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Old 08-25-2007, 06:30 PM
 
15 posts, read 47,336 times
Reputation: 13

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I find it interesting to read someone else's take on a place in which I've been living for nearly 30 years. Don't base your impression of the area on the Main Line-The Main Line is old, old money. It is one of the wealthiest congregations of old money in the US-think Bryn Mawr College. Some of the most expensive private schools are on the Main Line. If you want to get down to meeting some "real" people-start looking in Delaware county and away from the Main Line. Places like Havertown and Broomall would be good starting places. Havertown especially is a very walkable town-not a whole lot to do, but a great school district and a safe place to raise your kids. Much more down to earth than the Main Line.
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:05 AM
 
45 posts, read 191,761 times
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I have to add that I am from Broomall (Delaware County) and love it. Very family oriented, safe, great school district, and overall a great location. I've lived here all my life (34 years) and love it. And yes it's a very "white" area very near to the "upper class" neighborhoods.

Unfortunately my husbands work is taking us to Arizona so we're selling and leaving the area. It's going to be strange leaving this place.

Good luck!

Christine
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Old 08-30-2007, 07:26 PM
 
146 posts, read 416,423 times
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I really enjoyed reading your description of the area. I grew up in Wallingford and lived in the DC area for 13 years before moving back to the Philly area 3.5 years ago. We loved Wayne and ended up buying a home in West Chester and really enjoyed living there. We recently relocated again... this time to Charlotte, NC- but you can't go wrong with either Wallingford Swarthmore or I would definitely check out West Chester if you have the time. There are some great neighborhoods and some really great restaurants.
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Old 08-31-2007, 04:34 PM
 
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Wallingford and Swarthmore are beautiful communities, but the property taxes are absolutely ridiculous. I have a friend who has a home near Swarthmore college and is paying >$12,000 a year!
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:44 PM
 
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Can you tell me - are there any areas like Swarthmore/Media and Wallingford down your way? We are relocated from the Swarthmore area to DC for my husband's job? We aren't sure if we will buy a home in Montgomery County, Howard County or NOVA. We are looking for an area just like Swarthmore. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-07-2008, 11:23 AM
 
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I'm not so familiar with the MD counties, but IMO the rough equivalent of Swarthmore/Media in NOVA might be somewhere like Vienna, Falls Church or Leesburg, for example. However, be prepared to pay up to double for the equivalent of a similar home in the Philly area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mastif2 View Post
Can you tell me - are there any areas like Swarthmore/Media and Wallingford down your way? We are relocated from the Swarthmore area to DC for my husband's job? We aren't sure if we will buy a home in Montgomery County, Howard County or NOVA. We are looking for an area just like Swarthmore. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-07-2008, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
4,743 posts, read 7,845,060 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mastif2 View Post
Can you tell me - are there any areas like Swarthmore/Media and Wallingford down your way? We are relocated from the Swarthmore area to DC for my husband's job? We aren't sure if we will buy a home in Montgomery County, Howard County or NOVA. We are looking for an area just like Swarthmore. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Sorry for jumping in the middle here, but having some basis of comparison for the DC and Philly areas, I would recommend Chevy Chase or Potomac in Maryland. The real estate in those communities is exorbitantly high, but both areas definitely give me a vibe similar to the Main Line.
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Old 04-07-2008, 07:47 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring, MD/Washington DC
3,485 posts, read 8,318,272 times
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Yeah, I'd say Bethesda (which is just north of Chevy Chase) or the Friendship Heights neighborhood in NW DC (which is just south of Chevy Chase) are the areas in the DC area that are most like the Philadelphia Main Line suburbs.

