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Old 02-06-2009, 12:00 AM
Location: Vladivostok Russia
1,228 posts, read 837,380 times
Reputation: 608


Hello All -

I'd like to hear from indigenous West Virginian's, those newly re-located, and fellow travelers alike :

Which Panhandle section of WV is better?

My search parameters are mainly focused on commute time for work into a larger metro area {I'm a paralegal } and the opportunity to meet single women { I'm 44 and recently divorced - and women are very important }

A few other important details : Money and getting re-employed in a timely manner is not at all concern of mine. I can really take my time.

I would like to be in close proximity---no more than 25 miles away---to a gym/fitness center that has nice equipment, including a pool, hot tub/jacuzzi and steam room.

Whitewater kayaking /rafting is a huge hobby of mine - But a 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hr drive to get to it, is no biggy.

I like older homes. In fact, I prefer not to live in anything newer than circa 1930. { I can bend if its a matter acreage or no acreage} I would also like to find something with at least an acre, and all the way up to possibly ten.{ I have two 100 pound black labs}

I like artsy communities/downtowns, festivals and home-owned eclectic eateries - But at the same time, I like the rustic, pioneer, country boy mentality associated with WV.

I've looked at Martinsburg and Berkeley Springs in the east, and like them both. I've also looked at Wellsburg,Weirton and all the way up to Chester - and like them also.

While the Eastern panhandle seems to be more expensive, the homes also seem to have much bigger lots. And there seems to also be more ''country type'' homes with acerage?

In the Northern Panhandle, real-estate typically seems to be 20-30 percent less expensive - But at the same time, the homes seem to be on much smaller lots and far less acerage/country type properties?

Also....the commute into the Pittsburgh metro area seems to be far shorter than that typically of the East?

I'm fully aware that the content here/my seach parameters may seem a tad bit eccentric, but I'd appreciate any and all feedback.

Thanks in advance....
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Old 02-06-2009, 12:54 AM
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
18,378 posts, read 21,385,298 times
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I used to live in the Eastern Panhandle, and now I live in North Central but travel a lot to the Northern Panhandle..

From what I gathered- Northern Panhandle folks I've met are by and large a pretty great bunch of folks. Very friendly, outgoing... Economically not doing too badly.. There are also some great grand old houses in Wheeling and surrounds that look spectacular, and moderately priced. I don't think there's a whole lot of whitewater exactly in the Northern Panhandle, but Ohiopyle PA is not to far (Yough river) and the Cheat is not too far either. You'd be fairly close to some world class white water

The EP is growing, and yes- there are more country or estate type homes in that area. You could find a nice farmhouse on some acreage but expect to still pay some dough for it. You'd be very close to the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers, but as far as whitewater they pale in comparison to the aforementioned spots. However- Shepherdstown is close by and they host a lot of artsy stuff. The Contemporary Theatre Festival is a huge summer draw, Harpers Ferry has things going on, Martinsburg is starting to turn the corner..

As a matter of fact, I have several friends that own historic properties on Queen St. in Martinsburg and they are very, very active in the community. There is a good force moving things along in that town. It is one to watch for the future.

Either choice would be great in my opinion. I think I miss the EP a little more than my desire to ever locate to the Northern Panhandle, so I may be jaded a bit, but reality says either would be a fine, fine place to hang your hat.
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Old 02-06-2009, 06:52 AM
Location: Western Pennsylvania
2,429 posts, read 7,135,198 times
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I kinda think of the EP as being more Colonial-age, while the NP is more Industrial Age. Most of the NP cities are squeezed between the Ohio River and some good sized hills, so the lots tend to be small. Plus, back in the 1800s, most everyone walked to work (the mills), so you couldn't live too far away.

There's some nice farmland/rural areas once you get a few miles away from the Ohio. There are colleges in both West Liberty and Bethany, things aren't nearly as crowded, and you're a couple of miles closer to Pittsburgh. As threerun noted, your whitewater will be in Ohiopyle PA (east of Uniontown) and along the Cheat and its tributaries southeast of Morgantown.
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Old 02-06-2009, 07:42 AM
10,147 posts, read 14,716,106 times
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I'm from the Northern Panhandle and have a daughter living in the Eastern Panhandle. There is no question that the character of the two panhandles is quite different.

