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…
Last week while walking in town I bumped into restaurateur, Dave Magrogan. He and his architect were outside the Shanachie discussing future plans; Dave confirmed that the rumors are true and that our beloved Shanachie (R.I.P.) will become Doc Magrogan’s, an Oyster House and Raw Bar.
Magrogan’s is a chain, with three existing locations (two in PA and one in DE), and is part of the Dave Magrogran Group along with well known Kildare’s and a few other restaurants. Personally, my first reaction is that Ambler is not a town befitting of a chain restaurant, but I will reserve judgment. However, I think it’s great that Magrogan’s is a restaurant unlike any of the other eateries in town. The menu looks pretty good, I am particularly looking forward to trying some items on Docs Raw Bar and am thrilled that a Nicoise Salad* will be available in town (my fave). Dave said they hope to open in September, I’ll keep you updated as we get closer.
I’m curious, have you been to any of the other Doc Magrogan’s? If so, please share your experience below.
*FYI ~ If you are a fellow lover of Nicoise, The Chestnut Hill Hotel/Grill has a fantastic one!
Cinnamon buns, cookies, and pies, oh my! If you haven’t heard, Ambler will once again have a bakery in town! It has been many years since beloved Goettner’s closed their doors, since then many locals have yearned to be able to pick up freshly baked goods in town. As of tomorrow morning, the wait is over! Homemade Delights will open their doors, Saturday morning, April 14th.
Homemade Delights is located at 19 Lindenwold Avenue on the corner at Race Street (near Coneheads). Owner, Tracey Hering, has been working hard since December to prepare the space for opening day. I had the pleasure of meeting Tracey and checking out the new digs this week, as you’ll see, the bakery is empty, but not for long! Although Saturday will feature a somewhat limited menu as they ease into things, but once up and running you can expect to find cookies, cakes, pies, cinnamon and sticky buns, specialty breads, cheesecakes, hand dipped chocolates including truffles and much more! Homemade Delights will not be baking rolls and traditional breads yet, but have arranged for Corropolese to deliver freshly baked rolls and Italian bread each and every day.
Homemade Delights will be open 6 days a week, hours below. Please visit Tracey and welcome her new bakery to Ambler, tomorrow morning, Saturday, April 14, beginning at 6am!
- Closed Monday
- Tuesday – Friday: 6am – 4pm
- Saturday: 6am – 3pm
- Sunday: 6am – 1pm
There is a lot of activity in town lately, so much so that it’s hard to keep up! As you know, Ambler suffered a great loss this past month with the closing of The Shanachie; Gerry, Ed and the whole cast and crew will be sorely missed.
Walking in town, a quote made famous by Alexander Graham Bell comes to mind, “When one door closes, another one opens,” and it seems as though there are quite a few doors opening in town. Here’s a rundown of who is new to town, moving around in town, and soon to make an appearance…
Ambler Golf Shop ~ 10 E. Butler Avenue, (215)628-GOLF, www.AmblerGolfShop.com
Ambler Golf Shop is a retail golf shop that opened mid February. They offer high end apparel for men and women, accessories and equipment, they offer re-gripping services as well. Owner, Kevin Melrath, is a former golf professional with the experience and selection you’re looking for in a golf shop.
Ambler Music ~ 310 E. Butler Avenue, (267)481-2850, www.AmblerMusic.com
Ambler Music is not a new kid on the block by any stretch, just fat and happy in a new location as of March. The extra space allows for a larger variety of teachers and the ability to cater to more students. Ambler Music offers a vast array of private music lessons, as well as general group lessons for children, performance services, recording and more. Whether it’s individual music education or volunteering his time organizing Ambler events, owner, Luke Cleary, is dedicated to increasing the arts and culture in the Ambler area.
Homemade Delights ~ 19 Lindenwold Avenue
Homemade Delights is a locally owned, family bakery featuring freshly baked goods including, cinnamon buns, bread, pies, cookies, cakes and more. Specialty items for the holidays and events will be available as well. They hope to open in early April.
Barberella ~ 44 E. Butler Avenue, (215)643-4066, www.barberellabeauty.com
Barberella is a chic boutique style hair and skin care salon, but they are not new to town, just new to Butler Avenue. After 6 great years on Forest Avenue the need for expansion can no longer be put off! Barberella’s new home has been a salon (Shirley’s) for the past 20+ years, but you may not recognize it, as it is currently undergoing quite the transformation. Owner Trisha Stewart and her stylists will be movin’ on up in May.
