It is almost impossible to believe that Labor Day is less than one week away, kids are going back to school and summer has come to a close. Each summer seems to fly by faster and faster, and they say that’s what happens as you age, but that doesn’t make it any easier to accept. Despite my grumblings regarding summers end, I must say, that it has been a fantastic couple of months. Our wonderful town has offered so much (First Fridays, the Ambler Farmers’ Market, the Ambler Arts & Music Festival, Restaurant Week, Dog Days, and more), and I’ve collected many great memories to reflect upon.
Without question, the best thing that happened to me this summer is the opening of the Ambler Farmers’ Market. As one of the founders, I have been working on this project since July of 2012, and have spent months wondering what the market would be like and how the community would respond. In my wildest dreams, I don’t think I could have imagined the reality of the market. We opened June 1st to an AMAZING crowd, the community came out in droves to support the market, and were thrilled to be able to shop for fresh, local food in downtown Ambler. I quickly realized that not only was the market a place to shop for food, but a community gathering place. Countless people were greeting one another and embracing; I commonly overheard “Oh my gosh, I haven’t seen you in years!” Members of our community talked and caught up with one another, meeting newest the members of the family (sometimes four legged) and made plans to meet later in town for dinner or a drink. Folks were just plain happy to be there.
As you probably know, the market offers a place for kids to hang out and do activities, live music and an educational series each week. Seeing children reconnect with school friends on the kids quilt, as well as making new ones, has been priceless. I have also learned quite a bit from the various speakers we have had thus far. A hay garden was introduced to me while learning about composting, both I hope to incorporate at my home next year. Meeting Theo, the six week old “kid” from our goat farm, holding baby chicks and being mesmerized by the sweetest baby gosling (in Marie’s arms, left) were certainly highlights, as well. Music is a big part of my life and I am so moved that our wonderful musicians graciously volunteer their time each week to make for a more enjoyable shopping experience. Our farmers and vendors are all so wonderful, knowledgeable and friendly. In fact, shopping at the market in and of itself can be an education! Learning about how the crops are grown and the animals raised, you can really feel the love that goes into the product that they bring to market. Shopping there has also exposed me to some foods that I’ve never tried before resulting in exciting culinary adventures in my kitchen. I may have put on a few extra lbs eating blueberry scones for breakfast every weekend, but it was worth every bite!
Another wonderful aspect of the market is our relationship with the Mattie Dixon Community Cupboard. Each Saturday at the close of the market, Mattie Dixon volunteers arrive to pick up very generous amounts of food donated by our farmers. The cupboard commonly gets canned goods and non-perishable items, but with the market in town, they are able to offer their customers a great variety of fresh produce, breads and more!
On a more personal note, working on (and at) the market has been one of the most rewarding things that I’ve ever been a part of. Witnessing the benefit and life that it has brought to the community and being a part of something that I feel is vital to Ambler’s continued growth brings me a tremendous amount of joy. I have also made some incredible friendships along the way that I know will stand the test of time. Speaking not as an Ambler Main Street volunteer, but as someone who has come to appreciate the value of being involved in our community, I encourage you to think about how and where you can engage.
Although there is no denying the end of summer, fortunately, the market will be open for a few more months and I look forward to seeing you there!
For the third year in a row, I’m thrilled to announce that I’ve been selected as a Philadelphia Five Star Real Estate Agent! The award is designed to identify and showcase real estate agents in local markets whop score highest in overall satisfaction. The honor is given to fewer than 7% of the real estate agents in the local market and is based on an in-depth research process. Real estate agents are evaluated by past clients based on customer service, integrity, market knowledge, communication and negotiation skills, closing preparation, helping you find the right home, marketing the home being sold, and overall satisfaction.
You can find the awards section in the September issue of Philadelphia Magazine and more details on the process are below. A big thank you to those who recommended me, working with wonderful people makes it easy to love what I do!“10,000 to 50,000 recent home buyers (all area residents who purchased a home over $100,000 – $200,000 within a 12-36 month period depending on the market size) are asked to name and evaluate real estate agents with whom they have had direct/personal experience with. Recent home buyers can evaluate up to two agents. Both positive and negative responses regarding each agent are accepted. In addition to the survey results, other criteria such as acceptable disciplinary action and review by a panel of local industry experts are incorporated into the overall evaluation process.” ~ Five Star Professional
Ambler is embracing the arts and slowly, but surely, art is becoming an integral part of the Ambler community. Art in the Storefront has been going strong for years now, the Ambler Arts Festival will bring over 70 artists to town in just a few weeks, and most recently Dumpster Divers have made an appearance in town.
