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Old 08-03-2010, 03:25 PM
 
18 posts, read 39,838 times
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Hi all,

Longtime lurker here.

My husband just got orders to Naval Station Norfolk, and we're planning on trying to stay in that area for the rest of his military career (12 years). From what we understand, the new homebuyer's tax credit has been extended through April 30th, 2011 for military members, so I'm trying to get things together now to buy a house very shortly after we arrive (projected month, February). I've been researching online as best I can, and I've discovered that the best schools are in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake. However, these areas seem overpopulated to me, while the other cities (Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk, and Portsmouth) seem pretty family-unfriendly in terms of schools and crime. Suffolk seems to be too far away.

So...I have been researching Yorktown, and there is a house for sale there that seems to be right next to 64, and according to google maps, is a 33 minute commute. But I've also read that we should avoid a commute that involves the tunnel from Hampton to Norfolk. My husband (who would like a commute of no more than 30 minutes or so) would be using the tunnel around 6 in the morning--is traffic really that bad that early in the morning? He would be using it again at 4 or 4:30, which I know is probably a bad time, traffic-wise.

See, all my research has had to be online b/c we live in Washington state atm. I'm hoping to fill in some of the blanks with anecdotal evidence from people who have been there, done that. Any other suggestions besides Yorktown? What I'd really like is a quiet place to raise our kids outside of the city, with decent schools (not necessarily perfect, since I'll be heavily involved in my children's educations, but at least safe and friendly), and with nearby hiking trails/opportunities to commune with nature. My husband wants this, too, but he also doesn't want a ridiculous commute. Knowing my husband's temperament, I don't want to deal with the type of chronic stress and grumpiness that can result from a bad commute either. So what's a good compromise? Yorktown? Other suggestions?
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Old 08-03-2010, 06:00 PM
 
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the traffic would be terrible going at those times. From Norfolk to Hampton at 430 is about a 6 mile backup everyday
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Old 08-03-2010, 06:56 PM
 
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Oh wow no way would I drive that. Goodness even with out the traffic that's what an hour?
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Old 08-03-2010, 08:59 PM
 
3,848 posts, read 8,613,132 times
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Try the North Suffolk area, or Isle of Wight. You might even try Chuckatuck which is in Suffolk. Lone Star Lakes is there which is a 1063 acre park. Really huge:
Parks & Recreation : Parks : Lone Star Lakes [ City of Suffolk, VA ]

He'll fight the Midtown tunnel, but that's the least evil of all the crossings. In the morning won't be a problem, but at 4:30ish will be. Again though, the least of the evils.

Send your kids to private school.
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Old 08-04-2010, 04:51 AM
 
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midtown tunnel can be pretty bad at that time too. Check out Larchmont in Norfolk.
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Old 08-04-2010, 07:02 AM
 
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They need to stay out of Norfolk due to schools. I'm sure there are areas of VAB (best schools) and Chesapeake (still good schools) that meet their needs. I really wouldn't want to be on such a tight house finding time line. Such a big decision to rush.

Also for the extended tax credit your husband had to serve over seas for 90 days between 12/31/08 and 5/1/10.
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Old 08-04-2010, 06:35 PM
 
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mwz26: Thanks for the info. about the tunnel. It's hard, but I'm letting go of Yorktown as a possibility. I have read a bit about larchmont, and I know that the schools there are considered good, so I'll look more into the school system and that area of Norfolk. Positive would be a much shorter commute, living in what I understand to be a liberal area, and the steady home appreciation of that neighborhood. Negative would be that it's not quite the quiet rural lifestyle that we would like. Maybe the positives will outweigh the negatives.

Spazkat9696: Thanks for your advice. According to google maps, the commute from Yorktown to NSN is 33 minutes--that's why I wanted to ask here, b/c I had read other posts on here and elsewhere that conflicted with the google maps estimate. I suppose we could put VAB and Chesapeake back on the table; I am really drawn to the Creeds area of Virginia Beach--do you know anything about the commute time from Creeds to NSN?

Coconut 1: I will check out the North Suffolk and Chuckatuck areas; Lone Star Lakes park looks amazing! Definitely what we're looking for. So I'll check out schools in those areas and commute times pronto.

