Where in PA should we move to?

pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)May 9, 2006

I know this is a bit of an oddball topic, but I'm a regular on the Ponds forum and since you all are so nice, I thought I'd ask for help.

We're considering moving from Long Island, NY to Pennsylvania. We don't know the area all that well but have friends who just moved to Downingtown (east of philly)and they LOVE it there. So we'll be coming down for a visit in a month or so. We just can't afford the high taxes on LI anymore and our giant mortgage keeps us awake at night.

So, where do you guys think is a nice area for a Mom and Dad and 5 kids. Schools and jobs are paramount. Affordability is key. Land for gardening is key. We're looking for something under 250k with good schools. A nice quaint downtown area is really nice too. Something that says: Stars Hollow (for you Gilmore Girls fans).

Any input would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks very much.


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i live in montgomery county pa and love it. it's about 30 min north of downtown philly. some towns to check out are ambler (really quaint downtown), abintgon, jenkintown, hatboro.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 1:37PM
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lynn_d(Z5 PA)

PF-I'm on the other side of the state, about 70 miles east of Pittsburgh in Johnstown. A $250K house would almost be a mansion here!I am sitting at my office looking out the window at our central park, people on the benches, trees are in bloom and there is music in the gazebo. Our cost of living is low, and high end jobs are few and far between but I love this town and am part of the Downtown Partnership in an effort to revitalize it.

We live about 10 miles out of town on 23 acres, a rural area just a hop, skip and jump from the different biz districts. We are ponders too, a mini pond, a water garden and the koi pond. I love it here.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 2:08PM
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radagast(US east coast)

Then, on the flipside, $250K won't even get you a condo without land around the Baltimore - DC area.

Good luck in your search!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 2:32PM
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wolfe15136(z6 PA)

I live in Pittsburgh, in a 3 bedroom house with central air and a detached garage, within walking distance of the T, in a good school district.

I paid $75,000 for my house 6 year ago. I could maybe get $85 for it now.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 4:33PM
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Yep - here in central/lower Bucks, $250k may get you a 2 BR condo and not much more. Great schools though.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 4:41PM
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I think you are looking in the right area if you look near Downingtown. It's still possible to buy something there for less than an arm and a leg.

Good school districts are West Chester Area, Unionville Chadds Ford, Great Valley. The Downingtown Area schools are okay. Stay away from Coatesville.

You might consider going even farther west to the Reading area. Wyomissing schools in Berks County are good and real estate is much cheaper out there. It is kind of middle America -- healthy and clean.

The town of West Chester is adorable, if you can find anything in your price range near there. It's gotten pricey. I doubt you'll find what you want for $250k.

Definitely look into the Wyomissing area. You're just not going to find much for $250 anywhere within an hour of Philadelphia, except a townhouse.

Another thought. Near Scranton is an area called Clark's Summit. That might be a possibility.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 4:59PM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

Thanks guys. Also, I forgot to mention that we'd like something within 15-20 minutes of a good college. Plus...oh yeah I need to find a job somewhere. I'm in the IT field.

Any more input would be great! :-)


    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 9:00PM
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chescobob(z6b SEPA)

Bucknell is there. I was told housing is reasonable but have not checked it out.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lewisburg

    Bookmark   May 9, 2006 at 11:24PM
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jiggreen(zone 6b, carlisle PA)

well, i must say it sounds like you are looking to move to Carlisle, Pa....cute little downtown area, a great place to walk around (it's been appointed a Preserve America Community), in the spring they put out gorgeous planters and hanging baskets all around the center of town.

DH and I are not natives, we've lived here for 4 years now and just love the whole area. our daughter loves the numerous parades that they have in town throughout the year, she's been in 4 of them over the last 2 years and will be walking in the Memorial day parade at the end of the month.

250K will still get you a very nice house with a nice piece of property on the outskirts of town, the schools are great (very technically oriented..our classrooms don't have chalkboards, they have smart boards which are interactive chalkboard-sized computer screens) and to top it all off Dickinson College and Law School is located right in the heart of Carlisle.

Corgilvr, if you are out there, jump right in and sing the praises of Carlisle! :)

here's a link to our little town...

Here is a link that might be useful: Carlisle

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 12:53AM
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Would love to have a gardening buddy in our area - Central PA. State College has one of the top 100 schools in the country, Penn State is 15 minutes from anywhere around here, 250K will get you an older home, but very nice, IT jobs are plentiful, rolling hills and lots of farmland.

The area is safe and a great place to raise kids.

I have a son that goes to Albright in Reading. Please stay away from Reading proper. It has the highest murder rate on any town in PA. Sad, really, because of the rich fertile land there, but never the less, not safe.

Here is info from our local newspaper - you can follow the link to read the whole story.

"Kiplinger's gives State College 'smart' ranking Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine ranked State College 19th on its "50 Smart Places to Live" list, giving the area high marks as a place to live for families and retirees. ... readers to determine the criteria they'd use in finding a good place to live, and ... a good place to live, and settled on cost of living and housing as the top two ..."
Tuesday, May 9, 2006 (CentreDaily.com)
Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 6:16AM
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earthlydelights(6 pushing 7)


best of luck in your search. i'm also in montgomery county, jenkintown area. there are many little towns around, each with their own speciality. aside from the ones brand-eye mentioned, glenside is also a sweet little town with lots of community involvement and pride. all of these areas have excellent schools and as for colleges -- penn state ogontz campus is in abington and then drexel, penn, temple, to name a few, are only a bus/train/car ride away.

another key point is that there is public transportation, hospitals and so much culture/arts in your backyard, so to speak.

i also love carlisle, which someone else mentioned. and new bloomsfield is just down the road. doylestown is a nice area - including the surrounding areas (upper black eddy, solebury, new hope, etc. - but i think they are overpriced - but then again housing is so digustingly overpriced these days (my opinion).

i believe you could find a nice property (more than a condo or townhouse) for the amount you stated. it's just a matter of doing your homework.

i think every area has it's pros and cons, it's just what you want and are willing to accept.

i'm not real familiar with the downingtown area, but play around on realtor.com to get an idea of housing/costs.

best of luck to you in your endeavor.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 9:04AM
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I agree -- you don't want to be in Reading, but outside that area. The Greater Philadelphia area is loaded with colleges. That will not be a problem.You've got everything from nice community colleges, to state colleges to top notch schools like Haverford, Swarthmore, Bryn Mawr and Penn.

Bucks County is in with commuting distance (if you don't mind a long commute) of NYC, so it is expensive.

Prudential real estate has tons of listings and a good web site. Check it out. I still think you are going to be challenged to find what your looking for for $250k and stay anywhere near Philadelphia. There are lots of places to work along the Route 202 corridor, and it's very techy.

The cute little towns may offer limited job choices. Most colleges don't pay so well. If you go to work for Penn, they will pay your kids tuition wherever they go. I believe it's tuition, not room & board. I used to work there, unfortunately after my kids finished college.

You can take a train from Downingtown to Penn. Here's another town to look into -- Royersford.


Here is a link that might be useful: Prudential Real Estate

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 9:46AM
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westhighlandblue(z6 PA)

You won't find what you are looking for within an hour of Philadelphia. Housing and land is very expensive here. The exurban areas of Philadelphia such as Downingtown and Ambler are still very pricey. Go to realtor.com to see. I agree with folks who are steering you toward Pittsburgh. The farther you get from the major Eastern cities, the more affordable housing becomes.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 9:55AM
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West is correct. Even $1 million doesn't get you what you might expect. If you're living on Long Island, then you know. I think it's even more expensive there.

I think Pittsburgh has harder winters than Philadelphia.

My family came from a tiny coal mining community, years back. You could go there and buy a mansion for $250k. The schools stink and there are no jobs, so that might be a problem!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 1:38PM
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I live near Downingtown, and housing is expensive. I expect to sell in two years for more than 250K, and move to SC, where we bought a house for less than 250K that is twice as big with more than twice the land. You won't find quaint downtowns in Chester County. When we we moved here 30+ years ago, it was the first rural county west of Philadelphia; now it is the fastest growing county in PA --think suburban sprawl! There are some very nice places to live, but for price, stay north of Downingtown.

I grew up in Pittsburgh, and it is cheaper. It is also a growing zone colder than most of Chester Co. Of course, people in Pittsburgh aren't phazed by 26" of snow, while Chester County shuts down when we have about 6".

    Bookmark   May 10, 2006 at 10:10PM
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murial(z5 PA)

I moved to Mercer County in 1983 to escape high taxes and the hoards of humanity of Eastern PA.
That price will get you a mansion here and then some! Plus ground. Good gardening in the county along with 5 colleges in the area.
I don't golf but same amount or more of courses as well.
Sits right between Erie and Pittsburgh for an hour or so drive to anything you'd want to do.
Of course for the first year or so, you slap yourself upside the head asking yourself why you did it when you leave all family and friends behind.
After that, they begin to follow you to the same area.
Still miss the other side of the state in Bucks County. When you grow up somewhere it's always inside you. Great place to live also, just moves a lot faster.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 8:10AM
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gardeningwithlcgrace(7 Delaware)

Hello from Ne Pennsylvania! I'm from Tunkhannock (Wyoming County). It's the "Endless Mts." region..45 min. from Scranton, 1 hr from Wilkes Barre, 1 1/2 hr from the Poconos......basically, what I'm saying is....a little drive to "anywhere"! lol

We have Keystone Community College (Lackawanna County)about 20 minutes away and College Misericordia (Luzerne County)about 1/2 hour away. There are also several other colleges in Luzerne & Lackawanna counties.

My husband is the VP of IT of a credit union in Scranton. This area is growing but trying to attract the large corporations that are already in other areas.

Tunkhannock is a "quaint" town. It's nice for a sunday drive if you like scenery & looking at antiques...otherwise....not a thing going on around here! lol

I wanted to give you a few names of the counties around here to give you an idea of location if you would look at a map. We are about 2 hrs from the Philadelphia area. I looked thru the posts to see if anyone has mentioned www.realtor.com to you. This website allows you to input your price range, city or zipcode, # of bedrooms & baths & take a peak at the real estate market. This is very helpful if you are looking to see "what you can get for your money". Since you have a price range in mind...maybe you can put the names of some of these cities on a search and look at the real estate market. The site is a multi-list that works with any state, city, or zipcode. It allows you to look at the real estate "spec" info on a home without having to call a realtor. I found this website to actually be alot of fun before we bought our home.

