Info on Pennsylvania, esp. Lancaster county?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by deogloria11, Sep 2, 2004.

  1. deogloria11

    deogloria11 Member

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    We may be moving to Pennsylvania, probably Lancaster county. We were wondering if anyone can give us any info on the state/area.

    We've already got basic demographics: income, median house value, crime, ethnic makeup, etc. What we want to know is how friendly are people? How nosy are they? Are people generally conservative or liberal there? Basically, how will we be received as religious, truck-driving, simple-living, homeschooling, rifle-hunting, strict-parenting, privacy-loving, but friendly family?

    Also, how is the political climate? How restrictive are the laws? How bad are the busybody government agencies? How is the weather? Advantages/disadvantages of living there?

    Thanks for any info!

    Sarah
     
  2. trixiwick

    trixiwick bunny slave

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    Sarah,

    Well, we're in Chester County, but only a short drive to the Lancaster County border. As I'm sure you know, there are tons of Amish and Mennonites in the area, so the concept of religious, home-schooling, self-sufficient folks is relatively mainstream. I don't know specific laws/restrictions for the county/township you'll be in, but where we live is pretty hands-off. We were told by our township official when we asked about livestock limits that "nobody really cares, unless your neighbors complain." We are well over our limit for our acreage (shh!) and it's really not an issue with anyone.

    Weather-wise, it's what they call "temperate," whatever that means. This summer has been pretty cool, but summers tend to be medium-hot (highs of 85-90) and humid. Winters are medium-cold (depending on what you're used to), bottoming out at maybe 10 degrees - rarely colder than that. Snow falls through January and February into March, with maybe one or two "major" (more than 1') falls per year. Drought is not usually a problem.

    As for the political climate, I would say it's very mixed. I would say that there's a mix of opinions but very little political activity.

    I'm happy to answer any other questions that might come to mind. I hope the move works out for you!

    LeeAnn
     

  3. deogloria11

    deogloria11 Member

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    THanks Leann,

    We live in Montana now, and it is perfect for us. Unfortunately, the level of income here is NOT perfect, and my husband is probably getting offered a job paying more than twice what he makes here. But I'm so leery of moving back to the east coast. We just like the lower population, and the live-and-let-live attitude here. And being so close to Philly makes me even more nervous.

    We've thought of going just over the line into Chester, because we heard it is much cheaper there, but that's just closer to the Philly suburbs. We're concerned about the cost of land there. I've hardly seen any real acreage for sale, and the little bits of land I've seen in Lancaster County, the prices are outrageous!

    Any opinions on land prices/rental prices?
     
  4. beowoulf90

    beowoulf90 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Lancaster County has high land prices, York County (the next county west) is alittle better. I was born and raised in Lancaster County, but presently live in York County. The political scene is in York and Lancaster cities I would say are mostly liberal, while those in the rural areas tend to be conservative. I would say it is about 50/50. If I can be of any other help let me know. I am familiar with the western part of Lancaster County and the eastern part of York County. If there are any other question, feel free to ask.

    Mike
     
  5. tallpines

    tallpines Well-Known Member

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    Visited there last August------spent time with some of the Menonite families and visited the Weaverland and Leola Produce auctions.

    It was a very nice trip made extra special by the Menonite families who welcomed us into their home.
     
  6. trixiwick

    trixiwick bunny slave

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    I'm not sure what your price range is, but the area (both Chester and Lancaster counties) isn't cheap in general. I wouldn't think you could find a house big enough for a small family + enough land for horses for less than $150K, unless you were incredibly lucky.

    I'm sure the area will seem crowded if you're used to the wide open spaces in Montana. Still, the area hasn't "suburbanized" - yet - and you would never guess you were a mere hour-and-a-half drive from Philly. We are very close to Gap, it's right near where we buy our hay. Let me know if there's anything else I could help answer for you about the area, and good luck.

    LeeAnn
     
  7. deogloria11

    deogloria11 Member

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    Looks like we're definitely going to have to rent for a long while. Everyone is saying to try west of Lancaster county, but that will be too far of a commute. Not to mention his company may have to move its location into Chester county, which would make it farther. We may consider southern Lancaster county, though, or maybe southern Berks county.

    As for finding a house for a "small" family and "some" horses, LOL. I have a 2 year old, a 1 year old, and a newborn, and we're not done yet. ROFL. Oh yeah, and we have six adult horses (including a stallion), a colt, two dogs, and a cat. So it's got to be at LEAST three bedrooms and at LEAST five acres! You see our dilemma? :)

    I think we'll find somewhere to rent. It's just going ot take going through a rental agency, and paying an absolute fortune. At least it sounds like the rural parts of Lancaster county aren't going to be so bad to live in.
     
  8. CarolinaBound

    CarolinaBound Well-Known Member

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    Just a quick thing to think about, my 2 cents:

    Really add up which is better, where you live now with dh salary in Montana or twice the amount in Pa.

    Compare your rent or mortgage payments, the price of gas and food, electric etc.

    We moved from where there are HUGE salaries, but if we had stayed, it would have been definate that I would have had to put all my kids in school, the baby in daycare and gotten a job because a "good" salary doesn't cut it. In one year, our property taxes went up about $600, and that was low compared to other people. Gas was about $2.20 a gallon unless you drove for miles to get it at about $2, but that gets old fast, plus how much gas are you using to get there and back.

    I could go on and on.

    Really check it out.

    We lived on a little less than an acre, but you couldn't have any animals on it cept cats and dogs, and even limits on how many.

    Again, just my 2 cents. BTW Lancaster Pa is gorgeous. My father's family was originally from Bucks.

    CarolinaBound!
     
  9. homebirtha

    homebirtha Well-Known Member

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    We have been looking for a small farm for nearly a year now. I can tell you Lancaster County is very expensive for farmland, and it's hard to find any too. The land is very fertile, some of the best in the country, but it's at a premium. Most farms are owned by the Amish and they are very quick to buy up anything that is available. So, it's hard to find something and when you do, it's pricey. We were looking for something in the 5 to 20 acre range with just a livable house, nothing fancy. We didn't find hardly anything under $300k and most was closer to $400k. And most of these were in York County, which was cheaper than Lancaster.

    Something else to consider is property taxes. They are high high high. We were looking at $3000 to $4000 a year depending on which areas, because of school taxes.

    Believe it or not, we found a cheaper place in Maryland, mostly because of the tax situation.

    So, while the higher pay is nice, think long and hard about all the other factors too. Good luck with whatever you decide.