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Mobile COVID-19 testing unit visits Philadelphia

CATE (Community-Accessible Testing & Education), Pennsylvania’s first mobile COVID-19 testing and education unit, arrived in Philadelphia on September 26.  CATE is supported by the Independence Blue Cross Foundation, the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Latino Connection, and Highmark Blue Shield.  The event was one of several stops CATE will make in southeastern Pennsylvania this fall.

L to R: Dr. Angelico Razon, Philadelphia Department of Health, IBC Foundation president Lorina Marshall-Blake and George Fernandez, Founder and CEO of Latino Connection at the CATE testing event in Philadelphia where more than 50 people were tested.

Social distancing and masking guidelines will be followed at all times.  Anyone can be tested, and insurance is not required.  Services are offered in English and Spanish.

A video greeting from Daniel J. Hilferty, president and chief executive officer of Independence Blue Cross

Photos by Andre Flewellen (Happy Birthday Andre!!)

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Megan the Stallion Parties; Mare of Easttown Films; Adam Sandler Spotted Again in Philadelphia

The most important thing you’ll see this month. Check out this bar code for good information. OK PhillyWood is in full swing. I chitchatted last week about M Night finishing the 2nd season of Servant, and now he’s in some far away country filming Old. I noted Kate Winslet would be coming back into town to finish filming Mare of Easttown, and she has. Adam Sandler was spotted dining outside of Osteria, hang tight he was out eating again. (Source) Thanks always to my tipsters for info!!

(PS if you receive chitchat as a newsletter, you have to come to the blog to see this video as that’s how Instagram sets it up. CLICK HERE) Hot R&B singer Megan Thee Stallion was a present for a girls 16th bday party at The Four Season.

Lala’s 16th birthday party was held on the Saturday before Megan was to appear on SNL in NYC, at the newly re opened Four Seasons Hotel Presidential Suite. 15 of her besties were in attendance to celebrate the big day. Megan sang one song for the birthday girl, took photos and was whisked back to NYC for rehearsals.

Kate Winslet filmed scenes for the HBO Movie Mare of Easttown in Marcus Hook on Thursday 9/30 all day at Star Hotel Bar 1018 Market St.  They closed off the surrounding blocks to keep the Covid19 set safe. While this was going on extras who were scheduled to appear at the scene shot over the weekend were getting their Covid tests, before heading to a hotel for quarantining until filming on Friday and Saturday.

Friday Mare of Easttown filmed a scene at 24th and Judson

Notice the yellow MOE sign near front gate

But the bulk of the filming for Mare of Easttown over the weekend was a wedding scene they filmed at Girard College. Easy shoot. Extras were transported from quarantine hotel to set in Covid19 cleaned vans to shoot a happy wedding. Sounds like a great day. I know so many of the people working on the set feel safe, and are happy for a days work in PhillyWood.

As I mentioned several times on my blog, Adam Sandler is in town to film a movie with LeBron James called “Hustle” the film will be directed by Philly filmmaker Jeremiah Zagar, the son of the artist who made Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, Isaiah Zagar. (He also did a doc about his dad, which I loved) Sandler appeared on Jimmy Kimmel earlier this week to reveal his new look for the movie, a beard. He told Jimmy “I’m getting ready to do a basketball movie, a scout movie where I’m playing an NBA scout and I discover a player in Spain and I bring him to America. It’s that kind of story, it’s going to be really cool,” Sandler said.
It will feature Philadelphia born Kyle Lowry (plays for Toronto Raptors) who will do a “quick little thing”, Sandler said, along with “loads of NBA guys in it.”

@gemmasapienzaxo ran into Adam Sandler last week at Geno’s Steaks on Passyunk sporting his new beard. Look for more sightings around Philly as he’s filming several scenes on basketball courts in town this week.

Wednesday night Adam Sandler had dinner at Savona on the Mainline last night. He posed with diners and staff. He’s becoming 2020’s Jason Segal who was spotted everywhere when filming Dispatches from Elsewhere in 2019.
https://www.facebook.com/GeorgesMusicBerwyn/
Meantime I was with Geno and he was taste testing my favorite childhood snack for the first time. (PS this is my other Instagram name. Most people follow me on PhillyChitChat)

Thanks for checking PhillyChitChat out today. Subscribe at the top right to be notified of more celebrity sightings around town, as well as events happening and Philly things to do. See you on Social!!

