Neighborhood in a Nutshell: Merion Station
Merion Station is extremely convenient to center city Philadelphia, but it definitely feels suburban. There’s a good mix of newer people and more established home owners who have lived here for a long time. You’ll find some shopping and dining (think deli) along Montgomery Avenue, a train station, and lots of beautiful old stone homes on tree-lined streets. Merion is extremely desirable for people looking to be out of the city in a true community, but not in the “boondocks”.
Note: along the Main Line, the moniker “Merion” is used in several different combinations. if you find you are confused, here’s a short primer: Lower Merion is the name of a township and the school district that is entirely contained within that township. Merion Station is the name of a town, but it is also often referred to simply as Merion. This town is located within Lower Merion Township. Upper Merion is a separate township and has its own school district and is northwest of Lower Merion.
Like the neighboring town of Bala Cywnyd, Merion has some beautiful old stone row homes and some twins. Most of the houses, though are single family stone colonials. There are several “estate blocks” with mansions that were the old country estates of wealthy Philadelphians. The Merion Park section is the epitome of neighborhood communities. With modest sized homes on fairly small lots, Halloween in Merion Park is epic and General Wayne Park is heavily used and enjoyed. Near the train station,there are homes that fall somewhere in between on the continuum–not as large and expensive as the estate homes, but larger and more expensive than the smallest, most modest properties in Merion.
The Merion Botanical Gardens. This park (complete with sign admonishing visitors to protect the beautiful surroundings) has a sweet little creek running through it, lots of trees and is a great place for a picnic. It’s an ideal place for picture-taking (think yearbook or engagement photos) in the fall because the leaves are stunning.
The Merion Tribute House. This gorgeous stone building on landscaped grounds right in Merion was built as a tribute to the 81 Merion men who fought in WW1. It was also intended to serve as a community center and play space for children. The Arts and Crafts structure used local stone and the leaded stain glass windows lend grace and beauty to this wonderful public resource. Many people rent it out now for weddings or other parties. It is truly a beautiful tribute.
Best Kept Secret
Merion’s post office. Believe it or not, it is known to few but heavily favored by those who are aware of it. It is housed in a charming old building adjacent to the Merion train station, almost tucked beneath it. Because it’s not well-known, it is the best choice if you don’t like to wait in line at the post office, especially during December when mailing letters and packages becomes a competitive sport!
For reasons that my research has yet to unveil, Merion Rd. has several very old sections which are made of brick. Those of us who live here tend to not even notice it, but out-of-towners always remark on it and ask why it’s brick. Again, the only answers are that it was originally built that way and, for whatever reason, when it was paved, certain sections were left as brick. It’s a bumpy ride and particularly treacherous in snow, but quite charming!
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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