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Harrisburg area Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties
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Old 01-26-2008, 04:47 PM
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
87 posts, read 317,819 times
Reputation: 38


I am not a regular to this thread because I live in Virginia Beach. My wife and I are 41 and 43, are teachers, earn approx $105K and have two kids. I have always wanted to work at Milton Hershey School (philanthropic issues) but don't know if I could make it financially (or maybe socially). I am asking for your help.

Some Specifics:
1. We live in a nice upper middle class neighborhood. Houses are brick, on 1/3 + acre lots (good size for a rather large city), lots are treed (heavily on some), square footage ranges from 2400 to over 5000, prices range from $350k to $750k in a metro region with a median house price of approx. $250k. Our house is near the bottom of price and square footage. I don't want to step down too much in moving up north.

2. Our taxes on the house are just under $3000. Our total state tax last year was about $4200. Car insurance on two cars (91 civic and 94 element) with no kids yet totals to $1000 a year.

3. I am not a NASCAR fan, but am not an intellect either. Librarys are cool, but I don't live in them. This is a solid middle class area (strong military present), not real redneck (no Confederate flags that I can see) and few cars parked on lawns. Not much southern drawl to the dialect.

I am both scared and excited about this opportunity. We would be moving away from my wife's home but closer to mine (the northeast).

The questions:
(A) I just don't know if Harrisburg is so bad and Hershey is so expensive that we couldn't afford to live. I expect to earn approximately $55k to $60k and my wife would probably have to pick up some part-time wages to get to another $10k to $15k bringing our salary to $70k or so.

(B) We both like things about the city (Va Beach is a spacially large city with 430,000 people and the metro area here has 1.5 Mill people). Is Hershey area so small and redneck that white power is supreme and there are no supermarkets open after 9:00?

Thanks so much for your help!

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Old 01-26-2008, 11:20 PM
Location: Midwest transplant
2,050 posts, read 5,536,527 times
Reputation: 1619
Your housing needs will be a lateral move-in price, taxes, land etc. You may have to do some looking, but it's a buyer's market and many homes of 2200-2500 square feet (4BR/2.5BA on 1/3 acre) are going for about 250-300K. Maybe not in Hershey proper, but in surrounding areas (Elizabethtown, Lebanon) Taxes will be a little more, and auto insurance about the same. . Harrisburg is a great city for museums, theatre, restaurants, ball games, festivals, art fairs etc. Hershey itself has a large community center with all sorts of activities and a large outdoor pool (I think the library is there too). Of course there are the regular tourist attractions-museum, theatre, and Hersheypark! Regular ice hockey team and big Giant center for concerts, games etc. About 1/2 hour from Hershey and you'd be in Lancaster or York. The grocery stores are open 24 hours, people in Hershey are cultured and educated and have a good sense of community spirit and pride.

Depending on what subject area your wife is certified to teach, she may be able to get a job--or at least substitute teach. Subs make about $100 per day in most school districts, more if they do a long term or beyond a certain number of days. If we don't have reciprocal agreements with your certification, she'd have to take the PRAXIS exams to get certification, but you can usually get emergency certification for a year.
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Old 01-27-2008, 01:49 AM
1,245 posts, read 3,002,440 times
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I have friends who live in the VA Beach area. IMHO, the only difference you will really see moving between the two areas is your drive time to the beach and here we have much less of a military presence.
All the creature comforts you enjoy where you are now, will be at your finger tips in Hershey. The areas around Hershey/Lancaster are not redneck, you need to go to central/northeast pa for that. However, they do have the PA dutch, Amish and Mennonites in the area. They are all very good people, but not very contemporary in the way they live or think.


At 50-60k a year, you should be be comfortable in Hershey. If you are a "keep up with the neighbors" type, you may need additional income.
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Old 01-28-2008, 02:47 PM
Location: Harrisburg, PA
44 posts, read 136,673 times
Reputation: 36
Interesting - I have lived near both places. Chesapeake, VA from 2001 to about 2005. Currently I live about 3 miles from Hershey. I feel that the Tidewater area is a bit younger overall and slightly more diverse (Hershey area is probably 90% white, VA Beach being 70% white). VA Beach always seemed to me as an endless field of housing subdivisions. There is some of that here, but more open fields in between. Hershey proper is not "redneck" at all; its one of the more upper-middle-class areas around Harrisburg due to Penn State-Hershey Medical Center and The Hershey Company's influence.

Your range of housing prices in VA Beach will buy you a very nice home in this area. Hershey proper (technically, Derry Twp) is going to get you less for the money, but it has great schools, very educated people, a good sense of community, and low crime. This will be at the expense of higher taxes. You'll pay more than $3000/yr for taxes in this area. Even outside of Hershey. We do not have an annual personal property tax on cars like you do in VA.

I'd recommend looking just outside of Hershey if you want better value. Hummelstown, Palmyra, South Hanover, West Hanover, Lower Paxton and Swatara Townships, etc.

Harrisburg has some problem areas, but it has a number of fun things to do downtown. Museums, shopping, theater. There are a lot of restaurants and bars on 2nd street as well as in other areas around the region. You'll find all the same big-box shopping centers and malls as you do at Lynnhaven or Greenbrier in your area.

You didn't mention weather as a factor in your decision. Expect it to be about 10-15 degrees cooler here than in Va Beach. Winters are cold, but not brutal. We get some snow, but it seems to go in spurts. A few weak winters, then a bad one with a strong Nor'easter or two. I personally love snow, but i know many in Tidewater wish they could move even further south. I would always laugh at winter drivers in VA, especially the ones with SUV's that expect their 4x4 to STOP faster than other cars in the snow.

Anyway, before making the decision, I'd suggest coming up and check the place out for a weekend or so. Good luck with whatever you decide!
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Old 02-20-2008, 11:50 AM
Location: Newport, NC
956 posts, read 3,866,381 times
Reputation: 711
My daughter is a high school teacher in Palmyra, but she lives in Hershey. She rents because she's still fairly young and mobile (meaning she wants to be able to move when she feels like it). Hershey is a great town, not too expensive, and close to most anything you could want. I would say you can't go wrong if you decide to make the move. We have spent a lot of time in that part of PA. - my wife grew up in E-town and her parents lived there til they passed. For almost 20 years while our kids were growing up, we made at least 1 trip a year to Hershey Park. We're down that way 6 or 7 times a year to spend some time with our daughter.
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Old 02-24-2008, 03:09 PM
Location: Lancaster City, PA
28 posts, read 141,230 times
Reputation: 20
Originally Posted by Lehigh Valley Native View Post
The areas around Hershey/Lancaster are not redneck
The outlying and rural areas of Lancaster County are VERY "redneck". The closer you get to Lancaster City, the more reasonable people are.

Elizabethtown might be the exception, with the college, and it's becoming a bedroom community for Harrisburg.
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