Windows Shopping

I don’t know about you, but in my neck of the woods (I live a bit outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) there aren’t too many towns that look like towns. Mine sure doesn’t, though I suspect it did up until 70 or 80 years ago. Today it’s a mess, a hodgepodge of neighborhoods interspersed with shopping centers galore. And of those towns that do look like towns, few have thick roots going back many years. Which is one reason why I’m pleased that the borough of Doylestown, Pennsylvania lies a mere 15 miles from my abode.

Doylestown, large in size and containing a high percentage of structures erected between the mid-1800s and the early-1900s, somehow combines stateliness, quaintness and chicness casually and seamlessly. I find it to be a swell place to hang out in and to stroll around, and have been doing just that pretty regularly for decades. I dig its well-kept houses, its arthouse cinema and museums, its record store (Siren Records), its bookstores, its big collection of eateries. On a recent Monday I spent two hours on the streets and alleys, and within a few shops, of this estimable hamlet. I had a specific purpose in mind, one I hoped would result in a photographic essay for Yeah, Another Blogger. Hallelujah, my hopes have been realized!

I arrived in Doylestown at 11:00 AM under skies glowing happily in blue and white. The temperature was 50°F (10°C), quite pleasant, though not warm enough for me to wander without my winter coat. You better believe that I, an old f*cker, chill easily. Anyway, with my trusty phone’s camera at the ready, I immediately began checking out the town’s windows, as windows were to be the stars of the hoped-for story. Windows? You bet. I’m into themed walks and have reported upon any number of them for this publication. Now and then, for instance, I’ve gone in search of well-decorated motor vehicles (click here to read my latest opus about the subject). That’s the way I roll, wobbly as it may be.

Now, I’m not going to tell you that I saw any Doylestown windows with design elements that completely knocked my socks off. However, a number came close. For example, there was no denying the power of the tall, narrow windows, pointing skyward, that adorn the Doylestown Presbyterian Church. Some of them depict Biblical scenes. In retrospect, I’d have loved to view them from inside the church too, but the idea didn’t occur to little ol’ me at the time.

And I was taken with the asymmetrical positioning of the windows on a lovely mustard-colored home. Unbalanced though it may seem at first glance, to my eye the arrangement makes perfect sense. It demonstrates how components big and small can work together in harmony when the will is there. The nations of Planet Earth have yet to learn this lesson fully.

The coolest thing about windows is that they usually are reflective, and many were showing off their talents in that regard. Reflections often blow my mind, as they are real and not real simultaneously — real in the sense that they do exist, and not real because they are weightless representations, often distorted, of the physical world. In any event, I couldn’t get enough of the reflections proudly displayed in the windows of the Bucks County Administration Building, a sharp red car parked on State Street, and the Doylestown Inn.

Very cool, too, was a window I photographed while inside Siren Records, where I browsed through a box of used CDs (I bought five of them). As ordinary as the window itself is — billions upon billions of its type populate the world — the scenes surrounding it and seen through it grabbed me. The window, delighted to be trimmed in yellow and to be adjacent to a wide array of colors, provided a shimmering, kaleidoscopic view of the outside world, courtesy of a sun that glared as if there were no tomorrow.

Well, the time to leave Doylestown has arrived. But I’ve still got windows on my mind, and I’m also ready to be rocked. So, I’ll end this story with one of the best windows-centric recordings I know of. The song, written by the late Tony Joe White, is titled Steamy Windows, and has been recorded by several artists, including Tony Joe. Tina Turner more than did the tune justice, releasing a bluesy, full-steam-ahead version in 1989 that is strong enough to shatter glass. Go, Tina, go!

139 thoughts on “Windows Shopping

  1. Audrey Driscoll February 21, 2023 / 12:35 am

    You’re right about reflections. They definitely add extras to a photo. I love that yellow house too.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. George February 21, 2023 / 1:08 am

    Wonderful. I love your themed post. They make me look at everyday things through fresh eyes.

