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Old 10-27-2021, 08:28 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
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Originally Posted by davenj08 View Post
How about Delaware? Much cheaper and lower taxes.
No.
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Old 10-27-2021, 09:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by CNR22 View Post
@drive carefully, you gave me a lot of great info! Winter Park sounds intriguing. You currently have kids, 10 and 13? I ask because having a lot kids in the area is important. My older son plays competitive soccer and I know Orlando has amazing soccer programs. Wondering the closest beach and about schools - we don't oppose to private schools.
Thank you!
11 and 15.

Yes, a lot of kids here. And yes, soccer is big. Indoor and outdoor all year round. Our neighborhood is absolutely full of kids, and because there are so many kids the school catchments are small so most of the kids walk or ride bikes.

It depends on exactly where you live but generally the beaches are 40 minutes to an hour. We prefer Cocoa but a lot of locals, especially in northern Orange and Seminole Co, prefer New Smyrna for the two downtowns and better restaurants. I don't like sharks or cars on the beach so I'm good with Cocoa. In this part of Florida, in the winter, it can still get chilly. There can be a big temp difference between places an hour north of here vs. an hour south so from November to April it's generally better to head to the beaches further south like Satellite Beach or Melbourne. You won't see any coconut palms in NSB but they're all over Cocoa.

There are two big chains of connected lakes here. The old money from the Northeast and Midwest is around the Winter Park chain. They send their kids to Trinity or Lake Highland Prep. The newer money, from the PGA, NBA, and the development and theme park money live around the Butler Chain and send their kids to Windermere Prep. I'm generalizing but that's the gist of it.

If you' go with private school your options are really wide open. There are a lot of great neighborhoods around downtown Winter Park, downtown Orlando, and all the neighborhood shopping districts with every era of housing from Victorian to Mid Century to contemporary. Maitland, Winter Park (beware Winter Park mailing address that isn't in City of Winter Park), and the Orlando neighborhoods of Baldwin Park, Audubon Park, College Park, Park Lake, Lake Eola Heights, Delaney Park, Lake Cherokee, etc.
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Old 10-27-2021, 10:23 PM
 
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Originally Posted by pclem View Post

Drivecarphilly's assessment is pretty accurate aside from Cinnaminson having among the best schools. It's a nice-enough town and I'm not bashing it, but it's not on par with Haddonfield or Moorestown at all. Voorhees Medford Mt Laurel and Cherry Hill (East) among other towns have better schools. Monmouth County as he said does have some very nice shore towns with full-time residents, but it's very pricey and far from Stone Harbor. For what you may be expecting in terms of home quality it actually may be a bit above your range at the moment, since for the large homes you are competing with well heeled NYC workers who might be looking there and in Westchester, Greenwich CT area, etc.
Lots of towns have good elementary schools but the situation often becomes complicated in middle school into high school so I'm just looking at it from the perspective of parents with a 13 year old about to start high school. It's true that Cinnaminson is a somewhat boring, suburban town but there are lots of downtowns in the area that aren't more than a few miles away. It does, however, have an objectively better high school than Voorhees. Medford and Mt. Laurel don't have their own high schools and send their kids to Cherokee and Lenape respectively. Lenape ranks 196 in New Jersey. Cinnaminson is 92. I lived in Collingswood for 3 years, have friends who still live there. K-5 is excellent. Collingswood High is no bueno. Voorhees is on par with Haddon Township. Not bad schools but they just don't have the academics of a Haddonfield or Moorestown . . . or Cinnaminson.

I'm Monmouth County born and raised - 4th generation. Places like Holmdel, Rumson, and parts of Middletown can be very expensive but once you get south of Red Bank/Little Silver not many people commute to the city and it's not nearly as pricey - unless you're after waterfront property. It's why you can get a lot more value in a place like Wall or even Spring Lake Heights vs. beach adjacent Sea Girt.

