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Old 03-08-2010, 09:21 PM
 
4 posts, read 11,970 times
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Hello! I moved from PA to NC for a teaching job after college. I wanted to explore and it has been great! Now we have kids, parent health concerns, and miss PA. So we are wanting to move back despite the really tough teaching job market up there. I want my kids to grow up around their grandparents and cousins.
*I know with PA teaching I am pretty much going to have to take what I can get and be thankful for a job if we get one...but....I want to make sure I am not missing any areas that I should be applying/looking into since I have not lived there for quite some time. Our families are in Lancaster so we would like to be somewhat near there to be able to visit/help out. We are used to being pretty far away so we thought +/- an hour would be a good distance to make sure we still can get there quickly but have some of our own elbow room.
Our ideal town:
1. family friendly, lower crime rate, good school system, decent shopping/grocery stores, good medical nearby, cute downtown/walking trails/parks are not necessary but a "plus"
2. 4 BR house for under 250,000
3. Not really a city girl, more suburban or rural. I like being somewhat near a city (doesn't have to be a large city) to enjoy the perks
4. Do you know any areas in south central PA that tend to hire teachers with experience? I have about 12 years elem. educ. experience so I know it will be tough competing with new grads.
Thank you in advance for sharing your favorite towns within an hour or so of Lancaster. Any input is very appreciated. Have a great day and week!
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Old 03-09-2010, 09:14 AM
 
3,168 posts, read 5,495,278 times
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Hummelstown (Lower Dauphin school district) and adjacent Hershey (Derry Township school district) could offer possibilities. Hummelstown has a cute downtown with great toy store and some other locally owned shops and Derry Twp has a fairly long bike trail and nice parks. 4br for $250k might be pushing it in Derry Twp (especially with the pricier Hershey 17033 address, however much of Derry also has Hummelstown 17036 address). More exchange of people in the area due to Penn State Hershey medical center, state government and corporate offices in nearby Harrisburg. 45 minutes or so to Lancaster.

Further west Camp Hill Borough, Cumberland Valley schools, maybe Mechanicsburg Borough and Carlisle area offer possibilities. Boiling Springs, in the South Middleton Twp school district is if possible even cuter than Lititz but any shopping is 5 mi away in Carlisle. Out here west of Harrisburg you're pushing your hour from Lancaster but also more exchange of outsiders due in large part to the Navy depot in Mechanicsburg and the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks although Carlisle also has the small Dickinson College.

Southern York County has an extensive rail trail and the centers of Seven Valleys, Glen Rock, Railroad, and New Freedom boroughs have benefited from some additional cute-ifying as a result

Since you have relatives in Lancaster County you might (or might not) have a leg up on the unfriendliness outsiders commonly seem to feel in the Lancaster County suburban areas. There is noticeably less exchange with the outside world in the Lancaster metro than in Harrisburg. Lititz is the poster town for cute, at least on the surface.

I'm less familiar with some of the areas around Reading, presumably others on here will chime in soon.
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Old 03-09-2010, 08:14 PM
 
4 posts, read 11,970 times
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Thanks! This is very helpful, and I will be sure to check out the areas that you mentioned. We were thinking of the Hershey/ York area as a possibility so your info. is good that we are on the right track. I have never been to Boiling Springs but it sounds like a def. contender to apply and see what happens. I have read some past forums on Gettysburg on here, but I was curious as to what you thought of the area. Seems like a nice place, pretty land. Is Hummelstown near Three Mile Island? I know every area has different things, but is that a concern among the locals or not really? I just remember that meltdown scare from when I was little and it still freaks me out a little bit. Funny that you should mention the Lancaster friendliness thing. I never thought a thing of it when growing up as I hadn't known any different. After living in the south, I found myself smiling at everyone and making small talk to those around me when I visit up north. Got some funny looks for sure . But down here everyone is super friendly on the surface which is wonderful, but it sure takes time to break into the tight inner circles around here as well. Being a "yankee" among people that have family in an area for generations is interesting. Now we have so many outsiders here, and that has seemed to make it more open in general. It took awhile for this yankee to make some good friends, etc. But now that I have all that I make things hard on myself and move back north!! I made some excellent friends in college though, all from the northeast. I miss the north's sense of humor and directness. Sounds funny to say but it is so true. It just has a distinct energy there. I hope I am remembering things accurately. All moves are scary, even if exciting. But I feel moving near family is good...and it is my heart. I also feel I can make a home just about anywhere but why not tap into the guidance to find a good fit?? I have found things I really liked about everywhere I have lived. So off we go to our next adventure if we can find a job...fingers crossed. I think we take all our experiences in life and they shape us...now I just have to hope that I am not such a hybrid that it is hard to fit in...maybe I should move on the mason-dixon line. Thanks a ton for your kindness. Life is busy and I appreciate the time you took to help me out. Enjoy your night!
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:26 AM
 
Location: Newport, NC
952 posts, read 2,268,688 times
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You might also want to check out Elizabethtown, about halfway between Lancaster and Harrisburg.
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Old 03-10-2010, 06:37 AM
 
Location: Lancaster County, PA
1,503 posts, read 2,652,022 times
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Originally Posted by Rtom45 View Post
You might also want to check out Elizabethtown, about halfway between Lancaster and Harrisburg.
Good recommendation. Also consider the Millersville area. Besides being safe and having good school districts I'm hearing that resident in the college towns in the county are more open-minded and accepting to outsiders.
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Old 03-10-2010, 06:47 AM
 
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Outsiders moving to Elizabethtown seem to not complain as much about not fitting in as do folks in other LanCo areas. It seems somehow to me that the town isn't as "cute" as it should be with having a college, Amtrak service, and the good size Masonic Home population as indicia that in other towns support "cute" downtown shopping/restaurants.

