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Old 10-13-2011, 01:12 AM
 
11 posts, read 37,176 times
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I'm a wife and mother of 3 (ages 14,7,5). My husband and I are in our early 30's. In May 2012...I will graduate with a B.A. in Mathematics, changing careers after being affected by the horrible economy. I am so excited and happy to begin my new career in a new location!! My husband works in Marketing...thus I know finding a job in NoVa or D.C. should be a piece of cake! Now, what I need is some feedback/critique on Arlington and Alexandria. I was hoping all may provide us with some in depth information about the D.C. and surrounding areas. We have researched and based on the internet information, we're leaning towards Alexandria. Preferably, Old Town. Love the old historic homes, cobblestone streets etc. I do have some concerns as I discovered different reports about the schools and crime rate. I've read Alexandria has a very low crime rate and also high crime rate. Also difference in reports on the schools. If you don't mind can you all tell me the pros and cons of the D.C. areas? I would prefer to hear from someone who actually has lived or lives there and knows. My top priorities are as follows:
1. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION - Family Friendly Neighborhood including pet friendly. Close to the ARTS, Music, Fabulous Food, Cafe's, Boutique's, etc. NO PARTY for 20's NEIGHBORHOODS.
2. EDUCATION - Magnet Schools or Charter in Public School System, Elementary and High. Please referrals for the high schools have the opportunity for my son to take college courses in his junior year, if possible. He is in the Accelerated Program now for Science, Pre-Engineering and Mathematics now.
3. CRIME - LOW to NO CRIME!!
4. Home Rentals preferably, but will consider townhome and condo rentals.
Any information or resource will be greatly appreciated!! You all have a blessed evening!!
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Old 10-13-2011, 02:29 AM
 
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Expect to pay over 3K for a small 3 bedroom bungalow in both places-----2.5K for a small townhouse. If you want top notch public schools, I'd stick with Arlington. I'd check out the Westover or Leeway neighborhood in Arlington. It seems to fit most of your criteria.

Last edited by smithy77; 10-13-2011 at 02:44 AM..
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Old 10-13-2011, 06:53 AM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,576,988 times
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DC isn't really known for its marketing jobs. You may have more of a challenge finding work than you're currently expecting.

Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) only has 1 high school, TC Williams. No matter where in the city limits you live, your son would attend that school unless you opt for a private education. You can look up details of the programs they offer here: ACPS: T.C. Williams High School

Here's the AP report from 2008 (I couldn't find a more recent year): http://www.acps.k12.va.us/mes/ap/2008-ap-report.pdf

If you end up in Arlington, I believe the schools are a mix of IB and AP curriculums (same in Fairfax County).

The quaint part of Alexandria (Old Town) doesn't really have any single family homes. If you want a detached place with a small yard, you're going to be looking west of Old Town in Seminary Hill or Rosemont for example. Rosemont is the more expensive place, but I lived in apartments near Seminary Hill and never felt unsafe walking my dog around. If you can find a small rental house there, expect to pay at least $2500 for one. I'm not sure that I've ever seen a house for rent in Rosemont, though I'm sure they exist.

Example: 4909 Rutland Place, Alexandria, VA 22304 - House for Rent in Alexandria, VA - HotPads (http://hotpads.com/rentals/4909-Rutland-Place-Alexandria-VA-22304--kucjss6n937g - broken link)

Arlington has a lot more options, since it's larger (both in number of neighborhoods, and in number of schools). There are also places in Fairfax County where your kids would attend FCPS schools that have an Alexandria address. Generally those are more suburban type places though which it sounds like you aren't interested in.
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:27 AM
 
11 posts, read 37,176 times
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@ CaliTerp07
Thanks for your information. I will check out Alexandria High School. We are ok with paying for private school as well. What is the tuition cost, on the average? I will research this as well. What are some good private schools? We don't have to have a single family home, but is desired, such as a bungalow. However, townhomes are fine, just need space! Love Old Town Kingstreet!! Have'nt been there yet, but strolled in the street view map on google...lol!! Plan to visit in November for the Holidays. How are the surrounding neighborhoods there?

Last edited by Harris'sNewStart; 10-13-2011 at 07:35 AM..
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:31 AM
 
11 posts, read 37,176 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smithy77 View Post
Expect to pay over 3K for a small 3 bedroom bungalow in both places-----2.5K for a small townhouse. If you want top notch public schools, I'd stick with Arlington. I'd check out the Westover or Leeway neighborhood in Arlington. It seems to fit most of your criteria.
Arlington seems to have a great school system...but not the old town feel we like so much. Are there parts of Arlington that have similarities as King Street Amenities?
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:34 AM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,870,413 times
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Your hubby may have more of a problem finding a job than you think. For the time being, I'd rent, based on your income alone, and he needs to be able to make job hunting at least a part time job. Blue Line or Orange Line Arlington is better for a generic commute.

