Leafy area with Lancaster County Courthouse

Lancaster has city-like amenities in a quaint, historic region. (Image via Shutterstock.com)

Nickname Pennsylvania’s “Dutch Country,” Lancaster County is about 46 miles wide and 43 miles long, and is linked together with distinctive towns and villages of all sizes.

The city of Lancaster is towards the middle of its namesake county, with Ephrata being half an hour northeast. This region is known for its gently rolling farmlands, Mennonite and Amish cultures, Revolutionary War history, covered bridges, golf, theatres, and festivals. This region is fast becoming a popular area for retirement, for these reasons and others.

The tax burden for active adults is modest, since Social Security and retirement account income are both exempt from taxes. Pension income for residents ages 60 and over is also exempt. The state sales tax rate is 6 percent and state property tax rates range from around .9 percent to 2.5 percent.

Active adults that are researching Lancaster and Ephrata PA real estate will also want to know that excellent medical care is provided by Penn Medicine-Lancaster General Health. Its main hospital in Lancaster city is rated as high performing in four adult specialties by U.S. News & World Report.

Everything else you might need to maintain your low-maintenance, highly-rewarding lifestyle is right at your fingertips in this region. They also have some affordable 55+ communities that are perfect for those who prefer smaller, peaceful neighborhoods.

Timber Villa - Elizabethtown

Low $100s - High $400s

Situated about 10 miles from Hershey and 20 miles from Harrisburg, Elizabethtown is probably best known for its Elizabethtown College, a small, private institution that also offers adult classes.

Another highlight of this peaceful borough is the Conewago Trail, a five-mile park with running, cross-country skiing, bicycling trails. It is also just 10 minutes from the stunning Susquehanna River, and within the town are plenty of shops, services, and restaurants.

Timber Villa has 102 attached, resale homes built between 1983 and 1999. They range from 744 to 2,882 square feet with one to three bedrooms, one to two-and-a-half bathrooms, and attached garages. Options include walkout basements, decks, and vaulted ceilings.

A monthly homeowners' association fee provides for trash and snow removal, lawn care, and exterior home maintenance. Although there is no community clubhouse, the Elizabethtown Fitness Club is just four miles away.

Heritage Strasburg - Strasburg

Mid $200s - Mid $300s

Strasburg has a rich cultural history, an Amish flavor, and an excellent outlet shopping mall at The Shops @ Rockvale. A quaint town, it has many low-key family tourist attractions, like the Sight & Sound Theatres, The Li’l Country Store & Miniature Horse Farm, and National Toy Train Museum. It is also great for antiquing, and has several golf courses (18-hole, disc golf, miniature golf) nearby.

Active adults especially enjoy living at Heritage Strasburg because they can walk right into the downtown area. Upon completion, there will be 106 new and resale homes in this 55+ community which began construction in 2009.

They are sized from 1,194 to 2,209 square feet with two to three bedrooms, two to three bathrooms, and attached two-car garages. All come with first-floor master suites and eat-in kitchens. Larger models have eat-in kitchens, outdoor living spaces, and great rooms.

Watson Run - Gordonville

Mid $200s - Low $300s

Watson Run is another newer small active adult community, and will have 190 new and resale single-family homes when complete. Construction started in 2007, and there are now seven different models, from 1,348 to 2,471 square feet, with one to three bedrooms, two to three bathrooms, and attached two-car garages.

A private clubhouse has a cozy fireplace lounge, a catering kitchen, and other community rooms. There are also walking & biking trails and an outdoor pool on the property.

Gordonville is about a 20 mile drive from downtown Lancaster, and is near County Acres Campground and the family-friendly Dutch Wonderland. The friendly town of Paradise is two minutes away, and is home to Rainbow’s Comedy Playhouse, churches, grocery stores, and Paradise Community Park.

Stonecroft Village - Womelsdorf

Low $200s - Low $300s

Also on the newer side, Stonecroft Village will have 214 new and resale, single-family homes when finished. It has 14 models ranging from 1,380 to 2,495 square feet. These well-designed one- and two-story homes have two to three bedrooms, two to two-and-a-half bathrooms, first-floor master suites and attached garages.

The modern clubhouse is a perfect gathering place for homeowners, and the grounds feature beautiful mountain views, and a scenic pond and gazebo.

Womelsdorf is 17 miles north of Ephrata, and is close to U.S. Route 422. This small borough is in Berks County, which borders Lancaster County to the north. Homeowners can simply take West High Street in town to do their shopping, go to church, visit the Womelsdorf Swimming Pool, or grab some fresh air at Conrad Weiser Park.