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Old 01-30-2011, 07:54 AM
 
2,912 posts, read 3,305,849 times
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The intent of this post is to get more info on Vienna and why it is a desirable place to live. The reason that I need help is because I have now made two trips to view the area and have left both unimpressed and disappointed.

A few observations about the area:
-downtown/church st. is lacking character. There is just not much to draw you there. I know that true downtown areas are hard to come by in NOVA, so I guess Vienna is the best of what is available.
-Housing is ridiculous. For $700-800k you are looking at a old split level that has not been updated. I know that Vienna is convenient, but there needs to be more if I am going to pay that kind of premium.

So, what am I missing? Or, am I not missing anything?
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Old 01-30-2011, 08:06 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,547 posts, read 12,603,714 times
Reputation: 8305
No, you are not missing much. It is a desireable place to live because:

--its schools have a good reputation.
--it is *relatively* close in.
--it has the Metro.
--and while the downtown is not quaint, it is one of the few real towns in Northern Virginia.
--it also has relatively easy access to other parts of the Metro area. If you got transferred from downtown DC, for example to Sterling or Bethesda, you would still have an *okay* commute.
--it is family friendly.

I have lived in Vienna for 10 years. When my husband first suggested it because I insisted I wanted to move somewhere where I could walk to things (I lived in Bethesda before), I was adamant that busy Maple Avenue was not my idea of a pretty downtown (this was before Church Street was as built up as it is). And the housing was old and expensive. So we looked at other places to live - Centreville, Reston, Manassas, and nothing had as many things on my wish list that I wanted:

-Even though the downtown was busy and not asthetically pleasing, it was there, which is not true in so many other places in NoVa.
-It has a strong community feeling, part of which comes from being in a real town and not just part of the county.
-For us the location couldn't be beat (commutes to Rockville and Manassas)
-The schools were the major clincher for us.

The housing stock stinks, and it is expensive. But it's not like everyone in this town is living in mansions and you can only afford a 3-BR 1950's ranch. We all are in the same boat. Since I have moved here, I have been very happy. I love the community. I love walking places. The people are nice. The location is pretty good. There are always activities to do. We're happy with the schools. Sure, I wish we lived in a newer home than our 1950's ranch, but we have 1/3 of an acre which we take full advantage of.

So, no you're not missing anything. Vienna won't impress you on the first few visits. But over time, you may realize that there are many redeeming qualities about this place, and you may love it like I do.

ETA: Vienna is a lot prettier in the spring, than it is now.

Last edited by michgc; 01-30-2011 at 09:22 AM..
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Old 01-30-2011, 08:23 AM
 
2,912 posts, read 3,305,849 times
Reputation: 3135
Quote:
Originally Posted by michgc View Post
No, you are not missing much. It is a desireable place to live because:

--its schools have a good reputation.
--it is *relatively* close in.
--it has the Metro.
--and while the downtown is not quaint, it is one of the few real towns in Northern Virginia.
--it also has relatively easy access to other parts of the Metro area. If you got transferred from downtown DC, for example to Sterling or Bethesda, you would still have an *okay* commute.
--it is family friendly.

I have lived in Vienna for 10 years. When my husband first suggested it because I insisted I wanted to move somewhere where I could walk to things (I lived in Bethesda before), I was adamant that busy Maple Avenue was not my idea of a pretty downtown (this was before Church Street was as built up as it is). And the housing was old and expensive. So we looked at other places to live - Centreville, Reston, Manassas, and nothing had as many things on my wish list that I wanted:

-Even though the downtown was busy and not asthetically pleasing, it was there, which is not true in so many other places in NoVa.
-It has a strong community feeling, part of which comes from being in a real town and not just part of the county.
-For us the location couldn't be beat (commutes to Rockville and Manassas)
-The schools were the major clincher for us.

The housing stock stinks, and it is expensive. But it's not like everyone in this town is living in mansions and you can only afford a 3-BR 1950's ranch. We all are in the same boat. Since I have moved here, I have been very happy. I love the community. I love walking places. The people are nice. The location is pretty good. There are always activities to do. We're happy with the schools. Sure, I wish we live in a newer home than our 1950's ranch, but we have 1/3 of an acre which we take full advantage of.

So, no you're not missing anything. Vienna won't impress you on the first few visits. But over time, you may realize that there are many redeeming qualities about this place, and you may love it like I do.

ETA: Vienna is a lot prettier in the spring, than it is now.


I was thinking that this was the case when driving around last week.
Thanks for the reply, it was right along my line of thinking.
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Old 01-30-2011, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 26,811,412 times
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S5, I've seen a lot of your posts in the Raleigh forum and you seem to be particularly interested in educational issues. So, IMO, Vienna's greatest appeal for you would be the top notch schools and the high regard your neighbors and new friends will place on education.

