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Old 04-28-2010, 10:08 AM
 
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We are Baby Boomers who are meeting with a realtor this weekend in Old Town to look at townhomes. I've been reading on line about the close proximity to low income housing (crime), severe flooding, lack of resident parking, etc! The few times we have visited Old Town we found it to be charming, artsy and somewhat sophisticated. We like the idea of walking to get coffee in the morning, walking to restaurants at night - all with a neighborhood feel. If anyone can share comments, thoughts, recommendations of living in Old Town it would be really helpful and greatly appreciated!
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:35 AM
 
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You've actually pretty much summed up the pros and cons already!

Some here have said that the SE quadrant of Old Town - bounded by King and Washington Streets(?) - is the most attractive. NE of there is fine; more of the houses may be neo-historic rather than original and there are a few condo high-rises. Some of the public housing is in this area but not as much as west of Washington St.

SW is okay too if a little trafficky IMO. Lots of people cut through there to get to main arteries as well as the Beltway.

NW where the majority of the Parker-Gray public housing can be found is what concerns some people. There are also some long-time homeowners whom some may confuse with the public housing residents. While it may be prudent not to stroll through there late at night, driving or walking to town or the train station to commute would be fine. FWIW a community center opened up in NW Old Town about a year ago that serves a rather socioeconomically diverse base. To my knowledge, there have not been any problems.
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Old 04-28-2010, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
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The biggest con for me is lack of parking. We looked at renting a town house there, and the idea of having to circle around if I got home from work late was enough of a deterrent for me. If your unit has enough parking for you and any guests, it's a lovely area.
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Old 04-28-2010, 02:01 PM
 
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Old Town does have limited parking, but it also can work well for a family that can downsize to one or no cars -- Metro and Zipcar subscriptions work well for many.

One thing that can have a longer-term effect on living in Old Town, because you're baby-boomers, is that all the "vertical living" in townhomes can be really tough if you or your spouse has arthritis and/or bad knees. Sort of a Murphy's law app for Old Town: No matter what it is that you want/need, it is ALWAYS on another floor. If this is a concern, there are several nice condos (NE and in the new developments at Carlyle near King Street Metro) that get around that problem.
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Old 04-28-2010, 02:10 PM
 
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I ride a motorcycle and I go down to Old Town Alexandria all the time because parking is easier for a motorcycle, park anywhere there's a nice space in between two cars and your'e set
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Old 04-28-2010, 03:48 PM
 
Location: Durham, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snow White123 View Post
We are Baby Boomers who are meeting with a realtor this weekend in Old Town to look at townhomes. I've been reading on line about the close proximity to low income housing (crime), severe flooding, lack of resident parking, etc! The few times we have visited Old Town we found it to be charming, artsy and somewhat sophisticated. We like the idea of walking to get coffee in the morning, walking to restaurants at night - all with a neighborhood feel. If anyone can share comments, thoughts, recommendations of living in Old Town it would be really helpful and greatly appreciated!
If you have kids, you better be sure you can live with the school system in Old Town. Alexandria City Public Schools is the most underacheiving system in Northern Virginia. That is just fact. However, I'm a graduate of it's HS T.C. Williams and can vouch you can get a good education there is you want it. Just be prepared for wild stares and reactions (particularily Fairfax County parents) when you tell folks you have kids in the Alexandria school system.

The parking, driving, and price would be big deterrents for me personally.
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Old 04-28-2010, 09:10 PM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
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It's a great place to live. You'll love it. Go for it.
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Old 04-29-2010, 07:22 AM
 
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Maybe people implied this when they described the traffic/lack of parking but you may get tired of large numbers of tourists and locals visiting the area. Every nice Saturday and Sunday the sidewalks are crowded, and many times during the week as well. To some this is not an issue, as in, well, what else would you expect?, but to others, it may feel oppressive day after day.

Offsetting that, possibly, is something I have heard (I don't live there but know some people who do) -- that homeowners are neighborly and interesting.
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Old 04-29-2010, 07:59 AM
 
1,384 posts, read 2,120,940 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACWhite View Post
Maybe people implied this when they described the traffic/lack of parking but you may get tired of large numbers of tourists and locals visiting the area. Every nice Saturday and Sunday the sidewalks are crowded, and many times during the week as well. To some this is not an issue, as in, well, what else would you expect?, but to others, it may feel oppressive day after day.

Offsetting that, possibly, is something I have heard (I don't live there but know some people who do) -- that homeowners are neighborly and interesting.

True, but you only have to deal with the tourists in large volume within direct vicinity of King Street. Same as the parking situation...closer to King Street the harder it is to find parking. A few blocks off King though, parking is not much of an issue.

Other pros of Old Town besides the convenient restaurants and sights, are the parks and trails along the water.
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Old 04-29-2010, 05:06 PM
 
1,624 posts, read 4,529,611 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbird82 View Post
True, but you only have to deal with the tourists in large volume within direct vicinity of King Street. Same as the parking situation...closer to King Street the harder it is to find parking. A few blocks off King though, parking is not much of an issue.

Other pros of Old Town besides the convenient restaurants and sights, are the parks and trails along the water.
FYI, the only parts of Old Town that get any substantial amount of tourists is King St. between City Hall & the River. That's only several blocks. Other than Mcconnell's and Landini Brothers, the restaurants on that particular strip are awful tourist traps. If you live in Old Town as a local you will rarely actually go down that strip unless a friend is visiting. The restaurants and shops further west on King or a few blocks off of King St. are much better.

Plus, there are hardly any tourists outside of Spring/Summer. Parking is difficult between Cameron and Duke Streets, but it isn't really that hard to find street parking elsewhere. You might have to park a couple of blocks away from your place, but rarely much more than that. After you live there for a while, you'll know where to find the parking spots.
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