It used to be you had to travel to the city to try the newest buzzed-about BYOB. If you were looking to spend a day searching for chic vintage or the weekend’s cocktail party dress, you were schlepping around door to door on Center City’s Walnut and Chestnut streets. But that’s just the thing… that’s how things used to be.
Today, suburban towns are getting more commuter-friendly with easy access to major highways and rail lines. Couple that with affordable rent and real estate, and you see many of the cities’ creative chefs, stylists and start-ups scooching over to the ‘burbs to kick-start their businesses.
Looking to get the best of both worlds — a diverse and burgeoning social scene in a close-knit neighborhood? Look no further. We reached out to local Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated agents to see which Chester County towns are ripe with cultural currency.
“Chester County is home to many communities that comprise the Main Line and is convenient to outdoor activities, highly-regarded schools and public transportation into Philadelphia,” says Coldwell Banker Preferred agent Laura Kaplan. We tested her theory below (and, spoiler, it’s true).
“It’s a good mix of city and suburbs,” says Kaplan. The borough has no shortage of restaurants, boutiques and nightlife options. West Chester could be considered “little Philadelphia,” home to some of the area’s most innovative restaurants, brew pubs and downtown vintage and record shops.
It’s also a short drive to Philadelphia via Interstate Highway 95 North and is located between Wilmington, Lancaster and Baltimore. “The major selling point for buying in West Chester is its proximity to other areas,” says Coldwell Banker Preferred agent Ed Gomez. “I believe that is one of the reasons it is such an attractive place to live.”
With highly-rated school districts like Unionville-Chadds Ford, West Chester and Kennett school district in close proximity, it’s a win-win for families and couples looking to buy.
“We have access to some really fun outdoor activities,” Kaplan says. “In less than 10 minutes, you can be at Stroud Preserve for a hike, go apple picking at Highland Orchards, kayak down the Brandywine or take a little drive to Longwood Gardens to enjoy the fountain show.”
“Reserve lots of time to explore!” Coldwell Banker Preferred agent Lee Ann Embrey says of her advice for families moving to Chester County. “There’s always an amazing event to attend or historical site to visit.”
The borough of Phoenixville, named after the Phoenix Iron Company, originally founded in the 1800s, holds on to many of its industrial artifacts. Nestled between both French Creek and the Schuylkill River makes this suburban town a scenic story of past commerce and community, as well as a beautiful natural landmark to explore and discover. About a half an hour drive will get you to Marsh Creek, where you can activate your adventurous side by hiking, camping, kayaking and even stand up paddle boarding.
Besides being a mecca for mall shoppers, Exton is a commuter town that’s minutes off Interstate Highway 76 East and has its own SEPTA Regional Rail stop. Diverse dining options like Devi Indian, Z.Wei Sushi and local brunch hot spot Nudy’s Cafe line the Lincoln Highway.
If you’re looking for a smart location, Exton is a great choice. The borough is home to Downingtown STEM Academy, Conestoga High School, Great Valley High School, and West Chester Henderson High School, four of the top performing high schools in Pennsylvania.
Deciding where to lay your head and plant your life can be difficult, but less so when you find a locale that has everything you’re looking for, and when you work with a real estate agent that’s familiar with the neighborhood. “Hire an agent that lives in your target area and has a similar lifestyle to yours,” says Kaplan. “Their knowledge and familiarity with the area will allow them to help you meet your home ownership goals.”
Ready to make your move? For more information about buying or selling a home in the communities of the Greater Philadelphia area and the Delaware Valley, visit Coldwell Banker Preferred online at www.coldwellbankerhomes.com/philadelphia.