Neighborhood in a Nutshell: Gladwyne
Gladwyne is probably the most distinctive community on the Main Line in that it is off the beaten track and retains a very old-fashioned feel. The other Main Line towns all have grown and as you drive through the major streets, they tend to bleed into one another. Gladwyne, though, remains steadfastly “apart”. A look at the map will show that it is, indeed, not really on the Main Line (and, as a result, does not have a train station of its own). While there are certainly newer homes, Gladwyne has a lot of old houses, many on septic systems instead of public sewers and with old house quirks like dumbwaiters and root cellars. According to Wikipedia, “Because the town was early to preserve space and has received many donations of land, developers have not subdivided the area into more typical suburban developments, so the area retains a mixture of farm, colonial town, and late 19th/early 20th housing uncharacteristic of other Main Line communities.” If a pastoral, “throwback to an earlier time” feeling is what you’re looking for, Gladwyne has it in spades.
Gladwyne is certainly home to some elegant estate homes, many with ample acreage. Obviously, these are at the top of the price point mountain. There are other, more modest single family homes, though most are in the 4,000 sq. ft. or larger arena. There are, indeed, a few streets with smaller, more affordable properties (as well as some newer houses), but as a general rule, Gladwyne is comprised of older, larger homes.
Riverbend Environmental Education Center. This great organization hosts summer programs, lectures and birthday parties. It is open to the public and kid-centric with lots of opportunities to stomp in streams and collect and identify bugs.
Saunders Woods. This 25 acre preserve in Gladwyne is open to the public and connects to a variety of other trails including the Bridlewild Trail. It’s a wonderful place to feel like you’re much farther away from “civilization” than you actually are.
Best Kept Secret
Boat launch at Flat Rock Park. Few township residents know that there is access to the Schuylkill via the Gladwyne boat launch on River Rd. If you have a watercraft that meets the criteria allowed on the river, feel free to launch when the docks are in the water (from April to November).
The main roadbed of Old Gulph Rd. in Gladwyne runs right through Mill Creek (named for the many mills built here which relied on water power from the creek). The township used to rely on residents using their own judgement as to when heavy rains or ice should be a deterrent, but, sadly, there were too many incidents where judgment was abandoned and emergency services had to be called to pull vehicles out. As a result, the crossing is now only open in weather conditions the township deems safe.
If you are curious about other Main Line towns and neighborhoods, please take a look at my Main Line Neighborhood Guide.
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