The Main Line gets a taste of shopping, art

In Ardmore, there are fewer crowds, less noise and more trees than Philly. A town like this is perfect in the naturally beautiful fall season.

Situated approximately 30 minutes outside of Center City, you can easily take the R5 toward Paoli/Thorndale from the Temple station to the Ardmore stop. It drops you off right in the heart of shopper’s heaven: Suburban Square. A one-way train ticket costs $5.

Suburban Square has more than 50 boutiques and eateries, including American Eagle, GAP, Urban Outfitters, Victoria’s Secret, Free People, Banana Republic and J. Crew. There is an Apple store for the tech-savvy folks. There are also plenty of salons and spas for those who want to pamper themselves.

When it comes to food, there are several places to dine or grab some coffee. If you’re in the mood for a blast from the past, the chain restaurant Ruby’s Diner offers burgers and fries at decent prices. The restaurant is set in a ’50s theme and transports you to the movie Grease.

There are also the usual coffee shops: Starbucks and Corner Bakery Café are both perfect for those who want to relax after a long day of classes. There is a garden area between the boutiques, which offers tables for working and benches for resting.

The shopping center is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Once day turns to dusk, the best place to hang out in Ardmore is Milkboy Coffee. A café by day and entertainment venue by night, Milkboy Coffee hosts an array of local bands and also coordinates open mic nights.

In February 2006, the café opened in hopes of bringing the youth back to Ardmore. It is on the corner of East Lancaster and Cricket avenues, directly across from the inbound Ardmore train station.

“We do our best to use free range and organic products. And we also try to use bio-dynamic products,” store manager Jesse Gates said.

With a low-key, relaxed atmosphere, Milkboy Coffee is the perfect place for students of all ages and business locals to relax and hang out.

“This is a good place to hang on a Monday night. There are not many places to go,” customer Charles Washington said.

This is a particularly true statement for the younger people who flocked to the café for open mic jazz on Mon., Oct. 15. There were musicians as young as 12 years old performing jazz classics.

“There’s an interesting group of people that come here, pretty much every walk of life,” Gates said. “The age range of frequent customers is broad, from early teens to as old as 80.”

Since Milkboy Coffee was constructed, the owners have worked with the township and residents to liven up the area after it began redevelopment in 2004.

“We thought Ardmore had great potential for growth,” owner Jamie Lokoff said. They have another café located in Bryn Mawr at 824 W. Lancaster Ave.

In October 2006, Milkboy Coffee owners and employees arranged First Friday Main Line.

Festivities include band performances on Lancaster Avenue, starting in Ardmore and ending in Bryn Mawr. Artists also display their work and a myriad of businesses in the area participate each month. A free trolley runs through the towns on First Friday.

Amanda Fries can be reached at

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