What is bringing you to Nova? Just my two cents, but Raleigh is a great town and after reading a lot of your posts it seems like it might be a better fit for you. I love Nova, but it isn't for everyone. I've heard the economy and job situation is holding up pretty well in Raleigh, and houses are more affordable. You might want to give some serious thought to staying where you are if you can.
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Old 01-30-2011, 08:32 AM
 
2,912 posts, read 3,305,849 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
S5, I've seen a lot of your posts in the Raleigh forum and you seem to be particularly interested in educational issues. So, IMO, Vienna's greatest appeal for you would be the top notch schools and the high regard your neighbors and new friends will place on education.

What is bringing you to Nova? Just my two cents, but Raleigh is a great town and after reading a lot of your posts it seems like it might be a better fit for you. I love Nova, but it isn't for everyone. I've heard the economy and job situation is holding up pretty well in Raleigh, and houses are more affordable. You might want to give some serious thought to staying where you are if you can.
Yes, the WCPSS is going through some growing pains at the moment. The schools that my kids attend are fine, but could be better.
We are considering NOVA for a couple of reasons. First, I do quite a bit of my business in NOVA. It would be great to be able to visit my clients on short notice and join local groups related to my business. Second, I am from NJ and try to visit as often as possible. Being 4+ hours closer than Cary would be a huge deal for our family.

I don't have a problem buying an older home and for $800,000, I would hope to find something decent. If we make the move, I will probably look at distressed homes. That seems to be where the best deals are in NOVA right now.
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Old 01-30-2011, 09:10 AM
 
5,070 posts, read 8,609,827 times
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Your characterization of what you get for the money in Vienna isn't quite on the mark. For less than $800K, you can get a split-level, colonial or modern house, typically built in the 1970s, that has been substantially updated. Most of these homes are outside the Town of Vienna, but have Vienna addresses, and many are in developments off Lawyers Road and Beulah Road in the 22181 and 22182 zip codes. I'm not saying these homes are inexpensive compared to houses in other parts of the country, but for $750K you can find something better than a split-level that has never been updated. The quality of construction generally will be higher than a lot of the newer homes in the Raleigh area, which aren't very well-built (at least from what I've seen in Wake County).

Otherwise, I'd agree with what Michgc said. I've lived in New Jersey and it's not as visually appealing as a NJ town like Westfield or Princeton. However, there's a livability and family-friendliness about Vienna that belies the fact that its physical appearance is that of a pretty typical Sunbelt suburb. There are lots of activities for kids, the schools are good, and there are plenty of interesting restaurants that aren't super-expensive.
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Old 01-30-2011, 09:33 AM
 
Location: norfolk
129 posts, read 306,729 times
Reputation: 45
I grew up in Vienna for about a decade. I realize now everything was taken for granted when I lived there... the cleanliness, lack of ghetto people/crime/drugs, and the exposure to a huge diversity of cultures/people, and dare i say the high quality of public education. When I was in HS in Vienna, it seemed standard that everyone graduate HS and go on to college. Now that I'm in a different area, I noticed this isn't quite the standard outside of the area in the rest of the country.

If your supporting a family, I would highly recommend Vienna. If you do determine it is too costly to live in Vienna, all the surrounding areas are just as much those things i described Vienna to be as well.
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Old 01-30-2011, 09:37 AM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,547 posts, read 12,603,714 times
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Yes, I agree for up to $800K you should be able to buy an older colonial house in Lawyer's North or Barrister's Place or a development off Beulah Road. A ranch or split-level is usually more in the $550-$600 range in Vienna.

Most of the schools in Fairfax County are good. They have higher test scores, overall, than Wake County and are not dealing with the changes that Wake is currently going through. Although with big school systems, there is always the danger of being redistricted. The best schools in the FCPS system are probably comparable to those in Chapel Hill. But FCPS is still a big county-wide school system unlike CH or those in New Jersey. On the other hand, if your children are academically-inclined, there are lots of academic opportunities that cannot always be found in smaller districts - a gifted and talented program, IB and AP programs, some foreign language immersion schools, and other special programs.

Feel free to ask any other questions.
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Old 01-30-2011, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
6,551 posts, read 10,828,225 times
Reputation: 5545
I'm one of the ones that agree with the OP regarding Vienna. I just don't get the draw. I realize it's close to Tysons and failry close to DC and things around DC but the traffic in the area just blows. I have friends there and they love it so I know it is for some people. Just not for me.
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Old 01-30-2011, 10:24 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 26,992,477 times
Reputation: 6824
Well they do make those sausages.
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