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Travel Tuesday: Pocono Mountains Fall 2020

Hello Tuesday. How is everyone. If you’ve been following me on social, you’ve notice I’ve been traveling a lot. It’s so rare I have free time in the fall as the soirees keep me very busy. I’m in paradise exploring my favorite season!!

Before this year I never really went above Jim Thorpe in the fall. I never really experienced the Pocono Mountains. My family was a beach family, and I never saw the mountains, in fact I wasn’t a fan of fall growing up as we lived in the woods and autumn was just a reminder of raking acres of leaves, or at least every weekend in the fall of my parents property. Now I live in a condo and I embrace the leafy smell, pumpkin candles and spice latte.

wild life. Always be alert for animals crossing the street. During out trip we saw many deer, ground hogs, and a fox all near the road.

We drove from an event I photographed in Gladwyne to Matamoras in the Poconos and booked a hotel through Hotel Tonight – Hampton Inn for $147. We rarely book beforehand, except if we really love a hotel, like the Lancaster Marriott, which we’re staying at next weekend again. We arrived around 9PM, but next time I would probably have done the reservation a few hours before as we got the last room.

By mid afternoon our drive took us to the Roebling’s Delaware Aqueduct. Roeblings early experiment with suspension bridge design.Take rt 434 to 97 and drive along the river, which is very scenic.

Delaware Water Gap

But definitely get out of the car and explore the many trails along the way.

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Pocono Organics Hosts Food Forever Experience

Last weekend I headed to the Pocono’s to attend Pocono Organics Food Experience with notable chefs from the area, NYC and Philadelphia.
Pocono Organics is one of the largest regenerative organic farms in North America. Ashley Walsh, the farm’s founder, was diagnosed with gastroenteritis in her early 20s. Doctors encouraged aggressive treatments such as using medications, feeding tubes and even cutting out parts of her stomach. Those weren’t options she was willing to accept and instead began treating herself by adopting an organic diet. The results of using food as medicine were undeniable but she had a problem accessing the organic foods she needed. That’s when the vision for Pocono Organics came to life.

Pocono Organics has a 30,000-square-foot facility where they package and process all the food. They have a farmers market that is open all year round. Every day of the year, people can come in and get produce, all through the winter and have a local source where they can get nice, organic, fresh produce.

Hosted by the Food Forever Initiative in partnership with Pocono Organics, Rodale Institute, and the Crop Trust, the Experience was the first of its kind, and streamed digital content from around the world, including from the farm at Pocono Organics, to the fields of the Rodale Institute, to genebanks, to chefs’ kitchens and many places in between. During the event several notable speakers including Birgit Cameron, Global Director, Patagonia Provisions, Cierra Martin, Communications Consultant, Crop Trust, at The Food Forever Experience Pocono talked about the importance of soil health for regenerative agriculture, as well as the awareness of the importance of crop diversity and its connection to healthy soils and resilient, sustainable agricultural systems. Notable restaurant owner, entrepreneur Judy Wicks spoke about doing good by doing well: re-visioning food systems for people, planet and profit.

Oneal Latimer, Christa Barfield and Deborah Stallworth
Erik Oberholtzer, Chef and Co-founder – Tender Greens, Ori Zohar, Burlap and Barrel, Yuval Zohar, Burlap and Barrel and Ethan Frisch, Burlap & Barrel
Ashley Walsh, Cierra Martin, Leesa Kennedy and Looie Mattioli
Ange Branca, Sate Kampar and Eli Kulp, High Street Hospitality

Torrie Bordes and Caroline Hearn of Cohere creative who produced the event.

The Food Forever Experience mission is to plant the seed for a better future. I learned how important it was to support local farmers, especially farm markets the ones you drive to as well as the ones which pop up in your neighborhood. Supporting local supports our local economy and the community. If you are in the Pocono area, especially this month of great leaf peeping, stop by Pocono Organics and check out their farm store.

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Photos: Shop Center City Saturday, and every day

Shoppers appear enthusiastic to leave their homes where they’ve been cooped up for weeks and head out into the City to enjoy a little retail therapy. As the fall weather ushers in more comfortable temperatures, many of the stores are offering discounts and sales to attract consumers as well. Center City’s retailers and restaurants want you to know that they are open and are excited to see you. Last Saturday the 3rd annual Shop Center City Saturday took place, and this year more than ever it was a welcome sight to see so many people come out and support our local stores.

“Between retail and restaurants, there’s over 39,000 employees that make up 13 percent of the Greater Philadelphia area employees,” said Kelly McAllister of Center City District. “It’s important to bring those people back and bring back the jobs and support these businesses.”

