Friday, August 8, 2014

Why You Should Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval Prior to House Hunting

By: Sarah Boha
August 8th, 2014

Mortgage is a scary word; literally.  The etymology is from the Latin Mortem “death” and evolved into the old French “Mort Gage”, translating to “Death Pledge”.  It’s no wonder home buyers cringe every time their trusted Realtor, in the excitement of touring homes, asks “Have you been pre-approved for a mortgage?”  The response from home buyers ranges from concerns about their credit being run to the idea of committing to a mortgage in the shopping phase.   In reality, having a mortgage pre-approval in hand early on or prior to house hunting is beneficial to the buyer in planning what they can afford and strategically approaching their home search.  The following concerns are the most common among home buyers regarding pre-approval status and why they should have one in hand when they’re shopping.

“I’m hesitant that obtaining a pre-approval will hurt my credit score”

Hard inquires made in excess on your credit can negatively impact your credit score, however, according to Mortgage Lender, David Simon, with AJM Mortgage in Pittsburgh, taking steps to obtain a pre-approval is not as detrimental to your credit score as you may think, “The reality is that an occasional credit inquiry will not have a material impact on your credit scores.”  He continues to say that, “While it may drop your score a couple of points, in only very rare cases will this result in a borrower not being able to qualify for a mortgage.”  But how exactly does it work when purchasing a home?  Running your credit for the pre-approval of a mortgage is based on your TransUnion FICO credit score, David explains, “Your TransUnion FICO score (mortgage scoring model) has a range of 309-839 and the minimum score to qualify for a conventional loan is 620 so there is a spread of 219 points between the low end to the high.  The average FICO score is somewhere in the low to mid 700s (depending upon what article your read) so as you can see it isn't very likely to cause your loan to be denied.”  Once your mortgage lender has run your credit score, he or she can use that credit report for up to four months.  If we haven’t found or closed on a home within the four month timeframe, your lender does not have to run the credit again until we do find a home, which leads me to the next concern from home shoppers… 

“I just want to be sure that this is the house we want”

What if you finally find the home you’ve pictured all along?  It has the three car garage you wanted, in the school district you most desired your children to attend and stainless steel appliances are included.  In most cases, the agent listing that beautiful home will want a copy of your pre-approval attached with your offer.  Why?  They simply want to be sure that you’re able to undertake the fiduciary obligation of a mortgage and pay for the home upon acceptance of your offer.  Bringing an offer to the table means you’re ready to purchase the property and you should be prepared.  It’s heartbreaking to watch a client tour five, six, seven homes, fall in love with one and wait to be pre-approved only to discover that they can’t afford it.

“I don’t want to have two mortgages” or “I don’t want to be committed to a mortgage when I’m still searching”

A mortgage pre-approval is non-obligatory and turns you into a serious buying candidate in the eyes of a seller.  In fact, there are some properties on the market that cannot be shown without a pre-approval.  As a buyer, take a few moments to speak with your preferred mortgage lender and determine what you want to pay on your monthly mortgage payment.  You may be pre-approved for $300k, but, in reality, would feel more comfortable making payments within the $250k range.  If you don’t determine your ideal monthly payment early in your search, you may waste valuable time looking at homes you can’t afford and worse, miss the opportunity to purchase a home in your range.  If you currently have a mortgage, speak with your Realtor about what you need to sell your current property for to cover the balance of your current debt.    

When shopping for a home, taking a few moments with your mortgage lender to plan financially will help you understand exactly what you can afford and tailor your search specific to your criteria.  You can feel confident knowing that every house you schedule to see with your Realtor, with pre-approval in hand, you can afford and potentially buy.  So, house hunters, the next time your Realtor asks, “Have you been pre-approved for a mortgage”, no need to cringe, plan with you mortgage lender and you can assuredly say, “Yes, let’s look for houses with granite countertops”.     


