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Old 02-13-2007, 02:06 PM
 
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We are a family of 5 moving from the UK to Washington DC, can anyone help us on what suburbs or area to live in that's quite wealthy and within reasonable driving time to central DC. Thanks
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Old 02-14-2007, 03:04 AM
 
Location: In exile, plotting my coup
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In Virginia, the wealthiest suburbs that are close to D.C. are McLean and Great Falls. In Maryland, Potomac, Chevy Chase, and Bethesda. Good schools, low crime and homes will set you back at least 800K and most who live in these areas are doctors, lawyers, diplomats, CEOs and those sorts of things. If you look at a map of the D.C. area, you'll see that these areas are all generally concentrated to the West/Northwest of downtown DC. There are of course also communities within DC itself like Georgetown that are wealthy but more urban in character.
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Old 02-14-2007, 03:15 PM
 
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In addition to McLean and Great Falls in VA, parts of North Arlington (Country Club Hills is one) would fit your description, plus areas in northwest D.C. such as Spring Valley, Cleveland Park, and Chevy Chase Village. The D.C. neighborhoods, however, tend to be more expensive than similar neighborhoods in the suburbs.
Keep in mind that in Great Falls you would be hard-pressed to find a home under $1 million, plus the commute down two-lane Georgetown Pike can take longer than it looks on a map, especially if you get stuck behind a school bus.

The public schools in these areas are all generally good (unless you are in the District of Columbia), but some areas are much better served by private schools. Other than Madeira (which is really in McLean), there aren't any private schools in Great Falls, and there are relatively few in McLean and Arlington. Montgomery County and D.C. itself, however, have many private school options, including the British School.
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Old 03-17-2007, 01:25 PM
 
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Personally, I really like the neighborhoods of Chevy Chase and upper Northwest Washington the best because of the architecture. Bethesda has many nice areas as well. It's just my taste, but I find much of Potomac to be atrocious; the architecture is, as my father used to say, "nouveau-gauche." It's OK if you like gargantuan Elizabethan houses with Victorian turrets and Palladian windows, I guess. There are some nice houses, of course, but many are so horrific they probably cause a lot of car accidents. (My sister and I used to joke about the designers being members of AOA - Architects On Acid.)

The older sections of Great Falls are nice, and not everything new is bad, but it also has a few architectural horrors. McLean is mostly nice as well.

Georgetown has some Federal masterpieces, as does Old Town Alexandria. South of Alexandria in Fairfax County, there are some nice stretches along the river.
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Old 03-21-2007, 03:54 PM
 
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I am new here with a question. It looks like Great Falls is quite far from DC, out in Loudon County and not near the metro, while McLean is much closer to the city. What is the commute like from Great Falls into the city? We will be mving to NoVa this summer and are trying to find our ideal family friendly location!!
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Old 03-22-2007, 12:15 AM
 
Location: In exile, plotting my coup
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jellyben View Post
I am new here with a question. It looks like Great Falls is quite far from DC, out in Loudon County and not near the metro, while McLean is much closer to the city. What is the commute like from Great Falls into the city? We will be mving to NoVa this summer and are trying to find our ideal family friendly location!!
Great Falls is actually in Fairfax County, albeit further out than McLean. Perhaps you were confusing Great Falls with Potomac Falls? Either way, a commute from Great Falls into downtown D.C. (the area around the White House) during NON-rush hour traffic (an important distinction) will run you approximately 30 minutes, whereas from McLean a similar commute will run 15-20 minutes depending on your location within McLean. McLean is a more convenient location both to DC and to the Metro and in my opinion, if you can afford it, is a better pic. Actually, I think McLean may even be a smidge more affordable than Great Falls. Great Falls has a lot of large homes with wooded lots set back from each other. Each home seems fairly isolated and the community is pretty much entirely residential. McLean has a bit more diversity in housing stock, environment (more family-friendly in spots) and retail.
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Old 03-22-2007, 12:15 PM
 
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Default A more distant possibility

Quote:
Originally Posted by dicheandmush View Post
We are a family of 5 moving from the UK to Washington DC, can anyone help us on what suburbs or area to live in that's quite wealthy and within reasonable driving time to central DC. Thanks
Also, you should at least look at Middleburg, Virginia. Very wealthy (probably wealthiest in the area) great schools (public and private), and a large number of UK expatriates whom could help you adjust to your new surroundings. If you enjoy equestrian sports or want to introduce your children to horses, this is also the top pick.

The breadwinner(s) in your family would pay for this idyllic setting with a long, but feasible commute to DC. If the driving could be done outside of rush hours, it's not terribly bad.
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Old 03-25-2007, 08:07 PM
 
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The commute from Great Falls to downtown DC could take from 45 minutes to an hour, depending upon the exact location in Great Falls. Georgetown Pike, which is essentially the only way into DC, is a lovely two-lane winding road that was never meant to be a major commuting route. It's slow during rush hour, and extremely so when you get stuck behind a school bus. If your kids are in high school, they have a long ride/drive to Langley High School, which is in McLean near the CIA.
However, if you can afford it, it is a very nice place to live, and there are plenty of families out there. If you are into horses, it's a wonderful place to live. It is semi-rural in nature, and most homes are on wells and septic systems with large lots and no sidewalks. We looked at Great Falls, and decided that it was just too much driving even to get to the grocery store, so we ended up in McLean.
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Old 04-02-2007, 10:54 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
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Wealth is relative. North Arlington, McLean, parts of Alexandria, Great Falls, Fairfax Station, Clifton, even Reston can be expensive. All are in VA. Bethesda, Potomac, Chevy Chase and Maryland west of DC are also expensive. Now, in DC- most of Northwest DC can be pretty expensive, embassy Row (old DC mansions) Georgetown, Captial Hill. DC is not short of expensive nieghborhoods. I still say- live close to where you work and you'll love living here.
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Old 01-03-2008, 11:56 PM
 
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We live in Great Falls. I find it to be very close to all retail. I am almost in Loudon I am so far out in great falls. I am still only 10 miutes from the loudon area shopping(large retail, target, gourmet groceries, etc), only 15-20 minutes from all shopping in Mclean, Tysons Corner, etc. It only takes me about 25-30 minutes to NW D.C. when there isn't traffic. During rush hour It can take almost an hour, meaning 7:30-9:30A.M., and 4:30-7:00 P.M.
Mclean is a bit closer but only by 10-15 minutes depending on where in mclean you buy. Also in mclean you will be closer to the public schools that you will attend for either Great Falls or Mclean. My highschooler drives 40 minutes to school each day. There are many private schools in Va, near Mclean and Great falls.
I prefer Great Falls because it has such beauty! It seems much more rural and picturesque. Lots tend to be much larger as well.
I am very very familiar with the U.K. If you are in the cotswolds or cambridge etc. you would probably prefer great falls, If you prefer london then I suggest Chevy chase, Bethesda, and worst case Mclean. It is a but more commercialized.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions, and welcome to the states!
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