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Old 12-13-2010, 08:56 AM
 
3 posts, read 6,024 times
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The message that I want to communicate about Winchester is that if it seems to be your ideal place to settle with a picket fence and a dog, then it probably is. It certainly is mostly safe, pleasant enough to those who live there, and rapidly changing.

However, this is precisely my complaint. Northern Virginia is a place people move to for jobs. Not for the weather or the charm of a cul-de-sac in Reston with all of the vinyl siding and Toyota Camrys that the heart of a PTA member could desire. I have no idea what the proportion is of people in Fairfax or Eastern Loudoun who were born in the state of Virginia, but a very, very liberal estimate would be 40%.

Me, I'm of a dying breed. My dad was born and raised in Clarke County, and my mom hails from Northwest Washington, so I'm about as pure of a Northern Virginian as they come. But "Northern Virginia" is the new Southern California or North Jersey, because no one from the DC metro part of VA would say to you that they are "from Virginia." Richmond politics are too red by association, and the people are truly only here because of the the extent of the DC suburbia.

But to get back on topic, Winchester is only lumped in with NoVA in terms of the the massive "Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia DC/MD/VA/WV Combined Statistical Area", a region amassing 28 counties, not to mention the cities of Washington and Baltimore. Do you still think suburbia being a fungus is just an amusing metaphor?

I grew up in this town, and it will always be my home. But if you're of a liberal political bent (like me) and are expecting a big progressive contingent, prepare to be sorely disappointed.
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Old 12-14-2010, 09:18 AM
 
9 posts, read 50,557 times
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Default Grew up in Winchester

I grew up in Funchester, and although I don't love the city, it is home and I will try to paint it in a true light. (it should be noted I currently live in another part of the state).
Winchester is a world away from the Norther Virginia feel. This is true for the entire Shenandoah Valley. Most people are not willing to commute from Winchester into NoVa any further than maybe Loudon County. The hussle and bussle and suburban sprawl of NoVa has not (and hopefully will never) reached Winchester.

Winchester is rather conservative, and the University is still small and goes relatively unnoticed. Culturally I consider Winchester to have a rather Southern feel. I think what many people don't realize is that the Shenandoah Valley, and much of Eastern/South Eastern West Virginia are culturally quite Southern, and proud of it. Much of Winchester has a West Virginia influence.

Eastern West Virginia has a Southern meets Pennsylvania coal culture, but Winchester remains rather Southern in feel. I grew up being taught heavily about the Civil War and Virginia's role as a Southern State. It's quite common to see Confederate flags. This is not necessarily a bad thing, the area very much appreciates its history and heritage. There are lots of people whose families have been in the Winchester area for generations and are proud of it.

At the end of the day it is important to remember that Winchester is more in line with the Valley way of life than it is NoVa. This means it is a city in an agriculture area. The city is trying to bring in more "art and culture" but one will always see the agriculture mindset of the area.

Personally, I left for college and fell in love with areas of the state farther Southe and East. I still live in the mountain parts of the state and I love the Shenandoah Valley, because I grew up in Winchester. I would return to Winchester given the right job.
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Old 12-14-2010, 09:35 AM
 
5,327 posts, read 6,112,036 times
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I'll echo the opinion that including Winchester in discussions of NOVA is misplaced. I visit Winchester often, and notice the West Virginia similarities as well. Agree that the Valley is different in culture from NOVA. NOVA is an entity characterized as being part of the DC metropolitan area, not "someplace in the northern part of Virginia". In making distinctions between NOVA and ROVA (rest of Virginia), Winchester falls into ROVA.
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Old 12-14-2010, 02:16 PM
 
Location: In the woods
3,315 posts, read 8,762,293 times
Reputation: 1510
Quote:
Originally Posted by daveguy321 View Post
I grew up in Funchester, and although I don't love the city, it is home and I will try to paint it in a true light. (it should be noted I currently live in another part of the state).
Winchester is a world away from the Norther Virginia feel. This is true for the entire Shenandoah Valley. Most people are not willing to commute from Winchester into NoVa any further than maybe Loudon County. The hussle and bussle and suburban sprawl of NoVa has not (and hopefully will never) reached Winchester.

Winchester is rather conservative, and the University is still small and goes relatively unnoticed. Culturally I consider Winchester to have a rather Southern feel. I think what many people don't realize is that the Shenandoah Valley, and much of Eastern/South Eastern West Virginia are culturally quite Southern, and proud of it. Much of Winchester has a West Virginia influence.

Eastern West Virginia has a Southern meets Pennsylvania coal culture, but Winchester remains rather Southern in feel. I grew up being taught heavily about the Civil War and Virginia's role as a Southern State. It's quite common to see Confederate flags. This is not necessarily a bad thing, the area very much appreciates its history and heritage. There are lots of people whose families have been in the Winchester area for generations and are proud of it.

At the end of the day it is important to remember that Winchester is more in line with the Valley way of life than it is NoVa. This means it is a city in an agriculture area. The city is trying to bring in more "art and culture" but one will always see the agriculture mindset of the area.

