The need for fresh food is not a new topic in town, and frankly, neither is a Farmer’s Market. You may remember some discussion about an Ambler Farmer’s Market back in 2010, unfortunately things got derailed. Two years later the market concept is alive and well, as there is a small group of committed citizens who are working hard to make an Ambler Farmer’s Market a reality. We hope to have the market up and running by Spring of 2013, but we need your help to do so! Below you will find links to a survey and a petition; please take a few minutes to show your support and help bring local, farm fresh food to Ambler!
Here are a few highlights from a recent trip I took to a farm market. I say trip because, while well worth it, it was considerably out of my way and as a result I am rarely able to shop there. Being able to walk to a weekly Farmer’s Market in Ambler would be amazing!
I think Ambler is ripe for a Farmer’s Market, what do you think?
Sweet Briar Cafe took over Ambler’s beloved Coneheads this past May, and the name change was meet with some harsh criticism. I say name change because Coneheads actually had several different owners over the years, but no one seemed to notice as the name, and everything else, stayed the same. I’m going to be completely honest, I was initially one of the “outraged.” Coneheads was an Ambler mainstay, a tradition, and who would do such a thing?! After the nostalgic dramatics wore off, I learned quite a bit about the new owners and their vision, and I love it!
This unbelievably tasty treat to the right was my first taste of Sweet Briar, usually I’m a peanut butter vanilla on a waffle cone kinda gal, but owner, JT, talked me into trying this brand new to the menu, ice cream sandwich. Holy cow, this puppy was good; so good that I didn’t even long for my ushe. Cookies and cream ice cream between two freshly baked chocolate cookies from their neighbor next door, Homemade Delights (at the time). On my next trip, I went back to my ushe and was happy that nothing had changed (contrary to some facebook grumblings); it was the same ice cream and as delicious as ever. While there I noticed some new signs in the ice cream window for creative and interesting new treats, even themed treats for 4th of July.
It turns out that Stephanie, daughter of owner JT Talese and her husband Frank, was the one behind some of these creative new ideas. Sweet Briar truly is a family business, and you can feel that vibe when you’re there. They are so family oriented that one of the motivating reasons behind taking on this new adventure was to give neighborhood kids a place where they would feel welcome and invited. The Talese family has lived in Ambler for years and the girls grew up with Coneheads and the library across the street being a big part of their lives. It was a safe place to go with friends and JT wanted to make sure that continued for generations to come. This is evidenced in their After School Happy Hour, which runs Monday – Friday, 2 – 4:30pm, and features special pricing on kid friendly foods. The menu consists of items priced at $2, $3 and $4 and is a great bang for your buck! Kids can expect to find fresh, made to order quesadillas with homemade guacamole, fresh (not frozen) chicken nuggets (fried in canola oil), smoothies, of course ice cream treats as well as other great items.
Also great about Sweet Briar is that they are committed to using locally produced foods and ingredients, and supporting the local economy as much as possible.Their wheat flour (ground on site) comes from JT’s parents farm, SweetBriar, in Bucks County. Seasonal produce comes from local farms or their own organic garden. They support Nelson’s Ice Cream of Montgomery County, also Dietz & Watson, Herr’s, local bakeries, and more. Growing up on a farm has clearly had quite an impact on JT, as the farm to table concept is very important to her.
They have been taking things one step at a time and have just recently released their new breakfast and lunch menus and as of last week are now serving Sunday breakfast as well. The menus may take you by surprise if you think Sweet Briar is just an “ice cream joint.” Breakfast and lunch cater to everyone; you can get a burger or hoagie, but you can also get grilled chicken lettuce wraps or quinoa mac & cheese. Sure they’ve got eggs benedict and meat cakes (yes, I said meat cakes- any breakfast meat dipped in pancake batter and grilled), but you’ll also find fresh ground whole wheat pancakes and smoothies. Healthy options abound at Sweet Briar, including daily specials like Cheddar, Kale & Mushroom Quiche or Grilled Chicken Wrap with avocado, tomato, lettuce, and a side of homemade tortilla chips.
Dinner is on the horizon, possibly making a debut in October. Dinner will reflect the same family feel with entrees like pot roast, cooked all day, homemade soups and the like. JT said to expect meals similar to something that she would serve at her own dinner table at home, healthy comfort food.
I could go on, but I think I’ve gone on long enough, it’s time for you to check out Sweet Briar Cafe for yourself!Sweet Briar Cafe 11 Lindenwold Avenue 215.542.0272 facebook Hours: Mon – Fri: 7am – 2pm, Breakfast/Lunch, 2pm – 4:30pm, Kids After School Happy Hour, Open for ice cream until 9pm (10pm on Fri) Saturday: 8am – 2pm, Breakfast/Lunch, Open for ice cream until 10pm Sunday: 8am – 2pm, Breakfast Only, Open for ice cream until 9pm Breakfast Menu Lunch Menu
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
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!