    I used to get fascinated by the way train windows at night would reflect the interior of the carriage. He we all are, but there we all are too. The same but different, like glimpsing a parallel universe.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Lynette d'Arty-Cross February 21, 2023 / 1:15 am

    I agree that a living neighbourhood with a mix of old and new is wonderful. Such character (and good windows, too)! Great that you have a record/CD store; they seem to be making a comeback. Tina Turner’s version of that song is the best one, to my ear. Thanks for including it. Cheers.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 21, 2023 / 3:55 pm

      Hey, Lynette. You know, I’m pretty sure I never heard any version of Steamy Windows till I started putting this story together. Tina’s version is really good.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Lynette d'Arty-Cross February 22, 2023 / 11:55 am

        I think it’s on her Foreign Affair album which I have on CD, but I’ve heard it done by others. I agree that hers is best.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. gabychops February 21, 2023 / 1:33 am

    Thank you, Neil, for waking me up fully with Tina’s rendition of the song as it is quite early here and I have been working sleepily for a while now.
    I like your gifted way of using words and adding to an interesting morning, good substitute for coffee, thank you!


    Liked by 2 people

  5. Sheree February 21, 2023 / 2:59 am

    Looks a charming place and Tina Turner definitely steamed up a few windows.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Suzanne February 21, 2023 / 3:48 am

    That mustard-coloured house wouldn’t look out of place in parts of Europe, especially Germany/Switzerland. An interesting historical place to live.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Annika Perry February 21, 2023 / 4:02 am

    Neil, a fascinating post about Doylestown – it sounds like the perfect town! Your exploration of windows ensures that you, and we, see the town in a new light. The long thin windows of the church are lovely and the mustard house feels as if it is out of a fairy tale! I love your reflections … on reflections! It is amazing how they can enhance the original view, adding layers and a sense of mysticism – all great photos! When in Boston I took a photo of the reflections of the city’s building on the car roof – it’s still one of the favourite of my own photos ever! They seemed ready to take flight!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Paddy Tobin February 21, 2023 / 4:43 am

    A very pleasant stroll!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. candidkay February 21, 2023 / 5:30 am

    It amazes me that at some point, urban planning just wasn’t a thing. And it doesn’t just have to be urban. Planning for any town. In a world where we could live in just about any type of environment, I’m always just made that we choose strip malls and fast food restaurants. I’m drawn to a small town like a moth to a flame.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 21, 2023 / 4:05 pm

      Hi. There are a few other towns near me that look like towns, fortunately. And Doylestown is by far the best of them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • candidkay February 21, 2023 / 6:13 pm

        That’s reassuring! We haven’t spoiled them all yet. :-). Hopefully never to do so.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Paula R.C. Readman February 21, 2023 / 5:42 am

    Thank you for sharing. I love photographing what others miss. Others miss so much as they rush about. I love looking up, too. In Britain, the Victorians were very good a decorating tops of buildings.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 21, 2023 / 4:07 pm

      Thanks for adding your thoughts, Paula. I like looking up too, but don’t remember to do it often enough. I love looking up in downtown Philadelphia, where there are a lot of skyscrapers.


  11. thelongview February 21, 2023 / 5:45 am

    Very interesting! I love that you have a theme to your walks and posts – they certainly provide an extra edge and focus. These windows are great!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 21, 2023 / 4:10 pm

      Hi. Yeah, I’ve written about quite a few themed walks. They’ve become a “thing” for me.


  12. Platypus Man February 21, 2023 / 6:17 am

    Great post. I love your philosophising on the reality/unreality of windows. And I love the Tina Turner track too. Back in the day I enjoyed listening to Tony Joe White, and Tina’s version does him proud.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 21, 2023 / 4:13 pm

      Hey there. Tony Joe’s version of the song is very different from Tina’s. Even though Tony Joe wrote the tune, Tina’s version came out a year or two before his did.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Robert Parker February 21, 2023 / 6:18 am

    Thanks for the walk through Doylestown, I like the mustard-colored house too, almost a hodgepodge of windows but yeah definitely harmonious. That’s one thing that I do like about some of the big modern buildings, they often have huge windows with a bronze -colored mirror finish, great for seeing weird reflections.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. swabby429 February 21, 2023 / 6:24 am

    Going with themed photo expeditions is actually quite smart. This allows cognitive mental sorting to pinpoint interesting subjects. I especially enjoy your photos of the church and the curved front of the modern building.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 21, 2023 / 4:15 pm

      I’m glad that I got into writing about themed walks. I’m pretty sure I didn’t do many pieces about them in the early days of my blog. Now, they are a staple.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Anonymous February 21, 2023 / 7:59 am

    Love your themed photos. Always enjoy looking at them. Great song by Tina!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Helen Devries February 21, 2023 / 8:09 am

    I like your themed photographic walks….and this little town looks like a gem.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Laurie Graves February 21, 2023 / 8:40 am

