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Northern Virginia? Do I even want to entertain this?


BlsdMama
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Another cross country move?  Northern Virginia?

 

DH was contacted about a possible transfer within his company.  The cost of living is INSANE there. 

I thought Midwest to West Coast was bad.  Obviously we could only take it with a COL adjustment.

 

But I have to know - all of you NoVa mamas - do you love it?  Will I love it?  We're seriously

entertaining the thought only because we have had no luck getting back to the Midwest and we

would be within driving distance then. Secretly, I love Oregon, though I won't admit it.  But the one thing I have against

Oregon is that it is impossible for us to drive home for a visit.  (Okay, not *impossible* but five kiddos six and under and 30 hours of driving and

potty breaks makes it feel that way.)  And flying a family of 12 for a short visit is a little on the spendy side so we haven't been home for three years.

We are planning a summer trip next year.  However, how awesome would it be to wake up early, drive like crazy, and be there the same day??

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We live in Northern Virginia. We are military and this is our second time to live here. For me the biggest con is the traffic. The pros are plentiful, though. Not only do you have TONS to do (Smithsonians, Mount Vernon, Monuments, etc) you are within a short drive to many other great places. Williamsburg, Gettysburg, Philly, etc are close by. From a homeschooling perspective this place is fantastic in my opinion! The cost of living is high and housing is very challenging for that reason, but if the salary would compensate for that a bit, then that would help.  We also love our church which probably helps my attitude about the area. Even though it's VA, it does not "feel" like the south to me. It is not "southern-friendly." On the flip side to that, it is a very transient area so churches, homeschool groups, and such are very welcoming to new families. 

 

I do think it's what you make of it. I think it also depends on where in NoVA you are. Some areas are not nearly as congested or expensive. That said, before you decide on a house/area, I would make sure the commute during rush hour is something you hubby is ok with. Some folks think the commute won't be TOO bad and then a few months later are kicking themselves. 

 

The fact that it would make visiting family easier for you would be a great selling point.  :001_smile:

 

 

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We were there 15 months. I loved it, kids too. Great people. Dh hated it and the traffic was horrible. I would go back, dh not. While you have tons of options for living, entertainment, shopping, homeschool groups, the trade off is cost and location/traffic. Since the kids and I could get off the roads before traffic time we did and had a range we stayed in and saved farther places for weekends. Like I said I loved it. But dh was so miserable there. And it was very expensive, hard to save being on one income.

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There are a lot of Boardies in the area

I'm sure that's got to be a selling point! :-)

 

COL is an issue, as is traffic, but we just work around it. Lots to do, nice folks, great churches, historical stuff, parks/nature areas, co-ops/CC, easy homeschool rules...a lot to like.

 

As far as pace, set your own.:-)

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Another military family here--although we actually retired here!  I never in a million, billion years thought we would retire here.  We live in a different part of town than most military people because my dh wasn't stationed at the Pentagon when we transferred here.  So we are out west more, as opposed to more south. 

 

I definitely hate the traffic, and how you really can't do much socializing in the evenings because everyone gets home so late.  Most things happen on the weekends.  And it's expensive.  Everything.

 

But we also have a fantastic church, and also not one but two amazing co-ops!  One is for elementary kids, and the other is a small one we started with 3 other families for junior high and high school.  This is a highly-educated area, so it's possible to find people whose educational goals are similar, so you can start a rigorous high school co-op, LOL.  So as far as homeschooling goes, this area has been really wonderful, and that is one of the main reasons we stayed when dh retired (that, and his clearances were worth more here than anywhere else, unfortunately, so this was the best place for jobs).  Also, there are so many extra-curricular activities for homeschoolers here.  Lots of sports opportunities (even not-so-popular sports like fencing or archery), drama groups, musical orchestras, debate, art opportunities, etc.  That has been really nice as well.

 

My dh now works at the Pentagon since he retired, and he takes a bus in.  It is a direct bus, so he drives to a metro park-n-ride lot, gets on the bus, and drives straight in to the Pentagon.  It takes right around an hour, door-to-door, but he has time on the bus to read, chat with a friend that also rides, or nap.  He comes home a lot less than stressed than when he was doing the actual driving!  So that hasn't been terrible, like I thought it would be.  Yes, it would be lovely to have a 5 minute commute (or even the 20 minute commute we had when we first moved here, and he was working in Chantilly), but it's been okay. 

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I live in NoVa, my husband retired from the military here. We live 5 miles from where my husband works. The trade off is that wee have a very small yard, but that means less yard work so a win I think. There is a lot of open green space and parks so there are plenty of places to play. We live in Lorton. Many people love the fairfax, Tyson's, Vienna area but it is much more congested there, less green space and houses are expensive. It can be a great place to live.