Quote:
You probably don't want to live down the shore full time in South Jersey. Towns like Stone Harbor and Avalon are very nice but have almost no full-timers and are desolate 6-7 months of the year. Ocean City HS seems pretty decent but OC also has few full-timers. I believe most of the students live on the other side of the bay in Upper Twp and surrounding areas, which is somewhat rural and set in the Pine Barrens. The population isn't backwards or anything (don't know what your impression of Pine Barrens is) but it does have a slight country-ish feel and not much in the way of downtowns. Cape May has more full-timers but many are retirees and school system/sports aren't top notch.
I agree - I wouldn't want to live there full time. No Trader Joe's. No Costco. It's lacking a lot of amenities. Disagree that there is a big lack of full timers on the islands. OC, Margate, Ventnor, Longport, Sea Isle, etc. have a high percentage of full timers. Ocean City is around 70%. It's just a small population base. OC High does take some kids from the mainland but most kids are coming from Longport, Sea Isle, or OC itself.

I generally agree that if you're going to move to the Philly area you're better off on the Main Line. The schools are generally better and the taxes are way cheaper than NJ. Sure, Delaware has lower taxes but like you said, it's weird and inconvenient.

Quote:
I'm not too well versed on Florida but I've heard good things about Howey-in-the-Hills which is near Orlando. My dad was offered a job transfer there in the 90s and almost went with it, but ultimately decided to stay.
Howey in the Hills is far. It's more like a suburb of the Villages than of Orlando. Clermont/Mineola is the bleeding edge of the western suburbs of Orlando. Clermont has a nice little downtown. Winter Garden has a bigger downtown with more offerings and a decent high school.
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Old 10-27-2021, 11:02 PM
 
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Originally Posted by HudsonCoNJ View Post
I’ll echo this, Winter Park is beautiful. They have older housing (by Florida standards anyway) than you’ll find in most of Central Florida but they have some very nice homes. I was seriously considering a move down to the Orlando area last year but the pay was literally half of what I make now. One thing to note about FL regarding schools, nearby Seminole County generally speaking has much better ranked schools than most of the schools in Orange County.
It depends on what you do. I moved here after living in the Bay Area of California for 5 years and got a 10% pay raise and a 35% drop in cost of living. You definitely don't want to move here to work in the service industry and probably not for most jobs in the building trades. But if you're in tech or FIRE I'd expect a pay cut to be commensurate with the cost of living. These days it seems a lot of people can keep their pay and their job and move where they want to.

People say that often about Seminole County schools and it's hard to tell if people are saying that because it was true 20 or 30 years ago, if that's just what they heard, or they're just saying that because the student body is whiter. I don't know but, regardless, it's not really true. It's probably true that you can find more bad schools in Orange County or that, on the whole, the school district ranks lower but the good schools in Seminole aren't better than the good schools in Orange. Seminole really only has one good high school - Hagerty which is in Oviedo and there's also Oviedo High which is OK. Orange County has Timber Creek and Lake Nona which are at least as good as Hagerty and Winter Park, Boone, and Windermere which are at least as good as Oviedo.

The gravity around here has really shifted over the last 20 years. It's no longer in the office parks of Lake Mary. What was probably a 20 minute commute 25 years ago now takes an hour and the industries have changed. No one wants that commute anymore. The power centers now are around UCF, Maitland, Winter Park, downtown Orlando, and of course Windermere/Bay Lake/Dr. Phillips/Isleworth. Longwood and Lake Mary are just too far. Defense and aerospace are next to UCF. Lake Nona is becoming the medical/autonomous vehicle/Disney hub. Maitland and downtown Orlando are becoming the centers of the animation and credit card processing industries. People want to live close to those places. I mean, just look where the bougie grocery stores are. The Whole Foods, the Sprouts, Earth Fare (OK, a couple of the Earth Fares closed but that was about their creditors, not a lack of shoppers)
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Old 10-27-2021, 11:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
Lots of towns have good elementary schools but the situation often becomes complicated in middle school into high school so I'm just looking at it from the perspective of parents with a 13 year old about to start high school. It's true that Cinnaminson is a somewhat boring, suburban town but there are lots of downtowns in the area that aren't more than a few miles away. It does, however, have an objectively better high school than Voorhees. Medford and Mt. Laurel don't have their own high schools and send their kids to Cherokee and Lenape respectively. Lenape ranks 196 in New Jersey. Cinnaminson is 92. I lived in Collingswood for 3 years, have friends who still live there. K-5 is excellent. Collingswood High is no bueno. Voorhees is on par with Haddon Township. Not bad schools but they just don't have the academics of a Haddonfield or Moorestown . . . or Cinnaminson.
Cape May County is practically empty for 9 months of the year along with the South Jersey Shore. You basically have to drive thru the Pine Barrens to "South Jersey" suburbs of Philadelphia for existence of people. As someone who grew up in suburbs of South Jersey I can explain a little more:

