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Old 10-18-2017, 07:07 AM
 
Location: Mt. Airy
5,311 posts, read 5,329,932 times
Reputation: 3562

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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ondoner View Post
Damn bruh. You OK? No need to spew bile.

4 of the top 6 richest counties in the US are in Northern Virginia.
Eh, you should hang with Montclair. Measures of wealth aren't everything. If the OP wants a vibrant, interesting urban life with parks, shopping, etc., NOVA isn't all that great. Alexandria would probably be the best bet, but DC doesn't hold a candle to Philly IMO. Of course, that's JMO.

If the OP loves low-density suburbia with long car commutes, NOVA has a lot of options!

Last edited by AJNEOA; 10-18-2017 at 08:24 AM..
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Old 10-18-2017, 08:57 AM
 
452 posts, read 192,680 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pampam123 View Post
Also, I did some research on suburban communities, just to keep those in mind since we go back and forth about the yard aspect. Radnor and Newtown Square, and Chestnut Hill stuck out to me as very nice communities. And I saw that Wayne, Media, and West Chester looked to be very walkable and lively communities considering they are not in the city. Also what about the schools in all of these communities? Can anyone share a little about those!
Main Line schools are very good, some of the top public districts in the country - Radnor, Lower Merion, Tredyffrin-Easttown (Conestoga HS). This is the area along Lancaster Ave (US 30) from Wynnewood to Paoli/Malvern, including Wayne, Villanova, Haverford, Bryn Mawr, Berwyn, and Devon. There are also excellent private schools in the area (Malvern Prep, Haverford School). The area is beautiful and has some walkable semi-downtown areas (Wayne, Ardmore), although they clearly rank much lower on the scale of "lively communities" and "exciting, open minded, culturally diverse" than living in the city.

I'll also plug my town of Newtown, Bucks County. There is a charming, walkable downtown area with Revolutionary-era historic buildings surrounded by a community of Victorian houses in the borough. Council Rock schools are on par with Main Line schools, and the township is currently building a system of miles of multi-use hike/bike/walk trails all around Newtown Township that will connect all parts of the borough and township to Tyler State Park, Bucks Community College, and Washington Crossing. Real estate in Newtown is not nearly as expensive either the Main Line or Center City, and for your budget, you'd get the pick of the best homes available in the borough, like for example, this 6000 sqf, 5 BR historical Georgian Colonial in the heart of the borough (I drive by this house every day, and it is gorgeous).

https://www.trulia.com/property/3270...wtown-PA-18940

Like the Main Line, Newtown ranks higher on the scale for amenities and school district and lower for "exciting and diverse" than the city itself, so it depends on what your relative priorities are.
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Old 10-18-2017, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia
1,052 posts, read 586,753 times
Reputation: 1103
Default Many options

From what you are seeking, Southeast Pennsylvania definitely is your best option from the 3 cities. The quality of life is much higher here than DC or Atlanta, in the fact you get more for your money, and have better access to public transit and have access to plenty of open space with serene rolling landscapes. (The suburbs on the PA side of Philadelphia are some of the most charming in the nation; most of the suburbs feature a main street with a historic town center and direct access to public transit via trains). DC has a relatively weak transit system outside of its borders. SEPTA is one of the most expansive transit systems in the nation.

Based on your price range I would check out:

1) Chestnut Hill: Absolutely beautiful stunning neighborhood in NW Philadelphia, full of historic stone mansions, with generous yards, direct access to the largest urban park in the nation (Fairmount Park) and direct transit access via SEPTA to Center City Philadelphia. (No need to drive to commute to work). Germantown Ave is absolutely stunning, with a coblestone mainstreet and colonial architecture everywhere. The only issue here is it is located in the city of Philadelphia, so most parents do send their children to private schools; since the city school system has limited enrollment into its best schools.

2) Mainline towns: These are the western suburbs of Philadelphia, and are some of the most beautiful parts of the mid atlantic. The towns all are older and historic, so they have a very serene quality and character to them with lots of historical significance. There is also direct SEPTA access along the whole stretch (about 30 miles in length) that offers express trains from Villanova to Center City in as little as 20 minutes. Based on your price range I find places like Wayne, Bryn Mawr or Haverford to be close to what you are looking for. I would also consider Narberth. Every town located within the mainline has access to the top public schools in the nation. 2 of the districts are listed in the top 20 best in the nation. Your money will not go as far along the mainline, but then you also can securely send your child to public school.

3) Society Hill: If you are looking to stay within Center City, I would focus on Society Hill. This is largely a quiet residential neighborhood with tons of character. (The largest residential historic neighborhood in the nation). Be aware though that again you are in Philadelphia School District, and therefore you might want to factor the cost of sending your child to private school, as the city school system is limited in quality options.

4) Media & West Chester: These are located southwest of Philadelphia. Media is quite charming, it has tons of restaurants, direct public transit access and a walkable town feel. Media is only about 30 minutes to Center City (car or transit). West Chester is similar to Media, but further west, by about 15 miles, but it has a very charming central walkable town center. Both towns offer incredible quality life, housing options though are limited within the boroughs. You might also find West Chester to be a little too far removed from Center City, as the closest train access to West Chester is a 10 minute drive. Both are located in excellent school districts.


