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NEWTOWN


Newtown A Nice Place To Live & Visit What could be better than a town that has a comfortable small town feel, yet is a great place to shop, dine and just visit? BY

The Saloon on Sycamore Street

CRYSTAL MALACHI

The Newtown Fire Company

I

Newtown Hardware House

remember the old saying about New York City, “It’s a great place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.” Newtown some 40 years ago was the exact inverse of that old adage. Living in that beautiful idyllic Victorian town surrounded by farms, fields and woodland, would have been great, but what would you do there if you just came to visit? During the mid-20th century the clock was stationary—it stopped ticking and Newtown was in a peaceful slumber. That is no longer the case. While still a wonderful place to live, Newtown has changed, and while still retaining its Quaker, Revolutionary and Victorian past, it is now a 21st-century town, a center for commerce and a destination for shopping and dining. Newtown has retained a sense of order and symmetry from its Quaker origins. William Penn’s ‘new town’ was to be an experiment, a kind of 17th-century Levittown. It was built according to a plan. The town would be built around a rectangular piece of land called the “town commons.” Now several centuries later, the town’s center has moved from rectangular track of land along the creek to streets like State, Sycamore and Washington. Instead of a shared

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Photos: Melissa Kutalek

Top left, The Newtown Theater which is the oldest movie theatre in the United States. Top right, the First National Bank and Trust Company of Newtown clock, built in 1928. Bottom left, theTubby Olive on State Street. Bottom right, Black Horse Tavern 101 S. State Street. FA L L 2 0 1 6

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Above, the Newtown Borough Council Chamber on State Street. Right, Priorities for Her women’s clothing and accessories on 24 N. State Street.

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plot of common ground, there are sidewalks, shops and restaurants amid picturesque homes and public buildings. I am a shopper—a Philadelphian who shops Center City and malls throughout the Delaware Valley and yet enjoys shopping smaller towns, with their business districts, strip malls and outdoor shopping centers. Newtown is my favorite. Walking through the center of town, on Sycamore Street or in several of the shopping centers and strip malls, I exhale. My gait is slower than in Center City. I don’t saunter but I also don’t rush. I like to start at midmorning with a walk around State and nearby streets. There’s a very unique woman’s clothing store at 24 N. State Street called Priorities for Her that opens at 10 a.m. I love this store, which has a unique variety of cloth-

ing, accessories and jewelry. I bought my favorite purse there. Newtown has several other independent women clothing stores and there is also a Gap. I spend a lot of time looking for crafty things to do, so Knit on 10 S. State Street, Newtown, PA is always one of my stops. Here there is a friendly atmosphere of knitters buying yarn, needles, patterns and sharing strategies about how they needlepoint, and what materials and ways they use to overcome problems. For the novice or lifetime learner, there are classes. I believe everyone can benefit by taking a class here. Photographs of projectsfinished in Knitting classes 101, 102 and 103 can be seen on their Facebook page: www.face book.com/Knit-173783819466649. Since I fancy myself to be a foodie of


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NEWTOWN...A NICE

The Zebra-Striped Whale is one of several shops to buy ice cream in Newtown.

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sorts, I can’t go to Newtown without stopping at The Tubby Olive at 17 S. State Street. I stock up. There is so much variety and you can sample different oils before you decide which one is the most suitable for you. Their very skilled associates are very helpful and they have pairing lists and other aids. In this store you will find traditional extra virgin olive oils, organic extra virgin olive oils, infused oils, specialty oils, balsamic and wine vinegars and various gourmet food packages and gift baskets. Great treasures for a foodie lie me to fill my pantry. and you can also order online at http://www.thetubbyolive.com. When I am on State Street, I like to walk to Court Street and spend some time in the oldest part of town. This gives me time to reflect on the Newtown’s fascinating history. Not only was Newtown part of a huge parcel of land that William Penn bought from the original Native American inhabitants, but it was also, for a while, the


NEWTOWN...A NICE

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132 N. State St., Newtown, PA • www.michaelhutchinson.com county seat. The Court held session in the Half-Moon Inn located (yes, you got it) on Court Street. It later became known as the

Not only was

Newtown part of a huge parcel of land that

William Penn bought

from the original Native

American inhabitants, but it was also, for a while, the county seat.