    Lots of lessons in those windows, and this post made me realize that windows are definitely worth a second look. I particularly liked the windows on the church. And Tina Turner is awesome as always.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 21, 2023 / 4:23 pm

      Next time I’m in Doylestown, I’ll try and remember to go inside that church. The windows probably look great with light streaming through them.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Deb February 21, 2023 / 8:44 am

    This would be my choice hands down for a place to live. None of the urban stuff for me Neil. I prefer the look and the stories that come with smaller and historical.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Denise Denton Thiery February 21, 2023 / 8:48 am

    Love the mustard colored house. I’d love to live in one like it, but I suspect these large old houses are a real money pit. Good piece about your wandering search for interesting windows.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 21, 2023 / 4:26 pm

      Thanks for visiting, Jan. I’m glad the idea came to me. I had a good time wandering around Doylestown.


  20. mariezhuikov February 21, 2023 / 10:08 am

    Do you ever photograph doors? I have a particular weakness for them. But windows are cool, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Debra February 21, 2023 / 10:39 am

    This piece proves you’re “clearly” a good writer!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Jacqui Murray February 21, 2023 / 10:59 am

    I was a tough sell with the amazement of windows, but you managed to entertain!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Alyson February 21, 2023 / 12:42 pm

    Love the mustard coloured building with its variety of windows.

    Coincidentally I went into town yesterday to take pictures and it wasn’t until I got home that I realised our Town House was reflected in the windows of a cafe yet it sits on another street and round a bit of a corner. Blew my mind so had to go back today to work out the geometry of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Anonymous February 21, 2023 / 1:33 pm

    Lovely sauntering blog post – just like your day in Doylestown!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Darhlene February 21, 2023 / 1:36 pm

    Wishing they had a place like Doylestown near me. Excellent post.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Rosaliene Bacchus February 21, 2023 / 1:52 pm

    Doylestown looks like a great place to explore. Love the mustard-colored home: It’s like a house from the Harry Potter world.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. unionhomestead February 21, 2023 / 2:07 pm

    The thing about windows is what you see depends on where you stand. Profound stuff 🙂 On a more down-to-earth level, I really need to invest some time in cleaning mine!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. JT Twissel February 21, 2023 / 2:25 pm

    My small town has managed to hold onto a bit of character although, with the exception of the library, the windows aren’t that interesting. Don’t know how long the town can hold onto its character as we are under a lot of pressure to build affordable housing. Nice trip to a nice town!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 21, 2023 / 4:46 pm

      Hi. Yeah, the physical appearance of towns and cities can and usually does evolve over time. The world is always in flux.


  29. Paula B February 21, 2023 / 2:45 pm

    LOVE the record store window photo. Beautiful colors and balance, with so much personality and perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 21, 2023 / 4:48 pm

      Thanks Paula. It’s a real good record store too. These days, record stores are few and far between. Unfortunately.


  30. Sam Gridley February 21, 2023 / 3:47 pm

    I do like Doylestown but find it on the verge of becoming too cute. Maybe that’s because, as you say, not many towns look like towns anymore, so when I come across one that does, I suspect pretentiousness.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 21, 2023 / 4:51 pm

      Hey, Sam. I don’t get that feeling in Doylestown. Overall it’s more upscale than it used to be, true, but I’ve always liked it a lot. I’ve been visiting Doylestown for about 50 years.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Ann Coleman February 21, 2023 / 4:09 pm

    True towns are rare these days, aren’t they? But your photos are quite good, and I love Tina Turner.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. johnlmalone February 21, 2023 / 5:04 pm

    love that phrase ‘Windows on my Mind’ 🙂 yes, the windows of the Presbyterian Church are stunning; I know that Tina Turner song; what I didn’t know was that Tony Joe White wrote it; wasn’t he the writer of ‘Polk Salad Salad Annie’, the best cover that Elvis ever did esp on stage 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 21, 2023 / 5:47 pm

      Right, he wrote Polk Salad Annie. I saw Tony Joe White perform, years ago, in a small room. He had a real presence about him.


  33. tylerus February 21, 2023 / 7:09 pm

    I’ll certainly be more aware of windows as I walk around town the next time (I have a habit of looking, but not seeing). And I love that yellow house!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 21, 2023 / 7:41 pm

      Howdy, Tyler. That house has a lot of character and individualism. It’s a winner, for sure.


