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The Best Free Holiday Attractions in Greater Philadelphia

Image via Visit Philadelphia
Image via Visit Philadelphia

Bring the whole family to the Philadelphia Comcast Building for their popular Holiday Spectacular!  The beautiful event is running until New Year’s Day, and features dancers from the Pennsylvania Ballet, a beautiful light show, and spirited music.  Each show runs at the top of the hour (from 10am-8pm) and lasts approximately fifteen minutes.

 

penn
Image via Penn

Head to the Penn Museum on December 3rd to learn about holiday celebrations around the world! Guests will receive complimentary passes to “visit” countries on display (including China, Kenya, and Japan) and take part in fun-filled holiday traditions for the whole family.  Event runs from 11:00am until 4:00pm.

 

holiday

We love the nation’s oldest continually operating farmer’s market for it’s amazing prepared dishes and fresh produce, but did you know the Reading Terminal Market features an impressive indoor holiday railroad set on display?  From now until New Year’s Eve, the market will operate 17 beautiful working train lines that the whole family will enjoy – and of course, entry is free!


 

Bring the Outdoors In with these Nature-Inspired Local Homes

Situated alongside the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia’s esteemed Chestnut Hill section, this historic French-style home features a cozy library with original architectural details and an indoor garden.  Adjacent to the library is an elegant sunroom overlooking the meticulously landscaped side yard.  9489 Meadowbrook Ave – Offered for $1.575m

chestnut-hill-2 Nature-Inspired Local Homeschestnut-hill Nature-Inspired Local Homes

 

This charming farmhouse in quiet Upper Bucks, just outside of Coopersburg, offers a private third-level affectionately known as “The Treehouse”.  Overlooking eleven private acres, the bright wood finishes and stunning panoramic views offer a tranquil, creative retreat.  2100 Chestnut Road – Offered for $549,900.

bucks3 Nature-Inspired Local Homes

bucks2 Nature-Inspired Local Homes

 

For the most beautiful views of wooded Chester County, be sure to consider homes nestled along Valley Forge Mountain.  The contemporary properties typically feature wraparound porches, oversized windows, and charming mid-century details.  307 Jug Hollow Rd – Offered for $519,000.

Nature-Inspired Local Homes

Nature-Inspired Local Homes

 

Expansive windows, professional landscaping, and a picturesque solarium are just a few of the exciting features in this custom-built home in Wyomissing, Berks County.  112 Robert Road – Offered for $1.1m

Nature-Inspired Local Homes

Nature-Inspired Local Homes


 

HGTV Life vs. Real Life: What You Need to Know

It’s so relaxing to curl up with a cup of tea (or glass of wine!) and tune into one of our favorite shows on HGTV.  The only problem, though, is that while we binge-watch these popular house-hunting shows, we can start to believe that what we see is representative of our local real estate market.

hgtv

While these “reality” shows do accurately depict some elements of the home buying process, there’s quite a bit that misses the mark:

1. Depending on the market, home values and the condition of the homes can be far different.  In Greater Philadelphia, there is a major tradeoff between affordability and professionally staged “Pottery Barn-esque” homes.  It’s not uncommon for EveryHome agents to work with buyers who would love to have a beautiful, move-in ready home but unfortunately, don’t have the budget for it.  Agents work hard to set realistic expectations and assist buyers with seeing the vision of what a home can become with a fresh coat of paint and a little TLC, but it can still be a shock to some folks (especially since we live in a region that is far pricier than many of the communities on TV!).

before-after

2. It can be more complicated than HGTV shows portray.  In fact, producers have even admitted that (for some episodes) the “home shoppers” are actually already under contract with one of the homes! In real life, there are a variety of factors that makes the process a little more difficult, including home inspections, appraisals, and bidding wars.

eh-logo

3. On HGTV, the home values can be a little too ambitious after a renovation. The home-flipping and renovation shows are some of our favorites because they’re so creative and inspire us to update our own homes!  However, some episodes have been a little dramatic in regards to the effect that the renovations have on the home’s price/value.  For example, if someone buys a home for $150,000 and puts in $50,000 of work, many shows have suggested that the home’s new value could be $250,000-300,000.  In real life, however, it’s not often that lucky — and many home flippers will “flop” more than a few times!


