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Where to live, near DC? - Page 3

post #41 of 60
Thread Starter 
Okay, so here's what I want to know about this Flower Ave area of TP: When you walk down it at night, do people shout things at you or stare at you creepily as you're walking by? Do you have strangers regularly ask you for money? Are there mentally ill people who mutter to themselves, or look who look angry or like they're on the lookout for a cop? Do people frequently shout at each other, angrily or otherwise, from down or across the road using lots of foul language? Is there a fair amount of broken glass in the form of beer bottles and other litter over the sidewalks? Because that's the neighborhood I used to walk through when my evening classes ended in Schenectady, NY, and although I wasn't too worried about my own safety, I would never have brought my kids through there at 9pm. Those are the kinds of things I would like to live at least three or four blocks away from, if possible. Not that I don't feel badly for people who are mentally ill or who need money, but I don't feel comfortable there with my kids. The feeling of safety is totally subjective. I may just have to send my husband to check it out one night. Unfortunately there won't be a way for me to fly out and see things myself.

But I am loving most of what people are describing about Takoma Park. I really appreciate the information on people's experiences with the schools there. My husband knows what we are after and he has really high standards, but with just the information we have so far, he is rooting for TP right now (or possibly Silver Spring) and hoping we can make that work. (He is REALLY not a fan of generic flavorless cookie-cutter suburbs, and me neither if it means a majority of the other moms are dolled-up bleach blondes wearing Aeropostale, pushing $600 strollers, lol, no offense...you can tell some of the kinds of places I've lived in the past, huh?)
post #42 of 60
I do not find Takoma Park scary at all. Of course, I live in DC, which I guess must be horrifying to the people posting in this thread who think TP is dangerous! Since you've lived in an urban area before, I would think that a normal amount of street smarts should keep your family and your property safe in any of the places that have been discussed.

FWIW, I would totally consider living in Takoma Park, Silver Spring, or Hyattsville if we had to move for some reason. Hyattsville is probably more realistic if you are on a tight budget. There's a good mom's group there if you do end up there.

Oh, and I wouldn't be surprised to find some $600 strollers on the streets of downtown TP, either (we've got them in DC, too)
post #43 of 60
I also don't consider TP to be "unsafe". Of course there are problems anywhere in the metro area, but I have never once felt threatened or even on guard while living here in TP. I have never experienced anything you described in your last post. Nothing even remotely like that.

I used to live in DC proper and felt that way quite a bit. I was always vigilant about my surroundings. Here in TP, I feel like I can just *be* and walk around the neighborhood, enjoying the houses, gardens, etc. We went carless for almost a year and we walked and took the bus everywhere, so I've seen a lot. I've never hesitated on taking my kids with me.

My mom just came for a visit from WA state and she is an ultra-paranoid person as far as safety is concerned. She felt completely comfortable in her visit and kept talking about how much she loved our neighborhood. One thing that surprised her was the amount of trees and green here. It's very lush, lots of hills and winding streets. She commented on how everyone was so nice - the shopkeepers, in restaurants, the neighbors. When we were looking for change in our purse to feed a parking meter, somebody walked over and stuck a couple quarters in, smiled brightly and walked away.

FWIW, we were at that Flower intersection mulitiple times with her at night while she was here and she never once seemed on edge. And that's saying A LOT if you knew my mom. lol

My advice is to just be smart about your things and your family. That should take care of most any potential situation.
post #44 of 60
I know the kind of neighborhood you mean, and this isn't it.

I think someone has asked me for money while I was buying gas at the Shell station near Flower & Piney Branch a couple of times since I've lived here -- so less than 1% of the occasions I've bought gas there. Other than that, I've never had anyone ask me for money.

I have encountered a person who clearly had some mental health issues a few times; she was walking down Flower Avenue mumbling to herself, and yelled at me when I smiled at her and said hi (what I usually do when I encounter people on the street). I haven't seen her lately.

When I was there this morning, I saw one small patch of broken glass in the parking lot of a restaurant. I wasn't close enough to identify what kind of glass it was. There was no broken glass of any kind on the sidewalks, in the gutters, etc.

I did take some photos, which you can see at:


My son was unenthused about this project, so I didn't get a picture of the south west corner of the intersection (contains a takeout place, a restaurant, a few small shops).

