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Slice of Suburbia-Phoenixville

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Hello P2P readers. Welcome to the newest section of Philly2Philly.com- Slice of Suburbia ™ where I’ll be featuring various towns outside of Philadelphia.

This week’s spotlight is on Phoenixville, a vibrant little town at the juncture of the French Creek and the Schuylkill River and four miles north of the Valley Forge National Park. The Borough of Phoenixville was incorporated in 1849, and now is a growing community of over 16,000 people, situated twenty-five miles northwest of Philadelphia.

Phoenixville has its roots in the steel industry, making it an area many immigrants came to after sailing to New York, my Slovak family included, from Hungary, in 1914. After going through an economic boom, the steel company and railroad weren’t used as much, and Phoenix Iron Works closed its doors in the late 80s, and with it, many of the jobs and prosperity here. It wasn’t until recently that Phoenixville is bouncing back, a newfound place for shops, restaurants, clothing stores and coffeehouses. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, the historic downtown area is home to the perpendicular streets of Main and Bridge, where most of Phoenixville’s action can be found. Even the old Foundry building is a renovated restaurant.

Phoenixville is also host to the Dogwood Pageant, Faire (at Reeves Park) and Parade, the Firebird Festival and BlobFest, where the original The Blob was filmed in the late ‘50s, with Steve McQueen. This community has a fierce devotion to the arts and it shows in many of the town’s events, along with a willingness to assist in charity events and fundraising.

Restaurants such as Molly Maguire’s Irish Restaurant & Pub and PJ Ryan’s, along with Iron Hill, Daddy Mims' Creole and Johnny's New Orleans Pizza, Columbia Bar & Grille, Pickering Creek Inn, Bistro on Bridge/ Club 212, la Creperie, Black Lab Bistro, Irish Joe's Cafe, Majolica, Marly’s, along with more casual pizza places such as Franco Ristorante (mmm, pizza) and Artisan’s Café, Philly Soft Pretzel Factory and Steel City Coffeehouse, which has weekly music and entertainment (and great iced coffee!). And my personal favorite, the Fenix Martini and Tapas Bar (try the Espresso-tini.tell them I sent ya- it’s heavenly, try along with the Black and Tan Hummus.)

Many eclectic retail shoppes have also added to Phoenixville’s economic upturn, such as The House of Flowers & Gifts, run by a former Dogwood Queen and Phoenixville resident Kathy Labik Tarlecki; Ellie’s Choice, Charmed Spirit, Wolfgang Books, Romantic Jewelers, Hipster Home, Best Friends, EarthMart, Lush Consignments, Country Charm Furnishings, Diving Cat Studio, Eye of Phoenix Antiques, Morning Star Books, USA Kilts, and Ocean Earth Wind Fire.

Also, don’t forget to grab fresh, local produce at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings, located on Bridge Street & Taylor Alley, Saturdays, 9am to 1pm through November 28.

The best part about this town is the relaxing vibe. You can chill by day, party by night, have a summer romance, and then show your kids the park bench where your grandparents had their first kiss. Many memories take hold in this quant reborn town, get out to Pville and make your own!

Check out First Friday, listen to the fine bands of the Phoenixville Summer Street Music Series (through September 4th), have dinner at Columbia Bar & Grille, Dessert at La Creperie (I recommend the strawberry crepes), martinis at the Fenix, then end your night with some rousing Irish tunes at Molly Maguire’s, and perhaps an Irish Coffee. Then, you can go home happy!

Got a ‘Slice of Suburbia’ you’d like me to check out- drop me a line or leave a comment!

You can contact Christine Tarlecki at engchik@comcast.net or http://engchik.blogspot.com/