Category Archives: Just For Fun

Winter Fun and Festive Events This Weekend

Embrace the chilly fun that’s to be had in these last few weeks of winter, and see just how much more the groundhog predicts for this year. Philadelphia and the Southern New Jersey Shore have theatrical performances, races, and even a Chinese New Year celebration for your enjoyment on the weekend agenda.

Lambertville/New Hope Winter Festival

Through January 28

Various Locations

New Hope, PA

Enjoy a full day of fun for all ages. Whether you’re interested in a bird walk, puppet theater, or ballet performance, this festival has something for everyone.

Groundhog Day Festival

January 27 10:00 AM- 1:00 PM

John Heinz at Tinicum

Philadelphia, PA

Celebrate the possibility of Tinicum Tim seeing his shadow or not at this festival. Learn more about the exciting mysteries of nature and enjoy free crafts and food while you’re at it.

Chinese New Year Celebration

January 27 11:00 AM- 4:00 PM

Penn Museum

Philadelphia, PA

Join friends at this event ringing in the Chinese New Year. Enjoy storytelling, crafts, and calligraphy demonstrations, topped off with the lion dance and parade. 

Creative Coloring for Adults

January 27 1:30-3:00 PM

Pleasantville Branch Library

Pleasantville, NJ

Sooth your mind with the help of paper and colors. Escape to a colorful world of your design alongside others at the Pleasantville Branch Library.

Orchid Extravaganza

Through March 25

Longwood Gardens

Philadelphia, PA

Lovers of flowers enjoy this breathtaking exhibit. Meander through the 4-acre conservatory and see all the beauty that these gorgeous flowers can showcase.

Wassailing the Apple Trees

January 28 1:00- 4:00 PM

Terhune Orchards

Princeton, NJ

Pretend you’re British for a day and participate in this historic tradition. “Wassail” the apple trees and wish them good luck for the upcoming year. Follow the fun with live music and a bonfire complete with marshmallows for toasting.

Seafarin’ Saturday

January 27

Independence Seaport Museum

Philadelphia, PA

Learn about flying fish this week at the Independence Seaport Museum. Follow up your education about invasive species by crafting your own fish windsock!

Blue Cross Riverrink Waterfront

Delaware River Waterfront

Philadelphia, PA

Spend a day enjoying all that winter has to offer. Enjoy the ice rink, food, and fun for every member of the family at this festival.

Princess and the Pea

January 28 (various times)

Media Theater

Media, PA

Why oh why is that persnickety princess complaining again? Enjoy this musical based on the classic tale of the princess and that bothersome pea at the Media Theater.

Indoor Auto Racing

January 26-27 (various times)

Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall

Atlantic City, NJ

Get your racing fix and watch old rivals at it again. Have a blast watching this year’s race from the indoor comfort of Boardwalk Hall.

This Suburban Philly School District Ranked #1 in Pennsylvania

Business Insider has ranked the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District as the best school district in Pennsylvania. It’s not hard to see why. This Pennsylvania school district boasts quite a few benefits that are gaining national recognition. From low teacher to student ratios, higher teacher loyalty, and higher than average proficiency, this school district has lots to be proud of.

  • The district is home to 6,000 students from 8 different schools in eastern Chester County outside of Philadelphia.
  • The student to teacher ratio is an impressive 15:1. Lower than the national average, students in the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District are given more individual attention, resulting in an exemplary education experience.
  • 97% of the district’s students graduate from high school. Nationally, the average is 83%, proving that the district’s approach to education is not only working, but it’s working well.
  • The average teacher has worked in the district for over 15 years. With a higher than average salary for local teachers, this district boasts a loyal and invested teacher base.
  • 72% of the district’s students are proficient in math and a whopping 88% are proficient in reading! With such high proficiency numbers, it’s easy to see why the Tredyffrin/Easttown School District excels amongst its peers.
  • Tredyffrin/Easttown School District boasts an average SAT score of 1300 and an average ACT score of 30. Not only are the students graduating in this district, they’re also adequately prepared for college.
  • While most of the country spends an average of $12,239 per student, this school district spends an average of $17,464 per student. Not only are the teachers investing in the lives of their students, it’s obvious that the district is as well.

