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Old 08-18-2018, 05:48 PM
 
18 posts, read 21,394 times
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Hi all,


We are relocating to PA in the next 6-12 months (from California, where we've been for work/school). I've posted here a few times with other questions and have been very thankful for all the helpful responses. I'm continuing to do my homework and wanted to get some feedback on the specific question of friendliness in various areas.


I grew up in Malvern and we will be looking there, but we're also interested in Paoli, Wayne, Berwyn, West Chester, and Chester Springs. We want amenities nearby (restaurants, shopping) but still a semi-rural or at least scenic feel.



I feel I know the areas that appeal to me aesthetically -- Willistown especially. But we also have to think about the community aspect. We have two young children (and a happy "oops" baby on the way, lol). We'd really like the kids to grow up in a place that's friendly and community-oriented. We are arts people, not sports people, but we're very laid back and down to earth in how we socialize so I'm not sure if that matters. We're Christian Universalists -- we like church but we're relaxed about it -- and politically we're truly moderate with some libertarian leanings. So we'd like to live in a place that's neither intensely/aggressively red or blue, but where people are comfortable having neighbors and friends of all stripes, politically (does that exist anymore in the US?).

Coming from Los Angeles, we really want to raise the kids in an environment that's a lot more friendly and warm than what we're used to here. We'd like to know and chat with our neighbors without being up in each others' business or feeling any major "keeping up" type pressure. So I suppose what I'm asking, in a very roundabout way, is which "micro communities" or boroughs within Chester County best foster the kind of warmth and sense of community I'm describing -- especially out of the areas I mentioned above.

Here is more of our general background info, if it helps:

When are you moving? Within a year
Where are you coming from? Los Angeles
Why are you moving? Grew up in PA, hate California
Where will you be working?
Husband and I both work from home -- non-issue
Have you been here yet?
Yes, entire childhood and adolescence

Will you buy or rent?
Rent for a year while we house hunt, then buy
If buying, are you looking for a house or a condo?
House
How much can you spend? Up to 900k, prefer 600-800k

Are you married or single? Do you have children?
Married with two kids and one on the way
Do you prefer public or private schools? Public
Do you have pets? No, but we will eventually have dogs
Do you want or need a yard? Prefer a large yard with mature landscaping
Are you keeping a car? Two cars
Do you prefer bustling activity or calm and quiet? Calm and quiet at home with a short drive to shops and dining

What do you want to be closest to?
Shopping, basic services, restaurants

Do you want to live with people of a similar age, race, religion or sexual preference or do you prefer a diverse neighborhood?
Would really love to be around lots of other young families! I'm white and my husband is white hispanic (Mexican American). We don't necessarily look interracial but obviously want a community where it's a non-issue.

Favorite Beverage - Craft Beer, wine, water?
Wine!

Thanks for reading!

Last edited by toobusytoday; 08-20-2018 at 06:10 PM.. Reason: removed wasted space for easier mobile device reading
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Old 08-19-2018, 08:33 AM
 
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You'd like Kennett Square area even more with your husband's background and what you're looking for. This is probably the best fit for you.
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Old 08-19-2018, 10:19 AM
 
18 posts, read 21,394 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chessimprov View Post
You'd like Kennett Square area even more with your husband's background and what you're looking for. This is probably the best fit for you.

Hi, thanks for your reply! Could you (or anyone) elaborate on why Kennett Square sounds like a good fit for us? Is there good Mexican food in KS? That would definitely be a plus -- my hubby grew up in Tucson and although he loves the east coast "realness" and prefers four seasons, access to a little taste of home would be really comforting and enjoyable for him (and for me, having grown a deep appreciation for the hominess and hospitality of Mexican culture and cuisine). I do worry about Kennett being a little too far out for us in terms of access to the city and airport. My husband will probably be having to fly back to LA for work a few times a year, and we have family to visit in Arizona and North Carolina.



Is there a reason why anybody reading this would recommend us NOT to go for West Chester or Malvern? I grew up in Malvern right by Radnor Hunt and love that area deeply, but I remember it being a lot of older families and old money... I don't know what it's like now, demographically, in terms of young families and children. It seems like the borough is doing well?

West Chester also appeals to me because I went to West Chester Friends for elementary and spent much of my adolescence loitering around Fennario and Moonflower, lol... It seems like they have a good community spirit going there with parades and such, but does a university/party-vibe dominate or are there a lot of children out and about? Sometimes I think one of the neighborhoods with slightly larger, more private lots that's on the outskirts of the borough could be a good fit for us?

People here in California just tend to be so lukewarm and passive aggressive... I imagine to an extent we'll be happy ANYWHERE in Chester County... I know people complain about people from the east coast being "rude" or "brash" but personally I find that authenticity really refreshing and have never stopped missing it since I left the east coast for grad school.

