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Welcome to the Main Line

THERE ARE OTHER LOCALES that claim a main line rail track running through, but they are strictly lower case. The Main Line in Penn's Greene Countrie is more than a train track, more than an historical highway, more than beautiful estates, more than upscale shops, more than horses - it's an attitude. It's an eclectic state of mind manifesting itself in people who are the achievers of the region and, of course, patriot in charming villages, magnificent estates and workplaces as modern as tomorrow, as well as the opposite of all those.

No longer rural, no longer just a vacation jaunt for the wealthy of Philadelphia, certainly not urban but refusing to be simply suburban, the Main Line in the '90s melds the warmth of small town living with the cultural advantages of a "big city". Its chief concerns in the mid-90s are, as they have been for many years, parking, traffic and trying to preserve some of that which brought the city folks out long ago - open space.

The Main Line, true to the legacy of William Penn, abounds with parks - over 75 large and small ones plus the nearby Valley Forge Park and easily accessed Fairmount Park But residents by and large want more open space and most municipal leaders concur. Everyone seems to want more open space preserved - everyone, that is, except developers who see a different kind of green in these fair lands. But the developers keep the Rolaids business booming as they go mano a mano with Main Line mavens in this very special 20 mile stretch of conspicuous consumption. So what is it that is so special about the Main Line? Hard to say. Well, not really hard to say, just difficult to convey without a hint of arrogance, a soupcon of elitism.

Horse Show

The thing is, the Main Line just has more of so much. More schools, more medical facilities, more BMWs, more estates, more dry cleaners, more Little League players, more churches, more pizzas, more Land Rovers, more institutions of higher learning, more libraries, more celebrities, more history, more Realtors, more Jaguars, more charming little shops, more lawyers, more Lexi, more national headquarters, more trails controversy, more community theaters, more municipal arguments, more road work, more upscale stores, more artists, more informed dissenters, more first-rate restaurants, more cows, more movers and shakers, more antiques stores, more thrift shops - and more thrifts, more horse shows, more art centers, more train stations - and hey, more fun!

It's hard to be humble when the rarefied reality gives the lie to "Oh, it's just like any other string of whistle stops." Its Whistle Stop Towns are definitely upper case, and quite special, making the whole of the Main Line special. Why, you ask again? By Divine Providence, it just is!

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