Come with us, gentle reader, to where the other half lives. The Philadelphia area’s other half — the ritzy half that is actually more like the one percent — lives just a few miles outside of town on the Main Line. This community of towns like Rosemont, Devon, Villanova, Radnor, Ardmore, Gladwyne, Wayne and more boasts some of the highest per capita annual incomes of anywhere in the United States. Median home values reach into the high six figures.
You might need an inheritance or a job as an investment banker to afford living there for a long period of time… but for a day you can probably manage it. So take a day trip and see how the ritzy half lives.
How to get there
The Paoli/Thorndale Regional Rail line will take you through many of the communities and nearby the rest and in about 20 to 30 minutes. If you choose this option you might need to Uber a bit to get around, but some of the towns, like Bryn Mawr, feature plenty of shops and restaurants near the train stop.
You could also drive by taking Lancaster Avenue west and then various smaller roads depending on where you want to stop. It’s the suburbs. You’ll be able to find a place to park.
The Regional Rail ticket or the gas will cost you a few dollars. But this is the Main Line we’re talking about. If you want to shop and eat, expect to pony up.
What to Do
Black Cat Cafe (Devon): This cafe is owned and operated by the PALS animal rescue charity, and the profits go to the charity. Open for lunch and brunch Wednesday through Sunday.
Frankie’s Fellini Cafe (Berwyn): BYOB Italian place, just like you’ll find throughout Philadelphia. The desserts are the big plus, including a pizzelle ice cream sandwich.
Paramour (Wayne): Probably somewhere to go for a major anniversary. This place is the fancy that you think of when you think of the Main Line. It’s located at the Wayne Hotel and features an American-style menu with views that please inside and on the veranda.
Teresa’s Next Door (Wayne): Casual menu with pizza, pasta and sandwiches (they rightfully go Tom Haverford-style and call the Chicken Parmesan “Chicky Chicky Parm Parm”) and dozens of draft beers on tap.
White Horse Tavern and Wine Bar (Frazer): The history is unmatched. This old farmhouse restaurant has been around since 1715. The menu features seafood, steak, duck, lamb and similar items.
Beer Yard (Wayne): The selection makes any trip to this distributor an activity. The Beer Yard has been into craft beers and imports before they were cool and to this day features beers from 733 breweries and 53 countries.
Burlap and Bean (Newtown Square): It may sound hard to believe, but this coffee shop has become known for bringing in solid musical acts, including Freedy Johnston. He’s that dude who sang “Bad Reputation” in the 90s. This is a bit of trek from the traditional Main Line communities, though.
Cairn O’Mount Stables (Radnor): Horseback riding and foxhunting define the old characteristics of the Main Line. You’d need to know somebody to get involved in a foxhunt, so opt for the horseback riding. The Cairn O’Mount Stables offers lessons for seasoned and inexperienced riders, and you can learn to do all the fancy equestrian stuff, too, just like at the Devon Horse Show.
Louella (Wayne): When you think of shopping in the Main Line, Louella is probably the type of store that comes to mind. It has been described by Philly Mag as featuring “all manner of things pink, green, monogrammed and utterly preppy.”
The Camera Shop (Bryn Mawr): This place has been open since the 1970s and in business but at a different location since 1920. Scope out the cool cameras, get a quick Passport photo taken or just browse in awe at how The Camera Shop has managed to stay in business as technology has changed over the years.
The Clover Market (Bryn Mawr): Open-air market featuring all kinds of vintage goods and clothes. The Clover Market is only open on certain dates, so be sure to check their schedule.