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Old 08-06-2010, 08:16 AM
 
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Hi Amy! It's nice to "see" you. We are relocating back to the area. We plan to look around in the Sterling/Cascades and are considering purceville/lovetsville area as well. That's where we lived before and prekids (Sterling/Cascades), but it's still a nice area with kids. We are now trying to decide where specifically for schools in a few years. We have a friend that's a teacher in Loudoun County and she's given us some advice.

I think if you want to go further out there is Leesburg (but my friends told me that the taxes are higher) and I read a post the other day that the schools weren't that great (one person's opinion). Our friends moved from Leesburg to Lovetsville in December and they love it. They both commute to the Sterling area as well. We also have friends that live in Purceville and they are happy. Though, I know my friends that live in Lovetsville need to go to Purceville or Leesburg for a Target, Walmart or a grocery store.

We were up the weekend of Memorial Day weekend and my husband had an interview at 10am on Friday. It took us about an hour though we were coming from Stephen's City. I know that's not typical. When staying with our friends in Lovetsville it took about 25 to get to Leesburg and it was 45 to Herndon using Rte 7 though I could have taken the Toll Road and the Greenway isn't to far.
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Old 08-06-2010, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Fort Mill, SC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by claremarie View Post
And then there's traffic -- not just commuting traffic, but "getting errands done" and "weekend outings" traffic that can be even worse. We lived in the DC metro area for 25 years before relocating to a smaller midwestern community a few years ago. Now I have a considerably better understanding of how fast-paced and frenetic much of the DC area really is. Unless you're willing to live WAY in the outer fringes of exurbia, you're not really going to find anything that could reasonably be described as "slow-paced."
That's exactly the point I've been trying to explain to my husband. It's not even just the typical rush hour--which has expanded into pretty much all hours--but that daily trips are a mess as well and have to be timed just right. Ugh. We don't necessarily mind living WAAAYY the heck out there... though I'd like decent access to a grocery store and a Target.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RestonRunner86 View Post
I would personally recommend Berryville, in Clarke County, to you.... I've always found the Route 7 Corridor between Winchester and Leesburg to be a very relaxing drive anyways, and then from there the Toll Road is a breeze (albeit a very expensive one).
Ah, I remember Berryville--Mt. Weather, right? That's something to look into. I also think that drive is beautiful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by michgc View Post
I think you will like living here more as a married person than as a single person. I lived here as both....

And Loudoun County probably has lots of good choices - there are others on this board who live out there who can probably guide you there. Of course, commute is farther from these places.
Again, we don't mind the commute being long, since it wouldn't be daily. I've been thinking along the lines of Loudoun County, specifically the western sections. Thanks for the thoughts on married vs. single life; maybe that will make it better (and it made me feel better!).

Quote:
Originally Posted by arielmina View Post
I am in Western Loudoun county and very much recommend it out here. It's about a 30-35 minute drive to Herndon (on the greenway) but still very much a small town feel. Purcellville would be one place I'd recommend, as well as Round Hill. Bluemont has some beautiful properties and is just the cutest little town there is. Clarke County schools (Berryville) are not generally regarded as good so in your price range, I'd stick to western Loudoun. Leesburg is horribly overdeveloped in my view, though there are still some very beautiful areas out in the country and of course there's tons of shopping. If you haven't been to Leesburg in 5 yrs...it will look more developed.

Purcellville is out in western Loudoun where there is now a very strict zoning guidance on new subdivisions so while RestonRunner sees it as the next "sprawl infested Leesburg" but I don't see how that is possible, though of course it is still developing along Main Street. Round Hill and Bluemont will always be small towns so they're a great possibility too. Schools out in western Loudoun are excellent across the board. Oh and Hamilton is a great little town too....I would definitely look west of Leesburg. Waterford and Lovettsville are great towns too but are farther removed from "civilization" as you'd have to trek into Purcellville for your shopping and schools.
Thank you for those town names--I wasn't familiar with Hamilton, Waterford, etc., so I'll start looking at those. I've been really thinking along the lines of western Loudoun County, too, so I'm glad to hear you say this. I taught in Fairfax County, and if I hadn't gotten married and left the area when I did, I was going to head in that direction and try to teach in Loudoun County schools.

