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Old 04-29-2011, 07:00 AM
 
Location: leaving Charlotte, heading to McLean
68 posts, read 154,766 times
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We're looking for a family-friendly neighborhood with a sense of cohesion/community. The kind of neighborhood where parents mill around outside while the children play. We saw a neighborhood like this in Potomac, but I think we'd prefer to find one on the VA side. It doesn't have to be a subdivision per se, it's more the sense of community we're looking for.

Our relo agent is being too helpful in this arena so I thought I'd ask here.
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:32 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riley1319 View Post
We're looking for a family-friendly neighborhood with a sense of cohesion/community. The kind of neighborhood where parents mill around outside while the children play. We saw a neighborhood like this in Potomac, but I think we'd prefer to find one on the VA side. It doesn't have to be a subdivision per se, it's more the sense of community we're looking for.

Our relo agent is being too helpful in this arena so I thought I'd ask here.
Some non-exclusive examples that I think might be in your price range (as recalled):

The Franklin Park section of McLean (cool houses on windy roads off of Old Dominion; lots are small enough that you find plenty of people walking around and socializing);

The Old Dominion Gardens/Hansborough neighborhood of McLean (great location between Balls Hill Road and Old Dominion near Churchill Road ES and McLean Central Park/Community Center);

The Elgin Manor/Saddlebrook Farms/Full Cry Farm/Savannah Crossing neighborhoods off Beulah Road in Vienna (tend to have a fair number of young families; close to soccer fields and W&OD bike trail).

The section of Town of Vienna near Battle/Cottage/Spring Streets (lots of new in-fill homes; another family-friendly area near Vienna Community Center).
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Virginia
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I've always wondered what it's like to live in th neighborhood right around Wolftrap. Do the neighbors get together to hang out and hear free concerts every week?
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:39 AM
 
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This is a tough criterion. Many neighborhoods in both Vienna and McLean could be described as "family-friendly," in that they are home to many families with children, the schools are great, the streets are safe, and there are lots of pools and playgrounds. But the "parents milling around" depends a lot on very specific demographics -- having kids in the "playing outside stage" and having parents who are not working or commuting during every daylight hour. You could find a neighborhood filled with these families, but the particular house you're considering there is surrounded by families with teenagers or dual-income professionals with infants in daycare. Or empty nesters who USED to be the parents milling about outside. When we bought our house in McLean, there were NO children living on our block. Within two years, several new families moved in and suddenly the bus stop was packed with school-age kids.
What you might want to search for are neighborhoods with sidewalks. McLean Hamlet is one of the few subdivisions in McLean with that amenity.
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:41 AM
 
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In McLean -

McLean Hamlet for reasonably priced homes built in the 70s ($800K) and a good mix of kids from elementary to high school age. Excellent location for a Tysons commute.

Broyhills McLean Estates for even more reasonably priced homes built in the late 50s and early 60s (say $675K) and lots of toddler and elementary school kids. Another excellent location for a Tysons commute.

Langley Oaks for a bit more expensive homes built in the 80s ($1M) and most of the neighborhood kids are in high school, so fewer kids playing outside. Location is not as good for commuting to Tysons.

Greenway Heights has homes built in the 80s ($1M) and most kids are on the older side, but plenty of young kids, too. I really like this neighborhood. It's up near Madiera School. The location for commuting is a little better than Langley Oaks but not as good as the Hamlet or Broyhills.

Also, there's a small neighborhood of houses just across from Langley School on Balls Hill with lots of little kids (say elementary to junior high age) and all the families know each other, but there are so few houses they rarely come up for sale. Homes there are in the $800K-900K range. Another excellent location for a Tysons commute.

McLean Hamlet in particular is a great place for families. Broyhills is great, too, if you have young kids. Walking distance to restaurants and parks in McLean plus no HOA there. Both of those neighborhoods have sidewalks and very friendly neighbors, but older houses and probably not nearly as nice as what you're looking at in Potomac. On the high end, the Reserve (located on Old Dominion about midway between Broyhills and Greenway Heights) has houses built within the past 5 years from $2M-4M. There are several families there, too. It has a "new neighborhood" and upscale feel to it, if that's in your price range.

There are several other neighborhoods in McLean with lots of families. For example, there are many families with kids in the Chesterbrook area of McLean, which has houses from the 60s and 70s, but I don't know as much about that area.

All in all, McLean is a great place for families, which is one reason it is relatively expensive to live there. I don't know much at all about neighborhoods in Vienna, so I'll defer to others for Vienna.

