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Villanova

If you take the 2:11 p.m. train from St. Davids, by 2:14 p.m. you will have arrived at a place where the manicured landscape and stunning architecture are reason enough for the $4 trip.

Villanova University’s campus is something of a gem on the Main Line. Stone, brick and cement blend beautifully in the 126-year-old Victorian gothic church that adorns the same campus as state-of-the-art buildings.

Built in 1883, the design for St. Thomas of Villanova Church was conceived by Edwin F. Durang. The church is open to the public and parishioners alike.

Within, a cathedral ceiling rises to meet the sky and a marble floor below marks every step you take.

Purples, blues, reds, yellows and every other color of the rainbow filter in through the custom stained glass windows, which  majestically line the church’s interior, depicting such saints as Paul, Peter, Gregory, Ambrose and Thomas Aquinas.

Villanova also sports a contemporary art gallery. The current artist, Melinda Steffy, was inspired by her aging grandfather who experienced memory loss from alzheimer’s disease.

In her work, she attempted to portray that loss. Her exhibit, entitled “Remnants and Residual Memories” is at once strange and moving.

Paint-dipped tea bags and shredded bits of old sheet music are just a few of the things hanging from the gallery walls.

The Villanova Art Gallery regularly partners with artists to display their work.

Upcoming exhibits include Steve McCurry’s “Looking East” showing Oct. 23 through Dec. 19 and Fay Stanford’s “Marvel & Mayhem” showing Jan. 8 through Feb. 18.

If you are crafty enough, before you board the train you can cash in your ticket receipt for a $2 return.

The ticket booth hours are a bit strange, (Monday through Friday 5:45 a.m. to 11 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m.) but Villanova, in all its beauty, is worth visiting at any hour.

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