Best towns in Virginia for families?? (Richmond, Arlington: real estate, rental, low crime)
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Hello. My hubby and I are looking to relocate from PA to Virginia. We do have family scattered around the NE in NJ, PA and even NY. My hubby would be able to transfer to VA with his job just about anywhere in the state. Where (with a reasonable driving distance to NJ to see family) are the best towns for families? I know absolutely nothing about VA save the times I visited there as a child and loved it.
Any info you could give me would be very helpful!
Thank you all so much for your input.
There are at least hundreds. Give us a few more details - price range, type of community, amenities desired. All states are diverse, the many geographic areas offer different weather, screnery, lifestyles.
Northern Virginia is certainly the obvious option because it's the shortest drive to NJ. But when you say reasonable drive, do you mean under 4 hours? Under 8 hours?
Roanoke, Virginia is +/- 6.5 hours from Burlington, NJ. I'd call that a reasonable drive with family in the car. Short enough so you only need one meal en route. About 9 hours is my own personal comfort ceiling; longer than that and everyone including the kids turn into zombies. We're not all 19 anymore I remember being 19 and driving with friends from Burlington, Vermont to Orlando, Florida stopping only for drive-thru food and fuel. We switched drivers every 8 hours or so. Made it under 23 hours. At 19 I thought that was pretty reasonable
The Roanoke metro area is a not-too-big community of +/- 300,000 people. The healthcare, I.T., finance, biotech, tourism and manufacturing industries are healthy in Roanoke and it's pretty well balanced from a working population standpoint. It's not as top heavy as Charlottesville or Blacksburg, where real estate costs and general cost of living are higher than in Roanoke. And it's not bottom heavy with blue collar jobs and a lack of upward mobility. It's a place where a young family can enjoy great public schools and more affordable private schools. There are state and national parks and forests in the Roanoke metro area, and alot of public parks as well. Rental communities for the most part are well maintained with landscaping and a pleasant atmosphere for folks who want to settle in before buying property. Folks are very friendly and you'd feel welcomed to your neighborhood and through your children you'd find fast friends. That was our experience. We're from Vermont but after less than two years we already have many friends and good memories. Don't look at the crime statistics for Roanoke; they don't include the entire metro area - just Roanoke City which is only 1/3rd of the population. Combine the statistics for the entire "MSA" and crime is below the state and national averages across the board. And as far as when your kids reach college age; Roanoke is between 5 and 60 minutes from Virginia Tech, Roanoke College, Hollins University, Virginia Western, Radford College, Ferrum College, Jefferson, and another upcoming medical school to be opened in Roanoke in a couple years. Roanoke also has a regional airport with direct flights to Laguardia.
Snooping at your recent posts, I gather your husband is a firefighter. Check out a blog - http://www.roanokefirefighters.blogspot.com/ - by Roanoke City firefighter Rhett Fleitz. Rhett is a blogger friend of mine and he might be helpful in pointing you to the right people.
Maybe even Ladysmith Village in Caroline County? You can search the forums for my posts about what it's like. It is a very family friendly planned community, about 1 mile from I-95. It is easy commuting distance to Richmond (30-40 minutes), Fredericksburg (20-30 minutes) and Northern Virginia. Also, I-95 gets very busy, even on weekends. Ladysmith Village is convenient to rt. 301, which usually remains less crouded, and can be a great alternative to I-95 when things get bad.
Just ask if you have any more questions Townhouses and duplex's start in the mid-200's and single family houses start in the low 300's.
NOVA has great schools and communites and Loudoun County would get you away from alot of the traffic headache...PURCEVILLE is a nice town. Close to 15N to get easy acess to NJ. But...cost of living is high
Roanoke area is beautiful...Blacksburg is a great town etc.... cost of living is lower but you are futher from getting to NJ
Charlottsville is a great town...it's really beautiful and close to the moutains. cost of living right in Cville is higher (not as high as NOVA) but agian it's futher south so futher away form NJ.
Those would be my 3 places to look at because those are the areas I know. Ladysmith village get lots of good posts but I've never been there.
Thank you all so much for the info. I appreciate it. We're looking for affordable living ($179,990 - $225,000) for a resale or townhome close to good schools and in a nice, low crime town. Lot size doesn't have to be big because we're not into spending tons of time caring for it.
I went on line and found some nice homes outside of Richmond. (Chesterfield??) I know it probably isn't a reasonable distance from NJ, but we have to first think of what's best for our little family, then think of extended family. If we have to travel farther to go see them then so be it. Sometimes you have to give something up to get something better.
I don't know about the Chesterfield area, how it is on crime or how the schools are. The only thing I know about VA is that it's very, very beautiful and I've heard life moves a little slower, weather is a bit better (winter is not as long or cold as PA?) Sounds wonderful to me. We know there is no perfect place to live. We're not looking for paradise, that exists only in Heaven. We're just looking for a nice place to live and raise our children.
Again, thank you so much for the input. So far, you've all given me a lot to go on!
Last edited by SirenSong71; 05-10-2007 at 10:41 AM..
Reason: added a thought
I'm new here on this board.
I am looking at relocating and Roanoke keeps coming up as a possibility.
I live in south Florida, and the cost of living here is insane, as well as the high possibility of hurricanes. I have 3 school-age kids and Roanoke sounds like a family-friendly atmosphere. I currently work in the home health care field as an RN. This is easy in Florida, where there are a high percentage of senior citizens. But what is the likelihood of finding nursing work in Roanoke?
Would I be able to support 3 kids as a single mom/RN in Roanoke?
Also, one of my kids is very mildly autistic--are the schools progressive with that sort of thing?
Thanks for any information anyone can offer.
The midlothian area of Chesterfield County is great for raising a family. Low crime, great schools and neighborhoods, and you could probably find something in your price range (not new construction though). You'll also have big city amenities since you'd be in the Richmond area. It's about 2 hours further from New Jersey than DC. You could try looking into an established community like Brandermill, which includes:
- 1700 acre lake with sailing, fishing and rental boats
- Award-winning 18-hold golf course designed by Gary Player
- Brandermill Country Club
- Outdoor pools
- Tennis courts
- Volleyball courts
- Biking and jogging trails
- Bike passes under major roads for safety
Lots of amenities, and you could still find homes in your price range. Neighborhood schools, nearby shopping etc... It's just one example, but there's plenty of areas in Chesterfield and perhaps Henrico that could fit what you're looking for.
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