If you live in the area, likely you are familiar with St. Mary’s Villa on Bethlehem Pike. I was fortunate to take a tour of the estate when they opened it to the public this past January, to read a little history about the estate and see my photos, check out this earlier post. While the property is an important part of Ambler’s history, its purpose today is to provide care and services to abused and neglected children and families in the greater Philadelphia area. I’ve met many locals over the years who volunteer their time to work with the kids and help out in other ways on site. If you’ve considered doing so, but aren’t sure you can commit the time, donations are always welcome and now there is a special opportunity on the horizon; a fundraiser that will benefit the Villa and be a fun night out in town all at the same time!
Sunday, August 26, The Ambler Theater will be hosting a special screening of the 1966 classic “The Trouble with Angels.” Perhaps this film was before your time, but it was a huge hit in its day and most importantly was filmed on the grounds at St. Mary’s. The fundraiser includes the film screening with popcorn at 4pm, followed by dinner at your choice of one of four Ambler restaurants (Bridget’s, From the Boot, Massa or Giuseppe’s) all for $40, proceeds going to St. Mary’s Villa for Children and Families. Tickets can be purchased in advance through the theater’s website.
Find the magical doorway to Narnia in Ambler next week! Pickering Field will be bustling with activity during a week long celebration of the C.S. Lewis classic, courtesy of Cornerstone Presbyterian Church. You can expect to find mini concerts (traditional English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh songs) and a reading from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe each evening, Monday, August 6th through Friday, August 10th, 7-8pm. There will also be activities for children who may find it difficult to sit through a 3o minute reading, and free water ice for all in attendance!
This is a great opportunity to get the family together and spend some time with your neighbors. Be sure to thank Cornerstone for putting this together, particularly as they are offering this wonderful event free of charge! Be sure to bring your own blankets and lawn chairs if desired. If the weather is inclement, the fun will be moved to Cornerstone Church, 221 West Butler Avenue, adjacent to the Sons of Italy.
Narnia in The Park
Pickering Field, Park & Highland Avenues
August 6-10, 7-8pm each night
As I’m dutifully checking the MLS this morning, what do I see, but the familiar black and red facade, for sale! As most of you know, Doc Magrogan’s was planning to open here in the fall, heck Dave Magrogan told me that himself! There have been rumors the past few weeks that the deal had fallen apart, this listing this morning seems to confirm that. I don’t have any details, and those in the know seem to be pretty tight lipped about it.
Time will tell what happens with this space; I personally hope it doesn’t turn into a chain restaurant or sit vacant for too long, Ambler has far too many vacancies as it is. That said, The Shanachie is for sale; they are asking a cool $1.1m, any takers? Anyone… Bueller…
Update (Jan 2013):
The former Shanachie sold in December, 2012 for $735,000. One of the owners/partners is Chad Rosenthal of Rosey’s BBQ, formerly located on North Main Street. As of this update, work is underway at 115 East Butler and Rosenthal hopes to open in March. He is pretty tight lipped about his plans for the new space, but I know live music will be an important aspect. I am looking forward to see his latest venture!
That’s exactly what many have been busy doing; our local real estate market has seen a positive increase in sales since the beginning of the year and June was no exception. June is typically a very busy month for real estate, but last month set the record for the most sales in Montgomery County since August of 2007 (excluding June 2010, as the tax credit expired at the end of that month resulting in a surge uncharacteristic of the market at that time). Not only were sales up in June, but so were pending properties which bodes well for the market in months to come. Of course every home owner, and potential buyer, want to know about prices, have they continued to drop, leveled out, increased? This market history snapshot shows a nominal increase in the median sales price in Montgomery County, but more importantly, it shows decreased inventory and increased sales; again a positive forecast for the market ahead.
If you would like more detailed, area specific, market information, drop me a line!
Have you ever found yourself in KC’s Alley, perhaps things are a tad foggy (a bit like this —>) and then you focus in on, wait, what the Yes, Hello! is that?! Thought to yourself, I’ll google that tomorrow, and then…
Well, think of this as your friendly, timely, reminder about Yes, Hello! They are a local sketch comedy group, who’ve you have probably seen out and about in town, as several group members live and work in Ambler.
Yes, Hello! is celebrating their first anniversary in July and they are pulling out all the stops! They are hosting a screening at none other than the Ambler Theater, Sunday, July 15. The celebration will showcase their sketches, including a few that will be making their debut appearance. You can also expect a little live action, Q&A, and a meet and greet. In the spirit of all things local, ’cause that’s how they roll, the food will be provided by Rosey’s BBQ, brews from Forest & Main, classical guitar played by Luke Cleary (of Ambler Music) and swag made at the Ambler Skate Shop.
