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Old 07-08-2018, 12:05 PM
 
Location: SW Virginia
19 posts, read 22,829 times
Reputation: 20

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We are looking at a possible move to the area around Rocket Center, WV. My husband works for a government contractor and has applied for jobs there as a lateral move. So I'm doing some research of the area ahead of time.

What we would be looking for is a little more land as we have dogs and cats. Our oldest child is married and lives far away and our middle child will be leaving for college before the move, so 2-3 hours drive to a large airport would be nice. Our youngest is in high school. We are homebodies, like messing in the yard, maybe growing a small garden, taking care of our pets, and visiting our kids. Right now we live in a small neighborhood but would really like a place with not so many neighbors. Don't mind a drive to the big box store once a week, maybe to a club store once a month or so, but we also like downtown areas with locally owned shops and farmers markets. Rural is great, but we will need internet access as I work from home, and good cell service if possible.

My questions are:
What areas around Rocket Center, if any, would be a decent commute, preferable less than 20 minutes?
Are there areas to stay away from?
What is the winter like?
Average cost of utilities and groceries?
Is a housing budget of $150k - $175k realistic for something with a couple of acres, not a fancy house but easily livable, cosmetic updates only?

For example: We pay $300/month on average in electric for a 3/2 ranch house with a heat pump. Milk is about $2.50-$2.75/gallon. Gas is about $2.50/gallon right now.
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Old 07-08-2018, 04:15 PM
 
Location: Ohio via WV
498 posts, read 455,950 times
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As I'm sure you're aware, there's not much around Rocket Center. I would split the distance between there and Cumberland. Not sure about land, but you should be able to find a decent house for that price in the area. An alternate would be splitting the distance between there and Keyser and your money may go a bit farther. Depends what you're looking for in an urban/rural setting. As for cost of living, your current electric prices are insanely high, it should be half of that in WV. Gas and groceries should be similar.

You're sitting just east of the eastern continental divide. Depending on where exactly that you end up, it can get very cold and very snowy. Think about things like aspect (north, east, south, west side of the mountain) and altitude. Cumberland is in a valley and stays relatively warm and averages 29 inches of snow compared to nearby Frostburg which is higher altitude and closer to the continental divide and averages about 5-10 degrees colder during the winter and averages 82 inches of snow (these towns are 10 miles from each other).

As far as areas to stay away from, I'll leave that to someone who is more familiar with the area, but it is a very rural, low income area so it is what it is. For larger cities, you're about an hour in each direction to Morgantown, Hagerstown, Martinsburg, and Winchester which will have everything that you need
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Old 07-09-2018, 09:14 AM
 
Location: SW Virginia
19 posts, read 22,829 times
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Update to this: We are going up next week for my husband's interview and tour, so we will spend an extra day or two driving around the area. Any suggestions for places to visit such as restaurants, shops, parks, etc. would be welcome.
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Old 07-09-2018, 01:23 PM
 
Location: Cumberland
5,257 posts, read 8,454,389 times
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Hi, I live in Cumberland, about 15 minutes from ABL or ATK or Rocket Center or whatever they are calling it these days.

The other posters are mostly correct, your main population centers are Keyser WV, or over the river in Maryland. At your price point, I would suggest LaVale and Bel Air (Allegany County, not Baltimore County, they are two in the state) Maryland. Both are suburban type places with some breathing room. If you want rural living, it is just about everywhere, the area you are moving to is 70% or so mountain forest. Price point matters more than location for rural homes, at least at first.

I love Cumberland, but it is an acquired taste, there is poverty as others have mentioned, and you do have to pick your neighborhood carefully. Same goes for Keyser, except it is smaller so there are less benefits from city living, IMO. Still, it is a great place to live if you set yourself up right, your money would go very far, farther than in LaVale or Bel Air, for instance.

Frostburg is a neat town, but again as others have said, VERY snowy. For comparison, Rocket Center probably gets about 20-30 inches of snow a year on average, Frostburg gets over 80 inches.

On the WV side, Fort Ashby, Short Gap and Ridgeley are all towns/small cities that merit a look. I'll probably get bashed for saying this on the WV forum, but I would suggest the Maryland side if you have a high school age kid unless private school is a possibility. The schools are better in Maryland. I will address "things to do" in a different post.

Last edited by westsideboy; 07-09-2018 at 01:47 PM..
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Old 07-09-2018, 01:30 PM
 
Location: Cumberland
5,257 posts, read 8,454,389 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmatda View Post
Update to this: We are going up next week for my husband's interview and tour, so we will spend an extra day or two driving around the area. Any suggestions for places to visit such as restaurants, shops, parks, etc. would be welcome.
Cumberland is the largest city in the area, so that is probably going to be your base of operations.

- Local restaurants are mostly Italian and hoagie SW PA type food. D'atris in LaVale is a good choice as is Puccini's outside of Cumberland. Zeb's BBQ in Ridgeley is a good place too. Crabby Pig in Cumberland for seafood.

- Downtown Cumberland has a pedestrian mall and some stores, mostly antiques and niche stores. Not as much as you might think, but combine it with Canal Place right next door, and you would have a few hours worth of entertainment at minimum.

