Fall Fun Around Town


There are so many fun things to do around town during the fall season and we thought we’d share a few of our favorites!

Although there will not be a Jim Thorpe Fall Festival this year due to the many uncertainties of COVID-19, we invite you to visit the local shops and restaurants this Fall and experience the many specials they have to offer!

The 2020 Fall in Love with Jim Thorpe theme invites you to experience the majestic colors of the Pocono Mountains and the charm of Jim Thorpe, enjoy the many outdoor activities and all the diverse specials and sales at the local restaurants, shops and boutiques! Learn more about great hiking spots in the Poconos to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage here.

Another favorite activity close by is the Hawk Mountain Autumn Migration! What an experience! Watch the birds of prey migrate at Hawk Mountain. Hawk Mountain’s Autumn Migration Hawk Count is the longest running raptor migration count in the world. It began in 1934, when founder Rosalie Edge hired a curator named Maurice Broun, and he started meticulously keeping track of the passing migrants.

Today, Sanctuary staff, trainees, and volunteers are stationed at the lookouts to help visitors spot and identify raptors, including hawks, eagles, falcons, and vultures. The count runs from now through December 15. Plan your visit now!

What are some of your favorite things to do around town this season? We’d love to know! Drop a comment below!

We’ve Entered a Historic Seller’s Market


Every spring, the real estate industry gears up for its biggest season of the year. But when Governor Wolf ordered a shutdown in March, all that activity came to a screeching halt. Even with virtual walk-throughs, sellers — afraid of the virus and a lack of buyers — sat on the sidelines. But when restrictions and cases eased this past summer, sellers came out of the woodwork: According to Bright MLS, the Mid-Atlantic regional listing exchange, 10,812 new listings were posted in the Greater Philadelphia market in July, up more than 11 percent from the same month last year.

It turns out that those listings weren’t enough to cool off a white-hot market. Bright data shows that it would take just two months to sell all the houses that were on the market in July, because overall supply is so low thanks to those no-movement months. That means houses sell quickly: The median length of time from “Just Listed” to “Sold” has shrunk to two weeks, the lowest it’s been in recent memory.

If you’re a seller, this is fantastic news. If you’re a buyer or an agent, the news isn’t all that great. For buyers, it means bidding wars. And for agents, it means too few houses to show buyers.

As a result, realtors have turned into vultures, desperate for something to sell. Sabina Palermo, an agent with Space & Company in Center City, found the ideal listing for one client. Unfortunately, it had expired a few months earlier. “The only information I could find was the owners’ names, so I tried to connect with them on Facebook,” says Palermo. “I wrote them a message around noon, and by 6 p.m. we were under contract and closed the sale in 30 days.”

Other agents have resorted to broadcast messages. Last month, Robin Gordon of BHHS Fox & Roach Realtors’ Haverford office sent a video to clients, pleading with them to send her potential sellers or put their own homes on the market.

Chris Finnegan, Bright MLS’s chief marketing and communications officer, says potential sellers should “pay attention to what happened when more buyers than sellers re-entered the market.” He sees this seller’s advantage continuing through the fall — in the city and suburbs — as people realize they’ll get top dollar for their houses by listing now. So if you’re on the fence about listing, it’s time to take the plunge. After all, it’s going to be a while before the economy recovers from the pandemic, and that will catch up with real estate sooner or later.


Citizen Advocacy’s Phoenixville Run 2020

At this time of year, we usually partner up as sponsors for Citizen Advocacy’s Annual Phoenixville Run. Due to these unprecedented times we are going through, the run has been changed to a virtual run this year. We fully support their mission and want to get the word out about the fundraiser and virtual experience!


This year we’re going virtual and varied!

You have three weeks, from October 3-24 to cover the distance of your choice, anyway you choose! (Registration is open until October 23rd)

You can run, bike, swim, roll, walk, skip or ride your horse!

Choose from a 5k, 10k, or design your own challenge!


Register HERE and best of luck on your run!!

Historic Spring Houses are Cool!

Spring house at 751 Fairview Road, Glenmoore, PA.

Spring house at 751 Fairview Road, Glenmoore, PA.

While driving through the countryside, you may notice small rustic stone or whitewashed structures built into the landscape. These are spring houses and they were integral aspects of 18th and 19th century farm properties.

Farmers and homesteaders built small, stone enclosures over a natural spring to protect it from animals, dirt, and debris. In those days, people typically built one-story spring houses with a thatched, shingled, or tiled roof. However, some spring houses were built with a second floor, or a fireplace and space to board tenant workers.  A fine example of a two-story spring house is the one at at 2045 Union Road in Malvern.

Often banked into the landscape or a hillside, the spring house provided fresh water for the farm and rudimentary refrigeration. Inside the spring house, the water provided a cooler temperature in the summer for storing milk, butter, cheese, meats, and vegetables. In the winter, the water temperature was warmer than the outside air and thus kept the interior above freezing. Therefore spring houses could also function as root cellars, and some doubled as a smoke house, like the one at 751 Fairview Road in Glenmoore.

Obviously, these small stone structures were a valuable asset on a farm back in the days before running water and refrigeration. Today they are a charming reminder of a past way-of-life.

-Beth Gilbert-Crowell

What’s Changed in Real Estate since Covid-19?

