Walkers pass the Sewickley Hotel on Beaver Street. Photo by Kate Buckley

(Photos of Sewickley Hotel, Penguin Bookshop, Broad Street, and Sewickley Town Center Gazebo; Kate Buckley)

When it comes to charm, Sewickley has it, from its bustling “village” of a business district to a range of great amenities, all within walking distance.

Situated 11 miles northeast of downtown, on the Ohio River, this quaint borough of tree-lined streets with sidewalks is bordered by the neighboring boroughs of Edgeworth, Glen Osborne and, on the hill over-looking town, Sewickley Heights.

Its name derives from a Native American word meaning “sweet water,” and some of the 3,827 people living here have a lovely view of it. Its small size, 1 square mile, makes it an easy place to navigate on foot or by bike. The housing stock couldn’t be more diverse, from beautiful mansions and estates to gingerbread Victorians, small farm houses, single family homes and plenty of apartments.

There’s even an urban legend to goes along with it. Locals believe that Sewickley is where the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses” originated, an expression bandied about in reference to a Mrs. Jones of Laughlin Steel who was known for relentlessly remodeling her once grand, now demolished, home.

Posturing aside, Sewickley is a grounded, well-maintained community, a point of pride for those living here. The streets are safe and crime is low: no one thinks twice about walking the dog on the streets late at night.

The amenities are plentiful too: blue-ribbon public school and a highly respected private school, a hospital, a community arts center, YMCA, public library, spa and that’s just the beginning. Locals enjoy a wide selection of places to eat, drink, shop and buy a good book—a milieu so appealing that many in Pittsburgh are often inclined to make the drive to Sewickley.

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Deb is an award-winning journalist who loves ancient places and cool technologies. A former daily newspaper reporter and Time-Life Books editor, she writes mostly about Pittsburgh. Her stories have appeared in Fast Company, Ozy and Pittsburgh Magazine.