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 Jackpot
Merion Golf Manor,
Main Line

This bucolic, historic Main Line neighborhood named for the esteemed golf club is the type of place where you can raise your kids — and where they’ll return to raise theirs.

Schools: Coopertown Elementary and Haverford High are great. Still, loads of MGM kids attend the Haverford School, Baldwin, Notre Dame, Agnes Irwin, Episcopal. …

Commute to Philly: 25 minutes by car via Walnut Street; 20 minutes on the R5 from the Ardmore SEPTA station, a five-minute drive.

Things you get: Top-notch schools; Karakung Swim Club; lil’ Merwood and ball-field-filled South Ardmore parks; instant entrée to country-club society; houses priced from under $500,000 to upwards of a million.

Things you don’t: There’s no downtown — you’ve got to steal nearby Ardmore, Haverford or Wynnewood’s.

Betcha didn’t know: Its roundabout intersections — a Main Line rarity — cut down on through traffic.

Residents you ought to know: Nicholas DeBenedictis, Aqua America president and CEO and Convention & Visitors Bureau board chairman; Joanie and Bob Hall, daughter and son-in-law of Vera Bradley co-creator Barbara Bradley Baekgaard.

The future: A large part of this neighborhood’s charm and appeal is its lack of forthcoming development. All of the land is mature and built; you’ll never see cookie-cutter stucco McMansions here.

Meet the neighbors: “We wanted to live in a friendly, walkable place where you really get to know your neighbors,” says Christine Mahan, 42, who moved in with her husband and two children this past July. “It just feels like a community.”

Wanna buy here? “There are three neighborhoods within Merion Golf Manor, each with its own distinct price point and style,” says Janis Nadler, a realtor with Haverford Station’s Prudential Fox & Roach. “There are the raised ranches on the lower end, colonials and split-levels in the middle, and then the over-$500,000 estate homes.” See something you like? Act fast. “There aren’t sales very often,” Nadler says. “People who live here stay.”

Just sold: A two-story, four-bedroom 90-year-old Tudor on St. Davids Lane, with vaulted-ceilinged family room, for $660,000.

You might also like: The rolling hills and beautiful stone houses in Penn Wynne — between Manoa and City Avenue.