One might call Bryn Mawr, Rosemont, Haverford and Villanova “the college belt” of the Main Line. Home to Bryn Mawr College, Rosemont College, Haverford College and Villanova University, these towns – Villanova, in particular – are well known in part because of the presence of these small, private institutions of higher learning. What is rather nice, however, is that none of these towns is overwhelmed by the presence of college students – there are enough “town” people (the combined population of these towns is about 22,000) that the “gown” factor is not that noticeable.
The town people in these ZIP codes have for the past century brought incredible levels of wealth to these parts of the Main Line. Enormous, multimillion-dollar estates were the norm in the early decades of the 20th century, followed by more “middle-of-the-road” stone center-hall colonials, many of which cannot be bought these days for less than $800,000 and easily top $1,000,000. Interspersed here and there are architecturally interesting contemporary homes as well as the occasional upscale townhouse or condominium complex. Not surprisingly, these four areas continue to be some of the wealthiest in the U.S.
What draws residents to these areas typically is quality of life, particularly for those with children. The public-school systems generally are considered very desirable and exist alongside exclusive private schools. Each of these towns has a small business district that also includes a train station, providing the sorts of outlets residents need for daily errands and making commuting to Center City Philadelphia very convenient.
A very traditional part of life on the Main Line is the local country club, and Haverford happens to offer one of the country’s oldest, Merion Cricket Club. Members can enjoy indoor and outdoor tennis courts, paddle tennis courts, squash courts, croquet and cricket. It is also home to a soccer team. Golf fans will have to try for membership in nearby Merion Golf Club, an offshoot of the cricket club.
Notably, Rosemont and other towns on the Main Line were the inspiration for the settings on two long-running daytime soap operas, One Life to Live and All My Children. Agnes Nixon, the creator of both, wrote thousands of episodes of each from her office at her historical colonial home in Rosemont.