Some cities have memorable heydays and then fade out into the background, never to return to their past glory. But other cities have storied histories, fade out, and then return back better than ever. Allentown, Pennsylvania is one of the latter.
Back in the 1850s and 1860s, it was one of the country’s largest iron producers until it fell apart in the 1870s. In the early 20th century, the economy picked back up, only to decline again after World War II. Things took a turn for the better many years later, and in 2009, tax reforms and Neighborhood Improvement Zone legislation led to a strong revitalization. There's a new Riverfront district, the PPL Center arena, and an influx of more than $1 billion in development.
There’s a wealth of indoor and outdoor attractions in Allentown, including the Allentown Symphony Orchestra, Coca-Cola Park, and world-class restaurants like Grille 3501. Highlighted by Lehigh Canal Park and Cedar Creek Parkway, the city's extensive park system has undergone many capital improvements. There are also some excellent hospitals in the Allentown area, provided by health networks like Lehigh Valley Health and St. Luke’s.
Not surprisingly, the Allentown area has become a magnet for homebuyers, and active adults are no exception. Allentown real estate offers some exceptional options, whether the properties are within the city limits or in a nearby suburb. Even better: These top picks are all gated communities.
Low $300s - Mid $300s
Located just five miles south of Allentown, The Fields at Indian Creek is a lovely retirement community set on 79 acres of pristine open space and preserved areas. Upon completion by Kay Builders, it will have 218 new single-family homes and a modern clubhouse with superb amenities. There are 11 floor plans to choose from, ranging from 1,493 to 2,332 square feet with one to three bedrooms, two baths, and attached two-car garages. These tasteful homes include elegant master bathrooms and gourmet kitchens.
The expansive grounds here include pickleball and bocce courts, walking and biking trails, and natural space, including ponds and a fishing lake. The community clubhouse has an outdoor pool and patio, a multi-purpose room, and a modern fitness center.
The Fields is just minutes from Downtown Emmaus, which has a Weis Markets, restaurants, liquor stores, conveniences stores, and two outdoor recreation areas: Emmaus Community Park (great for the grandkids) and Rodale Cycling and Fitness Park.
High $200s - Mid $300s
Our second choice is Willow Green, an established 55+ neighborhood of 188 resale attached and single-family homes built from 2004 to 2007. The attached models range from 1,595 to 2,684 square feet and have two or three bedrooms, two baths, and attached two-car garages. Upgrades may include screened porches, gourmet kitchens, and hardwood floors. The single-family homes range from 1,748 to 2,821 square feet with two or three bedrooms and bathrooms, luxurious master suites, sunrooms or patios, and attached two-car garages.
An added benefit of living at Willow Green is its resort-style clubhouse with perks like an indoor spa and fitness center, a computer center, a great room and bar, activity rooms, an outdoor pool, shuffleboard, and bocce courts. Willow Green is about six miles from Allentown, and it's a neighbor to the historic Willow Green Golf Course. It's also a stone’s throw away from the Lehigh River, which offers trails, wildlife, and boating.
Mid $300s - High $300s
Hovnanian excels at building upscale active adult neighborhoods, and Four Seasons at Farmington is no exception. Completed in 2009, this active adult community has 235 resale single-family homes with three floor plans. They're sized from 1,546 to 2,902 square feet with two bedrooms and bathrooms and attached two-car garages. Upgrades may include hardwood floors, the granite countertops, and vaulted ceilings.
Homeowners take advantage of the fact that Four Seasons has its own 6-hole golf course on the property as well as a beautiful clubhouse. They can enjoy the exercise room, outdoor pool, and patio; play tennis and bocce; or socialize in the multi-purpose room. Pet lovers can head over to nearby Macungie Dog Park. Ancient Oak West Recreation Area is also just minutes away.
Mid $300s - Mid $400s
This Toll Brothers-built 55+ community offers new attached and single-family homes about five miles from Bethlehem and 10 miles from Allentown, so lucky homeowners can be close to two lively cities.
There are three attached Carriages Collection models and six Villas Collection single-family models. These appealing homes range from 1,630 to 1,880 square feet with two to five bedrooms, two to four baths, and attached two- or three-car garages. Features may include full basements, 10-foot ceilings, and spacious first-floor master bedrooms.
Regency has a private clubhouse, complete with an outdoor pool, pickleball, and bocce. Inside, you can find a modern fitness center, lounge areas, and activity rooms. There's also a putting green for residents to practice at, and speaking of golf, the Bethlehem Golf Club is only five miles away. Other nearby attractions include Lehigh Valley Mall and Amore Vineyards & Winery.
Running errands and such is easy for residents, given Bath’s well-poised location near several grocery stores, pharmacies, coffee shops, and restaurants. For a night out, it’s simple to drive over to Bethlehem to try your luck at the Sands Casino Resort (now called Wind Creek) or see a show in Allentown at the Pines Dinner Theater.