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I currently live in Charleston and while I do love the nice weather I hate being so far from my family. I've done a few searches of places to live and Charlottesville seems like a great place. I am 34, single, like to be outdoors on the weekend, not too much into bars and clubs, like to shop, and have fun. The reason why I don't like Charleston is that it's one huge college town. If you are 18-22 then it's perfect but if your older than it's not so great. I'm in the medical field and have heard great things about UVA. Just wondering if Charlottesville is really as great as I have read. Details about the city would be much appreciated. Thanks a bunch!
If you don't like the college town atmosphere of Charleston, I'm not sure if you will like Charlottesville. Charlottesville's total metro is right at 200,000, which includes the city and 4 counties. So it's smaller than Charleston, and the college town life may seem more upfront here. But I've never been to Charleston, so I really don't know.
Charlottesville is a great place worth checking out if you are interested. If you like history and places with character Charlottesville will be right up your alley. UVA brings in a good amount of culture and entertainment. I've never seen such a small stand alone place get such big name acts like U2, Metallica, Lady Gaga etc. While many complain about the shopping options here, really, for a city this size, it's pretty good. And if you get bored with Cville you can always go an hour east to Richmond for shopping or entertainment. Or 2 hours up the road to DC for all it has to offer. And if you like outdoor adventures, there is a plethora of options here. Too many to list off the top of my head.
Things I don't like are that Cville can have a pretentious attitude. It is a wealthier area and it shows in the attitudes sometimes. Also people drive like total idiots. And everyone is in a hurry to go nowhere. Or not in a hurry at all. There's no in between. And traffic is bad for a place this size. Not DC bad, but still bad. It is also expensive to buy or rent.
I find that everywhere has pluses and minuses. If you constantly dwell on the negative, you will hate everywhere you go. I try to remind myself of that when something about Cville irritates me. But all the negatives don't outweigh the positives in my opinion of living here. Ultimately it is up to you to know if you will like it or not. But if it gets you closer to family, that in itself can be the single most important thing to you. In either case, I hope this helps somewhat and I wish you luck in your search for a new home!
Charlottesville is a college town. The Central Virginia area is a really great place w/ a ton of options.
Cities (like Charlottesville) are seperate entities from the counties they are in, w/ seperate governments. Because of this it is generally more expensive to live inside the 'city limits' than a 'county area.' An example of how seperate and different: in Charlottesville City you HAVE to buy a special band to put on your trash bag or they don't pick up your trash(not including dumpsters). In some counties they don't have trash service and you take it to the dump yourself or pay a private trash company.
Traffic on work days and home football games can be really bad, the city goes from around 35,000 to 150,000. It moves OK but there are back-ups in the 'usual' areas but they don't last hours.
If you like outdoors you'll love this area, lot's to do and more not far away.
Charlottesville has great shopping, maybe not as high end as some of the stores in downtown Charleston, but really good variety.
In general, you really can't go wrong w/ Central Virginia, contrary to popular belief we have entered the 21st century here also. Lot's of hospitals, UVA, Martha Jefferson, Rockingham Memorial(harrisonburg,VA), Augusta Health(fishersville,VA augusta county.)
Last edited by emsman; 11-30-2011 at 05:27 AM..
Reason: more info added
I've lived in three "college towns" ... meaning smaller towns where the population of a major college or university formed a substantial percentage of the total population when classes were in session: Iowa City IA, Charlottesville VA, and Chapel Hill NC. In all three, "townies" would breathe a sigh of relief when the students went away for the summer, and there was a certain town/gown tension when students were present. Big events, like Homecoming, would swamp these towns as parents and alums flocked to the college.
If that's what you mean you don't like about life in Charleston, you're not likely to like life in Charlottesville ... or any other smaller town that hosts a large college/university. It's primarily the undergrads that are the atmospheric problem ... but I've found in the college towns I've lived in, the solution is, stay away from fraternity row, the places where the kids hang out, and areas near athletic stadiums when there's a big game. In Charlottesville, that meant Rugby Road and certain bars and restaurants at The Corner when I was a grad student there (though that was 35 years ago, so it might well be different areas now where the kiddies hang out).
