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Old 06-16-2007, 11:26 PM
 
15 posts, read 65,975 times
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Hi everyone,

I posted here a few months ago and got some great feedback—so I'm back for more of your informed advice. This is a long post but I have a lot to say.

I'm 22, just graduated from college in Boston and accepted a job offer with my first-choice employer. The two-year contract has me in my company's HQ in Los Angeles for 7 months, and then I spend the next 17 months at a smaller part of the company in the Lehigh Valley where I'll be able to take on more responsibilities, grow professionally, etc. The idea is that at the end of those two years I'll probably move either back to HQ or to one of the bigger offices in NYC, Chicago, etc.—or, of course, I could move onto a different company. The point, in short, being that I will not stay on in the Lehigh Valley/PA area after those 17 months are up.

I am from a huge city (foreign, 20 million people) and prefer the city lifestyle. I need/breathe art, film, gourmet dining, well-traveled and well-read people, etc. I'm excited about my upcoming stint L.A. because I know I'll find all of that there... Don't get me wrong though, I'm not completely down on moving to PA—number-one on my list is the professional growth I'm sure I'll experience in the smaller Lehigh Valley office, but I am increasingly wary of how I'll fare socially/emotionally there—I want to be a happy person.

If I were to live in the Lehigh Valley, close to work, I've been nearly convinced by everyone I've spoken to—including people on this forum—that i should live in Bethlehem as it is the more "culturally astute" place in the Valley.

However, I am considering living in Philly and commuting just so that I can still live in a city. The added bonus is that my brother goes to school at Penn so my only relative in the U.S. would be right next door. Also, I know people who've lived in Philly who've convinced me I'd be very happy with the art/cultural scene there.

My questions, then, are:

A) How feasible is it to commute from Philly to the Lehigh Valley and back every day of the work week? How much time are we talking here? Is there a commuter rail option or is driving the only way? And if I were to live in Philly, which section of Philly would make the commute to Lehigh Valley shorter (I heard traffic in the city is bad)?
B) Is Bethlehem not as bad as I am making it out to be in my head? Is there a large population of recent college graduates there? (I'm afraid that my co-workers will be my only social group!) Who are they (yuppies, grad students, etc.)? What do they do for fun?
C) Is there a good compromise—i.e. somewhere smack in between Bethlehem and Philly? Or should I really just pick one place or the other?

I am not moving to PA for another year, so I have a lot of time to consider my options, but I'd like to hear your opinions, advice, personal anecdotes, etc.

Thanks!

Last edited by lolabelle; 06-17-2007 at 12:18 AM..
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Old 06-17-2007, 06:56 AM
jjj
 
168 posts, read 781,487 times
Reputation: 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by lolabelle View Post
Hi everyone,

I posted here a few months ago and got some great feedback—so I'm back for more of your informed advice. This is a long post but I have a lot to say.

I'm 22, just graduated from college in Boston and accepted a job offer with my first-choice employer. The two-year contract has me in my company's HQ in Los Angeles for 7 months, and then I spend the next 17 months at a smaller part of the company in the Lehigh Valley where I'll be able to take on more responsibilities, grow professionally, etc. The idea is that at the end of those two years I'll probably move either back to HQ or to one of the bigger offices in NYC, Chicago, etc.—or, of course, I could move onto a different company. The point, in short, being that I will not stay on in the Lehigh Valley/PA area after those 17 months are up.

I am from a huge city (foreign, 20 million people) and prefer the city lifestyle. I need/breathe art, film, gourmet dining, well-traveled and well-read people, etc. I'm excited about my upcoming stint L.A. because I know I'll find all of that there... Don't get me wrong though, I'm not completely down on moving to PA—number-one on my list is the professional growth I'm sure I'll experience in the smaller Lehigh Valley office, but I am increasingly wary of how I'll fare socially/emotionally there—I want to be a happy person.

If I were to live in the Lehigh Valley, close to work, I've been nearly convinced by everyone I've spoken to—including people on this forum—that i should live in Bethlehem as it is the more "culturally astute" place in the Valley.

However, I am considering living in Philly and commuting just so that I can still live in a city. The added bonus is that my brother goes to school at Penn so my only relative in the U.S. would be right next door. Also, I know people who've lived in Philly who've convinced me I'd be very happy with the art/cultural scene there.

My questions, then, are:

A) How feasible is it to commute from Philly to the Lehigh Valley and back every day of the work week? How much time are we talking here? Is there a commuter rail option or is driving the only way? And if I were to live in Philly, which section of Philly would make the commute to Lehigh Valley shorter (I heard traffic in the city is bad)?
B) Is Bethlehem not as bad as I am making it out to be in my head? Is there a large population of recent college graduates there? (I'm afraid that my co-workers will be my only social group!) Who are they (yuppies, grad students, etc.)? What do they do for fun?
C) Is there a good compromise—i.e. somewhere smack in between Bethlehem and Philly? Or should I really just pick one place or the other?

I am not moving to PA for another year, so I have a lot of time to consider my options, but I'd like to hear your opinions, advice, personal anecdotes, etc.