“Shop Center City Saturday is an opportunity for people safely to enjoy the experiences they have been missing- shopping in a boutique rather than online, dining outdoors instead of at the kitchen table. Our Center City businesses and their staffs have been working hard to guarantee a safe, comfortable experience for shopping and dining and are excited to welcome customers back when they are ready,” said Michelle Shannon, VP of Marketing for the Center City District.

Jewelry designer and ritual shop owner Angela Monaco (c) says COVID-19 has made shoppers more aware of small businesses and how it is important to support local stores now, not only during the holidays.

Paper on Pine has moved, it’s still in Midtown Village but at 1310 Sansom Street

I ran into Jennifer Hill at Ten Thousand Villages

You might have to wait til next year to get one of those fancy red Shop Philly bags offered on Shop Center City Saturday, but you won’t have to wait to catch the sales that are ongoing in Center City right now, as well as the overall good feeling of supporting our local businesses. Here is the latest news shopping and dining Center City.
I’ll see you downtown, back here on chitchat Friday, and on Social Media. – HughE

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To Do: Family Fun, Charitable Endeavors and Instagram Worthy Events – Spotted 50 Cent in Philly

When the heatwaves are over, and the cool crisp air flows down from the north it gets me thinking about one of my favorite spots Linvilla Orchards.

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Fall fun.

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So much to do there from the pumpkin patch, to pick your own, the farmers market and beers in the barn. There’s something for everyone and it’s very Instagram worthy. Linvilla Orchards is located in Media, PA about 30 minutes south of Philadelphia. Parking and admission to the grounds is complimentary.

What are you doing Saturday? Stop by the Fishtown Food Truck Festival at Fishtown Plaza, it’s to benefit Kamp for Kids Their mission: At Kamp for Kids, we aim to help many different audiences from children at risk to children with Autism. Thousands of families are unable to send their children to camp because of the cost or lack of transportation.
You might have heard about the concerts happening on the Avenue of the Arts in the under constructions Arthaus at Broad & Spruce. This week they’re doing Broadway songs.
InBox: Come sing along to Broadway hits at the next Serenade on the Avenue this upcoming Wednesday 9/30, 6-6:30 PM – a tribute to Philly’s healthcare workers. AJ Luca (faculty) and Giacomo Fizzano (student) of @universityofthearts will perform live from the pop-up stage on the 7th floor of the Arthaus construction site, across from the Kimmel Center (Broad and Spruce). Open your windows, stroll on over and look up, or watch live via FB or IG. Masks required.

Dinner with a view
Wednesday, September 30: Dinner at Dilworth, 5 p.m.-9 p.m. SPECIAL EVENT!
–       Visitors are encouraged to bring takeout meals from nearby restaurants to enjoy in the park surrounded by lush greenery, colorful umbrellas and the dancing fountain. Dinner will be offered at the Air Grille and Dilworth Park Café, along with cocktails to-go. Live entertainment will be provided from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.  Tonight, the Opera Philadelphia will perform familiar classics during a one-night-one pop-up musical event. As always, guests should mask up.

Mother Nature:
It’s 2020 anything can happen especially rain. The #PowerThePollsPa pop up party which was originally scheduled for tonight, has moved to Thursday because of inclement weather. I’ll be there to take your photo, you’ll be there to learn how you can save democracy. A perfect pairing. See you on Thursday.

Look who stopped by #sincityphilly Sunday night. I heard he dropped more than @50cent
; He’s with Sin City’s Frank Antonio

Every Sunday is Sin City Welcomes Hospitality Workers with Service Industry Night.Gus Drakopolous, the creator and owner of Sin City and its management, brings over twenty years of experience to Philadelphia’s nightlife scene with Covid safety practices in place. (and I’m not gonna lie, I’m curious about that, should I still bring a dollar bill?)

SIN Sunday’s (Service Industry Night). The club will welcome all of Philly and tri-state area hospitality employees to come in free and  Drink-4-Free before 10pm 

Sin City will also begin its new Monday Night Football Special! They have the largest LED screen in the city of Philly to watch the games, as well as $25 beer buckets with their famous voodoo wings. The press release states: Located along the convenient Passyunk Avenue corridor, the cabaret nightclub is an immersive adventure encompassing the luxury and sophistication of a one-of-a-kind experience. As one of the most sought-after venues in the city, Sin City has a reputation as the foremost spot for bachelor parties, semi-private affairs, and any amenity that any world-class club could be expected to offer. There at 6130 Passyunk Ave.

