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Northeastern Pennsylvania Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Pocono area
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Old 04-11-2014, 10:52 PM
Location: Hanover , Virginia
331 posts, read 521,532 times
Reputation: 230


Hey guys. You may or may not recognize my handle, but I've been around here for a while off and on. I grew up in Tunkhannock and, a few years back, lived in Dickson City for a pretty brief time. I kind of have a meh/blah relationship with the area.

Brief background:

Went to school in New England, lived there for about four years, moved back to Center Moreland for about a year, moved to Hackensack for a year, back to Dickson City, down to Sellersville/Perkasie, over to CT, and finally to Mahwah NJ. We've been here for a bit over two years now. I work remotely for a company in NYC, so my place doesn't need to be close. I'm married with three kids, a dog, and a horrible cat.

We've enjoyed our time here in Mahwah, but the cost of living is ridiculous and I'm not interested in stretching my budget for the sake of owning. 4 bedroom houses here are in the 500k+ range for something pretty sad.

For the last year or so, we've been looking around at a few areas to potentially settle down for good (or at least, say, 10 years). My favorite place is the far eastern edge of CT, and there are definitely some affordable areas there. My wife is not completely opposed, but also not overly excited about that idea. The other areas we're looking are in the Lehigh Valley (Nazareth, Coopersburg). We took a look at the Syracuse area, but the taxes there are just as high as New Jersey, so why bother.

I've looked at houses in NEPA off and on, mostly to say "look what we could have back home!" but hadn't considered it seriously until recently.

I told my wife I would be OK looking in the northern valley towns, including the Green Ridge section of Scranton (although the wage tax is really off-putting) up through the Mid Valley and Valley View towns. I know Scranton schools don't have the best reputation, but I am not one to let my kids slack off or even do the bare minimum for school. I think they'd be OK.

My main concerns are.. JOBS! I have a great job now with no reason to leave, but if they ever downsize or whatever, I would hate to be stuck working at something unrelated to my industry (there are really no jobs in my field here, though there had been talk of it for a long time. You know, the Scranton people pretend will exist but never will).

I'm also concerned with the elderly population and insular nature of many towns around NEPA. I know NEPAns who are actually scared of non-white people. I don't mean the old timer not-really-meaning-harm-but-still-offensive type either. I don't want my kids growing up in that type of environment.

I also worry about the "why would I ever leave?" mentality. I know it exists in every region, but it's more noticeable in an area that doesn't get much new blood. There isn't really anything luring folks in to the valley...

So I guess what it comes down to is... do we just move back because it's the devil we know? Is it even worth doing? Obviously none of you can answer that for me, but I'd like a sounding board, I guess.

As for what we want in a town, it absolutely had to have walkability. No sprawling suburbs for us. We would want to be in the sidewalk filled areas.

Which of the towns in Valley View/Mid Valley (+ Green Ridge) would be best? Or, what are the pros and cons of each? Looking for residents to weigh in!

TL;DR we are thinking of Green Ridge in Scranton vs Mid Valley towns vs Valley View towns. Which are least insular/old/good to raise kids in?
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Old 04-12-2014, 03:51 AM
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
29,626 posts, read 65,694,190 times
Reputation: 15086
I've also been doing a lot of soul-searching recently. While not experiencing the meteoric cost-of-living that is present in Northern NJ my own personal oasis of Pittsburgh has been noticeably appreciating in price point on many fronts due to rapid gentrification (our rent has increased by roughly 30% since 2010 and is going up again in August), and NEPA is starting to look like more and more of a bargain after being gone for so long. In my case I'm planning to start my own business and run for political office. I could do so in either place. I'm going to be following this thread if you don't mind to see if anyone can talk me into (or out of) moving back to NEPA. I'd be looking specifically to settle in the city proper of Scranton (most likely the Hill District) with my partner and our demanding Dachshund.

It seems like if you have stable employment that the overall stress level in Greater Scranton would be much lower due to the much lower population. Less traffic congestion. Shorter lines at the bank. No lines for gas pumps. People who are less rushed and hurried. On the "con" side, though, just about everyone I know in the valley who still lives there is suspicious of "outsiders"; jealous of those who make more money than they do (wondering if they have "connections"); and has an Eeyore-like attitude. I've been spoiled living in Northern Virginia and Pittsburgh---two very socially liberal areas---over the past five years, and I don't know if I'm yet ready to "settle" for an area that will be "set in its ways" until the oldest generation (who outside of people like theatergypsy seem to largely be more socially conservative) dies off.
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Old 04-12-2014, 05:35 AM
2,659 posts, read 2,825,962 times
Reputation: 2127
Funny how NEPA sometimes starts to look better (but still quite flawed) after spending time elsewhere. Some thoughts to ponder without any real 'answers'. I apologize now for rambling but as one of my favorite quotes goes "I would have made it shorter, but I didn't have the time" (Blaise Pascal ...later 'borrowed' by Mark Twain).
  • Few places are really 'perfect'. "Imperfections" are perceived and revealed as one lives, almost anywhere, if things don't go just perfectly.
  • Aging ("maturing?") influence one's perception of values, interests, and priorities. It also can build tolerance and appreciation for 'things' that appeared anathema only years before.
  • Old relationships both, family and friends, often persist and seem "better" than new, fleeting, passing ones often built on more temporal conditions.
  • NEPA has some good attributes that (for some) become fond memories as one moves around and sees other places. This is sometimes amplified if one maintains some contact with NEPA.
  • NEPA is also changing. In some things for the better. Nevertheless it is slow to change...which is both good and bad.
  • Life is usually shorter than it seemed to be last year...and people (and yourself) probably will change more and faster than a place.
As the previous posters acknowledge, the elephant in the room is often JOBS...decent jobs. It isn't the only issue but it is a BIG one. It persists and changes too slowly, especially in NEPA and especially with the country's generally woeful economic situation. In one's lifetime the period when this 'window' is important is small and doesn't allow a lot of 'wiggle room' when life's decisons are made.

