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Old 10-31-2008, 12:10 PM
Location: Fairfax county, Virginia (20 miles from Washington D.C.)
6 posts, read 19,580 times
Reputation: 11


I was recently offered a full time live-in Nanny position with a family that lives in Penn Valley, in a new 3800 sq ft home.

I am in Fairfax, Virginia (otherwise known as the "insane rat-race D.C. area"), where I've lived since 1991, and am anxious to move to a place with a SLOWER pace of life and FRIENDLIER people. (Am originally from a small suburb outside of Milwaukee, Wisconsin - born & raised there.)

ANY information on the Penn Valley area would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 10-31-2008, 03:55 PM
1,623 posts, read 5,754,769 times
Reputation: 438
Not fast paced but old money and some folks are snobby and hang out with the country club set. So expect to make friends with the help rather than the residents. Maybe I'm being cynical but I'm positive its not like your hometown.
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:54 PM
Location: Philadelphia
96 posts, read 313,407 times
Reputation: 38
Actually, Penn Valley is not old money at all. It's a lot of new money. Although it is generally considered to be on the Main Line because it is in Lower Merion Township, Penn Valley is not technically a part of the original and traditional Main Line, which is defined as the towns along the railroad. I also would not describe it as "country club set" at all, in the way that this phrase is most frequently used to describe places like Gladwyne and Haverford, PA (or Chevy Chase, MD or McLean, VA).

To that end, unlike a lot of the older areas on the Main Line, the housing stock in Penn Valley is newer, post-1970s (just like the money). Note that PV shares a zip code with Narberth (19072) but is very different from Narberth in that the Borough of Narberth is a town-like community with a main street, town park and playground, library, post office and shopping district. Penn Valley is purely suburban residential except for Montgomery Avenue, which borders Penn Valley to the west. You need a car because almost everything you could need or want -- supermarkets, schools, fast food, department stores, boutique shopping, gym, movie, gas station-- are a 5 minute drive away.

Public schools in PV are excellent (PV Elementary, Welsh Valley Middle and Harriton or Lower Merion HS) though many students go to private schools that are the equivilent of NCS/St. Albans, Sidwell, Gonzaga and Georgetown Prep.

Although I don't have the statistics, most residents of Penn Valley are Jewish. There are several temples, including Har Zion, which is generally considered to be among the wealthiest conservative congregations in the Philadelphia area. It is not uncommon to see a line of Rolls Royces parked on Hagy's Ford Road during High Holy Days.

For your off hours, please be aware that without a car, public transportation is limited from Penn Valley into Philadelphia. There is a bus (Septa 121) that runs during week day rush hour only and takes about 45 minutes. There is a train in Narberth, if you are close enough to walk into town, that takes 20 minutes. It's about 20 minutes to drive directly into Center City. Penn Valley isn't a sidewalk kind of place. Nannies and maids push strollers in the street -- just something to think about if you won't have access to a car on your off hours. I think it could feel very isolated, but that's generally my opinion of being a live-in in any suburb anywhere.

I'm not sure any of this information answers your original question about pace and friendliness. If you are looking for a big change in atmosphere from NOVA and something more like suburban Milwaukee, I personally don't think Penn Valley (or most of the Philly suburbs where people maintain full time staff) is it.

Good luck.
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Old 11-01-2008, 11:07 AM
2,783 posts, read 6,256,000 times
Reputation: 851
You summed it up pretty well. I have a friend who lives in a very nice $3M+ house in PV. It's a nice area, and very quiet.
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:02 AM
Location: Fairfax county, Virginia (20 miles from Washington D.C.)
6 posts, read 19,580 times
Reputation: 11
Just want to say THANKS to the 3 of you for your answers, especially "mltimes" for the very helpful info. It definitely sounds like it is NOT the right place for me to live, and I have decided to accept a job offer in Portland Oregon instead. My sister and niece moved there two years ago (from Milwaukee) and are "in love" with Portland, since they are outdoorsy (like me) and esp. love cycling -- and they don't mind the "mizzle" since they have invested in lots of warm, water-proof clothing (smart-wool, Gortex, etc). I don't know for sure if it's the right "home" town for me, but I'll be there until next June working as a nanny, so I guess I'll find out!

Anyhoo, I THANK YOU all for taking the time to give me your knowledge & opinions about Penn Valley.

God bless!

Helen :-)

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Old 11-03-2008, 11:24 AM
2,783 posts, read 6,256,000 times
Reputation: 851
Good choice. I'm dying to go to Portland.
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