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Moving to Virginia

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Moving to Northern Virginia

Aug 2005

Our family may be moving from Berkeley to Northern Virginia due to a job transfer. We're currently weighing the pros and cons of relocation. The job is in Sterling, VA and with our very limited knowledge of the area, we are considering Arlington and Fairfax Counties. Does anyone have recent experience in that area that can point us in the right direction? We would like a more urban area, or at least a town like feel with local markets, shops, cafes, etc. Schools/family community/parks are important - we have 2 girls 3 and 5. Any comments on the social/community demographics would be helpful too. Thank you. maureen


I lived in DC for a long time and I still work there and spend time in No Va with family. Based on your post, I would say Arlington. Fairfax is as suburban as you can get although there are a lot of faux-downtown developments out there. Politically Arlington is more similar to Berkeley and it is no more suburban than Berkeley. I hate, hate, hate suburbs and Northern Virginia in particular but I lived in Arlington for a year and it was ok. I would go so far as to say it is a nice place. The drawbacks? 1. It is not cheap. If you are planning on making a killing on your house here it probably won't take you much farther in either Arlington or Fairfax. 2. Traffic. I pity the commuter who has to go to Sterling. If the office has a shuttle from the metro or something it might be ok. Good luck! Elizabeth

Moving to Charlottesville, Virginia

April 2004

I would very much like to hear any information or experiences anyone might have about Charlottesville, Virginia. I plan to move there this fall. Thank you. carla


I grew up in Charlottesville, and if I could, I would move back in a second!! Its been about 10 years since I lived there-- I was 13 when we moved. I spent elementary and middle school there, so I can't give a parental perspective but I can tell you how much your kids might like it :) ..and I have been back for many visits as a ''grown-up''...

I remember LOVING school .. the charlottesville public schools had a great gifted and talented program that I always looked forward to going to. I remember having great teachers and lots of friends. I remember being a part of the university too, as my dad was working on a doctorate at UVa while we were living there. Dad would sometines bring us to classes and labs, and we went to football games, basketball games, baseball games -- all cheap family fun, we loved it!!

I really liked the weather there, I appreciate the change in seasons, with fall being my absolute favorite. Something about those crisp fall days that always remind me of football season -- I miss them! We'd get some snow in the winter, no big deal.

UVas campus is very pretty, and the whole area is rich with history (such a ''presidential'' state!) so theres never a shortage of museums to visit or sites to see.

Charlottesville is indeed racially and economically diverse, especially downtown. There definitely ''burbs'' too, generally outside the city limits.

Okay, tried to keep it short. feel free to email me if you have questions!


I love Charlottesville and have been considering relocating there with my family, also. Can't convince my husband, though, as he's more citified than I. My parents live there and I've visited numerous times and at various times of year. The seasons are beautiful, especially Fall. Summers are HOT, but doable. It has a pretty small-town feel overall, and the areas surrounding it are very pretty and green, and also very rural (Ivy, Palmyra, etc.) Don't know if you've visited there before to get a feel for it. It's family-friendly, if you have kids, but my mom friends there do complain that it's somewhat difficult to meet other women and form friendships. You have to work at it. But I've seen various mom's groups/play-groups meeting at coffee shops and parks. The downtown mall is lovely, quaint with a cobble-stone type walkway where specialty shops, outdoor cafes and flower pots abound. Also, there's a great little interactive children's museum there. It is, of course, a college town, so you've got a youthful population. It's a bit on the Republican side, it must be said. But they have a main drag loaded with shops and restaurants (including Super-K-mart, Wal-mart and Sam's). I'd recommend it as a good place to raise kids. There are rivers for swimming and kayaking, and lots of public wading pools (big pools only 2 feet deep) which are packed with kids in the summertime, much fun. From there it's a 3 hour drive either up to DC or East to Virginia Beach and the ocean. I can't wait to spend the summer there with my kids - we go fishing, swimming or kayaking every day, and spend the evening catching lightning bugs or listening to the odd scary thunderstorm. They live for these Norman Rockwell moments. Best of luck! Christine

Moving to Richmond, Virginia

March 2003

My husband's company is moving to Richmond, Virginia in the summer, and we are still thinking about moving too. I have two kids 10 and 3 and I heard the schools are excellent. I need some advises on areas to look for housing and any other advises will be appreciated. Thank you


A very good friend of mine moved from the East Bay to Richmond several years ago and sent this recommendation: HI. We moved from Pleasanton California to Richmond Virginia three years ago. We feel the move has been great for the whole family. We love the four seasons, the central location and the quieter life style. I would recommend for someone new to the area to check out the far West end of Richmond/ Glen Allen area. Richmond is a friendly place but it is much easier to make friends in the newer neighborhoods. You have heard right - the schools are great at all levels.If you have any other questions please feel free to e-mail me. We have moved to Nottingham England for a few years, but will be returning to Richmond. Good luck Kathy Rowe-Guin Mary
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