It’s easy to see why Business Insider has chosen Tredyffrin/Easttown School District as it’s #1 in Pennsylvania. Here at the Silva group we’re proud to serve homeowners in this esteemed school district and are excited to see what’s in store for the future of the schools and their students.

What’s Happening in Philadelphia and the Northern New Jersey Shore This Week

Keep yourself and holiday visitors entertained over the weekend. With musical performances, special museum exhibits, and seasonal events to offer, it isn’t hard to find fun both before and after Christmas day in Philly and the Northern New Jersey Shore.

My Very Own Polar Bear

Through December 31 various times 2:00 PM and 5:00 PM

Act II Playhouse- Philadelphia, PA

This play tells the sweet tale of a girl and her toy polar bear who isn’t a toy but real to her. Take the family to see this play about a Christmas present that transforms the life of a child.

Christmas Eve Special at the Atlantic City Comedy Club

December 24 8:30 PM

Atlantic City Comedy Club- Atlantic City, NJ

Ring in your Christmas celebration with a night of laughs. Hear multiple comedians at this special event at the Atlantic City Comedy Club.

Terracotta Warriors

Through March 2018

The Franklin Institute- Philadelphia, PA

Delight the archeology buff in your family by taking in this exhibit at The Franklin Institute. These life-sized terracotta figures on display date back to 210 BC. View these and other ancient Chinese artifacts at this exhibit.

Winter Wonderland in Butterflies

December 24 10:00 AM- 5:00 PM

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University- Philadelphia, PA

Learn more about butterflies at this exhibit. See the ANSP butterfly habitat turn snowy white as the Morpho Polyphemus butterflies turn the exhibit into a beautiful wintry scene.

The Colonial Drive Christmas Light Display

Through January 7

155 Colonial Drive Langhorne, PA

Tune into 92.1 at this location to see a moving light display dance before your eyes. This is a great free event the whole family will enjoy!

Handel’s Messiah

December 21-22 7:00 PM

The Kimmel Center- Philadelphia, PA

See the Philadelphia Orchestra perform this time honored oratorio. Enjoy an evening hearing classics such as The Hallelujah Chorus performed to kick off your Christmas weekend.

Big Daddy Graham’s A Row Home Christmas

December 22, 23, and 26 8:00 PM

Players Club of Swarthmore- Swarthmore, PA

Follow this tale of a local firefighter who is hired to play Santa Claus in a church production. The events that follow will forever change his life.

Winter Dinner Party Cooking Class

December 21 6:00 PM

The Viking Cooking School at Harrah’s- Atlantic City, NJ

Perfect your technique for the perfect winter dinner party in this class. Master recipes such as Oysters Rockefeller and Veal Oscar in this class at the Viking Cooking School.

Stomp!

December 26-31

The Kimmel Center- Philadelphia, PA

Stomp! is back! See the famous percussive stage production live at the Kimmel Center. You won’t be able to help yourself from tapping along with the beat to this exciting performance.

Back To School Safety Tips

Back to school is just around the corner. Parents should be aware of the dangers that surround children during this time of year and how to keep them safe.   Safety should be on everyone’s mind whether your child is walking, riding the bus, or being driven to school.

Here are tips from the National Safety Council:

  1. Use Caution During School Times:

While driving slow down and share the roads with school buses, cyclists, and pedestrians.  Educate your children with the necessary knowledge to stay safe, such as, watching for cars, buses, and reporting suspicious vehicles.

  1. Safe Send Off:

Many common injuries can easily be prevented. Run through these safety topics with your children before the school year begins.

  1. Teen Drivers:

The number of crashes among teenagers drastically increases in the month of September as they head back to school.  For the best ways to keep them safe learn more here.

  1. Stranger Danger:

Review with your children everything they need to know about strangers.  Teach them to never take anything from a stranger or go anywhere with a stranger under any circumstances. Instruct them to scream and run in the opposite direction.

