Known for its pastoral countryside and historic charm, Central Pennsylvania’s Lebanon Valley holds a unique appeal for retirees. It's about 85 miles to the west of Philadelphia and about 30 miles from Harrisburg. This area is part of Pennsylvania’s Dutch Country (also called Amish Country), where the pace of life is more relaxed and the farms are abundant. There are also mid-sized metropolitan areas like Reading, Harrisburg, and Hershey as well as top medical providers like WellSpan Good Samaritan, Lebanon VA Medical Center, and Penn State Health Hershey Medical Center.
The following four 55+ communities are smack-dab in the middle of the Lebanon Valley, and they have a few things in common: affordable home prices, scenic locations, and low-maintenance homes.
Low $100s - High $100s
This established active adult neighborhood has 378 land-lease single-family homes, and was built from 1997 to 2005 in a rural area close to Route 422. Arbor Gate offers 10 floor plans ranging from 1,234 to 2,058 square feet, with two or three bedrooms, two baths, and attached one- or two-car garages. Upgrades may include gas fireplaces, cathedral ceilings, Florida rooms, and screened-in porches, and the lot rental cost includes common area lawn care, trash removal, and use of the clubhouse.
Arbor Gate’s Lakeview Center clubhouse is next to a three-acre lake that's fully stocked with fish. Inside the Center, you'll find a catering kitchen, a ballroom, activity rooms, and an exercise room. Additional perks include a beauty salon, a coffee shop, and a library. Lakeview is the community’s social hub, and it's the site for club meetings and special events.
The nearest shopping center is five miles away, and it has a GIANT grocery store, Home Depot, a bank, restaurants, and other services. There are many recreational attractions in and around Myerstown, like Quarry Lake, Ironwood Community Park, and Pine Meadows Golf Complex.
High $100s - High $200s
This friendly active adult community was completed in 2013 with 113 attached and single-family homes, and it has its own seven-acre fishing and boating lake. Briar Lake’s 35 attached homes are sized from 1,218 to 2,078 square feet, with two or three bedrooms, two baths, first-floor master suites, and attached garages.
The 78 single-family homes range from 1,296 to 2,178 square feet, with three bedrooms, two baths, first-floor master suites, porches, and attached two-car garages. Options may include fireplaces, hardwood floors, and cathedral ceilings. There's an active homeowners’ association (HOA) to provide for community services.
There's a private clubhouse with a deck overlooking the lake, plus walking trails, a picnic grove, and a grilling area on the grounds. Homeowners enjoy participating in happy hours, community picnics, book club, and card games. Briar Lake is near the same shopping center as Arbor Gate, and it's also near Stoever’s Dam Park and the Lebanon Community Theatre.
High $100s - Low $200s
Active adult home seekers can find new and resale homes at Heritage Run, which is slated for 88 single-family homes when work is completed. It's in a desirable location close to Route 72 and 422, placing it near the Lebanon Valley Mall, Lebanon Plaza, and Lebanon Country Club.
The six colonial-style floor plans range from 1,206 to 1,677 square feet, with one to three bedrooms, one-and-a-half to two bathrooms, and attached one-car garages. These gracious homes offer custom options like cathedral ceilings, dens, first-floor laundry rooms, and outdoor patios. The HOA fees cover trash and snow removal as well as lawn maintenance.
Heritage Run doesn't have a community clubhouse, but there's a park on its property. There are also several fitness centers nearby as well as outdoor recreation hubs like Fairview Golf Course, the Lebanon Valley Rails to Trails, and Mount Gretna.
Low $100s - Mid $100s
As the smallest community of this bunch, The Aspens appeals to retirees hoping to find sanctuary in a smaller, low-key community. There are just 58 resale attached homes here, built from 1998 to 2004 on a well-maintained property that's right next to a park.
The townhome models here range from about 1,200 to 1,500 square feet, with two bedrooms, one-and-a-half or two bathrooms, and an attached garage. Some feature private back patios, wooded lots, or park views, and the HOA fees provide for lawn mowing and snow removal.
Since the Aspens is right behind Coleman Memorial Park, homeowners can walk over to use its tennis courts and trails. And when the grandchildren visit, there's an ice cream parlor, a mini golf course, and a playground here. The Lebanon Valley Mall is just minutes away, with a fitness center, a movie theater, shops, and restaurants. Other rewarding pastimes include exploring Union Canal Tunnel Park, taking continuing ed courses at Lebanon Valley College, or spending a day (or two or three) seeing the sights in nearby Hershey, PA.