Go Back in Time to Mechanicsburg

November 16, 2018 • Fenny Peiffer

Most people don’t think to put Pennsylvania on their list of retirement destinations (even though they should) and probably haven’t put a hidden gem like Mechanicsburg on that list either. With popular hotspots like Arizona and Nevada attracting everyone’s attention, it’s about time that one of Smart Asset’ stop cities for retirees moved to the head of the class. It’s a history buff’s dream, every season looks more beautiful than the next, and it looks fabulous decked out in holiday lights. Home to the award-winning master-planned neighborhood of Silver Spring and Traditions of America 55+ community, the quality of life in Mechanicsburg is one reason neighborhoods like these make themselves right at home.

Aptly named after a settlement of Conestoga Railroad mechanics, this Cumberland County borough of under 10,000 encompasses “old” Pennsylvania. Located 8-miles from Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg is a nostalgic community with shaded tree-lined sidewalks so charming one expects to see a paperboy doing his morning rounds and historic downtown buildings that when dusted in snow, resemble spiced gingerbread walls. Although the town has made some modern upgrades over the years with new housing developments, and businesses peppering the pastoral landscape, Mechanicsburg hasn’t lost the historic authenticity that makes it such a beloved landmark.

Heritage Mechanicsburg Museum Association has taken the preservation of the town under its wing acquiring four historic buildings including the Old Passenger and Freight Stations as well as the Stationmaster’s House. Since being incorporated in 1828, Mechanicsburg has lived up to the motto “a good place to live.” History is woven into the fabric of the town from Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Park, and Peace Church built in 1798 to the relics of Mechanicsburg’s rich railway history. Ballfields and golf courses are tucked amidst centuries-old architecture and nestled into Pennsylvania’s beautiful northeastern landscape.

Fast forward to the present, and Mechanicsburg has grown into a lively little tourist hub chock full of dining, shopping, and cultural treasures. Somehow it’s managed to retain genuine ambiance from a century ago while being a functional town for residents and out-of-towners. Local traditions are the bread and butter of this not so sleepy community with festivals like the Jubilee Street Fair inviting tens of thousands to celebrate what is now 90 years of reuniting friends through music, great food, and carnival festivities. Slow and steady is how Mechanicsburg likes it, and folks are willing to travel to the city for big box amenities if means coming home to their peaceful town that hasn’t strayed too far from memory lane.

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