Have a happy and safe school year.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Benjamin Franklin

The Silva Group is comprised of Philadelphia and New Jersey’s best and brightest in the real estate industry. Our team is more than a bunch of real estate agents packed into an office – we are friends and family members who all have one passion – to provide the very best real estate experience possible to our clients.

If you are looking to rent a home in Eastern Pennsylvania or New Jersey we would honored to help you with your search. Contact us at any time or feel free to call us directly at (267) 202-4955.

Boost Poor Cell phone Reception In Your Home With These Tips

If you find yourself walking around your Eastern Pennsylvania or New Jersey home while talking on your cell phone saying, “Can you hear me now?” then you may be suffering from poor cell signal.  Don’t worry, you’re not alone!  Spotty cell phone service can be extremely frustrating, especially when it’s happening in your own home.

Here are a few ways to help you boost your cell phone reception inside your home.

  1. Cell phone booster– Purchasing a cell signal booster can be costly, ranging anywhere from $400 upwards of even $1,000, but it may save you frustration in the long run. Before investing in a cell signal booster, your phone first needs to have a decent signal to work with. Some cell phone users in densely populated areas where cell towers are on high rise buildings have found that putting a booster antenna on the outside of their window helped their signal sustainably.  Keep in mind that cell phone boosters should be registered with your cell phone carrier.
  2. Wi-Fi Calling through your smartphone- The ability to receive calls through your smartphone using wifi is becoming available on more and more smartphone models. This feature allows your in-home WiFi to make calls.
  3. Femtocell- A femtocell, also referred to as a microcell, will use your own internet connection as a backup to your phone. After purchasing the device you simply plug it into your home’s modem or router and it uses your home’s internet connection as your cell signal booster. Many times these can be purchased directly from your cell phone carrier and cost upwards of $200. However, some carriers have been known to provide them to their customers free of charge, so it never hurts to call and ask.

It is rare that cell phone signal lacks in our area, but it does happen at times. With these few tips you should be able to free yourself from frustration while using your cell phone for important calls.

If you are looking to buy or sell your Eastern Pennsylvania or New Jersey home this spring, The Silva Group would be delighted to help.  Contact us at any time or feel free to call us directly at (267) 202-4955.

The Silva Group is comprised of Philadelphia and New Jersey’s best and brightest in the real estate industry. Our team is more than a bunch of real estate agents packed into an office – we are friends and family members who all have one passion – to provide the very best real estate experience possible to our clients.

 

 

Protect Your Home’s Landscaping From Deer With These Tips

Deer are beautiful animals, but these graceful creatures can quickly wreak havoc on your Eastern Pennsylvania or New Jersey home’s landscape.  As pretty as they may be, when food becomes scarce during the colder winter months they begin to forage for anything they can to survive. Unfortunately, that puts your landscape at risk. If you are considering selling your Eastern Pennsylvania or New Jersey home, curb appeal is a necessity, and if your home’s landscaping has been destroyed by deer it will leave you scrambling to spruce it up. Be proactive and start making changes now.

Typically the first things deer choose to eat are ornamental trees and shrubs. Deer are very well known to eat a tree right down to the bark. Your landscape can be damaged by deer in any season, but your landscape becomes more at risk during the dormant season when food is less easily found.  To protect your landscaping plant items that deer are less likely to choose to eat.  Pansies, tulips, laurel, forsythia, Japanese yew, and crocus are some of the favorites of deer.

Here is a list of just a few plants and shrubs that deer tend to steer clear of.

  • Iris
  • Yucca
  • English Holly
  • Tiger Lilies
  • Wisteria
  • Yarrow
  • Bougainvillea
  • Geraniums
  • Spruce
  • Fox Glove
  • Heather

Keep your landscape safe by choosing to plant your more desirable plants closer to your home, as deer are timid and don’t want to come too close to humans.  If you plant enough pungent smelling perennials it can easily throw off a deer’s sense of smell and deter them from eating your more desirable plants. Wrapping plants that you have newly planted is another great way to deter deer.  Plastic tree wrap is a popular method to protect new growing trees. While not the most attractive at times, a scarecrow can be very effective in keeping deer at bay. These timid creatures are easily deterred by scarecrows.