Thanks for the advice thus far. I appreciate any and all further advice and insights you all may have to offer.
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Old 08-04-2010, 09:44 PM
 
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Creeds is still really far, and it floods. Princess Anne down there is a two lane rd. Once you get used to it I'm sure you could fly through there though. Not sure if there is a speed trap down there. To the point you may be trapped for a few hours/ days depending on the storm. Don't get me wrong I would love to live there, but it's currently a little to out of the way for me. No matter what there will be traffic, but I would really try to avoid tunnels. There is also an area called the twin bridges on 64 that backs up too, but not as bad as the tunnels.

I'm not sure how old your children are. Creeds ES is one of the older schools in VAB, but given the surrounding community I have no doubt it's a great school. It was remolded in 2001 according to the VAB schools website. I don't know much about PAMS. Kellam is a great school, and the building is scheduled to be replaced.

Creeds ES
Princess Anne MS (http:http://www.princessannems.vbschools.com/// - broken link)
Kellam HS
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Old 08-05-2010, 06:19 AM
 
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nanobody, google maps is useless when it comes to travel time because again it does not factor in traffic.....you could possibly do Yorktown to the base in 33 minutes on a perfect day with no traffic....problem is we dont have perfect days around here without traffic...and you could expect that 33 minutes to turn into 2-3 hours many days...

Creeds would take just as long if not longer as Yorktown because you would be fighting traffic twice....you would be at least 45 minutes away from the closest interstate ramp and once on the interstate at least another 45 minutes (on a good day ) to the base...

Your best best is still going to be the Hickory section of Chesapeake....But unless you live in Norfolk (which you dont want to do) your DH is going to have to fight traffic...that is just a fact of life in Hampton Roads, but again he does not have to kill himself with a drive like from Creeds (very long drive) And remember the first rule you follow in Hampton Roads is always live on the same side of the tunnel you work on so Yorktown should not be one of your options either
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Old 08-05-2010, 01:13 PM
 
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Spazkat9696: Ok, my husband and I looked at real estate in Creeds together last night, and we didn't really find anything in our price range (around $215k) that we liked. And I didn't realize that it floods, so I'm not sure if it'll be a deal-breaker or not, but it's enough to put Creeds on the back burner for now. Thanks for that info. (Oh, and just throwing this out there for others in the same boat who might come across this: according to greatschools.org, Creeds Elementary is a very good school--for me, the age of the building isn't nearly as big a factor as the quality of the education.)

rtandc: Thanks for being so clear in explaining how nutty traffic is in Hampton Roads. My husband and I have been at the same rural base in Washington state since we married (6 years ago), and I think we're in for a shock when we get to Va. I love that we've been able to connect with people like you to educate and prepare ourselves for the experience.

Once I replied to all of you last night, I hopped on Trulia, opened up separate tabs for greatschools.org and google maps (in addition to school district websites for Chesapeake, Suffolk, and Portsmouth, which all have zoning information--hint hint, great resource for those of us planning a move with children), and got busy. I found a beautiful home in Suffolk that made my husband seriously consider a 52 minute commute (maybe you awesome people could tell me the real-life commuting time, as we know now that google maps is pretty unreliable).

I checked out real estate in the Chesapeake "Butts Station" and "Great Bridges" area, and nothing really jumped out at us, but we'll keep looking.

Then I remembered reading that the Churchland district of Portsmouth has good schools, so I looked at real estate there and found a house that my husband and I fell in love with. So we've bookmarked that and we're going to keep an eye on it. According to greatschools.org, the Churchland schools are good, solid schools (not the absolute best, as in VB, but definitely competitive with Chesapeake schools). Does anyone here have personal experience with the Churchland area, the schools, life in general, things to do, safety, parks, etc? And what kind of commute could we expect? (According to google maps, 24 minutes, the best we've seen so far...but I don't trust google maps anymore, so please fill us in!)

Oh, yes, and I checked out the Larchmont area and realized that in my earlier response I was thinking of Ghent. It looks like all we could afford in both areas would be a condo, and we're definitely not going that route--if we can't live in the country, we at least need a big, private backyard!

I still would like to be out in the country, but that dream may have to wait for now.
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