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PhillyWood: Spotted Adam Sandler, M. Night Shyamalan, Kate Winslet

It was a beautiful week to play hooky and steal a few hours at the beach. On Monday I announced I was back open for business, and it went very well. I immediately was hired to shoot two events last week, with three events coming up this week and an event next week. Several people are interesting in advertising and promotion of products. I’m excited to be back. Guess who else is back to work… SUBSCRIBE TO PHILLY CHIT CHAT left hand corner.
Wikipedia

You might have heard Adam Sandler is set to star in Hustle, a basketball-themed Netflix movie involving the NBA that hails from producer LeBron James. The film began pre production last week and would be the first major production scheduled to shoot in Philadelphia since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Directing the Taylor Materne and Will Fetters film is local Jeremiah Zagar. James and Maverick Carter are set to produce under their Springhill Entertainment banner along with Joe Roth, Jeff Kirschenbaum and Zack Roth of Roth/Kirschenbaum Films, as well as Sandler and his Happy Madison banner. Jamal Henderson and Spencer Beighley of Springhill will serve as executive producers. (Source) Well Adam Sandler was spotted dining outside with a few folks at Chefs Jeff Michaud and Michael Schulson Osteria on Thursday night. UPDATE: Adam Sandler spotted in Philadelphia again 10/1 (Kate Winslett, and Megan Stallion too) Check out where HERE

No doubt another spot he’ll go to is Schulson’s Elbow Lane, a popular sports and celebrity hang out which opens this week for private events. Ben Simmons and Kendall Jenner spent many a night bowling with friends here. Take me back to those days.

Actress Kate Winslet (a pic I shot in NYC) is expected to return to our area this week to finish filming her HBO series, “Mare of Easttown,” which was closed down due to the pandemic in the Spring. Filming will continue in the Aston, area which is where I took the photo on the right. The story is about a small-town Pennsylvania detective (Kate Winslet) who investigates a local murder, while her life is in shambles. It also stars Julianne Nicholson , Jean Smart, Angourie Rice, Evan Peters, and David Denman. If you see them, send me a note. HughE@phillychitchat.com If you want credit I’d be happy to give it to you with a link to your SM or business. Thanks. Everything I’ve written about Kate & the movie here.

Earlier this month Apple TV’s series Servant the American psychological horror web television series created and written by Tony Basgallop, who also executive produced alongside M. Night Shyamalan and was filmed in Philly last year and earlier this year, started production again on the second season. After a successful first run, the show, which follows Dorothy and Sean Turner, a Philadelphia couple was picked up for a 2nd, but now Night’s hinted at a 3rd and 4th season on his SM. Stopped after filming 6 episodes because of COVID19 back in March, the cast and crew flew into Philly to continue the shoot earlier this month.

After 14 days of quarantining, filming resumed at a DELCO studio which Shyamalan built in an office complex, especially for the series with a complete replica of the 2100 block of Spruce Street in Philadelphia, where the Turner’s live. For season two Shyamalan only directs one episode and is the only male director and one of the only directors with TV experience. Both producers wanted to change up the direction and give the series a new voice, so they enlisted first-time TV directors, filmmakers Julia Ducournau (Raw) and Isabella Eklöf (Holiday), in season two as well. (THR)

Confident that Servant is in good hands, freed M. Night Shyamalan to begin work on his new project, a movie titled OLD. (Can we talk, to borrow that line from dear Joan Rivers, how crazy Night released the title to the movie, it’s very unusual for him as he normally has “working titles” when filming his projects, for example Servant’s alias was “CRUMPET” during production.) Seems Night has flown out of the country to begin post production on the new mysterious film, but I love the hour glass with people as the sand. The release date is less than a year away. Can’t wait. Thanks to Sharon Pinkenson and her team at GPFO for their continued work on bringing these productions to our area. Hope you all have an awesome day. See you on Social Media, and back here Tuesday.

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Lancaster, a Surprising Gem of a City You’re Going to Love

Every Labor Day Weekend, Mike and I like to take a trip somewhere in Pennsylvania. Over the years we’ve gone to the Italian Festival in Scranton, Bethlehem, the Allentown Fair, Pittsburgh etc. Every couple months as most of you know we take a country drive out to Lancaster County, usually on Sunday. This year we decided to vacation in Lancaster. Originally I had planned for us to stay on a farm, but after a summer of staying in B&B’s in Cape May, Mike really wanted to stay in a hotel. We heard about Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square (tall building on right in the above photo), checked it out online and booked a room for two nights, planning to stay on the Amish Farm Sunday to Monday. I had no idea that Lancaster had a vibrant, walkable, quaint city. I always thought it was rolling countryside with Amish farms and outlets.

