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Old 02-12-2019, 08:05 AM
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We are moving to Lynchburg in October of this year and plan to live there for around 5 years. After that, our children will be nearing kindergarten age and we preferably would like them to grow up near the ocean, as close as possible. I understand Lynchburg is 3.75 hours from VA Beach. That's still pretty far for us. We do not like long drives.

We love Lynchburg because it feels very down to earth, very in touch with its natural surroundings. It's a bit too small of a city for my liking but since we have family there, it'll be a much easier adjustment since we're coming from NY.

However, the job opportunities are much better for us over in Norfolk/VA Beach. I was surprised at how many upper level positions there are in my sector over that way. The housing is fairly affordable as well once you consider how close you are to the beach. I think it's a smarter place for us to eventually plant down some strong roots.

Culturally, do the two areas "feel" similar or different? Is traffic more of a pain over toward the coast? Or does it sort of resemble Jacksonville/Wilmington, NC? Kind of country-feeling.

We are open to anywhere between Portsmouth and VA Beach. Mainly just want to be in a public school system that offers specialized educational paths (business, engineering, science, etc.). A walkable/bicycle-friendly area is a must. We are active people. I think the Ghent/Larchmont neighborhoods would suit us well but I've only done very basic research thus far and could be completely off.

What are your guys's thoughts?
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Old 02-12-2019, 08:37 AM
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As for bikeable/walkable places go, I would recommend Portsmouth or Norfolk over Virginia Beach. Actually Williamsburg is pretty good too (though it may be a little too far for your liking). Virginia Beach is not very bikeable IMO. It is a very sprawling city without a defined urban core. I love the old town area of Portsmouth. I grew up in downtown Savannah so it is reminiscent of my childhood neighborhood in so many ways (walkability, historic charm, and amazing homes).

There are some great neighborhoods in Norfolk too to the immediate west and north of downtown (West Freemason, Neon District, and Ghent Square). I will say that I usually have to go to Virginia Beach once or twice for work a year and I simply loath it (granted I have never been in the Summer so it could be completely different then). As someone who grew up in a highly urban walkable environment and has lived the past 8 years without a car and gets around on bike/foot in a walkable downtown environment, places like Virginia Beach that require a car for everything don't really appeal to me. I can't really speak on the economy too much as I don't live there, but there seems to be a good amount of revitalization and new development occurring in downtown Norfolk.

Culturally, the Tidewater region and Lynchburg/Central Virginia region are very different in so many ways. Lynchburg is for sure more conservative and rural feeling once you get outside the downtown core. the Tidewater/Hampton-Roads area is a huge metropolitan region with a higher level of urbanism, sprawl, amenities, and traffic. Also, the mountain culture is very different from the coastal culture. I grew up on the coast (Savannah GA) till I was in college and have lived in places like Asheville and Lynchburg since in the mountains. Both geography types have their pluses and drawbacks. I really can't say one is better than the other, I like the mountains and the coast for different reasons and I like each better in different times of year. There is a huge Navy presence in the Norfolk area so the population is quite diverse with sailors and their families living in Norfolk and Portsmouth from every corner of the US.

The population isn't booming which may be a good thing (traffic in Charlotte, Nashville, and Atlanta continues to get worse and worse), but still traffic there is on another level compared to Lynchburg or Wilmington NC (especially during rush hour in Virginia Beach and the tunnels coming into and out of Norfolk). There is a light rail in Norfolk that I have never used sadly. It doesn't really go to where you need it to go like the new BRT in Richmond or LYNX light rail in Charlotte and ridership on it has been below forecasts, but I do hear there are plans to expand it and make it more accessible to more places in the future (hopefully).

As far as bikeability goes, I would say Richmond, Charlottesville, Arlington, Alexandria, and Williamsburg are the best in the state. It is also getting increasingly better to bike around Fairfax County, especially around Reston.

Last edited by dbcook1; 02-12-2019 at 08:57 AM..
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Old 02-12-2019, 09:26 AM
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A sibling that lives in VA Beach and works in Norfolk stated that Ghent is an upper middle class area. Schools appear to be solid as well(Ghent K-8, Ghent Montessori and Maury HS). So, if it fits the budget and you can find the type of employment you are looking for I'd say go for it.

I don't know if it is a factor, but Ghent appears to be a little more diverse than Larchmont, with the western portion of Ghent being more so than other portions of that area.

Hopefully, I can get more specific information for you later.

Ok, Larchmont is also upper middle class, but due to being close to Old Dominion University, it gets some noise complaints according to them. There is also an elementary school and catholic school in the neighborhood.

Last edited by ckhthankgod; 02-12-2019 at 10:02 AM..
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Old 02-12-2019, 03:48 PM
Location: Williamsburg, VA
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I love love living in Williamsburg, but I would NOT love it if I had to commute to Norfolk or Virginia Beach. That's way too far to drive every day.
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Old 02-12-2019, 06:26 PM
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I have really enjoyed time spent in Tidewater. I think the culture is more similar to Lynchburg than Richmond or NOVA. It is a very large metro area and opportunities would be more plentiful as would the variety of neighborhoods, schools, etc. My favorite part of Tidewater is the northern end of Atlantic over the Chics Beach following 60.
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Old 02-13-2019, 12:30 AM
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Also check out the Virginia sub forums like the one for Hampton Road area: https://www.city-data.com/forum/hampton-roads-area/
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Old 02-13-2019, 09:27 AM
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I have been to Virginia Beach several times in different seasons. Geared more toward relaxing, unwinding with a small group or larger family group...not living there longer term. So while we went inland, we spent most time nearer the ocean and boardwalk.

There are lots of events there for entertainment especially at the waterfront. Va Beach has gotten many awards as well over the years...among the healthiest, fittest:


It has the Guinness Book of World Record's longest pleasure beach at 35 miles. We enjoy that boardwalk. It is wide and has a bike path running alongside it. There are always people walking and biking there. There are thousands of acres of parkland for wildlife, hiking and lots of opportunities for SUP, kayaking and so on.
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