A special thanks to David Simon, Mortgage and Lending with AJM Mortgage.  For more information regarding mortgage pre-approval and how it affects your credit, visit http://activerain.trulia.com/blogsview/4456569/how-does-running-a-pre-approval-effect-a-buyer-s-credit and www.ajmmortgage.com.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Five Events You MUST SEE at Arts Fest 2014

By: Sarah Boha
July 9, 2014

Brainchild of Penn State University College of Arts and Architecture and the State College Chamber of Commerce in 1967; The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts has been a summer tradition cherished by locals and art enthusiasts from around the world.  In fact, it’s estimated by the CPFA (Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts) that 100,000 people visit “Arts Fest” every year.  Here are five must see exhibits happening at the 2014 CPFA, July 10th-13th.


1.)Italian Street Painting


The Italian street painting exhibition has been taking place on the 100 block of Heister Street at CPFA since 1999.  Artists bring their chalk and unbridled talent to create baroque like artwork, celebrating the centuries old tradition from Europe.  The quality of these street paintings wows me every year; a must see!

2.)Silent Auction

Thursday July 10th at noon; the Arts Fest Silent Auction is a must if you’re shopping the featured artists.  The auction doubles as a preview of the artwork that will be carried by each guest artist.  If you don’t get a chance to purchase artwork from the auction, you may want to write down your favorite pieces and the artist that created them to visit their booth during the festival.  A map of the artist’s booths for 2014 are online, http://arts-festival.com/booth-map.

3.)Sand Sculptures


These monumental sculptures of sand are an absolute must see for the whole family.  Sand sculptor, Greg Glenn, takes 25 tons of sand every year at Arts Fest and miraculously transforms it into life like creations, right down to the scales on a fish to the bulging veins on a football player’s hands.  Don’t miss this whimsical exhibit at Sidney Friedman Park this year at CPFA 2014.   

4.)Heidi’s Strudel


Walking in downtown State College, pondering your next art acquisition and sweating in the heat of July; you will inevitably find yourself craving nourishment.  Look no further than Heidi’s Strudel, located on Allen and Calder Way at the 2014 CPFA.  Among the food vendors to stop by and munch, this booth is a must; Apricot, apple, cherry, cheese, almond, strudels and fresh squeezed lemonade…need I say more?

5.)BookFest

Art isn’t the only work up for display at Arts Fest anymore.  BookFest is in it’s 5th annual celebration of local authors and will be held at the Schlow Centre Region Library from 10am to 4pm on Saturday, July 12, 2014.  Get autographs from local authors, learn about writing and being published and get your hands on the latest reads for summer.  A must for any book worm.

This is just a tease of five wonderful events that happen at Arts Fest.  What are your favorite exhibits that you and your family will be seeing this year?

For more information, visit http://arts-festival.com/.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Taj Mahal, Versailles and Park Forest in State College…Yes, They Have Something in Common.

June 30th, 2014
By: Sarah Boha

In my pursuit of a Bachelor of Arts at Penn State, I, like any student pursuing their B.A. had to master a course load of humanities.  The advisors advised matriculating students, such as myself at the time, that it would make us a “well rounded human being when we entered the real world” – “The Sea Around Us”, “Study of Paris” and “Theater 101” were among the humanities I dabbled in.   In my sophomore year at Penn State I took a landscape architecture class.  Landscape Architecture was a class that seemed interesting to me, enrollment wasn’t filled and it was considered a humanity; jackpot.  I learned about the meticulously precise garden parterres in France, the spiritual importance of the landscape at the Taj Mahal and a community that was ahead of it’s time in the ‘green movement’, Park Forest.


I remember my landscape architecture professor dedicating an entire class to the community of Park Forest (it was a big deal, especially when a local community is sandwiched between lectures about the Taj Mahal and Versailles!).  Established in 1956, this development introduced a new and innovative approach, for it’s time, in the layout of a suburban neighborhood.  The curved streets, abundance of trees and layout of the homes in Park Forest would shatter the conventional post World War II neighborhood.  The idea of keeping as many trees as possible in building process would inspire the design of neighborhoods across America.

