5 Philly Suburbs Perfect for City Slickers

Philly suburbs perfect for urban dwellers

As we’ve noted before, more parents are choosing to raise their children in the city. But a move to the suburbs doesn’t mean losing the walkability, accessibility and culture that draws people to downtown Philly. Towns and communities throughout the region have a vibrant night life, great restaurants and bars, unique cultural attractions and access to public transportation—not to mention the perks of living in the burbs, like yards, garages and driveways. Some to consider include:

1. Narberth: This Main Line suburb boasts a charming downtown, with plenty of shops, cafes and restaurants—and the historic movie house, Narberth Theatre. It’s located on a main regional route for Septa, and home to such cultural events as the summer outdoor concert series. Plus, you have access to the hustle and bustle of the Main Line.

2.  Jenkintown: This Montgomery County borough sees a lot of action on 611, home to shops, restaurants, cafes, bars and the historic Hi-Way movie theater. Off the main road is the town square, which features a seasonal farmers market, summer concert series and holiday tree-lighting ceremony. You also have easy access to Center City—three major lines run through the Jenkintown station.

3. New Hope: Bustling New Hope is a culture lover’s dream. The town has long attracted artists and has countless galleries around town. If it’s theater you craze, there’s always the Bucks County Playhouse, which presents musicals and plays. Plus, there are plenty of cultural festivals throughout the year, including the New Hope Film Festival and the Arts & Crafts Festival. New Hope also offers easy access to both Philadelphia and New York.

4. Doylestown: The seat of Bucks County government, Doylestown sees more than just local political action. Top restaurants like Honey, Domani Star and the Freight House attract residents from around the region, as does the nice mix of bars. The town is also home to the Mercer and Fonthill Castle museums—the former displays archaeologist and founder Henry Mercer’s private collection of pre-industrial artifacts, the latter is Mercer’s one-of-a-kind home.

5. Collingswood: This New Jersey city boasts an abundance of restaurants, great shopping, and fabulous galleries. Haddon Avenue comes alive for “2nd Saturdays,” with great music, great food, great art, and great fun, and the PATCO line brings residents across the river to Philly.

Chadds Ford Attractions: A Draw for Residents and Visitors

Chadds Ford Attractions

Situated in Delaware County 30 miles southwest of Philadelphia, lovely Chadds Ford attracts residents with its quaint historical farmhouses, rolling countryside and peaceful, bucolic setting. The Swedes settled the area in the 17th century, followed by English Quakers in the 18th century. A man by the name of John Chads operated a ferry across the Brandywine River, thus giving the town its name. In the 19th century, mills populated the area, using  water power to manufacture gun powder, paper, grain and timber, and fueled growth in the area. Today, Chadds Ford attractions have made the area a popular tourist spot. Whether you’re planning to move here or simply get a sense of the area, consider including these popular spots in your itinerary:

For art lovers:  Chadds Ford was home to the Wyeths, a prominent family in American art—Andrew was a major American Realist painter, his father, N.C. Wyeth, an illustrator and realist painter, and his son Jamie Wyeth, a contemporary American realist painter. Their works are on display at the Brandywine River Museum, which also owns and operates N.C. Wyeth House and Studio and Kuerner Farm, an inspiration for many of Andrew’s works.

For history buffs: Brandywine Battlefield Historic Site sits on the site of the Battle of the Brandywine, fought on Sept. 11, 1777, during the Revolutionary War. Visitors can see restored farm houses where both British and American troops were housed during the battle, and reenactosrs portray the events of the battle during special events throughout the year.

Chadds Ford Chaddsford Winery is the largest winery in the state, producing more then 30,000 cases annually. Visitors can tour the winery and vineyard, and sample the latest wines made there.

For more information on Chadds Ford real estate.

 

 

The Many Reasons to Buy a Beach House in Sea Isle

Why buy a beach house in Sea Isle City

Sandwiched between Ocean City and Avalon, Sea Isle City has been a popular summertime destination for families and young professionals since its founding in 1882 by Charles K. Landis (also the founder of Vineland, NJ).

While its population explodes in the summer season, Sea Isle offers plenty of reasons to come year round. Looking for a reason to buy a beach house in Sea Isle? We’ll get you started with five:

1. Uncle Oogies. Sure, Uncle Oogies has a location in Philly now, but nothing tastes better than eating pizza from this local favorite on the beach—to which Oogies will deliver. One bite of the Old Italian and you to will be hooked.

2.  Gillian’s Funland. Unlike some towns, which have their amusements located on the bustling boardwalk, Sea Isle’s rides are found just over the bridge, meaning it’s a lower key (read: quieter) experience, perfect for parents with smaller kids.

3. Biking or Rollerblading on the Promenade. Sea Isle’s “boardwalk” is actually paved, meaning riding or in-line skating on it is a smooth experience. During the week in the summer, biking/skating hours are 5 a.m. -3 p.m., and on the weekends, 5 a.m.-noon.

