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Old 08-16-2013, 07:59 AM
 
Location: Falls Church, VA
540 posts, read 692,606 times
Reputation: 470

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eugene80 View Post
Slightly more conservative than Philly. You're officially in the South. Yes, even Arlington & Alexandria are kind of conservative, and it gets more so from there.
As a northerner, I have to say that I don't feel like the areas inside the Beltway are in any way "southern". They feel like a big, northern, liberal suburb.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fredesch View Post
Before you pick an area to live in, try the commutes. A short distance on a map can be a long commute, also folks with long commutes tend to give a unrealistically short answer when asked their commute time, it is their selective memory quoting their commute time in August or on Christmas Eve. Ask a person what their longest commute time ever was and you may be shocked. Snowmagedons happen.
A good rule of thumb for the inner parts is that you can go a mile every 3-5 minutes. I don't know if it will be as shocking coming from another metropolitan area, but those who move here from more wide-open areas (where 1 mile = 1 minute) are thrown off. The main problem with the diversity in the area is that there are so many people who do not know how to drive in snow. If at all possible, make sure that you have some sort of telework agreement or a plan for what happens when snow is in the forecast. It really is a debacle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by michgc View Post
4. Physically, in NoVA, there is much less of a community feeling than in Philly suburbs. There are few individual towns. Instead the county runs most things and people live in different sections of the county. Schools, local government, libraries, etc. are county run. It gives less of a distinctive feel to each "place" than the various townships of Pennsylvania. Combined with the transient nature of the population and it's just less "homey" than Philly.

For the most part, the transition is not a HUGE one. They are both relatively close geographically to each other, and you will meet a lot of Pennsylvanians in NoVA. While NoVA at one time was somewhat southern, it is pretty similar to other mid-atlantic cities in several respects.
The top part of this quote is so true. Towns just run together here. There was an idea at one point to just turn Fairfax County into one big city. Frankly, it already feels that way. Your town name doesn't really mean much.

It is amazing how many people I meet down here that went to Penn St. It is like a funnel from State College to DC.

Quote:
Originally Posted by r0lf3cbn View Post
I've been living here for about a year and a half. My impression is that in general, Northern Virginians are the kind of people who would drive through a playground if it cut their commutes by ten minutes, but once they put down their phones and get out of their BMWs, they're about the same as people everywhere else.
LOL.
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Old 08-16-2013, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Chester County, PA
1,077 posts, read 1,559,268 times
Reputation: 1035
My wife and I moved to NoVA from the Philadelphia area just over a year ago. We were living in Bryn Mawr, and before that in Center City, West Norriton, and Collegeville. Neither of us were natives to the area, but I was in the area for 7 years and my wife for about 10 years.

I would echo a lot of what michgc said about the differences between the two areas. The biggest difference overall that I have noticed is that people in the Philly area tend to have been born and raised there while people in NoVA tend to be transplants. I think this translates into a couple of differences that I have experienced. Because people here tend to be from somewhere else, they don't have roots here and I have found are generally much more open to friendship. My wife and I have probably made more friends living here in one year than we made in the Philadelphia area in a 5 year span. I always felt like people in the Philly area were so well established having been born and raised there that they weren't really looking for new friends. However along with this, you will meet many people here who have moved from less urban areas and are not used to traffic, congestion, and high housing costs. Many of these people are constantly comparing the area to "back home" and seem to be looking for the first opportunity to move out of the area. In the Philly area, I never met many people like that - people were generally more content to stay in the area with their family and friends.

Regarding crowds, traffic, congestion, etc., I think it really depends on where you currently live and work vs. where you end up living and working here. If you're fighting Schuylkill Expressway traffic into Philadelphia everyday, you probably won't find the commute up 395 to be all that different - just more lanes, but gridlock most of the way. If you live in one of Philly's inner ring suburbs, you won't be a stranger to congested strip malls and older housing stock like much of NoVA inside the Beltway. If you live and work further out like Collegeville, West Chester, or Bucks County, you will probably find comparable areas in the outer parts of Fairfax County or Loudoun or Prince William County. I do think many Philly suburbs have a bit more charm than places in NoVA with the little Main Street type areas with shops and restaurants.

I guess the one other thing worth mentioning is the degree of ethnic diversity in NoVA. NoVA really is much more diverse and much less segregated than the Philly area. For example, I'm not sure if it would be possible to find a high school in the Philly area where ethnicities other than black and white outnumbered the white or black population at the school. Here, that is pretty commonplace. Much more reminiscent of many parts of California where I lived before the Philly area.
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Old 08-16-2013, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
6 posts, read 8,875 times
Reputation: 19
The comments made about Philly are so true. It seems just about everyone we meet was born and raised here, went off to college somewhere else, but came back to settle here. Everyone goes way back with everyone else and their grandma - which is great but as mentioned can be a hard nut for outsiders to crack. The fact that Nova is mostly transplants is fascinating to me, and I wondered if how that would translate in terms of friendship and community... but the comment about the relative ease of meeting and making friends is very encouraging.

The 1 mile per 3-5 min rule of thumb is extremely helpful. Sure doesn't look that far on google maps!

If I could ask a followup, to get more specific: What would you say are the biggest and most obvious differences between Fairfax and Loudoun? Why would some be drawn to one more than the other?

All this has been very insightful and deeply helpful. Thanks!
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Old 08-16-2013, 02:38 PM
 
8,882 posts, read 11,195,117 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by novaplanter View Post
The comments made about Philly are so true. It seems just about everyone we meet was born and raised here, went off to college somewhere else, but came back to settle here. Everyone goes way back with everyone else and their grandma - which is great but as mentioned can be a hard nut for outsiders to crack. The fact that Nova is mostly transplants is fascinating to me, and I wondered if how that would translate in terms of friendship and community... but the comment about the relative ease of meeting and making friends is very encouraging.

