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Old 01-23-2018, 02:20 PM
 
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My family and I are relocating to PA for a job in the Lehigh Valley. We have three children (intermediate and middle-school aged). I am trying to narrow down our options, however I'm having trouble finding a location that fits our wants and needs.

We currently live in a lovely small town (pop 11k) that offers a variety of cool downtown (and immediately surrounding downtown) houses. We can walk to restaurants, coffee houses and a bunch of thriving shops. We do have cars and drive to the grocery store and other shopping, etc. so we are not pure city people by any means. The schools are fantastic and the community is just lovely overall. I would like to find something similar in PA. We like the look of Doylestown (viewed online only) but wonder if the commute would be too much of a pain...?? Any suggestions on a town closer to Lehigh Valley or thoughts on that commute would be greatly appreciated.

Our budget for purchasing a home is up to about $800k but would appreciate spending less. We are looking to move within the next 3-4 months.

Thanks!!!
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Old 01-23-2018, 03:48 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
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800k is a comfortable budget. Doylestown is the County seat of Bucks County and therefore has quite a vibrant and very charming downtown area. It is also quite affluent and VERY DESIRABLE and there is quite a bit of housing stock in your price range. With a TOP RATED school district. Where you have to commute with The Lehigh Valley makes a difference IMO whether or not Doylestown will be too much since in general LV is a separate metro area. For example if you have to commute to Allentown you are looking at about a 60 - 75 minute commute. But if you are south of Allentown then you might be able to get it down to 45 - 55 minutes. But no less than that. I will say it will not be an easy commute, but it really is dependent on what part of the LV you will be working. I am also not aware of what your commute expectations are. Many people in Southeast PA have a standard commute of 45 minutes or more; so it really I guess is dependent on what you expect and/or are looking for.


I am not an expert on the LV suburbs. I know Bethlehem itself is very desirable and has the core and community feel you are seeking. Although I have no idea how the schools are itself in Bethlehem. Upper Saucon Township just south of Bethlehem is very desirable but is more suburban in its feel I believe. Perhaps someone who knows the LV better can answer this. I am more familiar with Southeast PA and Bucks County, which is where Doylestown is located.
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Old 01-23-2018, 07:06 PM
 
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Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate all of the feedback on that area! Looks like my husband's commute would be about 50 minutes from Doylestown. That's right on the cusp of being too far... tough call. He has had longer commutes in other places we have lived, but we have gotten used to a very short commute in recent years!

Bethlehem looks really lovely and has many homes available that look beautiful, but I am stuck on the school district ratings. They are quite low (several rate four on a scale of 10). We are coming from 10-rated schools and I would like to find something similarly rated. I guess I should do a search for private schools in the area, although with three children in school, tuition can get a bit steep!!
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Old 01-23-2018, 08:52 PM
 
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Doylestown is a great "small" town. It's a bit far from the Lehigh Valley, but I think you're going to find it much more livable than towns closer to that area since you have the budget for it. The commute isn't short, but won't be nearly as hellish as going towards Philadelphia. You might also want to check out Sellersville as well. That's similar but a little closer to the Lehigh Valley. Also, if you look in a totally different direction, try Wyomissing outside Reading, depending on where in the Lehigh Valley he needs to go. It's about the same distance as Doylestown but in a different direction.

Finally, cross post in the Lehigh Valley folder if you haven't already. They would know better about communities up that way.
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Old 01-23-2018, 10:06 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ResearcherMom View Post
Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate all of the feedback on that area! Looks like my husband's commute would be about 50 minutes from Doylestown. That's right on the cusp of being too far... tough call. He has had longer commutes in other places we have lived, but we have gotten used to a very short commute in recent years!

Bethlehem looks really lovely and has many homes available that look beautiful, but I am stuck on the school district ratings. They are quite low (several rate four on a scale of 10). We are coming from 10-rated schools and I would like to find something similarly rated. I guess I should do a search for private schools in the area, although with three children in school, tuition can get a bit steep!!

Yea Bethlehem schools are a toss up and if you were to locate within Bethlehem then private schools would be your answer, but yes with 3 kids that could become pricey, although you do get more house for your money in the Lehigh Valley than Bucks County.

And yes I would post in the Lehigh Valley forum as well to get some more suggestions within the Lehigh Valley as Doylestown is considered to be within Southeast Pennsylvania and Greater Philadelphia metro.


With that I will say the quality of life in Bucks County and Doylestown is TOP NOTCH. Doylestown is such a quaint town, and the school districts are some of the best in the state. The town has so much character and history and you even have transit service via SEPTA to Philadelphia which makes it convenient to access amenities there as well. I will say that Upper Bucks county in general is just so beautiful. It has one of the highest concentration of Colonial farmhouses in America, and you have places like Peddler's Village, New Hope, PA Newtown, PA and Yardley, PA all very accessible to you as well.