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I grew up there and lived there recently for 2.5 years, moving in mid '11.  There are many advantages to the area but it is very expensive and the traffic is horrendous- like all the time, not just so called rush hours.  My kids had no problems making friends and neither did we.   But, we are still military and were very happy over all to get stationed here.  Why?  The traffic and congestion were so stressful.  I didn't even fully realized nor did my dh until we moved here.  Our stress levels went down so much by moving to a non congested, calmer place.

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I'm a NoVa native that left the area about 5 years ago.  We now live in PA.  Although there are some great perks to living in the DC metro area, I would never, ever, ever consider moving back.  I hate traffic (my 12 mile commute down there was a 75 minute drive in the mornings....on a good day.)  Yes, we loved going to see all the great historical/cultural stuff down there, but who likes fighting traffic for most of the day to go to the zoo?  COL was bad.  I don't necessarily find that salaries are that much higher there to make up for the lousy prices of everything. 

 

I do miss some things, like great restaurants, a fabulous library system, and really good grocery stores.  Having lived there my entire life I thought I would miss it more than I do.  But I don't.  We still live close enough to DC (1hr 15min) to go for the day if we feel like it, which we do every few months.  

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There are a lot of Boardies in the area

I'm sure that's got to be a selling point! :-)

 

COL is an issue, as is traffic, but we just work around it. Lots to do, nice folks, great churches, historical stuff, parks/nature areas, co-ops/CC, easy homeschool rules...a lot to like.

 

As far as pace, set your own.:-)

 

Another NOVA Boardie. We are very happy here, been here about 17 years with no plans to move. 

 

Pros: What others said: lots and lots of stuff to do, great access to museums, field trips, history, TONS of homeschooling resources (it’s almost ridiculous how much is offered), great library resources. Lots of homeschoolers. 

 

Cons: Traffic and Cost of living.

 

I think the thing that makes it work is to pick an area and center your life there. Someone above mentioned Vienna/Tysons as being congested. We live in Vienna, but we are within five minutes of the library, grocery, drug store, farmer’s market, ballet school, etc. We could easily have dentist and doctors also in town. We live a block from the bike trail and can bike to great places/parks, etc. Church is the farthest thing for us and that’s in Arlington, about 20 minutes away; we’ve been there for over 20 years, met there, had our kids there, etc so we aren’t leaving although it’s a bit of a drive. 

 

Commute is also a big issue and a huge factor to consider. Depending on salary you may have to make choices about house size or amenities vs. commute time. We live closer in and both of us have 20 min. or less (with traffic) commutes. That has been a huge factor in making it very livable. 

 

As for pace of life, I think it’s sort of true, but I like what Chris said. You can choose your own pace. Being a homeschooler automatically kind of makes you outside the box anyway so it’s ok to move a little slower. I think you can choose the stress or not to some degree. That said, dh and I both have fairly low-stress jobs so that might effect our thinking. 

 

Feel free to pm me with any questions! 

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Thought of another pro, which is probably the biggest reason dh loves it here. It’s incredibly ethnically and culturally diverse. Pick a country and you probably will meet  someone from there. In our homeschool co-op we have Moms who are native speakers in French, Chinese, German, and Spanish teaching classes. We regularly go to the Asian grocery stores or Lebanese halal butcher or eat at a shopping center that is known as the Saigon of the US (for the large number of Vietnamese restaurants and shops). We like that we work and play with people of all races and religions and cultures. 

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NoVA is a BIG area (encompassing areas nearly 60 miles away from DC.  Traffic is bad...but, it all comes down to location...location...location.  I would seriously rent for awhile, because you need to figure out how you want to live in this area.

 

You have a mixture of very urban areas and very rural areas.  You can be in a townhome, walking distance to public transportation, walking distance to grocery and basic shopping, and 10 miles (or less) away you could be in the country with 3 acres, a large garden and horses down the street.  

 

We have a house nearly ready to rent out, by the way (as we are leaving NoVA for Naples, Italy in the next 8 weeks). ^_^ We are part of the Metro DC Statistical area (in south Stafford County...about halfway between DC and Richmond).  

