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Old 07-25-2006, 11:34 PM
 
Location: MI
333 posts, read 1,129,909 times
Reputation: 168

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Like many posts here, I am a "Northerner" looking to escape to a warmer, somewhat affordable place. (in a few years, but doing research now) As a single professional I want someplace where there is a mid/larger sized city nearby but also someplace I can get some place and a home but not get killed in prices, and also "fit in" being a northerner.

So the 3 places in the Southeast I am looking at are/were
1) Northern VA
2) Charlotte or Raleigh NC
3) Atlanta, GA

So with Northern VA everything seemed great - lots of people from other places, more liberal and open minded than other areas, tons of jobs, big city nearby, nice enough weather, but then I went to look at housing prices and of course you know the story. $400-$500K seems average with 20% appreciation in the last year. Even if there is a bubble to burst prices still would be $350K so its out of range for a single income.

Just out of curiousity I did a search on northern (eastern) VA - and the 2 towns that came up with reasonable (3 bedroom) houses 1500 sq ft+ under $250K were
1) Ruther Glen
2) Colonial Beach

Same houses in the bigger suburbs nearer DC are $500K!

So my question is, what is the catch? Just from looking at the houses these seem to be more "rural" areas... which is ok to some degree. If you are working in the southern burbs of DC which (not knowing the area but only looking at a map), are these 2 cities a place you can reasonably commute to Fairfax or Arlington counties for work? Or is the commute insane as the extra 10-15 miles adds 45 minutes to your drive?

Are these cities high in crime or poor schools or why are the property values so low compared to cities 10 miles north?

Is the culture here completely different than say a suburb/town 10-15 miles more north?

Just curious (never been to the area, wanting to know if its worth an investigation) of why this "sliver" of decent property value is still around and what life is like in these towns?

The other strange thing is usually towns closer to waterfront have higher property value but Colonial Beach does not...

Again, I know nothing of the area - can someone from the area fill me in on what the situation is? Thanks
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Old 07-26-2006, 06:29 AM
 
2,179 posts, read 6,845,726 times
Reputation: 1710
any commute to dc is a killer period., yes ruther glenn is a farming community not a suburb very rural and peaceful. i would move more towards richmond and stay away from dc . its a real mess up there traffic wise a 15 mile trip could take over an hour!
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Old 08-06-2006, 05:50 PM
 
9 posts, read 60,475 times
Reputation: 28
Default colonial beach

Used to be a restort town..a lot of the homes are really summer bungalows..the schools are not that great and the roads are really 2 laned black tops that are bad in the winter. I heard the town raised property taxes a few years ago. Not muc to do in the way of entertainment..a few restaurants and a little beach..
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Old 10-16-2006, 02:41 PM
 
1 posts, read 6,932 times
Reputation: 16
Default Colonial Beach comment

I now live in Colonial Beach in a 2 story house with a big porch built at the turn of the century on a big lot. It was less than $250000. It is 1 block from the Potomac and 1 block from the bay. It is 40 minutes to Fredericksburg (Mary Washington University and lots of antique shops, restaurants, etc.) and 1.5 hours to D.C. (there are some shortcuts to avoid I-95). There are some very good seafood, barbecue and steak restaurants. There are art shows, writers groups, aerobics classes good coffee and characters. This is near to where George Washington, James Madison and James Monroe were born and, I will add, Robert E. Lee. There is a real interest in history, boating, crabbing, the local vineyards and storytelling. It's southern. The weather is much milder than D.C. and come 2007 this place will bust loose to commemorate Capt. John Smith's discovery of the Northern Neck.

The adjacent King George County is the 9th fastest growing county in the U.S. and the growth of the D.C. sprawl is approaching, but the NN has always remained somewhat obscure. During the Civil War it was pretty much ignored. Property values appreciated rapidly 3 years ago and then levelled off this year as sales slowed, but properties that were listed this summer have pretty much sold. Farther down the neck in Irvington(across from Richmond) it is becoming like the Hamptons.

CB is a quaint and charming water town. But, it is not for everyone.
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Old 11-10-2006, 06:28 PM
 
1 posts, read 6,928 times
Reputation: 10
Default Colonial Beach

Quote:
Originally Posted by thisguy View Post
Like many posts here, I am a "Northerner" looking to escape to a warmer, somewhat affordable place. (in a few years, but doing research now) As a single professional I want someplace where there is a mid/larger sized city nearby but also someplace I can get some place and a home but not get killed in prices, and also "fit in" being a northerner.

So the 3 places in the Southeast I am looking at are/were
1) Northern VA
2) Charlotte or Raleigh NC
3) Atlanta, GA

So with Northern VA everything seemed great - lots of people from other places, more liberal and open minded than other areas, tons of jobs, big city nearby, nice enough weather, but then I went to look at housing prices and of course you know the story. $400-$500K seems average with 20% appreciation in the last year. Even if there is a bubble to burst prices still would be $350K so its out of range for a single income.

Just out of curiousity I did a search on northern (eastern) VA - and the 2 towns that came up with reasonable (3 bedroom) houses 1500 sq ft+ under $250K were
1) Ruther Glen
2) Colonial Beach

Same houses in the bigger suburbs nearer DC are $500K!

So my question is, what is the catch? Just from looking at the houses these seem to be more "rural" areas... which is ok to some degree. If you are working in the southern burbs of DC which (not knowing the area but only looking at a map), are these 2 cities a place you can reasonably commute to Fairfax or Arlington counties for work? Or is the commute insane as the extra 10-15 miles adds 45 minutes to your drive?