Medford and Moorestown are easily the best two towns in the NJ 'burbs for a family life that check those boxes.

The Lenape School District covers the following towns:

Medford/Medford Lakes - Shawnee Highschool
Shamong/Tabernacle - Seneca Highschool
Marlton (Evesham) - Cherokee Highschool
Mt. Laurel/South Hampton - Lenape Highschool


Regardless of they rank these schools they are are all top tier, some of the schools get point deductions because of lack of diversity as they're near 100% white student population (at least Shawnee and Seneca).

These are all good towns (except maybe tier 4), but if I was to rank (opinion) the area for family life:

Tier 1: Medford/ Medford Lakes / Moorestown
Tier 2: Marlton, Mt. Laurel, Tabernacle, Shamong, South Hampton
Tier 3: Cherry Hill, Delran, Cinnaminson, Berlin, Voorhees
Tier 4: Maple shade, Pennsauken, Mt. Holly, Pemberton

Last edited by DannyHobkins; 10-27-2021 at 11:23 PM..
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Old 10-28-2021, 09:17 AM
 
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The school rankings in NJ are misleading, because the top 25 are almost all vocational / specialty high schools. Haddonfield is ranked #39, but among regular high schools it's ranked #17 in the state. Cherry Hill East is #2 in SJ, followed by Moorestown, Cinnaminson, Mainland (Linwood/Somers Point, right outside Ocean City), Egg Harbor Township, Clearview (Mullica Hill), Ocean City, Eastern (Voorhees), Kingsway (Swedesboro), Woodstown, Collingswood (I was born and grew up there; the school system is better now than it was 15-20 years ago), Absegami (Galloway), Shawnee (Medford), Lenape (Mt Laurel), Lower Twp.

Honestly though, the US News rankings we're going off of here should be taken with a big grain of salt. Gloucester City was ranked higher than a number of schools that I seriously, seriously doubt aren't better. I stand corrected on Cinnaminson based on the rankings. I never said it was remotely bad and as I said, it's a nice town, just seems at least a few spots higher than one would expect.

It's kind of a random call but Somers Point (Linwood/Northfield/Egg Harbor Township) area may not be a bad fit, particularly for a remote worker. The housing and downtowns aren't as charming as Haddonfield area, but you're right at the shore (7-8 minutes from beach) on the bay, and it's all full timers there. Good schools apparently, and the Mainland HS sports teams are typically very good or were when I was in high school. It must be noted that taxes are way lower in parts of Atlantic and Cape May county (like 2-3x lower), but it varies by town, and you can get more house for your buck. It's probably a good deal more slowed down than Westchester but you're not in the boonies at all either. Property taxes in Atlantic and Cape May county are probably comparable to Florida and cheaper than PA. Downside of Somers Point area may be a lower density of kids / significant retiree population, but I've never spent much time there beyond passing through so I don't know.

Also stand corrected on Howey. I just heard it's a nice place from my dad and his coworkers, had nice geography (more hilly), and it's 35 min from Orlando; that's all I was really going off of.

Danny's analysis isn't wrong but is much too focused on a particular swath of SJ, and is ignoring 60-70% of the area (including the best part IMO).F

I can never put my finger on exactly why, and the Main Line is undoubtedly nice (though pricey as heck at the moment) but I'm not a fan of the PA-side suburbs. They're too disjointed and seem to lack a center / a 'placeness,' and there are a lot of dumpy/dangerous areas particularly south of Philly along the river. Best thing is probably for you to jump in the car and cruise through all the places mentioned, could be done in one day.

