Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

Sep 30 2015

Montgomery County: Jenkintown

One of the oldest boroughs in Montgomery County, Jenkintown brims with historical interest and secret finds. In this residential community, visitors find National Landmarks, an active art scene and shops and restaurants.

History:
Settled by William Jenkins in 1697, Jenkintown was incorporated in 1874. Among the quirkier holdovers from older days are the two fire companies founded in the 19th century. Both continue to serve the half-mile area today. Like many of the suburbs that surround Philadelphia, Jenkintown had its first heyday in the 19th and 20th centuries. A downtown revival in the 2000s, with the renovation of the central Hiway movie theater and a resurgence of independent businesses and restaurants—as well as the success of its most famous former resident, actor Bradley Cooper—has boosted the town’s profile.

Its Main Street:
Route 611, or Old York Road as it’s better known, serves as Jenkintown’s main thoroughfare. The majority of the town’s shops are here, though its restaurants tend to be located on side streets.

Arts & Culture:
Located a half-mile outside of Jenkintown, the 70-year-old Abington Art Center (AAC) is situated in Alverthorpe Manor, a 27-acre campus that encompasses galleries exhibiting contemporary works, classroom space, public grounds, an outdoor stage and a sculpture garden. In addition to regular shows and classes, AAC runs an outdoor summer concert series. (Also located here is the Old York Road Historical Society, which catalogues the history of the corridor connecting Jenkintown to Philadelphia and New Hope.) Originally built in 1913, the Hiway Theater has been a local staple and an unofficial town center through its various incarnations, most recently undergoing a renovation that includes digital projections. The theater now dedicates itself to repertory, foreign and independent cinema.

Architecture:
Jenkintown has a number of architecturally interesting sites, among them the Jenkins Town Lyceum Building (now known as the Jenkintown Library) and the Art Deco Strawbridge and Clothier Store—both listed on the National Register of Historic Places—along with the Salem Baptist Church, which famously hosted Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. two months after the legendary March on Washington. The 45-acre expanse of Curtis Hall Arboretum in nearby Wyncote also features a National Landmark building, as well as two ponds, 50 different tree species and a Valley of Remembrance in honor of World War II veterans.

Food & Drink:
Tucked along and around the Old York Road strip, Jenkintown’s restaurants merit their own exploration: West Avenue Grille’s convivial atmosphere and classic American menu make it a daytime hangout. The festive decor at Argana Tree befits its spicy Mediterranean and Moroccan fare, while the cozy setting at bring-your-own-bottle Leila’s Bistro is a winning backdrop for rustic French-American cooking. Sweeter still, Velvet Sky Bakery inhabits a cafe and baking facility known for its creative cupcakes, and The Cheesecake Lady concocts gourmet mini-cheesecakes in a four-inch personal size or two-inch “Babycakes” version sold by the dozen—both available in 26 flavors. The taps flow at King’s Corner Public House, a British “soccer pub,” and Drake Tavern, a sports bar with patio seating. The Guild Hall Brewing Company adds to the local craft beer repertoire with its homemade brews, served alongside fresh, local food in an historic building that was once a Rolls-Royce garage.

Shops, Shops, Shops:
A combination toy store, play space and game and puzzle library, Rhinoceros also hosts regular do-it-yourself activities for kids. Art supplies, stationery and craft kits mingle on the shelves of Allegheny Art Company, while designer unmentionables fill Jayann Lingerie and Intimate Apparel. Gift seekers find interesting handmade items at Luda’s Judaica, specializing in Jewish holiday items, and This Little Gallery, proudly stocking U.S.-made goods. Artist-inspired works fill The Art Of It gift store.

Events & Festivals:
Held annually in September, the Festival of the Arts is Jenkintown’s biggest event, with a juried art show, food stands, live music and performances and beer tents gathered around the Town Square.

Getting There:
Multiple SEPTA Regional Rail lines stop at the Jenkintown-Wyncote station. Inexpensive metered parking is available in the lots on Leedom Street.

Where To Stay:

  • Courtyard by Marriot, 2350 Easton Road, Willow Grove, (215) 830-0550, marriott.com
  • SpringHill Suites, 2480 Maryland Road, Willow Grove, (215) 657-7800, marriott.com

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases the number of visitors, the number of nights they stay and the number of things they do in the five-county area.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

Contact(s):
  • E-mail

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