Located in the heart of the Main Line are two distinct destinations that share a zip code, but not much else: Narberth and Penn Valley. These two areas offer immense beauty and welcoming, home-town environments that make it easy to forget you are just 20 minutes outside of Philadelphia. Divided by East Montgomery Avenue, Narberth and Penn Valley cater to distinct markets.
Touted for its unmistakable Mayberry-esque ambiance, Narberth is a quintessential small town located along the Philadelphia Main Line. The town was incorporated in 1895, following nearly 200 years of settlement as farmland and a Quaker-friendly community. As the years have passed, Narberth has retained the charming, turn-of-the-century atmosphere, with its strong sense of community and quaint surroundings.
Narberth Borough, which is separate from Lower Merion Township, is spread over just 1 square mile. Nearly everything from the train station to the business district in Narberth is within walking distance of the homes. This is a community in which neighbors all know each other and greet one another on the street, conversations happen on the tree-lined sidewalks rather than the phone and walking into town is a part of day-to-day life. As such, the sense of community in Narberth is strong and includes an active social calendar to bring its residents together. One of the most highly anticipated annual events is the July 4th Celebration. An all-day event, the celebration transforms Narberth Park into a patriotic palooza, all-American food, crafts, games and activities for the whole family. There is a parade to look forward to, as well as one of the most impressive firework displays in all of the Main Line.
The homes in Narberth are built in a variety of styles, with some being constructed as early as the 1800s. On the Northeast side of town, there are row houses and modest single-family homes. On the other side of town, larger new-construction homes mingle aside historic charmers. The homes are situated on quaint lots that allow residents to spend their leisure time enjoying the offerings of the surrounding community and nearby Philadelphia. Perhaps best of all, nearly all of the homes in Narberth are within a few minutes’ stroll of the town center – a throwback to the essence of yesteryear, where locally-owned grocers, ice creameries, boutiques, restaurants and businesses sit side-by-side. There is a two-theater cinema downtown, as well as a beautiful park.
There are no main thoroughfares to bring commuter traffic through Narberth, and thus, the homey atmosphere of the town is upheld year after year. Residents retain unbeatable access to all of the area’s greatest amenities, though, such as the highly rated Lower Merion Township schools, which students in Narberth attend. There are also several impeccable private schools in the region, including the Haverford School for boys, the Baldwin School for girls and the Shipley School, which is co-ed. Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges are also located within 15 minutes of Narberth. Thanks to the Schuylkill Expressway just outside of town and the SEPTA Rail Line running right through Downtown, accessing Philadelphia and the other Main Line towns could not be easier. What a great mix of serenity and convenience.
Just across East Montgomery Avenue is Penn Valley, an unincorporated area that is just as scenic as it is affluent. Penn Valley is more residential than Narberth in nature and features large, well-maintained homes on expansive tracts of land. Many of the lots are over an acre in size, and as such, the spread-out feel of Penn Valley fosters a more private, retreat-like atmosphere. Driving through the community rolling hills and mature trees fill the landscape. Thoughtfully landscaped homes only add to the surrounding beauty.
Penn Valley features a variety of housing types, much like other destinations like along the Main Line, including gorgeous stone mansions built in the early 1900s, Colonials, Victorians and Tudors. Some more modern designs are scattered throughout Penn Valley, but one thing visitors will not see are modern housing developments flattening the natural landscapes. There are two apartment complexes here, both of which overlook the memorable panoramas of the Schuylkill River. All of the homes in Penn Valley enjoy access to one of Pennsylvania’s best public school systems, Lower Merion Township, and a quick commute to the region’s private schools and higher education facilities.
Slightly larger than Narberth at 3 square miles, Penn Valley maintains an exclusive atmosphere that attracts leaders of industry and residents who enjoy small-town living just outside of the city. Penn Valley features a quaint business district on Montgomery Avenue, two lovely parks and wide streets that are ideal for walking or jogging. Schuylkill Expressway is located right on the northern border of town, which makes commuting to surrounding regions convenient, and of course, the train station is located just minutes away in Narberth.