Best of luck to you! LC Grace

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 8:57AM
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Pipersville_Carol(z6 Bucks PA)

I think you CAN find a reasonably-priced ($200k-$300k) house within an hour of Philly. It won't be suburban new construction (starts at $500k) but there are lots of other options. Phoenixville, for example, has lovely leafy neighborhoods and a groovy downtown. Langhorne has a surprisingly nice Victorian district. And South Jersey has some moderately-priced areas (Collingswood?) with a good commute to Philly.

There seem to be lots of jobs and corporations in and around Philly, too.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 11:01AM
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earthlydelights(6 pushing 7)

i second carol's opinions as well with those areas.

and if y are considering jersey, just over the tacony bridge - delran, delanco...sweet areas

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 11:14AM
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I second the western PA idea!

I'm NE of Pittsburgh and IT jobs seem to be fairly abundant there. Also land and houses are pretty well priced here. A good idea before deciding is looking at classifieds for jobs and real estate web sites. If you'd like I can send you links to some sites in western PA. Some cover most of this area.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 9:41PM
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Can I put a word in for Lancaster County in South Central PA? I am originally from outside NYC, and then lived in Philadelphia, and now live in Conestoga, PA in the southern part of Lancaster County. I love it here. We have good schools, low crime rates, and conservative family values. There are good colleges in Lancaster County (Elizabethtown and Franklin & Marshall to name 2) as well as a state college, art schools, and excellent community colleges. I am not sure exactly what you do with IT, but we do have large companies (RR Donnelly, Armstrong, Alumax) and small companies here. We are known for our excellent farm land and easy living. We do attract a lot of people from NY (my newest neighbor, Eileen, is from LI). You can find homes in all price ranges, but for $250,000 you can get some land and a mid-size home.

Although I am partial to Lancaster County, almost all of PA is beautiful. You won't go wrong moving here.

Good luck with your search.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2006 at 9:59PM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

We've been to Lancaster County a couple of times. We stayed at a place called "Willow Valley". Anyone ever hear of it?
Anyway, you folks are all so nice and have given a lot of information and we so appreciate it. We go on Realtor.com all the time these days, but your personal experiences and opinions are SO helpful. Twoboysfor mom, please snd links if you can. And if anyone wants to post links or pictures that would be fantastic! You all have been so nice...I think we're doing the right thing looking in PA!


    Bookmark   May 12, 2006 at 10:13PM
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murial(z5 PA)

Here are some Mercer County links if you're interested. It sits right above the area that Twoboysformom suggested, between Erie and Pittsburgh (1 1/2 hours equally) and next to the Ohio state line. YSU is over the line as well as Westminster, Thiel, Grove City Colleges and Slippery Rock and Penn State Univ. locally.
Interstates 80 and 79 cross through it, plus 60 which is part of the turnpike system.

3 good hospital groups locally all affiliated and having pretty quick access to the hospitals in Pittsburgh when needed. (spoken from personal experience, grin).

Excellent shopping and water activities. Lots of lakes - some manmade others natural.

Some school systems are better than others.

I think you'll have to paste these links into your browser. Don't know why you can't click on them.





Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2006 at 9:27AM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

Now...We're Mets fans.

Are we going to have a problem??!! ;-)


    Bookmark   May 13, 2006 at 8:16PM
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No one mentioned the capitol, Harrisburg which was ranked this week by Kiplingers as the 12th best place to live in the country. The city went from a downtrodden one 30 years ago to a fantastic place today w/ all kinds of activities year round and great restaurants. The suburbs are great with many small town surrounding it. I live in a small town and have for decades. There is Camp Hill and Hershey which have excellent schools. Carlisle is close but as charming as that town is , and I once lived there as a child, there is a huge amount of truck traffic and tons of terminals on the east end w/ pollution and traffic concerns. Gettysburg is a charming little town as well. Central Pa gives you the most bang for your buck and is so close to Baltimore and the DC area , NYC, and exactly 3 hours to the Jersey shore...Many colleges in the area as well.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 2:31AM
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chescobob(z6b SEPA)


If you are Mets fans, you can go to a Phillies game and boo the Phillies when the Mets are in town. Many Phillies fans boo them. You won't feel out of place.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 8:05AM
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murial(z5 PA)

Too chilly to work in the garden this morning so I'm on the internet.
I agree also about the Harrisburg area. One of the most beautiful areas in the state. We almost chose Camp Hill (it was on the top of our list), but Mercer County called first. Fate stepped in I guess.
Now, I'm no sports fan, but I think the word is Pirate out here. lol.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 9:40AM
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Just have to put in a plug for the southwestermost part of the state, Greene County. We are located just 20 miles north of West Virginia University and 50 miles south of the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University. Also in the area are a branch of Penn State, W & J College and our own Waynesburg College.
Many of our residents easily commute to Pittsburgh or Morgantown to work. You could buy one of the biggest and newest houses in the county for $250,000. You might even enjoy owning a small farm in this rural area. Our daughters have chosen to raise their children in this small town environment because of the friendliness of the people and the relative safety of the neighborhoods.
Come for a visit at:


    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 7:35PM
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Hi PequaFrog - I am originally from LI. Moved here with DH 3 years ago. In laws still on LI. When we first moved we lived in the Lehigh Valley area. Very nice - very simialr to LI. I am usre you could get a nice house for 250k. There are many colleges near there.. Lehigh Univ - Moravian - Lafayette...

We now live in the Poconos b/c our jobs were up here and the commute of an hour each way was getting too much.. You could prob get a new home/almost new home here for 250 depending on areas. There is East Stroudsburg University here also..

Where on LI are you from? I grew up in Sayville and my DH grew up in Yaphank area - we were out in eastern LI.

Good Luck with your search and transition!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2006 at 9:02PM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

We're from Massapequa (hence the name ;-)
We're just tired of losing sleep because of our enormous mortgage. Plus, we have 5 kids and there's just no way they'll be able to afford LI. So, we'd love to find the perfect place to put down roots, and where our children won't have to move away from. That would break our hearts. We'd miss the ocean...but miss the kids more.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 6:59AM
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karen_b(6a s.c. PA)

I don't want to recommend an area because there are tooo many choices. We've moved from PA (Lehigh Valley) to SC (Piedmont) and back to PA (Gettysburg/Chambersburg). My advise would be to find a job in your field in the area you like then rent and drive around alot to get to know the area before buying something. When we moved to SC my husband had a job in a backwards county and we bought land and built a house before we moved. Big mistake, it took us 3 years to sell our house but once we did we already knew where the best place for us was to live in the area an settled in Irmo. When we moved back north we rented a duplex and every evening and weekend we spent driving around to find the perfect place for us. It took 10 months but we found the perfect home in mountains on two wooded acres that borders a state forest. I may be overwhelmed with the landscaping but I am loving it. I never want to move again.

Before buying you may want to check property taxes they can be out of this world. We got lucky we live in an agricultural area and any thing 2 acres or more is considered agricultural and a much lower property tax rate.

Good luck

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 11:24AM
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Hi. I live in Pittsburgh PA (Allegheny county) I am about 15 minutes north from downtown Pgh. I live in area called Kilbuck Township which is close to Ohio twp. and Ross Twp. All are great areas for families, many houses have nice yards ---but it is kind of hard to find a home with more than 2 acres of land. For 250, 000 you could get a nice house with decent land. The schools here are great. There is Avonworth, North Hills, North Allegheny, etc. Many areas are like country living in the city. Very suburban but close to everything. If you want to check out some of the houses for sale in your range you should go to www.realtor.com, search PA and put in Allegheny county-then check out areas like Mccandless, Kilbuck, Ohio Township, Ross, Sewickly, Richland, Gibsonia, etc. Pine-Richland is also a good school. Some areas are up and coming and getting a little more crowded and I don't know how high your taxes are but Allegheny runs higher than Beaver county and Butler---lots of nice areas there also. You can also check out info on the schools by real estate website or putting the schools name into a search. They should give you demographics and everything. I think this is a great area for families and kids. Good luck!!!!!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 12:18PM
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Hi, mgood4u again---I had to check out what was out there in your range. So, if it works here's a link. Check out the house in Pine Twp--5 bedrooms, lots of bath and almost 2 acres for under 250,000. If the link doesn't work I am sorry--but you should really do a map search on the realtor.com link for the Pgh area.

Here is a link that might be useful: home search link

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 12:30PM
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johnfromperrycopa(zone 6 scPA)

Raised my family in Carlisle, PA (son and 2 daughters) One daughter moved back after living outside the state for a few years. Would recommend the town and schools or surrounding areas of Camp Hill, Mechanicsburg, Boiling Springs, etc. I currently live in Shermans Dale, Perry County, PA only because I couldn't get my second and last wife to move to Carlisle. If you like country, but close to civilization then Perry County towns would be OK. Let me know if you ever want a 25 cent tour of Carlisle and surrounding areas.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 1:21PM
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rsmallen(z6 PA)

Try slightly north of Allentown area and up through Stroudsburg area. 1.5 hrs from NYC, 1.5 hours from Philly, 1.5 hours from Reading/Lancaster. 3.5 hours from Baltimore/Washington. There are some charming areas and small towns. Short jump to the poconos.

I call it home.


    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 6:25PM
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harryshoe zone6 eastern Pennsylvania

Another voice from the Lehigh Valley. There are lots of nice places in PA. Some real small towns and cities of all sizes. The Phila. area is somewhat like the NY area. Pittsburgh is more like a midwest city.

Many New Yorkers move to the Lehigh Valley because you get PA without total culture shock. Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton is a mediun sized city area where you can find most of what you want. You don't have to go far to find reasonable real estate. Its only 1 1/2 hours drive to NY and there is express bus service. About 1 hr. to Phila. You even get NY TV channels. Some of the state's better school districts like Parkland and Southern Lehigh are here as are universities like Penn State, Lehigh, Lafayette and Muhlenburg.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 10:01AM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

Seriously..thanks so much everyone. I can't think of a better way to find out about a place than to ask real people. (as opposed to chambers of commerce or real estate folks)
Anyway..I was wondering: Is the a big dirrerence in the weather from North to South or East to West, etc? Can you expect less sno in the south for example? Hotter/Colder. Stuff like that.

thanks again!


