Gift shop plans open house in minimall with equestrian theme


Grazing along the curb at 621 Hanover Pike is a pig, a Dalmatian and a cow sculpted of wood.

Covering the wall of the building behind them is a mural of clouds, in which cloud horses jump through blue sky toward a rainbow.

This is the new site for Charlie Horse, a gift shop unusual among horsemen and enticing to anyone with a penchant for animal artistry.

On May 6 and 7, owner Charles Cole invites everyone to celebrate the new location of Charlie Horse with pony rides, pit beef, snow cones, popcorn, cotton candy and door prizes.

The open house and spring arts preview will be from 10 a.m. to 7 pm. May 6 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 7.

The business is on Route 30, opposite Black & Decker in the former Quality Screw and Socket building. Mr. Cole's minimall there houses not only his own shop, but several others, some of them sharing the equestrian theme.

You'll find Signs of Our Times, deeply carved and painted relief signs made by Howard German, who was chosen to carve the papal coat of arms for Cardinal William H. Keeler.

The Home Brew Shop, an adjunct of the Larkins family enterprise at the Pennsylvania Dutch Farmers Market, stocks a full line of home brewery supplies purveyed by Lance Larkins.

You can order a custom carousel horse here. The Carousel Room displays the carousel lion and horses of Henry Ruppert. Mr. Ruppert, an architect, continues a family legacy of wood carving passed down to him from his great-grandfather and grandfather, who carved for ships, and his father, who was a master decoy carver and ceiling muralist.

Hampstead artist Reatha Osborn, who has lately painted the outdoor

cloud-horse mural, paints the carousel animals when she's not working on portraits.

Equestrian tack and grooming supplies, from halters to horse brushes, are offered by Horsemen's Dream.

Soon to come are Amish sheds and lawn furniture, a florist, art and sculpture studios, and much more, from horse jumps to custom embroidery.

Everything chosen by Mr. Cole for Charlie Horse seems to be one-of-a-kind. This is where you can find waxed Barbour fabric to wear while you're fox hunting. It's custom-fashioned here into waterproof jackets for the family dog.

A local metal smith creates furniture of filigree. Look closely and you'll discover the curvilinear outline of a fox or two fashioned into the back of a garden bench. A life-size linear sculpture of a horse jumping hedges, to be placed along Hanover Pike, is under way.

Dangling above solid cherry furniture by Nelson Schunk and the eerily lifelike footstools resting on cowboy boot feet are birdhouses. These are shaped like large dog or cat heads, wearing birdhouse roofs for hats. The bird finds shelter by hopping through the animal's eyes. Another birdhouse is a ceramic cat on a swing. The cat's broad Cheshire grin has good reason: The bird nests in this house inside the cat's stomach.

There are plenty of amusing items. Looking for cow-motif lapel pins with teats of dangling pearls? Or a timepiece in which the tail of the horse swats the fly to count the passing seconds?

Mr. Cole stocks these items and hundreds more, priced from 50 cents to more than $1,000. He includes items for children, too.

At the weekend grand opening celebration, animal portraitist Deborah Stanton will demonstrate how she translates photographs into fine art.

Mr. Cole stocks the hand-painted lamps and fireplace screens of Debbie Barton in the shop. She's painted murals throughout the shop. Various high-profile artists are represented by framed prints.

Charlie Horse sprang from Mr. Cole's dream of his own horse farm. Having worked with horses since age 15, Mr. Cole launched into various enterprises until he began taking horsemen's supplies on the road to horse shows throughout the United States. His company now sends quality crafts and specialized horsemen's equipment throughout the world.

"I started in a pigpen," which he converted into a shop on his Snydersburg farm, he said with a laugh. "It's taken five years to arrive at this point. Everybody is committed -- we all have the attitude that it's more than just money that we're after."

One of his earlier successes, the Thorough Cleaning Co., is now owned by his partner, Tim Hurley. Thorough Cleaning has relocated to the Charlie Horse building as well.

Charlie Horse and associated shops are open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hours will change seasonally.

Information: 374-6302.


This is the Week of the Young Child. All area preschools and family day-care providers are invited to visit Hampstead Elementary to observe early childhood programs. Contact the school to arrange a visit.

Suggestions for reading to young children will be provided by a 12-minute video, "Read to Me," which will be screened at the school twice daily this week in the school media center.

Students at the school will share songs, artwork and writing in the school lobby and during school announcements.

Information: 374-2850.


Cub Scout Pack 791 will have a yard sale at Hampstead Elementary School on Saturday. In addition to clothing toys, and household goods, refreshments will be sold.

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