I grew up in eastern PA (Lehigh Valley), have spent a decent number of time in the Philadelphia area visiting, and just moved to the DC area less than a month ago (and also visited a few times before moving here). I think the comparison between the Philly and DC areas is interesting. When comparing the nice, town or city-like suburbs in both areas (which is what we are talking about here), I think DC has a lot more town-like suburbs that function like small cities than the Philadelphia area does. Places like Bethesda, Silver Spring, Rockville, the Ballston-Clarendon corridor in Arlington, and Old Town Alexandria generally speaking seem a lot bigger than places along the Main Line (Ardmore, Bryn Mawr), Media, Palmyra, Collingswood, etc., primarily because the DC places have a lot more high rises and tend to be bigger job centers. (To be fair, the places I mentioned in the Philadelphia area are further away from Center City than the DC area places are from downtown DC.) On the other hand, I think the Philadelphia area towns seem a lot more real and much older than the comparable DC suburbs. I personally feel, based on my limited time there, that places like downtown Rockville, parts of Old Town Alexandria, and parts of the Ballston-Clarendon corridor seem a little contrived; the fact many DC area suburbs have an area classified as a "town center" in itself tells you those places didn't really grow organically. Along a similar line (and I'm showing my interest-in-transportation bias here), Philadelphia's public transit network is much older and in some ways much more extensive than Washington's public transit network. There are so many nice towns in the Philadelphia area, particularly in Pennsylvania but even somewhat in New Jersey, that grew up as suburban railroad towns in the late 1800's and early 1900's. The Pennsylvania and Reading Railroads were major employers in the Philadelphia area for many years, and they both built extensive networks (which today have largely been combined in SEPTA's regional rail network). By contrast, the DC Metro is relatively new, having its initial portions opened some 30 years ago, and perhaps more importantly when comparing Washington to Philadelphia, the DC area commuter rail system is not well-developed and offers limited service on 4 of the 5 lines available (3 in MD, 2 in VA). Unlike in the Philadelphia area, there are very few towns in the DC area that grew up as railroad towns (some grew up as streetcar suburbs, but those places are largely now served by the Metro), and most of the MARC and VRE stations are large park-and-ride lots with limited development nearby. Even some of the railroad towns in the DC area, like Fredericksburg, didn't really evolve as DC railroad suburbs in the late 1800's/early 1900's; they were towns distinctly separate from DC (though obviously with strong connections to DC). In a broader sense, many places that are considered nice "suburbs" of DC, like Leesburg, weren't really true suburbs of the capital city 100 or even 50 years ago; the suburban, sprawl-like growth reached out to them to absorb them into the DC sphere.

To summarize the above, I think it is hard to find places like Bethesda or Silver Spring in the Philadelphia area; those kind of places are larger than the Philly suburbs. On the other hand, the Washington area has a small number of attractive, traditional towns that have maybe 5,000 to 20,000 people, while the Philadelphia area has a whole bunch of those type of towns. Furthermore, many of those towns in the Philly area are served by some sort of rail transit, while some of the nicer towns in the DC area do not have rail transit (like Leesburg) or have very limited rail transit (Frederick, Fredericksburg).

I'd say the Washington area is a very good/great location for younger single people and a good area for fairly young married couples with children (and families in general), while the Philadelphia area is a very good/great location for those younger married couples with kids (and families in general) and a good area for younger single people.
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Old 04-07-2008, 10:44 PM
 
1 posts, read 3,524 times
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Question How is Lansdowne?

Great post - I just stumbled on this site. I have a job offer from CHOP and was in Philly this weekend to look at neighborhoods and prices to determine if I can afford to take the job. I looked in the city within walking distance to CHOP (Greys Ferry and University City) but did not find anything under $400K that I would consider and even $400K seemed light if you dared to want to keep your car. I also spent time driving all the suburbs on the R3 line because I am looking for an easy commute. Ideally I would live within walking distance of a train station. Lansdowne looked promising and a nice short 12-15 minutes on the train. Is there any downside to Lansdowne? I don't have children so schools are not a priority but I don't want to buy in an area that won't offer me decent resale potential when I need to move again. I really liked Swarthmore and Media but prices/availability near the train were high/extremely limited. My goal is a very reasonable commute, 1600-2000 sf with storage/basement would be adequate, and a small yard with deck would be nice. I have a 2000 sf split level on a 1/3 acre in a nice established older neighborhood now. I'd like to be around the $300-350K price mark but some of it will depend on taxes. From what I can tell real estate taxes in the suburbs are high. Any additional thoughts?
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Old 04-08-2008, 12:02 PM
 
271 posts, read 1,306,275 times
Reputation: 93
You could try Lansdowne, but it does have a poorer school district and that can affect resale. It has some lovely old homes and the area is working to maintain/improve so that people enjoy living there. Has good diversity too.

Another option to consider that is cheaper than Swarthmore/Media is - Springfield. It has lots of dif. housing stock - twins, old stone homes, split levels, etc. and you could find something in the $300 - $350k range. You would go to the Morton train station to catch the train into town. Not as close as Lansdowne, but not a bad commute.
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