    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 8:55AM
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murial(z5 PA)

Strangely enough, when I moved to Mercer County in 83 the Philadelphia area started getting more snow than what I had ever been used to. (27 years there, 23 years here) From what the locals say here, it used to be the other way around. Go figure.

The forecasters on our local station in Ohio, use I-80 as the dividing line between the Lake Effect weather and our weather, and Pittsburgh is warmer than Mercer County. Kind of looks like 3 levels as you go from Erie, South to Pittsburgh.

Every Spring when visiting family back in Bucks, it was 3 weeks ahead of our growing season and warmer.

One thing I don't miss at all is the humidity back there. We have it here, but not as bad. Don't have to run the AC as often.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 9:37AM
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I have just the spot for you!

Here is a link that might be useful: Pequa should move to...

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 7:36PM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

Holy cow! That is too funny!!!

Everyone...thanks so much for the help. We really appreciate it. If there are any more folks who have an opinion and wish to check in...please do!


    Bookmark   May 19, 2006 at 3:52PM
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I am from the bronx and after 10 years in wilmington de settled in Kennett Square, Chester County. It is part of Wyeth country, if you know of that artist, Brandywine Vally museums etc ). We were recently ( within the year) featured on a New York Times 36 hours column. )

I am in IT. It has made a strong recovery. I can also advise on commutes in the philly region. I can also refer you to a few very good IT recruiters. Rates for BA start at around 55/hr. PM's start at 75/hr plus. VP of IT should be in the 200 k + range. Good Developers are also up there now..

The rte 202 corridor is home to many fortune 100 companies. Vanguard, SAP,IBM, Oracle. Chase runs their credit card division in nearby ( 12 miles) Wilmington Delaware. Bank America also emplys about 5-10k folks there too.

New housing .large new townhomes start around 350. New houses are 750 plus BUT there are many existing older home available for much less.

Lots of NY transplants.

Lots of folks from Pitsburgh too.
State schools are great. Our girl goes to Pitt for about 18k/year. Its been ranked in top twenty bargains in the US.

I would also look at the U S census sites. You can get great demographic data from it. For example number of renters/owners age/ length of residence/education level etnic make up etc etc.

I suggest find a job first then rent a three bedroom apt for a year and get to know a particular area/region.

Good Luck

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 12:04AM
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lcdesign(6 SEPA)

Oh boy I just had to login and second Millrace. I was thinking you might find what you're looking for west or south of West Chester. I have lived in Chester County for OMG over 15 years now and it is still the most beautiful area I've ever been in (yes I have been to Northern CA). Even tho development has eaten up lots of open space in the last ten years, you can still turn the corner and find yourself in a pastoral area. We live in "greater" West Chester- outside "The Borough". West Chester U is right there in town which is absolutely adorable and has many excellent restaurants. And don't forget Chester County is home to Longwood Gardens- and many avid gardeners like me! Housing costs in this immediate area have skyrocketed. For 250K you would probably be looking at a townhome, but the farther north, east or west from here you can find what you're looking for. Elverson, Kimberton, Honeybrook, Parkesburg are a few places you might look, but stay away from Coatesville. You'll see a million Coatesville listings online because everyone wants to get out - the taxes are a killer.

Things to do and see while you're here - canoe down the Brandywine, go to Highland Orchards, visit Longwood, check out King of Prussia Mall- its huge!- visit Chaddford Winery or do the whole Wine Trail if you're into it. Here's a link to my neighborhood site, which has links to other local sites.

Anyway, you'll see when you get here.

Here is a link that might be useful: North Hill

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 2:37PM
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Wow, you are really looking for something specific. Under $250k, good schools, quaint town, and near a college. Unforunately, there is really like this outside of Philadelphia. I like in Bucks County. There are some beautiful parts of BC, however the areas with houses under $250k (possibly Levittown...haha...perhaps you heard of Levittown, NY...it is similar, and designed by the same Mr. Levit), do not have quaint little town centers. I am a big fan of Gilmore Girls, and if I could find the Stars Hollow of PA, I would like to move there myself.

I know someone else suggested Centre County, near or in State College. I am a Penn State alum. State College is very nice, and most of the people who live in the town work at Penn State. Unforunately, there is not much around State College itself. Small towns are throughout Centre Cty, but much of it is very rural. Plus, if you want to be near your friends in Downingtown, plan on a 3.5 hour drive.

PA may give an impression of being less expensive, however it really isn't if you want to live anywhere near Philadelphia. Grant it, it is much cheaper than Manhattan, it isn't like living in the Ozarks.

Good luck. If you search around Philadelphia, try not to be too specific.


    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 9:20PM
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I live in central PA like Melissa. However, I live further out from State College and here #250,000 could get you a pretty good sized home. Right in State College the taxes are higher. There are small towns and areas like Victorian Bellefonte here and the schools are pretty good. My DS goes to a smaller school and they have a good track record from what I see. We're still only 15-20 miles from Penn State and about the same from Lock Haven University, which is known as a teaching college but they have other stuff. There are also other smaller campuses to PSU close by and a two year business school that has like a 90% placement rate after graduation!

    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 9:32AM
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I also hail from Carlisle. It has a good college (Dickinson and a law school) Beautiful old homes, good school district and very reasonable taxes. Boiling Springs is just a hop, skip and jump and is very quaint. It's a town you could leave your doors unlocked and go away for the day. Boiling Springs has an outstanding school district and is at the base of the Appalachian Mountains. Good luck


    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 11:13PM
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I also live in Carlisle. I checked out your pictures and have many of my own. It appears our taste in gardening are very similar. Would love to meet. I'm always looking for a gardening enthusiast. I have one son, he's 7 and the most wonderful gardener partner in the world, Joseph. My name is Becky and you can reach me at boopiejr@hotmail.com
Hope to here from you.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2006 at 11:24PM
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jiggreen(zone 6b, carlisle PA)

hi boopiejr! i'm glad i checked back in with this thread :)

you've got mail!


    Bookmark   May 23, 2006 at 11:40AM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

So it seems like College towns are good. Where is Penn State exactly? State College, PA? When I look, I check out:
A. Schools
B. Jobs
C. Churches
D. Demographics
E. Growing Season

What am I missing?

ps. Here's a picture from our garden/pond.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 8:27AM
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Nice picture. I love the blue color. Penn State is in State College which is pretty much smack in the middle of the state. You can great ice cream made right on campus.

Growing season might be a bit shorter than Downingtown area, but not much.

This thread sounds like it was written by the PA Chamber of Commerce! Love it. Maybe I'll move, too. I could sell my current home on the Main Line and live like a queen somewhere else.


    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 11:16AM
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Well, anywhere you move outside of philly is going to be a major culture shock. We moved to annville from philly this time last year and we are still adjusting. The housing in and around the harrisburg, lebanon, lancaster area is very reasonable. we got a great new home on 1/2 acre lot for under 300k. the people are great - although a little more concerned over what others do than i'm used to. Like I said, you just have to get used to it. As far as jobs go - well, forget about it. This area is techno starved and jobs (well paying that is) are few and far between. You really have to work in Philly or somewhere close to it to even come near the salary you have now. Out here, you should pretty much cut your salary in 1/2 to start - it could even go lower. My DH is a financial person - came out here with a 90k job, if he had to find a new one, it would be under 65k and if he is luck he could get that - and i mean real lucky. Thank god we both transfered our exsisting jobs and salaries. Do yourself a favor and subscribe to the local sunday paper (Harrisburg Patriot News) and take a look at the job market before you make up your mind. If i had to do it again, i probably wouldn't - I do love the area though - there just needs to be more white color type jobs for it to benefit anyone with a high income.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2006 at 1:28PM
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Kathy46(Z6 Pa)

It all depends on how much house you want for the $$, lot size, # of bedrooms. How rural are you looking for . Do you have to have great schools or just decent schools. I live in delaware county and work in Philly. We have decent schools,liveable taxes. You can find houses of all sizes/ price range. You won't get a huge plot but will get a decent backyard.You can find just about anything you want in easy commuting distance from Philly, King of Prussia are.


    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 12:55PM
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State College is a beautiful college town, but the winters are brutal. One of my closest friends moved from Carlisle there more than 20 years and she loves it, way too much snow for me. Carlisle, is a beautiful college town with less snow, good schools, very reasonable taxes and has more industry than State College.
Webyoda moved to Annville and loves the area but not the job market. Annville doesn't have never the job market or commercial industry that Carlisle offers. It is much more farm land turned into housing for people that wanted to be near Hershey and not pay the high ticket price that goes along with living in Hershey.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 6:53AM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

Man...moving is so hard! And I'm a person who doesn't like change...but we have to. Maybe it's just my mood tonight. I think the word is overwhelmed.


    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 10:47PM
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ferncreek(z6b / 7a PA)

Pennsylvania is such a large & varied place. I grew up north of Pittsburgh, but have spent much of my adult life about an hour west of Philly (about 25 minutes from Downingtown). They are incredibly different areas in many ways. Then there's the middle of the state - different yet, & the northeast, different again! If you'll miss the ocean, aim for the eastern part of the state, & it's an easy drive. If you're looking for great schools, land and reasonable prices, you can get one or the other in the areas west of Philly, but not both, sorry. We are in a top school district, but you'd have to just about double your 250K to get the home/land you want. Yet the southeast part of the state is going to be closest to the weather you're used to, & in many ways the most culturally the same. Best of luck to you!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 12:07PM
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I just saw this and had to post. We LOVE the small town atmosphere of the Beaver Falls area in western PA. We are in suburban Beaver Falls, in Chippewa Township. The school district is excellent...both of our daughters have graduated from Blackhawk in Chippewa so I have first hand experience. There is a very nice garden center, about 2 minutes from our house, and the area is starting to slowly grow. We have a post office, large grocery store, 2 large chain discount stores, Home Depot, several national restaurants, and other neat small businesses within a 5 minute drive. Interstate 60 is 7 minutes away linking you to the Pittsburgh Airport. Beaver County is filled with small towns that all sit along the Beaver River. We are a quick 40 minute drive to Pittsburgh for Pirate Baseball, Steeler Football, Phipps Conservatory (wonderful for plant lovers), Civic Light Opera, concerts, museums, and colleges such as Pitt, Carnegie Mellon, Duquesne, Carlow, Robert Morris, and others. Beaver Falls has its own college - Geneva College - so we are a college town!

