Outside the Oreo

Lauren Piro

Suburbia can be difficult to navigate without a car – an unfortunate fact at least half of Villanova students know all too well. At home, a trip to your favorite restaurant or even CVS was as easy as putting your key in the ignition; here, however, is a little tougher. Your Blue Key tour guide told you the R5 was a great resource for navigating the Main Line, but perhaps you are still a bit uncertain on what lies near the rails? Well, here’s what is noteworthy – and within walking-distance – on each stop between here and 30th Street:


Um, the McDonald’s? Okay, so we’re not off to the most exciting start one stop east from Villanova, but this is only the beginning. And if you must go to McDonald’s I would hope that you would at least walk, anyway. And then watch “Super Size Me.” There’s also a small green area called Austin Memorial Park, if you need a change of scenery, but it’s hardly comparable to the soon-to-be blooming fields on campus.

Bryn Mawr:

Almost a preview to the shopping you’ll find in Ardmore, Bryn Mawr is home to a bunch of cute boutiques like Skirt, Knit Wit and State of Grace. Here you’ll also find good eats, though, and the acclaimed Tango is right off the Septa stop. Save this cozy but classy contemporary American spot for a special dinner, lunch or brunch with friends. And, if you must, Bertucci’s and Cosi are also close at hand.


Another gold-mine stop on the R5, Haverford station lets you off right in the hub of the town – Haverford Square. Stop by Bruegger’s Bagels for a familiar-tasting poppy seed with cream cheese and hit up shops that require less walking to than in Bryn Mawr, like La Petite Femme and Patricia Adams Gifts. Better still – check out the gourmet market and café Du Jour. Their fresh salads and crusty paninis are to die for. Try the roast beef with mozzarella, tomato and garlic aioli.


As your outdoor, R5-centric answer to King of Prussia, it’s impossible to think of Ardmore Station without thinking of Suburban Square. Much like any upscale shopping center you’ll find chains like Lilly Pulitzer, Coach, Free People and new super-cute gift shop Swoozie’s. Luckily though, unlike KoP you won’t have to schlep a mile to get from the Urban Outfitter’s to American Eagle. Be sure to stop by the Ardmore Farmer’s Market as well.


By this point you’ve gone far enough away from Villanova that the stores start repeating themselves – here you’ll find another Borders, Bed Bath and Beyond and Old Navy. Stop here only if you’ve truly missed shopping in a generic strip mall, complete with random pizza joint and all, or if you’re in need of a Whole Foods fix.


With a quaint and quirky town a la “Gilmore Girls,” this stop should not be as hidden to students as it is. Narbeth still has that Bryn Mawr- or Ardmore-like shopping feel but is a little more Mom-and-Pop with stores like funky eco-friendly and fair trade gift shop Mood Swings and Mapes Toy Store – dubbed the “oldest store in Narberth.” Also nearby is the Great American Pub, and with a name like that, how can you not go in?


Purely residential, this stop is really a must-skip for most students. Come here only if you don’t mind buying a train ticket to get a change of scenery for your morning jog. If the area is anything, it is picturesque and well-removed from crowded Lancaster Avenue.


As you inch closer to Center City at Overbook Station, the area around City Line Avenue gets a little more congested and less contained. Visit your friends at St. Joe’s at this stop – I’m sure they’d be happy to show you the hot spots on their side of the Main Line.