Pictured Above: An example of the greenery and gardening that can be accomplished in Park Forest

Driving down, or walking, jogging, bicycling down, (Park Forest was designed to be extremely pedestrian friendly with an implementation of sidewalks throughout the community), the main access to Park Forest, Park Forest Ave., I can almost hear my professor when she described the first houses of Park Forest.  Predominantly initiating with ranch style homes, in the 1950s and 60s it was all about convenience.  “Easy living”, was one of the phrases the LA professor used in painting a picture of the first homes sitting slightly tilted for an aesthetically pleasing look on their plot of land.  A cross breeze billowing through the living rooms of open front and back screen doors added a tranquil “easy” feeling.  To live in this community was to live in a park, easy living and pedestrian friendly.  To enjoy the cool breezes, fresh air and overall greenery was the forest element that J. Alvin Hawbaker, real estate developer, and Carl W. Wild, assistant designer and architect, had in mind when they designed Park Forest. 

Picture Above: The “Easy living” of an open back door to a patio in Park Forest

Today, Park Forest pays reverence to the past and tells of story of it’s history to the present day as you drive, walk or jog through the winding streets and admire the ever changing residential architecture.  An original intention in the design of the neighborhood was easy accessibility to surrounding parks in the area; presently, the area is adjacent to Trader Joe’s plaza, the Colonnade and a drive through Starbucks (which I frequent as a resident of Park Forest and shows my impartiality as a writer and to my shameless love of coffee).  In their original conception of Park Forest, I don’t think Hawbaker and Wild could have ever imagined how their community would evolve over the decades and become a model for suburban layouts across the country.  The next time you drive, walk or jog through Park Forest, remember that you’re in a place that was worthy to featured alongside the great Taj Mahal. 

Pictured Above: The beauty of the souring trees in Park Forest, even in the icy winter.

Interested in homes in the Park Forest and surrounding State College area?  Click here for the newest homes available and give us a call if you’d like to schedule a showing, http://sarahb.annetteyorksgroup.com/community/area/State%20College/
             

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Graduation and Mother’s Day in State College – Where do the Locals Go?

May 9th, 2014
By: Sarah Boha

If you’re a senior at Penn State, you’re breathing a sigh of relieve; you've finished your finals (hopefully), you've achieved the grades you wanted (hopefully) and you’re ready to graduate (again, with great hope in your heart).  Your whole family has descended on the State College area; you were smart by booking your reservations to the Allen Street Grill in advance, knowing the town would be swarmed with other students/family who have the same brilliant idea to amalgamate your academic accomplishment and the celebration of your mom who supported you along the way this Mother’s Day.  Yes, PSU commencement and Mother’s Day all in the same weekend.  But what do you do if you’re a local?  If you’re a local in the Penn State vicinity, you may be thinking, “I better plan accordingly with the influx of traffic” or “I forgot if was both graduation and a holiday; I hope I can get a reservation” or “What do I do?”  Luckily, there are still events going on in the area if you’re a local, don’t have a child/friend/family member graduating from the university and want to celebrate Mother’s Day. 

Here are a list of local events that you can enjoy in the midst of the increase in population this weekend,
Flea Markets/Yard Sales and Places to Find Treasure
Central PA Flea & Farmers Market
A great location, exceptional facilities, and thousands of patrons visiting the fairgrounds annually combine to make the Central PA Flea & Farmers Market a fantastic venue for buying and selling local goods.
Dates: Sunday May 11th
Start Time: 8:00 am
Location: Grange Fair Grounds
Address: 169 Homan Lane, Centre Hall, PA, 16828 (map)
Website: http://centralpaflea.net
Phone: 814-531-1022