LOW, LOW taxes are a plus in Beaver County, much lower than the Pittsburgh area. And housing is a real deal here. As a matter of fact, we are selling our 6 year old, 4 bedroom, two story on a large corner lot, completely landscaped, with an extra large outdoor shed and tons of perennials and daylilies for $209,000! Seriously. Just thought I'd mention it! Taxes on the house are $3500. That is what you get in Beaver County! Good luck on your search.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 10:38PM
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corgilvr(z6 PA)

I'll just add that Hershey also has a good medical center. I think I'd add access to medical care to the list of considerations. Good care and a reasonable driving distance are important to me.

I'm in Carlisle after 16 other moves. I grew up near NYC and find this area to be very pleasant. I have posted about Ozark Sundrops that I am yanking out. Doesn't anyone want some?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 9:40AM
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We live outside the city of Reading in a section called Stoney Creek Mills and absolutely love it. We have over an acre and a half with a 3 bed/2 bath home purchased for under 150k. We moved from Mongomery Co area (Philly Burbs) and our taxes are about half of what they used to be. Reading itself can be a bit rough but there is much to do and I feel the city is really moving forward.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 11:41AM
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Hi! If you're in the IT field (as I am) you'll want to seriously look at the greater Pittsburgh area. Technology is a HUGE industry in this part of the world. And I swear, you can't throw a rock without hitting a college! There are 7 that I can think of just within the city limits.

I'd include most of the surrounding counties in your search, as real estate and taxes are somewhat cheaper (not that Pittsburgh is bad, relatively speaking). But you'd still be close enough to take advantage of the city's cultural/educational ammenities.

But you'll have to get used to the fact that its "pop", not "soda" :-)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 2:20PM
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floridajane(Bonita Springs z10)

I MUST recommend Pittsburgh! I lived there for several years and found it to be a real gem. The area of Shadyside and Squirrel Hill a stone's throw from Carnegie Mellon and University of Pittsburgh and boast beautiful, tree-lined streets and beautiful brownstones and lots of routes for taking walks or bike rides. Mount Lebanon is your other choice; though farther from the universities, the area is just as beautiful and the schools there are top in the state. In just a few minutes from either area you're out of the city, away from any sprawl, and into some amazing countryside, full of forests to hike in and lakes to visit. It's a great place!!
Let us all know what you decide!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 10:28AM
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I'm a transplanted Texan so I guess I can get away with what I'm about to do. My DH and I ran from the high taxes and crime in Baltimore to PA, near York and absolutely love it.

However, if I had the flexibility, I think I might just take a look at Delaware. There is a housing boom in Sussex County, DE right now so you might find something in that price range. Plus and a big plus, there are NO SALES TAXES in De. Take a look, too at Lewes and Rehoboth Beach areas and around Fenwick. You might just like it.

Good luck on your search and if you end up in PA, look me up.

Barbara aka Hawkeye Belle

    Bookmark   June 9, 2006 at 2:03PM
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wolfe15136(z6 PA)

Just when you thought this thread was dead, Kiplinger's lists Pittsburgh as #9 on its 50 smartest places to live in the US

Here is a link that might be useful: Kiplinger's article.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 4:22PM
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skippy05(z7 PA)

I am always doing searches for places to move to in PA (I live in Philly now & always have)Everything here is so expensive it is crazy (of course, cheaper than NY! lol)
I agree with many others, out past Harrisburgh & out by Pittsburgh some great buys always pop up.
I love NJ but everyone says the taxes & insurance are higher than in PA.

Good luck!
I love going out to Montauk, LI!


    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 6:08PM
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earthlydelights(6 pushing 7)

skippy, me too! i'm forever on realtor.com.

i want to make a change, have for a long time, but there are just soooooooo many wonderful areas. i do want to stay in the state.

this was an excellent thread, so glad it came up!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 9:10PM
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Location, Location, Location,
Pgh. Pgh. Pgh> #1- Best Hospitals, #2- Many colleges, #3-beautiful culteral/theater district, #4Pgh. HOT Pgh. Pirates, #5 Super Steelers, #6-Penquins, #7 Art Abounds everywhere here, #8 Beautiful recreational parks, #9 Low crime rates, #10- a relativly low cost of living, compared to other major cities in U.S. Need more reasons----I got them! I have a beautiful brick, 4 bedroom, 3 bath home with an outstanding view of the downtown. I bought it 16 years ago for under $50,000, it has only doubled in value. That is o.k. by me!

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 7:27PM
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Karigraphy(z5 wpa)

I've lived in Pittsburgh most of my life and I'm a fan of the city, not only for its affordability and neighborliness, but also for its "BIG CITY" ammenities like major league baseball, football, and hockey teams. There is a major symphony, opera, ballet, dramatic theatre, musical theatre, restaurants . . . There are large county parks with wave pools and bike trails.

Our house was under 250 several years ago and we are considered to be in an affluent neighborhood with good public schools.

Health care is terrific with several major hospitals with everything from transplant pioneers to emergency centers.

The universities include Carnegie Mellon, Pitt, Carlow, Chatham, Point Park, LaRoche, and Duquesne plus several more on the peremeters. They have everything from 4-year degrees to PhDs to evening and weekend programs for working people (I did an evening grad school program at CMU relatively painlessly while working.)

I'm raising my children here now and they are getting to take advantage of so much because it is EASY to get downtown in 15-20 minutes and PARK or take readily available public transportation.

TALK to real estate agents who really know the area you are considering. For example, local agents know our little neighborhood has block parties and ladies' night out and election night parties and welcome new neighborhood gatherings. We have over 30 children at the elementary school bus stop yet we have lots of retirees (like retired doctors and lawyers who could afford it) who don't move away because they like it here. There are lots of SAHMs but lots of working mothers and many work-from-home fathers (several in IT).

There is the Phipps Conservatory (check their website) for gardening lovers plus many garden tours throughout the summer. Phipps has lots of classes and a master gardening program and is developing a botantical garden. Beechwood Nature Reserve has native plant sales and herb sales in the spring. Everyone has their favorite nurseries. Friday's Perennials has every esoteric perenial and sales people who can talk it up. At Bidwell Training Center there are daffodil, day lily, rose, hosta, etc. society shows in their peak seasons.

I guess, in summary, there is a lot to offer in Pittsburgh and because it is a smaller metro area now most things are easily accessible within a short drive. People are pretty down to earth, too.

Good luck with your decision!


    Bookmark   June 21, 2006 at 7:25PM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

Well...we're still lookng.
Downingtown/Exton was really nice if a bit pricey.
I think we'll look west so we can get some more land (like an acre or so). How's Elizabethtown?


    Bookmark   November 24, 2006 at 5:08PM
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pinwheel(SE PA)

I don't know if anyone answered your weather question, so I'll take a shot at it.

I live in Chester County and travel to Schuylkill County, 200 miles north, at least monthly. Most of the time there is a five degree difference in temperature, sometimes 10 degrees.

Chester County tends to get less snow and rain than Schuylkill, but there are the occassional exceptions.

I don't know if this is true in Western PA, since they are at higher elevations than Eastern PA.

Although people in eastern PA are generally pretty friendly, as a general rule of thumb, the further west you go in PA, the friendlier people are.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2006 at 7:40AM
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I haven't read the whole thread but let me add my two cents I live in montgomery county just outside of Philadelphia I have family in downingtown. Let me suggest northampton or lehigh county. Yes chester county is lovely but there's been alot of overdevelopment and depending on your job you will spend alot of time in your car The prices are higher than in long island. Do you like horses? that's horse country racing etc.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2006 at 1:06PM
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I too am from Long Island.. Moved here to the Lehigh Valley (Allentown Bethlehem Easton area) 18 yrs ago.. Family is still on LI.

Living here is the best of both worlds.. Housing is reasonably priced, schools are good. Driving back to LI or NYC is a piece of cake. The only thing missing is the ocean and beach!
I wouldnt move too far west in the state, the climate out west is alot colder, and snowier. (i did move further west for a time, it was an adventure!)
There are many good colleges here too, Lafayette, DeSalles, Moravian, Lehigh University.
Then you have Bethelem, a quaint community, stepping back in time..
This area is becoming a shopping mecca.. with new shopping areas opening all the time.

Below is one link about the Valley, the other is about Living in the Valley. Hope this will help you to decide.

Here is a link that might be useful: Living in the Lehigh Valley

    Bookmark   November 27, 2006 at 8:59AM
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To answer your question, Elizabethtown in northwest Lancaster County is a very nice college town. You should be able to get an acre of land at a reasonable price. In the southern end of Lancaster County is a small farmette with a historic farm house and 4 acres priced at around $250k. I have not seen it, but I think the home needs some updating. It is in Conestoga, just 10 minutes south of Lancaster City. I live in Conestoga, and it is a wonderful place to raise a family. Good luck.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2006 at 4:12PM
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I can't resist posting this. PequaFrog, beginning last year, you have posted this question on the Maine forum, the New England forum, the Virginia forum, and the PA forum. With many, many replies from kind and helpful people from many states. Are you any closer to making a decision about where to move?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 9:32AM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

Ginny, short answer is we've narrowed it down to Pennsylvania.
The long answer: We've done extensive research in all of these areas, and a fair amount of travel. But there is absolutely NO substitute for asking the people who actually live there. The people on these forums have been so nice and patient about sharing their experiences. They provide information and links about gardening (of course) climate, schools, jobs, health care, housing, Churches, and community feel. My wife and I were just saying the other night, how thankful we are for the internet, and the nice people who have taken the time to respond to our search inquiries. I really don't know how people moved before the internet!

In the end, for us the decision has come down to moving away from loved ones on Long Island, Ct. and NJ. We are going to be within 3-4 hours of family. (although Pittsburgh is VERY tempting)

So...thanks for a great question, Ginny.
And a BIG THANK YOU TO ALL who have taken the time to reply, and for your kindness and emails to me and nancy. Thank you Thank you Thank you!


ps. If you have any more input..Please keep 'em coming!

