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Harrisburg area Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties
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Old 12-26-2008, 11:58 AM
 
Location: Danby,NY
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I'm trying to find a "green" town or village in the area between Harrisburg and Reading. Any ideas?
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Old 12-26-2008, 04:38 PM
 
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Hamburg, possibly. They do a big eco fair near there in Kempton every year.
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Old 12-26-2008, 08:29 PM
 
Location: Center City Philadelphia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanbyMagic View Post
I'm trying to find a "green" town or village in the area between Harrisburg and Reading. Any ideas?
Probably Hershey.
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Old 12-27-2008, 12:09 AM
 
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
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By "greenest," do you mean cities that promote the "Green Living" sort of lifestyle, cities that are the greenest in terms of flora (i.e. "Tree City USA"), or a mixture of both? I think Hamburg might be a decent pick, but Hershey??? Isn't much of the housing there over-sized McMansions with high carbon footprints in sidewalk-less suburban subdivisions without mixed-use zoning? It doesn't sound too "green-friendly" to me.

Why not Harrisburg proper?
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Old 12-27-2008, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Center City Philadelphia
1,099 posts, read 4,260,065 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
By "greenest," do you mean cities that promote the "Green Living" sort of lifestyle, cities that are the greenest in terms of flora (i.e. "Tree City USA"), or a mixture of both? I think Hamburg might be a decent pick, but Hershey??? Isn't much of the housing there over-sized McMansions with high carbon footprints in sidewalk-less suburban subdivisions without mixed-use zoning? It doesn't sound too "green-friendly" to me.

Why not Harrisburg proper?
The areas surrounding Hershey such as West Hanover Township are awful (McMansion suburbia with huge lot sizes) but the town itself is very walkable and nice with tree-lined streets and a liberal, progressive attitude but still a blue-collar laid back feel. There is a great walking/biking trail which winds itself around the south side of town through the shopping centers and technology/medical office parks associated with Penn State Hershey Med Center. I didn't mention Harrisburg since the poster asked for places in between Hbg and Reading but yes, Harrisburg would be a great choice as well
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Old 12-28-2008, 06:37 AM
 
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I don't really think you'll find a "green" town in Pa. Maybe some artist communities, but even then nothing extraordinary. By "green" what do you mean, exactly? Pa's air is bad from Pittsburgh all the way to Philly and then on to Atlantic city New Jersey. You have coal fired power plants, coal mining, lead in the air from battery manufacturing( Berks), industry, and car exhaust( lots and lots). I found the air quality in Harrisburgh pretty bad when I was there a few years ago at Christmas time. But then the weather probably had alot to do with it, the smoke from the factories by the railroads got trapped in a misty cloud that hugged the ground.
Then pollen comes along in the spring, eastern Pa. is bad for that with all the trees.
I'm not trying to bad mouth the state, its great in many, many ways, but its not eco friendly and that just doesn't really fit in with the green movement. Farming, hunting, that's green enough for most Pennsylvanians. But they are pushing walking trails along abandoned rail road tracks as well as preserving green space and stopping development of farm lands. So there is hope we can preserve the state much as it once was.
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Old 12-28-2008, 10:24 AM
 
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Three Mile Island is 10 miles southeast of Harrisburg.
I love PA, have camped and visited many parts of the state in my life,
my son goes to college in Meadville, but I can't think of PA as a "green" state when they lead the nation in Nuclear Power Plants while there is no safe disposal of the spent uranium.
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Old 01-07-2009, 09:02 AM
 
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I've been at the PA Energy Festival in Kempton to promote an eco-village I was working on. It's a great event and many people who attended were interested in making more earth-friendly places in PA. I am looking for access to clean water, organic foods (for which I can go get Amish farm products, even better), art and culture (as I'm an artist), a place to grow a small garden ,watch hawks and birds, and populated with some conscious people who aren't over the top but concerned, committed and care about a less toxic way of life. I lived in a place with many of those qualities but the people lived in their heads and had great ideas they couldn't put into practice. And they weren't very friendly! More greenwashing than green! I'd like to be within driving distance of Harrisburg and Reading where I have family, so Carlisle and Hershey are 2 ideas. All ideas welcome!!!
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Old 01-07-2009, 01:37 PM
 
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Hi there Danby fellow, I grew up in the Dryden area and now live near Hershey.

You won't find the "EcoVillage at Ithaca" crowd between Harrisburg and Reading. This area is much more politically conservative, what passes for "liberal" here would be center-right-wing to the average Tompkins County non-14850 resident, and wouldn't even register on the scale of center Ithaca politics.

