Unless you are under the age of ten, you know what follows those words. As a youngster, the Meatloaf tune was an anthem, as I grew older, it morphed into an overplayed ear worm. Thanks to local filmmaker, Joe Ronca, I can feel good again when I hear, By the Dashboard Light.
A little over a year ago Ambler resident, Joe Ronca, decided to take a break from Yes, Hello! (a sketch comedy group that you may have seen at The Ambler Theater in July of 2012) and focus on a feature film. This is something that he’s wanted to do for a long time and had a handful of half-written scripts and story concepts, but nothing concrete. He was driven to get to work right away and put an ad out on the ISA (International Screenwriter’s Association) looking for scripts. The ad brought in 80+ scripts; some were phenomenal, but were big budget epics that were just not feasible, and some not so good, as evidenced by only a couple pages.
Finally he found the script for “By the Dashboard Light” – a comedy. After being focused on comedy with YH! for the past 3 years, Ronca initially didn’t want to produce a comedy, but the script was so good, that he couldn’t turn it down. Keep in mind, the ISA is an international website and Ronca received scripts from the UK, India and numerous other countries. After falling for the script he learned that writer Sienna Golden Malik was from Media, PA. He took it as a sign and contacted her immediately.
In March of last year they held auditions at 1812 Productions in Philadelphia. They were casting the primary roles of the film and a handful of smaller parts. Close to 200 people showed up and provided some really good auditions (and a ton that weren’t so hot). Ronca also received countless video auditions from people who couldn’t attend. Interestingly, nearly all of the main character roles were filled with people who sent in a video read. The audition process was captured by filmmaker Trevor Senhouse. Shortly after, Ronca selected the primary cast. The lead role of Roger was to be played by the incredibly talented Keith Chandler. Some recent and very exciting news is that veteran character actor Jon Polito (The Big Lebowski) has also joined the cast!!!
They spent the next 3-4 months preparing a short trailer video that could be used as a fundraiser. Ronca and Malik selected their favorite scenes from the film and he wrote a screenplay for the trailer. After a loooooong SAG (Screen Actors Guild) battle over contracts, they finally got the go-ahead to shoot. The trailer was shot in 2 months and took another 2 months to edit. On Christmas day 2014, they launched the early version of the trailer. After some tweaking, the final version came to life (fellow Amblerians will likely recognize the house in the opening shot). The video is used on their Indiegogo fundraising page AND will also play at the Ambler Theater before movies in the upcoming months – followed by a special message from Ronca to the audience.
Fundraising began last week on 4/20. Their goal is to raise $30,000.00 for the film’s primary production, a goal that they’ve been told by fellow producers is very reachable and with our help, they can reach their goal. Aside from the warm fuzzies of contributing to the project, there are some pretty sweet perks for donations at certain levels, including admission to the premiere at the Ambler Theater, tickets to the VIP after party, and BEING IN THE MOVIE! Yes, that’s correct, you my friend, can be a star… Help support a local artist and who knows, Ambler could make the big time! Also, be sure to like the films facebook page to share the journey with them and be among the first to know about exciting new announcements.
What every Ambler buyer wants; quality construction rich in character, offering an open floor plan. The two typically don’t go hand in hand, but in this home, you will find the perfect balance. Bright, open and airy, with tasteful upgrades, including a kitchen that will knock your socks off, studio/garage and off street parking, finished basement, two outdoors areas, and more, this home does not disappoint.