Court Inn. Now restored by the Newtown Historic Association, the inn serves as their headquarters. And speaking of headquar-

ters, Washington maintained his headquarters in Newtown. After the battle of Trenton, Hessian prisoners were kept temporarily in the old Presbyterian Church. Newtown had its share of Tories, and in fact the county treasury was once stolen by the notorious Tory gang, the Doans. Walking through Newtown is like taking a tour through three centuries of architecture. Besides the Colonial and Federal style houses on Court Street, there are beautiful Victorian homes, reproduction colonials and contemporary homes that are so well blended that they seem to all be of the same character. For example, the Victorians are tasteful, simple by the standards of the period, and only mildly ornate, still reflecting some of the plain sensibilities of the Quaker town fathers. Colonial homes have been adapted to modern life and often have newer additions, sunrooms, while some of the newer homes are reproductions of older architectural styles.

PA046189

Newtown has many stores that makes walking around town great for shoppers. FA L L 2 0 1 6

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Lunch is easy for me when I am in Newtown. There are lots of restaurants and they serve a great variety of food. There are French, Chinese, Italian, Thai, Japanese, traditional American, contemporary American and so on. In fact, Newtown is a real dining destination. That being said I have two places where I usually go to lunch or dinner—The Saloon and Black Horse Tavern. The Saloon, on 203 N. Sycamore Street, is a great place to get Italian food and seafood specialties. My favorite for lunch is their Blackened Chicken Alfredo. If I stay for dinner I often go to the Black Horse Tavern on 101 S. State Street. They have a good selection of both casual and fine cuisine and on Monday nights you can get a three-course dinner special for only $15. Other places I like to go include the deli at the Newtown Farmer’s Market, the historic Temperance House, the newly reinvigorated Brick Hotel, Isaac Newton’s, the Piccolo Trattoria (Brooklyn pizza yum), 84

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La Stalla, Oishi (Japanese, Korean & Thai), and so many others.

The way the self-

guided tour works is that at each site is a

wayside marker that

has information on the

site’s history and a map that shows you where you are in relation to the other sites.

After a big lunch at one of the many Newtown eating establishments, I like to walk off the food, so I will take part of the

Newtown Heritage Walk. It is a good way to not only get some exercise, but also some better acquaintance with the history of the town. Although I never took the whole tour, I have walked to many of the sites. The way the self-guided tour works is that at each site is a wayside marker that has information on the site’s history and a map that shows you where you are in relation to the other sites. So, for example, on N. State Street in front of the Newtown Theatre is a wayside marker and shows a photo of a play that was done in the theatre circa 1900 and a view of the theatre in 1944. The plaque tells us that the theatre dates back to 1831 and is the oldest movie theatre in the United States, having its first movie shown in 1906. We also learn that the theatre is still in operation today. And the Newtown Theatre is a great place to see classic movies and plays. The Newtown Arts Company will be showing Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None,” from October 13


NEWTOWN...A NICE

to 19 and tickets can be purchased online at www.newtownartscompany.com, by phone at 800-838-3006 or at the box office at 120 N. State Street. Other sites I like to walk to when I am in Newtown are the Old Presbyterian Church, the Olde Church of Saint the Half Moon Inn, The Newtown Public Library Company, the Brick Hotel and the Newtown Fire Association. Besides having an interesting history, the Fire Association has a museum in the older building, and in it are old-fashioned fire engines on display. In a special garage is a hand pump from 1796, the beautifully restored Old Washy. I like to frame things: paintings, photographs, swathes of cloth, my children’s awards, my awards, my diploma, and whatever else would look good, nostalgic or impressive in a frame. I like to go to the Frame Game on 24 Richboro Road. I have a choice of buying the matting, and frames and doing it myself or allowing them to do it.

PLACE TO LIVE

Newtown has a busy Starbucks and it is a real friendly place to go when you want to

Newtown is a nice

place to visit and there are more things to do there than I could

possibly tell you about in a small magazine

article. Newtown is

also a great place to live. have a large latte and just spend some time catching up on emails. I also like to go to McCaffrey’s on the way home from

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Newtown. It is a great place to buy fresh produce and their baked goods are terrific. They also have wonderful salads and all kinds of prepared food to bring home and save me some time when I get back to Philly. So getting back to my original premise. Newtown is a nice place to visit and there are more things to do there than I could possibly tell you about in a small magazine article. Newtown is also a great place to live. The Council Rock School district has excellent schools that get high marks from all concerned. The people are friendly, and the fact that it still maintains much of its old-fashioned small town look makes it a comfortable place to live. It is a simply a great place to live and to visit. CRYSTAL MALACHI IS A FREELANCE WRITER FROM PHILADELPHIA WHO ENJOYS VISITING AND WRITING ABOUT SMALL PENNSYLVANIA TOWNS. FA L L 2 0 1 6

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Newtown, Pennsylvania  

What could be better than a town that has a comfortable small town feel, yet is a great place to shop, dine and just visit?

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