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Harrisburg area Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties
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Old 02-15-2014, 09:14 AM
 
Location: Kennett Square, PA
1,794 posts, read 2,894,696 times
Reputation: 2919

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Hello, I am a semi-retired teacher looking to move from Kennett Square, PA. Grew up In Delaware County in Springfield and Wallingford. I need to stay in the state where I'm licensed so that I can work part-time over the next 5-6 years.

I'm looking for a single home under 300K in an area with nice scenery (parks, preserved lands), a sense of history, quality healthcare and dog-friendly. Walkability would be great, but I also enjoy driving. I am more suburban than rural, but like access to produce farms in season. I want a friendly place where folks actually talk to one another. Here on my own in Stepfordville, people barely speak to me since I have no kids to join playgroups and such. Kennett has turned into an area of "transplants," and it's not a friendly place at all - not as it used to be when I was younger.

So what's the vibe in Hershey and is it possible to purchase a small ranch-type or bungalow home in a nice neighborhood? Thanks.
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Old 02-15-2014, 12:16 PM
 
4,267 posts, read 10,399,128 times
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You might be able to meet that target in Hershey village with smaller ranchers or bungalows, or some of the slightly older subdivisions just south. The Derry Twp school district has a "good schools" price premium, which won't matter so much to a retiree though.

Adjacent Palmyra, and Hummelstown Borough will also have some similar type homes for less. Both have more shopping for basics and locally owned type stores than Hershey does, and you can ride among all three on a bike (with of course having to deal with a few choke point non-friendly intersections as is all too common in PA).

All 3 also have sinkhole prone geology in common. The worst area is along either side of US 422. Generally, when you get up the hills a little bit either to the north or to the south, you will be off the sinkhole limestone. The village of Union Deposit in South Hanover Twp (not to be confused with the Union Deposit Rd/I-83 interchange area 8 miles west) is on the first shale hill, has a Hershey address but not the Derry Twp schools so is more modestly priced. Most of the houses are PA German village types though, not so many ranchers or craftsman bungalows, but at least they're singles with yards.

The nearest open-daily good sized farm market stands are Risser-Marvel just outside Campbelltown beside Palmyra, and Strites' up on Chambers Hill between Hummelstown and Harrisburg.

Nearby Middletown Borough is well stocked with ranchers and craftsmans, has shopping up through chain grocery stores, rail station and airport a bike ride from all of town, with short drive or a little more ambitious bike ride to Hershey Medical Center. This generally safe, mixed-income and mixed-race community seems frequently overlooked in the Harrisburg area. Watch the flood zones here, but sinkholes seem less common. Some parts of town have a land lease situation (i.e. you own the building, but a trust owns the land) that sometimes causes problems with some mortgage lenders. Good sized farm stand just south of town that I don't have first hand experience with. It could be unnerving at first looking across the road at the looming cooling towers of Three Mile Island.
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Old 02-15-2014, 09:30 PM
 
Location: Kennett Square, PA
1,794 posts, read 2,894,696 times
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Thanks, K - great info...but WHOA!!!! Had no idea of the proximity to Three Mile Island which I find rather terrifying!! Finding an affordable (and low tax) single in the bottom SE quarter of PA is becoming rather daunting. In the far SE, out in the "country," one can find lots of affordable homes, but the trade-off is general loneliness and no access to public water and sewer. This search for the "almost-perfect" location is quite an uphill climb. Thanks again for such a thorough response.
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:06 AM
 
4,267 posts, read 10,399,128 times
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Yep, they closed the visitor center for TMI and took it off the attractions list. So it comes as a big surprise to the visitor flying into MDT and seeing it on final approach.
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Old 02-19-2014, 10:52 AM
 
Location: Lancaster, PA
11 posts, read 13,340 times
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If you'd be interested in setting a little bit farther east from Hershey, Lancaster County is a really nice area. Many of the small towns in the county have the walkability in a small town that you might be looking for. Lititz, New Holland, Elizabethtown are all nice areas, but farther from Hershey than you originally were looking at.
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Old 02-19-2014, 11:50 AM
 
4,267 posts, read 10,399,128 times
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Lititz has ranchers and bungalows a few blocks out, and Wilbur seems now to emit more frequent chocolate smells than Hershey since the Hershey main chocolate plant moved from the center of town further out. Lititz also has more shopping than Hershey does - even a Target on the south end of town. We have a few times gone down to Lititz during the Christmas season, a couple of years the kids counted Moravian stars displayed on porches and never got less than 100.

Harrisburg and Hershey do seem to have more population exchange with the outside world though, you may want to read a few more threads (note Lancaster as its own metro shouldn't be in the "Harrisburg area" sub-forum on this site - look also in the general PA forum).

Elizabethtown seems to be kind of a shopping deficit area, as Hershey somewhat is. The Amtrak station is a big plus, with frequent service to Philly/NYC. Federal stimulus money went into preserving the neat old building and paving its still free parking lot. PA 743 is a painfully heavily trafficked and dangerous stretch of two-lane road up to Hershey. Transplants I know in E-town seem to complain less of a frigid reception than in other Lancaster County suburban areas.
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Old 02-24-2014, 06:35 AM
 
Location: Midwest transplant
2,048 posts, read 5,337,112 times
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I would consider Lititz as well~easy to get to Lancaster for doctors and specialists. New hospital right outside of town, great selection of grocery stores and easy drive to any number of school districts if you should decide to continue working. There are also several private schools, technical schools and colleges in the area that might consider hiring a semi retired teacher. If you decide to "bag" the education field completely, there are loads of other options; museums, retail, tutoring, travel and toursim. Lititz is a fairly conservative town, but safe and lots of walkability. They have a vibrant community center, tons of festivals and activities all year round.
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Old 05-19-2014, 04:07 PM
 
Location: Kennett Square, PA
1,794 posts, read 2,894,696 times
Reputation: 2919
Quote:
Originally Posted by teachbeach View Post
I would consider Lititz as well~easy to get to Lancaster for doctors and specialists. New hospital right outside of town, great selection of grocery stores and easy drive to any number of school districts if you should decide to continue working. There are also several private schools, technical schools and colleges in the area that might consider hiring a semi retired teacher. If you decide to "bag" the education field completely, there are loads of other options; museums, retail, tutoring, travel and toursim. Lititz is a fairly conservative town, but safe and lots of walkability. They have a vibrant community center, tons of festivals and activities all year round.
Just happened to be reading this again; I thought of our mutual friend, litizman, and how, no matter what he did, sensed a coldness in the people - even at church! That's one of the reasons I want out of my own neighborhood (plus the part-time teaching job market). Still, PA is still in the running for me (NOVA is a bit tempting, as was Northern Maryland, but both tax pensions). I might just take a ride out there. A belated thanks to you.
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Old 05-21-2014, 06:23 PM
 
22 posts, read 78,442 times
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I would not let Three Mile Island scare me, lived here my entire life, great area to live in, I'm sure you'll find real estate in Hershey at a lower price than Kennett Square.
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Old 06-04-2014, 04:48 PM
 
14 posts, read 19,449 times
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Hershey is nice but taxes will kill you..I live in palmyra.Nice town and taxes arent so bad and close enough to Hershey and Harrisburg.I don't let 3 mile island bother me at all
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