Do you prefer pastoral Lebanon or the suburban vibe of Reading?

Active adults that are planning to set down roots in south central Pennsylvania have a lot to think about if they are deciding between Lebanon and Reading. These two towns are about 30 miles apart from one another, with access to recreational and cultural opportunities, plus all of the modern conveniences. Since they are in the same region of the state, the two have much in common. Looking closer though, there are distinctive differences that can be discerned.

First of all, they are in two separate counties. Lebanon is the county seat of Lebanon Count, while Reading is central to Berks County. Reading has a much larger population, with around 88,000 residents, while Lebanon has about 25,000 These basic facts can be your starting point, but when it comes down to choosing between them for retirement, specific details will also matter.

Lebanon in a Nutshell

Lebanon is easily accessible from Interstate 81, Interstate 78, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and was named the second least stressful city in the country by Sperling’s BestPlaces.net. Founded in 1740, its historic charm attracts homebuyers and tourists of all ages.

Residents can take advantage of beautiful Coleman Memorial Park, a public park and forest which offers miles of nature trails, wildlife sightings, and the historic Homestead Carriage House. Other attractions include nine other parks, a community pool, the Lebanon Farmers Market, Lebanon Community Theatre, and a thriving public library. Lebanon’s Downtown district also hosts special events throughout the year, which are widely attended.

Lebanon also scored well for its small-town feel, convenient location near Harrisburg, and lower-than-average cost of living. Area hospitals like Wellspan Good Samaritan Hospital and Frederick Memorial Hospital provide medical care. Many of the main shopping complexes are near Route 422. Lebanon County is also dotted with golf courses, including Iron Valley, Royal Oaks, and Fairview.

Lebanon Active Adult Communities

There are five 55+ neighborhoods in Lebanon proper, with prices ranging from the low $100s to the low $400s. The majority are on the smaller side, so this combined with the town’s desirability can mean the number of available homes can be somewhat limited.  

The Aspens

Low $100s - Mid $100s

  • 58 attached resale homes

  • Located right next to Coleman Memorial Park

Briar Lake

High $100s - High $200s

  • 113 attached and single-family homes

  • Private fishing lake

The Crossings at Sweet Briar

Low $200s - Mid $200s

  • 198 new single-family homes

  • First-floor master suites

Alden Place

High $100s - Low $400s

  • 505 attached and single family homes

  • Modern amenities

Heritage Run

High $100s - Low $200s

  • 88 new and resale single family homes

  • Tranquil, park-like setting

Reading in a Nutshell

Reading’s forested hills and expansive valleys create a picturesque setting for homeowners to work, play, and relax. The main routes leading here include Interstate 80, Interstate 95, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

A historical industrial town, it also has a lower-than-average cost of living and is about an hour away from Allentown and Philadelphia. Berks County has been coined the Americana Region, because of his rich cultural history that started with the Reading Railroad in the early 1900s. Festivals like the Kutztown Folk Festival and Reading Liederkranz Oktoberfest celebrate this heritage.

Reading is also known for its museums and theaters like the Miller Center for the Arts, Santander Performing Arts Center, and Goggle Works, an eclectic community arts center. There are also area farmers markets, covered bridges, golf courses, and the popular Vanity Fair outlet shopping center. Local medical centers include Penn State Health’s St. Joseph Medical Center, and Reading Hospital.

Reading Active Adult Communities

The Reading area has four active adult communities, which are all small sized and affordably priced.

Lilyfield - Sinking Spring

High $100s - Mid $200s

  • 92 resale single-family homes

  • Lakeside setting

Douglass Village - Douglassville

Mid $100s - High $100s

  • 142 new and resale ranch-style homes

  • First-floor master suite

The Village at Maidencreek - Blandon

High $100s - Low $200s

  • 110 attached new and resale homes

  • Gated community

Meadow View Farms - Oley

Mid $200s - High $200s

  • 117 new and resale single-family homes

  • Peaceful setting nine miles from Reading