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Old 08-07-2010, 01:54 PM
 
1 posts, read 1,246 times
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Hi,

My family and I are considering move from Hawaii to Virginia. My hubby is a Colonel in the guard. What are some great neighborhood choices close to Arlington but not necessarily in Arlington. My requirements are:

Culture
great restaraunts
neighborhood charm
safety
great school districts


Our budget for rentals to start is about 3000-3500 a month.

Thanks so much!!
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Old 08-07-2010, 06:53 PM
 
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You can easily find a small but nice rental in Arlington for that price.
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Old 08-07-2010, 08:46 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
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Really depends where he's going to be stationed. Obviously you probably want something with a decent commute.
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Old 08-08-2010, 07:19 AM
 
Location: GoJoe
713 posts, read 1,249,715 times
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Alexandria is nice and close to Arlington.
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Old 08-09-2010, 01:45 PM
 
Location: VA soon to be NC
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What is your commute like? That price range you can get a decent house but I can undersand if you need to rent out for a while.. If you want near Arlington, then try Alexandria , Mclean or Vienna.
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Old 08-09-2010, 07:24 PM
 
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I admit to not knowing Arlington that well north of the Metrorail...but it has been said here that North Arlington is rather suburban-like. It may be worth looking there. The consensus here also seems to lean towards Arlington schools being better than those in Alexandria but not quite the same level as Fairfax County.

Old Town Alexandria is perhaps the most charming neighborhood of the close-in areas of NOVA and you can find plenty of history and culture there. (Of course I'm biased since I live in the area. ) It's fairly high-density right there albeit with fewer buildings scraping the skies than in Arlington. Just west of Old Town, Del Ray has a Main Street feel with a bit of an independent vibe to it. Rosemont, next to Old Town, may be more of the quieter vibe I sense you may be looking for. Both Old Town and Del Ray feature great restaurants. Much of Alexandria is safe and there are other more laid-back residential areas; however, you are still essentially in a small city.

Fairfax County Public Schools - except for incorporated Falls Church - is all one school district and generally considered to be among the "best" in the country. However, the trade-off for the quality schools and usual safety would be a relative lack of culture and, if "five-star" eateries are preferred to an international diversity of neighborhood-level choices, restaurants as well. Neighborhood charm may depend. Towns like Vienna and Falls Church, for example, may have more consistent charm than much of the sprawling county...but you can still find it if you dig a little deeper. In fact, just south of Alexandria proper in its unincorporated Fairfax County section, there is a string of near-riverfront communities starting in Belle View heading down to Mount Vernon that could be considered generally charming. And the benefits of Alexandria would be a short drive away.
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Old 08-09-2010, 07:48 PM
 
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Our budget for rentals to start is about 3000-3500 a month.

With your budget I'd look directly in DC if culture is the most important. Chinatown has just about everything you need, exception being the schools and charm...though there are some old style houses that cost millions of dollars to live in that have some character.
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Old 09-02-2010, 11:56 PM
 
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Default No, don't do it!!

Though, I suppose you have no choice? I moved to No Va from Hawaii a year ago and hate it hate it hate it! And guess what? I grew up here! But hadn't lived here for 30 years...guess what? The suburbs suck! Public transportation is pathetic, traffic is insane. The air is polluted, people are mean and so tense and regimented, public schools have all sorts of controlling nazi rules for kids. I need breezes, shave ice, malasadas...
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Old 09-03-2010, 07:10 AM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,860,633 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aleteat View Post
Hi,

My family and I are considering move from Hawaii to Virginia. My hubby is a Colonel in the guard. What are some great neighborhood choices close to Arlington but not necessarily in Arlington. My requirements are:

Culture
great restaraunts
neighborhood charm
safety
great school districts


Our budget for rentals to start is about 3000-3500 a month.

Thanks so much!!
If your hubby is working in Quantico -- I'd recommend Fredericksburg as you want to make his commute easier. The schools there are OK although not as good as the best in Northern VA.