Greeting you is the front porch, a quintessential element if you live in town. If you’re not familiar with Ambler, porch sitting is a must. In the warm months, the town comes alive and this becomes a great vantage point and spot to wave to your neighbors, or invite them up for a cool beverage. The community vibe and old school neighborly feel is one of the best things about Ambler, but we’ll get to that later. Back to the house…
Inside you’ll find hardwood floors throughout, high ceilings, original trim and molding and the open concept that you’ve been looking for. The living room is spacious and looks into the bright dining room, which flows beautifully into a custom kitchen. The owners thoughtfully removed the wall between the kitchen and dining room, creating a truly wonderful space. While they were at it, they renovated the kitchen to a degree that is rarely found in a home like this. If cooking is your game, then you will appreciate the professional grade, gas Themador rangetop and oven. High end Downsview cabinets under the granite countertop, dual bowl, undermount sink, stainless steel appliances, wine rack, fabulous butcher block top island with plenty of room for seating, custom backsplash with Moravian tile detail from nearby Fonthill and more. The kitchen is not only the heart of the home, but where everyone gathers; your friends and family are going to love spending time here. Off the kitchen is a mud/laundry room with front loading washer and dryer, terra cotta floors and plenty of storage.
Upstairs, the hardwood floors continue, and you will find three nicely sized bedrooms. Years ago, people didn’t have nearly as much stuff as we do today, particularly clothing. Therefore, finding closets large enough to accommodate our belongings is a challenge in most homes this age, but not here! Additional closet space was added in the master bedroom, complete with builtins. Also on the second floor is a full, tile bath, with a beautiful door. Yes, I’m highlighting the bathroom door. Weird, I know, but wait until you see it. It speaks volumes to the era in which this home was built and I love it. I want to steal it.
Up another flight of stairs is what used to be a generous attic space that was wisely converted into a fourth bedroom. Two sisters currently share this room, not because there isn’t enough space on the second floor, but because this room is that cool. It really is a unique space, with a vaulted ceiling and skylight that brings in a ton of light, lots of storage, and a private getaway kind of feel. If this space isn’t used as a bedroom, it would be a great studio, reading room or office.
Yes, we’ve already covered a lot of space for a twin home, but there is more. The basement is finished and offers great space as a family room and all around gathering place. This level also offers a half bath, wine cellar (well, not quite yet, but that’s what I would make it), and convenient exit to the rear yard.
Speaking of the rear yard, it is super cute. There is a recently built deck with plenty of room for seating, eating and all that good stuff, along with a yard complete with flowering trees and perennials. Also, the owners have installed a rain barrel, to tickle your eco fancy. In the rear of the home is a one car detached garage, which was converted into a studio. Whether the potters wheel is spinning or band practice is in full effect, this is a very creative space that has endless possibilities. Leading to the studio is a driveway, yes, off street parking! This is a huge bonus and a game changer when you’re so close to town. And no, the car doesn’t come with the house, but nice try.
Ahhh, and now onto town. I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, you are already fairly familiar with Ambler and have likely targeted the town for your home search (like I did). If so, you probably know what Ambler has to offer, but if not, there is so, so much. Tiny, little, Ambler Borough is less than one square mile, but packs a big punch. There is a vibrant downtown that offers great restaurants and bars, a historic, 3 screen, indie movie theater, an acclaimed playhouse, shopping, services (like the old school tailor, shoe repair, salons a plenty, etc.), yoga/karate studios, music schools, and more. All of this, including the train to the city (and Doylestown) are just blocks away. Several new businesses are in the throws of opening in town (a bakery, a restaurant, and a co-op is in the works), demonstrating that Ambler is a smart investment. Ambler’s hardworking volunteer organization, Ambler Main Street, brings festivals and fun events throughout the year. Also, the Ambler Farmers’ Market is 4 blocks away! Open Saturdays, May – October, this is not only a place to purchase fresh, local food, but a community gathering place. Which brings me back to that community feel that I mentioned earlier. This is one if the best things about Ambler, that you may not know, unless you’ve lived here. It really is Small-town, USA. My friend likes to recount her “Ambler experiences” by opening with, “It was the perfect Norman Rockwell moment”. These Norman Rockwell moments happen all the time, in fact, I had one this past Saturday. I left my house to head into town and encountered our local firetruck and police leading a huge group of kids and their parents towards Pickering Field for opening day of Ambler Junior Baseball. Talk about warm fuzzies. It’s actually hard to walk around town and not run into people you know, and if you’re new to town, that will quickly change. Maybe it’s because the houses are closer together and we have sidewalks, but I think that most of all, it is because Ambler residents deeply care about their community and work hard to make it a truly special place.