Half a block north of the intersection, there's a nice playground. I've never seen any broken glass, needles, etc. at the playground. A block north and half a block east, there's a recently renovated grocery store. A block north and a block east, there's a public library. Half a block south of the intersection, it's a residential neighborhood. A block north, it's also a residential neighborhood.
post #45 of 60
Look, Takoma Park is a wonderful place and there are many good reasons to live there. I'd love to live there, as a matter of fact. However, instead, I chose a neighborhood with bigger yards, quieter streets, and good schools with plenty of crunchy amenties for my family. No, it is not Takoma Park, but it is not cookie-cutter death either.

No, I do not have a $600 stroller, nor am I a lover of home owners' associations. I do not want to live in a McMansion or a cookie-cutter neighborhood. Just because I did not chose TP does not mean that I am signing up for life driving a Hummer with a McCain-Palin sticker on the back. As a PP pointed out, the DC-Baltimore corridor is one of the most liberal in the country. In addition, the lines between cities and towns are totally blurry and it really comes off as one big city. You could easily live in Hyattsville or Kensington or Silver Spring, or hell, Laurel, and have liberal neighbors and a liberal attitude in the community. Some areas are more crunchy than others, but all in all, this is a nice area to live for those of us who value crunchiness. There are several places in the DC Metro area where you can find crunchy people and have CSAs and go to farmer's markets. (Many of them have been mentioned in this thread.)

TP does have some serious disadvantages--one of which is the price of housing (check it out for yourself, don't take my word for it! Incidentally, that $1900 rent sounds like quite the peach of a deal!), one is the recent increase in property crime (check it out for yourself!), and the higher COL than in other crunchy areas. Ask the police department about the increase in MS13 signs in the parks and if it is safe to walk Sligo Creek alone with children.

You've been given the names of several nice, crunchy or crunchy-leaning neighborhoods. TP is not the only answer, especially for a family in the income bracket you mentioned. (A good real estate agent can help you with these questions. Meg Finn with Long and Foster is the one who seems to do most of the TP business. Call her up as a potential buyer and ask her the hard questions! See what you can really afford.)

Best of luck to you in choosing a neighborhood that is right for your family.
post #46 of 60
Thread Starter 
Sugarlumpkin, I didn't mean to sound like I was dissing and dismissing these other places, Kensington, Rockville, etc. I have no license to do that, since I've never been to any of these places. It's great to hear that where you are is not a "cookie-cutter" suburb, and I'm bookmarking rental possibilities in all of these places, using the crimereports website as a guide.

Skueppers, thanks so much for those pictures. The neighborhood looks great, to me. Nothing like good old Schenectady, NY. :-)

Thus far, my only experience living on the east coast was in upstate NY, where people tended not to be too image-conscious, but where there were also very few home schoolers, very few natural foods stores, etc. And people tell you things about the DC area, like, that people are really image-conscious and always striving to move up the corporate and/or social ladder, or that people are rude. But honestly, it's such a populous and diverse area, that I'm feeling pretty reassured at this point, especially reading the posts in this thread, that we won't have trouble making friends or locating resources that we consider important. It looks like Montgomery County has pretty much everything we will need: Metro, farmer's markets, co-ops, TJ's (it's been forever since I've lived near Trader Joe's! Hooray!!!!), good schools, potential friends, nice parks... Now it's just a matter of hunting down the perfect place.
post #47 of 60
Please keep us updated on what you discover and where you end up. My family and I might possibly be moving there next summer. When DH finishes grad school. My biggest concern is schools. My kids had been homeschooled until last year they started at a montessori. It seems like private schools in the DC metro area might be out of our range...
post #48 of 60
Thread Starter 
Will do. Schools are a big concern for us, too. We decided it would really be good for us to be in a house rather than an apartment or condo, and we aren't finding Takoma Park houses for rent in our price range, so we've shifted a bit and are looking at a handful of places in Silver Spring and Rockville now. My husband has scheduled to look at a place in Rockville on Sunday.
post #49 of 60

Del Ray


Edited by coraljean - 2/26/14 at 5:27am
post #50 of 60
Thread Starter 
My husband has been living with an uncle in Alexandria as he's started this job, and he really likes some of the neighborhoods there.

He observed, as he's been taking the metro to and from work, that the red line that goes up to Montgomery County was always really crowded. And he did look at a few townhouses and single family homes in Rockville and Montgomery Village / Gaithersburg, but the houses within our budget were a tad on the old/crumbly side, and we put in an application for a townhouse, but someone else beat us and put theirs in first and it went to them.