Quote:
Originally Posted by movingtodcfromseattle View Post
I think you can find a neighborhood closer in, if you'd prefer. I moved here last summer from Seattle and looked at 37 properties before deciding on a neighborhood for our family. It would fit your desired characteristics nicely as well as your budget. PM me if you'd like more info.
PM on the way!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by normie View Post
Closer in, I totally love Lowes Island. It's 5-6 miles from the Reston/Herndon tech corridor. Here's a photo tour:

Lowes Island (part of Cascades, which is the northern section of Sterling)

It does not have a country feel, but everything's fairly close and there are lots of kids and friendly neighbors. The type of place you can expect decorated houses and at 50 kids trick or treating at halloween.
I love the sound of that!! I'm going to look at that here as soon as I'm done replying. Thank you so much for that suggestion and link.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Riley09swb View Post
Hi Amy! It's nice to "see" you. We are relocating back to the area. We plan to look around in the Sterling/Cascades and are considering purceville/lovetsville area as well. That's where we lived before and prekids (Sterling/Cascades), but it's still a nice area with kids. We are now trying to decide where specifically for schools in a few years. We have a friend that's a teacher in Loudoun County and she's given us some advice.

I think if you want to go further out there is Leesburg (but my friends told me that the taxes are higher) and I read a post the other day that the schools weren't that great (one person's opinion). Our friends moved from Leesburg to Lovetsville in December and they love it. They both commute to the Sterling area as well. We also have friends that live in Purceville and they are happy. Though, I know my friends that live in Lovetsville need to go to Purceville or Leesburg for a Target, Walmart or a grocery store.
Hi Jessica! Nice to "see" you, too! I was going to send you another DM to let you know that we may be looking up there, too, and that I had lived there before... it was so funny how things were paralleling. LOL I'd love to hear your friend's advice on Loudoun schools if you don't mind passing it on sometime. We're happy to go farther out, as the commute really isn't an issue since a home office would be his primary location. Hey, we might wind up neighbors anyway!

****

Thank you ALL for your helpful assistance. These thoughts are tremendously helpful to us.
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Old 08-06-2010, 11:40 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
1,419 posts, read 3,011,978 times
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on the schools...the schools in Leesburg are hit and miss. Some of the elementary schools are great, some aren't, the middle schools seem to be average. The high schools again, some good some not. We looked in Leesburg and were very particular about what sections, but they seem to rezone every year so I'd be nervous about them getting switched into a school i didn't like.

In Western Loudoun, the only school that doesn't seem to be particularly well regarded is Lovettsville Elementary. we thought we were moving to Lovettsville (had offers out on two homes there) so I spoke to the principal and I have to say I wasn't impressed. Though I loved those houses, they didn't work out and I'm kind of happy we didn't end up there. Plus it's really far to a decent food store, and restaurants.

I'm in Round Hill, feel free to PM me if you have any questions about the area. We house hunted all around this year just last fall so we're pretty familiar with every town out here.
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Old 08-06-2010, 12:03 PM
 
3,411 posts, read 3,198,542 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arielmina View Post
on the schools...the schools in Leesburg are hit and miss. Some of the elementary schools are great, some aren't, the middle schools seem to be average. The high schools again, some good some not. We looked in Leesburg and were very particular about what sections, but they seem to rezone every year so I'd be nervous about them getting switched into a school i didn't like.

In Western Loudoun, the only school that doesn't seem to be particularly well regarded is Lovettsville Elementary. we thought we were moving to Lovettsville (had offers out on two homes there) so I spoke to the principal and I have to say I wasn't impressed. Though I loved those houses, they didn't work out and I'm kind of happy we didn't end up there. Plus it's really far to a decent food store, and restaurants.

I'm in Round Hill, feel free to PM me if you have any questions about the area. We house hunted all around this year just last fall so we're pretty familiar with every town out here.
Would you happen to know daycare rates out that way? I will be working from home and going into the office, but I will still need to have daycare for the kids. I checked one place in Purcellville and I almost fell over. I have a 2.5 year old and a 15 month old.
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Old 08-06-2010, 12:20 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Riley09swb View Post
Would you happen to know daycare rates out that way? I will be working from home and going into the office, but I will still need to have daycare for the kids. I checked one place in Purcellville and I almost fell over. I have a 2.5 year old and a 15 month old.
sorry I don't, my kids are in 2nd grade so it's been awhile since I had to deal with babysitting or day care I do know I have several friends who have babysitters and do in home day cares that they are very happy with. Don't know anyone in an actual day care center though.
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Old 08-06-2010, 12:38 PM
 
