Besides traffic-is there anything bad about Fredericksburg (Richmond, Alexandria: rentals, hotel)
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Besides traffic-is there anything bad about Fredericksburg
I've posted here before about my family relocating from Western Pa to my home state of Va. Winchester,Front royal and Charlottesville did not do it for us. Our last trip took us to Fredericksburg and it seems to be everything we want.
Does anyone find fault-- beyond traffic?
The historic district continues to improve. Love the new Courtyard Marriott downtown. They need more downtown parking. The renovated train station is nice but it needs more amenities like a Starbucks, etc.
It depends on if you're talking about the CITY of Fredericksburg, or the suburbs of Spotsylvania and Stafford, which generally call themselves 'Fredericksburg' (And sometimes have a 'Fredericksburg' mailing address.
The city is pretty nice. The two surrounding counties are nice if you like suburbs. My only real complaint is that most homes are in comunities which were built off of old country roads. Those old country roads now have hundreds/thousands of homes off of them, but most have not had any upgrades done.
A lot of road improvements HAVE happened over the years, but they are still playing catchup after the population boom of the '90s and early 2000's.
Where might you be working? Or are you trying to pick a place to live first, and then looking for a job after that?
I was there just this weekend and the historic district was really nice. I have not noticed the traffic being bad, but of course this was weekend. My wife is telling me that the schools are not as good as the ones in NoVa. Can anyone comment?
Where you or spouse plan to work will play significantly into your decision and the question about the actual city or surrounding suburbs is very pertinent.
Upside first -
the city of Fred is a charmer - very cute/small but sweet. Walkable and historic. High number of rentals because there are a lot of college students so variety of housing opportunities exist within the little downtown. Public transportation exists but is a very small entity. You do have VRE/commuter train up to DC and commuter buses available, scattered through the suburbs. However, having lived there in the '90's and 2000's, i can remember a spouse needing to be at the bus lot before FIVE in the morning to catch the bus in.........he would get up at 3:30 in the morning. That to me is not a life. Opps, slipped in one of the negatives.......I don't know about the train schedule. If you lived in town or near one of the VRE stations in the suburbs, likely the departure times are better. Cost is higher/if you work for the government, they used to subsidize the cost of the commute. Don't know if they still do.
Another plus - there is a plethora of all sorts of shopping - downtown, lots of little shops to browse - sidewalk cafes - it's nice but again it's small. Safety-wise, I always felt safe. I wouldn't call it crime-ridden although there are some areas that drug issues do exist. No surprise. That's likely everywhere.
Downside: The traffic in the entire region is awful. I grew up in northern Virginia, inside the Beltway, and so I was no novice when it came to traffic. After I left NOVA and moved to the Fred area, my first delight was the lack of congestion. That lasted for about five minutes, it seemed. From 1989 to 2002 when I left, the traffic situation became worse and worse. Improvements made were catch up/no way could they get ahead of the problems of explosive growth which wasn't met with improved roads etc.
The traffic issue is not just the commuting - it's trying to drive on the main corridors - Route 3 - Route 1 etc. My family is still up there and everytime I'm there, I cringe because I have since lived in places where traffic does not so complicate quality of life and many of those places were nice cities that just planned their traffic flow much better.
For the commuting, if you are commuting north, you will see an impact on your lives. I visited friends in Alexandria, near the interstate last year. That was about 65 miles from my parent's house in Lake of the Woods. I wasn't thinking and hit the interstate about 6:45 in the evening however, most commuters are long since gone at that point. THREE HOURS later, I was 65 miles down the road. My kids could not get down on Christmas Eve - two hours got them 15 miles down I-95. they turned around in disgust.
While that is not every day, it is far more normal that it should be. There was nothing on the road the night it took me so long - just stop and start the entire way to Fredericksburg. No accidents, nothing. I sucked up diesel fumes and remembered why I left.
Good thing - if you like to shop, there is everything you could imagine now. Well, pretty much. Lots of big boxes - new shopping centers. Lots of neighborhoods - housing prices though high for some substantially cheaper than they were a few years back. To me, there is a lot to do both in the area and in short proximity - Richmond/DC both offer a tremendous amount of opportunities so you are never at a loss for entertainment. Oh, and Fredericksburg now has Wegmans! That's exciting - smile.
There are good things about the area - most people there seem to like where they are. I'm just not a person who can tolerate a life built around evading traffic. there are other parts of Virginia i like better, such as Richmond. I'll let someone else weigh in on the schools in Fredericksburg city - no knowledge on that - for the suburbs, well my opinion there would be too far back and too tainted by personal experience and local politics. Suffice it to say, there are schools. Again, many people are thrilled with what exists. I'm not a suburban person/other than the city, the entire area is very very suburban and car-centric.
Good luck on your exploration!
Last edited by mzfroggez; 04-21-2010 at 07:42 AM..
Reason: correction and needed addition
We lived in Spotsy. LOVED it there. I would have been happy to live there for the rest of my years, but we had to move b/c my husband's job was transferred.
Stafford is also nice, and I've heard good things about parts of Fredericksburg city. The schools are good, from my experience. Of course, like many school districts in the country, they are suffering from budget ills.
We visited Fred a few weeks ago and loved it.
TriciaJeanne--We found Wegman's too. It was near our hotel and it is a criteria for proximity to housing.
I grew up in Alexandria so I remember the traffic and guessed it has spread in the last 20 years. We will find a house and my husband will look for employment nearby.
We mostly wondered about neighborhoods. Are there any status neighborhoods? Any that people laugh at? We thought Idlewild had such nice houses but an odd, creepy feel.
We are coming back with our older kids (15 & 13) in a few weeks to get another look.
One problem is that residents from many, many counties around all converge on Central Park and Spotsy Mall to shop, since their counties have no major stores. And only the two Rappahannock River crossings exist, which are on I-95 and on US-1. So when you combine all the shopping traffic with the commuter traffic to/from DC, along with long-distance Interstate traffic, everything gets funneled right through F'burg, making a massive jam-up.
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