Is Chestnut Hill the New East Passyunk?

Distinctive shops like Bone Appetite have led a new generation of fans of urban life to discover the joys of Chestnut Hill. The road to today began with the Starbucks right next door. | Photo courtesy Chestnut Hill Business Improvement District

Distinctive shops like Bone Appetite have led a new generation of fans of urban life to discover the joys of Chestnut Hill. The road to today began with the Starbucks right next door. | Photo courtesy Chestnut Hill Business Improvement District

It’s sometime after 5 on the Friday evening of Memorial Day weekend. That usually means Philly’s restaurants are quiet because everyone’s down the shore. But all the bar seats at Paris Bistro in Chestnut Hill are full. There are regulars, out-of-towners, and a large, boisterous group. From behind the bar, Justin Bellerjean presides over the scene genially. As the night goes on, he explains, the personality of this space will change. “Having a nice neighborhood corner bar … you see different layers of customers come in,” he says. “My Monday happy hour crowd, it’s like the men’s bar at a city club.”

My burger order hadn’t gone to the kitchen yet, but I wasn’t particularly worried that 15 minutes had passed since I placed it—it’s easy to get caught up in the vibe. Even chef/co-owner Al Paris seemed to be having fun.

This new, up-late Chestnut Hill isn’t the neighborhood I visited in the early 1980s. Back then, ads on the radio spoke in plum tones about the “little shops” along Germantown Avenue and the “Ladies Who Lunch” made up the crowd at the handful of restaurants. Now, three decades and two waves of change later, that crowd has mostly ceased to define the environment of Philadelphia’s most elevated business district. (Literally: the highest point in the city is just north of the Germantown Avenue commercial strip.) Far from being a prim and proper enclave for bluebloods, today’s Chestnut Hill has finally become the urban (and urbane) village it has long had the potential to be.

And really, it’s all because the timing was finally right. Read more »

A Louis Kahn Icon in Chestnut Hill Wins National Preservation Award

Margaret Esherick House

The restored Wharton Esherick House shows its photogenic side to Chestnut Hill’s Pastorius Park. | Photo: © Jeffrey Totaro Photography

The Margaret Esherick House in Chestnut Hill, one of Louis Kahn’s few residential commissions, has just won a national award for the preservation effort that restored it last year.

Docomomo US, an organization devoted to documentation and conservation of the buildings, sites and neighborhoods of the modern movement, has bestowed a Citation of Merit on the preservation project in its 2016 Modernism in America Awards.

The project, carried out by the house’s owners, Paul Savidge and Daniel Macey, was cited for the way in which the owners, architect k YODER design and designer Louise Cohen channeled the spirit of Kahn in restoring and updating the house. Read more »

A Celebration of the Woodwards, The Family That Made Chestnut Hill

The Chestnut Hill Community Centre in 1918, | Photo courtesy, a project of the Philadelphia Department of Records

The Chestnut Hill Community Centre in 1918. | Photo courtesy, a project of the Philadelphia Department of Records

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Chestnut Hill’s “town hall,” the Chestnut Hill Community Centre. To mark the occasion, ensure the building lasts another century, and honor the family that gave it to the community, Chestnut Hillers gathered at Chestnut Hill College the evening of June 9 to honor the role the Woodward family has played in the shaping of Chestnut Hill.

And Charleston.

Elizabeth Woodward, who married George Woodward’s son Charles, hailed from the South Carolina port city and got the family involved in the preservation of its history and improvement of its public realm. The attendees at last night’s gala dinner for the Woodward Celebration heard ten-term Charleston Mayor Joe Riley describe the “scheme” by which the family enabled the city to build a prize-winning waterfront park two years ago.

But that’s a tangent to this story. The legacy being celebrated in Chestnut Hill is one of stewardship and social conscience, construction and charity, and above all concern for the qualities that made Chestnut Hill a standout neighborhood. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: Double Feature in Chestnut Hill

208-10 Rex Ave., Philadelphia, Pa. 19118 | Images via Kurfiss Sotheby's International Realty

208-10 Rex Ave., Philadelphia, Pa. 19118 | Photos: Drew Callaghan via Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty

It’s not too often that you run across a house with a split personality. A person with that character trait might be sent to a therapist, but when you run across it in a house, it opens up all sorts of possibilities.