Okay, I’ll get off of my Ambler soapbox, but you get the point. Come see this amazing house on Sunday, and come, live the good life in Ambler!
118 Rosemary Avenue
Open house, Sunday, April 19, 1-3pm
For questions and/or more information, please contact me, Allison Wolf.
It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood!
How many at bats have there been at 34 East Butler Avenue? Really, I’m curious, as I’ve lost count. The Wyndham is the standout for me, otherwise, it’s a bit of a blur between then and now. Most recently, 34 East Tavern stepped up to the plate in June of 2013 after Finn McCool’s unexpectedly closed. A year later, 34 East was publicly listed for sale, and by next week, the building will have a new owner. With a new owner, comes a new restaurant, Gypsy Blu.
Although new to Ambler, the force behind Gypsy Blu is not new to the business, not by any stretch. Partners, Kim Strengari and Marianne Gere, are established restauranteurs, with three successful eateries under their belts. Stella Blu (2001), The Gypsy Saloon (2004), (see what they did there) and Southern Cross Kitchen (2012) are located just 20 minutes away in Conshohocken, and all three thrive within less than one mile of each other. Pretty impressive, if you ask me. I was not able to connect with the owners, so I cannot speak to the Gypsy Blu concept or menu, but am confident that it will be a welcome addition to Ambler. Their restaurants are known for great food and atmosphere, a fun bar scene, live music, alfresco dining (can’t wait to see what they do with the best patio in town), a rockin’ happy hour and exciting nightly specials. Brunch is served at two of the three locations (including bottomless bloodys and mimosas!), hopefully this trend will continue in Ambler.
I was told that after the final, last call at 34 East (this Saturday night) a crew will quickly step in and get renovations under way. Apparently, the plan is to close for only a short time (about two weeks) before reopening as Gypsy Blu. They have been hiring for several weeks and from what I’ve heard, training in their Conshohocken restaurants, so perhaps the staff will be ready go. Regardless, two weeks seems pretty bold, but cheers to them if they can pull it off. Also of interest, it was reported that the second and third floors will eventually be turned into 10-12 luxury apartments. Hopefully more on this to come.
For now, let’s welcome Gypsy Blu and hope that this batter hits a home run.
In the mean time, let’s help 34 East go out with a bang! They will be cash only and are offering HUGE discounts, as well as a DJ Thursday, Friday and Saturday, stop by, it’s a party!!!
UPDATE, April 7, 2015:
The property officially changed hands yesterday, April 6, 2015, sources say Gypsy Blu hopes to open sometime in May.
Yes, as I type it is 4 degrees, but warmer days are coming. Looking at this photo gives me hope; lush green grass, leaves on the trees, flowers, SUN! Fortunately the owners of 169 Rosemary take such pride in their outdoor oasis that they have a photo from warmer days, AHHH, this feels good. Truly a great house all around, but this private yard is one of my favorite features. Many a good time has been had here, and it is now time for a new owner to make their own memories here.
You truly have the best of both worlds in this charming Ambler Borough home; enjoy the excitement of downtown Ambler, then walk home to relax in your very own, special home. The location is superb, and this home has been beautifully cared for and maintained. The home boasts great natural light, spacious rooms, and a gorgeous, updated, eat in kitchen featuring gas cooking and stainless steel appliances.
This home is perfect for entertaining, as your guests will feel comfortable relaxing on the quaint, covered front porch (porch sittin’ is a must in Ambler), in the open living and dining rooms, which look into the kitchen (where everyone always gathers) and then out to the private, fenced in, rear yard.
169 Rosemary is a four bedroom home, but with so much space, that the current owners use the fourth bedroom as a fabulous walk-in closet and dressing room. The ceramic tile bath has an updated/retro feel that attests to the quality and style of yesteryear but speaks to modern taste. There is also a convenient powder room on the first floor and mud room off of the kitchen. The roof, siding and rear fencing have all been replaced within the last three years. The taxes are unbelievably low and of course, great schools (Wissahickon School District, Shady Grove Elementary).
