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Old 05-16-2008, 05:26 PM
3 posts, read 7,546 times
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Hi everyone,

I've been casually reading some of the threads here and it seems that there is a wealth of info that people are willing to share, so I thought I would give this a try...we appreciate any help you can offer us

My wife and I are 23 and will be coming to Philly June 1 (yikes). I've been at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh for 5 years for college and grad school. We are trying to get an idea of where to live in Philly given all of the crazy variables that come in to play. To keep this simple I will just bullet point some things that the people in these forums tend to ask about.

- I will be working in Upper Providence
- She will most likely be working in Center City
- We are looking to rent an apartment since we are paying off loans and will not start a family for 3-5 years.
-Total income will be about $85-100k, and we want to limit a monthly rent check to about $1500 (1 or 2 BR)
-We love walkable (safe) areas that have a sense of culture with different food, shops, etc...still too young to be out in the burbs with a picket fence
- We would both prefer a commute of 30 min or less (she might take the train into the city)
-"snobs & slobs" are tolerable but we aren't either

So...we have heard much about the main line from friends and I just wanted to get opinions on which areas might work best keeping commute times and atmosphere in mind. Is Ardmore too far south for me? Is Paoli too far out for her? Which route is best to take to the Upper Providence Area? I don't really have a sense of scale here. Any other thoughts would be great - even considering other areas that might work for us.

Thank you VERY much!! We want to go out to seal the deal on a place in the next 2 weeks!!
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Old 05-16-2008, 06:01 PM
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The Main Line is an affluent area for affluent folks and those who want great schools for their kids. If you like paying high rents for less than great apartments, Ardmore and the like will be fine.

But honestly as a young couple I would think you would prefer a place like Conshohocken - younger, hipper, lower rents, lots of bars and restaurants and places to hang out with 20 somethings. Manayunk would also fit this bill.

I worked with a lot of folks who lived in Bala Cynwyd and Belmont Hills area around City Line Ave (Rt 1) and the Schuylkill as well and that also seems to be great for young couples, Art Museum area as well, but all of that would make your commute much further.

In Delaware county, you should consider Media as it has all of what you are looking for, including a walkable downtown, restaurants and proximity to the city, not to mention your work. If I were you I would put Media first on your list as it seems to offer everything you're looking for. Media is about a 40 minute train ride from the city. You could also check out Swarthmore which would put you one train stop closer to the city, has a great liberal college feel, if you like that sort of thing, and still have access to Media's great downtown.

West Chester would also meet most of your criteria, but there is no regional rail service to the city so your wife would be driving to another town to catch the train.

Out the other way leaves areas like KOP which has a lot of what you would like, except for the walkable downtown part.

Also Phoenixville is an up and coming hip downtown type area that has generated a lot of buzz as of late.

While the Main Line may be great, I would say its more for the 25 going on 40 set and those who are already from wealthy families who will happily give them a huge chunk to put down on a house in this area.

Once you have kids, are out of debt, and are earning more, the Main Line seems like a much better value proposition.

That being said, Wayne has the only real walkable quaint downtown area, next would be Paoli but it isn't terribly big or quaint and doesn't have the restaurants/boutiques you would presumably be looking for. Around Ardmore you could also check out Bryn Mawr, Havertown (quaint, well liked, not as walkable) and Narberth (city limits).

Last edited by orrmobl; 05-16-2008 at 06:14 PM..
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Old 05-17-2008, 11:49 AM
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Thanks for your reply - I realized that I may have been unclear when I said Upper Providence (apparently there are two). I will be up near Collegeville rather than down near Media.
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Old 05-18-2008, 10:40 AM
1,623 posts, read 5,965,113 times
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I thought that at first, then checked the map and went with the area by Media.

So then I would recommend Conshohocken, KOP, Collegeville, Phoenixville, Wayne...
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Old 05-20-2008, 09:59 PM
3 posts, read 7,546 times
Reputation: 10
We are here now checking things out. Conshy is great and is a nice focal point for us. Phoenixville has a smaller town feel but is surprisingly charming...we had lunch there this afternoon. We drove through Wayne and definitely know what you meant when referencing the affluence...beautiful homes back there in the woods but we would be in the wrong generation.

Thanks for the pointers...we will hopefully find our new home tomorrow...

As a side note I think the commute on 23 from Conshy to Collegeville road (rather than 76 to KOP and then 422) would be pretty low stress compared to the mess that I've heard jams around KOP. I plan on testing that theory in the morning to see how long it takes.
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