Submitted by Dramatic_Detail_7684 t3_zrtta3 in Pennsylvania

Hello! My family might be moving to Gettysburg, PA in upcoming months for a job opportunity. We have two under two, my fiancée and I. We also have pets (don’t know if this helps) I’ve traveled before out of the country, but never out of state and neither has my fiancée. I was hoping to get some advice on what we should plan on doing if we do move and what to expect once we get there. Any and all suggestions/advice is appreciated! I’m trying to be as thorough as possible so when it happens we have a game plan.



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m674 t1_j14n1se wrote

Depending on where you're from in CA, be ready for a bit of culture shock.

Here are some generalizations about some differences that hold true for a lot of the south central areas compared to CA. Our traffic is a lot better than a lot of areas of CA, but things may be further away than you're used to. A lot of areas of PA fall into a "anything you could need is within 20 minutes of where you live" radius which is really nice, but there's a lot less diversity for entertainment, eating out, and sometimes shopping. As someone else mentioned, our winters are much colder and we tend to get a decent snowfall at least once a year. Southern PA is NOT good with snow removal or driving in winter weather. We do not get harsh enough winter weather often enough compared to the rest of the northeast to be efficient with its removal or experienced in driving conditions (coming from the perspective of someone who has lived in other northeast states as well). Depending on the exact location of where you move, many pockets of PA have a subculture where people live their entire lives in a single county/town. If you are religious, your main sense of community will probably come from your place of worship. Christian churches are easy to find, even specific denominations and megachurches if that's your thing. Mosques and temples are significantly less common and you may want to narrow your house search within a certain community if you hope to be active in a Jewish or Muslim community. The cost of living is generally lower, although it's been increasing a lot the past couple years (although this is happening everywhere). Many PA public schools have been I in the news over issues of book bans, teaching evolution, internal scandals, LGBTQ+ respect, etc. However, some public school districts are actually pretty good. There are not many private school options. The political climate is quite different as well, although I won't go into that in great detail.


New-Grapefruit-6349 t1_j1639bo wrote

Gettysburg local here (M30s). Grew up in the Adams county (Gettysburg is the county seat of Adams county) moved away for several years and then my wife and I decided to move back. From reading the comments above it sounds like many of the other commenters have never lived here so I will try to give a more in depth dive.

OVERVIEW: Gettysburg is a small town (rough town population of 10,000) but compared to most other towns of similar size in PA and the greater Appalachian/mid Atlantic area it is thriving. Most of this is due to the fame it receives as a premier civil war tourism destination, but it is also a college town (Gettysburg College) and has a strong agriculture/agro tourism sector as well. If your a fan of Gilmore Girls my wife often compares Gettysburg to Stars Hollow. It has that charming small town feel and if you are here long enough you will get to know a lot of The local people which can be good or bad depending.

JOBS: as mentioned before a lot of the jobs are tourist based or agriculturally based. Gettysburg is surrounded by the PA fruit belt (primarily apples, but also peaches and cherries) Knouse Foods, maker of Mussleman and Lucky Leaf is HQd in the county and Mott’s also has a presence. Gettysburg itself does not have a ton of jobs outside of the industries i allude to above, sure it has healthcare/law/law enforcement jobs that all functioning towns have but there are not many white/blue collar jobs in addition to these. Many people commute to other towns/cities to find these jobs and live in Gettysburg (GBG) bc of the charm and lower cost of living. Gbg is located only about 10min north of the Maryland line so a fair number of people will commute to Fredrick MD (30min), Baltimore (1hr), or even DC / Northern VA (1hr +). Harrisburg / Hershey PA are both popular work locations also at 40+ min away. But since you said you would be moving for your husbands job you won’t have to worry about that.

