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Old 08-18-2011, 06:11 PM
 
4 posts, read 32,702 times
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Although I've just joined the forum, I've been reading the postings for a while. I am planning to retire and relocate to Virginia in 2012; currently am considering the relative merits of the Charlottesville and Williamsburg areas.

I've lived my entire life to-date in NE Ohio, principally the suburbs of Cleveland (several different suburbs) and a small town about 150 miles south of Cleveland. Based on prior visits to Virginia and my love of history, I am planning to relocate, but not certain where -- currently debating Charlottesville vs. Williamsburg, but open to other locations in the state. I've only been to these areas as a tourist, but hope to make a more in-depths visits to VA in the next couple of months.

As a single female retiree, my key considerations are in priority order:

1. SAFETY & LOW CRIME. Although crime can happen anywhere, I am anxious to minimize the risks. While there was much that I enjoyed in Cleveland, e.g., great art museum, etc., much of it was in areas that were frightening to drive through and high risk of car jacking / stolen cars, etc.

2. EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES. I am focused on a college town for this reason. Definitely looking for senior learning opportunities and maybe even taking a few college classes for credit. I've done Road Scholar (Elderhostel) including programs sponsored by the College of William & Mary. Also, looking for site with various historic attractions that maybe I could either volunteer or work part-time.

3. GREAT LIBRARY. I am voracious reader. Must also have bookstores nearby; ideally both a Barnes & Noble and independent book stores.

4. DINING OUT OPTIONS. Love everything from fast-food to fine dining. Particularly keen on ethnic alternatives. One of the things I dislike about the small town I currently live in is that the nearest Indian restaurant is almost 100 miles away. I love Indian food.

5. SWIMMING. Either the development I move to (or alternatively the community) must have good opportunities for swimming -- both indoor pools and outdoor pools. I enjoy swimming; other than that have no interest in sports (either as a participant or observer) or in any outdoor activities.

6. REASONABLY CLOSE TO MAJOR AIRPORT. I currenlty live about 75 miles from a good size airport. Would like to be no further than that; ideally even less.

7. SHOPPING. Not a big shopper except for books, but my "must-haves" are a Best Buy and a FedEx Office (the old FedEx Kinkos) within about 1/2 hour of driving. Other than that, give me a Walmart and that is all I need.

I am looking for a community that welcomes new residents; my prior life experience suggests that growing communities with an influx of new individuals usually is best.

While my next home does not have to be right in the city, I do not want rural. My preference is either a single family cluster home (sometimes called villas or cottages), i.e., standalone but a HOA provides all outside services, or if not that, then a condo / townhouse. I am open to a 55+ community, but am flexible.

I am interested in the relative merits of Charlottesville vs. Williamsburg or other VA alternatives, particularly focusing on the issues of:

1. safety
2. organizations to join (not religious) -- everything from book groups to travel groups
3. ability to meet new people
4. relative living costs

Any suugestions, comments or thoughts would be greatly appreciated as I try to decide where to relocate.
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Old 08-19-2011, 05:45 AM
 
4 posts, read 32,702 times
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Default Retiring in 2012 to Virginia - Charlottesville vs. Williasmburg Areas

Further to my earlier post:

The reason I'm focusing on these two towns is that I am really a history buff, i.e., if Charlottesville is where I land, I would love to either volunteer or work part-time at either the Jefferson - Madison - Monroe homesites. If Williamsburg, then I would hope to do something similiar there or in Jamestown or Yorktown. I love early Early American history from the 1600's up to about 1830's. Thus, part of the attraction to Virginia vs. Ohio (which only became a state in 1803).

I've discounted Richmond as too much of a big city for me, and NOVA tends to be too expensive, too much hassles and too much of a bedroom community for DC for me. Plus both seem to be less about the colonial historical period and more about the Civil War history. Norfolk seems lacking in charm and too much of a military town. Although I love to swim, my preferrence is indoor / outdoor pools, not the ocean or lake.

I am seeking a location that welcomes newcomers. I'm expecting to be retired; will not need a job, but will want things to do. Am happy to be a volunteer, but in a historical setting (as opposed to hospital, etc.)

