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Old 09-10-2010, 03:56 PM
7 posts, read 22,162 times
Reputation: 10


Hi there,

We are moving to the DC area. I have done a lot of internet searching of the area and I am looking for some opinions on the surrounding areas.

I have two children. One 6th grade and already in Middle School here in CA. One in 4th grade and in Special Ed for speech/language and learning difficulties. I am looking for a diverse and also decent public school system.

I would prefer to be in an area that is close to water. Alexandria and Woodbridge look like they both have nice areas along the Potomac, but I am open still to looking around.

Also, does anybody know what VA/MD areas have a very good youth soccer club? My 11 yo son has been playing travel soccer for quite a few years and this will be very important to him. He is very resistent to the move and I'm hoping that a good club will help the transition. He also plays indoor soccer.

My husband will be commuting into DC. We figured a maximum of 45 minutes on the train.

We are looking to probably spend $400K - $650K on housing.

I'm sure there are many different opinions, but would love some feedback from people that have lived or are currently living in the area.

Thank you!
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Old 09-10-2010, 05:18 PM
7,968 posts, read 18,076,790 times
Reputation: 2593
You may want to look into the Hollin Hall/Fort Hunt/Waynewood/Stratford Landing area. According to a reliable source, both Stratford Landing and Waynewood Elementary school have excellent Special Ed programs. The Hollin Hall neighborhood would feature the most homes in your price range. Depending on your where you live, your husband may choose to drive or take a short bus route to the Huntington Metro Station. There is even an express bus that travels through George Washington Parkway to NW DC.

Woodbridge has received mixed reviews on this forum. The Lake Ridge neighborhood has been mentioned often as one of the more desirable places to live there. You would generally get more value for your housing dollar compared to Fairfax County. However, a 45 minute commute to DC via the Virginia Railway Express Rail service in Virginia - VRE would be a stretch. Also, I-95 is a bear in what is a traffic-clogged region.

I'm afraid I have no knowledge about youth soccer programs in the area...but I'm sure others will chime in.
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Old 09-10-2010, 09:25 PM
Location: Orange Hunt Estates, W. Springfield
628 posts, read 1,726,508 times
Reputation: 231
First soccer. My now-adult kids played very competitive travel soccer until their mid-teens. From that experience I can say that there are excellent leagues and teams throughout NoVA and Montgomery County in Maryland. A little Googling will reveal these leagues. Regarding living near water, you should be more specific. For example, you don't specify if you have a boat or simply want a water view out your window. Perhaps you simply want easy access to water. Besides the Potomac River, there are many streams running through neighborhoods and man-made lakes (we'd call them ponds in New England) in or near other neighborhoods and parks. They are too numerous to mention, so I recommend you do some research using Google Maps or other geographical references.
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Old 09-11-2010, 10:25 AM
214 posts, read 426,004 times
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It might be helpful to know exactly where his office is downtown--it can make a difference as to whether VRE or metro would be better.
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Old 09-12-2010, 06:43 AM
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You can find good schools and competitive travel soccer programs all over northern Virginia. Your biggest constraints will be the "close to water" feature and the 45 minute train commute to DC, especially at the lower end of your housing budget. Here are some questions:

1. Do you mean 45 minutes door-to-door, or 45 minutes on the train? Most people need to drive or take a bus to train stations, which obviously adds to the total commute.
2. Would you consider a townhouse rather than a single-family home?
3. What do you mean by a "diverse" public school system?
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Old 09-12-2010, 08:34 AM
7 posts, read 22,162 times
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Thanks so much for the replies.

More info... My husband will be working on Independence Ave. We have a friend that already lives there and said in Woodbridge she hops on the train and it is 45 min. door to door. (train station is right outside her townhouse and lets her out at the building where they work)

Would love a water view, but not quite sure yet we want to go as far out as Woodbridge. Would love to have a boat and be able to get to the Potomac easily. Right now we are 1 hour from the ocean and would love to be 'closer' to a waterway.

Just looking for culturally diverse. No need to worry in this area. Love that.

Yes, we would consider a townhouse, but would prefer single family.

I would absolutely love some feedback on the soccer programs. I live in Northern CA and there are many travel programs. There are two cities that are considered excellent programs. They have very different reputations out here. I guess I'm looking for specific feedback. Any experience with Northern Virginia Soccer Club vs. Alexandria Soccer Association? I see that they are all over this area, which is fantastic. I'm looking for feedback on which club is considered very good for this area?

Thanks so much for your replies!!
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:40 AM
10,606 posts, read 12,130,459 times
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The VRE stops in Crystal City, VA and Union Station. If you happen to work within a few blocks of those stops, consider yourself lucky. If not, you have to catch the Metro from those stops to get anywhere else. For instance, I work at the Navy Yard and there is no direct service of VRE to the Navy Yard. You will have your 45 minute commute on the VRE plus a trip on the Metro and then quite a hefty walk up to the Navy Yard gate. Most VRE travelers I know to my office have about an hour and half commute total.

I live in Woodbridge but, where I live, it is a 10 minute or better drive to the VRE station.

There are some neighborhoods where you could walk to the VRE station. The first is Rippon Landing, where I would not move if I had kids in the school system as that neighborhood is zoned for some of the worst schools in Prince William County. The newer construction in Rippon Landing is very nice; however, the older parts of the neighborhood are pretty bad (my father-in-law has a rental property there and it's awful).

The other neighborhood that surrounds a VRE stop is Belmont Bay. Very nice neighborhood with very close proximity to I-95, Occoquan marinas, etc. It's drawback is that it sits off a very undesirable portion of Rt. 1. The good news is that this area is the first to be "renovated" in the Rt. 1 improvement project. The schools serving Belmont Bay aren't that great but if you have good students, they will do just fine.

You might consider the Lorton area which will gain you access to Fairfax County schools, more affordable housing than usual Fairfax areas, and close proximity to Woodbridge-area marinas, and the VRE. I know other folks that live in Springfield and come down to Occoquan to put their boat in the water.

Also look for housing around the Mason Neck area.
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Old 09-12-2010, 09:47 AM
7,968 posts, read 18,076,790 times
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You probably would have to live next door to your Woodbridge friend to make that 45 minute commute (50-55 minutes, really) into reality. Independence Avenue would be walking distance from L'Enfant Plaza. The #11Y Mount Vernon Express bus would also stop near Independence Avenue, giving you another option in the Fairfax County communities I mentioned previously.

Your budget would afford you more water sightlines in Woodbridge than in Fairfax County where the term "million-dollar views" is not just a figure of speech. Nonetheless, you would be just minutes from the water even at Hollin Hall.

Last edited by FindingZen; 09-13-2010 at 07:13 AM..
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Old 09-13-2010, 04:29 AM
2,462 posts, read 8,053,821 times
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If VRE is a viable commuting option, you could consider Burke. There is a station on Rolling Road near the Burke Station Square neighborhood, which has single-family homes in your price range. The Springfield Metro station is also not too far away. Burke Lake is nearby (see the photo tour someone recently posted), and you are not that far from the Potomac.
Don't worry about the soccer league until you settle on a community. There are good options all over, and you can't really count on joining a particular team until after the try-outs, in any event.
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Old 09-13-2010, 05:16 AM
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 27,077,317 times
Reputation: 6825
I'd second Tone's recommendation of the Fort Hunt/Hollin Hall area. There are excellent youth soccer, lacrosse, and other sports programs there and you're very close to the Potomac, with are a couple of marinas nearby. You can find a decent SFH there toward the upper end of your price range, depending on how big a house and lot you need.
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