 

Lisa

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I detest this area, frankly. The traffic makes me stubby, and there is zero guarantee it won't be a parking lot on 95 in the middle of the day. It's difficult for us to find activities that aren't expensive and very competitive- play an instrument and join the band? They all play 5! And go to Julliard in the summer. Tumbling- there's a team for that...why isn't your kid on it? Dance? Soccer? Swimming? Private lessons, expensive teams, lots of competition and a feeling you are perpetually behind somehow. I hear academics are similar in the public schools, lately we have met several ps "refugees" whose children left due to rather drastic emotional consequences from the rat race. I have run into that a bit with hs, but not much- we don't really do many hs activities. It is so expensive, and living here on one income is very hard- perhaps because of all the opportunities. I probably have the wrong sort of mindset or temperament or some kind of personality flaw, but I feel it acutely that I can't give my kids all the "extras" here- and I haven't felt that way other places.

 

We lived here previously and literally did everything, not knowing we'd be back. I am pretty sure my kids know more about Mt Vernon, all the Smithsonians except for Hirschorn, and the local trails, parks and hiking that the park rangers do. There are still a million more things to go and see (we see all the new exhibits at the museums, for example) but there is only so much American history we can do, so...we are kind of "over" that.

 

I'm also from the PNW, so...stay there! I miss it so.

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Traffic and cost of living will be horrendous. We moved from Alexandria a year ago, and are now in Oregon. Alexandria was ok because there is the metro and we lived right next to it, but I knew as our family grew we could no longer live in 800 sq ft. My husband was making tons there, (close to 200k) and we were not going to be able to buy something that didn't have an outrageous commute. We lived in Baltimore when we were first married, which is about 30 miles from DC. 2 HOURS EACH WAY.

 

Do I miss the Smithsonian? Sure. Do I miss the NoVa homeschool groups? Yeah, ok I guess. We took a 50 % pay cut and don't love Portland at all, but we can afford to live here. My husband has a 10 minute bike ride to and from work, and we are together as a family all the time.

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I grew up in nova and lived there as an adult for quite a few years, including while the kids were young for about four years.

 

I think it depends a lot on your personalities and the exact town you choose. If the cost of living isn't a big problem, then nova can be fabulous.

 

Cons:

 

Cost of living, especially housing and tolls. If you need to live along the toll road in nova, be sure to factor in tho huge toll costs. It can easily be several hundred dollars a month.

 

Traffic. Sucks and gets worse every year. Huge hassles.

 

Lots of people. I get claustrophobic around so many dang people all the time. The countryside has turned into one huge continuous metropolis. When I drove to highschool, there was one light between our house in Reston and the school in Herndon. It took about eight minutes to get to school. That same route is now at least fifteen mintues and at least a dozen lights. Everywhere is like that now. It is nuts.

 

Nova service people, etc, can be pains in the ass. Generally bad service compared to anywhere else I've lived in the Rockies or in WV or Ga. Jobs are easy to find, so service people are not very nice all the time because they can get another crap job in ten minutes. It isn't that all people are rude, just not as accommodating as they can be in other places, IME.

 

Pros:

 

Great homeschooling opportunities. Every kind of activity, tons of daytime classes, etc. anything you want, you can find.

 

So many amazing things to do and see in the region. If you will take advantage of some of the endless free or very cheap field trip opportunities, you will make up for some of that high cost of living.

 

Good public parks, trails, etc. They might be crowded, but they are abundant.

 

Depending on where your husband's job is, if you can live fairly far out in va, you can still have a lot of the pros and minimize the cons.

 

I love Loudoun County, and I grew up in Fairfax county. ffx is too close in and congested for me, but in Loudoun you're stuck with the toll road if dh has to head in towards the city.

 

If I were returning to Nova (never happening, we own a business here and will never leave), I would live out in western Loudoun if I had my druthers and unlimited money.

 

There is a metro station opening in Reston this winter, so if your dh needs to commute, and could use the metro system (check out the maps of the new silver line), then Reston could be a great option. IMHO, it is the best place to live in the region so long as you don't mind suburbia and can find housing you'd like and could afford. You could live anywhere in Reston and he could take a bus to the metro line.

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We didn't live in NoVA, but we did live in MD, southeast of DC, for four years. 15 miles from DC, and it took him an hour and a half each way in commute. (It would have been slightly better, I think, if he'd been able to take the Metro, but he had to bring his truck with his tools.) It was expensive and crowded and busy. We rarely went into DC on the weekends because DH was so sick of the traffic and commotion. For my second pregnancy, I saw midwives in Alexandria (NoVA), and it took two hours to get home from them. We didn't really like the area very much, although there is plenty to do there. It really just depends on your family's personality.

 

We were offered a chance to move over the line to PA when DH got a different job. He now commutes 45 miles each way (which does get expensive, but housing is cheaper here than it would be closer to his office), but it's a pleasant, low-traffic, "get on the road and just go" commute that takes him only 45 minutes. He doesn't mind it at all. That's how much he disliked the DC stop-start traffic. (And this area, we love.)

