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Old 10-01-2012, 05:02 PM
 
4 posts, read 4,094 times
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I hope the regulars don't get tired of this type of question, but I'm at a loss.

I have a potential job change that would see me splitting time between Manassas and 3 sites in unincorporated Alexandria (Mt Vernon, Belle View, Franconia). I'm having trouble figuring out where we should live.

Do we live near more expensive Alexandria and hope for a reverse commute on days that I have to go to Manassas? Do I live in Manassas where homes are cheaper and just deal with the traffic when I have to go to Alexandria? Or do I try to live somewhere halfway in between (Fairfax, Woodbridge/Dale City?)? How about Fort Washington, MD where we can escape the sprawl?

Background: Married, 3 kids under 10 years old. We're moving from Seattle, where we live on a rural island in the Puget Sound. We currently live in a neighborhood with several young families, and our kids are always playing outside with the neighbor kids building forts in the woods and the like. We'd love to have a similar environment, if at all possible.
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Old 10-01-2012, 05:22 PM
 
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is there a 3rd choice?
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:07 PM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,861,177 times
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What's your budget and what % of your time will you be in Manassas?
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
14,131 posts, read 27,018,995 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oatbran View Post
Background: Married, 3 kids under 10 years old. We're moving from Seattle, where we live on a rural island in the Puget Sound. We currently live in a neighborhood with several young families, and our kids are always playing outside with the neighbor kids building forts in the woods and the like. We'd love to have a similar environment, if at all possible.
If you're used to living in around educated yuppies, which I'm guessing you did on your rural island (although rural yuppie is a bit of a contradiction), you're probably not going to like Manassas. Its pretty working class.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:28 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC, formerly DC and Phila
8,555 posts, read 12,620,837 times
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I would not choose Fort Washington, MD. That would be a nasty commute to Manassas. And schools aren't the greatest. A common suggestion on this board for a family-friendly location and relatively convenient that would work for your destinations is Burke, VA. Of course, you would need to give us your budget and other particulars - public schools? home size wish list? etc. But Burke is what popped in my head.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:31 PM
 
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I wholeheartedly agree with the Burke suggestion, notwithstanding budget and housing preferences (though I would guess that the cost of living in greater Seattle is comparable to here.)
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Old 10-02-2012, 03:49 AM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
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I'd suggest looking in the Centreville area of Fairfax. Puts you close to Manassas. Still a commmute to Alexandria but closer than Manassas. You'll get more house and more importantly more yard in Centreville than you will in Alexandria. Personally I would not do MD at all.
Centreville has some very nice neighborhoods and is close to I-66, Dulles Airport, shopping and restaurants.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:39 AM
 
Location: DMV
10,136 posts, read 11,614,175 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oatbran View Post
I hope the regulars don't get tired of this type of question, but I'm at a loss.

I have a potential job change that would see me splitting time between Manassas and 3 sites in unincorporated Alexandria (Mt Vernon, Belle View, Franconia). I'm having trouble figuring out where we should live.

Do we live near more expensive Alexandria and hope for a reverse commute on days that I have to go to Manassas? Do I live in Manassas where homes are cheaper and just deal with the traffic when I have to go to Alexandria? Or do I try to live somewhere halfway in between (Fairfax, Woodbridge/Dale City?)? How about Fort Washington, MD where we can escape the sprawl?

Background: Married, 3 kids under 10 years old. We're moving from Seattle, where we live on a rural island in the Puget Sound. We currently live in a neighborhood with several young families, and our kids are always playing outside with the neighbor kids building forts in the woods and the like. We'd love to have a similar environment, if at all possible.
As previously mentioned, your budget is going to really determine your options.

With that said, regardless of your budget I wouldn't recommend Fort Washington either. The commute isn't as great as you may think. Indian Head Highway can be brutal and given that you would have add even more time to go out to Manassas, it's not worth it. If money is an issue, I think you should keep the Woodbridge/Dale City option in your back pocket because it's probably one of the most inexpensive reasonable traveling options you have, but if you can afford it, I third the previous posters and say go with Burke.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:31 AM
 
4 posts, read 4,094 times
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Our budget is ~$2500 per month, but that's 1 part what we can afford and 2 parts what we think it would take to live in a nice enough area. That's double what we're paying here for our 3 bed/2 bath 1600 sf house, which is part of why I'm having a hard time finding where to live. Listening to people on this board, you get the impression that every place in Manassas or along Rt 1 is the "hood," high crime, don't walk around at night, and any nicer places are going to cost you an arm and a leg. Not to mention traffic.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:36 AM
 
7,966 posts, read 18,044,996 times
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Woodbridge/Daly City as suggested would favor Alexandria slightly on the commute although one would have to traverse the box of chocolates that is I-95.

Many here tout the charms of the Lake Ridge community in Woodbridge. Others that live in the area can confirm whether your budget would match up with your housing preferences though I predict it would.
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