Merry Christmas!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2006 at 12:32PM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

Are there sections/areas to avoid near Pittsburgh? What about Pittsburgh suburb recommendations?



    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 9:48AM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

Gardening in Pittsburgh would be somewhat of a challenge. It is a more severe climate. Lancaster County and Berks County have ideal climates for gardening and are far enough West to avoid the high property prices and high insurance rates you run into closer to Philadelphia. I belong to the Kutztown Rotary. Kutztown is a small college town and is home to the Pennsylvania German Folk Festival. If you look in Lancaster County avoid areas near Rt 30 between Philadelphia and Lancaster. This area becomes packed with tourist traffic on weekends. The back roads are OK since most of the tourists aren't familiar with them. Berk and Lancaster Counties are home to the Amish and Mennonites that use horses and buggies. They wouldn't stay here if it wasn't a good area to raise a family.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2006 at 10:55PM
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murial(z5 PA)

Just my two cents again. I transplanted to Western PA from Bucks County 23 years ago. As an avid gardner, the only thing I've found different in living North of Pittsburgh instead of the Philadelphia area is that we are three weeks behind in the growing season.

There is also a large Amish community here as well.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 6:11PM
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pinwheel(SE PA)

I'm only slightly familiar with it, but the North Hills suburbs of Pittsburgh is a nice area. It also has a good system of roads, so it's easy to get into P-burgh or go to other suburbs from North Hills.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 12:05PM
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dirtdivarocks(z6 SW PA)

I've followed your posts for quite a while now. Good luck to you. I seem to sense that you were going to end up in SE PA because it is closer to NY. You will find that people have perceptions about the Burgh that are not at all acurrate. In my travels, I have run into many people from the west coast who still think Pittsburgh is dirty and smokey. (he he he) The fact of the matter is that the city and it's suburbs are one of the best kept secrets. Education and medical care are surpurb. There is a technology park (tech 21) being built just 20 minutes north of the city with lots of jobs that will be available.
I live about an hour and 15 minutes south of Murial or just north of Pittsburgh. My zone is 6 while it changes once you go more north to where Murial is located. And yes, the Amish are located there too.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2006 at 5:30PM
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Lauren Devonshire

We live in Carlisle, not enough New Yorkers (or Long Islanders) here. I am a former NYer from Manhatten. My husband and I moved from LI many years ago. We still miss most places like the beaches.We have lived in this area for 19 years and in the Boro since July. Carlisle is building up fast. We do have a new Hospital. And the pain in the buns Carlisle Car Show, also the Army War College. And lots of Warehouses, Instate 81 and the PA Turnpike are just outside town.Traffic can be very bad if there is an accident on either one. But I think that the area around Chadd's Ford is good, expensive, wouldn't mind living there if we could afford it.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2006 at 8:48PM
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I have to agree with the Pittsburg or surronding area. I live a bit north of Muriel in Crawford County, PA. This is between Pittsburg and Erie. While we love it here, you would probably want to be closer to the city,jobwise. We bought, 3 summers ago, our older 3 bedroom farmhouse for $89.000. Did a few renovations and we have 20 acres with it! Beautiful half wooded, half open with a stream running through it. Our taxes are around $500 a year! I think you could easily find something under $250,000 within 20-30 minutes of Pittsburg. I don't know how far you are willing to commute. Like others have said, there are excellent schools and other opportunities in that area. As far as gardening, we get lots of Lake Erie effect snow here but the Pittsburg area has it easier. I grow a ton of stuff and have never felt limited in my gardening. I do understand about wanting to not be to far out of reach of family though. When hubby was in the military and we lived a long ways from family, I was very anxious to move back home! Luckily, "back home" has very reasonable cost of living in this area. Good luck in your searching and to me, all of PA is lovely!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 10:39PM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

Right now we're planing a trip on the MLK weekend. We're gonna start out in State College and then make our way southeast to Harrisburg/Camp Hill/Carlisle areas. Eventually make our way back to LI via Downingtown to stop and see friends. It's such nice country to visit...especially with our new GPS that Santa put under the tree! Thanks all! H

    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 11:02AM
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Please if you get a chance, move to Glenmoore, Pa. The town is located just a few miles west of Downingtown. It has everything you are looking for, schools,shopping, good jobs, etc. My sister moved there from Pittsburgh a few yrs. back and she just loves the area. Clean, suburbia, good place to raise the kids. I think the school district is downingtown. Not sure. Would be worth the trip to check it out!! Good Luck!!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2006 at 6:46AM
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murial(z5 PA)

State College/Camp Hill area was our first choice on the list for relocating within PA, but Mercer County answered first, also being one of our top 5 places. Having driven through SC for a million years, lol, you're going to love the drive! As long as it isn't snowing. Back in the day before 322 was finished, you drove right through town, now it's all bypassed and you can see the area is expanding.

A stop at the Basset Hound place in Tusseyville on the Eastern side of SC is an absolute must. lol.

Beautiful country there. Just like the rest of the state. Grin. So whatever place you choose, you'll have access to other areas for recreation, etc.

Heirloom is right. I always forget Crawford County. Great gardening up there. Lucky for me though, I'm right under the I-80 dividing line. Above it - tons of snow. Below it, back to normal - depending on what is really normal.

Enjoy your trip in a few weeks! Share your adventure.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2006 at 9:19AM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

Murial...I hope it's not going to snow this weekend 'cause we're going to SC on Sunday! Actually...it's been in the 50's here on Long Island and I hear it's going to be in the 60's by the weekend! No wonder everyone's coughing and wheezing! The following weekend (MLK weekend) we're heading to Harrisburg/York/Downingtown and we'll definitely check out Glenmoore. I spoke to my friend about Glenmoore and he sent me a bunch of pictures that he takes up there. It's beautiful country...lot's of farms and open spaces. I'll post pics if I get any good ones! Thanks guys!!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2007 at 11:29AM
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pequafrog, I'd second the advice to first find jobs you love, then rent property, and get to know the area before you buy. That way you'll know what you can live with and will have a chance to see if/how development is affecting the area you choose.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2007 at 2:52PM
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pequafrog, I'm originally from Texas and have lived in Pittsburgh, PA since July 2003. I recommend the Plum area in the eastern part of Pittsburgh, or perhaps even Murrysville in Westmoreland County, which is right next to Plum. Our friends also live in Pleasant Hills and Baldwin boroughs though I'm not sure about the schools there. The Holiday Park area of Plum is nice and you can get a 4 bedroom 1.5 bath house for as low as $125,000 in some cases. Not new at that rate, but the newer builds seem to start around $250k in the area from what I saw when looking for a house. We just bought a 3 BR 1 bath in plum for 93k (just needed paint and new carpet) and the previous owner paid 73k for it 7 years ago if that tells you anything about housing values. Also, Pittsburgh's winters are less severe than say Uniontown slightly south of us where my guy's family lives. They'll have ice and snow and we won't at times. I grew up in a town of 100,000 people with small towns all around (20 mins gets you to the next town) in Texas and Pittsburgh doesn't have the big city feel to me. It's pretty much downtown surrounded by suburbs with the parkway or the buses connecting you to downtown. I can even catch the bus here in Plum or neighboring Monroeville. They also have "Park 'N Ride" lots scattered around town where you can park and take the bus from the lot if you prefer rather than looking for parking downtown. When out in Plum it doesn't feel like you're on the edge of a big city as far as traffic goes and the view since you mostly see hills and trees not buildings. Plus, it can take as little as 20 minutes to get downtown from Plum without traffic.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2007 at 2:07PM
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I thought after I posted the last one I should have added a link to the Pittsburgh Technology Council's website. They have a job listing site with hundreds of job listings. Not every company is on there of course, but it will give you some idea of who is here.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pittsburgh Technology Council

    Bookmark   January 9, 2007 at 10:19AM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

Thanks jrdpa.
We were actually supposed to go out to State College last weekend but couldn't as our beloved Jarck Russell "Penny" passed away. She was 16. She was the most wonderful dog that anyone could have hoped to be blessed with. She was great friend.

This weekend, we're heading to Hershey and the Harrisburg/Elizabethtown, and York areas. It will be nice for the kids and us to have a change of scenery after what we went through last weekend.
Any quaint towns near-ish Harrisburg?

thanks, everyone.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 9:31AM
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wolfe15136(z6 PA)

Gettysburg is very nice.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 4:51PM
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kennebunker(5, s. ME)

I saw on the Maine page that you are also thinking of PA.
I grew up in Philly and its suburbs, and married a guy from Greensburg, near Pittsburgh, and lived there for 20 years.
Philly area is expensive, period. That includes suburbs for quite a far piece. My mom and one of my sisiters still live there. Sister hunted long and hard before she could find anything she and her husband could afford. She prefered to be out of the city but wound up with a tiny house in the Northeast section of Philly.
Greensburg is still cheap. We've been gone for 9 years, and housing prices have gone up quite a bit, but if we sold our house here in Maine, we could take the money and buy one of the nicest homes in that area.
I don't advise Greensburg as such, but in general there are a lot of possible towns that surround Pittsburgh. Pittsburghers have been fleeing the city looking for lower real estate taxes for a long time. That's the reason house prices have soared in towns like Greensburg. They are however, still a major bargain compared to other places.
There are a lot of colleges and universities in the area.

Weatherwise, if you were considering moving to Maine, well, southern Maine's weather is similar to W. Pa's. It gets a bit colder than Philly in winter, but not by very much. Philly gets downright steamy in summer. I hadn't been home for a while and forgotten just how that air could feel like a heavy blanket on you some days.
They got a lot more cloudy days out in W.PA than they do in the eastern portion of the state.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2007 at 10:50AM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

So we visited PA this past weekend. The more I see of it, the more I realize how much I don't know of it! We went to Lancaster, Hummelstown, Hershey, and ended up in Harrisburg. Coming from Long Island(completly flat!), it's so interesting driving up and down hills, and seeing mountains! The weather didn't really cooperate, but it could've been snow, right? Here are some pictures:

What a beautiful state! Harrisburg is a very funky city and looks like it has a lot to offer. Next time...we cross the river!!
Thanks all! :-)

    Bookmark   January 15, 2007 at 10:25AM
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You ought to move to the Pittsburgh area it's a lot cheaper and my best friend who is from Long Island. told me that the Philadelphia area and our beaches are more expensive than the Hamptons. I went to boarding school in Long Island in the 1960's. so I am familiar with it But it's way to crowded here and expensive and the sooner I can move the happier I'll be. But it's hard after living in same place for 24 years. Believe me if you doubled your price I'd be glad to sell you mine it's expensive to heat.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2007 at 7:49AM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

We're pretty much focused on the Harrisburg area. They seem to have everything. Now...the job search begins!