If the title of this post conjured gossip and ridicule, sorry to say, but you will be disappointed. Clearly an intentional pun, as Dumpster Divers turn trash into art; their motto being “Trash is simply a failure of the imagination.” Dumpster Divers formed 20 years ago with the intent to rescue, reuse and reinvent, as well as create a gallery space in one of the many vacant commercial spaces on South Street. Their South Street gallery is no more, but they can be found in various galleries and store fronts throughout the region, and now in Ambler!
The concept is fantastic on many levels; obviously from the reuse, recycling aspect, but also by bringing light and life to sad, lonely spaces in town. Ambler, in my opinion, has far too many vacant store fronts. Clearly Ambler is, and has been, enjoying a renaissance for some time now, and I believe we are poised for continued growth, but in the mean time, why not turn those empty spaces into a show place! The owner of the building grants a “free lease” and the Dumpster Divers are responsible only for utilities. It’s a win/win scenario, actually, a win/win/win, the property owner, the artists, and us, the community!
I encourage you to visit Dumpster Divers in Ambler; currently there are galleries on Main Street, across from Toto’s, and on Butler in the former Candle Shop space as well as the Ambler Flower Shop. You will notice the Compass North Realty sign hanging in the window of 71 East Butler, this property is owned by Compass Principal, Mark Greenberg. I mention this because he owns several properties in town, many vacant; the fact that he has Dumpster Divers in this space is hopefully a sign that we’ll be seeing a lot more of them in town!
This question has been and will continue to be debated, of course I have my thoughts which are shared below, but I wanted to share some of yours. Almost 200 people weighed in on the topic last year, undoubtedly some of you were a part of the discussion on facebook “What you would like to see in Ambler?” I learned that facebook decided to remove the Discussion tab and I didn’t want everyone’s contribution to vanish into thin air so here are the results…
I find it interesting (and encouraging) that a few of these have actually come to fruition since the time this thread was started. We now have a bakery, a beer distributor is due to open within the next few weeks, a 24 hour diner in Springhouse is coming soon as well as a grocery store. I know there are quite a few people who are not thrilled with the fact that it is going to be a Bottom Dollar, but it is still a grocery store nonetheless.
I’m a big fan of dreaming, and I’ve spent countless hours dreaming about what I would personally like to see in town. If money were no object, here are a few things I would do…
First and foremost, I would rescue the old Palladio space from the sad state that she’s in now, make her beautiful again, and turn her into a music venue. My ideas on this front are vast and detailed, so if there happens to be an investor/developer reading this, let’s talk.
A healthy fast food option with take out and a small sit down area would be fantastic; serving affordable smoothies, salads, vegetarian options, etc. A Bryn and Dane’s would be a dream come true, but not likely as Horsham is so close, boo. Perhaps the Ambler Food Co-op will serve this need once it becomes a reality.
A book store/coffee shop with comfy seating, wifi and nice music. This could be in conjunction with the music store below.
A music store! For those of you who’ve been in town for a little while, I’m sure you remember Geeks and Gawds, great little record store run by Margo and her cat who hung out in the CD bins. I realize this business probably makes little to no financial sense as I think I am one of the few who still buys CD’s and vinyl. I relish the excitement of buying new music, putting it on in the car or as soon as I get home, reading the liner notes… I guess it’s nostalgia, but I love it!
Lastly, I think an Art Gallery (or two) would be a great addition. Recently I’ve learned how many fantastic local artists we have in and around the Ambler area, a place to showcase their talent would be a welcome addition.
Oh, I forgot one, probably because it will never happen, as a building would have to be razed to do so. A small community park (yes, grass and trees) right in the heart of downtown Ambler would be amazing. And yes, dogs would be welcome!
Of course there are so many other possibilities that would great, this is just my personal wish list. Feel free to share your wish list in the comments below!
I apologize for not keeping up with the holiday window display posts as promised, I was out of town for a real estate convention for a week and totally fell behind. Although I’m off schedule with the photo posts I had a great convention and learned a TON! However, I did have you in mind while I was away and kept my eyes peeled for something fun to share with you. I came across this super cool app called Google Goggles, granted you need an Android or iPhone iOS 4.0 to use it, but hopefully many of you will benefit. Here’s a quick video to explain, but in a nut shell, it’s google using a picture search instead of a search term. Nut shell #2, it’s amazing!!! Check it out…
It’s that time of year! I’m sure some of you hurried out, the day after Thanksgiving, and got your tree as soon as possible; for those who haven’t, here’s a list of great local farms, shops and lots where you can pick one up. The places with an asterisk are participating in Trees For Troops, Friday, Dec 2 – Sunday, Dec 4th. There are tons of great spots here, but I’ll be right up front about my bias and start off with my favorite place…
Kenny’s Christmas Trees* Springhouse
~Delivery and setup available, call ahead.