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I live 45 miles west of dc and you just learn to get around the traffic. I grew up on Long Island so really cost and traffic is all relative. Learn back roads and avoid rush hour. Dh goes to work at 4:30 and makes it in in 55 minutes. Northern VA is a more blue liberal area and when you travel out it gets more red and conservative. My county is uptight old money who don't have original thoughts.

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Just to mention- we lived in a great neighborhood right ourside the Beltway and my husband had a very good commute as that went to the Pentagon - usually between 25-30 minutes.Our housing allowance was such that we could afford a nice big rental house in that lovely neighborhood.  As I said, we did have great homeschooling opportunities and my kids did appreciate the different cutures that were around us.   BUT-   when I said the traddic was bad all the time, it really was.  You had bad traffic to go to a grocery storel  Bad traffic to do any kind of shopping and forget about Christmas.  People here sometimes ask why my dd goes to a co-op miles from our house.  Well we think it isn't really far- you see, it only takes us about fifteen minutes to get there which is much how long it took me to get to the co-op in VA that I was only about two miles away from.  And totally forget travelling if it is snowing- the entire area turns into a humungous gridlock.  I mean things like taking three hours to go three miles. 

 

We actually go to more theater and concerts here than we did there.  They are more affordable here and we get to the concert hall or theater in a matter of minutes versus an hour of horrendous traffic.  I do like parts of the area and think I will be visiting in years to come.  But to live there in the traffic, no, I can't do that since I know it so negatively affects our health.

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Just to mention- we lived in a great neighborhood right ourside the Beltway and my husband had a very good commute as that went to the Pentagon - usually between 25-30 minutes.Our housing allowance was such that we could afford a nice big rental house in that lovely neighborhood.  As I said, we did have great homeschooling opportunities and my kids did appreciate the different cutures that were around us.   BUT-   when I said the traddic was bad all the time, it really was.  You had bad traffic to go to a grocery storel  Bad traffic to do any kind of shopping and forget about Christmas.  People here sometimes ask why my dd goes to a co-op miles from our house.  Well we think it isn't really far- you see, it only takes us about fifteen minutes to get there which is much how long it took me to get to the co-op in VA that I was only about two miles away from.  And totally forget travelling if it is snowing- the entire area turns into a humungous gridlock.  I mean things like taking three hours to go three miles. 

 

We actually go to more theater and concerts here than we did there.  They are more affordable here and we get to the concert hall or theater in a matter of minutes versus an hour of horrendous traffic.  I do like parts of the area and think I will be visiting in years to come.  But to live there in the traffic, no, I can't do that since I know it so negatively affects our health.

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We didn't live in NoVA, but we did live in MD, southeast of DC, for four years. 15 miles from DC, and it took him an hour and a half each way in commute. (It would have been slightly better, I think, if he'd been able to take the Metro, but he had to bring his truck with his tools.) It was expensive and crowded and busy. We rarely went into DC on the weekends because DH was so sick of the traffic and commotion. For my second pregnancy, I saw midwives in Alexandria (NoVA), and it took two hours to get home from them. We didn't really like the area very much, although there is plenty to do there. It really just depends on your family's personality.

 

We were offered a chance to move over the line to PA when DH got a different job. He now commutes 45 miles each way (which does get expensive, but housing is cheaper here than it would be closer to his office), but it's a pleasant, low-traffic, "get on the road and just go" commute that takes him only 45 minutes. He doesn't mind it at all. That's how much he disliked the DC stop-start traffic. (And this area, we love.)

 

I went to those midwives with my third!! 

 

I was only coming from NoVA, so more like 45 min during non-rush hour, but I will *NEVER* forget the one time I was stuck on the beltway there near the 395 interchange where there are walls on the sides of the highway, so no pull offs, and I had my 3 & 5 year olds in the car with me, and there was big traffic, and I *HAD* to pee so bad!! It was so awful!! That was around month 7, and after that, I made dh take off work to go with me everytime so at least I could have peed in a cup or something in the back of the van if that happened again!! What a nightmare!!

 

That said, it sure was awesome having a homebirth attended by midwives that INSURANCE PAID FOR! Woot!! :) 

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I hate traffic, but it's not any worse in northern VA than in lots of other cities/suburbs. We get around it by not driving much. My husband's office is 10-15 minutes away on surface streets and he never has traffic problems. I walk to the library, grocery store, park, and metro stop. Once I'm at the metro, I can go anywhere. I would not want to live here if I had to drive to everything, or if my husband's commute was long.

