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Old 06-16-2008, 04:22 AM
13 posts, read 37,779 times
Reputation: 10



I have just been accepted into an a graduate program, and I will be moving with my wife to Norfolk in January.

I have been living abroad in Prague, Czech Republic for the past 5 years, and my wife is Czech (and thus has lived here her entire life). We are excited about moving to a new city, but nervous of the fact that it is about 20% the size of our current one (it seems as though Norfolk has roughly 300,000 inhabitants and Prague has roughly 1.5m). We are certainly accustomed to lots of city/cultural activities as well as many of the conveniences of european living (e.g. public transportation, outdoor festivals, great nightlife, etc.). We have lived in both countries and are well aware of the national differences, but are unsure about the city differences.

I have a general question to anyone who lives or has lived in Norfolk: what are/were your impressions of the city as a whole? Did you find that there were plenty of things to do? What did you like/dislike about the place? Were you generally impressed or disappointed with the lifestyle?

And, more specifically, does anyone have any suggestions on where to start looking for a place to live and how much we should expect to pay? It seems that if you get a place near the downtown, there are a number of walkable locations (we're big walkers). I have looked around, and Ghent seems like a nice "bohemian" style neighborhood, but my experience has been that those types of neighborhoods are generally not very affordable either.

While we are excited about moving to a new place, we are somewhat nervous about such a commitment to a place that neither of us has never been (at least 3 years). Any help is greatly appreciated.

I understand that I may be opening up a Pandora's box with these questions (as the former are very general), but I have found lots of conflicting (and often unhelpful) information in this and other discussion boards with these questions in mind.

Thanks very much in advance.

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Old 06-16-2008, 04:55 AM
Location: Va Beach
3,508 posts, read 11,900,947 times
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Norfolk, Hampton Roads in general is very versitile. Many people from all over due to the military bases we have here. Which college will you be attending? If you are looking for a home, townhome or apartment, you can start with realtors. Rose & Womble, Prudential/Decker, William E. Wood, they all have rentals. If you would like to start out with a Studio Apartment, normally they run about 800 a month. One bedrooms run anywhere from 900-1200, depending on what part of the area you are in. There are many nice complexes around here that have what you like to enjoy. Pools, laundry facilities (if the apt. doesn't have them already), social gatherings etc. etc. It just depends on where you would like to live.
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Old 06-16-2008, 05:25 AM
13 posts, read 37,779 times
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Thanks for the info Erma. I will be attending Old Dominion. We would probably be looking for something small. We are in our late 20's and currently live in a (very) small studio, though it's enough for us. $800/month sounds reasonable for a place so close to the ocean (this entire country is landlocked!). As I mentioned previously, the Ghent area I've heard is nice/friendly yet expensive. However, it's been my experience that going the extra mile on rent can make for a better quality of life (although that can certainly be taken to extremes and/or out of context).

I suppose that there will be something for everyone in each area, it's the area we're more concerned about. Is there any particular area with good cultural activity/nightlife? When we previously lived in the states, one thing we were disappointed about was the complete inability to walk down the street/go downtown and meet up with friends for a day/evening out. It was a small town we lived in and everything was really spread out. We don't particularly care to recreate that experience if at all possible.
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Old 06-16-2008, 05:53 AM
Location: 757
328 posts, read 1,403,270 times
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At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I second the GHENT area of Norfolk. It is indeed close-by to ODU. GHENT/Downtown Norfolk does have a good nightlife for the 20's crowd. Where I live I could easily skate, bike, or even walk to a Grocery Store, Public Library, 7-11, bars, Various Restaurants, Consignment Shop(s), a Bakery, Walgreens, Rite Aids, UPS Store, Post Office etc. There is also a semi-decent 3 story Mall real close as well (has a Nordstorms etc).

Norfolk has its good areas and well not so good areas but thats like any place as we all know. GHENT is one of the better areas. Even so, you are still a close drive to VA Beach which also has decent night-life and things to do. Also, in addition to what Erm said, check the Virginian-Pilot our local newspaper. I found my place in there in GHENT and I am very satisfied. Neighborhood is safe too.

Last edited by BikesareBetter; 06-16-2008 at 06:15 AM..
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Old 06-16-2008, 07:58 AM
Location: Land of Thought and Flow
8,323 posts, read 13,147,286 times
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Although Norfolk is not that big of a city, you really have to look at Hampton Roads as a whole because they are all intertwined. For example, I live in Virginia Beach, work in Norfolk, and spend many weekends in Hampton or Williamsburg. Whatever one city lacks, a neighboring city has it.

And just to give you an idea of how intertwined the cities are: Military Highway runs through 3 cities (Chesapeake - Virginia Beach - Norfolk) in a span of about 1.5 miles.

Ghent is one of the only areas in norfolk I would consider living. Many of the other areas keep getting restored only to become run down again in a short period of time (OceanView for instance). It is definitely more expensive there, but you are paying for quality.
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