Greater Philadelphia Communities

The Greater Philadelphia Street Map and Business Directory

Chester County Pennsylvania

Agriculture in Chester County, Brandywine CountryFew places feature a scenic suburban setting as picturesque as Chester County. Horse races and fox hunting, covered bridges and old farmhouses, lake fishing and agriculture are all aspects of life for Chester County's 491,000 residents. Yet amid this quiet countryside is also a thriving economic marketplace. National and international companies are headquartered up and down Route 202, the region's "High-Tech Corridor." By blending countryside and commerce, Chester County has perfected the art of balance.

Chester County, southwest of Philadelphia, is the most affluent county in the region. It has the highest median household income in Greater Philadelphia and also has the highest median home value at $304,250 in 2008. Homes generally have more land than other areas in the region, adding to property values. Additionally, Chester County's commercial appeal has greatly increased with the influx of new developments.

West Chester Borough, the county seat of Chester County, is located about 45 minutes west of Center City Philadelphia, in a region known as the Brandywine Valley. Throughout the 1.8 square miles, the population has grown to over 18,000 and real estate values are at a median 2008 sale price of $282,500. West Chester experienced revitalization in the 1990s, as the borough's main street was transformed into a quintessential downtown. Shops, taverns, barbershops, inns and markets recreate the atmosphere of days gone by — the feeling of small-town America, where everything you need is within walking distance of your front door.

Make sure to sample the cuisine at the Dilworthtown Inn, an elegant restaurant that's a local favorite. West Chester is also the home to QVC, the world's largest electronic retailer. Right in the heart of the borough, West Chester University makes it a college town bustling with young people. Families also find their niche in West Chester, drawn to the area for its sense of neighborhood. In addition, seniors are attracted to West Chester's numerous retirement communities, most notably Hershey's Mill Villages, a sizable retirement community and golf club with more than 3,000 residents.

The Borough of Downingtown, slightly northwest of West Chester, rests along the scenic Brandywine Creek. Known as a "Main Street Community," the borough really resembles a classic downtown. Nearby Chester Springs offers residents upscale living and status. Homes in this affluent community range from old and elegant to new and modern — all of them striking.

Beautiful homes with grand porches, arched windows and pointed rooftops line the neighborhoods of Kennett Square Borough, while boutiques with lovely façades frame the historic downtown business district. The borough is south of West Chester, about 25 minutes from Philadelphia. Kennett Square's close-knit community comes together often for local events, including holiday concerts, antique shows and shopping nights. The borough is well known as "The Mushroom Capital of the World" — it's where mushroom cultivation first began in the United States. Sizable farms still stretch throughout Kennett Square and residents even hold the Annual Mushroom Festival, a celebration complete with live music, cooking lessons, merchants and a mushroom cooking contest.

If you travel closer to Philadelphia you'll encounter a portion of the very popular "Main Line." These affluent communities, nicknamed for their position along the region's main rail line, extend through Chester, Montgomery and Delaware counties and are sought after for their location and distinction. Malvern, Paoli, Berwyn and Devon are prime examples. Of the four, Malvern is the farthest from Center City, and Devon, in the easternmost portion of Chester County, is the closest. SEPTA's R5 rail line connects the Main Line in Chester County with Center City and makes commutes very manageable.

Malvern Borough, with a population of more than 3,000, features unique Victorian-style storefronts and equally beautiful homes. Its location along the R5 rail line and Route 202 makes Malvern office parks, like the Great Valley Corporate Center, very accessible. The 2008 median home price in Malvern is $362,000.

Moving east towards Philadelphia, you'll come into Paoli and Berwyn. Homes in these communities are often nestled among tall trees and within walking distance of area shops and restaurants. Further east, about 20 miles from Philadelphia, is Devon. Like other Main Line communities, Devon connects directly to Center City via the R5 train and has both classic old homes and lovely new housing developments.

Rolling hills and valleys of Chester County make it a marvelous place to enjoy outdoor activities. Valley Forge National Historic Park, which spans 3,500 acres between Chester and Montgomery counties, has 18 miles of trails, six miles of which are paved. On a day trip to the park, you can set out on a hike, throw a line and fish or paddle away in a kayak. You can also travel back in time and watch re-enactments of Revolutionary War encampments. Kennett Square's Longwood Gardens, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2006, offers visitors a premier horticultural display garden. The Marsh Creek State Park near Downingtown is a terrific spot to go for a picnic. You can rent rowboats, kayaks, canoes and sailboats, or go fishing, hiking, swimming and hunting.

Any discussion of Chester County must make mention of its horses. The abundance of horse trails, riding facilities and equestrian events has earned Chester County the nickname of "Horse Country." Even if you're not a rider yourself, try not to miss the annual Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, a festive 10-day event. It's the largest outdoor multi-breed horse show in the nation. Or there's the Radnor Hunt held in Malvern each spring. Exciting steeplechase races feature riders in traditional riding attire — helmet, riding coat, breeches and knee-high boots. Fans tailgate while watching the exhilarating competitions.

Chester County has it all, from sweeping pastures to Fortune 500 and 1,000 companies. It's a classic countryside: farmlands span many acres, old covered bridges decorate the landscape, hot air balloons float above while horses roam below. Also, the value of commercial real estate has steadily risen over the past few years, as industry has made its mark in Chester County. Come and try Chester County on for size — it's bound to be a fit.

RESOURCES

POPULATION
491,489

CHESTER COUNTY WEB SITE
www.chesco.org

COUNTY GOVERNMENT
610-344-6000

COUNTY SEAT
2 N. High St/, Box 2748
West Chester, PA 19380

LOCAL DAILY NEWSPAPERS

Daily Local News
250 N. Bradford Ave.
West Chester, PA 19382
610-696-1775
www.dailylocal.com

The Phoenix
225 Bridge St., Box 689
Phoenixville, PA 19460
610-933-8926
www.phoenixvillenews.com

CHESTER COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Chester County Intermediate Unit
455 Boot Rd.
Downingtown, PA 19335
484-237-5000
www.cciu.org

MAIN LIBRARY

Chester County Library
450 Exton Square Pkwy.
Exton, PA 19341
610-280-2600
www.ccls.org
There are 18 libraries within this system.

REALTORS

Suburban West REALTORS Association
Malvern Executive Center
100 Deerfield Ln., Ste. 240
Malvern, PA 19355
610-560-4800
www.suburbanwestrealtors.com
Serving realtors in Chester & Delaware Counties and the Main Line.

HOSPITALS & HOUSING INFO

For a listing of Hospital Systems located in Chester County, see the Medical Services Section - Greater Philadelphia Hospital Systems.

Click here for County Housing Information and Related Figures.

 
- deal6 - auctions6