Bryn Mawr PA

Mar 15th, 2005, 01:36 PM
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Bryn Mawr PA

My high school daughter wants to make a trip to visit Bryn Mawr in late May. I know this is near Philadelphia. She is interested in a small liberal arts college near a large metro city (but not IN the city). We would like to make a 3-4 day weekend out of this. She has never been to Philadelphia, loves museums, arts & humanities, shopping (whoopee, we hear there's no sales tax in PA). Should we stay in the city, is there public transportation out to Bryn Mawr?? Should we stay in Bryn Mawr and if we rent a car, how expensive will it be to park in the city?? Any advice would be helpful. Thanks!
aliska is offline  
Mar 15th, 2005, 01:52 PM
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The R5 SEPTA regional rail can get you from Downtown (Market E, Suburban or 30th St stations) to Bryn Mawr in about 20 minutes.

R5 has stations at Haverford, Rosemont and Villanova, if those are the ones you're interested in.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 15th, 2005, 02:08 PM
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My daughter is a sophomore at Bryn Mawr and loves it, so good luck. Bryn Mawr definitely fits the bill of a small school in a beautiful area with easy access to the city, which is actually fairly rare for liberal arts schools. My daughter loves being able to take the train into the city - there's a station maybe a block from campus so it's really easy.

As for the visit, you could do it either way. We usually stay out near Bryn Mawr. There are tons of hotels in an area called Plymouth Meeting, which is about 5 miles up 476 from Bryn Mawr. We usually stay at the Doubletree Suites (like an Embassy so more room with kids) but have also stayed at the Marriott Courtyard and the Mariott Springhill Suites (just a bit bigger room, not really a suite, but free breakfast). There's a little mall right there with some chain sort of restaurants and there's a huge mall out in King of Prussia. You are right that there's no sales tax in PA on clothing - so a great time to do some shopping. There area also tons of hotels out by King Of Prussia. There's a Marriott even closer to Bryn Mawr in Conshohocken, but all are convenient. Conshohocken also has a couple of good restaurants, one called Stella Blu in an old townhouse and a good mexican one called Coyote Crossing. Valley Forge is nearby and if you are at all into history is worth a visit.

It would also work for you to stay downtown if you are spending more time there - you will pay for parking and generally the hotels are a bit more expensive, but then you are downtown. We've never had much trouble driving downtown or parking - there's a fair amount of traffic but it's not hard, just big city stuff. If you are downtown you can walk to Independence Hall and such. We usually go down for a good meal at least once - love both the Striped Bass (not cheap but great seafood) and Tangerine - I think both are Stephen Starr restaurants, but there are tons of choices and Phila. is actually very busy at night. Good luck - if you have any questions e-mail me at [email protected]
skigirl is offline  
Mar 16th, 2005, 05:37 AM
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Well, I hate to break it to you - there is most certainly a 6% sales tax here in PA. As far as public transportation, I have no idea about getting to and from Bryn Mawr ( I live about an hour away and always drive)!

I am sure someone will have better advice, but you could stay at either place. Bryn Mawr is on what we call the Main Line - a great area! You'll love it!

lisabees is offline  
Mar 16th, 2005, 05:52 AM
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Are you sure you can't go sooner? By "late May," the regular students will be long-gone and it will be that much harder to get a feel for what the school is really like. Last day of classes is April 29.
Anonymous is offline  
Mar 16th, 2005, 05:56 AM
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You should rent a car and stay outside the city - in Conshohocken or Plymouth Mtg -- there is a local, lovely hotel right down the raod from Bryn Mawr - the Radnor Hotel- it's 3 miles away. While looking at Bryn Mawr - Swarthmore College is 20 minutes away. It's easy to drive and that;s the easiest way to get around.Although if you stay in the city, the train *R5) stops right at Bryn Mawr(you may have to walk 5 or so) blocks to the heart of campus) but without a car you can't explore much.
elmom is offline  
Mar 16th, 2005, 06:20 AM
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Thanks for all the great advice! So glad you pointed out that classes end April 29. Perhaps we will wait until September, maybe Labor Day weekend. We will look up Swarthmore College too. She needs to narrow down her list pretty quickly. We might then combine a fall trip with a visit to Boston, as she is considering Brandeis and Wellesley as well.
aliska is offline  
Mar 16th, 2005, 08:28 AM
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I am by no means an expert in this area, but I used to work for a company with offices in Radnor and used to stay at the Radnor Hotel when there. I used to have a car, but always took the train into the city. It's been maybe 15 years, though, since I have been to this area. Correct me if I am wrong, but I recall Plymouth Meeting as being more like a half hour away than 5 minutes. Unless they have built a new highway, Plymouth Meeting doesn't seem to be that accessible to the Main Line it would seem to make more sense to me to in the Main Line area than up at Plymouth Meeting.

Aliska, did you check either with the school? When my daughter was looking at schools we always got a list of nearby hotels, restaurants and points of interest from the schools' recruiting / admissions office.
here_today_gone2Maui is offline  
Mar 16th, 2005, 11:02 AM
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The "Blue Route" I-476 will get you to Plymouth Meeting from the Radnor area in about ten minutes. The 6% sales tax the lisabees refers to does NOT apply to necessities. Clothing is considered to be necessary, so shop all you want for clothes with NO tax. (except bathing suits.)
schmerl is offline  
Mar 16th, 2005, 11:03 AM
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Haverford College is another very good, small school in that same area.
schmerl is offline  
Mar 16th, 2005, 06:07 PM
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schmerl is right about no tax on clothes and other necessities! Guess it all depends what you're shopping for!