Last edited by pclem; 10-28-2021 at 10:25 AM..
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Old 10-28-2021, 10:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by DannyHobkins View Post
Cape May County is practically empty for 9 months of the year along with the South Jersey Shore. You basically have to drive thru the Pine Barrens to "South Jersey" suburbs of Philadelphia for existence of people. As someone who grew up in suburbs of South Jersey I can explain a little more:
The OP asked specifically about wanting to be near Stone Harbor "don't live there" is one valid answer of many. I didn't put Ocean City at the top of my list - just offering an option.

Ocean City is technically in Cape May county but the two bridges at the northern end of the island take you into Atlantic County. Like I said, the area lacks a lot of amenities compared to the suburbs of Philly or NYC but it's not a wasteland - not even in the winter. It's just that people who spend most or all of their time there in the summer are there for different reasons and doing different things when they're there. As someone who grew up at the Shore - we basically never went to the beach on Saturdays in the summer. We went during the week and Sunday late afternoon. When you live there you do different things and go different places - especially during the summer. You look forward to the bennies going home.
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Old 10-28-2021, 11:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by pclem View Post
The school rankings in NJ are misleading, because the top 25 are almost all vocational / specialty high schools. Haddonfield is ranked #39, but among regular high schools it's ranked #17 in the state. Cherry Hill East is #2 in SJ, followed by Moorestown, Cinnaminson, Mainland (Linwood/Somers Point, right outside Ocean City), Egg Harbor Township, Clearview (Mullica Hill), Ocean City, Eastern (Voorhees), Kingsway (Swedesboro), Woodstown, Collingswood (I was born and grew up there; the school system is better now than it was 15-20 years ago), Absegami (Galloway), Shawnee (Medford), Lenape (Mt Laurel), Lower Twp.
Yes, I'm citing the ranking from US News but I'm also looking at greatschools, niche, and all the individual scores for testing and for college readiness. IMO, college readiness is really the biggest indicator as to how good a school is. So I'm not giving Collingswood more points because it's more diverse than Cinnaminson - or docking Medford for the same reason. I absolutely love Collingswood. Easily top 10 towns in all of New Jersey. It's high school has improved a lot just in the last 10 years but it still has a long way to go before it catches up even with Haddon Township. If the OP is looking at private Bishop Eustace is right across the Cooper River - I'd do Collingswood in a heartbeat.


Quote:
It's kind of a random call but Somers Point (Linwood/Northfield/Egg Harbor Township) area may not be a bad fit, particularly for a remote worker. The housing and downtowns aren't as charming as Haddonfield area, but you're right at the shore (7-8 minutes from beach) on the bay, and it's all full timers there. Good schools apparently, and the Mainland HS sports teams are typically very good or were when I was in high school. It must be noted that taxes are way lower in parts of Atlantic and Cape May county (like 2-3x lower), but it varies by town, and you can get more house for your buck. It's probably a good deal more slowed down than Westchester but you're not in the boonies at all either. Property taxes in Atlantic and Cape May county are probably comparable to Florida and cheaper than PA. Downside of Somers Point area may be a lower density of kids / significant retiree population, but I've never spent much time there beyond passing through so I don't know.
My wife's friend from college is born and raised in Absecon. Still lives there. Absegami is mediocre to bad but that area along Route 9 between Absecon and Somers Point and west into EHT are, like you say, hardly dead.

Quote:
Also stand corrected on Howey. I just heard it's a nice place from my dad and his coworkers, had nice geography (more hilly), and it's 35 min from Orlando; that's all I was really going off of.
I think it's nice if you're retired, don't want to be around kids, and don't have to worry about schools It is hilly. It's really beautiful countryside out there and I get the appeal if you're retired and have a boat. The chain of lakes out there is massive. Lake Harris and Lake Apopka are some of the biggest lakes in the state and they're connected. But around here Lake County has the reputation of being a little trashy. It's like the Cumberland County of Orlando. It's about 35 miles to places like Universal or the malls (not in Orlando) but I don't know if it's realistic to say that translates to 35 minutes. Maybe sometimes but I'd say if you're trying to do something during a weekday (not during rush hout) it's more accurately 45 minutes to an hour. I live near downtown Orlando and used to commute out to Winter Garden. It would take me about 35 minutes to get out there in the morning and around 45 to get home (and that's a reverse commute.) The traffic going the other way was way worse.

