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Washington, DC suburbs in Maryland Calvert County, Charles County, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County
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Old 08-23-2012, 09:42 PM
 
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Hi everyone, My husband has a job lined up at the DC Navy Yard. For the past few months, we've been focusing our housing search on Fairfax County because of the K-12 schools reputations (we have 3 children, ages 7, 3, and 2). However a few years ago, we vacationed in Annapolis, and I can't get it out of my mind. I loved all the walking, the restaurants, visiting USNA, the overall vibe of the town. But its about 35 miles away. Would the commute be too hard from Annapolis to the DC Navy Yard every day? What is the reputation of the Annapolis school system? Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
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Old 08-24-2012, 01:48 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeadingtoVA View Post
Hi everyone, My husband has a job lined up at the DC Navy Yard. For the past few months, we've been focusing our housing search on Fairfax County because of the K-12 schools reputations (we have 3 children, ages 7, 3, and 2). However a few years ago, we vacationed in Annapolis, and I can't get it out of my mind. I loved all the walking, the restaurants, visiting USNA, the overall vibe of the town. But its about 35 miles away. Would the commute be too hard from Annapolis to the DC Navy Yard every day? What is the reputation of the Annapolis school system? Thanks in advance for any thoughts!
Only you can define "too hard."

IMHO, Annapolis is a great town and no place in Fairfax County can compare. On the other hand, I don't think the commute from Annapolis to the Navy Yard could be less than an hour at anything near normal commuting hours. There are commuter buses which might make the commute a little more bearable, but they won't make it shorter. There are certainly people who do the commute every day. On the other hand, I have one friend who commutes from Annapolis who very specifically warned me against doing the same.

In past years, I considered commuting from the Annapolis area as well as a weekend house on the Eastern Shore. These days, I have sadly come to the conclusion that traffic is just too bad for me to be willing to drive to either on a regular basis.

You might check out Old Town Alexandria. It doesn't compare directly to Annapolis either, but it does offer walking and shopping with a waterfront vibe. Expect most housing to be pricey. I'm no expert on the area's schools. I live in Prince George's County (which I chose because it offers some commutable waterfront property) where the school system has a generally poor reputation.
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Old 08-24-2012, 06:06 AM
 
Location: Fort Washington, MD
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She is trying to understand if by a normal sensible person standard 35 miles in the DC metro region for commuting on a daily basis would consider it 'hard'. The answer is yes. The best advice is to actually try to head to DC from Annapolis at around 7 AM.
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Old 08-24-2012, 07:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by molukai View Post
She is trying to understand if by a normal sensible person standard 35 miles in the DC metro region for commuting on a daily basis would consider it 'hard'. The answer is yes. The best advice is to actually try to head to DC from Annapolis at around 7 AM.
OP - You'd also need to do that after Labor Day, as traffic heading to DC is considerably lighter during the summer months when kids are out of school and people are taking vacations.

Most people in this area would try to avoid a 35-mile commute to DC each way, unless (1) they can't afford housing closer to the city or (2) they really, really like a place like Annapolis (typically due to the boating) or Middleburg, Virginia (because of the horses). It's not something to be undertaken lightly and, if you do decide to move to Annapolis, you should make sure that your spouse - who would be doing the daily commute - is as sold on the benefits of living there as you might be.

The Annapolis public schools are part of the Anne Arundel County system in Maryland: Anne Arundel County Public Schools. It's not as highly ranked as Fairfax County, but it's generally well-regarded, though I would not be surprised if some of the schools near the older sections of Annapolis are among the lower rated in Anne Arundel County.

One alternative that you might consider to either Fairfax County or Annapolis is the City of Alexandria. It's got a walkable "Old Town" with plenty of charm, but is much closer to Navy Yard than Annapolis. Historically, the public schools have not been as highly rated as those as in either Fairfax County or Anne Arundel, but several of the elementary schools, in particular, are increasingly popular even among parents who could afford private school, but are satisfied with the quality of the public schools and/or prefer to send their kids to more diverse public schools.