This home allows you to move in, unpack, and start living your life in a wonderful town with incredible restaurants, theaters, shopping, annual festivals, farmers’ market, it is just blocks to the train, and so much more! There is time to be in before Spring and enjoy Ambler life to it’s fullest! Come see this wonderful home at the Open House, Sunday, February 22nd, 2-4pm.
To schedule a tour, contact me today. Allison Wolf, 215-704-9888, [email protected]
Ambler is a sought after area for many reasons, one of them being the charming downtown area; Main Street, USA, at it’s finest. Great restaurants, shops, theaters and more, all contained within a few blocks, surrounded by a wonderful, close knit community. 1120 Hagues Mill Road is NOT your average Ambler area home! While this home offers easy access to all that Ambler has to offer, the setting is a bit different than your typical Ambler home, as the beautiful, wooded property truly feels like a mountain retreat. It is completely manageable at under an acre, but feels like like so much more. The home is set back from the road and the rear yard is peaceful and private (except when the little ones are zip lining and the chickens are on the loose!), think luxury camping trip.
The home itself is just as special as the setting, as one of the owners is an interior designer extraordinaire who has been featured on HGTV, FOX 29 and Country Living magazine. She has taken this spacious split level home and made it sing! Pictures don’t do it justice, you need to see the home to truly appreciate the eye for detail and unique characteristics. The house offers great space and a versatile floor plan, so you can really get creative. Currently, the spacious living room is used as the dining room, which is great for entertaining and large get togethers. The space offers hardwood floors, wonderful custom details and a fireplace with a rustic wood mantle. The dining room opens up into the sitting room adjacent to the kitchen and breakfast bar. This is a fabulous use of space, as one can be working in the renovated kitchen, while carrying on conversation with those in the cozy sitting area. Working in this kitchen is a dream, it has a great flow & top notch amenities; custom cabinetry, copper farm sink, beautiful counters, and fun chalkboard. Sharing this wonderful, conversational space, is a screened in porch with french doors, custom wood cathedral ceiling with sky lights and ceiling fan.
A more casual family room is located on the lower level complete with custom builtins, a hip bar area, and outside access. Access to the oversized laundry room and updated powder room can be found here, as well. Upstairs you will find two suites! The second floor offers a wonderful junior suite, two nicely sized bedrooms, all with ceiling fans, and shared hall bath. This floor is currently carpeted, but the same lovely hardwoods that you see downstairs are hiding beneath. A short flight of stairs leads to the very spacious fourth bedroom offering a great little nook, perfect for a desk with a view. The master suite is on a floor of its own, complete with a huge bath, cedar closet, exposed beams, custom stylish wainscoting, window nook and ceiling fan. This home also offers a 2 car garage and full basement, perfect for a work shop and storage.
Being just one block outside of the borough, this home offers the benefits of living in Ambler, but is in acclaimed Upper Dublin School District. For those who need to commute, the location is ideal, as it is just minutes to all major routes of travel and one mile from the Ambler train station.
Truly a special home and a wonderful opportunity, all that is missing is you!
5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, 4,000+ square feet, all for $450,000. Yes, you read that right.
To schedule a tour, contact me today. Allison Wolf, 215-704-9888, [email protected]
Photography by the very talented Gridley & Graves.
If you, like me, have been jonesing for Alice Bakery & Confectionary’s bread and baked goodies since the close of the Ambler Farmers’ Market in October, the wait is over! Well almost over, as we still have to wait for fit out and opening day, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. Alice will be opening (hopefully in March) at 95 E Butler Avenue, the former site of Caffe Maida, on the corner of Butler and N Ridge.
This will be the second location for Alice Bakery & Confectionary; owner, Dennis Darr (right), opened his first bakery in North Wales just three years ago. Darr was formally trained at the French Pastry School and has worked alongside renowned chefs, pastry and otherwise, throughout his career. His well honed skill did not remain a secret for long in the sleepy town of North Wales, as word of mouth traveled and gushing reviews abounded.