Also, FWIW I tend to think of Potomac as more the MD equivalent of Great Falls -- larger houses than much of McLean. So you may want to look in Great Falls, too. But people have more land there, neighbors are further away from each other, and so there are far fewer family-friendly neighborhoods. Bethesda is more the MD equivalent of McLean. Some of the neighborhoods in Bethesda remind me of the ones in McLean.
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Old 04-29-2011, 08:47 AM
 
298 posts, read 595,642 times
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Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
I've always wondered what it's like to live in th neighborhood right around Wolftrap. Do the neighbors get together to hang out and hear free concerts every week?
The neighborhood off Trap Road just south of 267 is nice. We have friends who recently moved from there. It's Vienna, just across the dividing line from McLean. It is very family friendly, houses are built in the 80s and sell in the $800s, and yes, you can definitely hear the concerts from your yard!
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Old 04-29-2011, 10:02 AM
 
Location: leaving Charlotte, heading to McLean
68 posts, read 154,766 times
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Thanks for the responses. A couple of the places mentioned are ones we'd looked at. We've been planning to spend around 1.25, but that has been slowly creeping up and we started looking at stuff closer to 1.5. I have learned that I don't want an "Estate" home. I'm certain there are some down to earth people who live in those neighborhoods, but that's not the feeling I get driving through them.

We didn't see much in the way of cohesive neighborhoods in Great Falls (we saw one to be exact) and we didn't get the impression there were many small children (mine are 6 an under & I stay home). We've decided we'd look to River Falls in Potomac before Great Falls. That neighborhood seemed exactly like what we're looking for with the bonus of a clubhouse, pool, playground & tennis courts. I just don't really want to live in MD with my husband commuting to Tysons.

Is there some sort of rule that people who work at the CIA, etc. have to live within a certain distance of Langley?
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Old 04-29-2011, 11:04 AM
 
Location: Fairfax County
1,534 posts, read 3,315,194 times
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Originally Posted by riley1319 View Post
Is there some sort of rule that people who work at the CIA, etc. have to live within a certain distance of Langley?
No. My neighbor (Annandale) works there and we have several friends in Vienna that work there as well.
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Old 04-29-2011, 11:24 AM
 
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I agree with others that parts of McLean and other neighborhoods already recommended may be exactly what you want. I liked Salona Village in McLean when I was there recently.

But here is another option: If you do end up raising your budget to $1.5 mill., you will find large, new houses (on smaller lots) throughout No. Arlington, and medium-sized older homes on larger lots in the Country Club neighborhood. In many of these neighborhoods, you will see children playing outside, and parents out there with them, talking walks, and/or taking care of the garden (and non-parents), and public amenities, with the exception maybe of pools.

There are so many neighborhoods that seem to meet your criteria (though most homes are smaller with lower price tags than your new target) that it's hard to name any without omitting one you might like even better. So I'll just offer these as a start: in order of easier commute to Tysons: In 22205-- Tara, Lacey Woods, Overlee Knolls, Berkshire Oakwood, on the western side of Arl.; in 22207 (middle-north), Lee Heights, Country Club, Arlingwood, Broyhill, Dover, and particularly for the atmosphere, Willet Heights; in 22201 (eastern) Lyon Village (though houses are small and extremely expensive); Lyon Park, Ashton Heights. 22202 (my neighborhood) is also great but it's probably not for you -- too long of a commute to Tysons the kids go to schools with more diversity and test scores are not as high, which some parents are concerned about; most houses in 22202 are smaller than what you want. But there is a good builder working in the neighborhood buying teardowns and putting up bigger new homes that you might like. The atmosphere is exactly as you describe and it is super convenient to everywhere else. People help each other and there are tons of younger families with kids in the neighborhood and moving in. You cannot go out to get the paper in your robe because someone taking a walk will see you and wave and you'll be embarrassed.

To get a feel for the neighborhoods in Arlington, you can go to the County's website and search for the neighborhood association newsletters. You can really get a sense of what is going on there--from potlucks to neighbor concerns about development to new programs at the local library, and everything else.

Last edited by ACWhite; 04-29-2011 at 11:42 AM..
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Old 04-29-2011, 11:38 AM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,615,610 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riley1319 View Post
Thanks for the responses. A couple of the places mentioned are ones we'd looked at. We've been planning to spend around 1.25, but that has been slowly creeping up and we started looking at stuff closer to 1.5. I have learned that I don't want an "Estate" home. I'm certain there are some down to earth people who live in those neighborhoods, but that's not the feeling I get driving through them.
At the risk of turning this into the gazillionth thread about McMansions, what exactly is an "estate" home? I always thought it was just the name some big builders gave their more expensive homes, but perhaps it connotes a certain size lot as well?
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