5) Ambler/Blue Bell: These are the suburb areas North of Philadelphia. This area is quite charming as well, and has plenty of housing stock that would meet your needs with direct transit access. The advantage to this area, is it is less congested and has more open space, but does still offer direct transit access. The school district is excellent. And Ambler has a charming main street.


Chestnut Hill and the Mainline towns are going to give you the most frequent transit service and easiest access to Center City. The mainline route is the most traveled so it tends to have the highest frequency of intervals, even on weekends. The other suburban areas mentioned all have transit access, they are just a little more confined/scheduled to working hours.

Based on your budget and your desire to have a blend of Urban and Suburban I would most recommend Chestnut Hill.

Last edited by rowhomecity; 10-18-2017 at 09:33 AM..
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Old 10-18-2017, 09:48 AM
 
Location: The place where the road & the sky collide
21,970 posts, read 27,258,015 times
Reputation: 9008
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ondoner View Post
With a budget of $1-2M, I would vote for NOVA. DC is much more aesthetic than Philly. However, if you want a better quality of life, go for Atlanta. Less congested and cheaper than both Philly and DC. In Philly, main line has the best schools. Of the 3 locations, Philly is mid Atlantic with easy access to the region.

I'd say you have a good problem trying to choose where to move, it just depends on what you want.
Atlanta is known for horrendous traffic.
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Old 10-18-2017, 10:17 AM
 
9,436 posts, read 5,246,863 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pampam123 View Post
Thank you all so much for the replies! I was up very late last night doing some research on neighborhoods and google street views, it seems that Atlanta is quite similar to Dallas, which i*s a red flag to us. We want to escape the Southern way of life...driving everywhere, traffic, sub-par public transit, same strip malls and sprawl in every town...

I was definitely impressed with some of Philadelphia's urban neighborhoods. Fitler Square, Society Hill, and the Logan neighborhoods looked charming. Rittenhouse area looked very exciting, but possibly too much hustle and bustle to live right in the center of the action, plus I didn't see as many areas for kids to play outside in that neighborhood.

Also, I did some research on suburban communities, just to keep those in mind since we go back and forth about the yard aspect. Radnor and Newtown Square, and Chestnut Hill stuck out to me as very nice communities. And I saw that Wayne, Media, and West Chester looked to be very walkable and lively communities considering they are not in the city. Also what about the schools in all of these communities? Can anyone share a little about those!

Also, of course we prefer a wonderful area with amenities and an educated populous, but being in the richest county or town is not our top priority, we did that in Highland Park and are over it. Not to say we won't live in a wealthy town, but that is not our make or break point.

I may copy and paste this in the DC forum as well to maximize response. Thanks
I mentioned Fairmount which is a Philly city neighborhood just north of downtown ( Center City) which is close enough to many of the city features other have posted about. But unlike Ritttenhouse, Fitler or others( Washington Sq West, Society Hill or Old City) , it is very kid friendly with lots of families.
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Old 10-18-2017, 10:38 AM
 
Location: Dude...., I'm right here
1,127 posts, read 705,294 times
Reputation: 596
Public transit in Philly is over romanticized. When you are living in a $1.5 million home, taking the train to work becomes a nuisance. If you are working in center city, you definitely want to be in lower main line. Traffic in Philly is just as bad as any other major city.

If you work in a major city, you're better off living in the city.

This is why I think the best work location is Mclean, VA because it is not in downtown DC. You can reside in Fairfax county and drive to work. Trains are for broke people

Quote:
Originally Posted by pampam123 View Post
Thank you all so much for the replies! I was up very late last night doing some research on neighborhoods and google street views, it seems that Atlanta is quite similar to Dallas, which is a red flag to us. We want to escape the Southern way of life...driving everywhere, traffic, sub-par public transit, same strip malls and sprawl in every town...

I was definitely impressed with some of Philadelphia's urban neighborhoods. Fitler Square, Society Hill, and the Logan neighborhoods looked charming. Rittenhouse area looked very exciting, but possibly too much hustle and bustle to live right in the center of the action, plus I didn't see as many areas for kids to play outside in that neighborhood.

Also, I did some research on suburban communities, just to keep those in mind since we go back and forth about the yard aspect. Radnor and Newtown Square, and Chestnut Hill stuck out to me as very nice communities. And I saw that Wayne, Media, and West Chester looked to be very walkable and lively communities considering they are not in the city. Also what about the schools in all of these communities? Can anyone share a little about those!

Also, of course we prefer a wonderful area with amenities and an educated populous, but being in the richest county or town is not our top priority, we did that in Highland Park and are over it. Not to say we won't live in a wealthy town, but that is not our make or break point.

I may copy and paste this in the DC forum as well to maximize response. Thanks
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Old 10-18-2017, 10:41 AM
 
34 posts, read 28,944 times
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Sounds like Philadelphia or DC may be more your speed.

