Retiring in Pennsylvania

September 18, 2019

by Allison Kauffman

As you picture your retirement, what are you looking for? Do you want to stay active and have plenty to do to keep your days full? Where do you want to retire? That may be the toughest question of all to answer if you aren’t sure.

How about Pennsylvania? When it comes to taxes, Pennsylvania may be a great choice. There are currently only two states that exempt nearly all retirement income. They are Pennsylvania and Mississippi. Military pensions, other public and private pensions, social security benefits, distributions from IRAs and other employer plans are all exempt from income tax in Pennsylvania. When it comes to taxable income such as wages and investment income, Pennsylvania has one of the lowest income tax rates at 3.07%. The state sales tax is 6%, but food, clothing and medicine are exempt.

My parents are currently living in New Hampshire. My Mom is 73 and my Dad is 70 and they plan to select a retirement community in the next year or two. They have a large house and want to downsize, but they also want to live closer to me in Pennsylvania. Many of their friends have moved to Florida to retire, but my parents aren’t “warm weather all-the-time” kind of people. They enjoy the four seasons of the year and actually like snow, since they’ve lived in New Hampshire for so many years. Pennsylvania may not come to mind when thinking of a retirement location. However, as I have been telling my parents, it’s a wonderful choice with so many things to keep them active in the years ahead.

Staying Active Outdoors

In Pennsylvania, there are so many opportunities to stay active outdoors. There are many state parks to enjoy hiking, boating, camping and nature.

Near RiverWoods Senior Living Community in Lewisburg, you can travel about 15 minutes to reach R.B. Winter State Park. The park features multiple hiking and nature trails for all activity levels, along with a lake and beach for swimming, outdoor sports, camp sites and picnic tables. Another outdoor resource near RiverWoods is the Susquehanna River. The river is perfect for bird watching, fishing, boating, kayaking, tubing and more! There are many local boat launches open to the public to enjoy the river. At RiverWoods, there are also beautiful walking paths to enjoy the seasons. In the fall, there are a variety of trees on campus with brightly colored leaves. You can enjoy taking photos of the fall foliage or just sit on a bench and soak in the beauty of it. In the spring, there are beautiful gardens across the campus including the butterfly garden, which attracts a variety of different butterflies to watch. In the summer, enjoy an outdoor concert at the Slifer House or head into downtown Lewisburg for a concert in the park. There is plenty of live music to enjoy outdoors. And in the winter, enjoy the Lewisburg Ice Festival! You can walk around town and see a variety of ice sculptures or you can go ice skating at the outdoor rink in Lewisburg.

At Normandie Ridge Senior Living Community in York, enjoy the beautiful West Manchester Senior Trail and Nature Park (opening in late 2019), which is accessible to all ability levels with a safe paved surface. The nature trail connects to the Normandie Ridge campus and features walking paths, benches and a park. There are also a variety of trees that provide breathtaking fall foliage to enjoy. You can take a trip to nearby Lake Redman if you like to go boating or fishing or have a picnic lunch. You are also only about 30 minutes from Gettysburg! You can visit the historic battlefields and take in the history of the area.

Here are just some of the attractions and day trips to enjoy:

Near RiverWoods:

The Bloomsburg Fair: It was originally held as an agricultural exhibition and since then it has grown to be the largest fair in Pennsylvania. The fair runs for a week in late September each year and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors. There are thousands of vendors featuring games, food, entertainment, contests and live music. There are hundreds of animals to interact with and crafts and baked goods are judged for prizes. There are also plenty of carnival rides for the grandchildren to enjoy. Bloomsburg is about a 30 minute drive from Lewisburg. Find more here: Bloomsburg Fair

Knoebels Amusement Resort:  The family owned and operated amusement park, picnic grove and campground has free admission and free parking. They opened in 1926 and now have more than 60 rides. The park and its rides have won multiple awards for their attractions over the years. The park is located in a rural section of Elysburg, so much of the park is shaded by trees, making it a beautiful place to visit year round. They also have award winning food. Many people visit just to eat, since admission is free. It’s about 45 minutes from Lewisburg. Find more here: Knoebels

