Places to Live in Rural Pennsylvania
By Editorial Staff
by Catalogs.com Info Guru Paul Seaburn
Pennsylvania is blessed with the geography, climate and resources to make it both a rich agricultural area and a center for trade and commerce.
As the economy has changed, towns that were once centers for manufacturing and mining have recovered their natural beauty and joined the nearby farming areas to make Pennsylvania a great state for rural living. Here are ten places to live in rural Pennsylvania that do it well.
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Newton brings a rural flavor to Philadelphia and Trenton, New Jersey. This quaint town was founded by William Penn and is home to the Brick Hotel where George Washington really did sleep. Its clock tower and business district are on the National Registry of Historic Places and the Newton Theater is the oldest operating movie theater in the U.S. While not quite as farm –oriented as other rural areas in Pennsylvania, Newton’s horse-and-buggy charm take you right back to colonial times.
Median resident age: 45.4 years
Median household income: $74,315
Median house or condo value: $471,372
How can a town called Bird-in-Hand not be a beautiful rural community? Native Americans found it, the Amish loved it and legend has it a surveyor named it for the good fortune of finding it when he needed a place to rest for the night. The Bird-in-Hand Inn still memorializes the naming of this quaint southeastern town filled with small stores, comfortable inns and great Amish cafes. This historic area is a picture postcard of Pennsylvania Amish country.
Median resident age: 32 years
Median household income: $70,221
Median house or condo value: $256,600
Centered in the rich agricultural area known as the Cumberland Valley and close to the Appalachian Trail, Mechanicsburg is a gorgeous slice of rural Pennsylvania near the state capital of Harrisburg. It’s named for the town mechanics who worked on Conestoga wagons in the early 1800s and may have sipped a brew at the historic and still-operating Frankenberger Tavern. Mechanicsburg is still a railroad and highway hub and offers a nice mix of modern homes and rural country living.
Median resident age: 39.9 years
Median household income: $53,280
Median house or condo value: $168,729
Rural is not just a look, it’s also an attitude and the town of Benton in Columbia County has plenty of rural attitude. The annual Benton Rodeo is considered one of the best east of the Mississippi by professional rodeo competitors and is also an excellent local fundraiser. The Out Among The Stars Bluegrass Festival attracts top bluegrass musicians to Benton and Rickets Glen State Park provides residents with over 13,000 acres of forest and waterfalls.
Median resident age: 42.6 years
Median household income: $30,156
Median house or condo value: $133,091
Put your finger in the center of a Pennsylvania map and you’ll find Mifflinburg. While located in the scenic Susquehanna Valley, you’ll think you’re in Germany when visiting the town’s annual Christkindl Market and Oktoberfest, both products of Mifflinburg’s German heritage. Experience the town before automobiles at the Buggy Museum and get two tastes of rural living in Mifflinburg at the annual Blueberries and Bluegrass Festival.
Median resident age: 41.4 years
Median household income: $36,872
Median house or condo value: $126,125
Many people think of rural Pennsylvania as Amish country and that’s certainly true of Lititz. This 250-year-old town near Lancaster has a strong Amish heritage centered around the Lititz Springs Park. It’s a great place to find furniture and other times made by Amish craftsman, sample tasty and filling Amish dishes and learn about both its Amish and Native American History.
Median resident age: 43.1 years
Median household income: $47,639
Median house or condo value: $173,382
Pennsylvania’s forestry industry created many small logging towns. A lovely one in the Pocono Mountains is Milford, home to a beautiful series of waterfalls that once provided power to the mills. Milford has preserved many historic buildings and original settlements which can be seen from The Knob, an easy-to-climb 400-foot bluff overlooking the town. The peaceful beauty of the area makes it an attractive weekend getaway for visitors from nearby New York and New Jersey.
Median resident age: 48.3 years
Median household income: $35,438
Median house or condo value: $29,517
The rich agricultural heritage of Pennsylvania is in full bloom in Huntingdon, a city on the Juniata River near Altoona and Harrisburg. Huntingdon was blessed with forests, fruit-growing plants, iron, coal and limestone. While those fueled its growth in the 1800s, today it’s better known as an outdoor recreation area centered around the manmade Raystown Lake. Numerous nearby state parks are filled with rivers and creeks that are filled with trout and other attractions for fly-fishing as well as trails for hiking.
Median resident age: 32.8 years
Median household income: $36,536
Median house or condo value: $131,678
Wellsboro is home to the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, a scenic gorge formed by the Pike Creek. The surrounding park area is full of places for hiking, biking, fishing, horseback riding and even mountain climbing. Back in Wellsboro, you can walk the gas-lighted streets of a town that was a shipping and trade center for northern Pennsylvania.
Median resident age: 47.5 years
Median household income: $39,395
Median house or condo value: $130,669
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Butler is a beautiful rural escape 35 miles north of Pittsburg in the Allegheny River watershed. It’s famous for being the birthplace of the Jeep, made by what was then called the American Austin Car Company, but today it’s better known for well-preserved old barns and cabins, schoolhouses, a county courthouse and other buildings maintained by the Butler County Historical Society. Butler is just large enough to have a thriving business climate and strong cultural community centered around a symphony, theater and The Maridon Museum for art.
Median resident age: 36.8 years
Median household income: $30,372
Median house or condo value: $91,382
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