Upper Saucon Twp in the Lehigh Valley is going to be your best alternative in terms of a very desirable area. It is quite scenic, and is just south of Bethlehem, and borders on a few small 'towns' but non are as vibrant or interesting as Doylestown. But then again you can always drive to Bethlehem to access the town amenities you are seeking.
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Old 01-24-2018, 09:37 PM
 
481 posts, read 352,362 times
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We live on College Hill in Easton and it has a lot of what you're looking for. It's a neighborhood of many large historic homes. It's truly idyllic. It's been a fantastic place to raise our family. We walk to school, preschool, the park, the convenience store, to our dentist, to our doctor, and to shops and restaurants. It's a college neighborhood so there are fantastic amenities in terms of the arts, sporting events, etc. Our kids can walk to see friends alone, ride their bikes to the playground on their own. Everyone looks out for each others kids. We've been very pleased with the schools. I'm a career educator and college professor who teaches education courses. A school's rating is based on test scores. Our school district has a very wide range of children from different backgrounds and that contributes to our rating not being as high, but in my experience my children have been very challenged academically, have had outstanding teachers, and because our district is large, have had a lot of different learning opportunities that a smaller district may not be able to offer. You should come check it out.
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Old 01-26-2018, 07:42 AM
 
2,834 posts, read 4,949,082 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ResearcherMom View Post
My family and I are relocating to PA for a job in the Lehigh Valley. We have three children (intermediate and middle-school aged). I am trying to narrow down our options, however I'm having trouble finding a location that fits our wants and needs.

We currently live in a lovely small town (pop 11k) that offers a variety of cool downtown (and immediately surrounding downtown) houses. We can walk to restaurants, coffee houses and a bunch of thriving shops. We do have cars and drive to the grocery store and other shopping, etc. so we are not pure city people by any means. The schools are fantastic and the community is just lovely overall. I would like to find something similar in PA. We like the look of Doylestown (viewed online only) but wonder if the commute would be too much of a pain...?? Any suggestions on a town closer to Lehigh Valley or thoughts on that commute would be greatly appreciated.

Our budget for purchasing a home is up to about $800k but would appreciate spending less. We are looking to move within the next 3-4 months.

Thanks!!!
Check out new houses by Tuskes in Nazareth (I think it's called Saratoga). You can get a lot of house, it's next to a park and the people are friendly.

I don't think there is anywhere in the LV that has a "cool downtown" and also has "good" schools.
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Old 01-26-2018, 10:04 AM
 
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I can't imagine living in Doylestown and commuting to the Lehigh Valley. The distance isn't the problem, it's that it's a commute of many small roads. There are towns up here that are nice, not maybe as cool as Doylestown but still wonderfully appealing. If you want a large school district, check out East Penn with the nicest town of Emmaus. Cute restaurants, brewpubs, coffee shops and a great nice weather farmers market. My own area is Southern Lehigh School District with the town of Coopersburg. Unfortunately, don't have a great downtown but we more than make up for it with our friendly people, rail trail, library and great shopping at https://www.thepromenadeshopsatsauconvalley.com/. Well ranked small school district where our academic students are celebrated as much as the athletes.

I love the small city of Bethlehem but the schools are a challenge. Moravian School is a very well regarded private school.
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Old 01-28-2018, 12:51 PM
 
39 posts, read 20,673 times
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Originally Posted by toobusytoday View Post
I can't imagine living in Doylestown and commuting to the Lehigh Valley. The distance isn't the problem, it's that it's a commute of many small roads. There are towns up here that are nice, not maybe as cool as Doylestown but still wonderfully appealing. If you want a large school district, check out East Penn with the nicest town of Emmaus. Cute restaurants, brewpubs, coffee shops and a great nice weather farmers market. My own area is Southern Lehigh School District with the town of Coopersburg. Unfortunately, don't have a great downtown but we more than make up for it with our friendly people, rail trail, library and great shopping at https://www.thepromenadeshopsatsauconvalley.com/. Well ranked small school district where our academic students are celebrated as much as the athletes.

I love the small city of Bethlehem but the schools are a challenge. Moravian School is a very well regarded private school.
Doylestown is indeed a fantastic place to live, but I can tell you that the commute from Doylestown to the Lehigh Valley would be frustrating. It is all 2 lane roads till you get through Quakertown, so one sluggish driver can really back things up. Getting through Dublin and Quakertown can be painful at the wrong times. Hellertown is a nice little town in the Lehigh Valley with a bit of a downtown, farmers market and access to the other end of the rail trail. I can't speak for the schools though; just not familiar with them.

Last edited by PA991.1; 01-28-2018 at 12:55 PM.. Reason: clarification
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Old 02-02-2018, 08:14 PM
 
27 posts, read 51,299 times
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Have you checked out Nazareth? It is a smaller school district and they have a cute downtown.
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