Maple Acres Farm Plymouth Meeting
~Minimizes chemical and pesticide use.
O&F Farms 1040 Skippack Pike, Blue Bell
Merrymead Farm Lansdale
~They have delicious homemade old fashioned eggnog available and of course their special holiday ice cream flavors. There will be a live Nativity Dec 17 & 18.
Freddy Hill Farms Lansdale
~Visit the Farm Zoo and take home farm fresh milk and ice cream.
Holly Days Nursery Horsham
~Santa and Mrs. Claus will be making a special appearance Saturday, Dec 11, 11am – 2pm.
Bustard’s Christmas Trees* Lansdale
~Make sure the kids bring their Christmas list to put in Santa’s mailbox!
If you want to cut your own tree:
Hague’s Christmas Trees Hatfield
~Create a personalized Christmas card by having your families picture taken in Hague’s large Christmas Tree cutout.
Corkum Tree Farm Collegeville
~Enjoy complimentary warm cider.
Varner Farms* Collegeville
~Listen to Christmas carols while you enjoy a complimentary cup of hot chocolate or cider.
A few farms are closed on Sunday, also the choose and cut your own fields sometimes close down earlier than the farm itself, so be sure to call before you go to confirm that they are open and still have a good supply of trees. Happy hunting!
It’s extremely hard to believe that it has been snowing all day, considering it’s October 29!!! As I always do when it snows, I decided to head into town and see what’s going on. It was pretty quiet, as one would expect on a day like this, but to my surprise I ran into a wedding party right in the middle of Butler Ave! Between this post and my last you may be wondering what’s with all the wedding stuff, but this is just a great coincidence!
I stumbled across the video and photos below and decided to share them here, they have nothing to do with current happenings in town or the real estate market but (as you will see) some of these gorgeous shots were taken in town. These “day after” wedding photos were shot at the local bride and groom’s home as well as the Amber train station, too cute!
As soon as I saw the photos in front of their home I knew exactly which street it was, one of my fave’s (I wonder how many Ambler streets I say that about)! Those grand old twins don’t go up for sale very often so I’m fairly certain I know the house and was in it when it was for sale last year. This home was, as many older Ambler homes are, in need of love. Seeing these pictures makes me so happy because I can tell that this couple will give this sleeping beauty the love it deserves, judging by their taste it’s probably already incredible!
Oddly, I’ve never met the bride and groom, I came across their “Ambler” photos in a random web search. Aside from loving the Ambler backdrop, this is the sweetest wedding video I’ve ever seen.
By the way, if you are a bride to be or have a special event to plan and you find yourself gushing over this wedding, check out Belovely Events. The Ambler bride here is half of Belovely, clearly they do an amazing job!
Photography by Heidi Vail
Video by Monachetti
Last week my guy and I had tickets to see The Dave Brubeck tribute at the Ambler Theater, as usual I was jonesing for pizza, so we stopped at Massa before the show. Fortunately we got the window seat and I, of course, was facing out 🙂 Before dinner arrived we were deep in conversation and all of the sudden over my beau’s shoulder I saw a hawk dive straight down towards the street in front of Borough Hall. A few feet from the ground it made a hair pin turn and headed down Butler Ave. I sprang from my seat and grabbed my phone (aka camera), as I peered out the window I saw him sitting on top of the Ambler sign at the theater. Being the Ambler aficionado and bird lover that I am, I tore out of the restaurant hoping to get a shot of him up there, I mean could there be a more perfect perch in town? Luckily this red tailed hawk was still sitting pretty when I made it outside, the pictures are poor as I only had my phone, but better than nothing. This totally made my night!
Ok, so this post has little to do with Ambler, real estate or any of the things I typically write about, but as you will see I did adapt as best I could. I’m sharing this because I think it is interesting and am curious as to what you think.
Qwiki is a relatively new data mining tool that features information in a video format. Their mission is simple
“Qwiki’s goal is to forever improve the way people experience information… to advance information technology to the point it acts human.”
Tech guru, Chris Smith, put it this way
“Think about Wikipedia and YouTube having a child; that child is Qwiki.”
Qwiki is still in the alpha stage so you may encounter some quality issues and not find everything you are looking for, but at the rate interest is growing they will undoubtedly have the kinks worked out, increased content and will be on their way to beta soon.
See what Qwiki has to say about Ambler. Obviously it’s not perfect, particularly with regard to pronunciation (Wis-shy-kon), but pretty cool nonetheless. Tell me what you think!