4. The Playground at Dealy Field. Head to Central Ave. between 59th and 63rd sts. early in the morning, and you’ll find plenty of kids running around the massive “Play-by-the-Bay” playground. Older kids can also enjoy the Skate Park, sports field and tennis courts.

5. The beaches. It’s kind of a given that one of the biggest draws to a beach town is the beach. Sea Isle is no exception, with it’s large, beautiful sandy stretches.

Learn more about Sea Isle City

 

Passyunk Square: Philadelphia’s Up-and-Coming Neighborhood

A look at Philadelphia’s Up-and-Coming Neighborhood

Passyunk Square has exploded in popularity in the past five years, attracting young professionals and families in particular. Epitomizing the term “up-and-coming neighborhood,” it’s being populated with trendy bars and popular restaurants, grocery stores and boutiques especially, along East Passyunk Ave.

The neighborhood is bound by Broad Street to the west, 6th street to the east, Tasker to the south and Washington to the north. It has a colorful history—Washington housed his troops on the 800 and 900 blocks of Federal Ave for a time during the Revolutionary War. It’s also home to Philadelphia’s longest feud: the cheesesteak battle between Geno’s and Pat’s.

One of the draws of Passyunk Square is the access to the Broad Street subway line, which provides a quick commute to the sports stadiums and business district. It also draws young professionals looking for affordable housing, including large brownstones and charming trinities. Home prices still remain low in the neighborhood as compared to other neighborhoods in the city—medium home prices were $165,000 in the fourth quarter of 2010, as compared to $241,000 in the third quarter of 2012.

Learn more about homes in Passyunk Square.

Life’s a Beach in Cape May

Neighborhood Watch: Cape May

Do summertime temperatures have you thinking about a beach getaway? Us too. So why not day dream about a Cape May getaway?

A popular vacation spot since the mid-19th century, Cape May continues to attract visitors and residents year round with its unique charms and sunny beaches. Due to its seemingly endless supply of well-maintained Victorian buildings, the entire city is designated a national historic landmark. Its historical charm is nicely complement by a rich arts and culture scene—the town hosts popular events like the Exit 0 Jazz Festival and the Cape May New Jersey Film Festival throughout the year.

Of course, Cape May is probably best known for its beaches–the Travel Channel even ranked it in America’s Top 10.  It’s also recognized as one of the top bird-watching locations in the North East, especially during the fall. At that time of year, throngs of Monarch butterflies also drop by before continuing their 2,000 mile migration to Mexico, a must-see event for naturalists.

Whether you’re looking for a charming new place to call home, or a spot to retreat to during the summer months, Cape May’s rich culture and beautiful beaches are bound to win you over.

Of course, homes like this only serve to sweeten the pot.

Long Live the Queen: 5 Reasons to Live in Queen Village

NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH: 5 Reasons to Live in Queen Village

Bound by South Street and Washington Ave and Front and 6th Streets, Queen Village is the city’s oldest neighborhood, settled by the Swedes before the English even arrived, and home to the city’s oldest structure, the 1700 Old Swedes’ Church. After a period of urban blight in the latter half of the 20th century, the neighborhood underwent a transformation in the early 2000s, quickly becoming one of Philadelphia’s most desirable neighborhoods for families and professionals. Looking for reasons to move to Queen Village? We’ll get you started with five.

1. Queen Village offers a number of great restaurants, bars and cafes concentrated in a small radius. Residents have a litany of restaurants to choose from, including Dmitri’s, Little Fish and Kennett, and plenty of popular bars where they can whet their whistles, such as New Wave Café. And you’ll find locals lined up for larger-than-mouth portions at Famous 4th Street Deli, a New York-style deli with to-die-for cookies.

2. Queen Village residents also find it easy to indulge in retail therapy. The 4th Street corridor between Bainbridge and Catharine Streets, or Fabric Row, is home to an array of different fabric shops along with unique boutiques, including the shoe maven’s dream Bus Stop Boutique. And for more pedestrian needs, Queen Village offers easy access to Columbus Blvd. shopping including Super Fresh, Home Depot, Lowes, Target and Ikea.

3. For the city resident who needs to commute to a job directly north and south of the city, Queen Village’s easy access to 95 is a big plus. Being able to hop on the highway without battling cross-town traffic can help dampen any road rage.

4. One indicator of Queen Village’s family-friendly vibe is the number of strollers parked outside local eateries on a warm day. Another is the laughter and shouting and little tots running around at the festive Weccacoe Playground on Catharine Street.

5. Since it’s one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, Queen Village boasts a number of historic buildings, including homes with charming 18th and 19th century architectural features. Currently for sale is the Shippen Way Inn, a circa 1750 structure with wood beams and seven cozy bedrooms.

Look for homes in Queen Village.