In order of reputation:
Yorktown (North Arlington)
Washington-Lee (Central Arlington)
Wakefield (South Arlington)
TC Williams (Alexandria City)

Have you taken a look at Falls Church City or the Town of Vienna? you may find better housing deals there and no one can complain about the schools there. (For that matter, I don't see where your job is.)

Those two areas are less 20-something partiers. Old Town Alexandria and Blue Line Arlington are a bit more sedate than Orange Line Arlington, although the 20-something partiers are really only east of Ballston.

Good luck. You may find something you like in south Falls Church or Annandale, although they are not as much regarded as a community as are Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, or Vienna, and the schools don't have quite as glowing a reputation.

Crime - look for aging garden apartments, townhouse areas, and duplexes that aren't right to public transportation. Stranger crime risk is pretty low. Even if crime isn't a factor, you'll run a higher risk of neighbors that aren't the friendliest.

Alexandria City likes to have its poor people in projects unlike just about everywhere else in the world.
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:36 AM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,870,413 times
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If your job is outside the Beltway, you may want to explore downtown Leesburg, although I don't know where your husband is likely to find work.
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:53 AM
 
11 posts, read 37,176 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stpickrell View Post
Your hubby may have more of a problem finding a job than you think. For the time being, I'd rent, based on your income alone, and he needs to be able to make job hunting at least a part time job. Blue Line or Orange Line Arlington is better for a generic commute.

In order of reputation:
Yorktown (North Arlington)
Washington-Lee (Central Arlington)
Wakefield (South Arlington)
TC Williams (Alexandria City)

Have you taken a look at Falls Church City or the Town of Vienna? you may find better housing deals there and no one can complain about the schools there. (For that matter, I don't see where your job is.)

Those two areas are less 20-something partiers. Old Town Alexandria and Blue Line Arlington are a bit more sedate than Orange Line Arlington, although the 20-something partiers are really only east of Ballston.

Good luck. You may find something you like in south Falls Church or Annandale, although they are not as much regarded as a community as are Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, or Vienna, and the schools don't have quite as glowing a reputation.

Crime - look for aging garden apartments, townhouse areas, and duplexes that aren't right to public transportation. Stranger crime risk is pretty low. Even if crime isn't a factor, you'll run a higher risk of neighbors that aren't the friendliest.

Alexandria City likes to have its poor people in projects unlike just about everywhere else in the world.
Hmmm....didn't think this will be in Alexandria( as far as poor people in the projects goes).

I am job hunting now...to see what is out there and to check salaries. I seek to work in Government. Average salary range is $90 - $140 a year. Have found jobs with higher salaries than this as well. (Mathematics Degree are highest paid and utilized in the government realm). Nevertheless, my Plan B is of course the School System. Math teachers are always needed! But don't pay as much as the Government.

Really want the Superior Education, Great Location, Family Activities and no Snobbish neighbors or neighborhood people. I do have high goals!! But I am a realist as well and know I may have to compromise a bit. But will aim for all at first!!
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Old 10-13-2011, 07:59 AM
 
11 posts, read 37,176 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by stpickrell View Post
If your job is outside the Beltway, you may want to explore downtown Leesburg, although I don't know where your husband is likely to find work.
seems he may need to change as well...but he is open minded and willing. He was in sales and retail prior to marketing. Auto Sales-3 years, and Retail/Management -about 3. So Marketing isn't plentiful in D.C. either?
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Old 10-13-2011, 08:11 AM
 
7,968 posts, read 18,076,790 times
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To elaborate on Alexandria's public housing, those communities are primarily low-rise "garden" apartments mostly located, ironically, next to some of Old Town's most valuable homes. This does seems to be the preferred solution as opposed to "Section 8" voucher or mixed-income communities that can be found in other parts of Northern Virginia.

I agree with Rosemont being a great choice for those looking for an SFH with walkable proximity to the amenities that Old Town has to offer. As mentioned, TC Williams does embrace the full socioeconomic diversity of the city. Some parents from all walks of life choose to embrace that while others indeed opt out for private school or another jurisdiction.

Edit: Since you're okay with bungalows, you may also like Del Ray, just above Rosemont and convenient enough to Old Town, which is sort of a "hip" neighborhood for younger families. You'd enjoy the mostly unique shops and restaurants on Mount Vernon Avenue. There's also a lot of good synergy between the elementary school, adjacent public library and the nearby community center (all three of which are certainly accessible enough from Rosemont as well).
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