Tickets are on sale now, and hold on to your hats… they are only $5 AND free for Ambler Theater members!!! You may not want to bring the kids to this one, but you definitely want to bring your friends. Check out the trailer below, RSVP on facebook, and get your tickets today before they are sold out. See you there!
Ambler’s first official Arts Festival was a huge success! It was an absolutely fantastic day weather wise with an incredible lineup of artists, a great array of talented musicians, tasty treats and an all around good time had by all. This will undoubtedly become an annual tradition in Ambler, to add to the likes of Oktoberfest and the Car Show.
I want to thank all of the fabulous artists who participated, we hope to see you again next year! If you weren’t able to make the Arts Fest this year, check out the photo gallery below and and see what you missed. If you were there, find out if you were caught in my lens!
Also, a HUGE thank you to Luke Cleary, of Ambler Music, for doing a bang up job handling all aspects of music for the day. The day could not have been pulled off without you, Luke!!!
You can see/hear some of the music in the videos below, although you’ll have to pardon my noobness, as you’ll see, I took extremely poor footage (this is why I have professionals video my listings!). The totally rockin’, correctly formatted one is by Stacey Moore, who clearly knows how to do things the right way. Actually, there’s a good amount of
stealing sharing going on here as the “View From the Stage” photo (that I LOVE) is stolen borrowed from Joe Ronca. 🙂
Hope to see you at the Ambler Arts Festival next year!
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!
Mark your calendars for the 16th Annual Ambler Auto Show, Saturday, May 19! The show gets underway at 10am and goes through the afternoon, ending at 3pm. There will be a wide array of antique, classic and unique automobiles for all to enjoy followed by an awards ceremony where the coveted Best In Show will be awarded. Bring the entire family and spend the day in downtown Ambler!
Holy cow, there is so much going on this weekend it’s approaching overwhelming, but what a great problem to have! Here’s the lowdown for the weekend of May 4th…
Friday May 4
First First Friday ~ No, I didn’t stutter, this Friday is Ambler’s first ever First Friday! Join your fellow neighbors and business owners to celebrate all that is Ambler. Downtown Ambler will be bustling from 6-9pm with live music, art, food, activities and an awesome kids zone! The kids zone will be on Race Street, from Main to Spring Garden, and feature inflatables, face painting, crafts, games and more! The merchants will be open late and several of them will be offering exciting specials. To RSVP and see some of the offerings, check out the facebook event page. See you there!
Ambler Skate Shop Grand Re-Opening ~ Rise and shine with the crew at the skate shop on Friday, they will open for business in their new location at 9am. Yeah, it’s a little early, but they are sweetening the deal by offering complimentary Ambler Donuts 🙂 Lunch will be pizza from their new neighbors, Candida’s, and come nightfall we’ll head across the street to Finn’s for a late night celebratory happy hour beginning at 9pm (unless today’s incident calls for a change in plans). Congrats to the skate shop on snagging one of the best spots in town (in my opinion)! 33 East Butler, old home to Fine Things.
Rock ‘N Roll on the Patio at Trax ~ Trax Cafe is hosting a super cool new concept this weekend; they will be transforming their fabulous patio into a sweet little music venue. Beginning at 8:30pm you can enjoy the music of Out of Order while snacking on bite sized taste sensations from Chef Steve Waxman. He has developed a special $5 snack menu for the event AND it’s still BYOB! You really can’t beat it, delicious, affordable food, live music and your own libations. I’m in!
Movie in the Park ~ Last year the movies in the park were such a success that they’re back! The movie this Friday is Mega Mind and begins at sundown at Knights Park. Be sure to bring your own blanket, chairs and snacks, but no need for your wallet, because it’s free!
Saturday, May 5
Philly Am ~ The Philly Am is a premier skate contest that has been around for many years, and this year the Ambler Skate Plaza at Knights Park is playing host. The timing is awesome as it coincides with the Ambler Skate Shop party weekend, they will of course be there, selling their wares but also hosting a tent to fix boards and do tuneups for the contestants throughout the day. You can expect to see 100’s of people in attendance, from young kids to seasoned pros. The different categories in the contest include, Grom (the young folk), intermediate, advanced and also a 30+ division. Three16 and several other well know sponsors (in the skate world) will be in attendance with give aways and prizes. In case you weren’t sure, this is absolutely a kid friendly event. Registration begins at 9am and the contest fires up at 10am. Expect the event to go until sundown, so if you can’t make it in the morning, swing by anytime, there’s sure to be a good show!
Now the big question is, how can I be in more than one place at one time…