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Old 12-27-2008, 04:52 AM
 
6 posts, read 26,056 times
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Hello, my family (two young boys, husband, myself) are relocating from Germany after four years with the military. We want to live somewhere with nature/hiking outdoorsy things to do, as well as some place that offers a nice town atmosphere with good shops, dining, and some culture...Cost of living affordable ($200,000-550,000- house price). We are interested in the Western part of VA as well as the Asheville area of NC. This is our first move as a family. We want a safe, green, and kid friendly town to settle.

We really like the feel of Burlington, VT but also are interested in towns on a smaller scale as long as there are still things to do for families and couples.

Good schools are also important- public and private options would be a plus.

Any advice and knowledge would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-27-2008, 06:41 AM
 
Location: Apex, NC
1,341 posts, read 5,633,813 times
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Are you from Burlington, VT? I was raised in Burlington, and now live in Boones Mill, VA.

There are two options that spring to mind, the first being the Roanoke Valley. Roanoke is something akin to the gateway to Western Virginia. If I remember correctly, Roanoke's metro population is +/- 300,000 people while Burlington's is +/- 200,000. With that said, the Roanoke MSA land area is +/- 1,800 square miles, while Burlington's MSA is 1,200 square miles. So, oddly enough, there are about 165 persons per square mile in both locations By contrast, however, Roanoke has a more densely populated urban core and thus more rural areas on its fringes.

Subjectively, Roanoke seems twice as big as Burlington when you look at cultural events, shopping and goings-on. Roanoke is definitely a kid friendly city, and becoming more-so by the month, it seems. In November, the new Taubman Museum of Art opened, and it's theater is the new home for the Roanoke Children's Theatre. We've already been to one production there, and our 6 year old daughter is signed up for their February classes. There is also the highly respected Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke, VA which heavily involves children as well.

I think it is quite possible that you would find Roanoke exactly to your liking. Being in Boones Mill, Franklin County, we're in the rural outskirts and are 25 minutes door-to-door to downtown Roanoke. Most prefer living in Roanoke city/county neighborhoods, and there are some specific neighborhoods that many of us can recommend in both the city and county. Off the top of my head, some nicer city neighborhoods include Grandin Court, Raligh Court, and South Roanoke.

Our two girls attend North Cross school (Please wait...), a secular private school in Roanoke. There is also Faith Christian School, with a brand new location in Clearbrook Village on the south side of the city. Other private schools include The Community School and Roanoke Catholic but there are others.

You can certainly find homes in town from $200K to $550K. Heavily generalizing, a $200K house might be a fine middle class house w/ 4 smallish bedrooms that is nearly move-in ready. A $400K city house might be a larger 4 bedroom home in a desirable neighborhood. For $550K you would be moving into the most affluent neighborhoods in the Roanoke Valley, with gorgeous tree lines streets and sidewalks. This is in direct contrast to Burlington, where $200K wouldn't buy you much. I would say home prices in Roanoke are probably 50% lower than in Burlington, and Roanoke property taxe rates are 66% lower.

Got to go. If you have more questions I'd be glad to answer.

(The second option is Blacksburg, which I can talk about later if you're curious)

Sean

Last edited by seanpecor; 12-27-2008 at 07:08 AM..
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Old 12-27-2008, 08:20 AM
 
6 posts, read 26,056 times
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Wow, thanks alot for the info. Ok, so at the moment, my husband (he's an anesthesia doc) has come across some job listings in Abbington (sp?) VA, Warrenton as well as Culpepper. From what he's researched, he seems to think these areas sound nice. I must admit, I am intrigued as well. Nothing yet in Roanoke.

We are small town people who enjoy weekend trips to the city....I just want to not have a middle of the nowhere feel wherever we go- having a central town/meeting place with some shops/restaurants/etc. would make us happy, while still maintaining some privacy and calm living in the rural outskirts. I hope this makes sense.

Neither of us are from Burlington. Although we visited a few times and very much enjoyed the area/vibe. Roanoke sounded great. I'd love to hear about Blacksburg when you have a sec. I'll look into it myself for the time being.

If you have any thoughts on the other above mentioned areas, we'd be grateful!

Thanks again for responding, honestly, I wasn't sure anyone would. It's my first time on one of these sites.

