Here is a perfect example of why I love Ambler; look at this beautiful home, they just don’t make them like this anymore! This Victorian gem was built 118 years ago and still stands the test of time. What makes this home better yet is that it is within walking distance to downtown shops, restaurants and theaters as well as the train, you can’t beat it! Looking forward to taking a tour this afternoon!
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Spring is in the air and I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a serious case of Spring Fever! I love this time of year and want to be outside as much as possible, heck I’d sleep outside if it was more convenient! Of all the things I like to do outside, enjoying good food and drink ranks pretty high on the list. I checked in with our local dining spots and watering holes to find out who will setting up shop al fresco this year, and the winners are…
Trax Cafe~ My favorite outdoor dining spot in Ambler by far! Trax has a lovely wraparound porch set against the backdrop of a beautiful vegetable and perennial garden that blooms all season long. The porch is covered so you can enjoy a nice warm day without being in the sun. Trax is open for lunch and dinner. www.traxcafe.com
KC’s Alley~ At a place named KC’s Alley, where else would you dine but in the alley? The alley is covered so it’s a great place to enjoy lunch, dinner or late night drinks on a hot day. www.kc-alley.com
Finn McCool’s~ Finn’s patio out front is easily the largest outdoor dining space in town, open for lunch, dinner and drinks. www.finnmccoolstavern.com
Saffron~ Saffron serves lunch and dinner outside, but only has two tables. The up side is they can be reserved in advance! www.saffronofphilly.com
From The Boot~ This year you will be able to enjoy lunch and dinner outside as FTB has the go ahead for dining out front. www.fromtheboot.com
Dettera~ Another lovely al fresco dining spot, like KC’s, Dettera’s outdoor space is an alley, although it doesn’t look like any alley I’ve seen before. It is beautiful and spacious, even has a fireplace for cool nights. Dinner only. www.dettera.com
Shanachie~ Enjoy lunch, dinner and drinks out front 7 days a week. www.shanachiepub.com
Zina’s Kitchen~ They have two, yes only 2, tables so it’s best to get there early (or late) or be prepared to wait to sit outside on a nice day. It may not hurt to drop the hint that more than two tables isn’t a bad idea… No website yet, but you can be their friend on facebook.
Jo-Jo’s Java Joint~ Jo-Jo’s has a huge patio out back, a great place to relax with some coffee, tea or lunch. They have free wifi, so bring your laptop for lunch and enjoy a breath of fresh air while you work. Visit Jo-Jo’s on facebook.
ToTo’s Gelateria~ A charming front porch to enjoy lunch, coffee and of course, ToTo’s famous gelato. www.totoscafeambler.com
Cone Heads~ Do breakfast or lunch at the outdoor tables or enjoy your sweet treat on the bench! www.coneheadsambler.com
Cafe Maida~ With tables out front this is the perfect spot for people watching while enjoying coffee, gelato or a lite bite. No online contact info, they’re old school, stop by or call 215.939.6250.
Short of borrowing the Fruit of the Loom guys wardrobe and running the streets of Ambler I’m not sure how else to get the word out but to put pen to paper (aka, fingers to keyboard), hopefully it’s not too late. We need to quickly get the attention of locals who would love the opportunity to have locally and responsibly produced food available in Ambler. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that there are a ton of people in town who long for a walkable place to buy groceries. This is by no means a market, what it is is a chance for us to have Certified Organic produce (and more, see below!) delivered straight from the farm to us, here in town! It is all arranged by Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative and the program is called a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). This is a subscription program where individuals and families can purchase a weekly share of the organic harvest from over 75 Lancaster County Farms.
What: 25 weeks of farm fresh, Certified Organic, seasonal produce, $28/week.
Where: Jo Jo’s Java Joint, 14 W Butler Avenue
When: May – October
Deadline: April 8, 2011 (no, not a joke)
Some important things to know:
- Once you are a part of the CSA you can add on to your order, things like fruit, flowers, Community Supported Medicine and no hormone added dairy (including butter, milk, cheese, yogurt), pastured meats and eggs, baby food, Gluten Free Baked goods and other prepared food. THIS IS HUGE!
- Once Jo-Jo’s becomes a host site (we have enough people participate) it becomes a year round site for you to obtain the items above as well as seasonal items.