Are these cities high in crime or poor schools or why are the property values so low compared to cities 10 miles north?

Is the culture here completely different than say a suburb/town 10-15 miles more north?

Just curious (never been to the area, wanting to know if its worth an investigation) of why this "sliver" of decent property value is still around and what life is like in these towns?

The other strange thing is usually towns closer to waterfront have higher property value but Colonial Beach does not...

Again, I know nothing of the area - can someone from the area fill me in on what the situation is? Thanks

Hi I bought a home in Colonial Beach in Jan 2006 and I used to dive to Alexandria everyday via 301 to 495 and it was not to bad. Since then I have gotten married and changed jobs and I work in Southern MD 30 minutes away--making more money--this drive is wonderful and sometimes I get to work from home. Also, this area offers many jobs in business here as well as in Fredericksburg just west of here. I personally, build restaurants and it is growing fairly fast. My husband works at Micron in Manassas and he commutes via rt 3, 95, 234 and he is not thrilled about the traffic but he only works three days one week and four the next. He really likes the small town atmosphere that we have....I bought for the price initialy but now I am glad I did because the people are down home nice and having my sail boat in the water right here has been wonderful; which, was given to me by one of the local marinas. Every night that we can we do walks to the beach a block away--it's so relaxing....The only problem I have is restaurants; or the lacking of, but, there are a three that are very nice places--just don't get the urge to eat out on Monday....LOL
[moderator cut]

Last edited by Mike from back east; 11-11-2006 at 10:32 AM.. Reason: commercial links not allowed.
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Old 12-18-2006, 12:27 PM
 
1 posts, read 6,928 times
Reputation: 10
Default Colonial Beach

My family is moving from Hawaii to King George County, VA. I just visited the area for the first time two weeks ago and did have opportunity to drive through parts of Colonial Beach. We have made an offer on a home close to Owens on Dahlgren Road, which is further North.

Colonial Beach was pretty run down - obviously an older community that in the future is going to get some major face lifts. I learned that it is the biggest beach in the area. I also heard the guns from Dahlgren (a Naval weapons testing facility.)

If you need to commute to D.C. - I would suggest looking in the West side of King George County - closest to Fredericksburg. The VRE runs from there.
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Old 02-24-2007, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
741 posts, read 3,663,011 times
Reputation: 223
If you're looking into the future, keep an eye on Ladysmith, VA. The population there is going to probably double/triple in the next 5-15 years. It's right on I-95, so commuting isn't too bad, since a lot of the time it takes people longer to get to/from the highway than their actual highway commute.
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Old 01-10-2008, 02:22 PM
 
6 posts, read 33,152 times
Reputation: 10
how about ruther glen?? homes in the area seem newer and relativly cheap. how is that area and schools?? coming from lancaster pa area.
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Old 01-10-2008, 06:04 PM
 
1 posts, read 6,369 times
Reputation: 10
Ladysmith and Ruther Glen are basically one and the same. Ruther Glen is the mailing address for what we call Ladysmith. The schools here, in my opinion, aren't that great. They are in the process of building a new elementary school in Ladysmith which should be completed in the next few years. (it will be K-5) As it stands right now there are two primary schools in the county (K-2), two elementary schools (3-5), and then the student bodies join together for one middle school and one high school. The school system is on the way up, but it seems for a while education was not high on the agenda for county residents. The primary and elementary schools have been steadily improving, based mostly in part by new residents coming to the county. The middle and high schools however, are slower to catch up. While I was a high school student we had many discipline issues in the school and a lack of resources. As the saying went "It's Caroline what do you expect" or "Oh look another Caroline Graduate" or "He's working at McDonalds huh, well that's what a Caroline Education will get you!". Despite that the schools have recently gotten new principles and employed new policies. The high school now has cameras throughout the building and much stricter rules regarding student behavior. The county consists of the Ladysmith/Ruther Glen side and the Bowling Green side. Ladysmith is becoming more built up because of it proximity to I95, Bowling Green on the other hand is more rural, and stuck in it's ways. Bowling Green is the county seat so even if you live on the other side you will become familiar with it. If you have children I would research the schools before deciding to move here. As I said the primary and elementary schools are taking great strides and if you have younger children maybe the middle and high schools will catch up by the time they get there, who is to say. Good Luck!
Here are the names of the schools if you want to do further research.
Bowling Green Primary
Ladysmith Primary
Bowling Green Elementary
Ladysmith Elementary
Caroline Middle
Caroline High

[SIZE=-1]www.co.caroline.va.us <<<county website
[/SIZE][SIZE=-1]www.caroline.k12.va.us/ <<<school district site[/SIZE]
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Old 01-10-2008, 06:25 PM
 
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
741 posts, read 3,663,011 times
Reputation: 223
The homes in Ladysmith Village have gone down in price. If you're looking for a home anywhere between $240k to $350k, there is a ton of selection. (Homes go over $500k, or under $200k for a town home)

The Caroline school system does need some work, but with the new Elementary school, I think things will get better with time. The newest study shows that the Ladysmith area will need 5 more new schols in the next 20 years. (Meaning a high school and middle school for this end of the county)

Anyways, I can't believe that it's been about a year since I started posting on this forum... time flies. (I was looking at my last post in this thread from Feb. '07)
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