 

I love Oregon and would stay there if I were you, but if it's really important to you to see family more often, it sounds like northern VA could be a good idea. I can handle a two-day drive to see people, but if it's more than that, we just don't do it. But for me, living close® to family hasn't ever been a really high priority, especially if I'd only see them every year or two and have to put up with a lot of hassles the rest of the time.

 

I do agree that the pace of life around me is different here than in other places, but as one poster said, you can set your own pace.

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Traffic in rush hour (or hours...) anywhere is a pain.  Of course, rush hour in Ft. Smith, AR is about 15 minutes ;), and driving from SW 85th st. to Fianna Hills is "a long way" -- it's relative.

 

My husband leaves for work (on a commuter van) at 5:30.  He is at his desk by 7am...and he has to drop everyone else off first (most people are at their desks by 6:30 or 7:45 -- unless there is an accident.  Yes.  There are accidents...sometimes, they are bad.  BUT, that isn't a feature unique to the DC area.  Most nights, my husband is home by 5 (during Furlough...only 8 hour days).  He commutes to the far side of DC (Anacostia area, by National's Stadium)...it takes him (door to door) 90 minutes.  When we lived in Richmond (for 6 months), 15 miles from his office, it would take him an HOUR if he left the house by 8am.  If he left at 7:15, 20 minutes.  

 

I've lived in Stafford County (off of 95) since 1993 (except for a short time...).  I've done the commute.  I did it before the construction for the flyovers at the mixing bowl and since.  I've done the 495 commute from Vienna (by FFX) to Alexandria...I've used the midwives in Alexandria (while living in Stafford).  My kids' orthodontist is in Springfield (mixing bowl). 

 

Traffic is a mindset.  For the most part there *are* ways to avoid it, to work around it...if you have flexible schedules (start/leave), telecommute options it is manageable.  Yes, driving my kids' to swim team in the afternoon was a pain...IF I went the main road (always backed up at 4:15pm), BUT, if I took the back road (a little out of my way, but not crowded), it wasn't horrible.

 

And, it very much depends upon where you live....and from what I've heard, the drivers, traffic and roads in Naples, Italy is much, much worse :D  

 

Families make it work.  But, don't go into it thinking that just because you are closer mileage-wise, that you will get somewhere faster.  It's all about the time of day.  We choose to live "out" -- lower COL, a bit more relaxed atmosphere -- but we make the commute work.  

 

I just don't want you to think that just because people live "out" they are sacrificing family time.  My husband has made every swim meet...made all of the evening events (scouts for the boys), special performances, etc.  Unless there is a bad accident, nothing has gotten in his way.  The only time we had issues -- it was due to his JOB requirements (expectations that he'd be there from 7am until 9pm), not due to traffic.  If your husband's job/boss is very in-flexible it will be more difficult to deal with traffic issues.

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I went to those midwives with my third!! 

 

I was only coming from NoVA, so more like 45 min during non-rush hour, but I will *NEVER* forget the one time I was stuck on the beltway there near the 395 interchange where there are walls on the sides of the highway, so no pull offs, and I had my 3 & 5 year olds in the car with me, and there was big traffic, and I *HAD* to pee so bad!! It was so awful!! That was around month 7, and after that, I made dh take off work to go with me everytime so at least I could have peed in a cup or something in the back of the van if that happened again!! What a nightmare!!

 

That said, it sure was awesome having a homebirth attended by midwives that INSURANCE PAID FOR! Woot!! :)

 

Yeah, something similar happened to me when pregnant with #2...My 18mo. old was in the car, I was heading home (back to Fredericksburg) from Richmond...traffic at a dead STOP.  People were getting out of their cars to go pee behind trees...but I couldn't leave my kid to get far enough for privacy...awful.  

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We have lived in the northern VA area since July 2001, and lived here previously in 1988-92. We were a military family and came back here in 2001 with no intention of staying past our assignment. But circumstances changed, my dh retired in 2005, got a civilian job in the Pentagon, we bought a house and here we are. I can really say I am very happy here and enjoy it. We have gotten used to the traffic and just try to "go with the flow." We time things when we can to avoid the traffic and if we can't we know all the different routes to get somewhere. That way if traffic gets snarled we can go an alternate way. Of course sometimes that's impossible, but we've learned to accept it. It made for great talking time with my dds.

 

One option for commuting that hasn't been mentioned is "slugging," which is unofficial car pooling. Here are two links which tell about it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slugging and http://www.slug-lines.com/Index.htm My dh slugs from a commuter lot about a mile from our house and gets the the Pentagon in 30 minutes. It takes him a little longer to get home because he usually has to wait longer in the line at the Pentagon. It is quicker, free, and less stressful than driving or taking the Metro. So that may be an option to look at when deciding where to live, depending of course on where your dh will be working.