By participating you are making a very important impact on our on local economy, your personal health and our planet. It’s really a no brainer, the only thing left to discuss is the cost. The program cost is $28 per week (here is an example of the weekly shares) for 25 weeks, the downside is that that amount must be paid in full up front. I know this is one big chunk of cash, but understanding the dynamics make it easier to bear… the money that you are paying now goes directly to the farmers to buy the seed to start the crops, your crops. This whole entire program is run by an extremely small staff whose biggest gain is sleeping better at night knowing what an important contribution they are making towards the better good of all. If you already buy Certified Organic produce at the grocery store it is typically marked up 50-150%, a considerable amount isn’t even local. Looking at an example share, I would estimate that in this economy buying that same produce but not organic, would cost about $28. If you were to purchase the example share as is, Certified Organic, at the grocery store I estimate it would probably be about $40. That is a huge savings! Because the CSA is working directly with the farmers the cost is comparable to wholesale. That being said, a share costs $700, if that is not an option for you they also allow you to purchase a half share (still a weekly delivery, half the amount of produce) for $425.
In order for Jo-Jo’s to be deemed a host site they need to fill an order for 20 shares no later than APRIL 8!!! Yes, as is in next week, therefore I’m asking you to forward this to any and all locals that you think may be interested in participating. They currently have 7 shares accounted for, so really all that is needed is 13. I think if enough people in the community know about this opportunity far more than 13 will want to get involved. The website is easy to navigate, most of your questions can be answered there, if need be you can also contact Will Hammett at Jo-Jo’s for additional information (267.470.4720). Click here to sign up and when prompted for pick up site fill in Jo-Jo’s! Let’s make this happen, Ambler!!!
That seems to be the theme of next week’s event line up in Ambler. I’m not so sure that a Michael Jackson tune is all that appropriate for the soundtrack, but I’m always up for some MJ, who’s with me? Perhaps one of the bands playing in town can put an Irish spin on it. 😉
There will be a flurry of activity in town next week, and I don’t mean the kind that comes from the sky (although I do have fond memories of walking to Shanachie in snow up to our knees for their Irish breakfast a few years ago)! The fun kicks off at The Shanachie on St Patrick’s Day; Gerry and his crew will follow in their usual tradition opening at 9:00am to serve a traditional Irish breakfast and tickle our ears with great live music. [Please pardon the photo, imagine that there is a Guinness on the table.]
The music at Shanachie waits for no one on this festive day, live Irish music will rock the house from open to close. Will they be serving green beer? I don’t know but they will be serving good food, good drinks and as always great company so come join the fun!
I’m not yet aware of any Friday events, which is probably a good thing as some of you may need to recover from St Patty’s. Just don’t take too long to recover because Ambler Main Street has a great day of family fun planned for Saturday March 19th at The Ambler Spring Fling. The Fling is an all day event,11am – 4pm, that was borne of the desire for Spring and the opportunity to enjoy our charming downtown together as a community. The best way to start the day is to show up at Jo Jo’s Java Joint at 11:00 to pick up your game board and instructions for the scavenger hunt! Merchants town wide will be participating in the hunt and will be handing out stamps as the “hunters” make their way through town. The hunt will culminate at Cone Heads where game boards will be collected and a grand prize winner will be announced. There will be plenty of activities going on downtown throughout the day; face painting, live music, chair massages, kid’s games and raffles. Participating businesses and restaurants will also be offering specials during the event. It is sure to be a fun day so come out and be a part of the community!
If that isn’t enough, Act II Playhouse has an awesome evening planned for Sunday, March 20th! Dublin Comes to Ambler is a special event featuring Irish music, poetry, food and general mayhem (or so they say). Barleyjuice, a Pan-Celtic rock band from Philly, is headlining the evening; there will also be admired local Irish actors who will be doing poetry reading and storytelling. If this isn’t cool enough, Act II is offering this unique evening to the community for FREE! They are gladly accepting donations at the door which will help support the anticipated The Pride of Parnell Street (opening March 22nd). Be there no later than 6:30pm to take part in this special night.
Hope to see you in Ambler!
As you clearly know by now I love Ambler and all that it has to offer, but like most things in life there is always room for improvement. There is a great discussion happening on facebook right now as to what we really need, or what we would really like, to have open in our town. Please share your thoughts here on the facebook page, if you’re not on facebook please leave your thoughts as a comment here. If I had infinite money and resources, well let’s just say I have some seriously grand plans for Ambler… you may say I’m a dreamer 🙂
The scene at the Mercedes Benz showroom in Fort Washington this past Sunday was not what one would typically expect to find upon entering a car dealership. There were no cars, instead yoga mats to serve as transport for the day’s journey; not employees in suits, but instructors in tutus and costume jewelry; not customers, but barefoot men, women and children who all came together to raise funds and awareness for Living Beyond Breast Cancer.