Location: In the woods
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I second and third the notion of areas west off of Rte 7 (Purcellville, Round Hill, etc.). We moved from NOVA/Sterling last year to Winchester, in the Shenandoah Valley, near Berryville and north of Stephens City and we love it. Houses are more affordable here, taxes are lower and you can get something lovely with some land. The people are extremely friendly. And this is a very walkable town. There are all the amenities you'd need here including supermarkets, two Lowes, two Walmarts, shops, restaurants, book stores, etc. It is a historic town so if you like old houses and historic architecture, then you'd love this place. Rte 81 runs north and south so if you're heading to Gettysburg, you'd go through the gorgeous scenic route via Harper's Ferry which is stunning.

The time estimates I'm reading so far are about right: about 40 minutes to leesburg, 1 hr to Reston/Herndon, that is, unless there's some traffic snarl-up. Otherwise the Dulles Greenway is quick and efficient. I had dinner with some friends in DC last week (near GWU campus) and it only took me 1.25 hrs to get in there. I was really shocked b/c I met them at 5:30pm on a Friday evening.
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Old 08-06-2010, 12:41 PM
 
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Have you considered MD? Maybe Hagerstown or Frederick? I don't know how close/far you'd like to be, but if you are considering further out areas like Berryville and Winchester, those might work for you since the pace there is definitely slower and the housing is much more affordable than Loudoun County.
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Old 08-06-2010, 02:02 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chariega View Post
Have you considered MD? Maybe Hagerstown or Frederick? I don't know how close/far you'd like to be, but if you are considering further out areas like Berryville and Winchester, those might work for you since the pace there is definitely slower and the housing is much more affordable than Loudoun County.

Frederick is nice. It does have that hometown feel to it My mom used to own a shop in the downtown part of Frederick. I don't know about schools though. I do know if your husband needs to be near Herndon or that area at times it's a hike. I think it used to take around 45 minutes or so to get to Frederick from Sterling and that going up Rte. 15.
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Old 08-06-2010, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
30,101 posts, read 67,199,392 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arielmina View Post
I am in Western Loudoun county and very much recommend it out here. It's about a 30-35 minute drive to Herndon (on the greenway) but still very much a small town feel. Purcellville would be one place I'd recommend, as well as Round Hill. Bluemont has some beautiful properties and is just the cutest little town there is. Clarke County schools (Berryville) are not generally regarded as good so in your price range, I'd stick to western Loudoun. Leesburg is horribly overdeveloped in my view, though there are still some very beautiful areas out in the country and of course there's tons of shopping. If you haven't been to Leesburg in 5 yrs...it will look more developed.

Purcellville is out in western Loudoun where there is now a very strict zoning guidance on new subdivisions so while RestonRunner sees it as the next "sprawl infested Leesburg" but I don't see how that is possible, though of course it is still developing along Main Street. Round Hill and Bluemont will always be small towns so they're a great possibility too. Schools out in western Loudoun are excellent across the board. Oh and Hamilton is a great little town too....I would definitely look west of Leesburg. Waterford and Lovettsville are great towns too but are farther removed from "civilization" as you'd have to trek into Purcellville for your shopping and schools.
I'd like to personally believe that Loudoun County's leaders have the best interests of their constituency at heart when it comes to urban planning, but I'm always leery that "rules can be bent" if developers start throwing enough "proffers" in their direction in exchange for zoning approval. In 1990 Leesburg was a beautiful place with 16,202 residents. In 2000 that grew to 28,311 (average growth of 1,201 new residents per year from 1990-2000). In 2009 that is 40,927 (average growth of 1,401 new residents per year from 2000-2009). Leesburg outside the tiny historic district is now, in my eyes, a very congested and poorly-planned place that is only going to continue to worsen in quality-of-life as more people move there and to areas west of town (the places we're recommending) and commute back eastwards through town. Leesburg and Purcellville/Hamilton really aren't that far apart. If the point in time comes that county leaders finally decide that Leesburg is becoming too overpopulated those "strict zoning requirements" could always be relaxed or redistricted to permit more development west of town, at which point Purcellville goes from its present pleasant state into, yes, the "next sprawl-infested Leesburg."