 

Mary

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Okay, ya'all have me VERY nervous and I am really wondering if I am trading in being sad at being so far away (but really LOVING Oregon) in for despising our life.

 

We ARE rural people.  We live in town now (with a 1/2 acre fenced backyard in an almost 3,000 sq. foot house - which is FAR too big, btw.)

We are NOT urban, nor do we love (or remotely like) traffic.

 

The job is in  Sterling - south side if I remember correctly.

 

We were wondering if the commute is miserable all over or if we're just talking from Sterling to DC?

 

For example, let's say we wanted to live by Purcellville - that's 30 miles.  What is his commute going to look like?

 

Because right now he isn't enjoying long hours, but to trade in long hours for reasonable hours with a long, stressful commute.......  Well, I'm not sure it's much of a  trade off.

 

Frankly, if they can't make a big COL adjustment we *can't* move.  We have ten children.  We can't just rent a 3bdrm apartment.  It isn't possible.  Okay, it's possible but we will NOT.  Nor can we just toss another $1500 out of our budget to make up the difference in rent.  (We are DEFINITELY renting and ideally on property.)  We had a huge eye opening about COL from midwest to Oregon.  It looks like another one from OR to VA if we make that choice........

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I live in NoVa, my husband retired from the military here. We live 5 miles from where my husband works. The trade off is that wee have a very small yard, but that means less yard work so a win I think. There is a lot of open green space and parks so there are plenty of places to play. We live in Lorton. Many people love the fairfax, Tyson's, Vienna area but it is much more congested there, less green space and houses are expensive. It can be a great place to live.

You live in Lorton? lol

Me, too. :-) pm me!

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Whether you would "seriously" love living in Purcellville depends on what you're looking for.  You really ought to visit for a few days, drive around, and try to meet people.  I personally hate Purcellville because it's an awkward place with no particular character and no intrinsic charm.  (There are the remains of some lovely old buildings here and there, but suburban sprawl has choked out its former beauty.)  It's not a walking kind of place -- you have to drive everywhere, and there's often quite a bit of traffic.  The speed limit is frustratingly low, and there's a $200 penalty if you are caught speeding (this is on top of the basic fine).  The only attraction it would hold for me would be somewhat reasonable housing prices while still being in the D.C. area.

 

The drive from Purcellville to Sterling is about 30 minutes.  It's quicker on the toll road.  

 

We live in Alexandria and absolutely love it.  The cost of living is horrific, but the people are fascinating (we love our neighborhood!), and there's always something interesting to do.  We live minutes away from the Pentagon, where my husband works.  The metro is very close.  You can spend the whole day walking around just marvelling at the different neighborhoods, shopping in Old Town, and eating at the multitude of restaurants.  We are never bored.

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Sterling

 

You could easily live in western Loudoun or Clarke counties and have a very rural setting for your home life. I think you could do that and still have commutes under 30 min, perhaps 20. There are a few developments in western Loudoun, but it is mostly farms. I drove through the area last week through Clarke to WVA and it is quite beautiful.

 

The Greenway is an expensive toll road which gets you from Leesburg to Dulles airport outside of Sterling. It the connects to a slightly cheaper toll road which gets to I66 and DC. most people I know have commuting routes that completely avoid the Greenway. My sister lives in Leesburg and commutes to Reston, which would be a straight shot on the Greenway. She doesn't take the toll road and her commute is around 35 minutes. So, you aren't dependent on the toll road. Since, sterling is further out you have the option of lookin further for housing and there are many driving routes that could avoid tolls.

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Traffic is bad -- at certain times -- everywhere.  If you want country living, and are willing to commute to Sterling -- it can be done.  I haven't worked out that way (Sterling) since 1991 (lived in Reston at the time, and then moved to Vienna).  I remember that Great Falls/Oakton was really expensive (Vienna was expensive, too...but they were more.).

 

You really can't get the feel for the areas from a map.  I'm in the same position with our upcoming move.  I *think* I know where I'd like to live, but all I've seen are a map & photos.  I haven't driven it or actually "felt" how it lived.

 

We grew up in the Bay Area (CA)...my mom was never really happy in GA or FL, but fell in love with VA...after refusing to consider a move here for years.  I moved to No.VA in 1990 and they arrived in 1991.  They want to retire here (my dad has worked in DC since 1991, although has mostly telecommuted for the better part of the past 5 years).  My youngest brother has been commuting since 1996.  