 

Four Cozy Restaurants in the Philadelphia Suburbs

With chilly winds and cooler temps, it’s a great time of year to enjoy a warm, hearty meal in a cozy restaurant.  Luckily, there’s no shortage of award-winning eateries in and around the city of Philadelphia!  Here are a few of our favorite spots in the surrounding counties:

Cozy Restaurant
Image via The Kimberton Inn

The historic Kimberton Inn in Chester County offers a cozy fireplace, rustic decor, and an extensive wine list! Seafood lovers will find plenty of fresh options on the menu, and be sure to stop by on the weekend for the popular Sunday brunch.

Cozy Restaurant
Image via Spring Mill Cafe – Photo by Shannon Collins

Enjoy the region’s finest French country fare at Spring Mill Cafe in Conshohocken!  A favorite among locals, the quaint BYOB is located in a charming farmhouse and features an incredible menu by chef Michele Haines.

Cozy Restaurant
Image via the Inn at Phillips Mill

It doesn’t get much cozier than the Inn at Phillips Mill in Bucks County!  Nestled among pretty gardens and winding roads in the New Hope area, the Inn at Phillips Mill offers a rotating, French-inspired seasonal menu and romantic fireside dining.

Cozy Restaurant

If you haven’t heard of Maize in Perkasie, you’ve been missing out! The intimate eatery is a foodie’s paradise, with the locally-grown dishes changing weekly and every item made from scratch.  Because of the restaurant’s popularity, we recommend making reservations well in advance.


 

Can’t-Miss Halloween Attractions in Greater Phila

Only a couple more weeks until Halloween! Greater Philadelphia has no shortage of spooktacular haunted houses, hayrides, pumpkin picking, and corn mazes (and be sure to visit each website ahead of time for ticket information and coupons!)

Halloween

It’s hard to start off this list without mentioning Terror Behind The Walls!  Considered Philly’s premier Halloween destination, the event’s signature haunted tour through the Eastern State Penitentiary is terrifying — and wildly popular.  Be sure to book your tickets as soon as possible, as this event tends to fill up quickly.

Halloween

Be sure to take the kids to Merrymead Farm in Worcester, PA (central Montgomery County) for hayrides, corn mazes, pumpkin picking, and homemade ice-cream!

Tour one of Bucks County’s most haunted homes, the House in the Hollow.  After you explore all seventeen rooms, be sure to take a ride on the Sleepy Hallow Hayride and trek through the cornstalks in the Field of Fright.

Halloween

Head to Arasapha Farms in Glen Mills for an incredible 5-acre corn maze!  Plus, you can grab a caramel apple and a hot cider right after you take the hayride to a pumpkin-picking patch.


 

Top Labor Day Events in Greater Philadelphia

No beach house? No problem! Soak up the summer sun at the following festivals and events in and around Philadelphia for Labor Day:

Labor Day
Parks On Tap – Image via Phillymag.com
  • Head to FDR Park on Labor Day Weekend for the city’s popular “Parks on Tap.”  The traveling beer garden will be offering extended hours for the holiday weekend, and there will be a free yoga class on Saturday at noon!

Labor Day

  • Be sure to stop by The Barnes Foundation on Sunday, September 4th for free admission! As one of the city’s finest art museums, The Barnes Foundation is a great place for a relaxed date, or afternoon with friends.

Labor Day

  • This list just wouldn’t be complete without the Made in America Festival on the Parkway.  Rihanna and Coldplay will be headlining this year’s festivities, and you can also expect appearances from Chance the Rapper, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Desiigner.  Both single-day and weekend passes are available and start under $100.

