Real Estate 2010: 10 Awesome Neighborhoods To Call Home

If the tanking of the real estate market has taught us anything, it’s that a house isn’t an investment. It’s a home — a place to retreat to at the end of the day, to raise your kids and hang with your friends, to build your life around and become part of a larger community. So, what are the best places to call home around Philly? Here, our guide to some great neighborhoods worth discovering … or rediscovering

The Village
Newtown Boro, Bucks County

This closely knit borough dating back to 1683 may no longer be surrounded by bucolic farmland (more like Toll Brothers developments), but feels more enchanting than ever thanks to design-minded residents who’ve struck a careful balance between historic and artistic.

Schools: Public: Council Rock. Private: Newtown Friends, the George School.
Commute to Philly: By car, 40 minutes via I-95; by SEPTA, 15-minute drive to Yardley train station, then one hour on the R3.

Things you get: History, sure, but also designer Katra Michener’s Love Illuminati boutique, Trove’s rehabbed vintage furnishings sales, Bucks County’s cutest hardware store. Heck, even State Street’s Gap and Starbucks don’t feel chain-y. Plus, great, great parties: “porch fest,” library fund-raisers, movie-in-the-park nights …

Things you don’t: A SEPTA station.

Betcha didn’t know: Newtown Theatre, which showed its first film in 1906, is the country’s oldest movie house.

Residents you ought to know: Radio Times host Marty Moss-Coane; photographers Emmet Gowin (a Princeton prof) and David Graham (a UArts prof).

The future: The old Acme on Sycamore Street is becoming “The Promenade,” a mixed-use development with Anthropologie as anchor.

Meet the neighbors: Kevin and Christine Edmonds moved their family of four here eight years ago. What they love: their house, which is old enough to have provenance and big enough for a disco party; October’s all-day Music in the Park festival; horseback riding at nearby Tyler State Park; and a parade for every holiday, in which “Kevin drives the mayor in his ’65 Lincoln Continental,” says Christine.

Wanna buy here? Realtor and historic home expert Mary Dinneen says to line up a mortgage lender and a home inspector who knows old houses, and be ready to jump. “Historic homes are typically one percent of all the properties for sale in Bucks County,” she says.

Just sold: A restored circa-1890 front-porched, black-shuttered brick Victorian on East Washington, with random-width pine floors, FIOS wiring and carriage house, for $440,000.

You might also like: Langhorne borough, for antique and pedigreed homes at lower prices — but less socializing.