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Old 01-30-2020, 10:53 AM
 
3 posts, read 1,316 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello everyone,

My husband and i are considering relocating with our two small children. We are tired of the area we live in - Vienna has lost most of the charm it once had and we fear that with lots of plans to increase population density in Vienna, things will only get worse.

We are pretty set on Charles Towne, based on the commute my husband will have to make to the Chantilly area each day. I have found a lot of threads from people making this similar move but they are all several years old at least, so i am hoping to get some feedback on what it is like for young families now. I know we are leaving a lot of convenience to retail and entertainment behind and i am absolutely fine with that. My big concerns are activities for little ones, meeting new people and making friends for our family, and schools. We will be leaving behind nationally ranked public schools. My realtor has told us that the local public schools are just okay and change drastically with the politicians. She will send her kids to private school and would encourage us to do the same. I guess that is my biggest concern though - i am not finding much about the reputation of local private schools and am not thrilled with the idea of commuting my kids to VA or MD for school if there are good ones in WV. I want them to be able to have activities and friends at school. Does anyone know anything about Jefferson Academy or St Joseph's Catholic School in Martinsburg? If you do send your kids to another state for school, how has that worked out for your family? We have a few years before they start but i want to think about it now before we choose a neighborhood and buy a home. We are excited to make this change, but also very nervous.

My husband and i are in our forties and we have toddlers. Any advice for a family like ours is greatly appreciated!
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Old 01-30-2020, 12:35 PM
 
Location: Ohio via WV
498 posts, read 456,210 times
Reputation: 296
1) There is a Vienna, WV as well. Just clarifying to clear up any confusion that it may cause

2) Charles Town isn't spelled with an e

3) The schools in Jefferson County are fine and some of the better ones in the state. Your realtor is being dramatic. Yes, Loudon and Fairfax Counties have some of the best schools in the country, but your kids will be fine in public school in WV as well. If it was Berkeley County, I may advise private school but Jefferson schools are fine.
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Old 01-30-2020, 03:49 PM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
1,528 posts, read 3,612,623 times
Reputation: 971
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrunchmommy View Post
Hello everyone,

My husband and i are considering relocating with our two small children. We are tired of the area we live in - Vienna has lost most of the charm it once had and we fear that with lots of plans to increase population density in Vienna, things will only get worse.

We are pretty set on Charles Towne, based on the commute my husband will have to make to the Chantilly area each day. I have found a lot of threads from people making this similar move but they are all several years old at least, so i am hoping to get some feedback on what it is like for young families now. I know we are leaving a lot of convenience to retail and entertainment behind and i am absolutely fine with that. My big concerns are activities for little ones, meeting new people and making friends for our family, and schools. We will be leaving behind nationally ranked public schools. My realtor has told us that the local public schools are just okay and change drastically with the politicians. She will send her kids to private school and would encourage us to do the same. I guess that is my biggest concern though - i am not finding much about the reputation of local private schools and am not thrilled with the idea of commuting my kids to VA or MD for school if there are good ones in WV. I want them to be able to have activities and friends at school. Does anyone know anything about Jefferson Academy or St Joseph's Catholic School in Martinsburg? If you do send your kids to another state for school, how has that worked out for your family? We have a few years before they start but i want to think about it now before we choose a neighborhood and buy a home. We are excited to make this change, but also very nervous.

My husband and i are in our forties and we have toddlers. Any advice for a family like ours is greatly appreciated!
What specifically brought you to settle on Charles Town? I know you mentioned commute but there are other places less busy / dense than Vienna in western Loudoun (like Purcellville or Round Hill) which are closer to Chantilly than Charles Town. Just thinking from a commute perspective although neither will be great unless your husband leaves really early.

Public schools in Jefferson County are among the better ones in West Virginia. Loudoun and Fairfax are ranked higher but I am sure your children would receive a fine education either way.
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Old 01-30-2020, 05:32 PM
 
3 posts, read 1,316 times
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For one thing, property taxes are much lower than in Loudoun. And Loudoun is continuing to explode. We also aren’t happy with the way the state is going from a political standpoint but that is a topic for a different thread. We want to raise our kids in a place where people still care about each other and the community. We also want some breathing room. I have no problem with public school and I am not at all criticizing the schools in WV. I don’t know much about them except what our realtor said and I am just trying to get some honest feedback on what it’s like for young families.
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Old 01-30-2020, 08:17 PM
 
49 posts, read 28,175 times
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Anything in the northern part and panhandles of WV, the state ignores. WV isn't even willing to chip in on the MARC train that many workers in the eastern panhandle use to commute, so that may be gone or run on a severely reduced schedule when Maryland gets tired of paying for it.

I wouldn't make the move. Based on other posts of this type, your husband is probably commuting closer to DC from where you are now in Vienna, VA. He is signing up for one hell of a commute from Charles Town, WV, even if he is working only four 10 hour days. If you sleep 8 hours, you only get 16 hours a day. Take out 10 hours and you're down to 6. Add 1-2 hours of commute each way, and you're at just 2-4 hours. He may as well rent out a room in a house in DC and come home on the 3 day weekends.