 

3 Must-Do Events Before the End of Summer

Celebrate summer’s last hurrah with one (or three!) of the following events that embody the sights, sounds, and tastes of our favorite season:

Image via Philly.com
Image via Philly.com

If you can’t make it to the beach, be sure to stop by Spruce Street Harbor Park along the Delaware riverfront for Philly’s favorite pop-up beach.  With 50+ colorful hammocks, floating gardens and craft beer galore, it shouldn’t be a surprise that Spruce Street Harbor Park is considered one of the best places to visit in Philly.  The summertime hotspot is open 7 days per week, free, and dog-friendly (but don’t forget a leash!)

cc sips

For a well-priced cocktail, glass of wine or craft beer after work, be sure to stop by one of Philly’s hottest restaurants and bars each Wednesday for Center City Sips!  Dozens of bars will be offering $5 cocktails, $4 glasses of wine and $3 beers (plus half-priced appetizers) every Wednesday from now through September 28th.  A few of our favorite participating restaurants and bars include MilkBoy, Max Brenner, Devil’s Alley, and Time. Be sure to check out the full list here!

Head to Penn’s Landing every Friday in August for a free smooth jazz concert by nationally renowned jazz and blues artists!  Be sure to arrive by 7pm for the 7:30pm show, and click here to learn more about the featured musicians.


 

The 3 Most Spectacular Backyards in Greater Philadelphia

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With a tiered garden, breathtaking fountains, a pool, and professional landscaping throughout, it’s no surprise that this historic estate (built in the 1850s) was originally called “The Gardens.”   8625 Montgomery Ave, Wyndmoor PA – Asking $1.49m

 

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A secluded, wooded paradise! This pretty Colonial is situated on over 2 acres of lush, private woodlands in historic Chester County. 20 Yeaton Lane, Glenmoore PA – Asking $575,000

 

 

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Have you ever dreamed of your very own two-acre pond for kayaking, iceskating or paddleboarding? This ultra-luxe Fort Washington estate has it all, including a heated lap pool, acres of mature woodlands, and award-winning gardens.  6112 Sheaff Lane, Fort Washington PA – Asking $5.5m


 

Ardmore Restaurant Week Now Until July 31st!

Foodies, rejoice! The Main Line’s most walkable neighborhood, Ardmore, will be hosting the second annual Ardmore Restaurant Week from now until July 31st.

ardmore restaurant week

Participating restaurants will be offering three-course dinners for just $25 or $35.  A few of our favorites include Local Wine and Kitchen (a farm-to-table restaurant), Mikado Thai Pepper, and Firinji for delicious Mediterranean food.

Mikado Thai Pepper Ardmore
Mikado Thai Pepper

Additionally, a number of Ardmore’s most popular bars will be offering reduced-priced (at least 25% off) happy hour specials from 5-7pm.  Be sure to stop by McCloskey’s Tavern, Fuel, and Robeks.

local wine kitchen Ardmore
Local Wine & Kitchen

Don’t forget to make your reservations early, as this popular event fills up quickly!  For more details and a full list of participating restaurants, be sure to visit Ardmore’s official website.


 

Top Trails for Running and Hiking in the Philly ‘Burbs

When you think of Philadelphia, what comes to mind?  We bet you thought of cheesesteaks, Ben Franklin, Steven Starr restaurants and the Liberty Bell — but what about parks, hiking, and miles of trails? Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs are home to some of the most gorgeous parks in the nation, and here are a few of our favorites:

valley forge park Trails

1. Valley Forge National Park. We especially love the challenging and scenic Mount Joy and Mount Misery Trails for some of the best views in the whole park, and trail runners will love the Chapel Trail. If you’re looking for an easier run or biking, be sure to take the 6+ mile paved Joseph Plumb Martin Trail that winds through the whole park.

peace valley Trails

2. Peace Valley Nature Center. Located in the heart of Bucks County,  Peace Valley Nature Center offers 14 miles of trails winding through the beautiful woods and meadows alongside Lake Galena. The trail is largely flat, making it enjoyable for the whole family!