If these tips are not working for you there are numerous commercial repellants on the market you can use to keep your landscape safe from deer. Some homeowners also choose to install a sensor that when activated will spray water at any intruders from deer to humans.

The Silva Group is comprised of Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey’s best and brightest in the real estate industry.  If you are considering buying or selling your home we would love to help. Our team is more than a bunch of real estate agents packed into an office – we are friends and family members who all have one passion – to provide the very best real estate experience possible to our clients.

They’re Coming To Our City!

It’s official, College Game Day will be visiting Philadelphia this weekend so why not spend the weekend in the city enjoying all it has to offer.

College Game Day by ESPN will be broadcasting from in front of Independence Mall, and will set the stage for one of the biggest games in the history of Temple University as it takes on No. 9 ranked Notre Dame.

While in Philly this weekend here are a few events to check out:

Friday, October 30, 2015- Wicked 2015 at XFINITY Live! –  Enjoy some wicked Halloween fun as Xfinitiy Live will host seven different themed parties at seven venues across the city.  Put on your spookiest Halloween costume and head out for great music, a live performance by High Swan Dive, drink specials, and prizes for the best costume. The party starts at 8pm. For the list of venues and costume rules visit here.

Friday, October 30, 2015- Halloween Party at PMA Art- Head to the Philadelphia Museum of Art after 5 for their spooky night before Halloween party. The event is free with museum admission and will feature a dance party by DJ Diamond Kuts and a cocktail bar. Enjoy a fashion show of Halloween Costumes put on by Philadelphia University students in the Great Stair Hall.

Saturday, October 31, 2015- Superheroes vs. Villains- Dress up as your favorite villain or superhero and head to Yakitori Boy’s Halloween party. Enjoy karaoke and their one of a kind Halloween specialty cocktails. Costume contest prizes will be awarded for best superhero and best villain. Learn more about the party at the lounge here.

Saturday, October 31, 2015- The 9th Annual Heaven & Hell Party at Lucky Strike– Join the party with nearly 700 other Halloween party goers on Halloween night at Lucky Strike Lounge & Lanes.  The Heaven & Hell party will allow you to ascend to Heaven (the third floor) where you can join the Zombie Boogie featuring DJ Bizz for drinks and dancing to your favorite dance hits, or try your luck in Hell (the lounge on the second floor) where you can enjoy special guest DJ John Lee who will be spinning the hottest music with EDM, Hip Hop, and pop hits.  One ticket price, two parties, bar snacks, and a costume contest with over $500 in prizes.  Learn more here.

After a full weekend enjoying Philadelphia spend your Sunday with some downtime. We have great listings available in Philly so why not schedule a showing while you’re in the city?

Greater Philadelphia Haunted Houses Tested In-depth

 

by Michael Maerten                                Updated 10/2015

Philadelphia Area Haunted Houses 

Ok so I have obsessions when it comes to things I enjoy in life…my obsession for a good haunted house is no exception. Maybe it comes from my joy of pranks and watching a good scare happen, Scare Tactics the TV show is a good example of excessive scares. For the past 8 years I’ve been going to area Haunted Attractions, the last 7 with a group of friends who have become the Board of Directors for the event, and the event has grown exponentially in attendance every year. We make the event a night out, including finding a good local pub to “debrief” afterwards to share our favorite parts of the attraction. To date we’ve done The Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride in Glenn Mills, PA twice, Shocktoberfest near Reading, PA twice, Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia twice, Jason’s Woods in Millersville just outside of Lancaster, and Pennhurst Asylum in Spring City, PA. For the Bates Motel we coupled the night with Duffers Pub both times, for Shocktoberfest we stopped at Sly Fox Brewery in Royersford the first time, and then had a limo bus for the 2014 excursion which included a pit stop at Five Guys right when they were closing only to have to produce 15+ burgers for our group, for Eastern State Penitentiary we enjoyed The Bishop’s Collar, and for Jason’s Woods we stopped at Yorgos in downtown Lancaster (yes there is a downtown) which has 81 different Wing Sauce Flavors, for Pennhurst the debriefing location was Molly Maguire’s in downtown Phoenixville.

