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Richmond, Charlottesville or Williamsburg

Richmond, Charlottesville or Williamsburg

Old Jul 4th 2012, 7:18 pm
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Default Richmond, Charlottesville or Williamsburg

Hello

Looks like we might be moving to Virginia this year. Does anyone have any information or advice on any of the three places above?

We will be married by the time we move and have no kids. I don't think I will be able to work due to the kind of visa I will have to have - not ideal but not sure there's much I can do about it...

Any insights would be gratefully received

Thanks
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Old Jul 4th 2012, 9:23 pm
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Default Re: Richmond, Charlottesville or Williamsburg

What visas are you getting?

What kind of work would you be looking for if you could work?

What kind of budgets would you have to play with?

Might want to have a look at city-data.com as it'll probably have a fair bit to compare the cities.

Also a couple of them have come up a few times on BE, don't know how recent, but they might be a good starting point for info at least
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Old Jul 4th 2012, 11:51 pm
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Default Re: Richmond, Charlottesville or Williamsburg

I'm in Richmond, what kind of thing do you want to know?
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Old Jul 5th 2012, 12:53 am
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Default Re: Richmond, Charlottesville or Williamsburg

I'm in Richmond too.... Charlottesville and Williamsburg are 45-60 minutes either side of Richmond, so you need to factor in where you/your other half will be working before deciding where to live.
City Data is a good place to look, as is the local newspaper (timesdispatch dot com).
Good Luck.
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Old Jul 5th 2012, 2:00 am
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Default Re: Richmond, Charlottesville or Williamsburg

Weather there can be really rough.

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Old Jul 5th 2012, 2:57 am
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Default Re: Richmond, Charlottesville or Williamsburg

Hi Carl!

Originally Posted by CeejaySmiff View Post
City Data is a good place to look, as is the local newspaper (timesdispatch dot com).
http://www2.richmond.com/ is good for "things to do" too.
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Old Jul 5th 2012, 10:13 am
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Default Re: Richmond, Charlottesville or Williamsburg

My OH will be working in Richmond but doesn't mind a bit of a commute. I won't be working unfortunately - I am pretty sure my visa won't allow it.

What is Richmond like as a place to live yellowroom/CJ? What's the weather like generally? Which are the nice neighbourhoods? Are there a lot of things to do - shops, restaurants, bars etc? What about volunteering work - is there much of this?

How did you find the transition? I live in London at the moment but have lived in smaller cities too.

That's just for starters - sorry!!
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Old Jul 5th 2012, 1:33 pm
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Default Re: Richmond, Charlottesville or Williamsburg

Originally Posted by penguinsix View Post
Weather there can be really rough.

http://youtube.com/watch?v=tVEPvXBEO...ayer_embedded#!
apparently that was filmed over a year ago, but due to the recent storms it has only just gone viral – I keep looking over my shoulder for Godzilla….

Yellowroom – Richmond.com is a good one…. I am into the outdoors and keep an eye on richmondoutdoors.com too.

Elin 1 – Richmond may be Virginia’s capitol, but a big city it isn’t…. No public transport (well a couple of buses, but you wouldn’t want to use them…) and walking isn’t possible, so a car for you as well as your OH is a must.

When I was looking for somewhere to live I used hotpads.com and apartmentratings.com – both very useful. I was also very lucky to have visited the area a couple of times before moving over.

The “trendy” areas for shops and restaurants (technically, there are no bars in Virginia….. anywhere selling alcohol has to be a restaurant !) are Shockhoe Bottom and Careytown – there maybe more, but I’m not onto “trendy” ! When my wife and daughters visited in April, they liked Short Pump town center and Stoney Point Outlets, fairly easy to get to from anywhere in the city….. by car, of course.

What to do if you’re here and not working ? Sorry – no idea for that one, but you could look on meetup.com to see if there are any clubs and organizations that take your fancy !

