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Old 02-12-2011, 03:31 PM
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,853,654 times
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Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post

What area is part of "northern PWC?" We here in "the county" refer to it as either eastern PWC or western PWC when we identify where we live.

I will argue that eastern PWC (which encompasses Occoquan, Lake Ridge, Woodbridge, Dumfries, Dale City, Montclair, and some areas of Manassas that are determined to be "mid-county") has a commute that is FAR better in regards to Ashburn. Of the places just listed, at least half of them have a 25 mile distance to DC and even less to Mark Center.

If you are referring to western PWC (Bristow, Nokesville, Gainesville, Haymarket), yeah it's a haul but still better than Ashburn IMO.
To be fair, western PWC is also northern PWC.

For a generic commute ... Ashburn wins out if someone is willing to take 28/267, that gets you to the Route 28 area and Tysons more easily, whereas western PWC gets crowded after Gainesville on I-66 these days.

Western PWC and Ashburn are about equal amounts of misery for Arlington/Alexandria/DC, I'd think, but Western PWC does have the VRE and is a straighter shot to Vienna Metro.

Both Loudoun and PWC run fairly decent "pipe folks to the inner suburbs" bus services from what I can gather although it's nowhere near as flexible and powerful as the slug culture of the I-95 corridor.

Of course the advent of the Silver Line is going to tip the scales way in favor of Loudoun County over western PWC for generic commuters.

Eastern PWC has VRE and a well-established slug culture for commuting to the Pentagon, Crystal City, and DC, so I guess Mark Center and Old Town Alexandria would be ok for would-be slugs. But it's still further out than Springfield, but I'd rate it higher than Vienna to be sure for a commute to the Mark Center.

On the other hand if OP expressed concern about Lee/Edison, I don't know what she will think about Woodbridge/Forest Park, much less Potomac/Gar-Field/Freedom (I think you've said you'd avoid those in the past.)

Does anyone have any #'s on the jobs that are found in the Route 28, Tysons, North Arlington, south Arlington/Alexandria, and other "job areas"? I know an IT worker can find jobs just fine in Tysons and along Route 28 but govvies will tend to work in DC and Arlington/Alexandria.
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Old 02-12-2011, 05:09 PM
Location: Alexandria, VA
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With the jobs, I still recommend Alexandria - schools are improving and I firmly believe parental influence has MUCH to do w/kids learning - too many expect schools to entirely teach their children.

I can only envision what traffic will be like once the BRAC is completed, but I envision: CHAOS!

(Oh, and congratuations on your engagement
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Old 02-12-2011, 05:12 PM
141 posts, read 354,047 times
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Originally Posted by Flamingo13 View Post
With the jobs, I still recommend Alexandria - schools are improving and I firmly believe parental influence has MUCH to do w/kids learning - too many expect schools to entirely teach their children.

I can only envision what traffic will be like once the BRAC is completed, but I envision: CHAOS!

(Oh, and congratuations on your engagement
I agree with this. We live in 22308 and LOVE it. Commute to Pentagon is a breeze of a drive. We are close to Old Town and all the shopping we need is on Route 1. I would never choose to live anywhere else.
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Old 02-12-2011, 05:52 PM
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
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I would have to say the 22308 and 22309 zip codes of Mount Vernon along the GW Parkway should be considered also. It's a very pleasant and quick commute up the parkway into Old Town and there are a lot of really nice established neighborhoods down here with fairly large homes on large lots (2,500-3,000 sq. ft in your price range). People around here take good care of their homes so while they may be older, they're likely to have been updated. The river is beautiful and the trail along the parkway is great for biking and walking. The communities in your price range would be excellent places to live. No townhomes either. Some of the neighborhoods you should look at are Stratford Landing, Wessynton, Riverside Estates, Plymouth Haven, Riverside Gardens, and Waynewood.
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Old 02-12-2011, 06:11 PM
Location: NOVA
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I would choose Springfield (the 22153 zip) or Burke. Kingstowne is too congested.
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Old 02-12-2011, 06:39 PM
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Congrats on your engagement and changes ahead!

I live in the Burke/Fairfax area with young children and LOVE the area.