Last edited by toobusytoday; 08-20-2018 at 06:11 PM..
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Old 08-19-2018, 12:22 PM
 
18 posts, read 21,394 times
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Okay, as I poke around here on this forum it also seems like maybe we should be giving Media a closer look as well...
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Old 08-19-2018, 04:46 PM
 
Location: Dude...., I'm right here
1,244 posts, read 799,046 times
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I think you are splitting hairs. There is nothing like friendliest areas in Chester County, regardless of your race.

The only thing I can say is that some neighborhoods have got more young families than others. Newish sub-divisions with sidewalks are good at attracting young families.
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Old 08-19-2018, 05:34 PM
 
1,506 posts, read 1,390,380 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hazeltine View Post
Hi, thanks for your reply! Could you (or anyone) elaborate on why Kennett Square sounds like a good fit for us? Is there good Mexican food in KS? That would definitely be a plus -- . . .



Is there a reason why anybody reading this would recommend us NOT to go for West Chester or Malvern? I grew up in Malvern right by Radnor Hunt and love that area deeply, but I remember it being a lot of older families and old money... I don't know what it's like now, demographically, in terms of young families and children. It seems like the borough is doing well?


.

There is some Mexican food in the Kennett Square area, yes. I agree with 1ondoner about the "splitting hairs" concept. I also understand being able to relate to your own culture.

https://www.yelp.com/biz/la-michoaca...kennett-square
For a true (Mexican) foodie


West Chester and Malvern are fine. You could also drive to them from Kennett Square (a hike, but worth it).
If you love mushrooms, then there's no doubt you must live near Kennett Square if you can.
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Old 08-19-2018, 06:11 PM
 
18 posts, read 21,394 times
Reputation: 21
Okay, thank you both.



Here in LA there are VERY significant differences in the population's culture/personality from neighborhood to neighborhood... Venice, Santa Monica, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, Century City, West Hollywood... all geographically very close to each other, but each with really distinct flavors. So I'm used to going one neighborhood over and feeling like I'm in a truly different setting.

It sounds like this principle does not apply in PA from what you're both saying. It's just an automatic way of looking at things for me, though, after being here in LA for so many years, where neighborhood is everything.

I'm glad, because it sounds like it simplifies things for us in our search.

Thoughts about Media? I like what I'm seeing online in terms of bang for your buck, architecture-wise! Also since we are a family of artists, it seems like Media might have an artsy vibe that would be a good fit?

Regarding mushrooms in Kennett Square -- all I remember is that there's some issue with the whole town smelling like fertilizer at certain times of the year... or something?!

Last edited by toobusytoday; 08-20-2018 at 06:13 PM..
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Old 08-20-2018, 02:51 AM
 
1,506 posts, read 1,390,380 times
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Certain areas of Kennett might smell like mushrooms I've heard, but I don't know about fertilizer per se. Or maybe, the fertilizer is like old mushrooms.

Media is expensive, but within your price range, but has high taxes so be aware of that. It has an eclectic mix of food within its quaint downtown. I don't get an artist vibe for Media per se, but I wouldn't say there isn't one at all. There's a Painting with a Twist store and with the eclectic mix of shops, you might find things in the area that would be hard to find without going to a foreign country. They have a Ten Thousand Villages chain store in that area. I miss Quincy's- I remember a friend noticing a matryoska doll in there. briantroutman will certainly have a lot to say on Media.
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Old 08-20-2018, 04:59 AM
 
2,955 posts, read 2,379,665 times
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I think I would agree that there is no one town that is going to be friendlier; there are pockets of streets and areas. I honestly think it's a lot of luck or random happenings. You an move to a house and if you happen to have 2 great families close by your perception would be it's a great area for families.
I know there are places where it is easier to connect with people, and places that lend themselves to that but generally I think so much depends on you.

That said, we recently moved to Chester County and continue to marvel at how gorgeous it is riding around--------AND we continue to marvel at how NICE everyone is.
Truly.
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Old 08-20-2018, 07:08 AM
 
Location: New York City
6,227 posts, read 5,562,899 times
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I would suggest the West Chester area or Media area.

To start, both have beyond excellent public and private schools, great (walk-able) downtowns with shops and restaurants, and a lot of outdoor green space in each area (parks, walking trails, swim clubs, etc.)

The only differences - Media is a little more congested since it is closer to Philadelphia, and home prices are a bit higher than West Chester, and the demand for single family homes in Media is quite high right now.

West Chester - A little further from the city, becomes bucolic not far from town. It is a college town though, so there is a higher percentage of college students out and about during the fall and winter months, but its not at all a bad thing, just wanted to point that out.

All of those areas are generally friendly, so its not a one or the other, just depends on what you need most and what area you click with the most. I would suggest a visit to the area to see your towns of interest.
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