AAUW State College Branch Used Book Sale
53rd Annual AAUW Used Book Sale
 May 10 – 13, 2014
 Saturday through Tuesday
 9:00 am to 9:00 pm daily
 (Mother’s Day Weekend)
 Over 200,000 Books, sorted into 33 categories. See web site for Special Collection titles.
 Monday: Half-Price Day
 Tuesday: Bag Day ($5 per bag)
 Free Admission
 Think green bring your own reusable grocery bags
Dates: 05/10/2014 - 05/13/2014
Start Time: 7:00 pm
Location: Snider Agricultural Arena
Address: Corner Fox Hollow Road and Park Avenue, Penn State Campus, State College, PA, 16802 (map)
Website: http://www.aauwstatecollege.org
Phone: 814-360-1177

Potters Guild Exhibition and Sale
Please join us in the celebration and sale of ceramic works created by members of the Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania Potters Guild benefiting the Guild's kiln fundraiser. Reception and Sale starts Friday night. Exhibition and Sale Saturday and Sunday.
 Reception and Sale with live music.
 ---Friday, May 9th/ 7p.m.-9p.m.
 Exhibition and Sale
 ---Saturday, May 10th/ 10a.m.-4p.m.
 ---Sunday, May 11th/ 1p.m.-4p.m
Start Time: 1:00 pm
Location: Art Alliance of Central PA
Address: 818 Pike Street, Lemont, PA, 16851 (map)
Website: http://www.facebook.com/TheArtAllianceofCentralPennsylvaniaPottersGuild
Email: pistange@hotmail.com
If you enjoy running/marathons/5k’s
Bridge of Hope Mother's Day 5K Fun Walk/Run
Bridge of Hope Centre County will have its 5th Annual Mother's Day Walk/Run on Sunday, May 11. Funds raised through the 5K Fun Walk/Run will be used to help end homelessness for women and children in Centre County.
Register for the walk at http://centre.bridgeofhopeinc.org or on the day of the walk at 1 p.m.
Start Time: 2:00 pm
Location: Boalsburg Memorial Museum
Address: North Atherton St., State College, PA (map)
Website: http://centre.bridgeofhopeinc.org/
Phone: 814-237-HOPE
Email: execdirbohcc@gmailcom   

Mother’s Day Dinners/Family Events
Toftrees
Served Mother's Day 10:00am-3:30pm
Buffet features a waffle and omelet station, carving station, breakfast and entree station with accompaniments, soup and salads, and a dessert buffet.
Call (814)234-8000 for Reservations

Mother' Day Dinner
Howard Troop 353 will be hosting their annual Mother's Day Dinner. There will be ham, turkey, noodles, mashed potatoes, and a whole lot more. There will also be many homemade pies and desserts. Cost is $10 for everyone 10 and older. Children ages 3-10 are $5 and those under 3 are free.
Start Time: 11:00 am
Location: JK Yearick Center
Address: Howard, PA (map)

State College Area Municipal Band - Marching Down Broadway--and a Posy for Mom
State College Area Municipal Band presents its 23rd annual Mother's Day Concert, "Marching Down Broadway--and a Posy for Mom, "Sunday, May 11 at 3:00 in the SCAHS South Auditorium.
Start Time: 3:00 pm
Location: State College Area High School South Auditorium
Address: Westerly Parkway, State College, PA (map)
Website: http://www.statecollegeband.org
Phone: 814-238-8187

Open Garden & Art Exhibit
Rhoneymeade Arboretum will be open to the public, May 10th & 11th, 12:30-4:30 pm only. Artist, Judith Bogert, will display watercolors. See images. Great place to bring Mom.
Dates: 05/10/2014 - 05/11/2014
Start Time: 12:30 pm
Location: Rhoneymeade
Address: 177 Rimmey Rd, State College, PA, 16828 (map)
Website: http://www.rhoneymeade-usa.org
Phone: 8145712401