FOOD AND STUFF: the mom/pop restaurant scene in Gettysburg is actually pretty good. Bc it’s a tourist town food is one of the things gbg does best. These are not Michelin star establishments but they get the job done. As opposed to what others have said in these thread, I would say gbg has excellent Mexican food, this is a result of a roughly 25% Hispanic population in the area due primarily to their work in the Agro industry. Pizza places and traditional American cuisine is also great. We have an award willing Irish pub (the GarryOwen) as well. I’d say it’s lacking most in Asian and African cuisine. As far as stores go gbg town center has lots of boutiques and shops for tourists. Outside of town is a Walmart (not a super Walmart though), several grochery stores, Michael’s, Marshall’s, and Tractor Supply. If you want more big name stores your best bet is Hanover (20 min East) or Fredrick Md. those towns have everything else target, sams club, Costco, Lowe’s, Home Depot, etc. also Gettysburg has a weekly farmers market and Adams county had world class fruit stands. There are several breweries/distilleries in town and quite a few wineries / ciders as well. As far as things to do it there is a lot of outdoor stuff, as someone above mentioned, State parks to the west with Michaux State Forest and Appalachian Trail, Codorus lake to the east, Cunningham, Falls, State Park, and Catoctin Mountain Park, just to the south in Maryland, and of course the battlefield. There is a ski mountain about 15 min south of town called ski liberty (owned by Vale), and there are quite a few golf courses around also.

POLITICS/ECONOMY: when I was a kid growing up in the area was way more rural feeling. Over time though this has begun to shift, I believe it is a direct result of many Marylanders moving into the state for tax reasons and then commuting to Baltimore / DC for work, as well as the influence of the college. This has had the result of Gettysburg becoming a more diverse and welcoming town than it perhaps was 20 years ago. Bc of the college /tourist business people are very friendly to just about everyone. There are good ole boys in big trucks who will fly trump flags but Gettysburg is also a very pro LGBQT town that holds LGBQT events / festivals as well. So like many areas you will get all flavors of society. The town leans liberal, the county goes conservative. I think Trump won the county last election with 60% of the vote. I’d say gbg is squarely middle class income wise maybe slightly lower middle class if you throw in the rest of the county.

SCHOOLS: there are 5 public school districts in Adams County. I don’t know how district operate in CA but in PA each one acts independently of each other, even if they are in the same county. So Adams county has Gettysburg School District , Upper Adams (north of gbg), Bermudian Springs (NE), littlestown (SE), Fairfield (SW), and Conowago Valley (E). None of these schools are bad. Conversely none of them are Harvard prep schools. They are all perfectly fine public schools. If I had to pick one as the best it’s probably Gettysburg SD, but it’s not head and shoulders above the rest. Also the size of these schools trend fairly small. Gbg and conowago valley would be the biggest with approximately 250 kids per grade with Fairfield being the smallest at 100 or less. Popular sports here are as you can guess football, basketball, baseball, and soccer. But wrestling and field hockey are VERY popular too which I’m guessing is unusual to someone coming from CA.

SUMMARY: I think gettysburg is a great place to grow up as a kid, a great place to raise a family, and a great place to retire. The area it lacks the most is building a career especially for young/mid career people and for people in their 20s looking for excitement. That’s why my wife and I moved to DC for a few years but eventually we decided to come back. it’s just a great little community. I commute a decent distance to work in another town. But my wife can work from home which is honestly the ideal scenario. A lot of people I grew up with moved away for/after college but like myself many have gravitated back over the years. My wife from suburban Philly and would never go back to that life. She’s smitten with the small town charm.

Hope this helps! If you have any specific question feel free to message me direct!


GraffitiTavern t1_j16z5kq wrote

I don't know about the Marylanders shifting things, that might be part of it, but other parts like York County and Franklin which get a lot of Marylanders haven't seen a similar shift. Not sure what the ultimate reason is, but I think a switch to 'new tourism' seemed to shift things a bit, like how all the breweries and axe throwing places came into town and brought some younger more liberal people. That was at least my perspective but I grew up in Fairfield, not Gburg proper.


Another-random-acct t1_j19f3vg wrote

I don’t think it shifts the politics a ton because Marylanders that look to move to the country are generally right leaning. I lived in a border town that was 80% Marylanders. It was also 80% Republican. It draws people that don’t like cities and want to be away from it all. Those kinds of people are typically Republican.


mary_cg78 t1_j17cn06 wrote

Will be in Gettysburg next month, where do I get the great Mexican food?