Quote:
I can never put my finger on exactly why, and the Main Line is undoubtedly nice (though pricey as heck at the moment) but I'm not a fan of the PA-side suburbs. They're too disjointed and seem to lack a center / a 'placeness,' and there are a lot of dumpy/dangerous areas particularly south of Philly along the river. Best thing is probably for you to jump in the car and cruise through all the places mentioned, could be done in one day.
I generally dislike Pennsylvania - the culture, the politics, the people - and even though I haven't lived there in 7 years and sold my house there two years ago the state still follows up with me every year to see if I owe them taxes. It would be one thing if I still had a connection there. People can talk all the trash they want about NJ taxes but they never harassed me like that when I left.

I know what you mean about DelCo, my first job out of college was in Chester, PA. It's easily one of the most depressing places I've ever been anywhere in the Northeast Corridor. I interned in Camden. No one ever bothered me, I never felt unsafe, and you drive or even walk down Federal Street and you see the hustle and people trying to make it with small, family owned businesses. There's just none of that in Chester. It's just desolate. It's the only city I've ever worked in where I was told not to go certain places without a police escort. But yeah, most areas between MacDade Blvd and the River are not awesome. But really, I think this applies to the whole length of the Delaware on both sides from Trenton down to the Delaware Memorial Bridge. It's more the exception that you find a nice town on the river vs. the rule. On the NJ side you get Bordentown and Riverton and that's basically it. I'm not saying that Burlington City is bad, it's just average. On the PA side you get Yardley and Center City. Fishtown and South Philly are OK but that's basically it.

But most of the Main Line is nice. I don't hate it. Some of the towns like Bryn Mawr and Ardmore are really nice and have great transportation and good schools. Other places like Ambler, Doylestown, Phoenixville are also really nice towns. Personally, I wouldn't want to live that far out - west of 476 or north of 276. Just too far from everything but that's just me and they're still nice places. It's why I love Collingswood and Westmont. You get good housing value and you can be in the city in under 15 minutes for less than $3.
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Old 10-28-2021, 12:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post

I think it's nice if you're retired, don't want to be around kids, and don't have to worry about schools It is hilly. It's really beautiful countryside out there and I get the appeal if you're retired and have a boat. The chain of lakes out there is massive. Lake Harris and Lake Apopka are some of the biggest lakes in the state and they're connected. But around here Lake County has the reputation of being a little trashy. It's like the Cumberland County of Orlando. It's about 35 miles to places like Universal or the malls (not in Orlando) but I don't know if it's realistic to say that translates to 35 minutes. Maybe sometimes but I'd say if you're trying to do something during a weekday (not during rush hout) it's more accurately 45 minutes to an hour. I live near downtown Orlando and used to commute out to Winter Garden. It would take me about 35 minutes to get out there in the morning and around 45 to get home (and that's a reverse commute.) The traffic going the other way was way worse.

Some of your posts are making me miss Florida (I lived in Seminole County years ago). How are the day-to-day stressors of driving, people etc. now? It used to be pretty nice, but I understand that it is really built up now so not sure how it has changed. I lived there 20 years ago. We still think about moving back, but that would be down the road, maybe post-retirement.

Part of me figures by the time we finally get down there, 2/3rds of the Northeast will already be there and at that point I might just as well turn around and go home.
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Old 10-28-2021, 01:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
Yes, I'm citing the ranking from US News but I'm also looking at greatschools, niche, and all the individual scores for testing and for college readiness. IMO, college readiness is really the biggest indicator as to how good a school is.
Fair enough, you seem to have your finger on the education pulse more than I do. I went to Catholic school growing up which was good in many ways (little to no drugs/fighting, good school spirit, etc) though didn't have all the AP courses that public did and as wide a course selection, though they have incorporated more over the years.

