A few weeks ago, our publisher ran across an article about the downsides of living in New York City (read it at your own risk — it starts out with a poop story and doesn’t get much better). It hit my inbox late on a Friday night. “Read this,” the email said, “and show that Happy Valley is the opposite.”
Proving that Happy Valley is the opposite wasn’t a hard job. People love it here. First, there are the incredible outdoor resources — 750,000 acres of public lands, rivers and lakes that provide an absolute playground for hiking, biking, climbing, fishing and kayaking. There’s the livability of being in one of the top-rated places in the country to live, work and play. And there are opportunities to be involved with some of the brightest and best industries that are changing the world. Then there are all the little things: short commutes, low cost of living, more time to do the things you love.
But don’t just take my word for it. Here’s what some city transplants have to say about moving to Happy Valley.
Getting to hear bird and nature sounds versus traffic. Our city house got lots of noise from a busy highway.
Easy access to lots of hiking trails.
Air is cleaner and smells fresher.
Not having to sit in traffic to get anywhere!
Opportunities to appreciate Pennsylvania's natural beauty are truly only a few miles away in Happy Valley — world-class mountain biking and fishing, and wonderful hiking, kayaking and star gazing. And the best part: these activities are quiet and peaceful in Central Pennsylvania. Unlike at recreation destinations close to big cities, you often have nature to yourself!
Having a major research university as a neighbor gives you access to incredible resources for raising kids: countless educational programs, events, sports and music. Vibrant big-city opportunities in a small town.
— @ AveryPeechatka
First and foremost, it’s a wonderful place to raise a family and the main reason that we left Boston. It’s safer, cleaner and our whole family lives here. We also love the energy that the university provides with it’s sporting events and so on. The pride of Penn State, its students and alumni are unmatched and makes Happy Valley an exciting place to be!
Moving here was the complete opposite of being in New York City. I met so many people when I was starting out here, so many people who wanted to help my business grow — it was the total opposite of the NYC work culture.
The little things, like the luxury of having a driveway or being so close to Wegmans … That’s been a joy. Everyone is happy. It’s such a cool experience.
Moving here has made me a big evangelist for Happy Valley. Living in the city isn’t everything — that’s a narrative pumped out by big companies who need thousands of laborers. You can take ownership of the way you work and how you want to live. Break the narrative and think about how your life could really be if you left the city and moved here.
There's a totally different culture surrounding work-life balance in Happy Valley. Unlike a huge city where you're expected to be a part of the hustle and bustle, here in Happy Valley it's totally normal to take a break to go for a hike during the middle of the work day or to have a casual meeting in a community coffee shop.
It's like you can really have it all here: The house that's perfect for your particular family, time to do the things you love, great relationships with neighbors and colleagues. Now that I've lived in Happy Valley, I can't imagine life anywhere else.
We’d like nothing more than to write a sequel to this article. Comment below or email to tell us your favorite things about living and working in Happy Valley.
Cara Aungst writes about industry, innovation and how Happy Valley ideas change the world. She can be reached with story ideas and comments at Cara@AffinityConnection.com.