Ambler Beverage Exchange ~ 259 E. Butler Avenue
Ambler Beverage Exchange will occupy the former home of Ambler Beverage, but the similarity stops there! Of course they will carry the standard market beers, but the focus will be on local breweries, micro breweries and specialty import beers. Education will be a mainstay, with Ambler Beverage Exchange hosting tasting events and guest brewers. Look for them to open this Spring!
A shoe store of which I do not know the name, or any other details. How about some help here? Anyone, Bueller? ~ 38 E. Butler Avenue
Well, that’s it folks! Ok, ok, just kidding! Wanted to see if you were paying attention 🙂
Forest & Main Brewing Company ~ 61 N. Main Street, (215)542-1776, www.forestandmain.com
I know, all you care about is an opening date. Rest assured, you’re not alone, but unfortunately I’m amongst the huddled masses. A facebook update this past Sunday said “hopefully by the end of the week,” we shall see. Poor Daniel and Gerard have been working so hard for such a long time, let’s take it easy on them, no banging down the door and commandeering the pub. For now, you’ll have to drool over the photos I took back in January…
As for the Shanachie location, those “in the know” are being very tight lipped about it. All I can get out of them is that there is definitely a restaurant going in, but they won’t say what or when. If you have any information about this or know of any businesses I’m missing, please let me know in the comments below! See you in Ambler!
I admit it, I’ve been bad and have shirked my responsibility as a blogger. In fact, I may have lost the right to be called such. Obviously, I haven’t posted in ages… although the reason is actually quite positive. Things on the real estate front have picked up considerably, so much so that I have had little, ok, no time to devote here. Since I’ve been completely immersed in real estate and it is also a subject that is very important to many of you, I thought I’d take this opportunity to bring you up to date on our local market.
As I said, the market has picked up considerably, beginning around the first of the year. Typically early January is a relatively quite time in real estate, usually things start to pick up following Super Bowl Sunday (strange, but true). The media sings from the roof tops that it is still a buyer’s market, and while yes, this is true, there are some interesting things happening on the local level.
Interest rates are still unbelievably low and the inventory is still near record highs, but what kind of inventory??? Despite the glut of homes on the market, there is a serious lack of homes with the “WOW” factor. The majority of the homes on the market today are average at best, priced too high, a distressed sale, in poor condition or in a bad location (on a busy road, near train tracks, etc.). I’m not exaggerating when I say there are a lot of buyers out there looking right now; many of them just can’t find a home worth buying. It’s not as though these buyers are being unreasonable or picky, I understand their viewpoint 100%. This is pretty frustrating for a buyer who has finally decided to take the leap; they’ve mentally and financially prepared themselves, flown over the moon and back with excitement, and now they wait, and wait, and look and wait…
I think many home owners who don’t need to sell are holding off, thinking that the market is too soft and they’ll have a tough time. While this may be true for some, for those who have a WOW house, this is an amazing time. Buyers who have been out there in this market for a while are now able to recognize what a rare opportunity it is when the “total package” comes along. These homes are going under contract in weeks, many just days. Remember, what you hear on national TV and radio is just that, national news. If you’re a home owner or a potential home owner, it’s important to know what’s happening on your local level.
My suggestion to you as a Seller: Take the extra time to take care of the small details before listing your home, have someone lend a critical eye and be open to suggestions; it can make all the difference in the world. I’m not suggesting major improvements, as in this market they aren’t paying off in terms of return, however, they are paying off in that you home is going to sell, and sell in a shorter period of time.
As a Buyer my advice is to get out there and start looking, even if your purchase is months away. You don’t need to pound the pavement, but be aware of what’s available so when the time comes you’ll already have some experience under your belt. It could be the difference between finding and buying the perfect home or missing out on a great opportunity because you weren’t ready. Of course you should get pre-approved before you embark on this journey, as you want to make sure that you have set accurate and achievable expectations for yourself and your new home.
