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Harrisburg area Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties
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Old 06-26-2015, 09:40 AM
145 posts, read 219,715 times
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Looking toward the future I have an interest in the very country/scenic areas west of Carlise while traveling out I-76.

When moving here about a year ago we set up camp and eventually bought a home in eastern Palmyra (actually has an Annville address).

We plan on remaining here for at least the next few years while our kids attend school, BUT ultimately have found the area west of Carlise toward Blue Mountain very appealing?

I would like to someday build a smaller home, possibly a log home, with scenic views of the country side. I am only familiar with some areas such as Newville but would like to know if anyone has suggestions that might fit our bill?

Couple acres with a reasonable commute (possibly 45 min to an hour). Working just west of river on west shore.

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Old 06-26-2015, 10:44 AM
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The valley of western Cumberland County contains a subtle split, roughly along US 11. The northwest side of the valley abutting Blue (aka North) Mountain is underlain by shale bedrock, along the twisty Conodoguinet Creek. The southeast side has carbonate limestone bedrock, fewer streams but more springs feeding not only Yellow Breeches Creek but some north going tributaries of the Conodoguinet.

The carbonate side has better soils for agriculture (therefore, more Amish/Mennonite/Plain Sect folks interested), and more likely to have sinkholes.

The shale side has more rolling low hills and no sinkholes. Most likely the shale side would be better for a large lot rural home, but as is common in rural PA septic system and water issues could arise. Subdivisions of residential land in the last couple of decades have been required to have primary and backup septic system drain field sites established before the lots could be created. But that doesn't help to ensure enough water.

Consider an existing home site - even if you don't like the existing home, it may be easier from a site development perspective to tear down an old shack or rambling let-go place purchased from distant heirs, and to rebuild, than to have all the approvals ($, lead time, $$, delays, $$$) for new, new, new. Even getting a driveway permit can often be a pain in the neck and drive up site development costs drastically.

The Martinsburg shale of the Cumberland Valley is from an entirely different geologic period than the news-making Marcellus. So when you hear "shale," don't think that you're going to become one of the Beverly Hillbillies. This is the only thing in that area that has anything to do with the gas play: Residents question shale cuttings at county landfill

Another thing to bear in mind is that even though you drive past these areas on the Turnpike, you can't get off, so the commute from many of these areas can be painfully long. For example, the quickest way to get to Colonel Denning State Park in Cumberland County north of Newville, from Camp Hill also in Cumberland County, is to go through Landisburg in Perry County. You may want to consider a number of Perry County areas as alternative sites for your dream log home due to proximity, and probably lower likelihood of waking up one day to find a monster warehouse or other industrial facility as a neighbor. Don't let the redneck shtick scare you, especially in Carroll, Rye, and Penn townships it's usually money hiding in the hills rather than the guys from "Deliverance."
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Old 06-26-2015, 12:08 PM
145 posts, read 219,715 times
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Thanks for all the good info. My second, now possibly my first was some of the areas NW of 322 toward State College. Being that I am from NW PA it also makes the trip back home less if in that area. I have viewed some land in the Port Royal area to be reasonable for what you get...
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Old 06-26-2015, 03:57 PM
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Of course time and distance are costs too - an extra half hour is an hour a day - think of things like if it gets dark when you get home during mowing season, and it rains on weekends, when can you mow?

Newport area has basic shopping including Weis, Giant, and Tractor Supply. If you find a place on a back road in Oliver or Miller townships it's not so bad to run out to get a whichajiggit. Still, being west of Carlisle with its Target and Walmart might be an advantage in this respect.
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Old 07-04-2015, 12:41 PM
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The only way to commute out to Newville is I81 and the truck traffic is ridiculous because of the warehouses. The turnpike is a better choice and if you get off at Newburg you are in a nice rural area. I think that commute would take you at least an hour unless you drive fast. Most of the land out in Newville and Newburg is farmed and there is not much up for sale. As the other poster said the permitting is crazy. Best to buy a current structure now and work on it for a few years to get it where you want it, or tear it down and replace it. I predict prices will go up (I am not an expert) so buying now is a good idea. Be aware that the Cumberland County landfill is in Newburg and is currently being filled with fracking waste among other things. I would worry about well quality in the immediate area. Despite being very rural there are lots of resources, mostly Amish run, like BB's Market, and the Shippensburg Walmart is not far. The state parks in the area are really nice for recreation.

The Shermans Dale area is over route 34 from Carlisle. It is an easy drive over the mountain and a popular commute route. I think you will find a bit more land for sale out that way and it is a pretty area also although IMO Newburg has a more scenic feel to it. Carlisle would be the closest area for the big box stores.

Well I hope that helps.
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