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Moving to Virginia in February 2013

Moving to Virginia in February 2013

Old Sep 26th 2012, 5:02 pm
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Default Moving to Virginia in February 2013

Hello All,

Am new to this forum and would like some info on the best / ideal place to live in Virginia.

I just got my DV Immigrant Visa issued in London a few weeks ago and will be moving with my OH and son.

We are weighing up the pros and cons on which town to live in Virginia. Our main criteria would be a town that offers potential job opportunities, has culture, diverse, good schools and decent housing.

Thanks
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Old Sep 26th 2012, 5:33 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Virginia in February 2013

Originally Posted by SpiderMum View Post
We are weighing up the pros and cons on which town to live in Virginia. Our main criteria would be a town that offers potential job opportunities, has culture, diverse, good schools and decent housing
Need a bit more info - what kind of jobs would you be looking for?

All the major cities in Virginia have their nice bits where you would get good schools and housing, as well as the not-so-good bits. Just like anywhere really.

Virginia is very diverse - do you want to be by the beach, in the mountains, at the edge of a major metropolis, out in a rural area...?

Culture and diversity are very subjective. Its not like London or Manhattan for example. It's there, you just have to hunt and make the effort and if necessarily travel to the next town or city. When you say culture what are you looking for - theatre, rock'n'pop, sports, social activities....?
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Old Sep 26th 2012, 7:47 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Virginia in February 2013

Hi,

I currently work as a banking analyst but want to be open minded as to the job prospects and career options. Not sure what the market is like in Virginia.

As to the town to live in, ideally an area that offers accessibility to social amenities, museums, theatre, parks for toddlers, is family oriented with good schools,housing and job opportunities.

Does this help?
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Old Sep 26th 2012, 8:00 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Virginia in February 2013

I am currently located in Arlington, VA, having moved here in June.

Housing is a little expensive if you plan to buy, but the area is full of IT and Banking opportunities and is close to DC (3 miles) in case you want to visit the capitol and sight see/take in the culture museums etc.

I like it a lot.
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Old Sep 26th 2012, 8:16 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Virginia in February 2013

Northern Virginia is the best bet for great schools. We live in herndon, Fairfax County and the amenities and opportunities are great. Would not want to live in Loudon COunty as it is real Stepford Wives territory but the Reston/Herndon/Vienna area is great for families (and with great schools).
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Old Sep 26th 2012, 8:44 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Virginia in February 2013

My OH favors living close to the beach or at least a 30 - 45min drive. We live in Farnham (Surrey) a 10 min drive to Guildford, but can easily reach the coast in 1hr (Portsmouth / Southhampton).

What area would you recommend that still offers similar opportunites like Fairfax or Arlington?
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Old Sep 26th 2012, 8:56 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Virginia in February 2013

Every town will have at least one nice area where you will find a few sub-divisions (housing estates) with nice family houses in the catchment area of a good school. You will find that to go anywhere or do anything you'll need to drive, even to to to the park or the shops, so the main thing is what you want to do when you get in that car, as one "nice middle-class" sub-division in one town is pretty much like another in another town:

North Virginia (NoVa), like Fairfax and Arlington are effectively suburbs of Washington DC. So a little more crowded and expensive but absolutely great for access to all the museums, theatre and restaurants. Also easy-ish access to Dulles and Reagan airports. Lots of traffic though on beltway. Think Greater London and M25. Major employers - the government.

Norfolk & Virginia Beach - the largest two independent cities in the state, so all the usual facilities of shops, theatres etc. Great if you want to spend your free time at the beach or on the water in the Chesapeake Bay, also good for many of the historical areas like Colonial Williamsburg and Yorktown. Major employers will be military, defense and shipping/logistics.

Richmond (where I am) - the capital of the Commonwealth. Family-friendly suburbs with the best schools include Chesterfield, Short Pump, Glen Allen. Good for history, lots of small parks, increasing number of cycle paths, activities on the James River. Geographically central so all other mentioned cities in easy reach - a day at the beach or in the mountains is very do-able 1-1.5 hours with good traffic. Major employers include bank (SunTrust and Capitol One spring to mind, but there are others) and biotech/pharmaceutical companies. I believe there are a couple of major law firms too.

Charlottesville - a smaller city on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Slightly quirkier, seems to have an active Arts culture going on, could be related to having lots of students. Good for easy access to the hills (walking, cycliing) and history (Jefferson and Madison's houses nearby). Not sure on the major employers but I'm sure google can help you.

Hope that helps!
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Old Sep 27th 2012, 1:07 am
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Default Re: Moving to Virginia in February 2013

I know nothing of Virginia. I am idly curious, as a DV "winner", what prompted you to apply in the first place, and why choose Virginia?
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Old Sep 27th 2012, 2:26 am
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Default Re: Moving to Virginia in February 2013

Originally Posted by SpiderMum View Post
My OH favors living close to the beach or at least a 30 - 45min drive. We live in Farnham (Surrey) a 10 min drive to Guildford, but can easily reach the coast in 1hr (Portsmouth / Southhampton).

What area would you recommend that still offers similar opportunites like Fairfax or Arlington?
I don't have any useful advice but just wanted to come in and say aaaaah I love Farnham - we're from Guildford (well technically Fleet) but I want to move to Farnham some day. Anyway, sorry that's probably not useful but it's exciting when someone mentions somewhere so close to where you're from!
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Old Sep 27th 2012, 4:59 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Virginia in February 2013

why oh why virginia

maryland is much nicer

we live in rockville. were 2 and a half hours from ocean city md and go every other weekend in the summer.

were going for thanksgiving too

15 minutes on the metro from dc and all the sights. too.

been here since end of june and i loveeeeeeeeeeee it
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Old Sep 28th 2012, 1:10 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Virginia in February 2013

Really confused now and not sure where exactly to move to. Initially chose Virginia because of low employment levels but on a closer look its low due to a strong military & naval presence.

A major drawback is that we want warmer climes, but are now willing to compromise on weather, however my OH strongly favors living close to water. Incidentally we both grew up by the sea so it would be lovely to have that option.

We had considered San Francisco or San Diego, but housing is expensive. San Francisco for jobs would be a better bet but will we trading one tread mill for another?

This move offers so much we don't have the luxury of visiting before we take the plunge.

A real concern is job prospects so that will be the main criteria driving the location we eventually choose.
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Old Sep 28th 2012, 2:39 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Virginia in February 2013

How familiar are you with the US?
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Old Sep 28th 2012, 5:46 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Virginia in February 2013

Not familiar at all with the USA unfortunately...
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Old Sep 28th 2012, 5:59 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Virginia in February 2013

Originally Posted by SpiderMum View Post
Not familiar at all with the USA unfortunately...
In which case you could be in for a large dose of culture shock.

Do you have to get jobs straight away? How old is your son - school age? What would really help you if you could travel and/or temp a bit to get a feel for the country before you decide where to settle. The US is as big and diverse as Europe. You can't possibly make a good decision based on what you read on the internet...
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Old Sep 28th 2012, 6:42 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Virginia in February 2013

..... and I'm chipping in with that "old chestnut" - have you considered what health care costs and whether you will be eligible for it?

What are you going to do about health care until you have acquired jobs?
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