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Old 01-09-2007, 11:46 AM
 
7 posts, read 26,121 times
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I'm looking for some general opinions on Oakton, VA. My wife and I already live in the DC area. Long story short, we have previously lived in the Alexandria area but are now in southern Maryland and think we may be able to afford moving back to northern VA. We have toddlers, so schools are tremendously important to us, as is safety and a feeling of community. We are taking a hard look at Oakton right now and it seems like a good fit for us. Can anyone give me a feel for the town, and how it compares to Vienna, Reston, Fairfax, etc.?
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Old 01-09-2007, 10:53 PM
 
Location: In exile, plotting my coup
2,408 posts, read 13,688,153 times
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Schools are top-notch as Oakton High School is ranked one of the top public high schools in Fairfax County, and in the country as well. Terrific academic opportunities and good athletic programs as well. Similarly, the schools at the elementary and middle school level that feed into Oakton are good as well. Since Fairfax County's school boundaries are screwy, there's a chance even if you live in Oakton, that you may be zoned into Madison or even Marshall high school instead, but both are great schools as well. Crime is extremely low and what little crime there is generally comes in the form of bored teenagers stirring up trouble through vandalism and petty theft. As far as sense of community, well, that's where Oakton falls short. Really though, where in Northern Virginia IS there much a sense of community nowadays? The area is so transient and sprawly and it seems like people in general keep to themselves. Of course this could vary a great deal by the street depending on the neighbors but in terms of community cohesiveness as a whole, you're not going to find much of that in Oakton, or any community outside of the Beltway really.

Oakton is basically suburban sprawl with the typical large newly-constructed subdivisions full of McMansions, condos, townhouses, garden style aparmtents and strip malls anchored by big box stores and chain restaurants. It's largely upper middle class. There's nothing particularly noteworthy about it, and much of the outer suburbs are similar where they sort of bleed together into one gigantic suburban blob. It's not like in other parts of the country where you can tell one town from the other. Heck, Oakton and much of the rest of Northern Virginia isn't even really a "town". It's a Census Designated Place, which means no City Hall, no traditional downtown, etc. You can't really tell when you cross the border into Vienna or Fairfax. I would say the main difference between Vienna, Fairfax and Oakton, is the housing stock in that Vienna and Fairfax (Vienna in particular) tend to have a good number of older post-war brick single family homes whereas much of the construction is Oakton is somewhat new. There are also actual downtowns in Vienna and Fairfax, albeit small ones that are pretty much dead, but downtowns nonetheless.
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Old 01-10-2007, 06:25 AM
 
7 posts, read 26,121 times
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Thanks. I read you on the sense of community. That seems fairly typical of most of the DC area, with some exceptions. Do you have any sense of what the average commute time is to the District from Oakton? I've heard that I-66 is a nightmare, but frankly I don't see anywhere that has a "good" commute. Even when I lived in Old Town it could take 45-60 min from Cap Hill if 395 and the GW parkway got jammed. My brother-in-law used to go into DC from Reston and I never heard him complain about it. My wife and I have found over the last few years that we can tolerate an average commute time of about an hour, maybe more if we're happy with the area we're in (and right now we aren't).
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Old 01-10-2007, 10:33 PM
 
Location: In exile, plotting my coup
2,408 posts, read 13,688,153 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duke34 View Post
Thanks. I read you on the sense of community. That seems fairly typical of most of the DC area, with some exceptions. Do you have any sense of what the average commute time is to the District from Oakton? I've heard that I-66 is a nightmare, but frankly I don't see anywhere that has a "good" commute. Even when I lived in Old Town it could take 45-60 min from Cap Hill if 395 and the GW parkway got jammed. My brother-in-law used to go into DC from Reston and I never heard him complain about it. My wife and I have found over the last few years that we can tolerate an average commute time of about an hour, maybe more if we're happy with the area we're in (and right now we aren't).
I'd say it's doable in an hour. It gets pretty backed up on I-66 and as you know, one accident can somehow double commuting time so it varies. There is of course the Metro option considering just how close Oakton is to both Vienna and Dunn Loring Metro stations. The benefits of Metro being that generally speaking the commute times aren't as prone to variance as they may be by car. I think that the commute should be doable in an hour however unless you're commuting far into DC.
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:25 PM
 
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You might want to consider Great Falls as well... excellent schools, small town feel. It's probably more expensive but there are some good deals right now.
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Old 04-20-2009, 09:26 PM
 
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The problem with Oakton, there is no there, there. It's spread out from Vienna to Chantilly. Kids there go to many different high schools and redistricting of schools is common. Years ago I knew someone in Miller Heights who had elementary children in 4 different schools in 5 years because of frequent redistricting. Parts of Oakton are much closer to South Lakes high school than where they currently attend, Madison, so redistricting to South Lakes is likely within the next few years.

Most of Oakton is not a good commute to DC, although it may be better than most of Great Falls. An hour commute? Not on most days. Great Falls is also spread out all over, from McLean to Sterling. Great Falls hardly feels like a small town since there is no town of Great Falls. Fairfax and Falls Church are cities and Vienna is town, but Oakton and Great Falls are neither. For those who like more rural areas, Oakton and Great Falls may be better choices than other areas.
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