Horsey Areas outside of Philly and near an airport

We’re looking at a potential move to the Philadelphia area in the next year. DH has an offer to work 90% remote for a company based in Philadelphia.

He will be traveling frequently, so we’d like to be near an airport. Since he’ll rarely be commuting, anything within an hour or so of Philly would be fine, so I could see us ending up in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey or Pennsylvania.

What are the best horsey areas to focus in on? I have my horses at home right now, and I’d like to continue to keep them at home after we move.

Non horsey considerations include: education system, crime rate, tax rates.

Check out Chester County in PA. Major horse country, with Olympians and other well known riders having barns in the area, especially southern Chester County. Depending on whether your husband wants to take public transportation, there are regional rail lines that go directly to the airport. Depending on traffic, it takes me 45 minutes to an hour to get from Center City to the northwestern part of Chester County. The school districts are generally very good in this area (property taxes fund school districts), crime is basically non existent. I can’t really speak to tax rates personally, but you would definitely be able to find properties where you can keep your horses, depending on how much you’re willing to spend.

Define “near an airport” and “horsey area”. If you decide to live in Chester County, the county tends to be more expensive but closer to Olympic riders - especially if you are looking at Unionville. A lot of hunts and fancy barns, as well as shows. North of Wilmington, DE is similar, especially Greenville area and it is just south of Chester County. Fair Hill area in MD has a school system that is not as good as the other areas, Cecil County being a notoriously poor county, but has lower cost of living, Fair Hill Nature Preserve with MILES of trails and is still reasonably close to Unionville area for shows (about 45 min away). Fair Hill area is about 45 min from Philalephia International Airport (PHI) and about an hour from Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI). There is also a regional airport in New Castle, DE.

Oxford, PA is about a 15 minute drive from Fair Hill, and about 30-40 min from Unionville, PA. It has a higher cost of living than Fair Hill, lower than Unionville and good schools. So, that may be an option there.

Depending on your discipline, all these areas will have schooling shows starting within about a 15 min trailer ride from the farm and several schooling and recognized shows within a few hours.

As far as commute to Philly - as AbbyGRP stated, check out he Amtrak line. You can hop on anywhere from Perryvillle, MD, through Wilmington, DE and north to get into Philly without having to drive. Depending on where the office is compared to the train station, it may be a good option instead of fighting traffic and trying to find parking.

Good questions, and thank you for your input!

By near an airport, I’d like to be within 45 minutes of an international airport. I may be able to look further out as we get more details about the amount of travel required by the job, but 45 minutes or so is a good starting point.

By horsey area, I want to be able to find somewhere to live where I can keep my horses at home, and will have access to vet, farrier etc. I do want to be able to find a good instructor, but I haven’t always found that Olympians and other BNTs make the best riding instructors. Sometimes they are great at both, but I found riding and teaching are two different skillsets.

As far as being within 45 minutes of the Philly airport, traffic on 95 can be insane at any time of the day, so even if you’re very close to Philly, like northern Delaware or southeastern PA, you should be aware that driving travel time does not always equal distance. Like Ajierene said, Amtrak will take your husband to the airport as well, and does run along the Paoli-Thorndale line, which is the line that goes through Chester County. So you could live near a train stop and easily take the train to the airport, either from PA or DE.

With respect to your point about Olympians and BNTs not always making the best riding instructors, that’s very true. I mentioned it just to point out that Chester County is an area that supports tons of barns, and there are many opportunities to have property that is able to have horses. I board my horse at a beautiful facility run by a professional near Pottstown, and I’ve seen many farmettes for sale in the area. I also know plenty of people in the area that keep their horses at home and trailer in for lessons.

South Jersey would also be a good choice travel wise, but I will note that there are almost no horse farms in South Jersey, and it is mostly swamp and pine barrens, so not great for horses.

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I was born in Chester County, PA— I grew up in Oxford, PA, which is about the greatest place on the planet for horses.

I moved away for many year, living in several different southern states. A few years ago I came back north, this time in Maryland.

Most of the greater Philadelphia area is very good for horses in the sense we have a lot of access to riding, quality barns, and services no matter where you live. The tough part is there is a lot of urban sprawl.

In the towns immediately around the city, much of the horse-keeping land has been lost to houses. There are still a fair number barns considering how built up it is, but they are pricey and traffic congestion will be heavy enough to limit your options. There aren’t going to be many options to keep your horses at home.

In the areas that still have a lot of farms and open land, you’re looking at a pretty substantial commute to the city and the Philadelphia airport. Though it may not appear far away on a map, traffic is going to be quite heavy in and around the airport during daytime/commuting hours.

If your husband’s trips will be infrequent or at odd hours, the world is your oyster. Chester County is a fabulous option, but you can pretty much go any direction and find a good horse community.

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