I've been to both locations as a tourist, but am trying to better understand the style / culture /vibe of these locations. In visiting the towns, my impression has been:

1. C'ville is more of a college town than Williamsburg; W is more "touristy"
2. C'ville has been divergence in incomes - more rich and more poor, while W is more solidly middle class
3. C'ville has a broader range of activities, but less activities geared for seniors (which I am)
4. crime and safety - I have been bothered by agressive panhandlers / homeless at the C'ville downtown area; nothing like that in W. There seems to be a couple of areas in C'ville that I would not be comfotable in as a single mature women; haven't located anything like that in W (but maybe there are?)
5. C'ville strikes me as more of a liberal & pro-environmental place than W

Do you all agree? Is there any significant difference in cost of living between the two? Relative advantages or disadvantages of each? I'm trying to figure which town is likely to be a better fit, which is hard to do.

Thanks again for suggestions and comments.
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Old 02-02-2012, 02:25 PM
 
4,878 posts, read 7,601,504 times
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I too have researched areas in VA to retire and I'd take Williamsburg over Charlottesville any day. Per your criteria, C-ville is very rural once you get out of the city proper, it's way out there in the country really. I've read on the C-ville thread that crime is increasing esp in the downtown area, as you experienced, it's changing (and not for the better). Too many college kids around (partying) for a retired person. Personally I'd feel kind of isolated out there, but that's just me. I read the Williamsburg is one of the fastest growing areas for retirees, and that is saying something because Virginia is not all that "retiree" friendly in terms of taxes, etc.
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Old 02-04-2012, 08:43 AM
 
Location: Va Beach
3,508 posts, read 12,498,740 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loveautumn View Post
I too have researched areas in VA to retire and I'd take Williamsburg over Charlottesville any day. Per your criteria, C-ville is very rural once you get out of the city proper, it's way out there in the country really. I've read on the C-ville thread that crime is increasing esp in the downtown area, as you experienced, it's changing (and not for the better). Too many college kids around (partying) for a retired person. Personally I'd feel kind of isolated out there, but that's just me. I read the Williamsburg is one of the fastest growing areas for retirees, and that is saying something because Virginia is not all that "retiree" friendly in terms of taxes, etc.
Agree...I'd take Williamsburg as well.
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Old 02-05-2012, 04:17 PM
 
Location: Williamsburg
1,177 posts, read 3,576,109 times
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1. SAFETY & LOW CRIME. Williamsburg wins

2. EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES. About equal with a slight edge to W&M for its Christopher Wren society for adult enrichment clasess. I feel Williamsburg wins hands down for volunteering at historic attractions including Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown, Yorktown and others.

3. GREAT LIBRARY. Williamsburg Regional Library and the Swem Library at W&M are hard to beat. We have two Barnes and Noble stores and a few small independent bookstores.

4. DINING OUT OPTIONS
Love everything from fast-food to fine dining. Particularly keen on ethnic alternatives. One of the things I dislike about the small town I currently live in is that the nearest Indian restaurant is almost 100 miles away. I love Indian food. Not a ton of ethnic options in Williamsburg, We have a number of fine dining restaurants but C-ville wins this round.
5. SWIMMING. Indoor Pools at James City County Community Center, YMCA, W&M, smaller indoor pools at two 55+ neighborhoods ( Colonial Heritage and The Settlement) Most of the neighborhoods have outdoor pools.

6. REASONABLY CLOSE TO MAJOR AIRPORT Williamsburg wins, with both Richmond and Newport News airports nearby , NN is 30 minues, Richmond 45 minutes away. C-ville nearest airport is 1.5 hours away

7. SHOPPING. Best Buy, Fed Ex Office and Walmarts are found in both C-ville and Wmbg



I am looking for a community that welcomes new residents; my prior life experience suggests that growing communities with an influx of new individuals usually is best. Being a prime retirement destination, Williamsburg is very welcoming.

You didn't give a price range, age of home or size desired but In Williamsburg you can find a number of options that might appeal: Villas at Five Forks, Colonial Heritage, The Settlement, all are 55+ communities, Villages at Powhatan is popular the pool is a mile away though..New Town has some detached cottages , yards are , maintained , everything is walkable. (pool is still in the works though) if you would consider a condo, then Braemar Creek, Fairway Villas, Westgate. Kingsmill might be a consideration the townhomes are older though with most built in the 1980's.
We also have a number of communities with no pool. Williamsburg Commons, Williamsburg Village At Norge, Foxchase, Villages at Quarterpath, Capital Landing Green and others.