Thanks everyone!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2007 at 3:46PM
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I've lived in the Western area ( Pittsburg/Irwin), the SouthCentral (East of Gettysburg) and in the Lehigh Valley.

I am originally from Northern Jersey NYC metro area.

I wouldn't reco Pittsburg - too hilly, too stip mine looking. People are very friendly though.

I wouldn't reco Gettysburg/Hanover/Lancaster area. It's pretty, it's inexpensive, it's close to major areas ( Baltimore Washington) but the area is factory/blue collar and the people are very cliquish- lived there 18 years and locals have said you can't become 'one of them' until you have three generations in the cemetery. The local schools are very backward as well- teach with an eye to the local economy and to employment in the factories.

The Lehigh Valley area is wonderful. You will love it if you are from NY. It is experiencing a rebirth. Lots of businesses are relocating here, shopping, people moving in from elsewhere. The people are EXTREMELY friendly, the taxes are low ( further out to the west side) and NYC is close, as well as Philly. The schools are good - Parkland/Lehigh/Upper Saucon. I couldn't believe less than two hours from the South Central the attitude was so differnt. They are considering reinstating rail service into Jersey, NY and PHiladelphia ( the rail is already in place to Phillipsburg from Newark and NYC).

Lehigh for sure. My entire family is thrilled to be here. We have NEVER had that experience before!

Mom of 3

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 8:34PM
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Lauren Devonshire


http://www.ccpa.net/cumberland/site/default.asp Cumberland County across the Susquhana River.
http://downtowncarlisle.com/ the Downtown Carlisle Association and the CoC http://downtowncarlisle.com/ Also, the State's Offical Website. There is more to the Cumberland Valley then us - Carlisle. Please come and enjoy your visit. Was sorry to read about your dog. I still have times when I miss LI and Manhatten...after about 26 years. California was great except for the smog. But moving back to LI after 12 years was a better choice for us in the long run. LI is is a wonderful place for those with $$$$$$.
Now my husband of 32 years(born in PA) even he misses LI. At times.

Here is a link that might be useful: PA power port

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 3:31PM
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bob_am(z6 SCPA)


The biggest employer in the area is the State Gov't. Good bennies, & hours, but the pay will be a shocker to a New Yorker. Still, with the house taken care of, you should consider it. There are a lot of nice little towns around the city, like: Elizabethtown, Hershey, Hummelstown, Middletown, Camp Hill, New Cumberland, Mechanicsburg. All of them would have new homes with less than an acre for $250K. If you are willing to move a little farther out, the rural areas are very popular with commuters and houses are going up fast. Some areas to look at are upper Dauphin county, Northern York county, mid Cumberland county, and Perry county. We are in zone 6a, and the growing is easy, though global warming may change that! The best school districts are probably Cumberland Valley, Mechanicsburg, West Shore, & Hershey (Derry twp). Taxes are much higher on the 'East Shore'. Good luck!

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 2:24PM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

Thanks all.
Bob, is there a web site for State jobs? Also...how is the town of Dauphin? I know it's right by the river, and just north of the city.
It's funny that you mention the State because a friend just told me that also. Hours are important because I coach my kids' basketball and baseball.
I have to look for a good Zone Map.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2007 at 3:39PM
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bob_am(z6 SCPA)

Yes there is: http://www.scsc.state.pa.us/scsc/site/default.asp

Dauphin is, I'll admit, not much to look at. Kind of depressed, old homes, squeezed between the river & the mountain, with a US route running through it. Away from the road it gets nicer.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 6:51AM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

Thanks, Bob.
We're actually driving down on Sunday to look at schools so we'll drive through. It's only 3 hours from Long Island so I think we'll make it home for the Superbowl!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 8:44AM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

I am not sure what looking at the outside of a school on Sunday tells one. If you want to know how they compare nationally, check the Public School Comparison. They list:

Reading Proficiency (%)
Math Proficiency (%)
Students Per Teacher
Economically Disadvantaged Enrollment (%)

Here is a link that might be useful: Harrisburgh Public School Comparison

    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 4:46PM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

Cool site, Rhodyman!
We're actually attending an Open House at a prvt. k-12 school on Sunday. Presentation, Q&A's, then Grand Tour. While we do that, my oldest is visiting 3 campuses where she has setup appointments at Elizabethtown and Penn State Harrisburg, and is meeting up with a friend at Messiah. So...hopefully we'll learn a lot this weekend!

Thanks again.


    Bookmark   February 1, 2007 at 10:22PM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

We're pretty set on the Harrisburg area. If all goes well, we'll be gardening (and ponding)neighbors some time late summer! Does anyone have a good link for a Zone Chart of PA?

Thanks again everyone, for all your help!


    Bookmark   February 5, 2007 at 3:04PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

The old USDA map is at:


The National Arbor Day Foundation just released the 2006 Hardiness Zone Map.


Here is a link that might be useful: 2006 Hardiness Zone Map

    Bookmark   February 6, 2007 at 3:50PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

The 1990 USDA map is still officially in effect. The National Arbor Day map is not the same as the USDA map. The new USDA map is still being worked on and will apparently be developed similar to how Sunset does its map (taking into account topology, elevation, etc, into Zone designation), plus it will use 30 years of temperature data.

Watch the Mid-Atlantic Forum for when GW user "kimka" posts upon the official release of the new USDA map (she is charge of Public Affairs for the upcoming new USDA map).

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 8:40PM
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This is an awesome site to search for jobs here in PA. Hope this link works for ya. Just copy/paste it to your browser. Best of luck in your job search! Sorry you didn't choose the Pittsburgh area ( I think you would have loved Sewickley, Mt. Lebanon or Cranberry).


    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 2:57PM
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vaderbanger(Z6 SE PA)

were from nyc and we rented in lancaster pa (leola) for a year before we bought our house in berks county (cumru area)
we looked at houses in many counties, including the pocono's.
alot of areas were too diverse for us and almost seemed worse than nyc. monroe county was the worst. lancaster we didnt like because it was like living in a time warp, and yes lancaster has crime. the city as small as it is, is bad, especially with that prison dead smack in the middle of it.
we settled on berks county because it seemed a bit more up to date compared to other counties. its outside of reading which we wont ever go to since its a crime scene waiting to happen. were in a new development community with prices ranging from $300,000 +
we are within 10 minutes of wyomissing, which has gorgeous mansion like homes. within the past year wyomissing has gone downhill, and i mean way down. the smaller cheaper houses surrounding the mini mansions were bought by low income families. ever been to down town brooklyn? thats the new wyomissing
harrisburg is....i just wont say
pennsylvania is nice for now, but i think in the long run its a state that will go down hill really fast. we plan on being here for another 10 years then were outtie.
a good way to check out the area is to go shopping. go to the local walmart and get a feel for the people that live there

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 11:31AM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

I have lived in Berks County for 45 years and find some truth and some humor in vanderbanger's posting. First, I don't know of any area of single family homes that is going downhill. You should have seen it a decade or two ago. In Wyomissing the tendency is for smaller homes to be torn down to make way for the mansions. There are two parts to Wyomissing, the area south of the tracks where the Wyomissing school district serves and the area north of the tracks around the Berkshire mall which is served by Wilson School District. Yes, Wyomissing gave the area north of the tracks to Wilson so as to not pollute its ritzy population. Go figure.

Regarding Cumuru, it was the back country a little couple decades ago. A few homes in Cumuru didn't have running water. The children were allowed to come to school early to take showers. Maybe I should say they were encouraged to do so.

Yes Reading is a troubled area. But it changes from the daytime when you see the lawyers and business people to the nighttime when you see the people who live in the low income row-homes, sometimes many people per row-home. Reading may have its problems but the Goggle Works, Sovereign Performing Arts Center, Sovereign Center, Woman's Club Center for the Arts and Baseballtown are all either new or newly refurbished. The city is in a renaissance.

One problem in Berks is that some of the best older communities have public housing sitting on their edges. These areas are spawning grounds for criminal behavior. Neither Wyomissing nor Cumuru is drug free. Drugs don't know any ecomonic barriers. It is the sense of community and the ability of a community to deal with the problem that is the only solution.

Don't judge Wyomissing by its Walmart. It draws people from many miles away including the City. Judge it by the renewed vitality of West Reading.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 12:29PM
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vaderbanger(Z6 SE PA)

thank you for not being offended by my post, and i did type it with a smile intending some humor in it =)

"Regarding Cumuru, it was the back country a little couple decades ago. A few homes in Cumuru didn't have running water. The children were allowed to come to school early to take showers. Maybe I should say they were encouraged to do so"
wow! not sure what to say to that one, but PA has come a long way since then lol
im in the governor mifflin school district
i guess coming from nyc its quite a different life style here. we did expect it to be a little more crime/drug free
instead its like brooklyn in the woods lol...well ok not as bad =)

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 1:32PM
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vaderbanger(Z6 SE PA)

ooo i forgot to write something
yes the public housing appears to be to blame. there are way too many appartment complexes going on.
when we rented in lancaster it was such a nice big appartment condo in a complex. looks were deceiving, the place was horrible and riddled with what appeared to be gang members.

when looking for a home we tried to stay as far away from these public housing sites as possible. sinking spring is loaded with them
for the states sake they really should stop building these appartment complexes, there making some parts of PA look raunchy

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 1:40PM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

Your posts have certainly given us things to think about. Do you folks know anything about Pottstown? North & South Coventry? Upper Uchian?

Vaderbanger, what about Harrisburg...please elaborate? Also, where are you going in 10 yrs?