The 1 mile per 3-5 min rule of thumb is extremely helpful. Sure doesn't look that far on google maps!

If I could ask a followup, to get more specific: What would you say are the biggest and most obvious differences between Fairfax and Loudoun? Why would some be drawn to one more than the other?

All this has been very insightful and deeply helpful. Thanks!
Loudoun (as a whole), where people tend to live, is much newer than most areas of Fairfax. More families, less single people. It's obviously farther from the city, so generally less expensive than Fairfax.

Go for what you like, can afford, and is closest to work.
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Old 08-16-2013, 02:39 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
6 posts, read 8,875 times
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I would say my wife and I are more urban-minded... our vision is to raise our kids in a diverse environment around major cultural institutions... but we also like the safety and ease of a sub/ex/urban setting - almost irresistable for us in our current life stage (3 super active boys under the age of 7). Nova, at least on paper, looks ideal for us.

Yes, from the sounds of things, I think 76 here in Philly has probably prepped us well for NOVA roads!
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Old 08-16-2013, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Chester County, PA
1,077 posts, read 1,559,268 times
Reputation: 1035
Quote:
Originally Posted by novaplanter View Post
If I could ask a followup, to get more specific: What would you say are the biggest and most obvious differences between Fairfax and Loudoun? Why would some be drawn to one more than the other?
Speaking only for myself and my wife (we don't have any kids yet), we didn't even consider Loudoun County because I work in DC and my wife works in Fairfax County. For me, I wanted to make sure I was within about a 10-15 minute drive to a Metro stop. Similarly, in Philly, when we moved from Center City to the suburbs, I wanted to make sure I was within 10-15 minutes of the R5 (or as it is now called, the Paoli-Thorndale Line). Of course, just as in the Philly area, there is a trade off for having newer, less expensive housing in exchange for a longer commute, you have that here too. For me Loudoun County was just too far out to even consider, but not everyone is that averse to long commutes nor does everyone work in DC.
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Old 08-16-2013, 09:12 PM
 
Location: San Diego, CA
230 posts, read 444,427 times
Reputation: 134
Grew up there until age 23. Live in san Diego now.

If I were to use one word ti describe the people it would be practical.
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Old 08-17-2013, 01:18 AM
 
2,359 posts, read 2,542,514 times
Reputation: 1141
Quote:
Originally Posted by NovaOne View Post
Ha!

I actually find NoVA and DC traffic to be less aggressive than some of the other large cities. My wife refuse to drive in NYC while she drives fine in NoVA. In NoVA, you can still drive defensively by controlling all three controllable spaces of front, left, and right. In NYC, you pretty much just make sure you don't hit anyone in front, and have faith that other vehicles are not going to plow into you from the sides.
funny you say that. i had nyc friends tell me i drive more aggressive than cabbies in nyc when i visited lol. and i dont really. i just adapt to how flow of traffic flows just like im adapting here in pittsburgh.
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Old 08-17-2013, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Herndon, VA
48 posts, read 175,437 times
Reputation: 46
I can't really add much to the great information already provided other than:

1) I would definitely not underestimate the traffic problems here; live as close to your work as you can. I telecommute now but, when I commuted from Herndon to Rockville, it took me 45 min to an hour to get to work by 7 AM (normally 35 minutes when not rush hour) -- and this was assuming no accidents or any else causing traffic jams. I also think my commute (Toll Rd to 495 to 270) was probably the better in the area, compared to those who travel 270S, 66W, 95N, or 495 in Montgomery County, MD.

2) Don't mistake people being busy and exhausted for unfriendliness. I know that after 2 hours on the road each day and 8+ hours at work, then home for dinner and general household stuff, the last thing I wanted to do was socialize. Don't take it personally and don't project your expectations on how you think people "should be" and you'll be a lot happier.

I'm very happy here, even without a Master's degree or high-powered job. I neither drive a fancy car nor live in a huge home. I shop at thrift stores, auctions, and yard sales. Yes, there is a lot of wealth in the area but I never sensed an overwhelming wave of snobbery. (Sorry, I digress, LOL. This isn't directed at the OP in particular, just mentioning it due to the multitude of posts about how rude, self-important and snobby NoVAns are. Some people? Sure. All or even most? No way.)

I grew up in the Philly suburbs (NJ) and have lived in Herndon for about 9 years now. I do miss the Philly soft pretzels and good pizza though. LOL When I visit family, I stock up on pretzels, wrap separately in wax paper & plastic wrap, place in freezer bags, and freeze. When you want a pretzel, remmove the wax paper/plastic wrap, then wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave until heated. Just a tip for any Philly folks missing a taste of home.

Last edited by TullyApplebottom; 08-17-2013 at 10:53 AM.. Reason: clarity
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Old 08-17-2013, 10:58 AM
 
8,882 posts, read 11,195,117 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TullyApplebottom View Post
I grew up in the Philly suburbs (NJ) and have lived in Herndon for about 9 years now. I do miss the Philly soft pretzels and good pizza though. LOL When I visit family, I stock up on pretzels, wrap separately in wax paper & plastic wrap, place in freezer bags, and freeze. When you want a pretzel, remmove the wax paper/plastic wrap, then wrap in a damp paper towel and microwave until heated. Just a tip for any Philly folks missing a taste of home.
You can also order them online. (www.pretzelsdirect.com) Someone gave me some for Christmas and they aren't bad. You can freeze them (separate them first), and then eat when you want. Of course, there's nothing like one handed to you on the street corner, but these aren't too far off.
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