Quote:
If the OP is looking at private Bishop Eustace is right across the Cooper River - I'd do Collingswood in a heartbeat.
The combination of multiple Eustace tuitions (which now calls itself 'Eustace Prep' I believe, probably to make their tuition easier to digest) + Camden County property taxes makes me physically ill. Many do it but that's a hell of an outlay. Camden Catholic is pricey now also. But OP's a New Yorker so maybe less sticker shock.


Quote:
Absegami is mediocre to bad but that area along Route 9 between Absecon and Somers Point and west into EHT are, like you say, hardly dead.
Yeah, I was surprised to see Absegami that high in the rankings, granted I've never stepped foot in the school aside from one wrestling match. Not really dead at all, and Mainland is a pretty large HS I think Group 4, so there must be many kids. I have to think that growing up 6-7 minutes from Ocean City/shore and Pine Barrens (I'm sure they do some fun woods stuff) is very hard to make for a boring and unmemorable childhood and teenhood, and if the kids move away later the shore is always a good draw for them and other visitors.

Quote:
I live near downtown Orlando and used to commute out to Winter Garden.
Since you're there and can compare with NJ, where in Florida would you recommend in my case? I'm 36, single and in good shape, have remote income, lean strongly reddish-libertarian on politics. Not a fan of all the covid measures, to put it lightly. Tend to like smaller/medium-sized cities (so Miami's out) with a decent amount of culture, like university towns/cities. A know a guy who likes Fort Myers a lot, but he's retired. Florida's on the radar if I ever leave NJ, also like East TN and western SC. I don't mind a little deep-Southness so panhandle is on table. What would be your ranking of the top-few Florida cities/areas you think I might like/should check out, and any larger towns that have a decent nightlife and younger population with single people? I'm planning a road-trip down there at some point in November.

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I generally dislike Pennsylvania - the culture, the politics, the people
Sometimes I almost feel as if there's something in the water -- but in the entire state. Worst drivers of all 50 states, and a lot of angry/aggressive people esp in Northeast PA. Areas along the river north and south of Philly (esp south) not good until you get up to Yardley and New Hope. I like Philly and think it's an underrated city (IMO it's probably the second-best city in US after NYC, in terms of a real big-city feel), just not a fan of the state. Lancaster County area / Amish country is really nice though.

On Camden, for all the bad rap it gets it's actually improved a lot over the last 10 years. Everywhere east of Haddon Ave is more or less habitable now, especially East Camden and Cramer Hill, not that I'd choose to live there. The areas that aren't habitable are more bombed out and desolate than they are necessarily dangerous. They have about 20 homicides a year lately (mostly gang/drug-related), down from 60ish in the 90s. The more dangerous areas of Philly are far worse than Camden.

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But really, I think this applies to the whole length of the Delaware on both sides from Trenton down to the Delaware Memorial Bridge. It's more the exception that you find a nice town on the river vs. the rule. On the NJ side you get Bordentown and Riverton and that's basically it.
You're right but I'd take Riverside Riverton (nice) Palmyra (pretty nice) Pennsauken, and Gloucester City Brooklawn Westville West Deptford and Paulsboro over the PA-side equivalents; the NJ side looks better and in none of those places including GC and Paulsboro am I fearing for my life or property. Yes Trenton sucks and is dangerous (though surroundings are super nice, Princeton Lambertville Flemington Frenchtown etc); that said, I've never come across anyone in my entire life who was moving to Trenton other than prisoners and politicians.

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But most of the Main Line is nice. I don't hate it. Some of the towns like Bryn Mawr and Ardmore are really nice and have great transportation and good schools. Other places like Ambler, Doylestown, Phoenixville are also really nice towns. Personally, I wouldn't want to live that far out - west of 476 or north of 276. Just too far from everything but that's just me and they're still nice places. It's why I love Collingswood and Westmont. You get good housing value and you can be in the city in under 15 minutes for less than $3.
There are plenty of nice PA towns all across the state esp the pockets you mention, no doubt about it. Just the total package doesn't do it for me in a more regional/countywide sense. I've lived in 5 countries and been to all 48 lower states, so I'm not a townie who bashes everywhere that's not home.

Last edited by pclem; 10-28-2021 at 01:39 PM..
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