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Harrisburg area Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties
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Old 06-24-2010, 05:21 PM
22 posts, read 72,958 times
Reputation: 17



I'm hoping that folks here can help guide us in the right direction. After many years of living in the Northern Virginia area, my husband and I have just had it with the cost, traffic, noise, materialism, crime, etc., and are trying to relocate. We did some research and found that State College was a perfect fit: quiet, family oriented, excellent schools (we need gifted, special needs, and in-between), affordable housing, etc. It looked like the perfect community to move to and put down roots in and stay forever. However, the extremely weak job market there has us frustrated. After almost two years of trying to find a job there (husband is a computer programmer with a defense contractor), we have had no luck at all. I noticed that Harrisburg always seems to offer jobs that are in his line of work, but the commute from Harrisburg to State College would be too much. That got me to thinking: are there any small, quiet towns in commutable distance (say 45 minutes or less) from Harrisburg that would give us the lifestyle we are seeking? I don't know if this matters or not, but we are a white, married couple, Christian, large family, he works, I'm a stay at home mom (who is eager to participate in community volunteering as the kids get older!), educated, and not into keeping up with the Jones's, if you know what I mean. We also don't want to live somewhere that is cold and unwelcoming to new folks, especially if your family hasn't been there for generations. I read about towns like Mechanicsburg, Carlisle, etc., and was wondering if we would do well there? Or, are there other towns we might consider? We're open to all helpful comments!

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Old 06-24-2010, 05:45 PM
Location: Silver Spring, MD/Washington DC
3,522 posts, read 8,855,969 times
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Based on your description, I think you'd fit in quite well in the Mechanicsburg or Carlisle areas. Frankly I think you'd do better there than in State College - State College is pretty isolated while the Harrisburg area is a lot closer to many other places.
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Old 06-25-2010, 07:12 AM
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Job opportunities are certainly better in the Harrisburg metro - that's why we remain here and not move up to State College, for one.

Compared to NoVA the entire area is quieter. One aspect of PA's fractious municipalities is that zoning is also hyper-local, so one can turn the corner off the box stores and traffic of the Carlisle Pike in Hampden and Silver Spring and be back in a different century, whether it's the mid-20th or late 18th. You do need to watch traffic choke points much more so than in State College.

Boiling Springs is a town that time forgot - just east of there is in the oft-recommended but pretty large Cumberland Valley school district, the old village itself and a number of subdivisions north and west of there are in the smaller South Middleton school district, both for now are isolated from concerns both urban and rural.

Camp Hill Borough (part of the larger Camp Hill postal address) has no school buses, a fine new library, and an older streetcar-suburb style of housing stock. It's considered snooty by local standards, which won't even register on a NoVA scale. If you like the housing stock neighboring hill areas of Wormleysburg and Lemoyne are similar with a little less of a real estate premium. Together with New Cumberland, these areas in the West Shore school district seem to be sleepers in relocation interest.

East Pennsboro has some nice areas but also a couple of kinda trashy areas.

Mechanicsburg Borough itself has a little more funky vibe, Mechanicsburg Area schools are smaller with less new-home-community availability than CV areas with a Mechanicsburg postal address.

Hershey (Derry Township school district) is highly rated as well, most residents are medical and other professionals rather than hourly workers who usually commute from Lebanon County. As a family with a stay-at-home parent this community might be Nirvana, check http://www.derrytownship.org/ and look at the parks & recreation program schedule for one. In-town Hershey has many well built homes but pricey for the area and some get close to the tourist traffic - a hidden hazard is sinkholes too. The area south of 322 is pretty quiet, much of it has a Hummelstown postal address rather than Hershey. More newer developments with a Hummelstown address are available in the also highly rated Lower Dauphin school district.

Our across the street neighbors (in Derry south of 322) are a young family of NoVA refugees; her sister moved from NoVA to Camp Hill.
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Old 07-14-2010, 09:53 AM
24 posts, read 85,825 times
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State College can be pretty hard to finda job, but it really is the best place for what your describing. He should really try hard to get a job with PSU, that's his best bet. State college still has it's own glass bottle dairy, small town butcher, and until recently had a great hardware store. The parks are top notch and the education system is superb.
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Old 07-14-2010, 06:28 PM
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You didn't mention your political leanings, but one thing you might consider is that the midstate is far more conservative than State College. So if you're more liberal and would like to be around like-minded people and have more opportunities to participate in political stuff at the university, State College would definitely be a better choice. If you are conservative or don't care about this stuff, though, Mechanicsburg is a really nice town and close enough to Harrisburg for family activities. If I could afford a house in Hershey, though, I would definitely choose that town if I were moving to the midstate. Hershey has a fantastic library, all the Hershey attractions, some of the best schools in the state, and an amazing community center and pool.
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