Swarthmore: Philly's ultimate college town

For many reasons, people find that college towns are an ideal place to live. From their abundance of cultural offerings to their intellectual atmosphere and profusion of affordable restaurants, university neighborhoods tend to be some of the most desirable communities in a given city.

This is especially true in the City of Brotherly Love. Homes for sale in Philadelphia, PA, that are near the city's most prestigious institutions are typically among the most coveted in the region.

Swarthmore, just outside Philadelphia in Delaware County, is a perfect example. This small, convivial town attracts a great deal more than college students. People of all ages flock to Swarthmore for its active arts scene and charming houses.

One thing that many residents enjoy about the town is its self-sustaining nature. There are enough restaurants and small, family-run shops to keep residents busy for years, without much need to venture into the surrounding towns or downtown Philadelphia. Whether after live music, art or natural beauty, Swarthmore's citizens seem to have everything they need in a small radius.

However, for those who do enjoy a little big city mixed into their life, Philly is not far. About 25 minutes by car or 30 by public transportation, the City of Brotherly Love is easy to get to for a job, appointment or night on the town.

Centered around Swarthmore college, the town is easily traversed by bike, foot or car. Quiet, tree-lined streets imbue the village with a sleepy, relaxed feeling, but don't let that fool you - there is a lot going on in Swarthmore.

Saturday-morning farmers' markets, summer concerts and cozy bars make Swarthmore one of the more active communities in the region. However, there is also a lot of space in which to relax and soak up the local hotspots. One of the most popular is the school-owned arboretum, a 300-acre expanse of quiet, scenic woodland.

Swarthmore is also known for its strong school system, which is not limited to its renowned college. The public school system has a reputation for being one of the best in the state, led by the town's high school, Strath Haven. For this reason, many families find their way to Swarthmore, where they choose among the many unique, charming homes. In fact, according to Philadelphia Magazine, less than 1 percent of the homes in Swarthmore are new, as the original houses are prized for their beauty and functionality.