Personally, I left for college and fell in love with areas of the state farther Southe and East. I still live in the mountain parts of the state and I love the Shenandoah Valley, because I grew up in Winchester. I would return to Winchester given the right job.
What great insight from someone who grew up here. Thanks for sharing your story!
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Old 12-15-2010, 12:18 PM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,855,119 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by South Jersey Styx View Post
Old Town Development Board is citing some of those houses on National Ave as "blight" because owners refuse to fix them up. Take a look at the progress in the historic downtown, primarily b/c of the revitalization projects and you'll see that the projects have slowly worked towards Natl Ave. Just this Fall, a new park was finished by the police station (next to the train station) and new trees planted on the street along Piccadilly heading towards Natl Ave. There are some beautiful houses on National Ave that get overshadowed by the messed-up ones that need work, some small businesses, as well as George Washington's outlot. I think it's a matter of time before National Ave. looks very, very different.
Given the speed at which the city's dealing with the Taylor Hotel (eyesore right in the middle of the Loudoun St. Mall), I wouldn't hold my breath on change to eyesores on National Avenue.

Someone in Winchester must be Democratic, since the place went for Obama 52-48 in 2008, and has three Democratic City Council members.

Compared to Frederick and Warren Counties, it sure as heck is progressive.
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:17 PM
 
Location: In the woods
3,315 posts, read 8,762,293 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stpickrell View Post
Given the speed at which the city's dealing with the Taylor Hotel (eyesore right in the middle of the Loudoun St. Mall), I wouldn't hold my breath on change to eyesores on National Avenue.
This was in the papers a few months ago. the developer who was supposed to fix it up backed out. I think I know who it is and if it's who I think it is, they've done this before.

Quote:
Someone in Winchester must be Democratic, since the place went for Obama 52-48 in 2008, and has three Democratic City Council members.
Nothing wrong with this!

Quote:
Compared to Frederick and Warren Counties, it sure as heck is progressive.
That's what I thought too. Everyone kept telling me how conservative it is here and how it's so much like the "Bible Belt" but from talking to people, it seems the opposite.
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:08 PM
 
Location: Virginia-Shenandoah Valley
6,548 posts, read 10,819,662 times
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I have a number of good friends in Winchester and all but one is most definitely conservative. The one is Lesbian (not a problem) and I believe she leans pretty well left but I'm not real certain. She's in LE and most LE usually lean right but not all. I believe the majority of Winchester is conservative although some of the elections may not always show this. Voter apathy maybe.
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Old 12-16-2010, 07:00 PM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
2,380 posts, read 3,855,119 times
Reputation: 869
Quote:
Originally Posted by South Jersey Styx View Post
This was in the papers a few months ago. the developer who was supposed to fix it up backed out. I think I know who it is and if it's who I think it is, they've done this before.

Nothing wrong with this!

That's what I thought too. Everyone kept telling me how conservative it is here and how it's so much like the "Bible Belt" but from talking to people, it seems the opposite.
Yeah, the poster really looked nice when I saw it a few months ago. It'd be a good start just to tear the !@#$ thing down, a vacant lot is much less of an eye sore than a building with all sorts of "DANGER DO NOT ENTER" and "PELIGRO" signs.

And yeah, there's a solid core of progressives in Winchester and Harrisonburg. No, the areas aren't Arlington by any stretch, either in progressive politics or in overall funkiness, but they aren't quite a zero on either scale either.

I will say Front Royal is pretty conservative though and I suspect if I moved out there I'd get a reputation as a dangerous liberal crank (who in Arlington would be known as a "conservative Democrat.")

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigfoot424 View Post
I have a number of good friends in Winchester and all but one is most definitely conservative. The one is Lesbian (not a problem) and I believe she leans pretty well left but I'm not real certain. She's in LE and most LE usually lean right but not all. I believe the majority of Winchester is conservative although some of the elections may not always show this. Voter apathy maybe.
True, but it's not as conservative as Frederick County or Warren County. (Are your friends from the city itself or the Frederick County part of Winchester?)

Clarke and especially Rappahannock seem to have gotten a fair number of limousine liberals, though.
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Old 12-17-2010, 02:19 PM
 
Location: In the woods
3,315 posts, read 8,762,293 times
Reputation: 1510
Quote:
Originally Posted by stpickrell View Post
Yeah, the poster really looked nice when I saw it a few months ago. It'd be a good start just to tear the !@#$ thing down, a vacant lot is much less of an eye sore than a building with all sorts of "DANGER DO NOT ENTER" and "PELIGRO" signs.
I think the developer (or by rules of historic preservation) was supposed to keep the original facade of the bldg intact and gut the rest behind it (same thing done in alot of bldgs in downtown DC). But I heard there was another problem with some water/a canal on one side of the bldg. I think it compromised the structure and stopped renovations and/or the developer didn't want to repair it.

Quote:
Clarke and especially Rappahannock seem to have gotten a fair number of limousine liberals, though.
What's a "limousine liberal"? Someone who's views ride around/all over the place during certain times?
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Old 12-17-2010, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Prince William County, VA
664 posts, read 1,616,916 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by South Jersey Styx View Post

What's a "limousine liberal"? Someone who's views ride around/all over the place during certain times?
No... Liberals who are basically of the "these are the ideal sacrifices/standards I expect everyone else to adhere to, but of course I'm not going to" mind set. Wikipedia has the definition.

Moderator Cut

Last edited by FindingZen; 12-17-2010 at 07:01 PM.. Reason: off topic
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