There aren't a lot of listings in the Burke area right now, but I would definitely consider it. The VRE leaves from Burke Station (coincidentally right behind the Target). On Burke Center Parkway you have at least two Giants, Walmart, Starbucks, Kohls, Safeway. Off of Old Keene you have Trader Joes, Staples, etc. There are a number of good childcare centers within reach and several home daycares available. The pools are great, the number of child-centered activities are immense, Lake Braddock and Robinson school pyramids are very good, neighborhoods very family centered, etc. You might want to check the express bus lines to Pentagon. There is one that leaves from my neighborhood and a TON of people take it to Pentagon and then switch to Metro if needed (my husband included). I guess I'd also caution one to think about how big of a house you really want. Bigger house with smaller kiddos equals lots of maintenance and not a lot of time to tackle it all. Just speaking from experience!

Hope that helps....
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Old 02-12-2011, 06:55 PM
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Congrats! I would look in the nice older neighborhoods between the beltway and fairfax city, along little river turnpike. Search by woodson high school-all those neighborhoods are nice and would be good commutes.
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Old 02-12-2011, 08:53 PM
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Given where your jobs are located, have you considered Aurora Highlands/Arlington Ridge for a SFH (zip 22202)? As you may know, since you work in CC (but many Arlingtonians aren't even aware that these SFH neighborhoods exist - they think only of the high rises) these are great neighborhoods, with a good mix of families, younger couples, older couples, singles of all ages, etc. They are friendly and stable, and very convenient to metro and to just about anywhere you want to go.

The major downside (compared to No. Arlington, which would not be nearly as convenient for your commute) in the views of some people would be that school test scores are lower than for No. Arlington, and the schools are more demographically diverse. However, (a) HS test scores are still much better than for many schools in VA, including Alexandria's and some others in NoVA, and increased substantially in the past year, and (b) Wakefield HS is scheduled to be refurbished soon (the other high schools have already had their turn). You could explore the elementary and middle school data once you focus in on more specific neighborhoods.

To reduce property crime risk (which is low to begin with), you would want to stay away from Rte. 1, Glebe Rd., and from the Pentagon City shopping mall.

You can find a 3 BR/2 Ba that needs some work for your $650K budget (maybe less if you're willing to do more work) but if you are willing to go a bit higher you would have more options.

There are many neighborhoods in No. Arlington that I could recommend--if you're interested.
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Fern435 View Post
If your husband would like to use the VRE, then Burke would work well. Don't think the VRE is anywhere near Ashburn, but I could be mistaken.
You are not mistaken, the VRE is nowhere near Ashburn.

To the OP, look at Vienna, over closer to rt 66, the subway is there and the high way. Metro is a quick ride to the Pentagon and 66 to everywhere else.

Don't move to Ashburn. You'll have a baby who you never see during the week. By the time you get home, the baby will be ready for bed. What's more important to you? Raising your child or having a big house? What's the use of a big house if you're not in it enough to enjoy your family or the house?
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Old 02-13-2011, 07:21 AM
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Burke is a great "family" place. I live in Fairfax, but right near the border with Burke. Most of Burke is not at all walkable, but it's so much less crowded than the rest of NOVA that it's just easy to drive. I find myself driving further to go to something in Burke than I would to go to the same thing in Fairfax just because it's easier and nicer to get around there. I have a few friends who moved into Burke after having children. Also, good schools and homes in a range of prices. But I think if you consider Burke you should also consider parts of Fairfax (the southern parts, not near 7).

I would forget Kingstowne completely. We lived there in our first home, and I hated it. Ugly ugly ugly, too much traffic, mostly monotonous townhomes, and some of the schools are awful. The townhome itself was fine, but I just couldn't stand walking outside my house and having to see all the ugliness. Plus, townhomes are just not great for having kids - you'll really want more space, and many townhome communities are just not kid-friendly (ours definitely wasn't - they actually had strict rules about which common area kids were allowed on - basically none).

Finally, I would caution you about maybe not being too set on one home for now and later - you might be surprised how your needs and desires change once there is really a child in the picture. The things we like best about the home we have now are that it is walking distance to the community pool, it's pretty enough and safe enough - has sidewalks and paths - to walk around in with a baby, and there are lots of other kids in the neighborhood for ours to play with. Having space for a playroom and room for overnight guests are some other things that became important after the baby. Years ago I never would have cared about any of that. You might want to keep your options open and not lock yourself into anything too tightly right now. And definitely think about schools - in the event you can't move or sell even if you want to later, you'll want to at least be able to send your child to the local elementary school (private schools are in the 15k-20k range - not an option for many people).
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