Mother's Day Storytime
Join us for Mother's Day Storytime featuring Oh, the Things My Mom Will Do ..., stories celebrating mom and card making, too!
Start Time: 11:00 am
Location: Barnes & Noble
Address: State College, PA (map)
Website: http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/4693141

Spring Wildflower Walk
Try to identify the spring wildflowers found at Black Moshannon State Park. Discover interesting folklore and medicinal uses for some of these wildflowers. Meet at the Environmental Learning Center.
 11:00am-12:00pm
 and
 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Start Time: 11:00 am
Location: Black Moshannon State Park
Address: 4216 Beaver Road, Philipsburg, PA (map)

Also, be sure to visit, https://www.statecollege.com/dining/, if you’re looking to squeeze in a reservation this weekend.


As you can see, there are still events and community activities that you can enjoy without being overwhelmed by the traffic that will envelope the area.  However, if you don’t find solace in shopping on the North end of State College, going to the Central PA Flea Market or the thought of finding a reservation gives you angst; it may be a good idea to relax, pick your smart phone up and Skype or call your mom – She’s anxious to hear from you!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Victorian Bellefonte – Live in the Heart of Pennsylvanian History

April 21st, 2014
By: Sarah Boha

“La Belle Fonte!” Exclaimed French Ambassador Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord; and with his complement to the central spring, the Victorian town that we know today as Bellefonte was named.  “Victorian charm in a modern world”, is scrolled across the top of the www.bellefonte.com website; the influence of history through the first plotting of Pennsylvania lands and the evolution of the town with references to Victorian architecture is what Bellefonte exudes today.  Walking down High St. in Bellefonte, you can’t ignore the architectural influences of Classic Revival, Georgian and Queen Anne styles mixed with 21st century business; Cool Beans Coffee and Tea, The Governor’s Pub and the newest fashion boutique Halo.  The thriving of old and new harmonizing together is what makes Bellefonte unique, historical and a wonderful choice to consider if you’re thinking of moving to the Central Pennsylvania area.


Brief History of Bellefonte
It all began when James Dunlop plotted out the lines of Bellefonte in 1795.  With his son-in-law James Harris they are accredited for building the first home which sits on the corner of High and Spring Streets.  In 1805, the iconic courthouse was constructed with many additions following throughout the years.  The four cross streets that intersect in front of the courthouse is representative of the Pennsylvanian Diamond model that was popular in the first founding of Pennsylvania towns. 



As Bellefonte continued to build, it became the home of many of the earliest governors of Pennsylvania and two other states; James Addams Beaver, Governor of Pennsylvania 1887-1891, also served as the President of the Board of Trustees at Penn State for 24 years, John Bigler, Governor of California 1852-1856, had roots in Centre County before moving to California during the gold rush, William Bigler, Governor of Pennsylvania 1852-1855, brother to John Bigler, Andrew Gregg Curtain, Governor of Pennsylvania 1861-1871, Curtain was born in Bellefonte and was an early supporter of Abraham Lincoln.  There would be two more Governors of Pennsylvania, Daniel Hastings and William F. Packer, both of whom grew up in Central Pennsylvania. 

Bellefonte continued to boom, rich in iron to become the town we know today.

Where to Live in Bellefonte
With riveting history, ever changing architecture and great location with wonderful amenities; you may be finding yourself considering Bellefonte in your home search.  If you’re a consumer of real estate in the Bellefonte and Pleasant Gap area, you have an array of choices.  There are homes that are the epitome of country living with stunning mountain views; developments such as SteepleChase or Grove Park are an excellent place to start.  Springfield, Robinwood and Forest Heights are also excellent choices for serene living amongst the countryside and farms of Bellefonte.  For more information about neighborhoods, new constructions and or if you would like to talk with a Realtor about what you’re looking for in a Bellefonte home; visit our website, http://www.annetteyorksgroup.com/community/area/16823/ to learn more or contact our team in office, (814)272-6111 to set up a consultation. 

