June 24, 2010

Chestnut Hill Dining Guide

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He’s definitely on the right track
Living in a Hill train station for 78 years

Albert Jerdan has lived in and taken care of the Gravers Lane Station much longer than most Chestnut Hill residents have been alive. (Photo by Len Lear)

People often peek in the windows of Albert Jerdan’s house on Gravers Lane or try to walk through the front door to get inside, but he does not take offense at this invasion of privacy.

After all, Jerdan explained, after living in a house in the middle of the Gravers Lane Station, on the Chestnut Hill East Line, for 78 years, it is just part of his most unconventional routine. “People try to get in the doors, but you get used to it,” said Jerdan, 81. “I realize it’s an unusual place.”

Of course it is not just about people trying to get inside; sometimes, Jerdan said, people who do not realize it is private property by the station set up a picnic in his backyard. “I let them stay as long as they clean up after,” he said. “I don’t mind them being here.”

Built in 1883, 30 years after the inauguration of rail service to Chestnut Hill east of Germantown Avenue, the railroad station at Gravers Lane represents the efforts of the Philadelphia & Reading Railroad to compete with the Pennsylvania Railroad's proposed line to the western part of Chestnut Hill, which they knew would be opened in 1884.

Why didn't Phila.Orchestra pick our guy for conductor?

I'm extremely disappointed. I didn't get the job. The Philadelphia Orchestra has just named spiky-haired, 35-year-old French-Canadian Yannick Nezet-Seguin “Music Director-Designate.” This multi-hyphenated entity thus becomes the orchestra's 9th consecutive non-U.S.-born Music Director.

Oh well, at least I tried. I was just one candidate in a star-studded  field of contenders that included the likes of Shaquille O'Neal, Justin Bieber and former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, but I  thought that I had a distinct advantage, owing to my five continuous months as a cellist in the Old York Road Symphony in 1972.

Charming Mt. Airy shops: costumes, clothing, crafts

Gabrielle Rossi opened Dirty Girl Brigade, an environmentally friendly shop, at 7125 Germantown Ave. in 2009 to offer her family and friends quality everyday organic, sustainable and recyclable lifestyle items.

Mt. Airy is full of diversity, charm, elegant homes and good shopping. I had a great time recently checking out a few of the more interesting shops. Check them out and you’ll see why.


This fabulous shop was formed in 2007 by three local women who wanted a way to sell their work and represent other artists. Owners Kathy Robinson and Mary Lui Yoder feature mainly one-of-a kind handmade works of art from local artists and designers. They offer a large selection of jewelry, pottery, hand blown glass pieces, silk batik clothing, hand made soaps and candles. (The third partner in Artista, Andrea Herbert, just retired in January. A jewelry maker, her line is available at Artista.)


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