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Old 02-19-2012, 07:36 AM
 
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Hello,

We may move to the DC area for my husband's work (he'd be in Chevy Chase.)

We'd like to rent a house in a hip suburban area (is that an oxymoron??) We love trees, old houses, big lots. And within 15 miles of an AMI certified Montessori preschool for our 4 yr old son. We can probably do 3200/month for the home. Prefer not to buy since we just moved and bought twice in the last two years. The whole MD, DC, VA thing overwhelms just now but the school choices seem to be in:

Alexandria, VA
Arlington, VA
Oakton, VA
Middleburg, VA
Annapolis, MD
Bethesda, MD
Potomac, MD
Silver Spring, MD


Last year we left Los Angeles for a small rural university town which we love. While the thought of re-entering urban blight and traffic madness pains me, I look forward to being close to superb museums, libraries and restaurants again. Is it possible to have both within 25 miles of Chevy Chase? I'm happy to drive an hour into DC proper if my husband's commute is reasonable (ie, 45 min or so) and my son can see birds and trees.

Thoughts? Rude awakenings?

Thanks.

Last edited by LaMaxMom; 02-19-2012 at 08:04 AM..
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Old 02-19-2012, 08:44 AM
 
Location: DC
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Good news and bad news

Good: easy to accommodate your desires in CC or Bethesda

Bad: it will cost more than you anticipate
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Old 02-19-2012, 03:28 PM
 
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I think you can find something in Silver Spring or maybe even Bethesda. I'm not sure entirely on the rental market here in Bethesda though it's not uncommon to come across a rental property.
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Old 02-19-2012, 06:37 PM
 
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You may want to consider AU Park or Spring Valley. Feel free to PM me if you want more information. I'm not too familiar with the rental markets, here but can tell you its a great area for kids (we have a 3 year old). Both areas are dominated by professionals (world bank, IMF, lawyers, professors, reporters, foreign aids, etc), and lots of families in their 30s/40s.

Moreover, you've got a lot of green things nearby: rock creek park is but a 5 or 10 minute drive away, more impressive hiking and riverfront fun (there's various parks along the river) about 15 minutes away by car, there are playgrounds within walking distance, the museums are a few stops on the train (20/30 minutes) or a relatively short 20ish minute drive (other than at 9am / 5pm, go mid day and its a breeze). The DC zoo, which is quite large and almost entirely outdoors, is 10 minutes away. Restaurants are comparatively few in the 5 minute range (maybe a dozen or so), but Bethesda is ~15 minutes away and there's plenty there. AU Park and Spring Valley have a semi-suburban feel without actually being very suburban. Your husbands commute would be short - maybe 15 to 30 minutes maximum (depends a bit where in chevy chase). Finally, although the name escapes me, there is a Montessori school in the area - 5 or 10 minutes drive.

It might be the perfect mix you are looking for. That said, I'm not familiar with the rental market, but single family homes run about $700-$1M, so something in the $3500 range might be plausible. If you need a low-pressure realtor to help hunt for rental I can refer someone. He's a crazy frenchman and hates everything he sees, so we liked him..Finally if you'd like to talk more or on the phone just drop me a PM. Happy to.

edit... some of your other options are really nice areas, but the commute from (some of) these places is going to be slit your wrists brutal. My best guesses are below:

Annapolis is way way way too far away - I don't know traffic on that route terrible well, but I'd imagine you are talking about at least an hour and a half each way - and maybe even 2 hours. Perhaps someone else can comment, but its a good 40 miles (to put that in context, I drive 12 miles in about 30 minutes to work, and technically, I'm not going with traffic).

Arlington will be something on the order of perhaps 60 minutes or so (the bridges can be a killer, and theres no good route from there). Arlington is also very $$$, and "big open lots" are not something you will find here for any reasonable cost. More generally, any "hip" suburban area is going to be priced like it isn't suburban; 1 bedrooms in Arlington go for $1700+, a 2 bedroom condo is probably in the $3000 range.

Alexandria probably also needs to get the axe, although it is very pretty. My wife commutes there from our location (American University Park) and its regularly 45 to an hour each way for her ... and thats going against the traffic. From there to Chevy Chase is probably pushing into hour and a half territory. Again, there's really no great route from down there. But I admit, its has a great mix of quaint and hip.

Oakton might be about an hour fifteen or so for your husbands commute. Middleburg, VA, tough call on length but I'd guess its also in the hour+ category. Not sure how either of these made the list; compared to Arlington, Alexandria, Bethesda, etc, they are a very different feel.