I was in my late 20s/early 30s when I lived in Charlottesville ... my friends were other graduate students, and various townies. The only undergrads I had contact with when I lived there were students in classes and labs I was TAing. I loved Charlottesville, spent five years there and it's on my short list of places I may move to when I semi-retire a few years from now.
I would think that the areas are very different. As Vasily pointed out, I wouldn't consider Charleston a college town- more of a military town and port city. Charleston is also much more industrial... and historic. I'd guess you would find Cville to be a much quieter place, and as cosmopolitan as some think Cville is, you probably wouldn't think the same. It is less than a third the size and it doesn't have the draw that Charleston does for vacationers. Plenty of good outdoor activity around Cville and within an hour drive you wouldn't find many places with as many options. No ocean, but hey... the mountains around Cville are much prettier than those of Charleston!
No ocean, but hey... the mountains around Cville are much prettier than those of Charleston!
A friend of mine from Britain and I were walking around an old farm near Charlottesville years ago, and he commented, "You know, I've lived all over the world, and this is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen."
I walked across the Lawn every morning to class (and later to work), and every day I was amazed at how blessed I was to be able to live in such a historic and beautiful place.
I've just moved to Charlottesville from Charleston. Charleston didn't seem like a college town to me though I lived in the suburbs (Mt. Pleasant) and am married and too old to hang out at clubs (though I did work downtown on King Street). Charlottesville definitely has a college vibe to it and I feel the college presence more than I did in Charleston, but like Charleston, I'm not looking to hang out at clubs or with young people. I can say with certainty that I prefer Charlottesville to Charleston, but that's for a whole host of other reasons.
I can say with certainty that I prefer Charlottesville to Charleston, but that's for a whole host of other reasons.
Since both are on my short list of places to move for semi-retirement in a few years, I'd be really interested in hearing those reasons. I've lived in Charlottesville, but have only visited Charleston (when I lived in NC).
My husband and I are humanists and liberals....Charleston/South Carolina is in the heart of the right wing bible belt and living there wasn't exactly a great place for us for a very obvious reasons. Christianity is frequently thrown in your face, whether you want it or not. First thing out of peoples mouths when they first meet you, is to ask you which church you go to. That said, if you're a christian and a conservative or if you have no strong thoughts or opinions one way or the other on those topics...you'll love it Charleston. It is a BEAUTIFUL town with lots to offer. Its got beaches, history, resorts and some absolutely fantastic restaurants. The downside to Charleston/South Carolina is that education takes a backseat to just about everything. The public schools lack the proper funding and the teachers struggle to make a difference. Unfortunately, only about 50% of high schoolers graduate from high school. The states priorities are really warped in my opinion. There are some good private schools in Charleston, but they're also pricey. Porter Gaud is a good K-12 school, but runs about $15k+ a year. Also, racism is alive and well in South Carolina. I'm white and my husband is mixed race, but appears white and people think that because you look white, its OK to make racist comments and tell racist jokes. It gets old, real quick!!
Sorry I sound like a humanist liberal nuts, but these are beliefs (or lack of beliefs) that are part of who we are and we're proud of them. So a place that is blatantly opposed to who we are, just doesn't work well for us. But there are some really good people in Charleston, whom I adore and consider dear friends, that don't share my beliefs and make Charleston work for them. Its all in your tolerance level, and ours just wasn't that great. Charlottesville's full of christians and conservatives, but its not thrown in our faces....and that's all we really wanted. Have no interest in living in a place where everyone thinks alike...just a place where people listen to opposing views and beliefs without judging you. Now I'm droning on....sorry...
If you look for jobs here, don't overlook Martha Jefferson hospital, also in C-ville.
The UVA health system seems more interested in making money than anything else. A few months back when UVA reported how much money it had made, several UVA health system employees posted comments expressing their displeasure over the fact that they had not seen raises in a long time.
Both Carolinas are a paradox. Crossing into those states on the Interstate quickly produces billboards touting churches and pornography.
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