Architect H. Louis Duhring evidently saw that in this 1860s Italianate Victorian summer home in Chestnut Hill. In the 1920s, he bought this house and added onto it a four-story wing in the Arts and Crafts style in the rear. The result is a super-spacious home, currently divided into three residences, that offers multiple opportunities for its owner, including the prospect of adding additional income property on its site. Read more »

Barry’s Buns Opens in Chestnut Hill

Barry's Buns is now open in Chestnut Hill

Barry’s Buns is now open in Chestnut Hill

Have a hankering for a sticky bun? How about one made from 100% natural ingredients, with over six flavor options? Well today, a new family-owned bakery—Barry’s Buns— has opened at Market at the Fareway (formerly the Chestnut Hill Farmers’ Market) in Chestnut Hill, and you can head over there right now to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Owners Joel and Jen Singer are offering six sticky bun flavors, with an additional seasonal flavor, “made to order” liege waffles with Belgian pearl sugar and a choice of toppings, plus cinnamon buns. Also on the menu is crumb cake and butter cake (are you hungry yet?) All of the baked goods are made with natural ingredients and have no artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives.

Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: A Brand-New Beauty with a Golf Course View

607 Saint Andrews Rd., Philadelphia, Pa. 19118

607 Saint Andrews Rd., Philadelphia, Pa. 19118 | TREND Images via BHHS Fox & Roach

This Jawdropper of the Week is a stunning new construction situated on the 8th hole of the Philadelphia Cricket Club’s Saint Martin’s golf course in Chestnut Hill. Usually, the homes we feature in this department are already lived-in, with plenty of wonderful furniture, but when we came across this place, we were so impressed by the design that we figured we’d let you fill the space with your imagination. Read more »

Jawdropper of the Week: A Chestnut Hill Classic

15 W Bells Mill Rd, Philadelphia, PA 19118

15 W. Bells Mill Rd., Philadelphia, PA 19118 | Images via Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty

This week’s Jawdropper is a Chestnut Hill home that combines elegance without being too over the top. Although it’s clearly a luxurious home, the amenities on the outside and the furnishings on the inside ensure that it does not stray too far from being a modern, livable home. It’s on sale for $2,495,000 and has five beds, 6.5 bathrooms and 6,820 square feet. Read more »

El Poquito Has a Design-a-Taco Contest

el poquito bar 940In honor of Chestnut Hill’s El Poquito turning one, the Mexican restaurant is hosting a taco contest. Customers are invited to create a new taco that will be featured on the 2016 menu. The winner will also receive a $250 restaurant gift certificate.

The contest runs through the end of the year and they’re accepting submissions by guest comment cards and via social media (Facebook, Instagram).

Read more »

Spotted in Chestnut Hill: Stone Mansion Basically Inside Pastorius Park

TREND photos via BHHS Fox & Roach-Chestnut Hill

TREND photos via BHHS Fox & Roach-Chestnut Hill/Redfin

Have you ever gone a-walkin’ or caught a summer concert in Chestnut Hill’s Pastorius Park and thought, wouldn’t it be great to just live here? Well, friend, here’s a listing you might want to see.

Located at 8100 Lincoln Drive (map), the stone beauty is 7,800-square-feet of everything you’d expect from a mansion in Chestnut Hill. Designed by H. Louis Duhring in the 1920’s, it has the historical chops to go along with the location.

You may recall that Duhring designed this in-cre-di-ble 1860s Victorian Italianate “summer” house/ Arts & Crafts style on Rex Avenue, and this home, which looks to be quite literally inside Pastorius Park, boasts original archietectural details such as a stone entryway, multiple fireplaces and hand-carved woodwork.

Seriously, that woodwork though. Seriously, that living room fireplace, though.

Read more »

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