McLean is very suburban and one of the wealthiest suburbs in the US. It might be somewhat similar to Highland Park in that way. Very suburban, few sidewalks, lots of mansions and McMansions. Might not be your cup of tea. Nearby Arlington is more urban and walkable and very close to all the museums in downtown DC . Both North Arlington and McLean public schools can be very good. The issue with the DC area is housing is very expensive, much more expensive than the Philly area for the same house. So you might not have extra money for private schooling if you live in DC proper or the close suburbs. DC itself can be very nice but is not usually considered the best educational system. Even if you do get a smaller house or condo in DC, it could be problematic getting a spot in the "best" private schools in the DC area. My sense is that admissions is much more competitive there than Philly (due to there being so much more wealth and power in DC).

So, I think you could like the DC area very much, but you'd have more wiggle room in Philly with respect to real estate and schooling. I think Philly is a bit more laid back than the rich areas of DC, which has more traffic, frenetic lifestyles, and a achievement-oriented/political/work-oriented culture.

If you live in Philly (e.g Chrstnut Hill), there are wonderful private schools nearby. You could also try the suburban towns you mentioned (all are very nice) and make a go of the public schools; there are wonderful private schools in the suburbs that could be"backup" if you don't like the public school experience. If the salary is really the same in all locations, you could save more being in Philly than DC, I think.

If you are really looking for art, music, urban energy, Philadelphia itself can't be beat. It's really not the same in the suburban towns.

However if you're looking for more green and will be disciplined about getting into the city for going out, a suburban town might be a better fit for your family.

There is a dc urbanparent forum on another site (should come up on google) where people can answer DC questions. You might want to check that out too for more DC feedback.
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Old 10-18-2017, 10:56 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia
1,052 posts, read 586,753 times
Reputation: 1103
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ondoner View Post
Public transit in Philly is over romanticized. When you are living in a $1.5 million home, taking the train to work becomes a nuisance. If you are working in center city, you definitely want to be in lower main line. Traffic in Philly is just as bad as any other major city.

If you work in a major city, you're better off living in the city.

This is why I think the best work location is Mclean, VA because it is not in downtown DC. You can reside in Fairfax county and drive to work. Trains are for broke people

The express train from Villanova to Center City takes 20 minutes. I guarantee you the people who ride that train are not poor, just very smart, as they maximize efficiency on a train versus driving. McLean, VA is about as boring and historically insignificant as any other wealthy golf course suburb in America, all on cookie cutter lots with cookie cutter suburbia strips. McLean, VA might have alot of expensive inventory, but in no way does it have more character than the Mainline or Chestnut Hill. Its just all boring new money nonsense. If I had to choose a DC suburb it would be Bethesda, MD anyday over McLean, VA. NOVA is nothing but sprawling suburbs and very similar to Dallas in its failed new urbanism outlook.

Last edited by rowhomecity; 10-18-2017 at 11:09 AM..
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Old 10-18-2017, 11:41 AM
 
Location: New York City
5,713 posts, read 5,105,189 times
Reputation: 2826
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ondoner View Post
Public transit in Philly is over romanticized. When you are living in a $1.5 million home, taking the train to work becomes a nuisance. If you are working in center city, you definitely want to be in lower main line. Traffic in Philly is just as bad as any other major city.

If you work in a major city, you're better off living in the city.

This is why I think the best work location is Mclean, VA because it is not in downtown DC. You can reside in Fairfax county and drive to work. Trains are for broke people
Just to be fair, I grew up in the Media area (Upper Providence) in a well-off neighborhood, and my dad as well as several of our neighbors took the train into Philadelphia almost everyday for work. And these were people making $300k++ a year, so by no means average earners. Plus the OP is European, and their views on public transit are much more open.


Also, if the OP choose suburban living, Philadelphia is one of the few cities that offers suburbs that with developmental/ architectural diversity that spans centuries. Places like Highland Park and McLean are wealthy and pretty, but are pretty bland and the same can be seen in any rich new suburb from Dallas to Atlanta to Phoenix. Many of the Philadelphia burbs are unique and offer charm that is rarely seen in other areas.

And as far as income go, McLean might have an average HH Income over of $250k and the Main Line $200k, (making numbers up), yet if someone is going to factor that into their decision then they must be really shallow, because in the end they are both rich areas.


It does seem that the OP would be happier in a more urban environment, I think going from Highland Park to Rittenhouse might be too much of a shock, but certainly Society Hill, Chestnut Hill or even West Chester would certainly be a good middle ground.
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Old 10-18-2017, 12:39 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
11,883 posts, read 10,383,727 times
Reputation: 8050
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1ondoner View Post
Public transit in Philly is over romanticized. When you are living in a $1.5 million home, taking the train to work becomes a nuisance. If you are working in center city, you definitely want to be in lower main line. Traffic in Philly is just as bad as any other major city.

If you work in a major city, you're better off living in the city.

This is why I think the best work location is Mclean, VA because it is not in downtown DC. You can reside in Fairfax county and drive to work. Trains are for broke people
How are you so "'murican" but from London lol?
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