Trails

3. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. If you’re feeling adventurous, be sure to make the trek to Kempton, PA (about an hour from central Montgomery County) to catch some of the greatest views of the Appalachian Mountains.  Newer hikers will love the Lookout Trail to the gorgeous North Lookout point, and there are plenty of options for experienced hikers as well.  Plus, over 18,000 hawks, eagles and vultures migrate to the region each year, so be sure to keep your eye out for raptors!

Trails

4.  Nockamixon State Park is one of our favorite spots to hike, bike, fish, swim, and boat.  Located in Upper Bucks along Lake Nockamixon, the park offers endless opportunities and plenty of different trails — many of which are great for trail runners, too. It’s also a great spot for camping, and cabins are available.


 

The Top Upcoming Festivals in Greater Philadelphia

July is packed with festivals, exhibits, and conventions! Here are a few that we’re looking forward to:

xpn fest

 

1. XPoNential Music Festival will be held this year from July 22-24th on the Camden River Waterfront. The lineup this year is packed with great artists like Old Crow Medicine Show, Ryan Adams, Father John Misty and more.  And did we mention food trucks?!? Be sure to reserve your passes soon, as this event fills up quickly.

2. The Blue Cross River Rink Summerfest is back is back until September 5th! The fest is open daily, free, and open to the public.  The popular spot features a play area for kids, food and drink (including Chickie and Pete’s waterfront crabshack!), and plenty of exciting events throughout the summer.  Plus, it’s also Philly’s only outdoor skating rink – so be sure to bring your roller-skates or rent them there! It costs just $3 to skate. Kids are welcome!

spruce

 

3. While not technically a festival, we’re always excited for warm summertime days at Spruce Street Harbor Park!  Named one of the best urban beaches in America, Spruce Street Harbor Park is back for the summer — open until September 25th — and features dozens of beloved hammocks, a floating restaurant, a huge selection of drafts from the beer garden, outdoor games, and a waterfront boardwalk along the Delaware.  And at night, the entire pop-up park is illuminated by gorgeous LED lights.  It’s free and open daily – need we say more? See you there!


 

Take the Kids! Five Easy Day Trips in Greater Phila

School’s out for the summer, so it’s a great time to pack up the kids and head to one of these exciting (and sometimes even educational!) places in Greater Philadelphia. Plus, most are affordable or even free!

dutch wonderland

Dutch Wonderland is less than an hour and a half away in Lancaster, and the 30+ amusement rides and shows are geared toward smaller children.  Featuring shorter lines than most local amusement parks, the ticket prices are also relatively affordable.  Day passes are $41 for children and adults (2 and under is free!) but you can save $7 by purchasing a week in advance! In the summer, there are also plenty of water attractions for the little ones!

smith playground

Smith Memorial Playground and Playhouse in East Fairmount Park is one of our very favorite spots to take the kids on a nice day. The gigantic playground is enormous — the size of six football fields — and offers a giant wooden slide, and plenty of space for kids to run.  Plus, the three-story playhouse offers creative play experiences for kids of all ages.  And the best part? It’s all FREE! 

bounce u

On a rainy day, be sure to take the family to Bounce U, an indoor trampoline park where everything is inflatable! In addition to private birthday parties and events, the popular spot for kids of all ages has plenty of “Open Bounce” times – just be sure to check the website.  With locations in Horsham, Exton and Langhorne, there’s bound to be a Bounce U near you! Admission costs around $11, and parents typically can bounce for free.

canopy tour

Spring Mountain is more than just a ski area! The popular adventure resort in Schwenksville offers exciting summertime activities including our favorite: zipline canopy tours through the wooded mountains! This day trip is more of a splurge (prices start at $89).  Other things to do at Spring Mountain include Geo Caching (treasure hunting using GPS devices – fun for the whole family) and rock climbing.

 

 

Elmwood Park Zoo!  Bring the little ones to this stroller-friendly zoo in Norristown, and check out the zebras, red pandas, flamingos and alligators on exhibit now.  Plus, Elmwood Park Zoo is offering giraffe feedings daily! Daily tickets range from approximately $13-17, and parking is free and easy.


 

Dozens of FREE Local Independence Day Events!

