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Old 08-20-2018, 10:48 AM
Location: Pa
202 posts, read 137,942 times
Reputation: 462


West Chester Boro is a great place to live. People are very friendly, the town has a community spirit, downtown is alive with always something going on, tons of places to explore, live theater, 50 restaurants many shops. The Halloween and Christmas parades are amazing and not to be missed. It seems they always have something going on downtown where they shut down the streets and have a great time. If you love gardens Longwood Gardens is 20 min drive, amazing place a must see. We are members and visit many times during the year. The area around West Chester has many walking and bicycle trails.

Delaware the place with no sales taxes(think liquor, stoves, tv, washer/dryer, etc.) is 20 mins away. Train service to Philly is 15mins away in Exton, local train you are in center city in 55 minutes . You can be in the country in 10 mins. Schools are rated very high. Tons of shopping nearby, King of Prussia mall is 20 mins away, largest mall in the east. Many others malls in the area.

West Chester is a university town, West Chester University with about 10K students on campus, if that bothers you may not like it. You have to be careful not to live near student housing, this website from the borough lists all student housing
With that said we have had no problems living near the university. We take advantage of the many free concerts, lectures, etc the university has to offer. The University has a large music program with many talented students. We attend quality concerts 2-3 nights a week, all for free.


The local police and campus security keep close tabs on the students and pretty much do not put up with a lot of stuff. Our encounter with students have been great, we were moving in a couch and struggling when all of the sudden it got lighter, a few big guys saw us and stopped and helped and would not take anything for their time.

Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center Home - UPTOWN! provides live theater, and concerts. Also the University has live theater, concerts and lectures for a fee

Some streets parking can be a problem so look for homes with off street parking or where parking is not restricted. They love to give out $25 parking tickets! Here is a map http://www.west-chester.com/DocumentCenter/View/764 of where parking is controlled.

Homes can come on the market and be gone in a few hours. When we purchased our home in 2015 we were bidding against 3 others. Our home came on the market on a Friday and they accepted our bid on Monday yea that fast.

When we were looking to move out of NJ,we looked at Media, Chestnut Hill, Phoenixville, Doyestown and several places in Delaware and settled on West Chester a decision we do not regret at all.

More info here

Good luck in your search.
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Old 08-24-2018, 06:13 AM
Location: Denver, CO
23,615 posts, read 10,782,374 times
Reputation: 17709
I grew up in southeast PA, and have lived in Chester County off, and on (as well as other places around the U.S.) for many years. Chester County has changed, and is changing rapidly with GROWTH. I don't think one area is more friendly than others. I guess it all depends on luck, and your neighbors. The areas you are considering are fine. Just settle where you feel the most comfortable.
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Old 08-25-2018, 10:18 PM
Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
998 posts, read 917,995 times
Reputation: 2308
Default Choose based on school districts, after research

There are multiple school districts in Chester County and Delaware County. They are not related to any governmental or ZIP code borders. E.g., you can have a Kennett Square address and be in either Unionville/Chadds Ford School District or Kennett Consolidated SD.

The Unionville/Chadds Ford SD also encompasses mailing addresses in West Chester and Chadds Ford. It is mostly in Chester County, but includes a small area of Delaware County.

The point being . . . if schools are important to you, make sure you research the districts and then be certain to specify the districts where you want to look, regardless of the mailing address. U/CFSD and KCSD are side by side, but U/CF is far superior in most rankings of state public schools.
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Old 08-28-2018, 12:33 PM
Location: Chadds Ford
390 posts, read 170,731 times
Reputation: 396
There is a semi-circle of towns in Chester County which (going counterclockwise) include some Main Line towns (Berwyn, Paoli, Malvern, Frazer) , to Exton, to West Chester, to Kennett Square. The general trend going in this order is from snooty to laid-back. Some people like snooty, some people like laid back, some people like something in between. It's worth noting that houses in the "snooty" areas cost more (obviously).

Geographically, everything on the "Philly side" of these towns will be more developed than the "not Philly side". This should be intuitive, but you might be surprised how quiet it gets so fast on the "not Philly side".

And then there's a 2nd ring of towns beyond those that are all up-and-coming as the population grows. Going counterclockwise, it would be Phoenixville, Downingtown, Coatesville, Oxford). Again, this is "up and coming" so it's cheaper, but not as nice (yet), and will always be further from Philly.

These are all general trends, but if you decide how snooty or laid-back you want your vibe to be, it will direct you to the right orientation along the semi-circle. After that, you can determine how much development you want.

If you're simply just looking for friendliness, I would say the West Chester - Kennett Square part of the spectrum is the sweet spot.
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Old 08-28-2018, 01:24 PM
18 posts, read 21,394 times
Reputation: 21
Thanks very much to each of you for sharing your thoughts.

Honestly... we have done so much moving (out of necessity, not our preference), and we have spent so many years living in environs that are not right for us, that I'm just trying really hard to assure that we finally land in a place where we'll be happy to stay put for a VERY long time. I know Chester County is that place in a broad sense, but now I'm examining the minutiae since we've got the kids to think about, school districts, walkability (or not), etc.

As far as snooty vs. laid back... we are definitely more on the laid back side. But we appreciate a small splash of snooty here and there. I would put it this way: We care a lot about the beauty of our surroundings, but we really don't care much at all about what kind of car we drive, or having a flashy house. We are more interested in having beautiful nature around us, and gravitate strongly toward charming older neighborhoods and lots, regardless of size. We like mature landscaping and a feeling of warmth or "shire-ness," lol.

Can anyone give any more detailed insight into the current state of Malvern/Willistown twp? I grew up right by Radnor Hunt and a childhood in that area in the 80's and 90's was pretty idyllic. I worked at the Paoli Acme and at Matinee Video in Paoli (and later when it moved to Malvern) as a teen. It was all a really wonderful experience. So naturally I gravitate back toward that, but I don't know in what ways it's changed -- or stayed the same.
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Old 08-28-2018, 01:42 PM
Location: Chadds Ford
390 posts, read 170,731 times
Reputation: 396
Based on what you just said, consider Pocopson or Chadds Ford.

I just moved to Pocopson, and think of The Shire almost every day now; it's a quiet little township that everyone seems to forget about, but it's 15 minutes from West Chester and Kennett Square.

Chadds Ford has a similar vibe, but people haven't forgotten about it, so it's a little more built-up and more expensive.

The best part about both towns is they're already developed about as much as they can be. Most lots are multiple acres, and there aren't many huge farms that will eventually be bought-out and subdivided. I don't see how either can *ever* become crowded. Also, both are in Unionville School District, which is among the best in the state. School taxes are high though.
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Old 09-05-2018, 09:13 AM
12 posts, read 6,615 times
Reputation: 48
I grew up in West Chester and also went to WC Friends. You should think about living in the borough. You can buy a nice, older, house in WC with a lot of character for your budget. I'd stick with the north side of town (near the Friends school) as the college kids own the south, but we never found the college kids too disruptive. WC is a great town and has been getting better year after year. Tons of restaurants and shops and great schools. Definitely walkable. A large yard might be a little hard to find (or afford) in the borough, but it seems to meet most of the rest of your criteria.

Willistown/Radnor Hunt area is still pretty old money and pricey. Not really walkable unless you want to be in the town of Malvern. You could also look at Berwyn. The neighborhoods right around Old Lancaster Rd. are great for younger families and have a lot going on from the social aspect.
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