 

Most of the large families I know live "out" -- meaning, out in the country, and have a commute. I don't know what the housing costs are around Purcellville...I'm pretty sure they are much less closer to Winchester, though.  From the map, it looks like there is a lot of area for rural living.  Just keep flexibility in mind -- and again, I strongly suggest you rent first -- just to get a better sense of the area, where you'll go to church (if that's an issue), kids' activities, etc.  Things like that always change a bit over time -- but you don't wan to "settle" in an area only to have everything you do be a pain to get to.

 

There are people who love it...and people who hate it.  But, if you choose to live out here -- there is a lot to love.

 

 

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Okay, ya'all have me VERY nervous and I am really wondering if I am trading in being sad at being so far away (but really LOVING Oregon) in for despising our life.

 

We ARE rural people.  We live in town now (with a 1/2 acre fenced backyard in an almost 3,000 sq. foot house - which is FAR too big, btw.)

We are NOT urban, nor do we love (or remotely like) traffic.

 

The job is in  Sterling - south side if I remember correctly.

 

We were wondering if the commute is miserable all over or if we're just talking from Sterling to DC?

 

For example, let's say we wanted to live by Purcellville - that's 30 miles.  What is his commute going to look like?

 

Because right now he isn't enjoying long hours, but to trade in long hours for reasonable hours with a long, stressful commute.......  Well, I'm not sure it's much of a  trade off.

 

Frankly, if they can't make a big COL adjustment we *can't* move.  We have ten children.  We can't just rent a 3bdrm apartment.  It isn't possible.  Okay, it's possible but we will NOT.  Nor can we just toss another $1500 out of our budget to make up the difference in rent.  (We are DEFINITELY renting and ideally on property.)  We had a huge eye opening about COL from midwest to Oregon.  It looks like another one from OR to VA if we make that choice........

 

Another thing you might want to think about is if you are going to live way out whether or not you are going to reap the benefits of the area. I’ve personally never understood living in Purcellville and commuting in to somewhere like Sterling. It’s still a longish commute with a high cost of living (lower than further in but still high compared to the rest of the country). But then you are really far away from DC and a lot the benefits of the area. It’s always seemed to me to be all the cons without the benefits. 

 

In all honesty, I love it here but I’m not sure if you love where you are and are looking for true country living without a commute that this area is going to work for you. 

 

You will have to make some tradeoffs. (Willing to be less rural, willing to have a higher COL, willing to have a much longer commute in order to have a rural life, etc). 

 

I do know people who have lots of kids (7, 8, 9 and more) who live close to us. They aren’t rich. :) They just are willing to have less space for their family or to give up other things to live here. 

 

If you are looking in Sterling, you might consider Reston/Herndon. It would be a close commute to Sterling and against traffic. Reston is a planned town and isn’t rural at all but it does have some quieter sections and nice amenities. There are a lot of homeschoolers in that area and the Metro is about to be completed there which gives you nice access downtown without having to drive. 

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If you are looking in Sterling, you might consider Reston/Herndon. It would be a close commute to Sterling and against traffic. Reston is a planned town and isn’t rural at all but it does have some quieter sections and nice amenities. There are a lot of homeschoolers in that area and the Metro is about to be completed there which gives you nice access downtown without having to drive. 

 

I live in Reston. I have lived here since I was 9 minus a few years as a twenty something. I love Reston. I love it's amenities. I think the the schools are great. I think the options for homeschool are great. I can't wait to walk to the metro station and go to the Smithsonian.Lots of homeschool groups. Park authority has classes for homeschoolers (nature, swimming, etc). I truly appreciate the principles on which Reston's founding was based and most people who live in Reston live at least to some extent on those principles. 

 

BUT Reston is not rural. I can take long nature walks in Reston (that's part of the planned design). BUT Reston not rural. 

 

I personally commute to Sterling for my part time job. It is definitely an easy, peasy commute. BUT Reston is not rural. 

 

Another thing to consider is your personal politics. Some parts of NoVa are pretty mixed. Some areas are very conservative and some areas are quite liberal. 

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I am fervently praying the job in Iowa becomes his and I am really UNSURE about the position in Virginia. He is just so very *done* with here. But he hates traffic. A long commute, especially a commute with other drivers is going to kill him from stress. He doesn't like the commute now and it's 35 minutes of scenic highway through the valley. It's gorgeous and very few other drivers.

 

Rural. Very, very rural. Like goats rural. German Shepherd dog rural. Huge garden rural. Think farm. Absolutely never town again if we can in any way help it. Assuming they make the necessary COL adjustments we'd have between $2,400 - 3K per month for rent to maintain our same current lifestyle.

 

And we're not joiners, so the co-ops etc. wouldn't be attractive. We'd go see the sights, but just like here, it would be a weekend thing to travel to like Portland or the coast is for us now.

