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Old 02-21-2010, 03:18 AM
Location: 89074
500 posts, read 629,981 times
Reputation: 850


I have been reading this forum for months as I have been researching a move to the Philly suburbs. It seems like a great move for us in terms of what the city has to offer, far better schools, cultural advantages, etc. The 'us' includes my mother, who is a PA native. However, I do have my concerns. As a previous poster from Dallas raised the question, how difficult is it to move to the Main line (or other areas)? I've pretty much lived in high-transit places, Vegas, Miami, Washington, DC to name a few. How different is it in the Philly suburbs? So far, I have narrowed my search to the Devon/Berwyn area. Are outsiders really not welcomed? I posted questions to parents on an autism support site (one of my children has ASD), and did not receive ONE reply. And these are generally parents who need and want to stick together, so maybe I should be concerned?
Anyway, here are my details, any input is appreciated.

When are you moving? Before next school year begins
Where are you coming from? Henderson, NV
Why are you moving? Reasons stated above
Where will you be working? I work out of my home, commuting is not a factor, but would like to be w/in 30 min. train ride to the city.
Have you been here yet? Not yet, planning to come out in April.

Will you buy or rent? Rent to start, then look for a house
If buying, are you looking for a house or a condo? How much can you spend? House, depends on sale of another property, probably high 800's, low 9's.
If renting, are you looking for an apartment, a townhouse or loft? How much can you spend?
Do you prefer hi-rise or walk up? A walk up is fine, esp. in burbs.

Are you married or single? Do you have children? Single, have twins. one with special needs.
Do you prefer public or private schools? Have one in private here, the other I homeschool. In PA, public schools.
Do you have pets? No
Do you want or need a yard? Yes.
Are you keeping a car? Yes
Do you prefer bustling activity or calm and quiet? Calm and quiet neighborhood, but close to activity.

What do you want to be closest to? Services and shopping
Basic services (supermarket, drugstore, etc.)
Train or subway stations

Do you want to live with people of a similar age, race, religion or sexual preference or do you prefer a diverse neighborhood? Prefer an area with children.

Coke or Pepsi? Coke is it!

Last edited by LVKim8; 02-21-2010 at 03:19 AM.. Reason: left out one detail
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Old 02-21-2010, 06:58 AM
Location: The City
22,363 posts, read 32,854,612 times
Reputation: 7786
I think the areas you discussed will have a lot to offer, honestly depending on what area works best you may want to get a map and expand your search area a bit, the areas you listed are excellent and so are many of the areas that adjoin. Also the Main Line (Septa regional rail) run through the area listed and puts you at about the 30 minute ride directly to Center City, so maybe other Areas like Wayne/Bryn Mawr etc could be added to your list, not that Devon/Berwyn are not excellent. Explore a bit of the route 30/Main Line corrider while you are visiting.

In terms of friendliness, these are higher end suburbs, some with old money (true Blue bloods) but also many newer comers. It is a great area and like most any place some people will be more firendly than others. On the whole I think people her are not outwordly friendly but once you get to know them they can be pretty real.

Schools will likely be an improvement overall as these areas have some of the best in the country. Also though I do not have first hand experiece with special needs children I know many friends/neighbors with similar needs have found many excellent programs and support networks in the area. These areas of the suburbs are fairly affluent and you will find great educational and support networks thoughout. I am sorry I can direct you to a specific but am surprised there was no response or information as I know there are quite viable programs in the area.

I wish you great luck in your move and welcome to the Philly area.
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:45 AM
Location: South Jersey
7,780 posts, read 18,786,465 times
Reputation: 2329
you will be fine in that area. Everyone is welcome.. You child will get good services too in that district. I think you will be very happy.. Just remember. YOU are your childs best advocate
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:00 AM
1,623 posts, read 5,938,419 times
Reputation: 449
If you can swing the commute a bit further out to Wayne, I would recommend this area over the ones mentioned. The Tredyffrin/Easttown SD has a great rep and I've heard they have very good special needs programs as long as you don't mind being an advocate for your child to get the ball rolling.

Devon/Berwyn has more of a snob factor - polished people driving European cars. I haven't found that very welcoming from the limited exposure I've had at my son's preschool. I'm sure your neighbors would be welcoming, but watching people live their lives "keeping up with the Jones'" would wear on me quickly; just not my cup of tea.

Chesterbrook in Wayne would certainly provide lots of neighbors and a local shopping area, but public transportation from there is limited; there is a commuter train in Paoli. Also the Glenhardie section of Wayne provides lots of families in close proximity to the Valley Forge Elementary and Middle Schools - this side of the district has a more diverse population in most senses of the word, although it's still pretty Lily white.

If you really want to spend that kind of money, you will find yourself living in more insular neighborhoods; Chesterbrook is a planned community with condos, townhomes and some singles, lots of people who live here because it the least expensive way to get into the T/E district - except for the single homes that is.

Glenhardie homes average about $525K so it's still a good upper middle class area, just not super rich. There are some homes here and there that are big bucks but that usually means you will not be as close to your neighbors. You should also check out Merion Station, Lower Merion, as people who have relocated here from the DC area really like all it has to offer; of course there are still issues with snobbery and the SD has the latest problem with spying with students via webcam and a busing controversy, but it is definitely worth a look.

Last edited by orrmobl; 02-21-2010 at 09:10 AM..
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:15 AM
Location: a swanky suburb in my fancy pants
3,391 posts, read 7,684,692 times
Reputation: 1586
If you have lived in D.C. it is pretty much exactly the same in Philly.
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Old 02-21-2010, 07:27 PM
19 posts, read 57,672 times
Reputation: 26
Default 1 parents experience

We currently live in Lower Merion with 2 kids (1 a boy w/ ASD) just our personal experience but we've been VERY pleased with the special needs program here in the lmsd, 3 years ago we moved to Berwyn from Bala Cynwyd and we were so dissatisfied with the services there we moved back to Lower Merion the following year. We're now in Wynnewood (a section of Lower Merion) and won't be considering a move out of the lmsd as long as our special needs kid is in school.
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:27 PM
184 posts, read 688,162 times
Reputation: 84
I would ignore any perceived "snob factor" and not let it influence your plans. As a relative newcomer to the area I would say that there are a smattering of weirdos here but they are more "local color" than people you are likely to interact with much. You'll find friends. I wouldn't say Philadelphians are friendly the way Midwesterners are friendly, but I find it in general more laidback than in DC, which makes living here relaxed and fun.

As a general rule the further out you go the newer are the houses and communities. A lot of Berwyn and Devon houses were built in the 60s or later, so there are plenty of young families. Many of those parents probably grew up in other parts of the Philly area, but they definitely aren't all from there, so don't worry about that.
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