You'd be able to drive up to DC or take Amtrak a few times a month (& your savings in rent would more than cover the cost of Amtrak.) There's a fair bit to do in historic Fredericksburg.

If hubby is working in Northern Virginia and you want all these, let's explore your options.

DC: For culture, restaurants, and charm, it probably can't be beat.

Schools: If $3,000-$3,500 excludes private school ... Wilson is the best general attendance public school in the District. Its Challenge index rating is competitive with Northern VA schools. There's plenty of charter schools of varying degrees of competence as well, but the good ones are hard to get into.

Safety: Depends on the neighborhood.

For Northern Virginia:

CULTURE/CHARM:
All three areas are good. There's things like the Signature Theater (I know there's stuff in FC and Alexandria too), and for concerts, there's the Birchmere (Alex) and the State Theater (FC) -- I know there's stuff in Arlington too.

The unincorporated parts of "inner Fairfax" are not quite as pedestrian friendly and don't have quite as much of a sense of community as the areas described above.

RESTAURANTS:
All these areas are chock full of a wide variety of restaurants. You needn't worry there. Any particular cuisine you like? Try researching Yelp if being walkable to a (for example) great Indian place is a big plus.

SCHOOLS:
Arlington: A good school (Yorktown), an OK school (Wash-Lee), and a "bad by Northern VA standards" school (Wakefield.) Elementary feeders to these will vary, especially in Wakefield (which contains Crystal City, Pentagon City, and Shirlington.)
Alexandria: TC Williams is "bad by Northern VA standards." Elementaries vary depending on neighborhood.
Falls Church City: George Mason is great.
Fairfax (unincorporated but w/ a FC mailing address): McLean is great, Marshall HS is good, JEB Stuart and Falls Church is "bad by Northern VA standards."

SAFETY:
Keep in mind that crime by Northern Virginia standards (unless you plan on running with MS-13) means "there were four car break-ins over three days and that was a pretty bad month." On the other hand, the further you are from MS-13 the better.

In general, these are
Arlington: Columbia Pike west of Glebe Road can get somewhat sketchy (as in "don't leave your GPS on your dash" level of sketchy.) Also along South Four Mile Run Drive and then to some extent along most of South Glebe Road (although even there you have pockets of $500k condos.)
Alexandria: Overall probably the worst of the lot. You've got an odd mix of Section 8 houses and $2 million townhomes within a couple blocks of each other in Old Town. I don't know the area by area breakdown as well as I do for Arlington and Falls Church.
Falls Church: The city itself is great, as are the points NORTH of the city. SOUTH of the city, you can start running into problems (by Northern Virginia standards.)

Are you open to Herndon, Reston, Fairfax, or Vienna? If so I can describe them.
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Old 09-03-2010, 08:10 AM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,616,501 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stpickrell View Post
SCHOOLS:
Arlington: A good school (Yorktown), an OK school (Wash-Lee), and a "bad by Northern VA standards" school (Wakefield.) Elementary feeders to these will vary, especially in Wakefield (which contains Crystal City, Pentagon City, and Shirlington.)
Alexandria: TC Williams is "bad by Northern VA standards." Elementaries vary depending on neighborhood.
Falls Church City: George Mason is great.
Fairfax (unincorporated but w/ a FC mailing address): McLean is great, Marshall HS is good, JEB Stuart and Falls Church is "bad by Northern VA standards."
Emphasis on the "by Northern VA standards" here. As others have noted, some of these schools (such as Stuart) have test scores above the national average and would be the envy of other school systems.

These classifications seem to be based entirely on standardized test scores - which is fine, but it doesn't tell you how the parents whose kids actually attend those schools feel about them. Anyway, on that basis, I'm not sure why one would say George Mason is "great," but Yorktown is only "good." They're probably either both "great" or both "good."

Last edited by JD984; 09-03-2010 at 08:18 AM..
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