 

I suspect this is a very bad fit. :(

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NoVA is a BIG area (encompassing areas nearly 60 miles away from DC.  Traffic is bad...but, it all comes down to location...location...location.  I would seriously rent for awhile, because you need to figure out how you want to live in this area.

 

You have a mixture of very urban areas and very rural areas.  You can be in a townhome, walking distance to public transportation, walking distance to grocery and basic shopping, and 10 miles (or less) away you could be in the country with 3 acres, a large garden and horses down the street.  

 

We have a house nearly ready to rent out, by the way (as we are leaving NoVA for Naples, Italy in the next 8 weeks). ^_^ We are part of the Metro DC Statistical area (in south Stafford County...about halfway between DC and Richmond).  

 

Lisa

 

I grew up in Stafford.  My mom and brother still live there. 

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PROS:

 

1.  There are lots and lots of homeschoolers.  Patrick Henry College is in Purcellville, and there are excellent speech and debate programs in the area.

 

2.  The general population is highly educated.  You can have an interesting conversation with almost anyone.

 

3.  Even though the area is far more built up than it used to be, there is still a lot of rural land.  It would probably be very easy to find a house to rent or buy that meets your specifications.

 

CONS:

 

1.  This sounds trivial, but it's not.  Loudoun County has an extremely high incidence of Lyme Disease.  You have to be very careful about ticks.

 

2.  You have to drive almost everywhere.  It gets tiring being in the car all the time.

 

3.  The cost of living is insane.  Private school in D.C.?  Close to $40,000 a year per student.  The prices that you might pay somewhere else, multiply by five and that's what you'll pay in this area.  (Actually, I'm talking about "close in," but even farther out in the suburbs things are very costly.)

 

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We live in Western Loudoun and I grew up in Fairfax County, which is where my parents still live. I agree that there are lots of great resources and wonderful playgrounds and classes for the kids. Traffic is a non-issue for us at this point in our lives since it's not that bad IMO in Loudoun, especially at the hours I need to travel, and my husband works from home. On the days he does go into the office, he works off-hours to miss the traffic. Not everyone has that flexibility, though, and that would be a major consideration for me if we didn't. I spent hours of my life sitting in traffic from Tyson's to Fairfax my 20's.

 

I don't know where you fall on this issue, so it could be a pro or a con. I have found Loudoun County to be a very conservative evangelical-based homeschooling community. If you don't fit into that mold, good luck. They don't want you, which amazes me considering how highly educated most people in this area are. I would actually love to move for this reason and because of the highly competitive nature of the area. I'd love to live somewhere where the kids aren't in structured activities every minute of the day so that we could have more opportunities to just hang out with friends, but that seems hard to come by once the kids hit a certain age.

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I don't know where you fall on this issue, so it could be a pro or a con. I have found Loudoun County to be a very conservative evangelical-based homeschooling community. If you don't fit into that mold, good luck. They don't want you, which amazes me considering how highly educated most people in this area are. I would actually love to move for this reason and because of the highly competitive nature of the area. I'd love to live somewhere where the kids aren't in structured activities every minute of the day so that we could have more opportunities to just hang out with friends, but that seems hard to come by once the kids hit a certain age.

 

:iagree:

 

Loudoun is definitely very conservative. The liberals have their own pocket in very nonrural Reston. 

 

All of Northern Virginia is very competitive and you learn to let it roll off and ignore it. Sometimes it seems every person you meet has a kid who is star in club soccer, first chair violin, and in the gifted program. Since one of my part time jobs is teaching swimming I used to deal with a lot of parents who wanted to argue with me about passing their child to the next level. I shut the conversations with the father of the next Micheal Phelps down quickly. 

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CONS:

 

1.  This sounds trivial, but it's not.  Loudoun County has an extremely high incidence of Lyme Disease.  You have to be very careful about ticks.

 

 

Strange, but this actually occurred to me almost immediately.  We had a scare a few years ago and it made me a lot more aware.  Definitely a downside... A huge risk factor. :(

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I don't know where you fall on this issue, so it could be a pro or a con. I have found Loudoun County to be a very conservative evangelical-based homeschooling community. If you don't fit into that mold, good luck. They don't want you, which amazes me considering how highly educated most people in this area are. I would actually love to move for this reason and because of the highly competitive nature of the area. I'd love to live somewhere where the kids aren't in structured activities every minute of the day so that we could have more opportunities to just hang out with friends, but that seems hard to come by once the kids hit a certain age.

 

Shouldn't be an issue for us.  Thank you, though, for the heads up. :)

We lived in a little pocket of Christian conservatives here in OR and loved it, lol.  ;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Still no word.........  I honestly cannot decide to hope for it or not. 

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