Lacking a savory baker in town, we were very fortunate to have ABC join the Ambler Farmers’ Market for the opening season in 2013, and again this past year. What a treat Alice proved to be, a huge anchor for the market and undoubtedly, one of the biggest draws. If you’ve shopped the famers’ market, then likely, you’ve met Dennis. He is the friendly, tall, bald guy who has been up hours before the crack of dawn shaping, proofing and baking your the bread. Of course, bread is not all ABC has to offer, in addition to amazing breads you will find assorted pastries (scones, muffins, croissants, danishes, sticky buns), cupcakes, cookies and the like. If you only know ABC from the market, then you may not realize that it is also a fabulous lunch spot. Think charming french cafe offering delicious homemade soups, wonderful salads and sandwiches, quiche of the day (typically two varieties), and more. I’m totally addicted to their portobello mushroom soup (accompanied by a perfect French baguette, of course) as well as their chicken salad (loads of fresh dill, MMMM!). If you’re smart, you’ll save room for something sweet after lunch, my favorite is the pineapple upside down cupcake, or as I call it, party in your mouth. Last, but not least, Darr is also a chocolatier, he creates beautiful and decadent chocolates, and they offer custom cakes, as well.
Alice will open early in the morning, serve lunch from 10:30-2:30pm and close @ 6pm. Eventually (hopefully by Spring), they will extend their hours and stay open late to accommodate the after theater and dinner crowds. It has been said that a bakery is the heart of a town, and I believe that having this keystone in place will be an important part of Ambler’s continued growth. ABC will be a wonderful addition to our town and I can’t wait for opening day!
Be sure to like their facebook page for updates.
This is an exciting time of year, and Ambler is celebrating! As you can see below, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy the holiday season in town. Ambler Main Street, our local theaters, shops, eateries, pubs and churches are all doing something to make the season extra special. Bring your family, invite your friends and celebrate with your neighbors!
December 4: Live Nativity at St. Anthony’s, 6-8pm. The Christmas Story is portrayed by over 100 parish volunteers, outdoors at St. Anthony of Padua, on Forest Avenue. Complete with live animals, this is a beautiful tradition that you don’t want to miss.
December 6: Ambler Main Street Annual Holiday Parade, updated time 11am. Make sure the little ones bring their letters for Santa!
December 6: Tree Lighting, 6pm. This is a new event this year, and hopefully one that will continue for years to come. The tree will be located in the grassy area next to Sweet Briar Cafe, on Lindenwold Ave. Presented by our friends on Lindenwold Ave, Sweet Briar Cafe, Tony Serrao, State Farm and Ambler Barber Shop.
December 9-28: Act II Playhouse is featuring three different holiday shows that are sure to please! ‘Making Spirits Bright‘ is a Holiday Comedy Cabaret (12/9-28). Murray the Elf returns in ‘Murray the Elf and the Case of the Stolen Sleighbells‘ which is a funny show geared towards families with children 5 years and older (12/20-26). Barrymore Award winning singer, Joilet Harris, returns for one night to perform ‘Joi to the World‘ an evening of Holiday Songs (12/21).
December 10: Holiday Sing-A-Long and IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE!, 6:30pm, at the Ambler Theater. The Ambler Symphony will perform a holiday concert, followed by a sing-a-long of familiar carols. Following the sing-a-long, the theater will screen the Frank Capra Christmas classic (and my favorite movie, yay!), It’s a Wonderful Life!!! If by some crazy chance, you have not seen this movie, you must see it on the big screen! If Ambler is near and dear to your heart, you will immediately feel a connection to Bedford Falls. This film will melt the heart of Mr. Grinch and even Scrooge.
December 11: Santa by Train, 7pm. Ambler Main Street brings Santa to Ambler once again! He is foregoing his sleigh, it’s only December 11th after all, and arriving at the Ambler Train Station to greet his friends and join them in walking to the Ambler Theater. Once they arrive, the theater will screen a Christmas classic for the kids to watch as they wait for their turn with the big guy.