I work all over Montgomery County and some areas of Philadelphia, the conditions I’ve discussed above are prevalent throughout the area. As you know, Ambler is my specialty and I have to say if you want the quintessential Ambler house you need to give yourself more time than the average bear, as Ambler is less than one square mile so needless to say, these homes are few and far between!
If you are considering a move, but not ready to talk yet, feel free to stick your toe in and test the water here on my site! Buyers are welcome to search all available homes and Seller’s, you can take advantage of a great tool to help you determine the value of your home. Happy spring!
Mark your calendars for the 2012, Ambler Arts Festival! Saturday, June 16, 11am – 7pm you are invited to spend the day in downtown Ambler taking in local, hand crafted art, great music, food and shopping. This fabulous event is not to be missed!
As we get closer to the festival the site will be updated with more information, including featured artists, musicians, and more! If you are an artist interested in exhibiting you’ll find everything you need here. We look forward to seeing you in June!
Last Sunday, St Mary’s Villa for Children and Families opened their doors to the public for the first time in over decade. There was an overwhelming response from the community, as the former Mattison estate is an incredible piece of property that many have been curious about for quite some time. I, myself, have longed to see the inside of the famed “castle” and have attempted walking the grounds before but only to be asked to leave. I suppose I missed the Private Property signs…
The self guided tour was interesting and informative (I’ve included an excerpt of the tour notes below), although as impressive as the property is, it is sad to see the state of the grounds. The beauty and splendor they once exuded I can easily imagine, but due to the cost of maintenance the grounds are now in very poor condition. Opening the property for this tour is one step towards raising money for much needed maintenance and restoration. Don’t worry if you missed the opportunity, they will be holding tours periodically going forward. Below are some photos I took as well as some information from the tour, I hope you enjoy!
St Mary’s Villa for Children and Families, formerly known as “Lindenwold”, the estate of Dr. Richard Vanseelous Mattison (1851 – 1936). Dr. Mattison was co-owner of Keasbey and Mattison Company of Ambler, the largest asbestos manufacturing company in the world in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Dr Mattison received his degrees from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (1872) and the University of PA Medical School (1879). He formed the company with fellow classmate, Henry G. Keasbey, initially to produce pharmaceutical products. Since boyhood, Mattison had been interested in asbestos and began experimenting with it in combination with magnesium based carbonate. He formed it into insulating material for pipes and his empire was created.
Ambler flourished due to Dr. Mattison’s influence. Many homes were built for company workers and he was the force behind the development of the electric and water companies. Dr. Mattison was a forward thinking man like many of the wealthy tycoons of his day. In 1888 he purchased Lindenwold which contained an elaborate Victorian mansion. In 1912 he encased it in stone to resemble Windsor Castle in England. Dr. Mattison enjoyed traveling in Germany and Scotland and many of the European features of Lindenwold still exist today.
Dr. Mattison was married twice and had three children by his first wife, Esther, whom he married in 1874. Their first child , Esther Victoria, born about 1878 died at the age of four from typhoid fever. Their second child, Richard Jr. was born about the time she died and their third, Royal, in 1895. Both Richard and Royal worked with their father in the family business. In their early adult years, Richard lived on Cedar Lane and Royal in 8 Lindenwold Terrace. Richard never had children, but Royal had one, Royal Jr.
Dr. Mattison’s business thrived until the depression years. He was forces to move from the Castle around 1934 to 1 Lindenwold Terrace. Lindenwold eventually sold to the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth (the present owners) in January, 1936. Dr. Mattison died in November of that year at the age of 85.
There is a lot more information, history and detail that you will get by taking the tour, I suggest that you do so the next time it’s offered!
Today was one of those jump up and click your heels kind of day; not only was I able to sit down and enjoy great conversation with fellow Amblerites, but I also had the privilege of getting a sneak peek into Forest & Main Brewing Company! I, along with many of you I’m sure, have been dying to see what they’ve been up to in there. Of course, I follow their blog and facebook page but seeing their labor of love in the flesh today was truly impressive. Daniel and Gerard have really done an incredible job of transforming the space and it couldn’t be more perfect. I took a few photos to share with you (click the thumbnails below), but only of the bar area, you’ll have to experience the rest for yourself. Which leads to the question that everyone has been asking for quite some time now, “When will they open?!” If all goes well they hope to be open by the end of the month, be sure to check their facebook page for updates.
See you at Forest & Main 🙂