The real estate industry in Pennsylvania re-opened after the Covid-19 lockdown on May 19, 2020. Since that time, James A. Cochrane real estate in Chester County, PA has been conducting “limited business-related activities statewide” based on guidance from the governor.

As counties in the state of Pennsylvania move through a phased reopening, the guidance has changed, moving toward less restrictions. However, within the real estate industry, certain rules are expected to stay in place for the foreseeable future, according to the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors (PAR).

So for the time being, expect that you’ll encounter some or all of these conditions when buying or selling real estate in Pennsylvania.

  • Showings by appointment
  • Masks for all individuals involved in real estate activity
  • Property visits limited to 3-Persons
  • New documents: COVID-19 Health and Safety Acknowledgment and COVID-19 Property Access Notice
  • Agents may continue to keep a record of appointments
  • Agents may ask prospective buyers for contact information
  • A verbal health screening for all parties involved in real estate activities


-Beth Gilbert-Crowell

Drive-by House Hunting

A smart strategy in the era of COVID-19 and beyond

For prospective home buyers in Pennsylvania, the last few months have been a waiting game. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all in-person house-hunting activities have been restricted; no in-person meetings with real estate agents, no open houses, and no property showings. But if you’re eager to get some traction on your home search, maybe it’s time to implement a drive-by house hunting strategy.

As a buyer, you’ve probably kept the search alive with lots of online house hunting during lockdown. You probably have a short-list of your favorites, for the day when you can finally see the properties in-person. Because for most of us, unless there is some extenuating circumstance or you’re a billionaire who collects homes for fun, seeing a house in real life is essential to the decision-making process.  

By now you’re probably more than ready to see actual houses! The real estate market has begun to open up again, but there are new guidelines, procedures, and documents in place to protect the health and safety of buyers, sellers, and everyone involved in the real estate business. This means buyers may want to be more discerning about which properties they visit. It may be smarter to limit your in-person house tours to ONLY the properties that look really promising to you.

One way to cull and refine your list of prospective properties and neighborhoods is get in the car and do some drive-by house hunting. 

Grab your short-list of favorite houses and desired areas, and check them out from the street. Explore the neighborhoods and try to imagine your life there. Where are the grocery stores? Cafes? Restaurants? Playgrounds? You may fall in love with one neighborhood and completely write off another. As you view different properties, make curbside notes of your “must-have” features, as well as your “nice-to-have” features. This is important house-hunting homework that will make you a more discerning buyer. 

As the real estate markets re-emerge, you are focused and ready! Armed with this insight, you and your real estate agent can be more selective and target the homes you really want to see. This way you’re reducing exposure risk, while maximizing the time you spend visiting properties in-person.

-Beth Gilbert-Crowell

Enjoy Your Time @ Home

“Life is what happens to you while you’re making other plans.” 

~ Allen Saunders, 1957

Have you been able to enjoy your quarantine time? It’s certainly no vacation, but since the vast majority of us aren’t sick, we can choose to make the best of our time sheltering at home.

The challenge is that we’re inundated with pandemic statistics, grim projections, and massive economic uncertainty, plus the complete upending of our normal routines, schedules, and workdays.

For me, it’s all too easy to spend my time consuming the news, trying to make sense of the outbreak, the safety guidelines, and all the confusing contradictions. And then everyday feels like a stressful waiting period.

Instead I have to remind myself that we’re not just biding our time. I love that well-known quote by Allen Saunders, because it reminds me to be present and to accept my life as it is right now. For me, that is accepting that my family is home all day, every day, and that my responsibilities have changed. And no, I haven’t written a fabulous screenplay or learned to play a musical instrument. Nor have I been able to repaint the kids’ bedrooms or accomplish any of the projects I had planned for March and April.

But…spring still arrived as beautiful as ever. And being home, we’ve witnessed the wondrous transformation of winter to spring in my yard more closely than any other year. This week, I had breakfast on the patio in the sunshine, on a Wednesday with my son and daughter. I realized that under normal circumstances, the rush-rush morning routine to get them on the bus to school would not permit such a luxury.

There are signs that the social restrictions for Covid-19 will begin to gradually recede and public life will restart soon. With that, we’ll return to the hustle of our busy lives. So until then, I try to focus on what’s good at home right now and enjoy it.

-Beth Gilbert-Crowell

Reconnecting with Old Ties


Since the Covid-19 outbreak, most of us are spending our days almost exclusively at home, limited to the company of our partners, or our immediate family, or roommates, or pets. Without our normal routine of going to work or school, with all dining, shopping, entertainment, and travel shuttered indefinitely, and all social engagements discouraged, our day-to-day life has changed drastically.

This collective “time out” from normal life has opened up a space in our lives to spend the hours of the day in a different way. Perhaps the time has allowed us to shift our thoughts from the daily grind to, among other meaningful things, thoughts of the people we love and have appreciated in our lives.

If you tend to hesitate in contacting someone you haven’t heard from in a long while, (like I do!), the pandemic is the perfect pretext for reaching out to friends, colleagues, and old ties — to see how they’re fairing in these unprecedented circumstances.

The shared experiences of this pandemic, such as social distancing, sheltering at home, and wearing a face mask to the grocery store are an opportunity to compare notes, share ideas, and maybe laugh in the face of fear. We are all keeping our distance physically, but this extraordinary period of separateness may paradoxically cause us to reconnect with those with whom we’ve lost touch in the normal shuffle of life.

-Beth Gilbert-Crowell