I guess you can just call me a skeptic because I don't trust most of NoVA's elected officials to have any sort of foresight when it comes to long-range urban planning. Just look at what happened with Lovettsville---a once-rural hamlet with a failed new "town center" concept that has now resulted in a rather ugly mish-mash of architectural styles in town and the infamous "squircle." I'm not doubting that Purcellville is a great place in its current state. I know it is. I often run out there from the W&OD trailhead eastwards into Hamilton and will stop at events in town and to patronize businesses. I guess you and I just differ in our "trust" for county officials putting the desires of residents upon the interests of developers.

In my eyes I ask myself if Loudoun County's leaders could ruin a once-amazing town like Leesburg in just 10-15 years of unchecked growth, then what's to stop them from screwing up Purcellville, too, in a similar timeframe? There are already a slew of newer subdivisions surrounding the old town proper of Purcellville. Were these developments "grandfathered" in before those new strict zoning enforcement rules came out?

I'm not trying to be confrontational. I just know how adverse most in Eastern Loudoun are to embracing and encouraging more dense mixed-use urban developments to house more people on less land, and I also know how high-demand Loudoun County's real estate will continue to be. I just foresee the NIMBYs in Eastern Loudoun duking it out with the preservationists in Western Loudoun before long.
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Old 08-06-2010, 05:01 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RestonRunner86 View Post
I'd like to personally believe that Loudoun County's leaders have the best interests of their constituency at heart when it comes to urban planning, but I'm always leery that "rules can be bent" if developers start throwing enough "proffers" in their direction in exchange for zoning approval. In 1990 Leesburg was a beautiful place with 16,202 residents. In 2000 that grew to 28,311 (average growth of 1,201 new residents per year from 1990-2000). In 2009 that is 40,927 (average growth of 1,401 new residents per year from 2000-2009). Leesburg outside the tiny historic district is now, in my eyes, a very congested and poorly-planned place that is only going to continue to worsen in quality-of-life as more people move there and to areas west of town (the places we're recommending) and commute back eastwards through town. Leesburg and Purcellville/Hamilton really aren't that far apart. If the point in time comes that county leaders finally decide that Leesburg is becoming too overpopulated those "strict zoning requirements" could always be relaxed or redistricted to permit more development west of town, at which point Purcellville goes from its present pleasant state into, yes, the "next sprawl-infested Leesburg."

I guess you can just call me a skeptic because I don't trust most of NoVA's elected officials to have any sort of foresight when it comes to long-range urban planning. Just look at what happened with Lovettsville---a once-rural hamlet with a failed new "town center" concept that has now resulted in a rather ugly mish-mash of architectural styles in town and the infamous "squircle." I'm not doubting that Purcellville is a great place in its current state. I know it is. I often run out there from the W&OD trailhead eastwards into Hamilton and will stop at events in town and to patronize businesses. I guess you and I just differ in our "trust" for county officials putting the desires of residents upon the interests of developers.

In my eyes I ask myself if Loudoun County's leaders could ruin a once-amazing town like Leesburg in just 10-15 years of unchecked growth, then what's to stop them from screwing up Purcellville, too, in a similar timeframe? There are already a slew of newer subdivisions surrounding the old town proper of Purcellville. Were these developments "grandfathered" in before those new strict zoning enforcement rules came out?

I'm not trying to be confrontational. I just know how adverse most in Eastern Loudoun are to embracing and encouraging more dense mixed-use urban developments to house more people on less land, and I also know how high-demand Loudoun County's real estate will continue to be. I just foresee the NIMBYs in Eastern Loudoun duking it out with the preservationists in Western Loudoun before long.
Well I absolutely share your distrust of elected officials but I think the vast majority here in Western Loudoun will toss them out on their ear if they start getting ideas about developing beyond what is allowed. The mindset is much different out here. For example most of the gorgeous Middleburg countryside is in preservation so it can be done. You don't have to go far out here in Western Loudoun to find a ton of open land and working farms. Yes when the silver line is done it will be easier to commute to DC from out here, but I do hope the communities out west here keep their resolve to keep Loudoun beautiful...we're a pretty die hard bunch.

Oh and the zoning change was only within the last 2 yrs or so I believe, 10 acres = 1 building lot. yes there will be continued building and I'm sure many beautiful farms will continue to be developed but here's hoping it won't look anything like Leesburg with high density development. Hirst farm in Purcellville is a great example of horribly ugly high density development and of course it is grandfathered in since it's been developed over the last 5 yrs or so...but hopefully no more big developments like that will be approved. The people have spoken...
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