- Park land is were our area really excels. Rocky Gap State Park is great for hiking, camping, swimming. Dan's Rock overlook offers spectacular views of the mountains (don't confuse Dan' Mtn. State park with Dan's Rock, they are different places.) The Allegheny Highlands and C&O Canals meet in Cumberland, so biking or walking on these trails is popular too. If you want go a bit further afield, I would suggest Swallow Falls in Garrett County, MD (old growth Hemlock forest and small waterfalls) as well as Berkeley Springs, WV, home to a natural spring and numerous spas.

Let me know what your interests are, and I can add more details and make more suggestions.
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Old 07-09-2018, 04:49 PM
 
Location: SW Virginia
19 posts, read 22,829 times
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We like parks, community and state, for picnics, fishing, nature hikes, just exploring some, not so much camping. Local festivals, farmers markets, browsing thrift store or antique stores for a good find sometimes. My husband likes all things railroad. I read a lot in the winter. Mostly we've been involved with our kids and their activities for the last couple of decades. LOL

Where we currently live has changed a lot, as we have lost most industry and the workforce has turned to retail/food/tourism. Plenty of lower paying jobs to be had, but not so many jobs for mid-career professionals. The towns have plenty of homeless and drugs, and the crimes that come with it. My husband and I grew up in rural areas and very small towns (less than 1k population), so the possibility of not having a Starbucks doesn't bother us. We have one 10 minutes from us now but never go.

A big concern is driving in the winter. Here, we might get 15" of snow per season.
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Old 07-09-2018, 06:56 PM
 
Location: Cumberland
5,257 posts, read 8,454,389 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmatda View Post
We like parks, community and state, for picnics, fishing, nature hikes, just exploring some, not so much camping. Local festivals, farmers markets, browsing thrift store or antique stores for a good find sometimes. My husband likes all things railroad. I read a lot in the winter. Mostly we've been involved with our kids and their activities for the last couple of decades. LOL

Where we currently live has changed a lot, as we have lost most industry and the workforce has turned to retail/food/tourism. Plenty of lower paying jobs to be had, but not so many jobs for mid-career professionals. The towns have plenty of homeless and drugs, and the crimes that come with it. My husband and I grew up in rural areas and very small towns (less than 1k population), so the possibility of not having a Starbucks doesn't bother us. We have one 10 minutes from us now but never go.

A big concern is driving in the winter. Here, we might get 15" of snow per season.
Stay east of the Allegheny Front, and you should be fine. For reference, that is the big 3,000 foot mountain that runs northeast-southwest through Allegany and Mineral Counties. West of it is the snowiest part of the Mid-Atlantic. East of it is actually a rain shadow of sorts, much less snow.

I'll comment on the rest of your post tomorrow when I have some more time.
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Old 07-10-2018, 08:13 AM
 
Location: Cumberland
5,257 posts, read 8,454,389 times
Reputation: 3690
Quote:
Originally Posted by bmatda View Post
We like parks, community and state, for picnics, fishing, nature hikes, just exploring some, not so much camping. Local festivals, farmers markets, browsing thrift store or antique stores for a good find sometimes. My husband likes all things railroad. I read a lot in the winter. Mostly we've been involved with our kids and their activities for the last couple of decades. LOL

Where we currently live has changed a lot, as we have lost most industry and the workforce has turned to retail/food/tourism. Plenty of lower paying jobs to be had, but not so many jobs for mid-career professionals. The towns have plenty of homeless and drugs, and the crimes that come with it. My husband and I grew up in rural areas and very small towns (less than 1k population), so the possibility of not having a Starbucks doesn't bother us. We have one 10 minutes from us now but never go.

A big concern is driving in the winter. Here, we might get 15" of snow per season.
Here is a website to help you plan out some activities. It is only the MD side, I don't know where to find a comprehensive calendar for WV.

https://www.mdmountainside.com/

I would suggest Rocky Gap State park for picnic, fishing, and hiking. It is a nice place to spend 1/2 a day. Your antique itch can also be stratched on Baltimore St. in Cumberland (our pedestrian mall.) It is only a few block walk from there to the Allegany Museum and the Western Maryland Station, both of which have historical displays about the transportation heritage of Western Maryland, including trains. We are a train town, so your husband should like that. Sadly, our steam engine is out of commission, so I can't in good faith recommend you pay for the scenic railroad trip up to Frostburg........but that is your call.

So here is the deal overall. You are moving to a community much like the one you describe. Allegany and Mineral Counties are post-industrial locations which have lost 1,000s of manufacturing jobs over the last 50 years or so. This really shows in the bigger cities like Cumberland and Keyser, WV. Once you are in the country, you get less of a "rust belt" feel, and it is more generalized rural living, some farms, lots of forest and mountains.

At your price point, you have options for all three kinds of living, small city, suburb, or rural. I would check out at least one community of each during your visit, at least to drive through. Let me know if you have any additional questions, I am happy to help.
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Old 07-10-2018, 10:04 AM
 
Location: SW Virginia
19 posts, read 22,829 times
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Very helpful, thank you. And I'll tell my husband about staying East of the Alleghany Front. This has given me some great starting points.
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Old 07-25-2018, 04:05 AM
 
Location: SW Virginia
19 posts, read 22,829 times
Reputation: 20
One more question: what is the best cell service provider in the area? We currently have Verizon and Sprint. Our visit was pushed back until this Friday.
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