You will find many small towns with a higher density residential housing stock. Typically, the older communities in this corner of PA have attached or semi-detached houses in the urban core. It's much higher density than even older neighborhoods of Ithaca or Binghamton. Unfortunately, especially for this level of density, public transit is pretty much non-existent - there are some buses but nothing that registers to a TCAT standard. The US 422 corridor is a commuter's nightmare - think average 15 mph or less. Hershey to Reading is over an hour either on I-81 or I-76 (and getting to and from those) - maybe 1.5 hours on weekdays if you follow the seemingly direct US 422. Think of 30+ miles of the couple blocks of South Meadow Street by the Ithaca Wegmans and you get the idea.

You may also face sticker shock for property values coming from Central NY if you don't realize that CNY has some of the lowest home values in the country. The Lebanon Valley is much more affordable than areas in PA to the south and east or the I-95 corridor but it's still several ouch clicks over CNY.

Once you get past all that there are a number of communities of possible interest.

Hershey - supposedly has the best public schools in PA outside of very high rent Philly and Pgh suburbs. Home to the Penn State medical school. Here you have money to go with the prevailing conservatism. Recently got rush-hour public buses to Harrisburg. See above for the drive to Reading. Three factories remain as sources of chocolate and peanut butter smells in the air but the workers mostly live further east due to being priced out. The in-town housing is mostly detached with a few semi-detached, less culture shock coming from a CNY basis. It is also expensive, maybe 3x what you'd pay in Ithaca. Property taxes are maybe 1/3 x on a CNY basis, which is considered high by PA standards. Outside this core there are McTownhomes and McMansions. One saving grace is that some of the newer Derry Township (Hershey doesn't exist as a political entity) are connected by a bike trail to the medical complex, not really to the old core.

Hummelstown - The Borough of Hummelstown contains the locally owned shops Hershey doesn't. Much older housing stock higher density community. Taxes as high as in Hershey for less services and not quite as high ranking schools, but the taxes will seem silly low coming from NY state. Newt Gingrich grew up here. The Hummelstown mailing address carries far out of the old town into both Derry Twp (see Hershey, above) and non-Derry Twp McSuburbs.

Annville - Small town home to small private Lebanon Valley College. Rehabbed theater and coffee shop. Growing pride in community business district and housing stock. Reasonable escape to I-81 for commuting.

Mount Gretna - tiny town, home to the Pennsylvania Chautauqua, arts festival, playhouse, tiny older homes under trees, some not yet converted from seasonal summer places. On bike trail and nearly surrounded by publicly-owned woods. Much more of a summer "scene" than winter. Gotta drive a ways to work.

Cornwall - Newer and older homes mixed in the hills east of Mount Gretna which is a short drive or bike ride away. Even the newer homes seem not quite so McSuburban as other nearby locales.

Lititz - If what you're looking for is intercommutable from Harrisburg to Reading, vs. on the map between, this might be worth looking into. Founded by a religious community, the town has many locally owned shops including its own chocolate and pretzel companies, including local artist shops and the like. Newer homes on outskirts again not quite so McSuburban as nearby communities.

Lancaster - Pronounced "LANK-uh-stir." Take the train to Harrisburg or Philadelphia, drive a newer expressway to Reading. Has both urban problems and urban renaissance. Home to Franklin & Marshall college and the Millersville state university nearby. Others here will know more about Lancaster.

Elizabethtown - Smaller than Lancaster, closer to Harrisburg. Train to Hbg or Philly, longer drive to Reading. Hosts private college larger than some of the others. Mix of older and McSuburban housing.

Lebanon - Older housing stock, growing working-class Hispanic community transitioning from Pennsylvania German.

There seems to be a bit of hippie-ish sensibility in the countryside east of Hamburg. Just west of Hamburg is a Cabela's superstore and attendant sprawl. Just northwest of Hamburg is tiny Port Clinton, on the Appalachian Trail, row homes with no sewage treatment bisected by a busy highway.

If you're looking for a place away from others in the woods like many have in Danby, the belt of territory just north of I-81 and I-78 might offer possibilities. However, the sounds of artillery from Fort Indiantown Gap carry far (noticeable even in Hershey some weekends), and the chicken plant smells from Fredericksburg carry a little ways out too. Much of this territory will have Grantville or Jonestown postal addresses for searching the realtor websites. (Watch the purple Kool-Aid jokes.)
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Old 01-07-2009, 03:04 PM
 
4,264 posts, read 10,261,292 times
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Oh, I forgot to mention that Hummelstown Borough would be a great subject for a ScranBarre-style photo tour. (I'd do one if I had the time or talent!)
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