Emily- I've just heard great things about these two schools in general. Since we also have highly reguarded public schools, most people that I know send their kids to the local elementary schools.
Yes, I live in B'burg. In the Bennet Hill Progress neighborhood, 2 blocks from downtown & 4 blocks from campus, on a quiet dead-end street. I love it here. I actually like living among the students, 9 out of 10 are great- it's the 1 out of 10 that give the rest a bad name, but the college has so much happening that adds to our enjoyment of B'burg: lectures, plays, music, sports. We particularly enjoy the free concerts on Henderson Lawn each Friday evening in the summer. Next week we'll be attending International week events: homemade food from various students homelands, a parade and a fair. We will also be going to a concert of Broadway music on campus this month.
We are only a few blocks from the farmer's market- open Wednesdays & Saturdays, and we've got the fish ladies bringing fresh seafood from the coast every Thursday. We also have Eat's Natural Foods, Annie Kay's Whole Food and Oasis International Food.
At our library, we have various storytimes and family night- often free pizza & a movie or a craft related to a theme at the library. Also, our town has lots of activites- like a free Easter egg hunt yesterday. A lot of activities charge a fee, though. Here's a link to the spring offerings: http://www.blacksburg.gov/recreation...erecreator.pdf
and there's more in the summer.
We've got a dozen or more parks and walking trails, as well as the Huckleberry path, a rail-to-trail conversion, that goes to Christiansburg. If you like water, you can drive to the New River or Claytor Lake.
For dogs, we've got some unofficial off-leash meeting areas and paths, but nothing like a real dog park. But since we've got tons of National forest if you like to hike w/ your dogs, and the leash law is rarely enforced, there are lots of exercise options. The only thing is that pets are not allowed at our street fairs.
Basically, I think B'burg is great, but it is growing too fast and the university can be the dominating force- but growth is good for economic vitality and the university adds so much culturally, so the negatives also have a positive side.
Let me know if I missed anything- by pm or through this tread. And if you have any questions or need any help with anything.