Rebecca

Last edited by beccaoco; 12-27-2008 at 08:35 AM..
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Old 12-27-2008, 01:29 PM
 
Location: Apex, NC
1,341 posts, read 5,633,813 times
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Culpeper and Warrenton aren't Western Virginia. They're borderline Northern Virginia. Abingdon is far southwestern Virginia and might be perfect for you. It's a historic, picturesque area and not far from Bristol. Abingdon's vibe isn't really Burlington's vibe, though, but don't rule it out based on that. It would be a pretty small town vibe. Anything like shows and major shopping and you'd be trucking to Bristol, but it's not far.

I'm surprised there isn't anything right now in Roanoke since Carilion has its headquarters here. But there may be a pause in hiring until the economy shakes out. Also, there is a Veteran's Hospital in the Roanoke Valley. Here are some potentially useful links:

http://www2.va.gov/directory/guide/facility.asp?id=116
http://www.carilionclinic.org/Carili...ional+Staffing
info

Sean
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Old 12-27-2008, 04:32 PM
 
Location: Arden, NC
535 posts, read 1,557,946 times
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Asheville is ok, North Asheville is the nicer part of town. Schools are mixed, my daughter is in a private school and has been since day 1 (I'm not fond of the schools here). Culturally there is a lot to do. There is a downtown that can be vibrant on some days and not so hot on other days. Lots of outdoor activities nearby. Lots of folks live in the counties surrounding Asheville, if I lived there I'd def send my kid to private schools.
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Old 12-28-2008, 05:14 AM
 
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thanks very much for the info on asheville...private schools would be likely on our part too. how long have you lived in ashville? is the nicer downtown north ashville? any parts of the town (home neighborhoods) that you think are nicer (green, more rural, yet still close to town)? thanks again.
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Old 12-28-2008, 05:34 AM
 
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Sean, do you have any thoughts on Lancaster County Va? Checked out the county homepage-sounds like a nice area. Thanks.
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Old 12-28-2008, 05:51 AM
 
Location: Arden, NC
535 posts, read 1,557,946 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beccaoco View Post
thanks very much for the info on asheville...private schools would be likely on our part too. how long have you lived in ashville? is the nicer downtown north ashville? any parts of the town (home neighborhoods) that you think are nicer (green, more rural, yet still close to town)? thanks again.
My daughter goes to a Montessori school that is in Black Mountain. It's a bit of a drive but she loves it and I love it there.

I've been here since 1992.

I like North Asheville. It's nice, larger homes and bigger lots and there are more professionals there. It's established and not all new. Nothing within the city limits is going to be rural, the city itself isn't that big and most wide open areas are developed - flat land gets gobbled up quickly. West of town is ok, sketchy in areas. Some pretty parts to the east were you can find a rural setting that's not too far from town (I have no idea what you call close).

Downtown is ok, some like it, some don't. I work downtown now, still haven't gotten used to it.
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Old 12-28-2008, 06:00 AM
 
Location: Apex, NC
1,341 posts, read 5,633,813 times
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I'm not familiar with Lancaster County, sorry!

Sean
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Old 12-29-2008, 02:30 PM
 
Location: Central Virginia
124 posts, read 429,993 times
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BECCAOCO,

RE:thoughts on Lancaster County Va

You might search the Virginia forum for 'Kilmarnock' or 'Lancaster' and read some of the old threads there. Lancaster County is part of Virginia's Northern Neck area, bounded by the Potomac River, the Chesapeake Bay and the Rappahannock River. It's a beautiful area -- rural, agricultural, historic, great place for nature lovers, boating, fishing, pretty flat topography -- but not much in the way of culture, entertainment, shopping (IMHO). Lots of retirees and weekenders from Maryland, NOVA and Richmond, so waterfront property is expensive. There is a hospital in Kilmarnock, Rappahannock General, and one in nearby Gloucester (Walter Reed, I believe). Lots of folks there travel to Richmond, Williamsburg or Northern VA for dining and cultural fixes. There's not much in the way of employment in the area.

BTW, my wife and I just moved to Roanoke last August, and while we miss being on the water, we love the conveniences and the beauty of the mountains in this area.
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