Thanks!
Forget about the commute from Philly to the Lehigh Valley. Its horrible. Bethlehem is not a bad area to live in and there are atleast 7 colleges within a 20 mile radius so I would expect there would be alot of college grads in the area. Good Luck
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Old 06-17-2007, 07:02 AM
 
Location: baltimore, maryland (ugh!)
14 posts, read 42,258 times
Reputation: 14
Hello there,

I am new to this website and am planning a move to CA in the coming year or so. I saw your post and cannot find how to start a threat/post. Could you guide me please? thanks so much

kathleen
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Old 06-17-2007, 09:02 AM
 
Location: Villanova Pa.
4,927 posts, read 13,303,977 times
Reputation: 2685
That would be a long commute not to mention expensive with gas at $3 a gallon. I wouldn't advise a daily commute.

One possible middle option to throw out there might be Doylestown. Its a beautiful ,albeit small town but its got a fair amount of art + culture. Its 35 miles N of Philly and 30 miles S of Bethlehem. You would be able to take the regional rail from Doylestown down to Philly, but there is no rail service from Doylestown to Bethlehem. Doylestown is the northern section of the Philly metro area, the last train stop, at least for the time being.

Good luck with your job.
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Old 06-17-2007, 11:33 AM
 
2,233 posts, read 7,117,092 times
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Being a big city girl myself and living in center city Philly, I feel your pain, but Rainrock is right, the commute would be horrendous. Doylestown would probably be your best bet. That way you could take the train into the city on weekends. If you don't want to travel 30 miles to work each day, you can live in Bethlehem and park your car at the Doylestown station when you do come to the city. Enjoy the area and good luck.
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Old 06-17-2007, 12:09 PM
 
15 posts, read 65,975 times
Reputation: 10
Hey everyone,

Thanks for your very helpful responses thusfar!

I hear what you're all saying about it being a nearly unfeasible commute. I guess I figured since I'd read all those pieces in the NYT about people commuting from Philly and the Lehigh Valley every day into NYC—"the sixth borough"—I figured commuting from the L.Valley to Philly was probably feasible, too. I guess it comes down to picking what "quality of life" means to you.

Would any of you be able to give me a more detailed explanation of what I might expect to find in Bethlehem—the culture, entertainment options, etc.? Also, who are the young people living in that area? i.e. what do they do for a living and why are they there?

Could anyone also expand on Doylestown? How long is the train ride into Center City? Is there a place I could potentially park a car at there long-term? (How much does that cost?)

Thanks again!
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Old 06-17-2007, 12:34 PM
 
15 posts, read 65,975 times
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Also, could anyone speak about Easton? On another website's forums, some people are saying that Bethlehem is dreary compared to Easton... Anyone have a say?

Could anyone characterize Bethlehem and Easton for me?


And what about the Quakertown option? How would you characterize it? Is there nothing but residences there—i.e. is it a "bedroom community"? Or are there restaurants/shops there, too?

Last edited by lolabelle; 06-17-2007 at 01:01 PM..
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Old 06-17-2007, 01:26 PM
 
2,233 posts, read 7,117,092 times
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The ride into Philly from Doylestown is about an hour. Since you most likely will be coming on weekends, here are the Saturday and Sunday schedules (your stops would be Market East, Suburban Station or 30th Street (if you were going to visit your brother at Penn):

SEPTA

SEPTA

Here is information about parking. Unfortunately, overnight parking is not permitted at the Doylestown station, but there may be parking lots in the area.

Here is information about the Lehigh Valley, including arts and culture.

Lehigh Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau - The Official Travel Resource for Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, PA

Quakertown and any borough in that area is going to be very rural.
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Old 06-17-2007, 07:16 PM
 
22,342 posts, read 20,200,330 times
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Doylestown is a nice town with some good old architecture and many shopping opportunites. Sprawl is a big problem in southern Bucks but the nothern and western county still has some good rural areas. Commuting can be rough since the drivers there are insane.
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Old 06-17-2007, 08:00 PM
 
13,008 posts, read 30,714,183 times
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Lollabelle, Ah I see you made it to the CC forum. I'm the "local" that posted on your thread there. You realize that the person that said that Bethlehem was dreary lived in Philadelphia and only visited Bethlehem 20+ years ago, when Bethlehem Steel was closing and many of the people were losing their jobs. Easton area has two colleges, Lafayette and a community college plus a great local theatre.

Quakertown is not rural, just not very lively. There are some restaurants and bars downtown but the shopping centers along the highway are where most people go. Ah, and the farmers market - that's pretty popular too.

Doylestown is a great town and not a bad compromise for getting into Philadelphia and still being able to commute to Philadelphia. However, the commute is still not a pretty one to Bethlehem and if you want some of that big city life you've been talking about you are going to have to commute for that too.

I asked my daughter (same age as you) what her friends that have recently moved to Bethlehem do and she said, they go to bars, cafe's, bookstores, plays and watch movies at other people's houses/apartments. She's gone into NYC a few times when she was home on breaks from college and we've found that an easy option for big city fun. It's true that you are not going to find the variety of things to do in Bethlehem but it's quite the cute town and a nicer place to live and have things to do then some of the other places that have been mentioned.
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