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 5:17PM
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vaderbanger(Z6 SE PA)

just on the news "cancer cluster near Muhlenberg High School berks county" i didnt get to hear all of it but it appears that several people under 30 have come down with cancer in this area. i'll check the news at 11 hopefully it will be back on.
theres a detailed profile of most areas. heres the link for harrisburg. i would urge you to spend some time there or anywhere you are interested in. if possible renting like we did for awhile is very helpful, it helped us get to know several counties and which one is right for us. all counties are different
not sure where we will head out to in 10 years. we have in mind, Rhode Island, Maine and New Hampshire

on the detailed profile link i sent you can pretty much type in any location. 90% of counties and townships are listed. its slightly outdated (2002?)but it gives you an idea

Here is a link that might be useful: harrisburg detailed profile

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 6:21PM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

The cancer cluster is near Reading. But what are your thoughts on Harrisburg?

(and thanks for the link,)

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 9:08PM
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vaderbanger(Z6 SE PA)

i cant make an exact comment because this after all is a forum and i would be booted off.
i think the link i sent you explains it all
most likely you would be looking at a house in the surrounding townships not in the heart of harrisburg. that makes a big difference
since your looking on realtor .com you can type in the township of a house your interested in on that link i sent.
you mentioned pottstown, thats a decent area
if we decide to stay in PA we would stay in berks county. the area in berks that i fell in love with is a few minutes away from me in nolde forest. theres a new community called Quaker Hill by berks homes. i was about to put our house up for sale just to live there, but hubby said no lol
it was so private and wooded with decent acres (2+ acres)
of course theres a downside to everything, while we were there just browsing we noticed it was a hunting area, ahh guess we cant have everything =)

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 9:34PM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

VB, I tried to email you but you don't have that function. Can you email me? I have some questions if you don't mind.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 10:12PM
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vaderbanger(Z6 SE PA)

email sent

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 8:57AM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)


The students in Cumuru that had to go to school early to use the school showers were in Governor Mifflin School District. That is how I heard about it since it was not public knowledge. They have since graduated. One area that is very scary is the apartment complex near the new Shillington Farmers Market. I know of several people who have moved away from there due to the high volume of police activity.


You can't lump Harrisburg into one basket. There are many suburbs with vastly different lifestyles. One way to learn a lot is to visit realtors in competing nearby markets. They will tell you things that you may not want to hear. Some will be true. The area I like is Hummelstown and the area down 322 toward Lancaster County. Also Annville is a delightful place.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 6:53PM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

Rhodyman, we found a nice little area called Linglestown. We went to eat there...went to the local Target store. It had a nice small-townish feel. Know it?

    Bookmark   March 1, 2007 at 8:48PM
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ytqm(Z6 PA)

I will add my .02. I moved to York County PA back in 2001. I had been living in the Baltimore, MD area for 5 years previous, and previous to that I was in Western Massachusetts. I started looking for land in MD but couldnt touch it. I built my house including land and improvements for what it would have cost me just for land (1 acre) in Baltimore County. I have 1.3 acres. I like the area, I am about 14 miles south of York, PA, and 6 miles from a Retail area, Giant, Walmart, Home Depot etc. I commute 42 miles each way to work in Baltimore City, there are High Tech firms in Hunt Valley, MD which is about 30 minutes from here. Plenty of colleges in MD, Loyola, Towson, UMBC etc, that are within reasonable commute. If you go to realtor.com and put in zip code 17322 this will give you an idea of what housing prices are and what you can get for your money. One thing to look at carefully in PA are the school taxes. There are 501 school districts in PA their and their milage rates vary greatly you should look at that carefully. Good luck in your search.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 1:03PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

Pequafrog: Linglestown is as very nice area. One thing, don't be too upset if people are don't warm up to you right away. In a small town like that, many times a community is composed of people who grew up in the area and their family is nearby. The reason it is still a small town is that not many people have moved in.

Here are some statistics:

Population (year 2000): 6,414
* White Non-Hispanic (94.6%)
* Black (2.1%)
* Hispanic (1.0%)
* Two or more races (0.7%)
Median resident age: 40.3 years
Median household income: $52,650 (year 2000)
Median house value: $113,900 (year 2000)

The surrounding township (Lower Paxton) is similar with a median income for a household in the township was $49,566.

It is in Central Dauphin School District which has two high schools: Central Dauphin and Central Dauphin East. Linglestown has its own elementary school. School taxes are raised with property taxes. The owner of a property in the Central Dauphin School District assessed at $100,000 would owe $1,374 in property taxes. That is very low. On the same property where I live the taxes are $2,615.

It is very close to the Amish area, Gettysburg, Hershey, the Capital Museums, community Opera and Symphony, professional Basketball, Baseball, Soccer, Rugby, Football and Ice Hockey Teams.

One sure sign of the Linglestown's community unity is the volunteer fire company:

Here is a link that might be useful: Linglestown Fire Company

    Bookmark   March 2, 2007 at 4:59PM
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pequafrog(z7a/Long Island)

I thought Linglestown was really nice. It looks like they're trying to revitalize the down-town area near the flagpole.
We went down this one street that had a Target, Circuit City, Radioshack, Bed Bath & Beyond etc. I felt like I was home!
Over there it's not city-ish at all.
When all is said and done, home is where you make it, I guess. Just give me a good place for my gardens, and a nice spot for my pond and I'll be a happy guy.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 6:58PM
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vaderbanger(Z6 SE PA)

that sounds like a really nice area
one thing that PA is good for, shopping! =)
glad to hear your a fellow ponder. i love my pond, its so relaxing
we have heavy clay soil which is hard to dig in but it holds a ponds shape really well

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 9:56PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

There are great garden shops east of Lancaster.

A great shop for ponders and gardeners is Black Creek Nursery. It is a huge greenhouse that sells annual, perennials, and pond plants for very low prices. From PA 23 (near Shady Maple) go north on PA 625 another 3.7 miles and turn right on Black Creek Road and go .4 miles.

Other great nurseries are:

Conestoga Nursery: Closed Tuesday & Sunday. Located on PA 625 1.5 miles north of PA 23 (near Shady Maple)

Groff's Plant Farm: Annuals and Perennials
From Lancaster follow 222S through Quarryville. Approximately 1.5 miles south of Quarryville you will pass Solanco High School on the right. About 1/4 mile after the high school, Blackburn Road will branch off to the left. Follow Blackburn 3 miles until it ends. Turn left onto Puseyville Road, cross over the Octarara Creek, and immediately turn right onto Street Road. Follow Street around the bend, and we are halfway up the hill on the right.

Ken's Gardens: 1/4 mile west of Intercourse

Ken's Gardens: On Rt. 340 .25 mi west of 896

    Bookmark   March 6, 2007 at 9:22AM
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bob_am(z6 SCPA)

Well, all I can say about vaderbanger's post is... wow.

It seems a combination of naivete and paranoia. And I'm not afraid to say it. I challenge you to find a northeast city of more than 40,000 that can't be described the same way. Crime? In Pennsylvania!! Backwards Amish??? What next?? Several people with cancer! Say it ain't so!

p.s. I wouldn't worry about the people of Linglestown a bein' suspicious of a New Yorker. Like most in this area, they're from somewhere else too. And we recently got three channels on the tee vee.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 1:49PM
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pat4750(Zone 6 Cen PA)

We moved here 15 years ago and really love the area. You can still drive about 10miles in any direction from Harrisburg and find yourself in a "rural area" I expect that may change because the area is growing. Shopping and restaurants are improving monthly.
To add to the garden centers already listed there is Stauffer's of Kissel Hill right in Linglestown, 2 Country Markets, one in Hershey and one in Mechanicsburg on the "west shore", Ashcombe Farms in Mechanicsburg, Highland Gardens in Camp Hill. They all have their own "personality" that is to say they have many items in common but each has found an area of specialization. I find reasons to visit everyone of them. One other center in Caperoon's Plant Farm in Linglestown but I believe I read that they were going to change direction this year and focus mainly on landscaping so there may be bargains if they sell off some of their stock.
Another "wonder" of this area is the farmers' markets - one in downtown Harrisburg, one in Lemoyne,(both of these open year-round) one on Fridays during the summer at the Farm Show Complex on Cameron St in Harrisburg. There are several more in Lancaster County.
There are also 3 fine art craft shows here - Harrisburg Artsfest on Memorial Day weekend held along the river in Harrisburg, Mt Gretna Art Festival 3rd weekend in August and Long's Park Arts Festival on Labor Day weekend in Lancaster.
I mentioned "west shore" further up - it's relevant because you hear it A LOT! There are people who have lived their entire lives on one shore or the other and find it hard to cross to the other side. When I first applied for a job here, I was asked by the interviewer if I would "cross the river". And yes there are several bridges to help with that! Just part of the charm.
I hope you and your family will be happy with your decision. It is a beautiful part of PA.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2007 at 3:53PM
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lellie(z9 Anna Maria Island)

If your price range was a tad higher, I'd love to sell you MY PA house!
Bought one in SW Florida...don't need two...LOL
It's just a few miles outside of West Chester...in a lovely, quiet older (cul-de-sac) development of only 12 homes, but close to everything, with firly low taxes and great schools.
If you consider upping your price...please email me.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2007 at 9:23PM
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We live just south of Carlisle.I lived in s central pa all my life I love it here.My hubby built an addition on Elizabeth town college about 15 years ago.Were close to Gettysburg, Hanover area.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2007 at 10:06AM
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I lived in Brooklun NY for 30 years, then moved to NJ where the taxes were scary, and our mortgage was killing us. In January 2006, myself, dh and 3 and 4 year olds moved to Berks County to a small town very close to Wyomissing. My children happen to be special needs, and I enrolled them in the special needs pre school program for Berks County. Suffice it to say, it was not what we hoped it would be. My children were in the Special needs preschool program in NJ-and although you shouldnt really compare the 2, the one in Berks county was way overcrowded, and all the children, no matter their level of special needs were lumped into one classroom. The school happened to be located in Wyomissing. The teacher was fabulous, but how much can you do when there are way too many kids, and the classroom is located in a donated building that is pretty much falling apart, with an overgrown playground that is falling apart as well. Suffice it to say, the tax funds just werent allocated towards educating in my opinion, although I paid fairly healthy taxes.