December 12: Holiday Shopping Night, 5-9pm. Your favorite Ambler shops and eateries will be open until 9pm and offer exciting holiday specials. This is a great way to support our local businesses and cross those gifts off your list. Of course, you’re likely to find a few gifts for yourself, but that’s okay, you deserve it! While in town, enjoy the sound of carolers!
December 20: The castle at St. Mary’s will be open for tours, 11am-5pm. The castle will be dressed for Christmas and Santa will be there (pictures, noon-4pm)! Admission is a donation of your choice and the event benefits the students at The Villa.
December 23: Forest & Main presents, The Night Before Christmas. I believe this is the third year F&M has done this, and it is a wonderful tradition. There will be a 5pm reading for families, complimentary milk and cookies for the little ones, and the spicy, adult version of this classic poem will be performed at 10pm. And yes, mulled wine will be flowing. If we’re lucky, Christmas Karaoke will ensue!
December 24: The First Presbyterian Church of Ambler is holding a Traditional Candlelight Service at 9pm.
If you know of other Ambler holiday events that should be shared, let me know. Next stop, New Years Eve!
Two of Ambler’s most iconic properties are currently for sale, the Ambler Cabaret was listed back in April, and today 34 East Tavern (or The Wyndham, as I still like to call it) hit the market. The owners are asking $2,899,000 for the property, which includes the infamous historic building with full kitchen, bar and restaurant (second and third floors are currently shells), a liquor license, the adjacent parking lot, and the building that houses El Limon.
This property has had a troubled past; between several unsuccessful endeavors, a partial wall collapse, and other sordid events, it seems to carry a bit of a dark cloud. The MLS remarks state that the property is ideal for “a hands-on owner who can take this location to the next level,” I couldn’t agree more. Between the incredible architectural detail and the best patio in town, there is LOADS of potential here. I’ve heard it called the crown jewel of the town, I hope that someone will come along and truly make it shine.
UPDATE, January 15, 2015:
The listing for 34 East expired this past November. The property was re-listed today at a reduced price of $2,400,000.
UPDATE, April 7, 2015:
The property settled yesterday, April 6, 2015, for $1,725,000.
August 4th marks Cornerstone’s 3rd Annual Narnia in the Park! Cornerstone Presbyterian Church returns to Pickering Field for five nights, as Rev. Dr. Carl R. Trueman reads C.S. Lewis’ The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. The nightly readings, August 4-8, will take you back into the world of Edmond, Lucy and Prince Caspian as they are joined by Eustace in the search for seven lost Lords of Narnia. Each evening will also feature mini concerts of folk and classical music, light refreshments and activities for the kids. This is a wonderful event for the entire family, but don’t stop there, invite your neighbors and friends as well! Bring your own blankets and chairs and sit back as Pickering Field becomes Narnia. The icing on the cake… this event is FREE!!! Be sure to give Cornerstone a big thank you for their hard work in bringing this to the community, once again!
In the case of inclement weather, the event will take place at Cornerstone Church, 211 W. Bethlehem Pike, adjacent to the Sons of Italy building.
Unfortunately, the Ambler Cabaret was before my time. I’ve heard so many stories of great bands who played there and good times a plenty over the years. As I’m sure you know, the Cabaret closed over 20 years ago and has been out of commission since. It changed hands last summer for the bargain price of $151,250. That price was not only for the cabaret space, but included 5 apartments, as well as 5 additional office spaces on the second and third floors. The sale was private and rather shocking considering Ambler values, even despite the poor condition. As of today, the property has been listed for sale at a mere $1,150,000. Pretty quick potential return on an investment, I’d say. According to the MLS listing, “the 5 apartments are clean and very close to having a U&O.” There could be potential for the office spaces to be converted into additional apartments, and the cabaret space needs complete renovation. Hmmmm, will be interesting to see what happens…
UPDATE, April 7, 2015
After being on the market for 345 days, the price of 57 E Butler has been reduced to $799,900.
We're sorry, but we couldn't find MLS # 6548392 in our database. This property may be a new listing or possibly taken off the market. Please check back again.