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Old 05-28-2014, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Virginia
95 posts, read 210,075 times
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I'm contemplating relocating to PA (Harrisburg ) area, or somewhere LOL... Are there any active forum members that can help with general information? i.e., rent, senior areas, weather? stores, etc?
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Old 05-29-2014, 02:46 PM
 
3,414 posts, read 7,666,757 times
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Take this for what it's worth, I lived in central PA for about 4 years in Hershey. The good: close to everything on the east coast, 90 minutes to Philly, Baltimore, little over 2 hours to DC and 3-4 hours to NYC. So if you want to leave town to soak up some culture, it's only a day trip to lots of places. If you like the outdoors, the Appalachian Trail runs along the western side of Harrisburg and I found some really cool trails within 2-3 hours of Hershey. One of them had 21 waterfalls in a 7 mile loop. Plus the weather wasn't that bad, better in the winter than Ohio or Michigan and better in the summer than anyplace in the south. You get all four seasons and for the most part it's temperate.

The bad: the natives tended to be the least friendly of any place that I lived. I had just moved to town and simply asked the grocery clerk where the beer section of the store was. She snarled back about having to go someplace else and treated me like an idiot. Which leads me to the second thing, the liquor laws in PA were backwards to say the least. A simple chore like picking up some dinner, a six pack and a bottle of wine required stopping at three stores. This was a few years ago, so hope they have changed the laws since then. Also found that if you had not been born in the area and grown up in the area, it was tough to make friends. One last thing about weather, the negative that I hated were the 37 degree days when it rained sideways all day. You got cold and soaked even with an umbrella. Would rather it be 5 degrees cooler and snowing. Taxes, don't get me started on school taxes, residence taxes, state taxes, local area taxes - felt like I got taxed to death.

What a few people told me about settling in the area and being from out of state was that the Hershey area was your best bet. Between Hershey Foods, the medical center and the medical school bringing in out of towners, people were used to interacting with non-natives.
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Old 05-30-2014, 07:33 AM
 
Location: Paradise
2,649 posts, read 2,403,001 times
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I've lived in the Harrisburg-Hershey area for almost 2 years now (I also lived in the area for about a year about 25 years ago).

Rent is...meh. While the costs to buy a house seem reasonable (or at least compared to the last place I lived), rent is almost as much. Of course, I owned a home before moving here so that's probably clouding my judgement a bit. We rent a two bedroom apartment near Hershey for about $1300 a month. We've been looking for someplace else a little cheaper but we aren't having much luck on the eastern side of the river. We may start looking at the western side (Carlisle, New Cumberland, Enola, etc).

I don't know too much about senior areas as hubby and I haven't quite gotten to that point yet. LOL.

Don't get me started on the weather!!! LOL. Your perspective will be different, I'm sure, depending on what you are used to and what you are looking for. I lived in the south for 25 years. I loved living in the south and IMO it's too damn cold up here! I've seen more snow in the past 2 years than I saw in the whole 25 years before. And I could do without it. Summer is not too bad, there are a few days that get some heat and high humidity but compared to what I'm used to, it's no big deal.

Shopping can be interesting, again, depending on what you are used to or what you are looking for. In our experience, things are more expensive here. One thing that we've found is that there are a lot of options for fresh produce in season. Farm markets all over the place and some good deals can be had if you have the place to store some of those bulk goods. Generally you can find everything you need fairly easily and close by. The poster above got it right about beer and liquor (and taxes) though.

I can try to answer any questions you have but I'll admit my opinion is probably a little jaded. We don't really like it here, don't feel as though we belong and are trying to find something back in the south. However, I try not to present too negative a view here because it sucks to read about a place you like or love and someone is bad mouthing it.
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Old 05-30-2014, 07:50 AM
 
Location: Central Texas. Wait, I mean South Texas. Actually, both Central and South Texas
317 posts, read 486,652 times
Reputation: 373
Default Harrisburg area

Hello,

I have lived in the Harrisburg area for about three years now and I grew up in Johnstown which is about a 2 1/2 drive west of Harrisburg. I also lived in El Paso, TX for three years and South Korea for one year when I was in the Army. I have visited San Diego and San Francisco and lots of other places too. (i see you are from SoCal?) So I've been around. Here's my take on the Harrisburg Area.

Weather: We have four very distinct seasons. Winters are usually relatively mild (normal high around 40, low around 20) compared to the rest of the Northeast. But we occasionally get a nightmare winter like we did last winter with several feet of snow and several sub zero temperature days. Summers are very pleasant but can be a little humid. It normally doesn't get that hot here in the summertime, in fact I never use my central air. Some people complain about the hot summers but those people are normally locals who have never lived outside Central PA.
People: You basically have two groups. Very old fashioned white people, and lower income minorities. The white people are very nosy, judgemental and gossipy. Most people also seem to be overbearing and will really try to pry into your personal life. If you don't look and act exactly like them, they will not like or accept you. It is very hard to be accepted unless you were born and raised here. I grew up 2 1/2 hours away and I am not fully accepted. The region also has large african-american and hispanic communities. Almost all african-americans and hispanics here are in the lower class income bracket. I know this can be said of a lot of places in America, but in Central PA the difference in incomes for different races is very apparent. Minorities do not talk or associate with white people here, thats just the way it is. I think there is a lot of race tension and discrimination. However, most race tension and discrimination is done secretly. A lot of people here are good at disguising their prejudice. Overall, I really don't like the people here.
Traffic: Horrible. Major crashes almost every day. Outdated road system that can't handle the traffic volume. Insane drivers.
Cost of Living: Harrisburg and Lancaster are comparable to other medium sized cities throughout the country. Home prices in York, where I live, are cheaper. (just watch out for the taxes)
Nightlife/Entertainment: Harrisburg has decent nightlife/club scene. And Philly/Balt/DC are all within easy driving distance.
Economy: Strong compared to other parts of PA. If you are in the healthcare field or are able to get a Commonwealth of PA job you will be golden. If you are in a really specialized field you might have an issue because Harrisburg isn't a huge city.
Crime: Certain areas of Harrisburg/York/Lancaster can be dangerous, but most of the crime occurs between drug dealers and other low lifes.
In summary not a horrible place to live, but the old fashioned and slightly weird mentality of the people can make it a difficult place sometimes.
Anything else you want to know?
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Old 05-30-2014, 08:36 AM
 