I personally wouldn't stay in Plymouth Meeting. It is not too close and gets very congested. Conshohocken is more doable since it's right off 76. Conshohocken's Marriott is probably cheaper than any place on the Main Line, also, so you can zip to center city.

Swarthmore is also a good choice. Don't forget Villanova (Small compared to the college I went to) and Rosemont...There's more (Cabrini, Eastern, Immaculata - all religiously affiliated, I think).

It really is a great area.

lisabees is offline  
Mar 16th, 2005, 07:10 PM
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Have stayed at the Spring Hill Suites by Marriott while on business and indeed the Blue Rt (476) can get a bit congested. We always allowed oursevles plenty of time. We were right by the Plymouth meeting Mall and that is where we would take our lunch during our business "class". Yeah, there are all kinds of stores ther I am sure that your daughter would like. I am out in the middle of a cornfield in a different part of PA. I was like a kid in a candy store.....H&M, NYC and CO, Express... and yeah, no tax on clothes.

If you head out of the Plymouth meeting mall and head towards Chemical Road there is also a big shoppong center with a Target, Barnes and Noble and an Old Navy. My husband hates it when my job sends me for classes there. He can understand how I manage to sniff out clothing stores in unfamilliar territory. There is also the King of Prussia Mall around there. I am saving that for next time.

I would rent a car. I like to have the freedom of not relying on anyone else.
But that is easy for me to say since our company provides us with the car and expenses.

Have fun!!
dsm22 is offline  
Mar 16th, 2005, 07:32 PM
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There is a Marriott Courtyard just up the road on Lancaster Pike in Devon. If you are depending on mass transit it is a short walk from the Strafford Station on the Main Line.
Birdie is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 05:21 PM
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Bryn Mawr is on the Main Line (upscale)and is beautiful and close to Philadelphia. Plenty of parking garages in Philly too. Prices depend on how long you are there in a day.

TONS of shopping. King of Prussia Mall is close. One of the largest malls in the states, I believe. You can spend an entire day easily at this mall. Lots of walking. Yes, we do have sales tax, but not on clothes.

There are plenty of museums and arts to see here. Depending on the time of year, the riverfront is a great place to visit, especially if there are festivities going on while you are here.

You can take the train right into 30th Street or Market Street. Easy access.
Good advice given by a few to check out Swarthmore College. It's a very small, quaint little town (I lived right down the road for many years, and worked next to the college).

The Blue Route is one of the newer highways (if you want to call 12 years, new). It will get you from the Main Line to Swarthmore easily and within 15 minutes or less.

Good eats all over. It may be advantageous to rent a car to go anywhere you choose more freely, but that depends on your travel budget I suppose. I'd stay away from Plymouth Meeting as it is very congested. Manayunk is suppose to be a fabulous place to visit, but in all my 45 years here, I've never been (only passing in a car). Go figure.

Enjoy your visit here.
djkkk is offline  
Mar 17th, 2005, 06:25 PM
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Just to round out the info on Swarthmore, Haverford, and Bryn Mawr, be aware that they have a shuttle that runs between the three campuses and many students "commute" to take a class at another college ... OR to keep a relationship going ;-) !

I think the Phila area is a wonderful area, and any of the 3 colleges are great, but they DO have different flavors. Your daughter should definitely "try on" each of the campuses and, most important, talk to students there -- ask them what they think is the best and worst of their own campus and what the best and worst of the other two colleges might be. Tell her to be skeptical about the negatives but see which campus feels like "home" to her -- remembering that she can always take advantage of courses at one of the other two.

Keep us posted!
Mar 17th, 2005, 06:26 PM
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Years ago we visited Philadelphia and had seafood at Bookbinder's. Is it still any good? Really looking forward to small restaurants in Little Italy, any suggestions for nice lunch or dinner. Also really want best cannoli in all Philadelphia. Thanks for all the help!
aliska is offline  
Mar 18th, 2005, 04:46 AM
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Bookbinders had closed and just recently re-opened. I haven't been there lately, but there a a LOT of restaurants in Phila. with better seafood. We love the Philadelphia Fish Co. at Second and Chestnut.
schmerl is offline  
Mar 18th, 2005, 12:23 PM
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Breakfast at the Amish restaurant at Reading Market (this is downtown) is WONDERFUL. Get the baked grapefruit and try scrapple (but do NOT ask about ingredients until you try it).
Mar 18th, 2005, 12:27 PM
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PS, Aliska -- pls. report back and give us your daughter's reaction, your own impressions.
Mar 18th, 2005, 01:26 PM
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Little Italy is in NY, not Philly. Perhaps you're thinking of the Italian Market, which is a section of South Philly with good eats. For the best food recommendations, go to

I haven't heard anything about the newly re-opened Bookbinder's, but the one that closed had earned a terrible reputation over the years. As for Cannolis, there's a debate whether the best are from Termini's or Isgro's. I like that Termini's has miniature chocolate chip cannolis, and there's one in Reading Terminal Market. Isgro's is on 10th and Christian in South Philly.

As for parking, I believe it's about $20 a day if you park at your hotel, not sure if you could get any deals. Parking garages would be about the same.

By the way, Philly sales tax is 7%.
Mcat is offline  

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