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Old 11-26-2008, 06:28 AM
 
5 posts, read 22,835 times
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I am relocating from Boston to northern virginia in the next few weeks. I know there are a ton of information as it relates to commuting around here and the traffic is horrible, but I wanted to get some specific info for my situation.

I will be working in Falls Church right at the intersection of 495 and Rt 50. I will be leaving for work between 5:45 and 6:00AM and in the evening between 5:00 and 5:30 PM.

I will make the assumption that traffic in the evening will be much worse since I am at rush hour, and I am looking for an evening commute of no longer than 45 minutes.

I have an allowance of around $2k for rent (I can afford more but that is my starting point) and am looking for a 2BR townhome/condo rental that is pet friendly. I am married and no kids, I am in my early 30's and my wife is late 20's. We are looking for a place as well that is not out in the middle of nowhere where we have to drive 15 minutes for milk. We want to be near restaurants/nightlife.

One place I saw was a golf course area called penderbrook. I was curious how that was if anyone had any more info.

Also, there are some places in Alexandria and Arlington, but I have read there are good and bad areas of Alexandria and Arlington. Can someone elaborate on these.
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Old 11-26-2008, 09:11 AM
 
Location: San Antonio, TX
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Well, you are in luck. They are tons of Red Sox fans in that area. For a bad part of Alexandria, stay away from anything in the vicinity of Route 1 south of 495. Its a bad area, but it probably is too far from where you are going to be working to even be a consideration. Check out the Clarendon/Ballston area of Arlington. Not sure on a commute time from there, but it is where all of the young people are. Nightlife and bars. That is all I got at the moment.
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Old 11-26-2008, 02:07 PM
 
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I second the choice of the Ballston/Clarendon in Arlington although $2K might be cutting it close for a 2B condo. Falls Church itself may not be bad; it's somehwat more family-oriented but it's safe and you'll be next door to Arlington.

The counties of Fairfax, Prince William and (eastern) Loudoun are fairly dense so you won't have to drive through the wilderness for a loaf of bread.

FYI, the section of Alexandria below the Beltway (I-495) is technically in Fairfax County as opposed to the City of Alexandria. Living on or immediately off Route 1 may not be ideal although the retail is getting better. Actually, an optimistic investor would do well to buy a home there with the impending relocation of jobs to Fort Belvoir. As it stands now, there are some nicer neighborhoods near the river like Belle View, Stratford Landing and Mount Vernon as well as the Kingstowne area (near Springfield) that has shiny newish condos and midscale big box shopping centers.
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Old 11-26-2008, 02:30 PM
 
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Penderbrook would be a fine choice if there are places there that fit the budget. The morning commute into Yorktown (495 & 50) would be fairly easy, and going home would be more sluggish but not a huge problem either. You have choices and alternate routes, so there's flex to get around problems. Penderbrook is across Route-50 from Fair Oaks Mall, one of the larger upscale malls in the area. Fairfax Corner, Fair Lakes, and downtown Fairfax City are nearby as well. There are grocery shopping spots along West Ox Road and elsewhere. Basically, there is everything you need there. It's a nice area. The golf course is nice, too. It used to be better before they built all those houses in the middle of it, but it's still a nice course to play.
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Old 11-26-2008, 02:42 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
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Fairfax Circle & Merrifield are both close by with easy access.
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Old 11-26-2008, 05:36 PM
 
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They're both close to Yorktown...not so much to Penderbrook. Merrifield is all torn up with construction at the moment. Not sure how long that's going to last, but it's been a place to bypass this week at least...
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Old 11-27-2008, 05:28 PM
 
Location: Falls Church, VA
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I would not recommend Fairfax Circle. It is quite close, yes - a speedy commute is always nice - and the price is sensible enough in the area. But if the original poster is looking for nightlife and restaurants, Fairfax Circle is NOT the place to be. It is a short drive to get milk from Fairfax Circle, but it's not a pretty drive, and absolutely nothing is walkable. It's a universe away from Ballston or Clarendon.
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Old 11-29-2008, 01:34 PM
 
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Penderbrook townhouses are terrific but I don't know how long the commute would be. A friend of mine bought one there when the place first opened and I loved the place.

Don't know how it has held up over time. You would be going with traffic on the way home so that wouldn't be fun either. If you have a short fuse might want to look for something closer. Of course if you are just renting you can always move; it's not like you are buying the place.

It will be hard to find any place where you have a reasonable commute yet have to drive 15 minutes for milk. As soon as you scope the area out you will see what I mean. Any place near your job will have mucho services. This is an affluent area with plenty of people looking to sell you stuff.
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Old 11-29-2008, 04:33 PM
 
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Default Further Info

Thank you all for the responses. In regards to the traffic, I work in Boston and live 30 miles outside the city, and sit in traffic all the way home. So I fully know what I am getting into when it relates to traffic.

Also, I do not need to be in the center of nightlife, but would like to be nearby. I know Ballston and Old Town I read about alot, I am more interested in places outside the beltway that have decent restaurants etc.

Also, how are some of the planned communities, I read alot of good things about South riding. Would that be two far. It notes 25 miles, so at night would 45 minutes to an hour be an expectation?
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Old 11-30-2008, 11:29 PM
 
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Vienna probably wins first prize for restaurants. The main drag has so many of them it's hard to figure out how they all stay in business.

I don't know about South Riding. But it seems to me that wherever people have money, businesses spring up to serve them, so I'd be surprised if there is much of a problem.
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