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Harrisburg area Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry Counties
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Old 07-07-2006, 07:34 AM
 
3 posts, read 19,186 times
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hi everybody!! i'm a turkish student. i have a scholarship from "AFS", i'll live in pa/mechanicsburg for one year to improve my english and to learn your culture.. but i need some information about mechanicsburg and cumberland valley high school which i'm going to study..

thanks already for your helps!!
see u soon
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Old 07-07-2006, 06:12 PM
 
Location: In exile, plotting my coup
2,408 posts, read 13,682,344 times
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I have a lot of family in the Mechanicsburg area. My mom went to school at Cumberland Valley High School, as did both of my cousins, one of whom just graduated last year.

the area as a whole is pretty conservative. There's an old quote by someone who I can't remember off the top of my head saying that Pennsylvania is "Philadelphia on one side, Pittsburgh on the other, and Alabama in the middle" and I found that to be quite accurate. The area has a certain blue collar and redneck character to it. It's largely rural with small towns scattered about and the occasional suburban strip mall or small subdivision in the middle of a field around. The area has always had a blue collar vibe to me though just in terms of the landscape (lots of truck stops, greasy restaurants and the like) and the people. The church carries a lot of influence on the area; it's largely conservative, Christian and Republican, and is overwhelmingly white, mostly of German descent. As such, Cumberland Valley High School reflects this. The school is a large school with some 2400 students in grades 9-12 which is large by any means but especially for this part of Pennsylvania where schools are generally only around half that size. I don't know much about specifics of the school. It has athletic programs (my cousin played volleyball) and a wide selection of courses and was renovated fairly recently, and the school's campus is somewhat isolated from the rest of the community.

There isn't public transportation in the area that I know of and since everything is so spread out, you'll need a car. The mountains and woods are never too far away and hunting and fishing are common pasttimes. Weather-wise, it's a typical four-season Mid-Atlantic area. It gets a bit more snow than places further South like DC and East like Philadelphia due to it's higher elevation, but nowhere near as much as Pittsburgh. Summers are hot and humid but not oppressively so, and winters are very cold with snowstorms being common.

I hope you enjoy your time here, and I hope you have time to explore other parts of the U.S. like Philadelphia, New York, DC, the Poconos and the Shenandoah Valley to see more of what our country has to offer. By the way, I spent some time in Turkey several years ago and it is a beautiful country full of the friendliest people I've ever encountered. Hopefully, you have an equally great experience here in this country.
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Old 07-08-2006, 08:21 AM
 
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dullnboring, thank you i really want to see new york i hope i have a chance..

thanks again these help me a lot..

if someone else wants to give me some more information i'm here to listen!!!!)
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Old 07-08-2006, 08:58 AM
 
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I believe there are two Mechanicsburg's. One outside Pittsburgh and the other outside Harrisburg. I think the post refers to the Pittsburgh one which is in Cumberland co.
dullnboring,
You describe central PA as "Alabama" like. Please elaborate, I am a Phila. guy stuck in NC with the rednecks. I want to move back to PA and I am thinging about central PA. However, if they are rednecks there I would just as soon go back to the Phila. area.
Thanks,
Don
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Old 07-08-2006, 10:23 PM
 
Location: In exile, plotting my coup
2,408 posts, read 13,682,344 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donsabi
I believe there are two Mechanicsburg's. One outside Pittsburgh and the other outside Harrisburg. I think the post refers to the Pittsburgh one which is in Cumberland co.
Nope, Cumberland County is right outside of Harrisburg (to the West). I thought that there was another Mechanicsburg elsewhere in the state, but was certain that the one being referenced was the one outside Harrisburg due to Cumberland Valley High School, a school that several relatives of mine attended.