And finally the weather – hot & humid…. With plenty of thunderstorms that play havoc with the power supply… In the past month all my staff (4 of them) have been without power for 2-3 days twice now, so bring a torch! Currently we are in the high 90’s with a “heat advisory” of over 110’F (something to do with the humidity). I’ve only been here since last September and the last winter was a mild one I’m told – 2 days with snow on the ground and a couple of weeks with ice on the cars… nothing drastic.

Hope this helps !

Carl.
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Old Jul 5th 2012, 1:53 pm
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Default Re: Richmond, Charlottesville or Williamsburg

Originally Posted by elin1 View Post
....What about volunteering work - is there much of this?
If you're on a H4 visa, then there are plenty of threads on ideas for voluntary work, along the lines of soup kitchen, animal shelter, that kind of stuff and there's always that kind of stuff around some where.
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Old Jul 5th 2012, 4:23 pm
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Default Re: Richmond, Charlottesville or Williamsburg

As a place to live Richmond is "nice". It's clean, safe, green (as in lots of trees and grass) and the people are very polite. I'm originally from Manchester and have lived in various British cities for most of my life so in some ways I find it a bit sterile (like no-one ever swears!), but perhaps I've just been avoiding the rough parts of Richmond - there are some, like any city on the planet.

Most "professional" newcomers to the area seem to be guided to live either in what we'd consider suburbs in Short Pump/Glen Allen/Innsbruck/West End area to the north-west of Richmond, or Chesterfield/Midlothian to the south-west. Both areas have good shopping and easy access to roads for commuting. You do need to drive to get anywhere and do anything.

If you want to live in more of a city type environment rather than the 'burbs, then the Museum district and The Fan are the best places downtown, ie in the centre of Richmond city. They are the older historical areas, with more of a buzz about them, but do tend to be far more expensive rents. However, it's easy to walk to the restaurants and shops there (they have sidewalks!).

I have a 3-bed house which costs me $1500 per month in rent in Glen Allen. The house is huge - 2800 square feet, mainly due to a massive family room in the basement which effectively makes the house 3 floors. The rooms are much bigger than back home - my UK house was a Victorian terrace 2 up/down, so my furniture looks like dolls' house furniture and totally out of proportion! From what I've seen, Chesterfield/Midlothian is very similar in terms of housing and slightly cheaper.

I work in the Chesterfield area, it's just under 20 miles distance from my house and only takes me 25-30 minutes to drive. The traffic levels are a dream compared to the UK, but the road surface itself can be a bit hazardous due to pot-holes etc. Driving is easy, you just have to watch out for other drivers who tend to be in a bit of a bubble and not notice what's going on around them, and scarily many many people drive with a mobile phone clamped to their ear, or even while texting. Police only pull you over if you are doing something else wrong as well as texting - as long as you're driving in a straight line while you do it, you're ok!

One thing to note - while Richmond might be a small city by US standards, by UK geographical standards the city plus suburbs is huge, ie it covers a large amount of square mileage. You do have to re-calibrate your internal meter of what is near and far. Where in Richmond will your husband be working - downtown or one of the suburbs?

Regarding shopping - you can get anything you want, there are branches of all the major shops from Walmart to Tiffany's, plus all the independents. I actually found it a bit overwhelming to be honest, and at one point was just longing for a Tesco, Boots, WH Smith and M&S to simplify things!

The one thing I'm really missing compared to the UK is that I used to go to lots of rock gigs, concerts and theatre, and I haven't been to any here. Back home it's really easy to get to see bands on tour and high quality theatre either on a day trip to London or in the provinces. Not many bands come to Richmond, and theatre tends to be of the serious amateur variety with the occasional toured show.

Funnily enough, Charlottesville seems to be better off for that kind of thing than Richmond, it seems to be more of a "funky" town. I wouldn't want to commute from Charlottesville to Richmond every day though - an hour each way would get old very fast.

Hope that helps!
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