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Old 01-05-2010, 11:39 PM
 
2 posts, read 7,011 times
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Hi,
My partner and I will be relocating to Philadelphia in 2010 and are looking for areas in the suburbs that might be a combination of liberalism and peaceful settings (If you are familiar with areas in Northern Cal such as Santa Cruz Mtns. or Palo Alto/Woodside...) We will be working principally in KOP, so living further out with a 30-45 minute drive-time is totally doable, but just like any outlying area, accepting and cool people tend to get redder and less blue.

We've found possible homes (older fixers) around 200-300K in places like Perkiomenville, Downingtown, Jenkintown, but are curious about amenities.
Trader Joe's and Wholefoods, or any good type of natural food stores are must.

Any ideas? Any CA transplants with words of wisdom?

Thanks for your time!
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:35 AM
 
Location: South Philly
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As you say, you're not going to get too far out without losing the "liberalism" that you're looking for. I'm not too sure about home prices but you might want to consider Ambler.
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Old 01-06-2010, 05:50 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
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Phoenixville has somewhat of a liberal vibe, as least some of the influx of younger people looking for affordable places. "Old" Phoenixville is not what I'd classify as liberal.

Ambler borough has some of that liberal vibe, and there are 2 Whole Foods store within 5-6 miles.

Jenkintown may be an option, though you're starting to get further from King of Prussia.

I don't know Delaware County as well, but I'm told there are some spots there that may be more liberal (and more urban).

Regardles, for $200-$300k you might be looking at duplexes, condos or fixer-uppers that are smallish.
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Old 01-06-2010, 07:59 AM
 
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Not too many liberal bastions out in the 'burbs (Swarthmore? New Hope?) but most places are just mildly conservative. I would agree though that it may be hard to find a place in your price range that isn't smaller and/or needing some TLC.
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:30 AM
 
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Jenkintown and Ambler are both good suggestions, as well as New Hope, but that's at least an hour away.
I would also suggest Conshohocken.
Also, the towns along the Eastern Main Line (Merion, Narberth, Wynnewood, Ardmore, Haverford, Bryn Mawr) are surprisingly liberal, but your price range won't net you much there.
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:49 AM
 
388 posts, read 1,004,160 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lomanjenkins View Post
Hi,
My partner and I will be relocating to Philadelphia in 2010 and are looking for areas in the suburbs that might be a combination of liberalism and peaceful settings (If you are familiar with areas in Northern Cal such as Santa Cruz Mtns. or Palo Alto/Woodside...) We will be working principally in KOP, so living further out with a 30-45 minute drive-time is totally doable, but just like any outlying area, accepting and cool people tend to get redder and less blue.

We've found possible homes (older fixers) around 200-300K in places like Perkiomenville, Downingtown, Jenkintown, but are curious about amenities.
Trader Joe's and Wholefoods, or any good type of natural food stores are must.

Any ideas? Any CA transplants with words of wisdom?

Thanks for your time!
My first thougth was New Hope or Lamberville but they might be a little too far. Doylestown is a little closer and probably within the 45 minute drive.

I would also checkout Skippack Village, Phoenixville, West Chester, and any of the towns along Lancaster Ave(Narberth, Ardmore and Wayne)
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:11 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia area
8 posts, read 17,939 times
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Hmm...liberalism and peaceful settings don't go together in the Philly area that well, in my experience. The "liberal" areas tend to be in the city/closer to the city. The farther out in the Philly suburbs you go, the closer you get to Pennsyltucky, so to speak. The more "peaceful" settings tend to dominated by deer hunting and fishing and stuff. A place where "natural, healthy food" is fresh venison and trout or whatever that you've killed yourself, or vegetables you've grown yourself, and where people laugh at the "yuppies" who buy overpriced, prepackaged stuff.

I also find the working-class Philly toughness is getting pushed further and further out into the suburbs as the city itself gets all gentrified and yuppiefied and stuff. People are way more likely to want to drink beer and ***** about the Eagles than anything else. Also a lot of the "suburbs" were industrial towns in their own right, and have their own working-class attitude similar to Philly's.

That being said, Perkiomenville might be worth looking at. I think there's a lot of hippies who hang out in Green Lane Park, I think. I could be wrong. Kimberton is a place to look, too, I know it's had its very own independent whole foods store for years. Oh, and Downington has its own branch of the Kimberton Whole Foods, too. Media/Swarthmore is an area to look in, too - Media's pretty liberal, I've heard, or is getting there, and Swarthmore is the home of the liberal Swarthmore College. But that's still pretty urbanized, and probably pretty expensive now. A lot of the old Schuylkill river industrial towns are turning to an arty approach to revitalize the town -- Phoenixville's a great example. And Manayunk was first, I believe, but that's all college students and yuppies now. Kimberton's right next to Phoenixville, so that might be your best bet. And also that area is very close to/accessible to KoP. But, again, it's not California. The deer-hunting and beer-drinking are still the foundations of these places, or at least that's the impression I get. Which I personally think is great, it keeps a down-to-earth characteristic to the place.
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Old 01-06-2010, 12:12 PM
 
Location: South Philly
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"conservative" in the northeast means something a little different than most of the rest of the country.

You're not going to find the post-hippy enclaves that you do on the west coast or even in the appalachians (think Asheville, Burlington, Chattanooga). You don't really move to a big, post-industrial city to drop out or join your counter-culture brethren in Shangri-la. This part of the country isn't known for it's breathtaking mountain vistas or stunning ocean views.

In the suburbs around here the politics of daily life change subtly from town to town. I don't think you'll find any real extremes outside of the city. I think a "conservative" town here is one that's more family oriented and not necessarily politically conservative. Besides, you just don't find a lot of people around here (beyond college age) who wear their politics on their sleeve. When I meet them I run in the other direction.

West Mt. Airy (in the city) would be a palpably liberal neighborhood. New Hope (in Bucks Co.) In other places like Media, Ambler, Collingswood - it's there but more of an undercurrent.
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Old 01-06-2010, 04:09 PM
 
Location: North by Northwest
8,119 posts, read 11,229,517 times
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$200-300k could get you a small house in Lower Merion--most likely in Belmont Hills, Ardmore, or parts of Bryn Mawr, but you'd probably be better off sticking to the more Northern and Western suburbs.

Jenkintown is a nice area, as are parts of Abington, Cheltenham, Springfield, Wyndmoor, etc.

And don't be mistaken about Philadelphia-area liberalism. The suburbs once voted Republican, but that's rapidly changing.
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Old 01-06-2010, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
5,533 posts, read 8,682,924 times
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A more bucolic setting akin to Northen California -- perhaps Napa Valley -- within commuting distance to King of Prussia would be Chadds Ford, PA (Chester County). It has become reasonably liberal in recent years with the influx of transplants like yourself. A TJ's is not too far away in Delaware, too.


Good Luck!
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