History stemming from Bellefonte would go on to shape the surrounding area, including the street names we know today on Penn State’s University Park Campus; Curtain St., Bigler St. both on campus and the most notably Beaver Ave. in downtown State College.  Today, Bellefonte continues to evolve with new construction, business and is drawing attention from consumers outside the state of Pennsylvania as a great community to live.  Call our group today if you’d like to become part of the continued history of Bellefonte, PA.     

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Blue & White Home Buyer and Seller Seminar – A Sneak Preview

April 8th, 2014
By: Sarah Boha

Don’t pay your realtor, don’t be surprised if you’re outbid on an offer for a house and don’t be taken aback by your final closing costs – Buying or selling a home may seem like a daunting task, but the professionals at the Annette Yorks Group can help.  Delve into the home buying and selling process and tailgate with us this Blue & White Weekend Saturday, April 12th from 10am-12pm at the Keller Williams Realty Office in State College.  In honor of the Home Buyer and Seller Seminar, here is a top ten list of what every home buyer and seller should do when buying or selling real estate.

Buyers
1.)    Get Preapproved – If you’re not a cash buyer, you’ll need a means to pay for the home you’ve been dreaming about.  There are many mortgage options available depending on your particular situation as a buyer – down payment, no down payment, military veterans, etc.  Learn more about the options available to you at Saturday’s seminar.
2.)    Seek representation – There are many advantages to seeking the professional representation of a buyer agent…and not because this is a buyer agent writing this blog.  A buyer agent’s knowledge of the community they serve and the aid they provide to you as a client will help through every step of the home buying process.  Added bonus – These services to you as a buyer are free, the seller pays my commission.  Learn more about the added perks of buyer agency on Saturday.
3.)    Shop within your price range – You may be preapproved for a 200k mortgage, but realistically, you’d like to make monthly payments for a 150k home.  Shop in your budgeted price point; rather than the disappointment you will face when you fall in love with a home and later find that you can’t afford it.  Remember, everything is negotiable, but talk to a realtor and lender to determine and set your goals in finding the right home for the right price.  More information at Saturday’s seminar.
4.)    Deep discount or cosmetic changes – You can’t have your cake and eat it to, someone once said.  Everything is negotiable, but don’t be caught off guard if after you’ve negotiated $8,000.00 off of list price and the seller won’t redeem your request of having a deck stained or a basement finished.  This is another aspect to discuss with your Realtor; is your goal to negotiate a price or negotiate cosmetic changes?  Cosmetic changes do not include major items that may cause concern on a home inspection – major items such as roof or plumbing that are of high importance to the habitability and safety of the home are your right as a buyer to negotiate.  More details at the seminar.
5.)    Think with your head – Each home buying search will be different.  You may find the right home after five houses or after ten.  Perhaps your offer will go through with ease or maybe you’ll find yourself in a bidding war.  Every client is as individual as their home buying journey; don’t be discouraged if you deal with a setback.  Provide your Realtor with as much feedback as possible and they will or should go above and beyond to help you reach your goals.  Come to the seminar to become knowledgeable about the home buying process to give you a head start in finding a home.

Sellers
1.)    Seek representation – You shouldn’t sell real estate on your own without the help of a licensed professional.  A Realtor is knowledgeable enough in the local area to help you with pricing your property, walk you through all documents/contracts and assist in determining your goals.  Learn more about seller representation at the Home Buyer and Seller Seminar.
3.)    Current market conditions and price point of a home can determine the speed at which it moves – Do you want you home to move quickly or are you determined to get your asking price?  Talk with your Realtor about your anticipated timeframe and come up with a plan based on current market conditions and/or the price you would like to list your home.  Depending on the market and your list price you may be moving sooner or later than you anticipated.  Ask questions and learn more at the seminar.
3.)    Put yourself in the prospective buyer’s shoes – For a moment, picture yourself as the consumer, excited to look for their new home…how will they feel when they schedule a showing to see your home?  The minute details can make all the difference from standing out in the market; just by keeping your home tidy and perhaps hiring a stager to use your current furniture to make your home more marketable.  More tips for sellers on Saturday at the seminar.
4.)    Know your legal obligations as a seller – In real estate, we work to be good, honest and ethical in our practice.  When selling your home you must disclose any material defect you’re aware of to the buyers.  Reduce your risk of being held accountable for something you didn’t disclose.  Speak with the professionals at the seminar about the seller’s disclosure.
5.)    Trust your Realtor – If you’ve selected the right Realtor for you, you’ll trust that they’re using their resources to promote your home to sell.  Open houses, virtual tours and marketing on the MLS are only a few avenues your Realtor can use to sell your home.

