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Washington, DC suburbs in Maryland Calvert County, Charles County, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County
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Old 09-14-2010, 10:22 PM
 
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We (myself, wife, 10 year old son, 7 year old daughter) are moving to the D.C. area next summer while I attend a school at Bolling AFB. We are looking for a place within an hour's commute.

It seems to me that the drive would be better from Maryland than NOVA because I wouldn't be crossing any bridges. Is that a fair assumption?

We have pets, so we're looking for a place with some room. We are partial to more rural areas and love a small town atmosphere but as our kids grow older we are looking at being closer to activities and would like to be close enough to D.C. to take in all it has to offer.

From what I've seen, northern Calvert County seems to be a good fit. I can't get a good handle on the commute from that area though. Looking at Dunkirk, Huntington, and Chesapeake Beach, have to be at work around 7AM. Are these towns good for raising kids, and how is traffic between there and Bolling?

I'm also open to NOVA, but it seems very crowded and the commute times seem worse to get over to Bolling.

Most info on this area seems a few years old, so I'm hoping for updated info. Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 09-15-2010, 11:28 AM
 
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Calvert County while it is nice it will take you a while to get to work. The main round which is Route 4 is heavily travelled in the morning especially once you get past Upper Marlboro Courthouse area. That's an automatic 45min minimum trip without traffic. However 7am isn't too bad of a time. I would suggest Charles County (Waldorf, White Plains, Bryans Road) area they have decent schools it's a little closer to Bolling. You can take Indian head Hwy (210) to route 228 or take Branch avenue to Suitland Pkwy. In other words it's more routes you can take to get to Charles County. Housing is resonable and taxes are lower than P.G. county.
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Old 09-15-2010, 05:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jayman1981 View Post
Calvert County while it is nice it will take you a while to get to work. The main round which is Route 4 is heavily travelled in the morning especially once you get past Upper Marlboro Courthouse area. That's an automatic 45min minimum trip without traffic. However 7am isn't too bad of a time. I would suggest Charles County (Waldorf, White Plains, Bryans Road) area they have decent schools it's a little closer to Bolling. You can take Indian head Hwy (210) to route 228 or take Branch avenue to Suitland Pkwy. In other words it's more routes you can take to get to Charles County. Housing is resonable and taxes are lower than P.G. county.

I appreciate the info a lot. When you say 45 minutes, is that from Upper Marlboro, or total time from Calvert County towns (Dunkirk, for instance)?
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:39 PM
 
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Sorry for the late reply no it's should be about 45 mins from Dunkirk to Bolling. Google map says 41 mins go from Route 4 (Pennsylvania Ave) to 495 South to 295 North. Also you can take Route 4 to Suitland Pkwy. Those are the two main routes most people take to get into Bolling. Here is a shortcut, take 495 south and get off at the exit 3 Indian Head Hwy/Forest Heights exit. Take that straight into D.C. the road will turn into South Capitol street. Make a left onto Chesapeake street and go all the way down. You will run right into the Navy housing side of Bolling. Make a right at the ramp and it will bring you into Bolling. 295 and Suitland Pkwy are very unpredictable with the traffic. That's a safe route. Also know that side of D.C. isn't the greatest, but it isn't the worst section of the city. So don't be scared. Hopefully this helps.

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Originally Posted by jdnk View Post
I appreciate the info a lot. When you say 45 minutes, is that from Upper Marlboro, or total time from Calvert County towns (Dunkirk, for instance)?
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Old 09-17-2010, 01:47 PM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
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Actually, the VA-into-MD traffic along the Wilson Bridge is not so bad. Probably about the same as sitting along 4/5/210 and hitting stoplights every 1/2 mile. Mapquest says Springfield to Bolling is 24 mins and 16.10 miles. Compare to Waldorf's 36 mins and 23.67 miles. Dunkirk would have you contending with everyone else trying to get into VA along the Wilson Bridge, and it's 40 minutes/31.46 miles.

Consider areas that can get you on the Beltway at Braddock Road (e.g. Kings Park and Canterbury Woods, maybe even Burke.)
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Old 09-17-2010, 07:34 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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You might also consider the Fort Hunt area of Alexandria, since it's convenient to the Wilson Bridge, and has some good elementary schools. The area is between Fort Hunt Road and the Potomac River, and is a nicer area than the rest of the Route 1 Corridor that is mostly shopping plazas and stoplights.