So we started looking in other areas and ended up signing, this weekend, on a townhouse in Arlington. It doesn't look like they've got a co-op, which is a bummer, but they do have a year-round farmers' market. We just couldn't afford the nice part of Takoma Park, and couldn't find anything within our budget in Silver Spring or Rockville, either. But I think this will be a good place for us to save up a down payment for our own place in a year or two. This is just $1300/month with utilities included.

If anybody knows of crunchy resources in or around Arlington, I'd love to hear about them. Or if anybody's been to the farmers' market there, I'd love to hear what it's like.

Thank you for everyone's help, again. It is really appreciated.
post #51 of 60
What did you decide about the schools? Are you planning to go with the local public one?
post #52 of 60
Thread Starter 
We are planning to send our daughter to the local public school, yeah. It looks decent. I'll go visit and check things out IRL, and if things look good, then I'll enroll her to start, and we'll see how things progress.

It seems strange that we're ending up in Arlington after all the planning and trying to move to Montgomery County. I'm fighting slight disappointment with the knowledge that this will just be temporary, and it's okay if we don't love Arlington...because we do want to BUY and not just be renting indefinitely.

And if we decide the school is lousy, I'll pull her out and we'll homeschool, or I s'pose there's a small chance of some cool charter school option, who knows.
post #53 of 60
I don't know how old your daughter is, but think that you'll find renting for a while and exploring the way to go (before school decisions have to be made). I've been a DC area native all my life and have moved around from MD to VA and back. Neighborhoods vary a lot, and they all have their benefits and drawbacks. It's nice to take a breather and just get to know the area.

Welcome, and I hope you enjoy it here.
post #54 of 60
Hello -

I read your response to an earlier posting and wanted to followup. My partner and I are planning a move to Silver Spring, MD in April. We want to rent a home in a great school district and friendly community the first year with plans to purchase. We have a 4 1/2 yr old son, so parks and other kids are important to our family. What is your neighborhood and do you know of any homes for rent? We are a lesbian couple, so we want to make sure the commuity is accepting. Thanks.
post #55 of 60
Originally Posted by janrenea View Post
Hello -

I read your response to an earlier posting and wanted to followup. My partner and I are planning a move to Silver Spring, MD in April. We want to rent a home in a great school district and friendly community the first year with plans to purchase. We have a 4 1/2 yr old son, so parks and other kids are important to our family. What is your neighborhood and do you know of any homes for rent? We are a lesbian couple, so we want to make sure the commuity is accepting. Thanks.
most of the D.C. area is pretty libreal and yuo'll meet other same sex couples nad families. i don't think you would have issues most places around here. maybe farther out west or east in md, or southern in va you would find some closed minded people, but most folks in the d.c. area are really liberal. in D.C. they are most likely going to start having same sex marriages in the next few months.
post #56 of 60
actually, they have an article int he washingtonpost today that says that maryland is going to start recognizing same sex marriages done out of state, and d.c. is going to start performing them in a matter of days.
so, i guess, you could get married in d.c. and live in md as a married couple.
post #57 of 60

So glad to read this...

We moved from New Mexico to the Del Ray neighborhood in Alexandria last year, and now are facing a move to the Maryland side of things this summer.

Does anybody out there actually live in PG county? Is it worth looking into or just skip to Montgomery for the schools?

Sad to leave Del Ray, I second that it is a lovely place to be with small kiddos. We moved in and found an instant community of other families here.

Thanks for all the great info!
post #58 of 60
I guess it depends a lot what you are looking for. My dh and I lived in PG County for 7 years. It was a great place for a young couple with not a lot of money to buy a house. We lived in Laurel, so it was close to every thing (walking distance to grocery store, several bars/restaurants and driving distance to DC (or public transport to) and Baltimore. The public schools, for elementary at least, are similar to Montgomery County. There was a Montessori school close by.

However, we recently sold our house and chose to leave PG County in favor of Anne Arundel County. (We looked into Takoma Park but the houses in the good neighborhoods are SO EXPENSIVE we were priced out.) Now that we have a child we have different priorities. AA County has excellent schools, farmer's markets, the water, lots of amenities, plus great public parks! I live in a neighborhood that is great for walking, but can no longer walk to grocery stores/night life. But you know what? I don't care so much. Our neighborhood is quiet and peaceful and I can walk to the water.
post #59 of 60

Edited by coraljean - 2/18/14 at 6:51pm
post #60 of 60
Originally Posted by AlbuquerqueMama View Post
Does anybody out there actually live in PG county? Is it worth looking into or just skip to Montgomery for the schools?
I know people who live in PG county, but none of them send their kids to the public schools. They either send them to private school, or homeschool.
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