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Old 06-26-2011, 10:46 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
251 posts, read 744,619 times
Reputation: 126

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Hi all,
I've been doing a lot of browsing on this site and gathering some information. We're moving our family of 4 to Nova this fall. Hubby will commute to Pentagon, I am a SAHM. We want a short commute, a good preschool and elementary school, and a 3+ bedroom with a yard for $2000-3000. Parks, sidewalks, established neighborhoods, and shopping/dining nearby are all desired, the stores don't need to be chains though, we like the indie town feel too. (I know, we want what everyone else does!) Age of home is not important, but ideally 2000 square feet. I've gathered some ideas and would love confirmation if I am on the right path.

-We would love to stay in Arlington but good houses seem to come up and disappear quickly in the best neighborhoods.

-No one talks really about Annandale, which tells me not to bother there.

-Alexandria is huge and stretches all the way to Mount Vernon/Fort Belvoir. Lots of what we are looking for, just have to stay in the right areas. Any help on what areas those are would be greatly appreciated.

-Falls Church has older and smaller homes, great and not great schools, so, again, just have to find the right areas.

-I know less about Springfield and Burke. They seem nice with good schools. Would I be driving to other areas to do things though?

-What Metro commute is my husband looking at to get to Arlington (Pentagon) from Burke and Springfield? We are concerned that Burke may be too far?

-Anything else you can tell me about these areas would be great! Thanks!
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Old 06-26-2011, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Virginia
8,106 posts, read 12,650,905 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elacklen View Post

-I know less about Springfield and Burke. Would I be driving to other areas to do things though?
Maybe. What type of "things"?
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Old 06-26-2011, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Fairfax County
1,534 posts, read 3,316,397 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elacklen View Post
-No one talks really about Annandale, which tells me not to bother there.
Absolutely. Please stay away.
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Old 06-26-2011, 01:25 PM
 
Location: Metro Washington DC
13,028 posts, read 19,863,429 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elacklen View Post
-No one talks really about Annandale, which tells me not to bother there.
The part outside the beltway is very nice. Sorry Orangefish, I had to tell.
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Old 06-26-2011, 01:47 PM
 
Location: TX
3,029 posts, read 10,643,962 times
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From Burke he can take the Metro out of the Franconia station. We had friends who lived in Burke and did the Pentagon commute, it's a bit futher out but not a bad commute.
Alot more housing options in Burke (or West Springfield) than Arlington.
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Old 06-26-2011, 03:31 PM
 
5,071 posts, read 8,619,412 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkf747 View Post
The part outside the beltway is very nice. Sorry Orangefish, I had to tell.
A lot of places in the US would love to have some of the housing stock that can be found inside-the-Beltway in Annandale, not to mention a place like Shilla's Bakery. But, if Korean businesses and Hispanic students scare the OP, she should probably stay away and head to pre-approved Burke.
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Old 06-26-2011, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Fairfax County
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dkf747 and JEB77 -- please, I beg you -- don't spoil the secret!
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Old 06-26-2011, 03:39 PM
 
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Also note that there is the City of Alexandria as well as unincorporated Alexandria in Fairfax County which would include the aforementioned Fort Belvoir and Mount Vernon areas.

The same applies to the City of Falls Church (whose schools are well-regarded on this forum) and the surrounding county areas with a Falls Church zip code.

I don't really know Burke very well. Your husband would have the option of taking the Virginia Railway Express to work from there. It would be a bit of a commute to drive over from there to take the Springfield Metro although many people commute even farther. A commute of less than one hour is often seen as a luxury here.

A number of buses travel through Annandale (even that "super-secret" part) on to the Pentagon.

Alexandria City has a number of great neighborhoods. Some parents are more able to embrace the full socioeconomic diversity at its one high school (TC Williams) than others.

Fairfax County in general is rather high-density suburbia with more strip malls and "town centers" than organic Main Streets, notwithstanding Falls Church and Vienna. However, you'll never have to travel too far for your typical midscale retail and restaurants. However, independent stores are relatively few.

Last edited by FindingZen; 06-26-2011 at 03:57 PM..
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Old 06-26-2011, 05:26 PM
 
504 posts, read 651,347 times
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There are a ton of people who work at the Pentagon and commute from Burke and Springfield. Both are a reasonable drive, plus you have options for buses, the VRE, or driving to the metro. The schools there are well regarded, and IMO These areas are more suburban and a bit more affordable than the trendier parts of Arlington, Fall Church, and Alexandria. I think Burke and West Springfield are the "traditional" recommendation for people in your price range commuting to the Pentagon.

The part of Annandale outside the beltway that feeds into Woodson high is considered to have good schools. The other parts not so much. Commuting is also reasonable although you are looking at driving or taking a bus.

Arlington and Old Town Alexandria, especially near a metro, are going to be your priciest options but will give you more of an urban, walkable feel. You need to look carefully at schools, especially in Alexandria.

City of Falls Church is well regarded, but if fairly small (and distinct from the areas within Fairfax county which also have a Falls Church address). You could metro to the Pentagon from there but would have to switch trains in Rosslyn which would add some time to your trip.
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Old 06-26-2011, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
251 posts, read 744,619 times
Reputation: 126
Thanks all.
I wasn't trying to offend anyone regarding Annandale. But I haven't seen it mentioned in any posts about schools/suburbia/etc, so I can only assume it doesn't have the caliber schools or the type of homes we are looking for. No one refers to it as a hidden gem or must-see. But if I'm wrong please fill me in!
Tgbwc, I guess I'm trying to get a feel of how large the two cities are. Do they have a mall? Lots of parks? Things to do with kids? Are they only one-grocery-store-and-post-office type of town or large enough so that I can usually stay in them without venturing to Alexandria, etc daily?

We definitely want a commute of less than an hour. Am I reading correctly that there is no metro stop in Burke and he would have to drive to Springfield to catch it?
The same for Annandale?

Tone, what is the difference in being in Alexandria city versus unincorporated? Why is one preferable to the other?

Shamrock, we currently live in "traditional" suburbia, but miss our trendy/urban/walkable past. Thanks for clearing up the difference between the cities so we know what to keep in mind.

Thanks so much for the responses. Still trying to wrap my head around the area...
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