Yes, Three Mile Island is in the Lower Dauphin school district. After a legal battle Unit Two where the accident occurred has an assessed valuation of $0.00 for tax purposes. LDSD has fairly high taxes by PA standards as a result (Derry has nearly as high taxes because they live large on its considerable non-residential ratable properties - such as 3 chocolate factories and a theme park). The areas where one can view the cooling towers has formed something of an urban growth boundary for the last 30 years but large scale (for here) 1,000+ unit TND's are finally moving into Londonderry Twp. On the scale of actual risk a nuclear accident is considerably lower than the risk from driving a car to the convenience store and walking across the street to the mailbox. Some environmentalists are now embracing nuclear power as less harmful than fossil fuels considering anthropogenic climate change.

The nearest town to TMI is actually Middletown, a walkable, fairly safe, somewhat mixed-race community. My daughter's actually attending CCD there because the Hershey church (as many things in Hershey are) scheduled assuming a stay-at-home parent. Middletown schools I think are considered neither the best nor the worst. Your money will probably go further in Middletown Area SD than in LD, Derry, or E-town. Some homes in Middletown are on land owned by a trust, i.e. in that area of town you own the house but not the land, and some lenders are reportedly unwilling to mortgage those properties.

Gettysburg is certainly an attractive community but the tourist traffic seems to impact the livability to a fairly high degree - hard to build a ring road through the battlefield. Also it seems there's more commuting than local job opportunities. Commercial apple orchards in surrounding Adams County mean there are a fairly high number of migrant workers in the area, experience working with Hispanic populations would likely give you a leg up in getting hired in the local schools.

Oh, and one corner of my in-laws' land (further west) was actually set by Mason and Dixon. My wife will sometimes find sweet tea in restaurants south of Harrisburg, in Carlisle even, but well-brewed sweet tea it might not be.
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Old 03-10-2010, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Lancaster County, PA
1,503 posts, read 2,652,022 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ki0eh View Post
Outsiders moving to Elizabethtown seem to not complain as much about not fitting in as do folks in other LanCo areas. It seems somehow to me that the town isn't as "cute" as it should be with having a college, Amtrak service, and the good size Masonic Home population as indicia that in other towns support "cute" downtown shopping/restaurants.

Yes, Three Mile Island is in the Lower Dauphin school district. After a legal battle Unit Two where the accident occurred has an assessed valuation of $0.00 for tax purposes. LDSD has fairly high taxes by PA standards as a result (Derry has nearly as high taxes because they live large on its considerable non-residential ratable properties - such as 3 chocolate factories and a theme park). The areas where one can view the cooling towers has formed something of an urban growth boundary for the last 30 years but large scale (for here) 1,000+ unit TND's are finally moving into Londonderry Twp. On the scale of actual risk a nuclear accident is considerably lower than the risk from driving a car to the convenience store and walking across the street to the mailbox. Some environmentalists are now embracing nuclear power as less harmful than fossil fuels considering anthropogenic climate change.

The nearest town to TMI is actually Middletown, a walkable, fairly safe, somewhat mixed-race community. My daughter's actually attending CCD there because the Hershey church (as many things in Hershey are) scheduled assuming a stay-at-home parent. Middletown schools I think are considered neither the best nor the worst. Your money will probably go further in Middletown Area SD than in LD, Derry, or E-town. Some homes in Middletown are on land owned by a trust, i.e. in that area of town you own the house but not the land, and some lenders are reportedly unwilling to mortgage those properties.

Gettysburg is certainly an attractive community but the tourist traffic seems to impact the livability to a fairly high degree - hard to build a ring road through the battlefield. Also it seems there's more commuting than local job opportunities. Commercial apple orchards in surrounding Adams County mean there are a fairly high number of migrant workers in the area, experience working with Hispanic populations would likely give you a leg up in getting hired in the local schools.

Oh, and one corner of my in-laws' land (further west) was actually set by Mason and Dixon. My wife will sometimes find sweet tea in restaurants south of Harrisburg, in Carlisle even, but well-brewed sweet tea it might not be.
You're right about Middletown. It's not a bad place to live. We participate in a high school related walk through the town every April and it's got some charm to it. My wife teaches at the high school and it's pretty much run of the mill.

As far as securing a teaching position be prepared to sub for several years until an opening comes up. Again, you're an outsider and unless you graduated from Penn State or Millersville expect to be on the waiting list for a while.
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Old 03-11-2010, 01:06 AM
 
118 posts, read 179,630 times
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Glenville Pa in York County is beautiful and close to 83 for communting to Baltimore or Harrisburg. Schools are awesome and so are our school children !!!
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Old 03-12-2010, 08:30 AM
 
11,166 posts, read 8,073,378 times
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New Holland, Ephrata, Lititz, all have their selling points. I wouldn't overlook the eastern edge of Lancaster bordering on the Berks and Chester side.
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Old 03-14-2010, 08:33 AM
 
Location: Midwest transplant
1,498 posts, read 2,863,560 times
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Lititz has the best downtown and community center with pool, library and health club facilities. Old house charm (be careful of money pit houses though) and lots of new developments. Drawback is the traffic on the days of the craft shows or chocolate fest. Warwick Schools have been scarred in the past years by a couple of incidents, but the schools are state of the art with regards to technology, safety, programs etc. Proximity to new hospital, history and culture in Lancaster, Harrisburg airport etc.
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