Location: Chicago
6 posts, read 11,886 times
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Here are my thoughts having just moved to Harrisburg 2 months ago. Bear in mind I am 27 and have spent my adult life living in Chicago and Dallas.

Weather: It seems to rain a ton, but I've only been here 2 months. The winters can't be worse than Chicago, right?

People: I haven't found people to be particularly unfriendly, but I'm also dealing with a younger crowd. I will say that it seems like everyone in Harrisburg grew up in central PA, went to school in central PA, and has never lived outside of central PA. People and businesses still give phone numbers without the area code. Because of the small amount of outsiders, it does feel a bit cliquey.

Traffic: I commute from Harrisburg to Carlisle every day (about 30 minutes) and rarely have any issues with traffic aside from occasional traffic crossing the bridge on 83 on the way home at night. Having lived in Chicago and Dallas, I don't think people really know what traffic is out here. For some reason drivers around here have no clue how to handle on-ramps. I can't tell you the number of times I've seen drivers come to a complete stop on the on-ramp.

Nightlife/Entertainment: Harrisburg does have a decent bar scene. I haven't take advantage of it too much yet. Downtown Harrisburg is dead during the day on weekends. I'm hoping that improves now that weather is getting better.

Crime: If you've lived in a major city before, you won't even notice the crime here.

Overall I'd say it's an OK place to live. Not terrible, not great.
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Old 05-30-2014, 09:00 AM
 
Location: Virginia
95 posts, read 210,075 times
Reputation: 53
thank you so much to grmi66, bigpen1234 and lunetune lover, it is really appreciate to hear from people who live in the area to hear what they like and dislike about the area.

I think I'm worried most about find a reasonable rent. To start I'd be living on a small retirement.
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Old 05-30-2014, 09:23 AM
 
Location: Paradise
2,649 posts, read 2,403,001 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by therrma2 View Post
Traffic: I commute from Harrisburg to Carlisle every day (about 30 minutes) and rarely have any issues with traffic aside from occasional traffic crossing the bridge on 83 on the way home at night. Having lived in Chicago and Dallas, I don't think people really know what traffic is out here. For some reason drivers around here have no clue how to handle on-ramps. I can't tell you the number of times I've seen drivers come to a complete stop on the on-ramp.

LOLOL! Very true!

I'm a highway engineer and where I lived before traffic was much worse. Here they literally close a major roadway if there is an accident (that just seems insane to me). And yes the drivers here do not seem to know how to merge - a yield at the end of a ramp means "come to a full stop then try to accelerate to highway speed in 100' or less." Good luck with that!

Getting your drivers license here is an inane and archaic process - they will mail it to you after you've gone and waited in line at the one or two centers where they can take your picture.

There are some senior living complexes around, but again, can't really help you there since we don't qualify yet.
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Old 05-30-2014, 09:26 AM
 
Location: Central Texas. Wait, I mean South Texas. Actually, both Central and South Texas
317 posts, read 486,652 times
Reputation: 373
Default Harrisburg

If you're worried about affordable rent I would target the areas west and south of Harrisburg. (Carlisle, Enola, Mechanicsburg, Marysville, York County) Avoid the more expensive areas located just east of Harrisburg. (Hummelstown, Hershey)
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Old 05-30-2014, 09:34 AM
 
3,414 posts, read 7,666,757 times
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If you are renting, make sure you check out the school tax and residence tax situation. I lived in Hershey and if memory serves me right I paid about $275 for school taxes and another $100 a year for a tax because I resided in Hershey. This was on top of the local income tax that Hershey collected above and beyond the state and federal income tax. So just in local taxes I paid over $1000 a year and I was just renting. But people we were friends with lived a few miles down the road in Palmyra and they paid quite a bit less.

What I thought was funny was going into work on Monday mornings and telling my co-workers that I went down to DC for a day trip. They would be incredulous that someone could drive two hours, spend 4-6 hours taking in the sites and drive 2 hours back all in one day. Some of the people in my office had only been to DC once in their life on a school field trip despite only living 100 miles away. A lot of people in central PA did not leave the area very often.
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Old 05-30-2014, 10:39 AM
 
Location: West York
121 posts, read 212,251 times
Reputation: 144
Quote:
Originally Posted by therrma2 View Post

Traffic: I commute from Harrisburg to Carlisle every day (about 30 minutes) and rarely have any issues with traffic aside from occasional traffic crossing the bridge on 83 on the way home at night. Having lived in Chicago and Dallas, I don't think people really know what traffic is out here. For some reason drivers around here have no clue how to handle on-ramps. I can't tell you the number of times I've seen drivers come to a complete stop on the on-ramp.
As someone born and raised here, let me add this doesn't apply to everyone. It drives us locals mad just as well, IDK where some of these people are learning this technique, but it is infuriating.
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