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Old 04-10-2013, 05:54 AM
 
11 posts, read 10,238 times
Reputation: 14

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After lurking for awhile and reading plenty of posts, I have my own.

We are a family of 4 (myself, wife and a 3 y/o and newborn). I work for Arlington County Fire and my schedule allows me to not have to deal with traffic congestion (24 hour shifts, arriving to work by 0545/0600 AM)

It is time to upgrade from our condo in Arlington (Lease expires in October) to a SFH. Our budget is MAX of 350k and we are looking for at least a 4br with garage and a little yard for a swingset and the kids to play on. Good schools are also a plus, but safety is most important, since I am gone for 24 hours at a time. We are also looking for a sense of community. We have friends who live in both places (Bristow/Warrenton and Stafford/Fredericksburg) and both love it. We are not native to the area, so we just know what our friends tell us and what we see on our short visits to the area.

I like the idea of Stafford because we can probably get more house for the money and the easy accesibility to the water (we enjoy watersports and outdoor activities), but we do also like to go to DC and Arlington during "peak" hours and the thought of driving on 95 North discourages me (although 66 can be just as bad).

What do natives and/or people who live/have lived in these communities recommend?
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:59 AM
 
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I live in Bristow and frequently drive to Maryland on the weekends. Yes, 66 pretty much is always backed up from Nutley to the beltway. Inside the beltway when we do choose to drive into DC can go either way, but it's always bad coming out of DC. When we want to go into DC on a weekend day trip it's always better to just drive to Vienna metro and take metro in. Frankly, we don't go into DC much in the evening. The drive is too much and lots of other places to go closer in. When we initially moved out here from Fairfax (I also previously lived in Arlington and Alexandria) I thought there was nothing to do out here, but honestly, it's a nice change of pace from the congestion and crowds. Plenty to do out here and encourage anyone to discover "out west", it's just different from Arlington/DC.
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:01 PM
 
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Im not a metro fan, I find it easier to drive most of the time. I don't go into DC often, but there are restaurants and events/exhibits that we like.
I do see that the 95-HOV is expanding to Stafford and that makes me feel a little better, being that in a few years, it might not be as much of a pain to get into the city.
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:16 PM
 
10,606 posts, read 12,161,273 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FillTheBox View Post
Im not a metro fan, I find it easier to drive most of the time. I don't go into DC often, but there are restaurants and events/exhibits that we like.
I do see that the 95-HOV is expanding to Stafford and that makes me feel a little better, being that in a few years, it might not be as much of a pain to get into the city.

I'm not a fan of Metro either and will always drive into the city. I live in Woodbridge.

I haven't actually lived in any of the places you've mentioned but I guess if I had to choose, I would probably go with Bristow. While both areas are undergoing many population changes, I guess I feel like I would fit in better in Bristow. I think eventually it my get a more urban/city feel to it than Stafford will. I still view Stafford down to Fredericksburg and more of "country" feel and I don't think the whole Rt. 1 thing that runs alongside of 95 ever helps these areas. But that is TOTALLY a personal preference.

I think both I-95 and I-66 are equally horrible with them being worse than each other during certain times.

The I-95 HOV expansion is going, to my understanding, going to be a HOT (Toll) lanes project. In the future, you will be paying to use those lanes if you aren't in a carpool. Currently, the HOV lanes can be used by all during off hours. It will be interesting to see how weekend travel traffic is affected once the HOT lanes go into effect.
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Old 04-10-2013, 02:32 PM
 
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I actually looked up how many miles it was from Stafford to DC vs Bristow to DC and I was surprised it's about the same distance. I guess the only concept I have of Stafford is passing the exit when we go to the beach and it seemed SO far down 95.

I do think you'll have a hard time finding a SFH in Bristow for $350k. Perhaps in Warrenton, but prices in Bristow/Gainesville/Haymarket have gone up.

People in this area tend to think of anything in Fauquier as definitely more country/rural which is kind of funny since just around the corner from most of us there are still farms and wide open spaces.

Have you compared the school districts? How much do you like the friends in the East versus the friends in the West
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:02 PM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
6,599 posts, read 10,917,875 times
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beg to differ from some here. I've been here since 73 in PWC and worked for PWCPD for 30 years. I worked the entire county most of those 30 years so I know 66 and 95 very well. But give me 66 most any day of the week. While 66 can be a PITA it can pale compared to problems on I 95. If I need to go south to see my daughter in NC on the east coast I have ways of bypassing much of 95 when it is at its worst. Which is most always. I won't pretend 66 is a cakewalk but I would never live anywhere along the I 95 corridor.
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Old 04-10-2013, 05:48 PM
 
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I have driven up and down 95 and across 66 plenty of times and I too would take 66 anytime. However i'm not going to be taking 95 during peak hours most of the time and even venturing into DC for a nighttime activity would happen maybe once a month, if that.

School districts seem to be the same. Maybe PWC first, then Stafford, then Fauquier. I understand its no top-Fairfax school, but even kids succeede in bad schools and fail out of good ones.
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Old 04-10-2013, 07:13 PM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,877,675 times
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Schools: Western PWC -> Stafford -> Fauquier

I-95 is going to be TERRIBLE in the summer. Unless VRE, Metro, or slugging is your game, you will want the I-66 corridor. Plus you are closer to the Dulles Corridor where there are more jobs.
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:10 AM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
6,599 posts, read 10,917,875 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stpickrell View Post
Schools: Western PWC -> Stafford -> Fauquier

I-95 is going to be TERRIBLE in the summer. Unless VRE, Metro, or slugging is your game, you will want the I-66 corridor. Plus you are closer to the Dulles Corridor where there are more jobs.
I don't believe a job is the issue here.
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Old 04-11-2013, 05:10 AM
 
11 posts, read 10,238 times
Reputation: 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigfoot424 View Post
I don't believe a job is the issue here.
Correct. And slugging or train is no option. If you re-read the first post, you'll understand.
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