New-Grapefruit-6349 t1_j187o2x wrote

My current favorite place is a hole in the wall called El Sangarito’s. You literally have to walk through a laundry mat to get to it. Think of it as a Mexican food speakeasy. Tanya’s and tacos monarca are also solid. Tanyas is a restaurant in the back of a Mexican store, while tacos monarca located about a block from the town square.


theyeoftheiris t1_j153ng7 wrote

I'm scared for the culture shock you're in for. Given that this is such a big move, I'd recommend visiting first if you haven't already.


GraffitiTavern t1_j15e8q6 wrote

Wouldn't mind some extra info, are you saying you've never been to another state besides California? If so, I'd expect a culture shock.

Area has a lot of gorgeous nature, Appalachian Trail and like 3 state parks are directly west of Gettysburg under half an hour away. East of Gburg you get a lot more Dutch Country (yes horses and buggies are fairly common), west you get more of a mix of PA Dutch and Appalachian influence(good if you like bluegrass). North is the state capital, most urbanized part of South Central PA, although probably far smaller than you are used to(Harrisburg is about 50k people).

Politically, the region is pretty conservative, Franklin County especially so, Gettysburg is one of the more liberal(or at least less conservative) towns in the area.

Pennsylvania is like 8 different regions smooshed together, so a lot of interesting regional variation here. In Gburg, you will also be closer to DC and Baltimore than to any city in PA so good for trips to visit. Far less natural disasters than California, so that's a plus.

I'd recommend living just outside town so you can get some amenities and avoid the tourists in the summer. Also if you hear someone say 'dippy egg' that means fried egg.

You now are legally obligated to complain about NJ and MD for the rest of your life, welcome to PA :)


INVUJerry t1_j15zpkb wrote

If you're moving to Gettysburg, depending on where you're from in California, you might be in for a shock. Downtown gettysburg is touristy, and nice, but the areas where people's very "rural" and the people aren't always the nicest. I moved from Maryland to PA and stopped at a gas station after I got my license and realized it's exactly like my home town, just an hour away. Property in Adams county can be cheap, but check on the school system in the area. I'd also consider moving to certain parts of York county for the schools there. I live in Hanover and it's only 30-35 minutes from Gettysburg. Littlestown is okay if you stay outside of downtown, but the state police have a habit of camping out in the downtown area and pulling people over for suspected DUI's, and then taking you into the hospital to get your blood drawn even if you pass a field sobriety test because your "eyes dialated funny", so beware of that.

Your cars will rust faster if you don't wash them weekly with the road salt they put on the ground. Vehicle inspection can either be painless, or a pain in the ass depending on the shops you go to, so do your research and find a good one that wont rip you off and take you for a ride. Snow tires are definitely helpful depending on the type of car you have.

It gets super cold here, I'm not sure what you're used to, but during January and February we will have days/weeks where it wont go above the teens, and nights will be single digits. If you have an older home, it's VERY expensive to keep it heated. A lot of homes use heating oil which is non-taxed off-road diesel, last I bought some it was $4.89 a gallon. A second common way to heat the home is with propane, which is also expensive, so keep that in mind.

I will say I've lived here for 6 years and I love it, I have no intention of ever moving, but wow I need to do some upgraded to the house, because the winters are pretty brutal on keeping it warm.


screwycurves t1_j15qpsb wrote

Don’t plan on finding great Mexican food. But Italian is excellent. The mountains aren’t mountains by your measure, but you can still do stuff. It will be hot an humid in the some. Dark and cold in the winter. Of course, depending on where in Cali, it might not be too cold for you, but the houses aren’t made for the cold in my experience. The closest ocean is either New Jersey or Maryland. Just don’t. It isn’t like California. I mean. Go ahead, but don’t expect it to be SoCal beaches. The autumn are incredible. Soak them in and invite your fam and friends to come see you in late October. The people are rude (or they’ll seem that way) but if you get past their direct way of acting, they are actually more polite that a lot of Californians. (I’m talking Philly area with this one.) The people are actually quite great, but you will need to learn their habits. Enjoy the new way of relating.