Covered Bridge Festival at Knoebels: The festival takes place in early October at Knoebels. There are craft and food vendors and select amusement park rides are open, but the main attraction is the covered bridge bus tours. Attendees enjoy seeing a variety of historic covered bridges on the tour. More information is available here: Covered Bridge Festival

Lewisburg Arts Festival: Lewisburg hosts Arts Festival every spring. Over 100 juried artists displaying their works through the downtown. There are two stages for live performers and several food vendors. There are also indoor art exhibits to enjoy. More information is available here:

Reptiland: Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland is a zoo located in Allenwood, about 15 minutes from the RiverWoods campus. The zoo houses snakes, alligators, turtles, lizards and frogs along with other critters such as bats and owls. There is also a dinosaur exhibit featuring moving dinos! You can find more information here:

Campus Theatre: The Campus Theatre is located in downtown Lewisburg and is one of the few-remaining single-screen art deco movie houses in the country. The Campus Theatre works with nearby Bucknell University to preserve, promote and operate the historic theatre. They often have unique cultural films, historic film festivals and other events, along with some of the latest movies of the year. Find more information here:


Near Normandie Ridge:

Hersheypark: This family theme park is situated in Hershey, about 36 miles from Normandie Ridge. The park features a 330 foot tall observation tower, 70 rides and attractions, Hershey’s Chocolate World and Zoo America. Hershey’s Chocolate World is open to the public and shows how chocolate is made through a chocolate factory-themed tour ride. Find more here:

Lake Tobias: Since 1965, Lake Tobias Wildlife Park has been fascinating patrons with adventure seeking safari tours and wild, exotic animals on site. The park is located about 46 miles from Normandie Ridge. Find more here:

Susquehanna River Cruise: The Pride of the Susquehanna Riverboat is an authentic stern-driven paddle wheel riverboat built 31 years ago for the benefit of visitors to Harrisburg, about 25 miles from Normandie Ridge. The Pride has carried over a million passengers and is used for weddings, parties, business functions, dinner cruises and day cruises. Passengers get a scenic view of Harrisburg while enjoying the natural surroundings along the river. Find more here:

Appell Center for the Performing Arts: The Appell Center for the Performing Arts is located at 50 N. George Street in Yokr and features two historic theatres for live theatre, music and entertainment. They also have educational and historical programming. Find more here:

The Turkey Hill Experience: The Turkey Hill Experience is an indoor interactive attraction in Lancaster County. You can learn more about how Turkey Hill makes their iced tea and their ice cream products. You can also make your own ice cream. It’s a fun, interactive and educational day, perfect for the grandchildren to enjoy! Find more here:

Gifford Pinchot State Park: This park is more than 2,300 acres in northern York County. The park consists of farm fields and wooded hillsides with a 340-acre Pinchot Lake serving as the prime attraction. There is hiking, boating, camping, fishing and boating to enjoy. Find more here: GiffordPinchotStatePark

Historical Events: If you are a history buff, there are so many fun activities and adventures to experience in the York area.  A great resource for finding these interesting events is the York County History Center.  Find more here:

In addition, there are a variety of local wineries and breweries across Central Pennsylvania and many work with neighboring businesses, so you can enjoy a tour to several in the region using a shuttle or limo.

These are just a few of the attractions surrounding RiverWoods and Normandie Ridge. There are also plenty of things on campus to keep you active. Amenities at both locations include an indoor heated pool and fitness center, a craft studio, cultural activities and much more. Find out about all the exciting amenities here: RiverWoods Amenities or Normandie Ridge Amenities

When it comes to retirement, Florida may sound great for some, but for those like my parents, who are looking to live closer to their children and settle down in an active, vibrant and beautiful community, Pennsylvania could be the perfect choice!