CityMelt Blog Data beyond just cities.

January 25, 2011

Living in Chester County, PA

Filed under: Atmosphere — Tags: — admin @ 9:01 AM

There are so many amazing places to live in the United States. With only one lifetime to live my wife and I needed to make a decision on where we would settle down to raise our young family. We visited Spokane, WA, Seattle, WA, Sante Fe, New Mexico, Northern California, New Hampshire/Maine, North Carolina, and Northern Virginia.  I wanted to live in New Hampshire which is income tax free and near the beautiful state of Maine.  My wife liked Sante Fe, New Mexico and other states which were closer to her family.

In the Fall of 2008, we drove across the country and rented a house in Leesburg, Virginia for one year. Leesburg was rated the 4th best place to live in America by Money magazine in 2011. We figured Leesburg would be an excellent place to locate because of its close proximity to North Carolina and other Northern states. As a historical side note, during the War of 1812, the U.S. government evacuated their most important people and documents including the constitution to Leesburg. This small town served as the U.S. capitol for several days.  My wife told me the winters must not be too harsh and cold (I.e New Hampshire, Michigan, Rochester, NY). I was happy to oblige this request because I wanted to be on the East coast.  We searched for a place with low crime, good schools, near large cities but far enough away where we could enjoy the countryside.

We thought Leesburg was a perfect place to raise a family but decided we liked Bucks County, PA better.  We read about a place named Doylestown, PA which was rated by other Internet users as an amazing town approximately 50 minutes outside of Philadelphia, PA.  Doylestown is full of renovated homes from the turn of the century, unique restaurants, outdoor cafes, and a one of a kind place called Kid’s Castle.  This place is a dream for kids under 12 years of age.  Kid’s Castle is a free playground within a larger public park.  Several years back people in the Doylestown community built a wooden structure which is two stories tall.  Within the structure is a maze of passageways, windows, ladders, and bridges that kids climb around on and explore.  I know this structure well because we have been there at least 10 times and my kids make me explore with them.  Surrounding the super sized structure are other smaller structures built over tons of sand sprinkled with small plastic toys for the kids.

In the Fall of 2009, we rented a house in Sellersvile, PA which is within Bucks County. We would travel all over Bucks and Montgomery Counties searching for a house to buy.  During the final months of our lease we discovered and closed on a perfect house outside our search zone. We now happily live in neighboring Chester County, PA.  One big benefit to owning a home on the East coast are basements!  We can store all of our extra stuff in our basement and the kids have a great place to play.    This region of the United States is absolutely amazing and just about exactly what my wife and I have dreamed about for the past 6 years.  We are 45 minutes from Philadelphia, 30 minutes from Amish country, 90 minutes from the Pocono mountains, 2 hours from NYC,  2 hours from the Jersey shore, and 3 hours from Washington DC.

If you like country living near all the amenities of the big city then Chester County is the place for you to live.  The area is full of covered bridges, old stone farmhouses, weekly town festivals, fresh bottled milk, farm stands, hot air balloons, and Valley Forge park. Not to mention the King of Prussia Mall which is the largest in America.  For parents with little kids you will have no problem finding parades and festivals.  For the past 2 years we have taken our kids to no less than five Halloween parades in different towns each year not needing to drive very far. This year we discovered what I like to call the parade capital of the World: West Chester, PA.  We first went to the Halloween parade and then the Christmas parade.  Absolutely huge.  For the past two Mother’s Days we have driven one hour out to Ephrata, PA for the Make a Wish Foundation’s Annual Truck Convoy with approximately 350 big rig trucks that travel from Lancaster, PA to Ephrata, PA.  Next year we plan on scaling back our parade adventures.  We are growing a bit tired of “parading” – I wonder if I just coined a new term? The main two parade’s we plan on attending are the truck convoy and the West Chester parades.

Speaking of Ephrata, PA, this town is quite similar in architecture as Doylestown but has more of a midwest vibe to it while Doylestown is more hip and trendy.  I love Ephrata and wanted to live here too but my wife thought it was a little too quiet and far out from major metropolitan areas.  I think she was right.  Speaking of quiet, then don’t move to New Hope, PA (right next too Doylestown) because this is a party town on the weekends.  Not in a bad way though.  New Hope reminds me of Pasadena, CA downtown but smaller with interesting architecture.  New Hope straddles the Delaware river and is a bridge walk across from Lambertville, New Jersey which is equally as interesting.  Interestingly, there are several companies that offer tubing down the Delaware river during the summer.  I look forward to tubing with my family when our kids get older.

Now living in Chester County, for some, has its downside.  The Winter.  The dreaded Winter.  Please cry somewhere else because I do not buy your argument that the Winter is a deal breaker.  My wife who used to complain all the time about how she would hate the Winter is starting to adapt.  She actually looks forward to snow storms and constantly monitors the weather along with my kids.  She grew up in Glendale, CA and swore she would hate the Winter.  I introduced her to the cold for her first time on our honeymoon to Niagara Falls, Canada.  I was so excited to get to the Falls at 4 AM (we had a late flight) that before we checked into our hotel, I convinced her to look at the Falls. She thought they were beautiful but was frozen solid in her mind so we promptly checked in.  One of these days, I’ll write about Niagara Falls, Niagara on the Lake, and Ice Wine.  That was a long side track wasn’t it?  Anyway, I’ll remind you that Winter is only 3 months out of the year. Although, I’m now prepared for occasional snow accumulation when I bought a snow blower and generator.

The four seasons sure make me feel alive. I am quite lucky to have escaped the concrete jungle of Southern California.  Winter is coming to a close, so I look forward to Spring lightning storms coming in from a distance over grassy fields.

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment


Powered by WordPress