WV will also have lower property value growth compared to where you are now. If you look at some of the older posts, people comment on how making the move to WV while working in DC was a mistake, because home prices exploded in the DC metro while theirs remained stagnant. So they are trapped in that commute until they retire, because they cannot afford to move closer, and obviously nothing in WV comes close in pay.

I would spend more to maybe live in a VA suburb a little further out than going all the way to WV. If you do private school, most of your "savings" from moving to WV will be eaten up. And if he avoids the hellish commute, your husband could use the time he would have wasted commuting to network and work towards better promotions at his job. He could even pick up a side gig with the 8-16 hours a week he would otherwise spend stuck in a car/train.

College is further off, but you are in-state for VA. Don't give that up. Universities there are miles better than Marshall or WVU in WV. And, with a quicker increasing home value on a more expensive house, you could conceivably sell it and move to another state with great in-state tuition if you wanted to play that game when your kids were 16/17.

Actually, colleges are a great way to illustrate the modus operandi of the state government in WV: ignore the parts that are actually growing and burn money on parts that are dying.

The state flagship of WVU has received less and less money from the state every year. It is probably one of the most poorly funded flagship universities in the nation when it comes to money sent from the state. The politicians are even trying to redirect the paltry 1-2 cent a can "soda tax" that was set up to fund WVU's medical school to the general slush fund so that it can waste on other parts of the state.

I remember another study about how WV had more public universities per capita than a large number of states. Many of these other universities have had enrollments drop 50% in the last decade. Some, like Glenville State, are located in counties that don't even have a dedicated grocery store any more. But Charleston will keep throwing money in these places before doing anything to help areas growing in spite of the lack of support from the state capital.

Just don't do it...
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Old 01-31-2020, 08:28 AM
 
Location: Ohio via WV
498 posts, read 456,210 times
Reputation: 296
Quote:
Originally Posted by maxwell7845 View Post
Anything in the northern part and panhandles of WV, the state ignores. WV isn't even willing to chip in on the MARC train that many workers in the eastern panhandle use to commute, so that may be gone or run on a severely reduced schedule when Maryland gets tired of paying for it.

I wouldn't make the move. Based on other posts of this type, your husband is probably commuting closer to DC from where you are now in Vienna, VA. He is signing up for one hell of a commute from Charles Town, WV, even if he is working only four 10 hour days. If you sleep 8 hours, you only get 16 hours a day. Take out 10 hours and you're down to 6. Add 1-2 hours of commute each way, and you're at just 2-4 hours. He may as well rent out a room in a house in DC and come home on the 3 day weekends.

WV will also have lower property value growth compared to where you are now. If you look at some of the older posts, people comment on how making the move to WV while working in DC was a mistake, because home prices exploded in the DC metro while theirs remained stagnant. So they are trapped in that commute until they retire, because they cannot afford to move closer, and obviously nothing in WV comes close in pay.

I would spend more to maybe live in a VA suburb a little further out than going all the way to WV. If you do private school, most of your "savings" from moving to WV will be eaten up. And if he avoids the hellish commute, your husband could use the time he would have wasted commuting to network and work towards better promotions at his job. He could even pick up a side gig with the 8-16 hours a week he would otherwise spend stuck in a car/train.

College is further off, but you are in-state for VA. Don't give that up. Universities there are miles better than Marshall or WVU in WV. And, with a quicker increasing home value on a more expensive house, you could conceivably sell it and move to another state with great in-state tuition if you wanted to play that game when your kids were 16/17.

Actually, colleges are a great way to illustrate the modus operandi of the state government in WV: ignore the parts that are actually growing and burn money on parts that are dying.

The state flagship of WVU has received less and less money from the state every year. It is probably one of the most poorly funded flagship universities in the nation when it comes to money sent from the state. The politicians are even trying to redirect the paltry 1-2 cent a can "soda tax" that was set up to fund WVU's medical school to the general slush fund so that it can waste on other parts of the state.

I remember another study about how WV had more public universities per capita than a large number of states. Many of these other universities have had enrollments drop 50% in the last decade. Some, like Glenville State, are located in counties that don't even have a dedicated grocery store any more. But Charleston will keep throwing money in these places before doing anything to help areas growing in spite of the lack of support from the state capital.

Just don't do it...

Discouraging people to move to WV...brilliant reasoning. You can't fix anything if you chase people away.

And WVU is a fantastic university. And the reason that it is receiving less state money is that it is becoming more self-sufficient. The state government doesn't need put more money into the university if it's making more money. And I'm sure they're aware of the commute. That would be one of the first things they would consider before moving here. The panhandles are far from ignored.

