Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Retire to Friendly Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

For those readers who hope to retire in the Northeast and are looking for charming small towns, low taxes, and appealing retirement communities, one area to consider is Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.  This county is in the center of Pennsylvania Dutch country and has a large Amish population.  Last year I wrote an article on one of the retirement communities in the county, named Garden Spot Village, and thought my readers would enjoy knowing more about this growing retirement mecca.

Reasons to Retire in Lancaster County

There are a number of reasons why retirees are being attracted to this lovely area.  The number one comment that I have heard over and over again is the small town friendliness.  For people who are used to living in some of the big cities on the Eastern seaboard, this is very appealing.

Lancaster County is also in a convenient location for people who do not want to move too far away from their grown children and grandchildren.   Depending on exactly where you settle within the county, it is approximately 90 minutes from Philadelphia, two hours from Washington, D.C., and three hours away from New York City.

Low taxes are another attraction for retirees.  The sales tax is 6% and groceries, clothing, prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines are exempt.  The state income tax is a flat rate of 3.07% of your taxable income, and your Social Security benefits and both private and public pensions are exempt from the state income tax.  This means that many retirees will pay little or no state income tax.  Property taxes vary throughout the county, so new residents may want to take that into consideration when they decide where to settle.  In one estimate I saw, the property taxes on a $167,000 house would be $6,805 in the city of Lancaster and only $4,041 in the Ephrata Township.  This is a significant difference, and should be taken into account when choosing where to live.  However, for people who are moving out of the large metropolitan areas in the East, just the fact that they can find homes in the $160,000 price range is a welcome advantage to living in Lancaster County.

Retirement Communities in Lancaster County

Currently there are at several communities for residents over the age of 55 in Lancaster County.  Here is a little information about each of them, as well as their phone numbers in case you want more detailed information or would like to arrange a visit.  Since this article is being written in 2013, interested readers will have to check on pricing, since it will change over the years.  However, the prices listed below will give you a general idea what you expect.

Traditions of America at Mount Joy
(717) 492-4529

New homes ranging in price from about $225,000 to over $300,000.  There is a clubhouse and pool.

Home Towne Square
(717) 283-5790

Developed by nationally known Landmark Homes, prices for single family homes range from about $250,000 to around $310,000.   There is a clubhouse as well as walking and hiking trails.

Heritage Strasburg
(800) 325-3030

Built by Charter Homes & Neighborhoods, this 55-plus community is on 28 acres conveniently located adjacent to the main street in the town of Strasburg, Pennsylvania.  Homes range from approximately $225,000 to over $300,000.

United Zion Retirement Community
(717) 626-2071

Another choice in Lancaster County is United Zion Retirement Community.  According to its website, it is "a friendly, faith-inspired Life Plan Community .... which offers independent living cottages and apartments, personal care, and skilled nursing services, including short-term rehabilitation."

Willow Valley Retirement Communities
(800) 770-5445

This is a continuing care retirement community where you can start out in an independent living apartment and gradually move into a skilled nursing or memory support facility as the need arises.  Residents pay a purchase price which ranges from $73,500 to $428,500 to move into the community plus a monthly fee of over $1,235. 

Garden Spot Village in New Holland
(717) 355-6000

You will want to read more about this popular community by reading last year's article which I have linked here: Garden Spot Village.  They offer a nice selection of retirement apartments, cottages and homes, with continuing care available when needed.  The apartments start at about $81,000, with cottages and townhomes going up in price to over $300,000.

Healthcare in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

In addition to the retirement communities that offer skilled nursing facilities, there are also excellent hospitals and medical centers in the county.  Among them are Lancaster General Hospital, Lancaster Regional Medical Center (affiliated with Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute), Heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center in Lititz, and Ephrata Community Hospital.

If you are interested in learning more as you prepare for retirement, you may want to use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this article, or check out the index articles shown below.  Each one contains links to a wide variety of additional articles on those topics:

Gifts, Travel and Family Relationships

Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas

Great Places to Retire in the United States

Health and Medical Topics for Baby Boomers

Money and Financial Planning for Retirement

Sources of information:
Where to Retire Magazine, March/April 2013

You are reading from the blog:

Photo of  North Duke Street in Lancaster, Pennsylvania courtesy of


  1. Among other things, Lancaster's location makes it an appealing east coast retirement destination. Thanks for the great information.

  2. Thanks! I think it sounds like a really charming place for some of our family members who currently live in the New York City area. Retiring in those large Eastern cities can be quite expensive. Lancaster County makes it possible for them to have an affordable retirement and still be able to go into the city whenever they want.

  3. Yes New York city is very beautiful city, one who live there wont think of leaving that place.

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    1. I did and am so very thankful that I did. There are many, many more who are fleeing NYC!

  4. PA attracts savvy homebuyers who share the same desire for quality, amenities, low-maintenance living and affordable pricing. That's a reason their are many retirement village homes for sale... enjoy your retirement with the desire for quality amenities & modest retirement.. Thanks

  5. Yes this city is amazing and i really love to stay here.

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  6. Yes I also agree with you that New York city is very beautiful city, one who live there wont think of leaving that place.

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  7. Nice blogpost and thanks for sharing such useful information about Hershey's Mill. If you are interested for the active adult communities in PA then you should visit atActive Adult PA .I just try this and its working is awesome.

  8. Thanks for this blog. Great information provided. I really appreciate your writing. I like the way you put across your ideas. Awesome, keep it up.

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  9. Lancaster is being rated # 1 or #2 in the country for retirement destinations!
    Much growth since this article came out. I also like this list of retirement communities:
    and care resources:
    and top advice: or
    and great food:
    and has all four seasons to enjoy, although a number of people do go south for a couple winter months...

    1. Thank you for sharing these links about Lancaster County. It is a very popular place to retire, especially for people who want to remain in the Northeast, but have all the opportunities available in popular retirement locations. I really appreciate the information!


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