The Eastern Panhandle is basically a bedroom community for DC, but it retains some of the old Virginia English flavor. The folks east of the Blue Ridge tend to have a rather high opinion of themselves overall... at least those native to the area. The DC transplants are similar to those living in the immediate DC suburbs and have a more urban attitude. The Eastern Panhandle is far more prosperous and has better job opportunities due to being close to DC.

The Northern Panhandle has more nice old houses in the Wheeling area, and the people are generally friendlier but it is less prosperous. Pittsburgh is not doing as well economically as DC and that shows in the NP as well since the area is more industrial than the EP. Cost of living is lower in the NP and if you can find work, you will probably be able to maintain a higher standard of living.
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Old 02-06-2009, 08:10 AM
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
18,378 posts, read 21,385,298 times
Reputation: 22102
^ Yes, I would say that is true, especially in the VA counties such as Clarke, Loudoun and Faquer.. Been to a few parties in horse country on that side of the border.

I was a bit, er.. out of place?

But by and large the folks in the EP counties, Hagerstown MD, Winchester VA are pretty darned nice.
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Old 02-06-2009, 11:58 AM
Location: WV
617 posts, read 2,050,689 times
Reputation: 416
Besides what's been mentioned here, you also state you'd like access to a fitness facility. If you buy a home in Wellsburg/Brooke County, you'll have free access to Brooke High School's fitness center. Part of the reason the levy for the fitness center passed so easily because of the promise that all residents would have access to it. As far as I know, that promise has not been broken.

If you're looking for a more country setting, Washington Pike offers more land with each home and there's talk about Wellsburg wanting to annex that area since it's not currently within the city limits.
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Old 02-06-2009, 04:55 PM
Location: Alexandria, VA
14,885 posts, read 26,783,750 times
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Personally, I wouldn't go with the Northern pan handle, Weirton especially is a very depressing area - FILLED with almost nothing but gambling establishments. I think you'd have a better environment in the Eastern pan handle - lots more to do, easier access to more things that you are interested in.
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Old 02-06-2009, 06:28 PM
4,714 posts, read 13,122,698 times
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The answer to your question is Wheeling...that's Wheeling, Wv
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Old 02-10-2009, 01:27 AM
Location: Vladivostok Russia
1,228 posts, read 837,380 times
Reputation: 608
You guys are awesome - well articulated feedback.

Couple more question and one observation. We'll start with the observation :

I have a really good feeling about Pittsburgh for some reason. The Steelers and six super bowls, and hellva beautiful city with the three rivers merging and a real neat water-front skyline.

I think Pittsburgh is a real ''up-and-comer'' when compared to many of the other large, debilitated mid-atlantic region cities.

With that said, I get the feeling that most here think the Eastern Panhandle may be a little more on the rise and have better potential for long term growth/prospects than that of the North?

And while the folks in the east may seem to be a tad bit more ''uppity'', they're not that bad that they far offset the north.

Here are my questions :

1}Which has the hotter/warmer summer-time weather?

2} Negating Pittsburgh in the North and the Fredricksburg/DC metro area in the east, which one is more densely populated?

Again....Thanks in advance.
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Old 02-10-2009, 01:49 AM
4,714 posts, read 13,122,698 times
Reputation: 1083
A southern suburb of Pitttsburgh is Wheeling...that's Wheeling, Wv.

Better weather near the oceans...snow is traded for rain there, So DC gets that vote...and more densely populated.

Pittsburgh is the influence center of the hottest growing economic region in America...the North Central Appalachain Region.
It's banks, universities and economists have pushed the influence of this city right up to the Wv border.
It's growth was wisely charted to move to the south in the 1980's and we have been the beneficeries..

A side comment: As this region grows, its becoming peopled with more highly educated workers...this pushes out crime and brings about accountable government because of their non-tacit involvement.
That, in my mind, should be a prime consideration, as you seem to be coming here from another country. Good luck.
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