Good luck.
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Old 08-24-2012, 12:21 PM
 
Location: Metro Washington DC
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35 miles is quite normal judging by all of the traffic on 66, 270, 95N, 95S, and 50. When you say 35 miles, is that actual distance, or an estimate? 35 miles is an awful commute, but thousands do it everyday. Don't ask me how. They just do it.
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Old 08-24-2012, 12:40 PM
 
Location: White Plains, Maryland
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I lived in Annapolis for 3 years and loved it!! However I didn't have kids at the time either.... Im not 100% sure... But I think fair fax schools might be better... Plus taxes in VA are better. I would go with VA... And keep Annapolis as a place you guys visit.. Go out to dinner.. The mall etc. I actually still commute to Annapolis every Sunday to go the my church I still enjoy from southern Maryland.
There is also a couple good parks near there etc that you can always visit and enjoy without living there.
The drive might run you ragged... Definitely draining.
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Old 08-24-2012, 02:27 PM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
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be aware that commuting from Fairfax to the Navy Yard via metro rail is harder than the typical Fairfax to DC commute, because Navy yard is on the Green Line, adding an extra ten or so minutes to the commute - particularly annoying coming from alexandria on the yellow line, as you will need to double back at Lenfant plaza (commuting by car from alexandria MAY be easier - now that fixes to the beltway in Alex are complete, it may be possible to go via the Wilson bridge, I295, and the new 11th street bridge). Unfortunately the suburban communities on the Green line are in PG county, which does not have the reputation for the best schools.
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Old 08-27-2012, 06:57 AM
 
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The commute can be done, but plan on spending 3 hours a day commuting either by car or train (~1.5 hours each way). Many days you will need less time, but you need to allow yourself more for those bad days. I think the commuter bus might be faster as long as you can fit into their schedule. I commute from Crofton (10-15min from Annapolis) to Bethesda using the MARC and metro and I like it, even though it takes a while. Annapolis is a nice town with lots to do in the area and the schools are well regarded in MD.

If you do decide to go this route and you will be working too, I recommend finding a job close to Annapolis, so only one of you has a long commute. Its much easier if one person has a crappy commute and the other has a light one.
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:36 AM
 
Location: Annapolis, MD
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I've driven from Annapolis along route 50 to the DC Beltway (I-495) for quite awhile now. In general, the morning commutes IME are easier than evening commutes. You can generally get from the Severn River Bridge in Annapolis to the beltway in approximately 20 minutes with no traffic and I rarely hit traffic in the morning. Coming home traffic is a bit more hectic. The big backups are heading east on 50 just after the DC Beltway merge, and in Annapolis at rush hour going east towards the Severn River Bridge. Additionally, during the summer, traffic heading to the SR Bridge and beyond, to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, can also be congested with beachgoers.

I'm not so familiar with the I-295 drive from 50 to the Navy Yard, but just making a guess, I think you could get from Annapolis (depending on where you live) to the NY in 45 - 50 minutes with no traffic. An accident, rush hour, or when it rains (heavier traffic slows almost universally to a crawl here in the rain) will be longer. My general impression, though I've not spent that much time in NoVa, is that traffic (excluding the DC Beltway) tends to be heavier there than in MD. Perhaps others would disagree.

Annapolis has some good schools, but I don't have kids so haven't dealt directly with them. Severna Park is the best school district locally. Broadneck HS is also well regarded. Not sure about other elementary or middle schools.

A couple other thoughts - not sure of your fields, but if you want to change jobs in the future, Maryland jobs and industry tend be heavily government and gov-contractor oriented because of the higher taxes and regulations here. NoVa has more private companies, also with a lot of contracting companies, non-profits, etc as well.

Having said that the Annap-DC Navy Yard commute may not be so bad, a commute into DC proper would be considerably longer, perhaps double. I wouldn't really want to commute further west than the outskirts of DC.

Annapolis is also equidistant to DC and Baltimore, so Baltimore amenities might be a possibility as well.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-31-2012, 11:07 PM
 
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Thank you for all the helpful comments! Getting to the Navy Yard is a real challenge, from a public transportation perspective. My husband met a coworker who commutes from Crofton MD, so he's going to check out that area this weekend. He raved about the schools and quality of life. Its not Annapolis, but would shave about 12 miles off the commute. Thanks again everyone!
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