By Nancy Keeler
When most people first learn about neighborhoods in Lancaster city, they hear about Chestnut Hill. Not that I should be talking about Chestnut Hill first, because really Olde Town can be attributed as the beginning of Lancaster’s renaissance, but Chestnut Hill is a bit more notorious—in a good way. Chestnut Hill is bound on the west by College Avenue, on the south by Marietta Avenue and W Orange St, on the east by Mulberry St, and on the north by a jagged line near Harrisburg Pike. Chestnut Hill is frequented by joggers, bikers (of the bicycling sort), and dog walkers and is a popular first neighborhood in the city for young professionals as well as families and retirees—so really this description is no help. Much like the rest of Lancaster, the neighborhood contains a mix of single-family homes, row houses, and apartments of varying sizes.
What many may consider the heart of Chestnut Hill is a little café on the corner of W Chestnut St and N Pine St bearing the neighborhood’s name. On any given Sunday afternoon, you will find locals inside, silently crammed between couches, chairs and tables, sipping coffee, and listening to a local musician playing for tips. (I need to take a moment to tell you—I am going to say ‘local’ a lot.) Outside dogs lap up water under the clock and patrons enjoy reading and chatting in the sunshine. But if you have spent a single summer in Lancaster, this scene is probably not new to you and you are wondering when I am going to deliver the goods. For that, I will need you to look directly across the street from Chestnut Hill Café to a storefront called It’s Modern Art. A design and art studio by day, It’s Modern Art parks a variety of ‘colorful’ and ‘you won’t miss them’ bicycles out front each day, which are free to be taken and used and returned as seen fit. I believe the ‘bright’ and ‘artistic’ designs on the bikes helps keep this sweet little free ride program going. If biking is not your cup of tea, step inside during one of their Tiny Modern Concerts. Just remember to get there early because tiny is not a euphemism.
Nancy Keeler is a Lancaster Transplant and a licensed Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Homesale Realty, www.homesale.com. She specializes in downtown living and investment properties. To find out more about life downtown and real estate, contact Nancy at firstname.lastname@example.org.