In the end one makes choices every day about their life and how, and therefore where, they want to live it. Much of life is what you see, do, and make of it.

BTW, it's likely that the above view applies not just to NEPA but most other areas too. Thomas Wolfe, the Moody Blues, and many others have said "You can never go home" again.

...but you can visit as long as you like in person or in your mind.

re: the OP and SCR ... you guys are not the first to see things as you are seeing them. People have left and returned ... or NOT!!...to NEPA and pretty where everywhere else over eons. Some folks who have returned were pleased with the results...some not. Life isn't perfect. It is always 'changing' some how. Oh, and timing (while not being 'everything') is pretty important too.

I warned you all at the start it would be rambling and too long

Last edited by jimazee; 04-12-2014 at 06:15 AM..
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Old 04-12-2014, 06:10 AM
Location: Long Island and PA too:)
213 posts, read 253,305 times
Reputation: 113
I currently have a weekend/vacation home in Bushkill (non-community) and we love it. My wife and I were raised and still live on Long Island and the taxes are killing us, the taxes in Bushkill are 1/5 of that. I always wanted to move to a lower taxed place but my wife couldn't deal with being far from her parents and also being away from NYC (even though we rarely went there). I could have moved anywhere and got a transfer as I was a postal worker and could have taken the same salary with me. I am 59 and now retired but my wife is still working. But when she does retire, and our parents are all passed on now....after this harsh past winter, I'm not so sure I'd settle here year round. I'd go to a warmer climate, just not Florida

This is just my opinion, but if I was in your position, I'd go where the jobs are, as it seems employment in NEPA is bleak from what I have heard from so many others. As far as the non white thing, not just in NEPA, but all over you will see change and especially change in peoples attitudes...time does march on with better attitudes, at least what I see.
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Old 04-12-2014, 06:56 AM
Location: Wilkes-Barre, PA
1,689 posts, read 3,108,758 times
Reputation: 1233
Money wise if you still have a job you'll do better. If you can't find a good job which is possible you'll do worse. If you really like the city life and want to live in NEPA than Scranton is probably your best choice. As long as you can keep working remotely for your NYC job you will probably do better than you are now. I have heard nice things about Green Ridge.
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Old 04-12-2014, 09:17 AM
Location: Hanover , Virginia
331 posts, read 521,532 times
Reputation: 230
It's tough. My team is distributed geographically, so keeping it isn't an issue. My long-term goal is to start my own business (same industry), but it's always good to have a safety fallback of employment centers nearby.

I've lived in a lot of areas and seen the same type of Eeyore attitude in all of the locals. The thing is, most places get enough new blood in to offset that, and I'm not sure NEPA really has that.

I forgot to mention my other big issue with the area which is its huge size! I have family in Tunkhannock, friends in Scranton, Tunkhannock, Wilkes-Barre, Bear Creek.. All of them are so spread out! When we lived in Dickson City, I was meeting up with them maybe once a month due to scheduling and distance. To put it another way, I live closer right now to Delaware Valley HS (which is in the same district) than my parents by over 30 minutes.
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Old 04-12-2014, 09:19 AM
Location: Swiftwater, PA
13,201 posts, read 10,601,780 times
Reputation: 9375
Scranton is in dire financial straits. It might not be a great idea to move into a city that cannot balance it's budget? The money has to come from somewhere and all of us know where that means. I know that Scranton is not alone and many cities are in the same boat. I do think that it this should be one factor in making any decision - moving is a big decision.
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Old 04-12-2014, 07:30 PM
Location: Suburbs of DC
232 posts, read 293,174 times
Reputation: 166
What kind of business would you be opening in Scranton? The one thing Scranton has going for it is the college and Medical School....is it something that is marketable to young people?
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Old 04-12-2014, 09:04 PM
Location: Hanover , Virginia
331 posts, read 521,532 times
Reputation: 230
I talked with my dad about the idea and he basically said there's no way he'd move to Scranton because of its financial/corruption issues. I can't say I disagree with him, so I think that's out. (Plus we'd be paying a hefty bit in the wage tax..)

We're still open to the northern valley towns, checking things out on zillow. We actually saw a great old victorian in Carbondale, but I mean, it's in Carbondale, so I'm not sure it's really worth checking out.
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Old 04-13-2014, 06:04 AM
27,995 posts, read 19,672,986 times
Reputation: 16471
While I understand what you mean about people's attitudes here I do think if you surround yourself with the right people it makes a world of difference. There are quite a few forward-thinking people in NEPA. In my circle of friends and acquaintances, we just laugh at them and go on our way.
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