It's much easier than driving long distances from Calvert, unless you're looking for a different lifestyle -- small town versus suburban. While the Alexandria/Mount Vernon areas of Fairfax County are suburban, there is abundant parkland in the area, and most of the houses are on 1/4-1/2 acre of land.

I would not go too far into Mount Vernon because you will get increased traffic around Fort Belvoir, and I would try to look at areas where you can use the George Washington Parkway or Fort Hunt Road as traffic will not be too heavy at the hours you would likely be commuting.

I agree that parts of Burke, West Springfield, and even the Kingstowne area in Alexandria would not be arduous commutes to Bolling. You could even go as far as Little River Turnpike, which would open up parts of Fairfax and Annandale, west of the Beltway, since interior Annandale would be too developed if you're looking for a small-town atmosphere. While these areas in Northern Virginia are suburban, there are some communities that are popular with families.

However, if you do want more of a rural area, I do think that areas in Maryland might be a bit easier of a commute, because the closest small town/semi-exurban areas in Northern Virginia would be too far, realistically-speaking, even with the AM commute being early.
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:44 AM
 
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Thanks to all for the good responses. We're heading up there next weekend to look around for a few days, and this narrows us down to some areas to look at while we're there.

I'd heard good things about Manassas, but that seems far to get to Bolling. Any thoughts on that area?
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Old 09-18-2010, 02:30 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
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There are some nice areas of Manassas, just over the Fairfax County line from Clifton, for example. That area has houses on larger lots, and more of a semi-rural feel. The problem is the commute, but not in the morning, since you would be leaving early enough.

There are two ways to go, basically: through Clifton in Fairfax County to Braddock Road via Burke Lake Road to the Beltway, across the WW Bridge to 295; or, I-66 east (can be a parking lot), to the Beltway, and continue as above. I-95 north is also an option, to the Beltway, but you would need to access the highway in Lorton or Woodbridge from that part of Manassas, and neither is too close. 66 is also not that close, and you would have to travel through the sprawl that is Route 234 in Manassas, with numerous lights/shopping plazas, etc. It's not that dissimilar in road-feel from the Route 1 corrdidor in Alexandria as they are both multi-lane roads with many intersections. That's why I would focus on areas of Manassas near Clifton. Route 28 is an alternate route from the Manassas area to Braddock Road or I-66, but it, too, can have slow traffic.

Now, the afternoon commute could be a bit of a problem, as the roads through Cliftton are two-lanes, with curves, and hills, because the area has a 5-acre zoning requirement. They are basically country roads that are way over use, and there is only one bridge to Prince William County through this area, since you need to cross the Occoquan. In the afternoon, the traffic can be extremely slow on Yates Ford and Henderson roads, approaching the small span and the Manassas area. If you would be returning home earlier, you might not have much of an issue, but during peak rush hours, you would likely have a large amount of traffic with which to contend.

And, 66 west in the evening is also very slow, so if you were to consider that route, which can be handy to run a couple of errands, you would not save much time at all. Add to that Braddock Road, which can be an alternate route, slows in the vicinity of Route 123, which you would need to cross to approach Manassas via Route 28 South from Centreville, VA. That stretch of Braddock can slow as early as 3:00pm.

Without traffic, as in very early morning, I would anticipate the commute from the Occoquan watershed area of Manassas to be about 45 minutes. With traffic, it would be closer to 1.5 hours. It's about 25 miles, but there are portions of the route that have quite a bit of traffic.
__________________
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.
~William Shakespeare
(As You Like It Act II, Scene VII)

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Old 09-18-2010, 05:18 PM
 
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A lot of areas in Prince William County (Va) are pretty nice and cheap. However commuting from there to Bolling is just a hassle. If you choose to live in Virginia then I would live closer to D.C. As you already know traffic in this area is a major issue. So to minimize travelling so far and taking away time with the family, live closer to your job.

I live about 25 miles from my job, but it takes me an hour and I can't stand it. It drains you when you get home. Unless your use to long commutes and can handle that, then best wishes to you. I hope you and your family can find what you all are looking for. Welcome to the area.
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Old 09-18-2010, 07:21 PM
 
Location: among the clustered spires
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Manassas would be too far, I think. If you want a small town feel, then Southern Maryland is just fine, and you will adjust to the (somewhat longer) commute. IS Charles/Calvert comparable to western Loudoun in terms of lot sizes, rural feel, small towns dotting the landscape, etc?
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