 

Want to be Bradley Cooper’s Neighbor? Homes for Sale in Jenkintown

NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH
Ok, maybe not Bradley Cooper, but how about his mom? Cooper comes from the tiny borough of Jenkintown, just outside Philadelphia in Montgomery County, and from time to time, the Oscar nominee can be seen at local haunts like the West Avenue Grill. So why not consider looking at homes for sale in Jenkintown?

While Cooper is a nice draw, Jenkintown has plenty of other neighborhood appeals. For starters, it’s a hub for Septa regional rail (three lines stop there on their way into Center City), or if you need to drive, it’s a quick shot downtown. It offers a mix of single-family dwellings, rowhomes and condos, and many of the older homes ooze charm with their original finishings. It’s definitely a walkable community with a quaint commercial district that’s home to the historic movie theater, The Hiway, known for showing artsy, independent films. And the school district is excellent.

Jenkintown is also appealing to residents who like a tightknit community, with the requisite farmer’s market, as well as seasonal festivities and events. And, of course, Bradley Cooper.

Homes for Sale in Jenkintown

1456 Hampton Road, Jenkintown 19046
Homes for sale in JenkintownPrice: $1,125,000
Bedrooms: 7
Baths: 4 full, 3 half
MLS: 6157774

 

 

416 Vernon Road Jenkintown 19046
Homes for Sale in JenkintownPrice: $725,000
Bedrooms: 5
Bath: 3 full, 2 half
MLS: 6177936

Discover More Reasons to Love Ocean City, NJ

NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH
Ocean City is known as a family-friendly oceanside resort, with its motto as “America’s greatest family resort!” It continues to attract many partial residents during the summer months, with its  miles of guarded beaches, boardwalk and downtown shopping and dining district. Full-time residents, of course, often prefer the sleepy calm that comes over the town between tourist seasons.

Ocean City was first known as Peck’s Beach, likely named for whaler John Peck who used the island as a staging spot for his whaling operation. In 1879, four Methodist ministers sought it out as a good place for a Christian retreat and camp, and chose the name “Ocean City.” The group established the Ocean City Association and began planning the resort town we know today. By 1883 the first bridge was built to the island, and a railroad soon followed as the town began to flourish and grow into the city it is today.

The boardwalk in Ocean City is perhaps one of the most well-known on the East Coast. It runs for two and half miles and includes two family amusement parks with rides and carnival games. Bike and surrey rentals are available for families who want to cruise the boardwalk on wheels and check attractions like the water park, mini-golf, arcades or Music Pier. There are also plenty of favorite spots to grab a bite to eat, including Mack & Manco’s Pizza, Johnson’s Popcorn and Kohr Bros. Frozen Custard.

Ocean City is great for families as well as couples looking to live right on the beautiful New Jersey coast and enjoy its beaches all year round. It’s also a popular place for a second residence, as its summer activities attract many.

117 Anchor Rd., Ocean City, NJ
This home on the bay has 80 feet of bulkhead and an in-ground swimming pool.
Price: $3,499,999
Bedrooms: 5
Bathrooms: 4 full, 2 half
MLS: 405582

 

 

Living Large in Rittenhouse Square

NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH
Rittenhouse Square has long been Philadelphia’s most desirable neighborhood for both families and single professionals. Its focal point, the square, is a lovely park named for David Rittenhouse, a noted astronomer, clockmaker and friend to the American Revolution. The neighborhood quickly attracted the city’s wealthiest residents starting in the early 19th century, the second half of which saw a building boom of mansions and fashionable homes for the Victorian upper crust.

Today, some of those homes and structures still stand—these residences are frequently sought after for their architectural and historic appeal—and are joined by modern high-rises, hip restaurants, luxury hotels and topnotch shopping. The square itself remains the hub of the neighborhood, a place where on sunny days parents bring their kids to play in the fountains, business people grab a bite to eat on benches, and residents laze on the grass. Surrounding it are a number of the city’s top restaurants whose alfresco seating make them popular with diners who want to see and be seen. Shoppers looking for a little retail therapy head to the stretch of Walnut Street that’s home to high-end and popular retailers like Gap, Williams-Sonoma and Barney’s Co-Op. And in the warmer months, the streets and square come alive with a farmers market, outdoor art exhibitions, flower market, and other festivals, while the winter nights glitter with lights strung from the trees.

Whether you’re a couple with kids or single executive, you’ll feel at home in this vibrant neighborhood.

1706 Rittenhouse Sq., #1401, Philadelphia
Floor-to-ceiling windows and two terraces make this contemporary condo the perfect place to enjoy the neighborhood.
Price: $4,898,100
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 2 full
MLS: 5997129

1601 Locust St., Philadelphia
A marbled center hall and formal dining and living rooms give this luxury condo a classic look.
Price: $2,450,000
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 3 full, 1 half
MLS: 6128760

1737 Chestnut St., #1000, Philadelphia
This one-of-a-kind condo has beautiful hard wood floors and 360 degree views.
Price: $1,795,000
Bedrooms: 4
Bathrooms: 3 full
MLS:  6174365