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Reader Requested Short Review of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
In the Brandywine Valley, just 32 miles from the hustle and bustle of Philadelphia, the little Borough of Kennett Square (population 6,200) is steeped in history. It dates from the late-1600s (but was not a true village until the mid-1800s), has ties to American Revolutionary War traitor Benedict Arnold and is known as the "Mushroom Capital of the World," with mushroom farms sprinkled across the surrounding countryside.
Today this peaceful hamlet is particularly popular with transplants from Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware as they search for a quieter lifestyle. Thirty-four percent of residents are age 45 or better. Thirty-five percent hold at least a four year college degree. Politics are split down the middle, and the crime rate is below the national average. Kennett Square is racially diverse and has grown by 20% within the last decade or two. The cost of living is 10% above the national average.
The median home price is $235,000. Neighborhoods are leafy, well-tended and stocked with prim historic brick homes, many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
There are also castle-like estates and Federals on large lots, not to mention town homes and ranch ramblers. Traditions at Longwood is a lovely 55+ community with single story, single family homes.
The downtown is cute and a bit touristy with bookstores, cafes, galleries and shops. It is here that locals and tourists alike gather for the annual Mushroom Festival, a time when State Street turns into Mushroom Boulevard and 200 mushroom growers come to sell their product (65% of all mushrooms consumed in the U.S. are grown here in southern Chester County). There are parades, mushroom history lectures, mushroom preparation classes, mushroom cook offs, mushroom farm tours and much more having to do with all things mushroom. On New Year's Eve, a giant mushroom is dropped from the top of a building.
One of the things residents enjoy about Kennett Square is Longwood Gardens, a nationally recognized botanic garden. This delightful venue boasts 1,050-acres of beautifully and creatively manicured meadows, trees and flower beds. It also has a full season of performance arts, from organ recitals to jazz quartets, and themed dinners and "fountain dances" are fun ways to spend a day or evening.
For people who are not mushroom fans, the Brandywine Valley Wine Tour wanders through six family wineries outside of town and is a relaxing way to spend a weekend afternoon. The Kennett Square Brewfest, a celebration of microbreweries, is held each October and is award-winning. Each Friday residents enjoy a farmers' market, a crafts market and a First Friday Arts Stroll in which the downtown shops and galleries stay open late and offer live music and refreshments. Third Thursdays are a fun event with food, music, painting and more. Residents also enjoy public evening polo matches during the summer.
The Kennett Area Senior Center offers many senior services and programs to serve the growing population of retirees in the area. Programs include fitness and wellness classes, foreign language classes, book clubs, photography lessons and a full range of meals, outreach and information services. In addition, there are more than 10 nursing homes, assisted living facilities, continuing care communities and senior communities within a 15 mile radius of town.
Shopping is limited, but there is a Wal-Mart, and several more of them are within 15 miles (Kennett Square residents often head to nearby Delaware for tax-free shopping). There are also more than a dozen golf courses within 10 miles, half of which are private and half of which are public (Kennett Square's only golf course is private). Seven universities are within a 25 mile radius, and four major airports are within a two hour drive. New York City and Washington, D.C. are also just two hours away by car.
Public transportation is provided by SCCOOT, although service is limited to three to four stops in town as the bus makes its way to and from several nearby towns.
No hospital is within town limits, but St. Francis is just nine miles away in Wilmington, Delaware and is accredited by the Joint Commission.. It accepts Medicare patients. Another six hospitals are within 10 miles.
The Bayard Taylor Memorial Library has 50,000 books, six public computers with Internet access and holds an occasional "technology petting zoo" where patrons can learn about such 21st-century things as the Kindle, Skype and ebook downloading.
On average, this area receives 45 inches of rain and 22 inches of snow per year. Summer temperatures reach into the low-90s, and winter temperatures are in the teens, 20s and 30s. The sun shines 195 days of the year.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes | Is Pennsylvania Tax-Friendly for Retirement? Yes
A picturesque rural area, a rich history, a good senior center, a low crime rate, tidy homes and well-kept neighborhoods are reasons to consider Kennett Square for retirement.
Established by William Penn as a sanctuary for Quakers, the Keystone State was the site of two Continental Congresses. The Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution became products of the second congress in 1775. Pennsylvania also played a decisive role in the American Civil War. The Battle of Gettysburg gave General Meade with a key win and put an end to the South's Northern Invasion.
The Appalachian mountains are Pennsylvania's backbone. The state has 140 miles of shoreline along Lake Erie and the Delaware Estuary. Five regions - the Allegheny Plateau, the Ridge and Valley, the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the Piedmont, and the Erie Plain - help provide a diversity of landscape and climate. Although Philadelphia, the state's most populous city, may experience some subtropical temperatures, the rest of the state can experience cold winters.
Pennsylvania's economy is one of the largest in the country and the world. It's a leading coal producer and the only state to mine anthracite. Fortune 500 companies based in Pittsburgh include U.S. Steel, PPG Industries, and H.J. Heinz. Locomotives for GE Transportation Systems are assembled in Erie. Mushrooms, apples, and Christmas trees are a few of the state's agricultural products.
Although it was the second state to enter the Union on December 12, 1787, Pennsylvania has recorded a large list of firsts. Betsy Ross made the first American flag in Philadelphia. Philadelphia is also the birthplace of the nation's first zoo. Titusville claims the world's first oil well.
Population - 12,784,227
Persons 65 years old and over - 17%
High school graduates, percent of persons age 25+ - 89%
Bachelor's degree or higher, pct of persons age 25+ - 29%
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent - 7%
White persons, not Hispanic, percent - 77%
Median household income - $53,599
Median home value- $166,000
Social Security taxed? No
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
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