Just over a year ago, Charise Miller’s commute increased — a lot. It now takes her about an hour and a half to get to her New York City office, instead of 10 minutes. But she’s fine with that, because it means she doesn’t have to spend two hours looking for a parking spot after work, like she did when she lived in the Bronx, near Yankee Stadium.
There is ample parking in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, a borough of Monroe County, 75 miles west of New York and across the Delaware River from New Jersey where she now lives. There is also plenty of breathing room.
From almost every window in the colonial six-room that Mrs. Miller, 49, a New York State administrator, owns with her husband, Charles, a truck driver who is also 49, they can see the Pocono Mountains. Deer, wild turkeys and even a bear wandered into the three-acre property they bought in March 2021 for $499,000. “We are dead silent in the middle of their environment,” said Ms. Miller.
New Yorkers have searched for open space in the Poconos for centuries, but the Millers are among a recent influx of urban dwellers settling in Stroudsburg, a community of about 5,900 that calls itself the “Heart of the Poconos.” Stroudsburg is getting hipper, albeit busier. “But if it weren’t for people from New York and New Jersey, we wouldn’t have the diversity and culture we have today,” said the city’s part-time mayor Tarah Probst, a regional outreach coordinator at a drug and alcohol center. rehabilitation facility.
Ms. Probst, 49, is a Democratic nominee for a seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, but she said she will not leave her position as mayor, a job she has held for more than six years, until she learns that the community in good hands.
It seems to be going in the right direction. Many shop windows on the old-fashioned Main Street take on new personalities: a bike shop becomes a meadery; a space that once housed a dry cleaner is now Marita’s Cantina, a popular Mexican restaurant.
Ian Schreier, the restaurant’s owner, who lives in neighboring East Stroudsburg, a state college borough of 11,000, said the arrival of new residents began long before the pandemic. Since 9/11, he noted, many of the area’s vacation homes have become primary residences: “It seems like with every other problem people come here and discover a new world.”
Stroudsburg now has a Starbucks, but that’s not so bad, Mr. Schreier admitted. “They’re bringing so much traffic to this city, and I’m really excited to rip off their customers,” he said. “I’m full. We’re all full.”
Angela Sessoms, 68, a retired speech teacher, moved from the Bronx to Stroudsburg in 2004 so that she and her sister, Barbara, 70, a retired correctional officer, could adopt and raise children with special needs. She now has four adopted children, ages 18 to 23, and her sister has two, 17 and 20. The sisters have moved from one place to another in Stroudsburg and most recently paid $420,000 in May for a five-bedroom house. , three-and-a-half-bathroom house seven miles outside the town. The area is diverse, she said, and the residents are warm and friendly.
“We had to get used to people saying hello to us a bit,” Ms Sessoms said.
What you will find
Stroudsburg occupies just two square miles, with Interstate 80 running through the southern portion. It is bordered on the east by Brodhead Creek and East Stroudsburg (which has less of a Main Street USA feel); and west through Tannersville, with the Crossings Premium Outlets.
The community is clearly undergoing a transformation. Anchored off Main Street, the tent of the old Sherman Theater still hosts concerts and shows, but the building that housed the nation’s first JJ Newberry’s, a five-and-dime chain, is now occupied. by the Renegade Winery.
Big-box retailers have invaded the area, and many of the small mom-and-pop stores in downtown Stroudsburg are gone. But new independent businesses are also emerging, including Pure Day Spa, Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop and the Cure Cafe.
“It’s only gotten busier,” said Nicole Murray, an area resident who is the association director for the Pocono Mountains Association of Realtors. “I remember going down Route 80 and seeing no other cars. The older folks in town will say, ‘I remember there wasn’t even a Route 80.’”
Although Monroe County has the highest average effective property tax rate in Pennsylvania — 2.37 percent — taxes are still lower than in suburban New York, and homes are generally more affordable at various price points, Ms Murray said. Today, those for sale aren’t getting 25 offers like they did at the height of the pandemic, he said, but they might still get three or four.
“There are just a lot of things to do here,” she said. “And it’s beautiful.”
What do you pay?
As of July 15, there were 83 homes for sale in the zip code 18360, according to data from the Pocono Mountains Association of Realtors. That included homes in the Stroudsburg neighborhood, as well as the Stroud, Hamilton, Jackson, Pocono, Smithfield, and Chestnuthill townships. Prices in the area ranged from $200,000 for a ranch house on a “contractor’s dream” property on Sherwood Forest Road, with a foundation, frame, roof, septic and new heating system, up to $2.399 million for a five-bedroom, five-bath, 1824 farmhouse on 100 acres.
Sales have fallen slightly in 2022, but prices have risen. As of the end of June, 146 homes were sold for an average price of $312,079, with an average time on the market of 39 days. By contrast, in the first six months of 2021, 151 homes sold for an average of $285,786 — about 8 percent lower — and on the market for an average of 48 days.
Liz and Sergio Ferro moved to the area from Millstone, NJ, in 2011, paying $193,000 for a five-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom house six miles from downtown Stroudsburg, thinking it was an ideal place for raising children. Ms Ferro, 39, a Covid-19 contact tracer, and Mr Ferro, 44, a general manager of a construction company, now live near a lake with their 15-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter, and they love swimming, fishing, hiking and kayaking. So do their gentle neighbors.
“Everyone knows each other and is super nice,” Ms Ferro said. “And everywhere you go, you can just sit down and take a nice break.”
Serving students in the Stroudsburg and Delaware Water Gap boroughs, and Stroud and Hamilton townships, the Stroudsburg Area School District includes four elementary schools, a middle school, a middle school, and a high school. As of August 2021, 49 percent of the district’s 4,700 students identified as white, 19 percent as black or African American, 24 percent as Hispanic or Latino, 4 percent as Asian, and 4 percent as two or more races.
According to the state’s Department of Education, students taking the SATs in 2019 at Stroudsburg High School, home of the Mountaineers, averaged 534 in math and 540 in literacy, compared to state averages of 537 and 545.
The Martz Bus company provides daily service from the terminal on Foxtown Hill Road to the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. With a few exceptions, Stroudsburg is the last stop on the way to New York and the first stop on the way back.
Nine buses depart for New York on weekdays between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m. and on weekends there are six to eight buses daily. The journey takes about 90 minutes. A one-way ticket costs $46; a 40 one-way book is $669.
The Monroe County Historical Association is located in the stately Stroud Mansion, a 12-room house on Main Street that was built in 1795 by Jacob Stroud, a Revolutionary War colonel who founded Stroudsburg in 1799. The house, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, remained in the family until 1893.
For weekly email updates on residential real estate news, sign up here. Follow us on twitter: DailyExpertNews.