My husband and I moved to Lansdowne about 5 yrs ago. At the time, we were newly married, childless, and basically work-aholics. We sort of stumbled upon Lansdowne, knowing nothing about the area prior to moving there. It seemed like an extension of West Philadelphia – close to center city, artsy and bohemian, liberal, but more affordable. Perfect for the two of us. However, on March 25 of this year we became a family of three. Now with our little Violet, we’ve been exploring Lansdowne in a very different way.
Lansdowne itself is only 1.2 square miles so I guess you could ask, what is there really to explore. Well, a lot really. That’s what is great about our little town. There’s so much packed into in yet because it is so small, it maintains a “neighbor-hoody” feeling. And everything is technically in walking distance.
Violet was born in the spring, a great time of the year to go out and about with a little one. We started our lives together by taking short strolls up and down the tree lined streets, admiringly the beautiful Victorian architecture that abounds in Lansdowne. By late spring, it was off to the Lansdowne Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning. Besides shopping for terrific produce, the farmer’s market often features musical artists and children’s events.
As Violet grew, we started bringing her to the Lansdowne Public Library for story time. Violet, like all babies, loves interacting with other children so this has been a great outlet for the both of us not to mention good exercise for mom (we walk can walk everywhere in Lansdowne, did I mention?). By the end of the summer, Violet was old enough to go for a swim at the Lansdowne Swim Club. We’re planning on signing her up for swim classes this winter at the Lansdowne YMCA (not technically in Lansdowne but close enough).
Lansdowne is full of parks. – 9 in all (quite a lot for a town of 1.2 square miles). Violet is not really big enough yet to make use of them other than viewing the sights from her stroller but I am sure that by next summer heading off to a park will be a regular activity for us. We are also looking forward participating in community events such as family movies in the park. Mommy and Violet love stopping by our local coffee shop – The Regency Cafe – for a bit to eat after a long walk or to meet up with friends.
What I find particularly great about Lansdowne is that it is really a community of artists. As a musician and music teacher myself, I love living around so much talent. From official productions like the Lansdowne Arts Festival, the Lansdowne Folk Club, the Lansdowne Symphony, and various theater productions at the Twentieth Century Club to home concerts and informal art shows, the arts are really everywhere in Lansdowne. And if for some reason we feel the need to expand our artistic horizons, we are just a 20-minute train ride from center city (we can even walk to the train station!).
Lansdowne is a town that loves to get together and celebrate and we go all out for the 4th of July. My entire family from the mid-West came to visit this year during the festivities. We happen to live right on Lansdowne Ave (the main drag here) so watching the parade on the 4th (as well as on Memorial Day) from our front porch is already a family tradition. Games and fireworks top it all off not to mention there’s always someone having a bbq that the entire town is invited to.
Lastly, I must mention that Lansdowne has made it very easy for parents to get out of the house for “date night’ once in a while. Cinema 16.9 offers a wide variety of options for moviegoers in the historical Lansdowne Theater building – everything from mainstream to avante garde. We’ve attended a couple of great events there (not to mention its BYOB). Best of all, it is less than a half a mile from our house. No need to pay a babysitter for an extra 2 hours + of travel. And there’s always Sycamore Restaurant. Fantastic food comparable to one of the better bistros in center city but right down the street. It is also BYOB which is even better (plus no designated driver needed when you live here – remember it is in walking distance).
If you’ve never been, stop in sometime and check us out! Lansdowne is a great place for families.
Shelley Beard Schleigh is a musician, mother of 6-month-old Violet, and wife to Michael Schleigh. She has lived in Lansdowne for approximately 5 years. Professionally, she directs the Suzuki Academy at The Music School of Delaware. She teaches violin and viola lessons for the program both at her home in Lansdowne and at the school’s main branch in North Wilmington.
Thanks for introducing us to Lansdowne, Shelley!!