Fall colors surrounding a covered bridge going over river in Mechanicsburg

Central Pennsylvania's rolling hills and pleasant views make it a great place to downsize.

Resembling a rectangle, Pennsylvania is bordered by its two largest cities, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Much of its Northern region is blanketed by forests, but moving south towards Maryland you will run into the Susquehanna River, Harrisburg, and the Lancaster Valley. The diverse landscapes and smaller towns in these regions hold a unique appeal for retirees who want to downsize to a more relaxed pace of life.

The active adult communities in Central Pennsylvania are not known for being large, as most fall into the mid-size category and are close enough to big cities so you won’t feel too far away when you need to get to an urban area.

These are the kinds of developments where neighbors get to know each other and relish quality time without worrying about hassles like lawn mowing and exterior maintenance. If you have been thinking about downsizing and are ready to make a move, consider some of Central Pennsylvania active adult communities as a viable option.

Traditions of America at Lititz

High $200s - Low $400s

It’s new, it’s about nine miles north of Lancaster, and it has delightful resort-like amenities. This is Traditions of America at Lititz, a refined 55+ community with 244 new attached and single-family homes in Lancaster County.

There are three attached models ranging from 1,268 to 2,191 square feet, with two or three bedrooms and bathrooms, and attached two-car garages. There are 172 single-family homes on brink of completion ranging from 1,274 to 3,078 square feet, with two or three bedrooms and bathrooms, and attached two-car garages.

In the spirit of other Traditions of America properties, there is an upscale clubhouse with its own bar & restaurant, a fitness center with a sauna and an aerobics studio, as well as tennis courts, walking trails, and a heated outdoor pool. A full-time lifestyle director is available to help residents plan groups, special events, and outings.

Although Lancaster is close, there are many shops and services right in Lititz. UPMC Pinnacle Lititz Hospital is half-a-mile away, along with the Shoppes at Kissel Village, where you can find a Target, CVS, Starbucks, restaurants, and a pet store. The closest golf course is Evergreen, about four miles away in Manheim.

Brookshire - Manheim

High $100s - Mid $200s

Manheim is also home to Brookshire, a land-leased active adult neighborhood with 230 resale attached and single-family homes on a pleasant stretch of land with ponds, wetlands, and a fishing lake.

Built from 2005 to 2014, this community offers four home models from 1,520 to 2,050 square feet, with two to three bedrooms, two or two-and-a-half baths, and attached two-car garages. These low-maintenance homes feature first-floor master suites, and options such as porches, patios, and dens. Lawn maintenance and snow removal are offered to all homeowners.

The private community center has an exercise room, an aerobics studio, a coffee shop, and a banquet room, along with bocce and shuffleboards courts. Social events like Bunco, a yearly Christmas sweater party, movie nights, Valentine's Day dance, yoga, and many more fun activities to keep residents active and engaged.

Manheim is a great place to live as it has 14 parks that include walking and biking trails, a kayak/canoe launch, an ice skating rink, a dog park, and Overlook Golf Course. Brookshire is also minutes away from grocery stores, churches, banks, pharmacies, a movie theater, a liquor store, and almost anything else one may need.

Carmella - Mechanicsburg

High $200s - Low $300s

Carmella, which has 190 new and resale attached homes, is ideal for downsizers.

Carriage homes are available in duplex and triplex units with seven floor plans sized from 1,513 to 2,566 square feet. These include two to three bedrooms, two or two-and-a-half bathrooms, first floor master suites, and attached two-car garages. Options include patios, porches, and dens, the homeowners’ association (HOA) fee covers exterior maintenance and other items.

Neighborhood perks include a modern clubhouse with a kitchen and bar area, a gathering room, an exercise room, an outdoor pool, and patio area. Activities include Wii Bowling and Tai Chi, and local pet owners even take part in the annual dog parade.

Downtown Mechanicsburg has an abundance of retail stores, and homeowners can also make the short drive into Harrisburg to visit UPMC Pinnacle Harrisburg hospital, top attractions such as The National Civil War Museum, or to fly out of Harrisburg International Airport.

Briar Lake - Lebanon

High $100s - High $200s

Smaller is definitely better at Briar Lake, a quiet active adult community with 113 resale attached and single-family homes located in the town of Lebanon. This neighborhood was built from 2005 through 2013 and offers 35 townhomes built in four different models.

These are sized from 1,218 to 2,078 square feet, with two to three bedrooms, two baths, first-floor master suites, and attached two-car garages.

The 78 single-family homes come in six models from 1,296 to 2,178 square feet, with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, first-floor master suites, porches, and attached two-car garages.  

Briar Lake is an especially pretty neighborhood highlighted by the clubhouse that overlooks a 7-acre lake. Homeowners enjoy boating and fishing here, meandering along the walking trails, or socializing at the clubhouse.

Briar Lake is just outside of lovely Stoever’s Dam Park and the Lebanon Community Theatre. It's about 35 miles east of Harrisburg, but there are plenty of nearby shopping outlets, including a Walmart Supercenter, butcher shops, grocery stores, restaurants, and home improvement stores.