All the below are materially more plausible choices for their proximity, but admittedly have prices that reflect.

Bethesda, MD
Potomac, MD
Silver Spring, MD

Given that your husband is going to be in Chevy Chase, I would really advise you against picking something in Virginia. There are but 3 or 4 major bridges that bring traffic from VA into the city, and unless you have a reason to be on that side of the bridge (setting cost aside for a moment), there's very little to be gained. Most people pay really good money to avoid long commutes. Given your requirements, Bethesda would be the first place I start looking. $3,200 might be a bit tight, but you'll have at least a few choices.

Last edited by chicagotodc; 02-19-2012 at 08:03 PM..
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:19 AM
 
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@Chicagotodc

Thanks for that. Three coworkers have moved to the the DC area and all have landed in Silver Springs- I am beginning to see a pattern. And without your advice, I had assumed that the lack of interest in NoVa (see, I am learning all the acronyms!) was a cultural bias. Not, as you say, simply a healthy response to a horrendous commute.

I will continue to explore Bethesda and Silver Springs.
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Old 02-20-2012, 08:37 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaMaxMom View Post
@Chicagotodc

Thanks for that. Three coworkers have moved to the the DC area and all have landed in Silver Springs- I am beginning to see a pattern. And without your advice, I had assumed that the lack of interest in NoVa (see, I am learning all the acronyms!) was a cultural bias. Not, as you say, simply a healthy response to a horrendous commute.

I will continue to explore Bethesda and Silver Springs.
There's a bit of both... but honestly, the cost of living is pretty similar in McLean, Arlington, Bethesda and Chevy Chase or NW DC, so if you plan on working Chevy Chase, there's little economic reason to live in VA. Even the lots are not that much larger. When we moved we presumed that the only place we could afford would be in McLean or Arlington only to discover that DC's costs were not that dissimilar, and in some ways, DC was much more appealing (for a number of reasons including family in the city, the style of the homes, etc). In fact, I found Arlington to be more expensive than NW DC (perhaps rightly so, its quite "hip" and developed) and Mclean was a suburban shock neither my wife and I felt we could swallow. Although I work in VA, the commute from DC to VA is pretty reasonable and I'm reminded every day that I not only bought a house I like (despite the never ending list of things I want to do to it) but I also bought a tolerable commute (and actually a pretty one too).

Unrelated, when you get here, take the kiddo to Cabin John:

Montgomery Parks: Facilities - Cabin John Regional Park

There's a big park, lots of playground stuff, a working train and green trees/birds galore.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:02 AM
 
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You might want to look in Kensington, which is north of Chevy Chase, if you're priced out of Bethesda or Chevy Chase. There's a small, walkable part of Kensington that's quite nice, and Kensington's not as expensive as Chevy Chase or Bethesda.

Having said that, I doubt there is too much of a "cultural bias" against living in the DC region's most affluent counties (Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun), all of which are in NoVa. There are many folks who live in NoVa for the public schools and lower taxes and commute on the Beltway to the Bethesda/Chevy Chase area. It tends not to be bad in the AM, but the PM rush hour is often much worse. In any event, it doesn't sound like that would be a good fit for you, since the areas that are closest to the Beltway in NoVa heading towards Bethesda/Chevy Chase tend to be suburban areas that no one would describe as particularly funky or hip.

Last edited by JD984; 02-20-2012 at 11:04 AM..
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Old 02-20-2012, 11:34 AM
 
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All the above^^^ ftw.
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:50 PM
 
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Hello all,

Taking it to the next level of complexity: train travel.

Is there a train to and from downtown Chevy Chase? And if so, how would I track back along the train line/s to places to live?

Thanks for any tips.
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Old 12-19-2012, 09:19 PM
 
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Post Bethesda or consider Chevy Chase

I'm going to start with a rude awakening, don't move to silver spring, it can be unsafe. Montessori Schools are also no good I went to preschool there for a year, I strongly dislike it. Out of all the ones you listed I think Bethesda is the best, for young families though I think you should consider Chevy Chase. Chevy chase is really close to Bethesda and North West DC (nicest part). If you do move for grade school I would recommend either mater dei (all boys) or blessed sacrament, to catholic schools that give very good educations Blessed sacrament was nationally ranked a blue ribbon school 2012. There are so good pubic grade schools the best though is Chevy Chase elementary. The best private highschools are Gonzaga, Georgetoen Prep ( in Bethesda), or St. John's. for public schools I recommend Bethesda-Chevy chase(bcc)
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