In December 2006, (yes-not even a year later)we purchased another home, and put the other house on the market. (We just found a buyer and are closing in a week or so) in Lebanon County in a fabulous town named Cornwall (zip code 17016). It is right next to another town called Lebanon (zip code 17042). Cornwall has alot of wonderful history, it is historic and lovely. There are old stone houses for sale, and new developements going up in the mid 200's. The school district here is FABULOUS! The Junior High and High School are located on a lovely campus called Cedar Crest. My children have a total of 5 kids in their class, and in the past few months have learned more then they did in a whole year at the other school.

Lebanon offers a ton of shopping, the Annville/Cleona area offers a college, as does Lebanon. Check it out!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2007 at 9:31AM
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Good grief.

Did anyone mention the Boiling Springs area yet?
Check out the area between Camp Hill and Boiling Springs, in South Central PA. It's a lovely area.

Harrisburg is the nearest city, and just beyond that is Hershy, PA, with its major medical center. A smaller hospital, Holy Spirit, next to Camp Hill has a new cardiology center.

You will be only an hour or so from Gettysburg.

Harrisburg has an excellent junior college as well as some other possibilities for further study, and there is still Dickinson College in Carlisle as well.

Philadelphia and Baltimore are only about two hours away. DC is also accessible. State College, home of Penn State football, is about two hours away as well.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 3:29AM
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Boby Huffard

So curious...did you choose yet?

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 10:49AM
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Where is a nice place (Quaint)small...a few thousand people...to live in PA not filled with sprawl and not prone to flooding...I had a lot of recommendatins for north central PA but there seems to be a lot of flooding in those towns.

Safety is a big issue for me. A safe area would be great.

Would rather stay east of the river...just because its closer to family

    Bookmark   December 16, 2007 at 11:07PM
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rhodyman(SE PA, USDA Z6)

There is no "the river"; they all have names. The Delaware and Susquehanna are two of the biggest in the east, so I assume you want to be between them. Most places that have flooding just flood in the low areas so don't rule them out. There is flooding everywhere there are streams. The trick is to buy high. Flooding is always in low areas.

Some of the places that don't have sprawl are the depressed areas such as the coal regions which comprise a great deal of the area you describe. A large part of the SE part of the state is a bedroom community for Philadelphia. The area along I-80 in the Poconos is a bedroom community for New York City now.

For quaint there are Ephrata, Lititz, New Holland & Strasburg in Lancaster County; Boyertown, Kutztown, Oley & West Reading in Berks County; Skippack in Montgomery County; Jim Thorpe in Carbon County; and Milford in Pike County.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 11:17AM
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I guess New Yorkers "discovered" our state. Maybe I will move to the adirondacks

    Bookmark   December 18, 2007 at 9:33PM
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pequafrog where did you move to?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2007 at 3:21AM
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Lauren Devonshire

Maybe sarahbn scared her off with her New york comments. I am a New Yorker. We have lived here for 23-24 years now. Its ok. South Central Pa is a good place to live because of I-81, the Turnpike, Rt 15( easy way to Md and DC. )RE taxes are much less then LI.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2007 at 2:08PM
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Was just checking this forum out, since I love gardening, listed it as my second favorite sight, and never made it here. Buzzed over from the hummingbird and dog bone cancer sight. Read all these messagess. Very interesting to see how other PA people feel about our towns. Got to the end to see where pequafrog decided to move, only to find there was no end. Anyone know what the choice was? We are loaded with New Yorkers here. Upper, Bucks County. Many are nice and appreciate, and respect our state. Others do nothing but talk about how much better New York is. I suggest they do us both a favor and pack it up. I love PA !

    Bookmark   January 26, 2008 at 8:10PM
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A big issue for us to leave PA was the proximity to nuclear power plants. Also, consider the EPA hazardous waste sites. I love Lancaster County, however, it is too near nuclear power and Lititz, for example, is loaded with hazardous contamination both in the air and water. One would not know this with driving through the area. Check out your facts, too, from census.gov, EPA, school report cards, etc...I was really surprised about the nuclear power plant in Berwick, PA in Luzerne County. There are many bargains up there, however, the power plant with its expansion plan nixed the whole deal for us. PA is water-rich, and the state is high in nuclear power capacity. No thanks. Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2008 at 10:05AM
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My family has been here for 300 years. Both sides settled in 1707 in Lancaster from Germany. I have never lived one day out of this state. I read this thread and got to the end and nothing!! Where did they end up living?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 3:07AM
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Connie K

Another vote for Lancaster County! We have a lot of New York transients, and they love it here. Lancaster has Franklin and Marshall College, an excellent liberal arts school noted for its pre-med prep. An absolutely adorable town you must check out is Lititz, just north of Lancaster. It is in a good school district (Warwick), and the town is darling. I live a few miles from it in another good school district (Manheim Twonship) and I just love to go into town. Great shops, beautiful park (home of the best craft show in August), cute homes, AND Wilbur's chocolate. Lititz does not have any bad sections of town, and the school is not a Title I school, which means, in layman's terms, that the population is employed. You could find a place for $250K. There are a lot of gardeners in Lancaster County, and Lititz has its own gardening club that sponsors tours each summer. It's also home of Linden Hall, a private school for girls.
Let me know if you need any more info.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 12:14PM
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Lily316-- I just read the whole thread to, wonder if they moved here.

I've lived a bunch of places from Virginia to DC to NYC to Philly to Pittsburgh and back to the Philadelphia area. My husband and I are in Chester County and love it. We always thought that we were city people but I now realize that having a garden far outweighs the benefits of city living. I hope Chester County never gets overdeveloped. I love the parks and Sunday drives where we can see horses and get ice cream at the local creamery. If anyone lives nearby and has kids, bring them here, they can visit with the pigs, cows and goats before having a cone (http://www.milkywayfarm.com/homepage-creamery.htm)

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 1:18PM
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I happened upon this post today and I'd love to know if Pequafrog ever moved. Has anyone ever heard?

    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 3:22PM
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Vignaguy(Z6B PA)

I'm with Melissas on this. We live downtown Lancaster and it's amazing. Lots of farmers markets and a great CSA. We have Frankline&Marshall and Millersville universities, tons of theater, and tons of history.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2010 at 9:09AM
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mymacca(z6 SE PA)

I know this is an older post...but I found it interesting as I am also looking to relocate.

I currently live in Lower Bucks County... in Levittown!

I couldn't help noticing the snicker from the one person who mentioned Levittown, and just wanted to mention that Levittown seems to be a very good place for families with lots of kids.

I live in Forsythia Gate. The houses are older, but where else in Bucks County can you buy a well kept 6 bedroom, 3 bath house on a 100x150 foot lot for $320,000?

The taxes are a bit much for someone who is single, but they are largely school taxes. If you want good schools for all those special kids ... Your gonna have to hire and pay lots of very special teachers!

It's the very same folks who stay home and claim they can't afford the taxes. but they keep having more babies and demanding more services! they want less than 15 kids in a class, indoor heated olympic swimmimg pools, air conditioning and even ENGLISH HORSEBACK RIDING lessons! (I kid you not) Of course some one ELSE will have to pay for all this!

When I bought this house, the neighborhood was mostly older childless couples and the taxes were very low because the school enrollment was low, but lately it has been exclusively large families...5 children is typical these days, but some have 6 or 7.

Unfortunately (for me),I don't have children and don't really get on well with them. I don't have the nerves, skills or money to manage other folks' kids either. Most of them run amok in the streets or on MY property (where for some reason their parents have told them they have a RIGHT to hang out)

Does anyone know of a nice quiet little town with smaller, well kept houses, low taxes and not many kids? (NO KIDS would be GREAT...but I realize that's just a fantasy)

After working 2 jobs for 40 years to scrape together enough for a home...I'd just like to spend a peacefull afternoon tending my garden without being accosted by some self-riteous SAHM (fresh from the nail salon) for chasing her kids out of my garden! (one had actually squatted to take a dump im my peonies!)


    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 1:23PM
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neverenoughflowers(6 SEPA Downingtown)

Hi, I live in West Bradford Township. My children all went to Downingtown schools and I can honestly say I am very happy with the schools and the area. There are many great parks and walking trails, some great shopping and lots of nice neighborhoods and nice people. I have read that some people said there is no "quaint downtown areas", but I disagree. Many of the nearby boroughs are quite lovely to walk around. We really love West Chester, nice college town with lots of great restaurants and shopping. Malvern is nice to walk and shop as well as Paoli and all along the Main Line, straight down Bs. Rte. 30.
I can't say enough about the area and I think you would love it.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 9:03PM
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you need to look around let your heart tell you this is were iam living.god bless...sedrick1968 gate city va...

    Bookmark   February 28, 2011 at 11:25PM
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Go to Zillo and enter: Wild Run Road Pennsburg PA. We paid 265 for a ranch on 1.5 acres. Got a big garden, and all the critters and birds you could want. We are in Montgomery County. Berks County is 200 yards away. This area is called the "Upper Perkiomen Valley." This valley is about 10 miles long by 10 miles wide. It is historically PA Dutch. Lots of agriculture, and recently, lots of development.
There is a huge resevoir close by with average fishing. The Canada geese and deer around here are considered a nuisance. A flock of turkeys in excess of 50 inhabits our neighborhood. Good luck in your search. Pick the high ground.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 7:36PM
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Philadelphia, nice to visit, but beyond that... Pittsburgh on the other hand very pleasant! Stay away from the "coal region" (goes without saying).

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 2:06AM
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We have 2 houses in New Oxford area for sale brand new..Antique capital

    Bookmark   October 11, 2011 at 7:43AM
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Lauren Devonshire

Move to Cumberland Co.,PA.
Maybe she's already moved and forgot this site.

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 8:54PM
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If you're smart you won't move to Snyder County...very poor job situation here. The biggest employer in the county besides the mall (and who can live on those salaries) is Wood Mode and they've laid off a lot of people several times over the past few years. There's really not much here in the way of jobs, yet they keep building new schools, which means our taxes keep going up up up. If they keep raising them, I don't know who will be able to afford to live here to pay the taxes! Anyway, it's a pretty nice area if you don't need a job and have enough money socked away to pay taxes.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2011 at 6:53PM
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Where in northern pa to move with children

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 4:43PM
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Where in northern pa to move with children

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 4:44PM
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Where in northern pa to move with children

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 4:48PM
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