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Educate me about West Virginia!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
We are looking into moving to WV in the near future, due to the fact that we live on a fixed income and the property taxes are very low. We're not sure about some stuff though, so if anyone could give me some info, I'd be really grateful!

- How are utilities? Very expensive? Cheap? Somewhere in between? I read that electricity is pretty low cost, but what about gas heating, etc? Are the low property taxes offset by other expenses I'm not factoring in?

- What's the rural Internet situation like?

- I heard that there is a lot of pollution everywhere, in ground water, in the air, etc. due to its manufacturing past. Is that true?

- We want to live in a rural or very small town area - albeit one reasonably close to a VA hospital (that's flexible, but within a few hours would be great) and a great library system, easy access year-round, and hopefully near a community college. Any thoughts on areas we might want to look into? We have a pretty low budget for a house (around 100-125K) and want to get at least an acre or two, but we've found quite a few properties online that seem promising. Any areas where the cost of living is lower compared to the rest of the state?

- How bad are winters? We want to garden and keep some animals (chickens, goats, mostly). Any special considerations I should take into account? We're from CT originally so that climate is the norm for me.

That's all I can think of, really. Any help would be so much appreciated. smile.gif
post #2 of 10

Are you looking into the entire state, or a certain area? Martinsburg has both a VA hospital and a community college. The Eastern Panhandle has a higher cost of living than the rest of the state in general, but it's still pretty low-cost compared to everywhere else.

 

I think if you can narrow your search to at least a region, you will be able to get more detailed answers. Questions about internet access and winter conditions are going to have very different answers depending on what part of the state you're in.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ah, gotcha. See, that's the thing - we don't really know much about the different regions. I know geographically there's the mountains in the east, then the plateau, then the other corner region, but that's about it. We're not familiar with the state at all, either the cities or the general regions. We're trying to figure out if we're interested enough in the state as a whole being an option for us to take some time and go visit - but it's a bit of a drive away so we want to be sure it's at least a viable option. smile.gif

I was looking into a couple of unincorporated areas around Elizabeth. I believe that's the... well, the NW part of the state? But we're not tied to that area...

ETA: Maybe I should turn the question around.

If we need high speed internet, don't mind harder winters as long as the summer growing season is feasible, and are generally looking for a village/country feel, and would still like to be near a VA medical center... what regions should we be looking into? innocent.gif
post #4 of 10

You might want to look into Hardy (Moorefield and Wardensville are the main towns) and Hampshire (Romney is the main town) Counties. Both are in the Eastern Panhandle, but quite rural with very reasonable housing costs. At the most, they would be 2 hours from a VA. Some areas of Hampshire (Capon Bridge) would be an hour or less from the Martinsburg VA.

 

I live in Monongalia County. Our state university is here, so it's a little different. Anyway, our electric runs about $84/month. Natural gas, which fuels our furnace, hot water heater and stove/oven averages about $70/month. We do the budget plan on that one so we don't get wiped out in the winter. We typically have much snowier winters than the counties in the Eastern Panhandle.

post #5 of 10

I don't know if this affects your decision or not, but WV does NOT allow religious or philosophical exemptions to vaccinations. 

post #6 of 10
I was born and raised in WV! From your criteria, it sounds like a great place for you. There is a VA hospital in clarksburg,wv (north central) and small towns nearby where you could easily buy a house with acres in that price range. Winters can be bad- but gardening is very commom in spring, winter, and fall. I would suggest looking at Buckhannon, Elkins,Bridgeport, clarksburg, belington, and phillipi. Internet varies- I have a frind that lives 45 min from a town and she has dsl...

Expenses to factor-- gas prices for driving if you're really rural and need to drive to a town, heating in the winter (electric probably cheapest), vehicle expense (possibly need 4WD/AWD, snow tires,...

I know children who have been exempt from vax in the schools d/t parent request from autism dx.

smile.gif
post #7 of 10


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sillymom44 View Post



Expenses to factor-- gas prices for driving if you're really rural and need to drive to a town, heating in the winter (electric probably cheapest), vehicle expense (possibly need 4WD/AWD, snow tires,...

 

In my experience, natural gas heating has been WAY cheaper than electric. You definitely may need AWD depending on where you would live. I live 10 minutes outside a fairly large town (Morgantown) and we would never make it to our house without AWD in the winter. We have Subaru wagons, though so they do get good mileage.
 

 

post #8 of 10

In a lot of rural areas, there is not access to natural gas and propane is the only alternative.  Propane is extremely expensive right now....  Wood burning stoves are a good choice as well.  I have had the opposite experience with natural gas/electric...but it's good to give multiple opinions!

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by seawitch View Post

Ah, gotcha. See, that's the thing - we don't really know much about the different regions. I know geographically there's the mountains in the east, then the plateau, then the other corner region, but that's about it. We're not familiar with the state at all, either the cities or the general regions. We're trying to figure out if we're interested enough in the state as a whole being an option for us to take some time and go visit - but it's a bit of a drive away so we want to be sure it's at least a viable option. smile.gif

I was looking into a couple of unincorporated areas around Elizabeth. I believe that's the... well, the NW part of the state? But we're not tied to that area...

ETA: Maybe I should turn the question around.

If we need high speed internet, don't mind harder winters as long as the summer growing season is feasible, and are generally looking for a village/country feel, and would still like to be near a VA medical center... what regions should we be looking into? innocent.gif

Sort of. A lot of them look like this.
http://www.ohvec.org/galleries/mountaintop_removal/007/

I think you will be surprised at the environmental destruction in WV if you go there to drive around. I would look in to what communities are covered in coal dust before I make any decisions about where to live. Some areas of WV have insanely high rates of childhood cancer, asthma, and lung problems due to the amount of coal dust in the area and the slurry ponds that are all over the state. I spent about 6 months in hollers surrounding the Beckly area, and saw some horrific things. Old people had to wipe their patio furniture down so we could sit without our clothes turning black, and children not allowed play outside their yards because the coal trucks drive 50-70 miles an hour through tiny hollers.

Honestly, with the idea that you may well have to fight for the rest of your life to try and make sure that your backyard doesnt become a slurry pond and that your kids have a fair chance at good health, WV and eastern Ky are among the last two places I would move.

Larry, who lives on Kayford Mountain, live on a beautiful mountain with a spectacular view, until the coal industry started mining about 10 feet away from his tree line.
http://mountainkeeper.blogspot.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountaintop_removal_mining
http://ilovemountains.org/
http://earthjustice.org/our_work/campaigns/stop-mountaintop-removal-mining
post #10 of 10

Coal mining can be devastating and you want to be careful about where you live. The areas that I mentioned do not have as many coal mines as the rest of the state.  I have never seen much destruction or problems with coal...but it is still a rural Appalachian area and will take some getting used to if you're not used to the area!!  People from DC flock to the ski resorts and national parks year-round.  There are some pretty fantastic areas..but also some horrible ones as well.  Please feel free to message me for more info!!  :)

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