Scrunch, ignore this post. There are a lot of positives in moving to WV. This poster's concerns are either wrong or overblown.
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Old 01-31-2020, 08:57 AM
 
3 posts, read 1,316 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you! Yes, we have considered the commute, and we are no going in to DC. And even if we were, from where we are, because of traffic and HOV restrictions- that is a minimum hour commute to go 15 miles in to the city. I spent a decade commuting to Gaithersburg, MD and it was an hour in and an hour and a half out. This response sounds to me like someone projecting their own regrets on me so i take that with a grain of salt. What i am really trying to get feedback on is what Charles Town has to offer for young families.
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Old 01-31-2020, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Charles Town, WV
397 posts, read 1,067,956 times
Reputation: 202
Scrunchmommy … I've hesitated to post since my kids are through the Jefferson county schools. But if it helps you ….. my wife and I moved here with our three kids from Herndon in 2001. We've been perfectly happy with Jefferson county schools, at least the ones that our kids attended. They started at South Jefferson elementary, into the middle school and then the oldest son attended Jefferson High and the two younger kids went to Washington High. Washington High opened as my oldest was entering his senior year, and he had the choice to go to either. Most of his Jefferson High classmates decided to stay together to finish out their year. My wife and I are those parents who believe that we should be involved with our kids and their schoolwork, so we were fairly attentive. No issues. All three kids have since graduated from WVU, two moved on to masters programs and all three are currently working and living on their own. At this point, WV still offers the Promise scholarship, although I suspect that it's getting smaller and smaller each year.

I currently commute into Herndon on a daily basis to work. I normally leave Charles Town at around 4:30 am, get into town circa 5:30 am and then go to the gym. Traffic at that point in the morning generally moves along well ….. lots of cars all going 70 mph. Leaving later in the morning means that I see more cars moving at a slower pace. It's a 50 mile commute each way, and takes roughly 60 - 70 minutes each way. I drive down Rt 340 to Rt 7, follow Rt 7 through Leesburg and then follow 7 from Leesburg to the FFX county parkway and into Herndon. On my trip home, I take the Greenway to Leesburg and then back out Rt 7. I hear that traffic on Rt 7 from Sterling to Leesburg in the afternoon has gotten considerably better and it flows well, but I'm in the habit of taking the Greenway. Across the almost 20 years that I've commuted to Herndon, I'd guess that I might experience 5 trips a year that are bad ….. a wreck, snow, ice stopping traffic. That said, it's a long, brutal drive and by Thursday I'm ready for the weekend. In these threads, I always urge people to consider the benefits of living close to where you work. A few folks have mentioned Purcellville, which is a beautiful town. Our experience was that home prices held pretty consistent from Herndon to Purcellville, and then they dropped after we got west of the Shenandoah river.

As far as activities for the kids, baseball and soccer are big here. There are several county wide leagues that kept our boys active. They had a lot of school friends who also were active in soccer, so it was always a good time. There's a good football league also, and of course all of those exist in the school system. Lots of outdoor space.

As you noted, restaurants, shopping and amenities pale in comparison to NOVA. But then again, Leesburg/Sterling is a 45 minute drive. Martinsburg, Frederick and Winchester all offer more than Charles Town, and all are fairly close.

I hope that this helps. Please ask more questions.

Oh, one more commute item. Although I don't commute via Rt 9, I understand that it will be closed down through Hillsboro starting in March and the closure will last for a year or so. That will increase traffic on the other two main routes into NOVA and Maryland. Your husband might want to be aware of that as he plans out his commute.
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Old 01-31-2020, 04:10 PM
 
Location: No VA
227 posts, read 496,200 times
Reputation: 268
My family and I moved to Harpers Ferry almost 5 years ago from Loudoun and love it here! My kids were in elementary when we moved here and are now in middle and high school. The schools are amazing. They are both doing great here and we have not had any negative issues with the schools here at all. There really isn't much to do though besides going into Frederick or Loudoun for the bigger stuff like shopping, movies, and other activities. We like wegmans so we make the 30 minute drive to Frederick weekly, which is a very easy and beautiful drive. If we need to get anything just real quick, we go to walmart which is just down the road. We have music lessons in Purcellville and in the past we did sports in Frederick as well (hockey). We do a lot of hiking here which is great! My husband and son like to fish and kayak. We have a nice beautiful home with beautiful mountain views which you would not find in Loudoun. It's less crowded and very peaceful, more laid back people and just a happier less stressed life here. My husband works 5 12 hour days and he does have a long commute but so far it's all worth it. My commute is only 20 minutes. Message me if you have any questions We love it here!
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Old 02-01-2020, 12:37 PM
 
519 posts, read 802,137 times
Reputation: 432
If your big concerns are schools and things to do for kids, I think you'll do fine here.


The schools are fine -- not exceptional, but not bad at all.


And there are plenty of great outdoors things to do here. Leagues for all the sports, parks/playgrounds, rafting / biking / hiking when they get older, etc.


I'll put in a particular plug for AYSO, the American Youth Soccer Organization, it's a low-key -- read: FUN -- soccer league for kids of any ability. They have about 800 kids a year playing, and there are fall and spring seasons, and it's not very expensive. But yep, if soccer isn't your thing, there's football, baseball, basketball, etc.


There are some reasons as an adult to not love it out here -- commute times possibly, there aren't a ton of good restaurants, etc. -- but I think this a great area for kids to grow up in.
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