your area? SEE? I TOLD you! It would make a fantastic coffee table book!

  14. 9/18 - I am posting this on everyone’s blog:
    My father has been in and out of the hospital 3 times in the past couple of weeks.
    I have not been able to visit each of you as I would have liked.
    Today, it looks as if I am going to have to take him in again so don’t expect to see any comments from me for a while longer. I WILL be back as soon as this passes, one way or another. I have several posts that should go up automatically for the next several weeks that I have held in reserve just for this occasion. kt

  15. What a wonderful place! Funny you should go to Philadelphia. Hanne's niece just went there for a job interview! (USA)

  16. Those paintings were just awsome love them and what a quaint rustic appearance the place has love it really looks like somewhere I would love to visit........

  17. I love when you take us on trips with you! Fantastic!

  18. I would love to sit there and draw that pepper tree, what a gnarly old man he is, such character, such personality.
    Your Philadelphia, is quite different from ours, here in the states. It looks quite quaint, but the pottery studio looks just like the one my neighbors have a mile up the road from me!

  19. Philadelphia is a fascinating place indeed. I so enjoyed seeing all the little bits and pieces, shops, cafe, food and treats that you take delight in photographing Desiree. Funny how little Boo kept popping up in the photos - he just couldn't keep away from you could he! A fun post as always, many thanks :D)

  20. Wow now this is my kind of place. ART and pottery I love all things art I go to many shows of the normal and the strange. My brother is an artist and it is always fun.
    I love the paintings on the wall the useful art like the table, the smiling man is yours I like that.. I am so excited I wish I had of been there. Fabulous. Thank you for the tour. B

  21. OMIGOSH I love these types of places! So interesting and fabulous!!! I'm not sure what I'm digging more!

    What a fabulous blog you have! Can't wait to come back!

  22. What a charming place to visit! And Boo is irresistable.

  23. Desiree, as always, (I think I say this every time!) I am AMAZED by these photos! What a quaint place you visited, and so artsy, too. I loved the pottery but also the paintings. Fantastic!

    Thank you so much for your comments recently. I really need to remember where I was a few short weeks ago. I appreciate that you remind me to stop and recall the journey (that isn't over!) and be grateful for my continued strength.

    I thought about you today. I did a lesson on Africa, using picture books from the library to help the students build background knowledge. It was fun to see what they found that interested them, but all of our books are rather dated. I am thinking I'd like to share some of your photos with them.

    Thank you again for sharing.

  24. Okay Desiree, this has got to stop. This teasing me with interesting and beautiful places that are so far...and what is worse, for the second time in a row your comments on my blog have made me cry (because you've touched my heart.) Now, what am I going to do if I discover in you a kindred spirit and have to live forever away? Thank you so much for the enthusiasm you share. I'd rather have a friend like you halfway around the world than to never have known you existed.

  25. OMG, Ms.Desiree!!!
    I WAS SO RUDE to you and SO ASHAMED that I wrote different person's name in my previous comment. You must have noticed it. Please forgive me that I deleted it because it is not fair for you leaving it!!! What a mistake...

    Let me start up again,
    Well, nice to meet you, and SO grateful for your sweet comment on my post. Thank you SO much for following me. I really appreciate it. And happy to know we are same age.
    I was quite moved by your blog. Especially wonderful pictures like others say. You must be a professional or learned a lot about photography.
    Thank you for sharing the pictures of your Philadelphia. Wonderful to be able to see your country♬♬♬
    Looking forward to read your post from now on and the previous ones.
    Lots of love from Japan, Orchid*

  26. i like the eclectic rusty garden items. :)

  27. Beautiful, all of it, in particular little Boo, of course.

    If it weren't for the tropical vegetation and the glorious verandahs, I could believe these were all pictures from a Dutch village. Small, flower-decked houses and decorated sidewalks are typical there too.

    As for your meal, you glutton! I'd love to share it.

  28. What a great adventure, I would have loved to have been tagging along. thanks for sharing, take care, Gina

  29. I would have enjoyed seeing all the paintings and poking around in the pottery studio with you. Your lunch looked delicious!

  30. When I saw the title of your blog, I thought, "Wow! Desiree is in the States visiting Philadelphia." Wrong Philly! Your Philadelphia is quite beautiful and charming. I love all the photos. The blue door, the shops, the street, the artwork, it is all so, charming! Thanks for the tour. (And, thank you for all the lovely comments you have left on my blogs.)

  31. Hi Desiree,
    Like Darlene, I thought you had made the long trip to the U.S. I like your Philly, too. What fun places you have to visit! I love your photos! You DH does have a nice smile.

  32. I'm back to continue with the journey. Our weather is just like in your outing, but it's pleasant to see photos of nice places while stuck inside on a rainy day.
    There are a lot of quirky art displays in South Africa. I love that the materials used are closer to the earth, rather than things made of cement and plastic, like we usually have here. That donkey is adorable and the pottery quite interesting.


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