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September 18, 2017
Meet New Fig Contributor: Catherine Quillman
We are so excited to welcome local expert Catherine Quillman to the team as a Fig West Chester Contributor! She will be writing feature blogs for Fig West Chester online. We recently asked Catherine some questions to help us introduce her to you. Look out for her writings, reviews, and blogs here on FigWestChester.com.
What do you love about your area?
I love the fact that this is where America began – literally. In the 1700s, the nation’s capital was in Philadelphia and Chester County (then a large territory that included today’s Lancaster and Delaware Counties ) was known as the “bread basket” and “butter belt” of the colonies.
What is your favorite local restaurant? Museum? Landmark or place to visit?
As a former Philadelphia Inquirer restaurant reviewer, I’m still amazed over the diversity of restaurants, bars, and cafes right here in West Chester. You find more culinary offerings in one street as you do in Philly. However, I have to say that Teca is my favorite mainly because it’s “the place where everyone knows my name,” to paraphrase the old Cheers tv show.
Now that I’m writing an illustrated book on the American Revolution in the Brandywine Valley, my favorite landmark is “Sandy Hollow,” a 50-acre preserve at the intersection of New Street and Birmingham Road. The one landmark I visit nearly every day, though, is Marshall Square Park. I can see it from my front porch and love going for walks and looking at the trees. I find it remarkable that the park is not only the oldest in the borough, it pre-dates New York’s Central Park.
Why do you like writing for Fig?
First let me say that I thinks its graphic design is superb – that’s issue after issue. I would have a hard time writing for a publication that looked thrown together or was poorly edited. I also think Fig’s focus on people is truly unique. The idea is to show how people create, work, or got started in their business. So basically, I like to write for Fig in order to highlight those people who are making West Chester a great place to live.
Where can we find you on a Friday night? Or on a Saturday?
If it’s a Friday night, and there’s an art opening, I’m usually there. I spent nearly 30 years in Arts journalism so I know a lot of artists and I always try to promote them.
If it’s a Saturday night, and there’s a fundraiser for a community group or a preservation group, I try to attend. Otherwise, I’m home working in my art studio and listening to music.
What’s your dream day in your location?
My dream day is to have time to work on my creative projects (writing or art) and then have time to go for a hike or walk in a nearby preserve.
How long have you lived in your area?
I have lived in the West Chester since the mid-1990s.
Who would play you in the movie version of your life?
If the actress has to have curly hair, as I do, I would say Andie MacDowell. I remember when I first started working for a local newspaper and the movie Groundhog Day came out. The whole newsroom used to joke about the news cycle and how it often felt like we’re writing the same story over and over again.
What do you feel you bring to Fig as a local expert?
I’m the author of five regional history books so I guess I can claim to be the expert in local history. After years of giving walking tours in West Chester, I can also point to nearly every old building and neighborhood (yes, there were different “hoods” here) and tell you something about it.
What’s a fun, unique talent you possess?
I can draw cartoons of people without making them cringe or hate me.