Back in the day, prosperous Philadelphians escaped summer heat by heading to Chestnut Hill, a small village set on a hill 10 miles northwest that was far breezier than the low-lying city. The village is now part of Philly, but has managed to keep its small-town charm with cobblestone streets, historic homes and a lively Main Street lined with shops and cafes.
It’s also still synonymous with wealthy city folk.
“This is not a transient community,” says Marilou Buffum, a realtor with Eichler & Moffly Realtors who specializes in northwest Philadelphia. “There’s a real mixture of people, but there are fewer young, single people like you get in Center City.”
Not surprising, considering the average listing price for a home in Chestnut Hill is over $600,000, according to Trulia.
There are a few apartment complexes geared toward students at Chestnut Hill College, as well as a handful of condos, Buffum says, but most of the homes are single-family, in the form of townhouses, twins and detached, stand-alone houses.
Buffum is seeing small townhouses start in the mid-$200,000s, while some of the big, high-end homes are priced in the millions.
Much of the area, which borders the Wissahickon Creek, is designated a National Historic District.
“It doesn’t feel like you’re in a city,” says Sharon Sherman, owner of Empirical Point Acupuncture, a practice with locations in Center City and Chestnut Hill.
“I always wanted to get to Chestnut Hill,” Sherman says. “There’s just a certain energy about it. The buildings are beautiful, it’s pedestrian-friendly, and it has a really vibrant feel — but still has that small-town accessibility.”
Convenient to check out
Chestnut Hill offers easy access to Center City, with two Regional Rail trains passing through. For the drivers and suburbanites, the Schuylkill Expressway is nearby.
Sherman says that many of her acupuncture clients drive in from surrounding suburbs, then stick around to check out Chestnut Hill’s shops and restaurants.
“It’s the type of place where you come to see me, then afterwards meet somebody for lunch or check out a store you heard about,” she says. “It’s a destination spot.”