From their website: In the heart of historic downtown Lancaster, the integrated Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square and Lancaster County Convention Center offers approachable grandeur and all the amenities discerning visitors expect. An exquisite combination of old and new architectural elements includes a 19th-Century Beaux Arts façade and breathtaking lobby with a city-block view down a magnificent interior street. All 299 luxurious guestrooms offer fantastic views (sunset views are best from the west side, which is where we faced.), 37-inch LCD flat screen TVs, granite countertops, and deluxe pillow-top bedding (Lots of Covid19 safety precautions were in place. I like the blue light cleaning procedure; Only one family to an elevator. Everyone wore a mask. Favorite part their beds are really comfortable. The bathrooms are big and have a rain shower head. The room was beautiful, and had a chair for me to sit up late and read a book.).

The hotel has two restaurants: The Plough and The Exchange. Both are delicious and run well, especially utilizes Covid19 safety protocols. You will feel safe there.

The Exchange

Brand new rooftop bar offering panoramic views of Downtown Lancaster and the inventive small plates and drinks to sip, savor and socialize. The Exchange (my photos are OK but definitely check out their website for the 360 view) is available for 21 years or older and space is first come first served (no reservations). Dress code: Smart Casual Phone: +1 717-207-4096

Both restaurants are headed by Executive Chef Ryan McQuillan who uses ingredients grown locally, relying on what their partner farms are producing to dictate what appears on the plate. Everything was so delcious especially my favorite dishes Deviled Eggs, Chicken Nugs, Burrata, Spicy Crab Bucatini, steak and well basically everything. Thanks to Nicole the GM as well. Super nice, and patient when answering so many questions I had. The Exchange is worth the 90 minute trip from Philly alone for a night out with friends, but you should just stay over and make a night of it.

After checking in I wandered around the Marriott to check out the nooks and crannies. It’s huge, with a large lobby where you can socially distant sit, chitchat with friends, read a book or people watch. When I was checking in I saw this long hallway and was wondering what is down there. It’s the Lancaster County Convention Center Josh Nowak, Director of Sales & Marketing  Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square and Lancaster County Convention Center gave us a tour of the buildings, and how historical buildings were incorporated into the buildings. If you go you can walk this hallway and see how they incorporated two historic buildings into the construction of the convention center. One of the historic houses was owned by Thaddeus Stevens, where he lived with his long-time housekeeper Lydia Hamilton Smith, a prominent African-American businesswoman after his death. His house was a stop on the Underground Railroad. The photo on the left describes the basement which saved many lives of African Americans escaping to the North. In fact as I walked around the City there were many markers for the Underground Railroad as well as buildings were African Americans lived in the 1800s, a history of their lives and their businesses.

Visiting Lancaster City was such a breath of fresh air. It was very quaint, and even in Covid, a lot of shops and restaurants were opened, but people were socially distancing. One of the most popular attractions is the Lancaster Central Market which is the large red building in the center.

And just a short 15 minute drive away is the countryside which is so beautiful.

As much as Mike and I wanted to do the farm stay, ok just me, we made the right choice. Going forward we’re going to stay at the Marriott Lancaster and visit the farm. We really enjoyed Lancaster City so much we didn’t see too many sights to share. Maybe next time, or we might just stay in Lancaster City as we did earlier this month. Happy travels!!

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Chestnut Street is Brimming With Business

Hope you had a great weekend. I caught this amazing sunset in Cape May on Saturday. Last week I attended a few re openings on Chestnut Street, which seems to be mostly open.

H&M is on the brink of re opening at 16th and Chestnut Streets
Steve Jamison is the Owner of Blue Sole Shoes speaks to guests at the ribbon cutting.

Three ribbon cuttings on Chestnut Street happened last week Joan Shepp, Blue Sole Shoes and Boyds Philadelphia opened their doors after 6 months at a joint press conference.

Ellen and Joan Shepp

Boyd’s is excited to be reopen and they just announced they’re opening a store in Suburban Square in Ardmore as well. Read the story at the Philadelphia Biz Journal. See you out and about in Rittenhouse Square.