Real estate is one of the oldest professions known to man; yet, simple details such as a fresh coat of paint when selling your home or getting preapproved for a mortgage as a buyer can go a long way toward achieving your goals in the buying and selling of real estate.  There is so much more to know and we look forward to sharing more with you on Saturday.  There is still time to RSVP, call (814) 272-3333 x6110 or email krystalakoch@gmail.com.         

Monday, March 17, 2014

Saint Patrick’s Day; the Luck, Leprechauns and Legend

March 17, 2014
By: Sarah Boha

Green attire, leprechauns and beer; modern day Saint Patrick’s Day wouldn’t be complete without the aforementioned list, but there are certain facts you may not know about the history of Saint Patrick.  Exploring the genesis of this holiday, you may be surprised that the paraphernalia we hold so dear to Saint Patrick’s Day came much later into association and stemmed from a much earlier history from what it has evolved into today’s festivities and celebrations.  So before you lift that pint of Guinness to your lips and sing along to “Danny Boy”, here are a few facts you may not have known about Saint Patrick and where the holiday originated.


Contrary to popular belief, Saint Patrick was not Irish.  He was born in Britain anywhere between 350-387A.D. and it is thought that he most likely lived in Wales.  Saint Patrick was kidnapped as a teenager and brought to Ireland where he was sold into slavery. He tended sheep for about 10 years before he escaped back to England. He then sought refuge in a monastery in Gaul for 12 years; where he became a priest, and later took his teachings back to Ireland.  


Pictured above: Badge of the Order of Saint Patrick

You may picture the patron saint of Ireland to be dressed in green robes judging by the sea of green you’ll see today; donned by your coworkers, in the decorations hanging around the office and even in your beer.  What may surprise you is that the color associated with Saint Patrick was in fact blue.  The Order of Saint Patrick was established in Ireland in 1783 as the highest echelon of chivalry.  This order associated themselves with a light sky blue color.  The color green came much later into association as the color is symbolic of the lustrous green pastures of Ireland.   



Shamrocks.  We wouldn’t have a complete Saint Patrick’s Day without the iconic symbol of the four leafed clover.  But, did you know that statistically you have a 1 in 10,000 chance of actually finding a clover with four leafs?  I suppose if you find one, you’re lucky.  Saint Patrick himself preferred the three leaf clover; he used it as an analogy to explain the Holy Trinity and it is said that he affixed shamrocks to his robes…Ok, I suppose green has some place in Saint Patrick’s wardrobe; how couldn’t he in the country called the “Emerald Isle”?

With the celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day, you may visit your bar or pub to have a round with your friends.  It wasn’t always this way, Saint Patrick’s Day was a dry holiday set aside as a Christian holiday in Irish law between 1903-1970.  All pubs in Ireland were shut down on Saint Patrick’s Day between the said years until 1970.  The modern holiday, as we know it, really took root in America and flourished in Ireland as a springtime tourism boost. 


All in all, when we hold up our glasses and say an Irish toast like, “As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction”; thank Maewyn Succat.  Maewyn Succat may sound like the name of one of the pilgrims from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, but Maewyn Succat was Saint Patrick himself.  Saint Patrick’s name was changed when he joined the church and with it the way we celebrate Irish heritage forever.