From its world-renowned golf course to its central shopping hub, Ardmore melds small-town charm with big-time offerings. Jewelry designer and local retailer Marlyn Schiff counts down the best of the best.
Ardmore may have made its way to worldwide renown last year when Merion Golf Club (450 Ardmore Ave., 610-642-5600) hosted its fifth US Open, but to Main Liners, the town is less about gorgeous greens and more about shopping and dining. Sure, there’s the aforementioned course (named among the greatest in the United States) and entertainment venues like the Ardmore Music Hall (23 E. Lancaster Ave., 610-649-8389), which, in its previous life as 23 East, hosted acts like the Dave Matthews Band and Red Hot Chili Peppers. But when it comes down to it, the pulse of Ardmore sits firmly in Suburban Square (Anderson & Coulter Aves.), an upscale outdoor shopping village that houses national chains and independent boutiques alike.
International jewelry designer Marlyn Schiff may sell her trendy jewelry in more than 500 boutiques across the country, including Neiman Marcus (multiple locations) and South Moon Under (multiple locations), but her showroom sits close to home, in a plum location right in Suburban Square.
“Ardmore is just a really fun, eclectic place. We’re constantly entertaining [clients] who come and buy our products, so having everything right here is fabulous. This is a place where people can get their must-have stores all at once. It’s a convenient alternative to going to King of Prussia Mall.
“J.Crew (49 Anderson Ave., 610-642- 6027) is where I go for all my basics for the entire family. I also love Barbour (29 on the Square, 610-649- 8450). It’s quintessential Main Line, but it’s also pretty sophisticated. All of my New York friends have a black Barbour coat. If you have the right eye, you can find some super fashionable things there.
Lululemon satisfies Schiff’s casual and activewear needs.
“Of course there’s Lululemon (41 St. Georges Road, 610-642-2841). I’ve been buying Lulu since they only had one store in New York City, in Lincoln Center, before anyone ever heard about it. The quality and fit are just great. And I also love City Sports (6 E. Montgomery Ave., 610-649-7497); it’s where my kids always get their sporting gear. My girls love Free People (45 Coulter Ave., 610-896- 6780) and Urban Outfitters (117 Coulter Ave., 610-642-3807)—it’s really where all the college kids shop for edgier wares. My girls are a bit more fashionable, and they both have great style. They both design for me and know what’s hot.
“When it comes to things like gifts, I love El Quetzal (41 Coulter Ave., 610-642-0300), which is an eclectic, inexpensive boutique to get things like candles and scarves. I also go to The Paperia (43 Coulter Ave., 610-896-0968) when I’m having a party. I’ll get all my paper goods there, and I just think it’s really quaint and small-town. If I need to pick up a card, I’ll go there or Paper Source (103 Coulter Ave., 610-642-2027), which is just a beautiful store. Of course, there’s Williams-Sonoma (42 St. Georges Road, 610-642-5009), which I go to all the time. It’s where I went to get everyone in my office holiday gifts. I pick up things like slate cheese platters and gorgeous marble and wood cake stands. Plus, I get all my serving pieces and dining room linens there, too.
“As for makeup and skincare, I adore Bluemercury (42 St. James Pl., 610-642-5400). They’re just really knowledgeable and know all of their products, inside and out. Even my daughters love it—it’s where they get facials and their eyebrows done. Bluemercury got me started on RéVive cream, and I’m now obsessed with the line. They turned me on to Bliss lotion for my body, and now I buy it anytime I need a present in a pinch.
For charcuterie, cheese, bread, and more, Schiff counts on Di Bruno Bros. in the Farmers Market.
“And for food, I definitely have my favorites. The Farmers Market (120 Coulter Ave.) is where I really chow down. My entire office eats there every day. They have the most amazing sushi, and we always get our cakes from The Ultimate Bake Shoppe (120 Coulter Ave., 610-649-2332). But for one-stop shopping, Di Bruno Bros. (120 Coulter Ave., 484-416-3311) is perfect—they have the best charcuterie. The food is so fresh, and they have amazing bread, prepared soups, and salads. We buy a ton of cheese there because we’re always entertaining.
“For breakfast and brunch, nothing beats the Ardmore Station Café (6 Station Road, 610-642-3889). They have the most delicious eggs, period. The décor is bare-bones, but it’s inexpensive and fresh and they just have really interesting combinations of food. I also love A La Maison Bistro (53 W. Lancaster Ave., 484-412-8009;), which serves very traditional French dishes. My husband grew up in Paris for many years, and he loves traditional French cooking. Their dishes are really on the mark, and we always bring a good red wine with us.
“All in all, Ardmore’s just a great small community. It’s unlike any other place on the Main Line.”
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DOMINIC EPISCOPO (SCHIFF; SHOWROOM)