This Inaugural Barefoot Ball was the kickoff event for Team Twisters in their effort to raise $20,000 for Living Beyond Breast Cancer. The event was a wonderful success, raising $6500! $2500 was donated by Mike Sloane, owner of Mercedes Benz Fort Washington and the remainder was donated by the 109 attendees!
It was truly an amazing sight to behold, dozens of caring individuals moving together in unison on sea of multi colored mats. Twisters’ staff of instructors was on hand for the event; four instructors lead the hour long class in tandem while the rest worked the room to offer adjustment and support when needed. The class culminated in a spectacular operatic performance by Natalie Levin, also an instructor at Twisters, dressed to the nines in a ball gown and full stage makeup, barefoot, of course. She performed a beautiful piece by Richard Strauss during shavasna, followed by an incredibly moving Orfeo and then spiced things up at the end with a piece from Carmen.
As mentioned earlier, this was a kickoff event; Team Twisters is still working hard to reach their goal of raising $20,000 by May 15th. May 15th marks the date of one of the world’s largest outdoor yoga classes, Yoga on the Steps, where hundreds of people will gather together on the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum to raise funds for LBBC’s education and support programs. Team Twisters has several fun and exciting team building events lined up as they work their way towards Yoga on the Steps. Here’s a little sneak peek into the upcoming events:
- A bus painting party! The plan is to pimp Twisters ride (aka- a school bus that will take the team to Yoga on the Steps) and by pimp I mean paint the entire bus pink!
- Team Twisters Evening in Ambler, a benefit event at an Ambler restaurant featuring raffles and prizes.
- An outdoor yoga class.
- A wine tasting.
Some additional exciting news is that Team Twisters is still recruiting! You are encouraged to get involved , there are several different ways you can help: by joining the team and being a part of Yoga on the Steps, aiding in fundraising, getting involved on a deeper level by helping to plan future events, or by simply donating online. Hope to see you at Yoga on the Steps!
For those of you who live in Ambler, or know the area well, you know that there are very few homes within the borough that have an inground swimming pool; oddly enough there are two for sale right now. The last home to sell in Ambler with an inground pool was in 2005 and before that 2003, which happens to be one of the homes that is for sale today.
That home is on Overlook Road in the neighborhood bordered by Mount Pleasant, Hendricks and Tennis. This small neighborhood offers pretty much just two styles of homes, doll-house Cape Cod or contemporary (if you will). This home is one of the contemporaries, or as I like to refer to them, Brady Bunch’s.
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The other home is in one of my favorite spots in Ambler, on the block of Belmont where it dead ends at Glen Mawr. Unfortunately this home, or should I say the listing of this home is an anomaly in and of itself. I have tried to see the home, but to no avail. It has been on the market for close to a year and due to unusual circumstances they aren’t allowing showings. It seemed pointless to include it but it does have a pool and it is technically for sale. There are no photos of the home but the listing information is here nonetheless.
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According to public records there are only 20 homes in the borough (out of 1771) with pools, 11 of them are reported to be inground. Of course this may not be entirely accurate, but short of knocking on every door in town, that’s the best I can come up with. I’m just happy to sit here, in my nice toasty office, thinking of days warm enough to go swimming!
Valentine’s Day is now just one week away, have you made your plans yet?
We have several great restaurants in town, but the most romantic by far (in my opinion) is Trax Restaurant & Cafe. It is a cozy spot so you and your date are sure to be close in this charming restaurant set aglow by candlelight. As usual Chef Steve Waxman and his crew have quite menu planned for the evening, a 4 course prix fix which sounds absolutely heavenly. The star the evenings varied entrée selection is a Chateaubriand for two, due to the complexity of this dish you must order ahead of time when placing your reservation. If you are not able to spend Valentine’s Day with your special someone, Trax is also offering this special menu the Thursday, Friday and Saturday prior. Be sure to call for reservations before it’s too late!
If you miss the boat on getting a reservation at Trax you may want to try Dettera, they are also offering a 4 course prix fix menu. This menu is only available on Valentine’s Day although Dettera will feature Valentine’s inspired specials the preceding Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
It may seem obvious, but it’s true, women like to get flowers. I think it’s safe to assume that many men would be thrilled to receive flowers as well, perhaps they’d be a bit surprised too. Ambler Flower Shop will be working overtime to make sure your flowers are delivered on time and looking good! Don’t be concerned if you don’t know what to get, they are there to help. You can even go online to view different arrangements, this is my favorite (hint, hint).
I hope you are able to spend some time with the one you love and have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!
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!
Every time there’s a snow storm we take a walk into town and enjoy the beauty and peace of a quite town blanketed in snow. Wednesday nights storm was no exception, I captured this lovely photo on my way home. I hope you enjoy it!