Funnily enough, I just got back an hour ago from Mechanicsburg. I was helping my mom move into her new place which unbeknownst to me, actually lies in the Mechanicsburg limits. She had been living some 15 minutes away in New Cumberland.
Quote:
dullnboring,
You describe central PA as "Alabama" like. Please elaborate, I am a Phila. guy stuck in NC with the rednecks. I want to move back to PA and I am thinging about central PA. However, if they are rednecks there I would just as soon go back to the Phila. area.
Thanks,
Don
I suppose it's all relative. I wouldn't think that the rednecks in this part of Pennsylvania truly are that similar to those down in Alabama. It's more conservative and blue-collar than overrun with rednecks. Don't get me wrong, there is a definite redneck presence there with the mullets and trailer parks and even an odd Confederate flag or so, but not at the same level that you'd experience in the Deep South. To me, growing up in the liberal cosmopolitan DC suburbs, the area seems incredibly dull, dreary, depressing and oppressively conservative but it's probably nowhere near as bad as I make it out to be. The central portion of the state however is very different from the Philadelphia region. Philly and it's suburbs are more Northeast/East Coast places; Pittsburgh sort of looks more to the Midwest than to the East Coast, and then central Pennsylvania is sort of a mix of Mid-Atlantic, East Coast, Midwest and Appalachia. I'm not that knowledgable about all of central Pennsylvania. I know a lot about the Harrisburg region, particularly Cumberland County, and to a lesser extent, the areas around York, Gettysburg, Chambersburg and Lebanon. In the case of Harrisburg, while staying out of Harrisburg itself (not a good city), I wouldn't venture too far from the city. Whereas in large urban areas like DC you have all the (sub)urban amenities and lifestyle for upwards of 40 miles from the center city, in Harrisburg, once you're over say five or six miles from the city, open farmland and cornfields aren't uncommon. My mother lived in a nice home in New Cumberland which is right across the river from Harrisburg and recently moved into a nice community some 10 miles further to the west on the edge of Mechanicsburg. Both of them tread more middle-class and blue-collar than they do redneck. The people are nice and friendly, the homes cute, and quite a few mom-and-pop local restaurants (I just ate at the Pizza Grille in Mechanicsburg....SO good!). It's certainly more laid-back and less pretentious than places like Philly and DC but that's the same rule of thumb that follows when you go from any urban locale in this country to a less urban one. This most recent trip was the first time I've visited up there where I found myself actually liking the area. I myself still would never be able to live there just because it's a bit too rural and conservative (politically and socially) for my tastes but for some people, it's a good match.

Oh, for the record, I looked it up and it was James Carville who described the state as "Philadelphia on one end, Pittsburgh on the other, and Alabama in the middle".

Last edited by dullnboring; 07-08-2006 at 10:25 PM..
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Old 07-09-2006, 02:45 PM
 
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dullnboring,
Thanks for the explanation.
Don
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Old 07-13-2006, 10:57 AM
 
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DullnBoring hit it right on the head. Central PA = Conservative and blue collar. I often considered it a cultural void, as things like theatre, fine dining, and intellectualism are not present.

Central PA people like country music, the Republican Party, NASCAR, and Christianity. I'm not knocking that, but that's how it is. If you are a conservative person that enjoys the rural life, then central PA is great.
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Old 07-13-2006, 06:51 PM
 
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thank you but i need some more sincere comments because i am starting to be worried about pa

arent there more people who are living in pa???

helpp!!!!:P
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Old 07-13-2006, 09:56 PM
 
158 posts, read 768,127 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeDa
thank you but i need some more sincere comments because i am starting to be worried about pa

arent there more people who are living in pa???

helpp!!!!:P
Don't worry...are you going to study at a high school in Mechanicsburg? I'm guessing yes, as a cursory search on google told me AFS is for high schoolers.

You should be fine, but be prepared to be in a potentially less-than-accepting environment.
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Old 09-22-2006, 05:04 PM
 
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i'm not sure if the other posters know this area really well b/c what they're describing doesn't sound like the mechanicsburg pa i know, more like altoona or johnstown pa. mechanicsburg/harrisburg i wouldn't even consider the central pa that everyone seems to have described in earlier posts, we rest more on the outskirts of central pa (even though technically we r central pa). cumberland valley high school is a very large school and is definitely ranked highly for academics and sports in the area. i definitely wouldn't consider the area mostly blue collar, but equally a blue/white collar area with a well educated population. mechanicsburg itself is mostly middle to upper class and suburban. granted u don't have to drive far to see a corn field/woods, but i've been to country locations and have met my fair share of hicks and rest assured this area does not compare to a real country area. the area is actually growing more and more each year and there is plenty of shopping, eating and basic suburban things to do and a pretty good down town scene (small,but decent) and there are theaters, amusement parks and other things to do not far from mechanicsburg. The nice part about this area is that you don't have to go far to get from suburbs to city to woods, which gives you a lot of opportunities to do many different things and philadelphia, maryland, washington d.c. and new york are only a short distance away.
i have lived in philly b/f and in the suburbs of philly and mechanicsburg is your average suburb and harrisburg is a small city, not necessarily dripping in culture, but it's a very nice area to live in, my favorite out of all the places i have lived.
It is a more conservative area, which i suspect most suburban areas are, but i do not think that the area is over run w/ christians or any definite religious group...i actually lol when i read that...i think that seems like a very narrow view of this area, although i would say it is a republican demographic.
all in all i think you will have a good time here...as long as you make the best of your time i believe you will make it a good stay and hopefully you'll get to see many places in pa and in the surrounding areas. good luck.
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