Good luck.


No-Setting9690 t1_j14k6f1 wrote

Born in PA, mostly raised in Cali, been back in PA since 1989. Only thing I can say is I am still not used to the cold weather.


Unique-Public-8594 t1_j14rskg wrote

I’ve moved state-to-state 7 times.

It can be a great experience, particularly if you look for travel ideas and explore your new state extensively. Make the most of it. Even reading books about it’s history or novels, etc can help you appreciate your new area.

Before moving, consider selling or donating or throwing out half your stuff (the half you no longer need or want).

Research great school systems and try to locate there.

As you pack up, take some extra time to mark contents on the boxes. That will help later. Also think through what to put in your Open First Box (paper plates, napkins, eating utensils and cups at minimum plus a knife to cut boxes open and trash bags.

In your first week, try to find one favorite place. Maybe a coffee shop, a pub, a place to watch the sunset. Go back weekly, maybe the same day each week. Routine will help your sanity during a high stress time.

If buying a home, consider one with enough of a lot so if you want to add on in the future, you have that option. Due diligence: don’t buy anyplace with ground water problems, flooding, nor noise issues. Someone was on reddit recently frantic about the trash truck at the mall on adjoining property waking them up at 4:45a. Consider a neighborhood where neighbors socialize more easily

Use reddit, Facebook, NextDoor, etc to help you connect.

This is an opportunity to bond as a family. Friendships aside temporarily. Lean in.

In your new town, even if you are busy, volunteer. It’s a very obvious bold signal to your new community that these are newcomers we can trust. Plus it has a tendency to keep your spirits high.

As you meet people in your neighborhood and if they are ok with exchanging phone numbers, you can start a neighborhood text group. This will help everyone with random questions and hard to find information on google.

It would be nice if new neighbors came to you to bring a welcome gift, but don’t wait. Bake brownies. Put your name, address and phone number on a card on top and take them to your neighbors.

Host a party.

You got this. 7 states and I have no regrets. Learned a great deal about the country, made a lot of life long friends.

Hope this was accurate and helpful.

Gettysburg is beautiful, as is Amish countryside (the rural back roads), and Lititz. Hawk Mountain. Philly. Wyeth Museum. You are in for a treat.


Lopsided_Cup6991 t1_j157sd7 wrote

Hope you like lots of semi trucks


Past-Pomelo-7386 t1_j16gddn wrote

And horribly ultra conservatism. You will suffer culture shock.


Illustrious_Air_1438 t1_j17bham wrote

Based on post history it looks like OP is from a part of California that is just as conservative.


Yen-sama t1_j16hq3g wrote

As long as they avoid the T-zone, they'll be fine.

Edit: re-read the post. Looks like they'll be moving into the T-zone. Best of luck to them


RedStar9117 t1_j164m2k wrote

I'm from Gettysburg. It's a nice small town but thanks to the tourists it has a few extra amenities. The biggest thing is ust being ready to make the trip to DC metro area or atleast Frederick MD for some kf the things which would be closer to you in CA. My gf is moving here from Dallas next year so I'm prepping her for some of the same culture shock


apesofthestate t1_j14oson wrote

Welcome to Pennsyltucky. It will be a culture shock but don’t be afraid most people here are very nice.


dogmomdrinkstea t1_j18te82 wrote

*don't be afraid if you're a white non-LGBT without a functioning uterus. We still have reasons to be afraid here, thanks.


apesofthestate t1_j18zvie wrote

I actually agree with you and I’m not straight 😂

My profile is a public profile of my band (leftist folk punk made by PA queers) maybe you’ll enjoy 😉