2. organizations to join (not religious) -- everything from book groups to travel groups More to join in Wmbg
3. ability to meet new people: easier in Wmbg
4. relative living costs about the same in C-ville and Wmbg


But again I would stress spend a month or two in each area and see which one fits you best. Heck for that matter rent a home for a year in each. Pack up your extra stuff and put in storage. Then after the second year make your decision. And be sure to post your comments and experiences. !

I would also suggest you post this question on the Charlottesville forum to get more local feedback
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Old 04-26-2012, 04:03 AM
 
Location: Ford's Colony in Williamsburg, VA
35 posts, read 105,840 times
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I have lived in Williamsburg since 2003... moved back to VA after 20 years in Philly. Grew up in Richmond and went to college in C'ville. Unfortunately, I can't afford to retire just yet. But, most of my friends are retired, and they are having a wonderful time here. I am a single woman, and I can tell you that Williamsburg is an awesome place for single women... very safe, very welcoming. Williamsburg feels more upscale to me than Charlottesville, but, in general, it's less expensive. Lots of book clubs here (C'ville too I'm sure), and that will be a great way for you to meet people. Also, most of the communities have lots of social networking. You'll be involved and feeling "at home" within a month.
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Old 04-26-2012, 10:01 AM
 
Location: Southeast
115 posts, read 207,577 times
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To be honest, it sounds like your views are left of center for Hampton Roads, so you might feel more welcome in Charlottesville. I don't mean that as an insult. Just the impression of where you'd be happier. Plus you might not be comfortable in the summers here, whereas Charlottesville is a lot cooler in July when you factor in humidity.
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Old 04-26-2012, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 28,111,842 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by loveautumn View Post
I read the Williamsburg is one of the fastest growing areas for retirees, and that is saying something because Virginia is not all that "retiree" friendly in terms of taxes, etc.
Interesting comment about tax issues. I always thought VA was a state with relatively low taxes, but haven't really researched this. I know property taxes aren't bad but there are lots of other taxes. Anyone know more about this? Which are the taxes that might be a concern for retirees?
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Old 04-27-2012, 03:18 AM
 
Location: Ford's Colony in Williamsburg, VA
35 posts, read 105,840 times
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Default Taxes

I don't know exactly how we compare with other southern states in terms of taxes, but I can tell you I am saving a ton over what I paid in PA... 9 years ago!
Property tax rate here in Williamsburg is .54 in the City and .77 in the County. I was paying about twice that up north. Sales tax is 5 cents. We do have a personal property tax on cars, boats, RV's (I have 2008 Lexus RX350 and the tax is about $500). Income tax is on a scale, but the max is 5.75%.
I don't know how any of these compare with other states. I do know our state is one of the most financially sound states, has low unemployment, and a great business environment.
In general, the costs to keep a community managed properly are similar from place to place and the money has to come from somewhere. One way or another, you are going to pay for it. We are probably a little "higher end" than most places in terms of the quality of services.

There was a comment about leaning left... we have all political persuasions here. I've not heard any of the more liberal population complaining about being uncomfortable here. I do think political conflicts are likely to heat up considerably between now and the election. But, we're still Americans and more tolerant of other peoples opinions.
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Old 05-01-2012, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Virginia
18,717 posts, read 28,111,842 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmbggolfhomes View Post
Property tax rate here in Williamsburg is .54 in the City and .77 in the County. I was paying about twice that up north. Sales tax is 5 cents.
That's low compared to every other city I'ved lived in. Interesting that Williamsburg is cheaper than JCC--I would've guessed the opposite would be true.



Quote:
Originally Posted by wmbggolfhomes View Post
In general, the costs to keep a community managed properly are similar from place to place and the money has to come from somewhere. One way or another, you are going to pay for it. We are probably a little "higher end" than most places in terms of the quality of services.
Yup. Actually, this is one reason to look for a community that attracts a fair share of wealthy "high end" people. They pay more in taxes than I do and insist on things like roads being maintained well, good hospitals, etc. I've always found it benefits me to be the relatively "lower end" resident living in a "high end" community.
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