So down to the ratings in the “expert” opinion of our Board of Directors:

2008 & 2013The Bates Motel and Haunted Hayride: the most awarded of all the Haunted Attractions we have attended, consistently ranked in the Top 10 Haunted Attractions in the Country by Haunt World Magazine including #1 in 2011. This attraction has our #1 Haunted Hayride, it’s a tough one to beat. The Bates Motel section was good, but a little short. The corn maze and other attractions could use more characters, but all in all this is a very good attraction and we highly recommend it to others. We didn’t feel that there was much added between 2008-13, but we always look for this one to grow as it is a popular local original attraction.

2009 & 2014Shocktoberfest: this one took us all by surprise in 2009. What it lacked in high end builds, a true overall scary atmosphere and kind of weird state fair with Carnie’s feel to the entry, it made up for it with the characters, the different scenes, and overall scare value. This attraction had our #2 Haunted Hayride with great scenes and plenty of actors, our #1 indoor scare room (the shower scene with slow strobe light was phenomenal), 3D rooms, and length of the attractions were perfect. It’s a far drive from Philly having to go past Reading to get there, but we’re happy we made the trip and reason we had a limo bus in 2014. This one is probably the least marketed of all the venues we have visited and again was a pleasant surprise. The 2014 trip was mostly rained out but we made the most of it even though the hayride was closed. We had a large group and the carnival games were fun as always!

2010- Eastern State Penitentiary– the most crowded and #2 overall atmosphere. I’ve been to this one twice now, once in 2007 without the Board of Directors and then with the Board in 2010. They definitely improved the site since 2007 and continue to add attractions. They have some really good scenes and obviously the history of the Penitentiary adds to the overall anxiety of waiting for the next scare. The lines are extremely long but they do a decent job of keeping you anxious to get in. My biggest complaint is that this site has so much more potential and with the amount of money they are generating each year, they should be so much better and built out by now. You wait for a long time and then are done in what seemed to be 25 minutes.

2011- Jason’s Woods– visited in 2011: their #1 attraction is their Haunted Hayride which was pretty good, long enough to make you feel that you got your money’s worth. The second best attraction was probably Jason’s Woods Walking Tour which gives you a feeling of vulnerability out in the woods with a small group. The best scare of the night happened in the woods with another visitor trying to take a picture of a statue (or what he thought was a statue) and he ended up on the ground in less than a half second, kicking and screaming. Overall this attraction is a distant finisher as the rest of the attraction was just missing the number of characters and feeling of authenticity.

2012 Pennhurst Haunted Asylum- we waited for this place to mature. Opened in 2010, year one was not getting high ratings. It was owned by the same owner of The Bates Motel, so we knew it had potential. After some debate we decided to pass again on it in 2011 opting for an attraction with 26 years of experience. It seems that the reviews in 2011 were a lot better than they were in its inaugural year. We had high hopes for this one, as it has the most potential of all the other attractions due to the site’s history and it being truly haunted. The number 1 difference… “We can and will touch you!” We were all touched A LOT, the wives were a little creeped out with all the hair touching but it was the difference maker with this place vs. the others. There are three main attractions, someone similar in nature and scare tactics, and a 4th Ghost Hunt tour through an old boarding building. This place has some demented history which adds to the allure. It lacked a haunted hayride, but made up for it in the number of scenes throughout the different attractions. This was worth waiting for and it still has the most upside for future growth vs. the competition.

2013: Bates Motel– reviewed above

2014: Shocktoberfest- reviewed above

2015: TBD!
Have you visited any of these attractions? What do you think??