Limp-Adhesiveness453 t1_j153lgx wrote

Cold weather, much less progressive people (not just politics, but your everyday people on the street), good that you're moving for a job, as good ones can be hard to find. BUT Gettysburg is a cute (albeit touristy) town. The weather is milder than in most of the state. Decent public schools. Definitely a big change from Cali (I lived there 6 years myself) but not a bad part of the state to move too! Just be ready for rude people, cold weather, and cold rain


moist-astronaut t1_j160osf wrote

get a nice coat before you even get here. carhart is my personal favorite but those are more like work coats. something with down, a hood, and longer torso/sleeves. don't be afraid of a big puffy coat. the cold sneaks up on you even for us PA natives

if you're living in a house definitely make sure you have a salt and shovel. you're probably gonna want a water softener of sorts cause a lot of PA has really hard water

you're gonna see amish people. don't point, take pictures, make a big deal about it. they're just living their lives and they've got some damn good food among other stuff. be mindful of driving near buggies

you can find a lot of good italian, eastern european, and PAdutch food. try it all! you're finally gonna have access to east coast bagels 🙏


Ganjaskate t1_j16xdvh wrote

As a born and raised PA person, I absolutely love it here. I live in a rural area with beautiful nature, but coming here from CA is gonna be a huge culture shock. It’s a lot more “country” and the weather is much colder than CA.

It really depends what you’re looking for. I love the small town, laid back feel. I get my meat from a local butcher, dairy and produce from a farm. I drive 5 minutes to hike the Appalachian or go fishing. Clean air, beautiful stars.

However, good luck if you’re trying to find any sort of night life outside of Philly and Pittsburgh.


Illustrious_Air_1438 t1_j17b1gn wrote

Based on post history it looks like OP is from one of the more rural parts of California, so it may not be that much of a culture shock.


UpsetHyena964 t1_j175dp8 wrote

Fall is beautiful. If you enjoy nature you're going to enjoy parts of PA. Winter... well winter veries from area to area but once thing is certain, compared to California(depending on the area you are from) winter is cold. In upstate PA this week we have at two days with a high of no more than 18°. Hope you can drive in the snow.. oh ice? Ever driven on black ice... haha that can be a fun learning experience


Responsible-Type-392 t1_j1cwjj5 wrote

Good luck man! I lived in Western PA and moved to the Bay Area.

Gettysburg is a great place to raise a family. Small town that is well preserved and still has a functional economy due to its tourism industry.

You’ll have a culture shock for sure, as people will be more conservative even if they are Democrats.

I hope you and the wife enjoy the outdoors because you’ll get to explore Gettysburg pretty quickly and will need to find your entertainment in nature. Although you won’t be too too far away from Philadelphia, DC, and New York.

The natural beauty really is something. The Appalachian mountains are the oldest on earth and the hide many wonders. That being said please invest in solid winter shoes and clothing, don’t cheap out. Pa can get cold.

Good luck man I’m sure your family will love it! I’m kinda jealous because I loved going to tour the battlefields. It really puts things into perspective and allowed me to appreciate the sacrifices people have made for this country.

Last but not least, don’t forget to get underneath your car washed after every winter to prevent rust. (Ideally you’d wash it more than once a winter)


Free_Personality8359 t1_j167f65 wrote

Life in PA is more laid back than California. I lived in California for a couple months in the late 70’s and hated it. People were rude and condescending


dogmomdrinkstea t1_j18sukr wrote

My daughter was born in Gettysburg, we live not too far away (not my choice). If you need an accepting area of anyone not straight/white/cis/christian etc, don't live there. There's still confederate flags, plenty of nasty trumpers, etc. If you have the chance to live somewhere more progressive, I'd highly suggest it. Even the Harrisburg burbs are much better IMO.


Dramatic_Detail_7684 OP t1_j1a2nn2 wrote

Thank you I really appreciate this. We’re used to living in a conservative town. Where we are located thats pretty normal here and being raised here were used to it. I’ll look into Harrisburg though, it would be a nice change. ☺️


Eggbread_69 t1_j17dbpp wrote

Lots of Trumpers out there.


MumenriderPaulReed69 t1_j18gmw2 wrote

Don’t vote like the people in Cali here.


Initial-Masterpiece8 t1_j18tv8w wrote

There were more trump voters in CA than TX


MumenriderPaulReed69 t1_j18uxuw wrote

Nothing to do with Trump. More so the other scum


Warselig t1_j199zgs wrote

Your original comment had nothing to do with Trump but people can’t help randomly bringing him up into every political discussion lol