There’s never a shortage of things to do in the City of Brotherly Love, and America’s 240th birthday is no exception!

Independence Day Events
Image via Visit Philadelphia

Kick off the weekend at Penn’s Landing with a free concert by the award-winning Philadelphia Orchestra on Friday at 8pm.  Fireworks will follow the live music.

Additionally,  some of Philly’s favorite museums will be offering free admission this weekend as part of Wawa Welcome America’s Free Museum Day series.  A few of our favorites include complimentary admission to The Barnes Museum and the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Sunday, July 3rd. Check out the full list here.

Independence Day Events
The Barnes Foundation

And of course, it wouldn’t be 4th of July in Philadelphia without the city’s celebrated Independence Day Parade beginning at 5th and Chestnut Streets around 11am.  This year’s affair will feature dozens of floats, live music and entertainment, and approximately 5,000 marchers!

Independence Day Events

Plus, dozens of local towns will be offering Independence Day events all weekend.  Skippack will be featuring a parade and fireworks on July 4th, Conshohocken’s Sutcliffe Park will be hosting fireworks on the evening of July 3rd, and Washington Crossing will be holding a celebration and fireworks on July 4th at their popular park.

eh logo

Plus, Glenside will be holding a 4th of July parade on Monday morning, King of Prussia will be hosting the Upper Merion Carnival with fireworks, and Phoenixville will be home to a fireworks celebration on the evening of July 4th.


 

Will a Swimming Pool Add to Your Home’s Value?

In the dog days of summer, there’s not much better than a refreshing dip in the pool! And if you’re dreaming of adding a pool to your backyard, you may be curious about how it will affect your home’s value.  Here are three things to consider:

Swimming Pool

1. How much is your home currently worth? Luxury homes (think $500,000 or more) are more likely to benefit from having a pool for a number of reasons.  First, buyers may be more likely to expect a swimming pool in an estate home – especially if your neighbors have them!  Additionally, a swimming pool is less likely to cause a financial burden to a new buyer.  After all, they can be expensive to maintain! In fact, if your home is valued under $250,000, a swimming pool may actually turn some prospective buyers away.

2.  In-Ground or Above Ground? It’s probably no surprise that in-ground swimming pools will typically raise your home’s value more than an above ground pool — and they’ll cost a lot more to install, too!  While it depends on the market and the specific neighborhood, most in-ground swimming pools recoup a bit less than their initial cost when it comes time to sell.  Above ground pools tend to recoup even less, and some buyers perceive them as an eyesore.

Swimming Pool

3. How big is your backyard? If you have a large property (maybe 0.75 acres or more), your pool is likely to add a bit more value.  This is because new owners will still have room to garden, play with the kids, or walk the dog.  For smaller lots where the pool is the central feature, they tend to add less value.


 

Philly Beer Week Now Until June 12th!

Did you know Philly is considered the best beer drinking city in the nation? It’s true! The City of Brotherly Love has been brewing for over 300 years, and is home to some of the greatest craft breweries in the nation (Yards! Victory! Sly Fox!).

Philly Beer Week

This week’s schedule is jam-packed with tastings, pub crawls, and festivals.  In fact, over 100 locations will be hosting events! Here are our top picks:

For starters, be sure to stop by The Fillmore on Friday, June 3rd for the official kick-off party featuring tastings from more than 40 local breweries.

Philly Beer Week

Head to the Spruce Street Harbor Park for rare beers, live music, and some of Philly’s favorite foods at the official Beer Week Beer Garden all week! Plus, admission is free.

Philly Beer Week
Image via uwishunu.com

And on Saturday, June 11th be sure to stop by Fishtown’s FestivALE .  Think of a big carnival for adults, with beer tastings and live music outside all day!  Plus, even non-beer lovers will want to stop by for the food – pulled pork sandwiches and soft shell crab sandwiches are just two exciting items on the menu.

For a full list of Philly Beer Week Events, be sure to check out their official website.


 

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EveryHome Realty is licensed by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission (license RB066839) and the New Jersey Real Estate Commission (license 0901599)