  34. Life...One Big Adventure February 21, 2023 / 8:00 pm

    Is double-glazing a thing in the US? It should be in Australia as it is so hot down here, but it is incredibly expensive. It is one of the first things cut from the budget when building. Such a shame as it would make such a difference to our comfort and the need for heavy curtains etc. Sorry, random window commentary! 😉 Mel

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 21, 2023 / 8:38 pm

      Hi Mel. Double-paned windows are pretty common in the USA. Not sure if that’s the same as double-glazed. Take care. See ya!

      Liked by 1 person

  35. shoreacres February 21, 2023 / 11:16 pm

    I suspect that gorgeous yellow house does date to about 1900, give or take. When I last was in Hannibal, Missouri, I stayed in a B&B on the old ‘millionaires’ row,’ and many of the houses looked like this one. All of them were built in about a thirty-year period, and they all were gorgeous. The woodwork inside was as beautiful as the outside was eye-catching. Apparently all of those old river towns had sections of similar houses, all dating to around 1900.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 22, 2023 / 6:45 am

      That’s a beautiful house in your photo. The bold orange areas are really striking. And the design of the house is the opposite of cookie-cutter.

      Liked by 1 person

  36. Ally Bean February 22, 2023 / 12:31 pm

    I know what you mean about little towns looking like towns. Ours does, but it’s because of good planning and lots of hills that slow down suburban blight. I like the looks of where you went, charming is wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 22, 2023 / 3:19 pm

      Hey, Ally. You know, a little while ago I was thinking about Vermont. I went to college there a million years ago. Anyway, Vermont is a state that has lots of towns that look like towns.

      Liked by 1 person

  37. chattykerry February 22, 2023 / 3:02 pm

    It is a lovely little town – nice to see something other than strip malls.

    Liked by 1 person

      • chattykerry February 23, 2023 / 2:47 pm

        We have a newish town center but it was built to look like a typical Main Street with a square in the middle. We also have plenty of strip malls…

        Liked by 1 person

  38. estricsek February 22, 2023 / 8:26 pm

    Great story Neil. I love the photos. I am familiar with your neck of the woods. Our son lived in Philly for a few years and we lived in Birdsboro. Doylestown is a nice town.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 23, 2023 / 6:57 am

      Hi, and thanks for dropping by. Cape Cod has some great-looking towns. Chatham, Wellfleet, PTown., to name three.


  39. tanjabrittonwriter February 22, 2023 / 9:27 pm

    I have always dreamed of having a turret, so your mustard-colored house really appeals to me. Just imagine having a desk around the outer wall and being to able to move one’s chair in the course of the day to keep up with the sun. 🌞

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Sandy February 22, 2023 / 10:17 pm

    What’s interesting about old=style windows, is how much craftmanship is required to frame, set and pane them. I remember seeing this in a restoration project and it was fascinating. Newer windows are manufactured in the factory & are definitely sturdier & more insulated. But they all look alike. Part of Doylestown’s appeal is the lack of ‘sameness’, dont you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 23, 2023 / 7:02 am

      You’re absolutely right. It’s the type of town where you can walk around time after time and always see things that hadn’t caught your eye before. It’s full of details.

      Liked by 1 person

  41. annieasksyou February 24, 2023 / 4:10 pm

    Lots of pleasantly breezy philosophical tidbits in this tour, Neil. And you were certainly right about Tina: she was steamy.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Dave February 25, 2023 / 10:35 am

    Never heard “Steamy Windows” before, but I like it. I should listen to more Tina Turner.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 25, 2023 / 2:00 pm

      Hi Dave. I found Tina’s recording while researching “windows” songs. I don’t recall having heard it before that. She’s retired now, but she sure was a dynamic performer.


  43. slfinnell February 26, 2023 / 12:51 pm

    Done a lot of family research that goes back to PA, & Bucks county is one of the places. Good to know a little bit more via your post of where to ‘see’ if we get the opportunity. Great Tina Turner song too!

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Jeff the Chef February 27, 2023 / 10:37 am

    That mustardy one is my favorite. I lived in your general area for a couple of years, and one of my favorite things about it was the history. So many old houses, and such a rich tradition. Thanks for the interesting tale of your trip, and all those cool pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, Another Blogger February 27, 2023 / 2:27 pm

      I always like walking around the colonial-era section of Philadelphia. Many of the structures there are from the 1700s. One street — Elfreth’s Alley — supposedly has been continuously inhabited longer than any other street in the USA. It’s a cool part of the city.


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