Moving to the D.C. Area, Need advice

Moving to the D.C. Area, Need advice

BrianaHartzell's avatarBrianaHartzellOccasional Contributor

This is a question submitted in a comment on the PCS blog and I wanted to re-post it here to see if anyone can share some insight that might solve some of ginurse's concerns. Here are her concerns: We are moving from Hawaii to the D.C. area in August/Sept. Unfortunately, I am going to be working at Ft Belvoir and my husband is going to be working at Walter Reed Medical Center. We have to children (2 yrs and a 1st Grader). Does anybody know of a good location that won't be terrible for us to get to work and be able to drop kids off at daycares/schools? Also, does anybody have any good advice for before/after school care and daycare options? I am really stressed about the commuting, trying to get the kids taken care of and still have some quality family time. Thanks for you advice - ginurse

Re:Moving to D.C. and I Need Advice!

mjbeier's avatarmjbeierNew Member

Im not sure what advice your needing or what your current situation is. However, I was stationed there myself for a few years (less than 5). I found it easier to not live in the city, but not to far away. Traffic is terrible as I'm sure you would already know. When I say terrible, I mean I've seen people go up the off ramp to realize they made a wrong turn and then back down the ramp into oncoming traffic. Traffic jams could last some time, so it easier to not live terribly far away. Cost of living is very high in the city. With that being said, do not leave spare change or anything of value in your car, that includes your trunk. These may seem the most basic of things, but I've seen a lot of people not heed the advice and get burned where it counts. Also, very important because I had this happen to me. Identity theft is a huge problem. I had my identity stolen while stationed there. Be careful when using ATM's and dealing with people. If the machine seems off or the person seems off themselves, back off or call the police. All in all, DC is not as bad as I'm portraying it to be, just be watchful while your out and you should do well. DC is an exciting place to be with lots to do and see! Have fun and good luck! Wish I could be more helpful.

Re:Moving to the D.C. Area, Need advice

Becca Skinner's avatarBecca SkinnerNew Member

First off, congrats on the PCS move! We just PCSed from the DC area (Walter Reed) to San Antonio, TX. The best advice I can give you is to do exactly what you are doing now-- getting advice from the subject matter experts-- other military spouses in the area! I know Fort Belvoir has major construction going on right now, which is causing several complaints of traffic issues. Wil your husband be working at the "old" Walter Reed actually in DC (Scheduled to close Sept this year, unless BRAC is extended), or at the "new" Walter Reed Military Medical Center at Bethesda, MD? That is where you would to plan out your location. The good news is our national capital is very mass transit friendly-- the metro has a stop at both Walter Reed locations within walking distance-- I know the one in MD is right across from the hospital, which would be ideal for your husband because he won't have to worry about finding a parking space-- which can sometimes be an issue, although they are building parking garages. For you, there isn't a metro stop for Fort Belvoir, VA yet, so I think your best bet is to find an area close enough for you to get to work at a decent hour, with nice schools for kids- which shouldn't a problem, and close enough for you to drop hubs off at the metro- or have him drive himself or even bicycle in. There are several resources available online-- but you are probably like me, its hard knowing without seeing. Fort Belvoir has lovely housing though available on post, while Walter Reed military housing are apartments located in Silver Spring, MD, which would put you commuting on the beltway or through the city-- which is too far/conjested. Sorry for all this information, hopefully some if it helps! -Becca

Re:Moving to the D.C. Area, Need advice

Moco's avatarMocoNew Member

We left DC three years ago (and are PCSing from Japan to Korea tomorrow), but I remember the commuting braintwisters well. I think your best bet is living as far north in Fairfax Cty. as you can afford. If you both have to drive to commute, you at least will be generally heading the opposite direction of most commuters on the Beltway. Unfortunately, there are no good public transportation/ slugging options to either location, except perhaps a bus to Walter Reed. You might also look into a vanpool/carpool for one or both of you, if you find some area you really like-- there are multiple websites that offer help connecting with other commuters. Good luck!

Re:Moving to the D.C. Area, Need advice

Jean93's avatarJean93New Member

Burke is a good location for you. Fairfax County Schools http://www.fcps.edu/index.shtml have before and after school care programs. Full day kindergarten when your youngest is ready. My grandchildren are in Bonnie Brae Elementary School http://www.fcps.edu/BonnieBraeES/. They love it. There are many child care opportunities in both private homes and day care centers. A list of permitted providers is available on the Fairfax County website at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/dfs/. There is a VRE train station in Burke with connections into Union Station in DC. http://www.vre.org/service/systmmp.htm However, Burke is also about 15-20 minutes to the Springfield Metro Station. http://www.walterreed.amedd.army.mil/garrison/transportation/index.htm. Walter Reed is about 45 minutes by car to Walter Reed. About 15 minutes by car to Ft Belvoir. Some very nice public parks with boating, a carousel and train for the kids, ice cream store, miniature golf, and walking trails. http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/burkelake/. There is also a golf course. http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/golf/burkegolf/. We PCS'd here from Europe 6 years ago and are very pleased with Burke. Near Springfield Metro, there are several long term stay hotels (Marriott, etc) with small kitchens in each suite. Check out Burke. Many military families, both active and retired, are located here.

Re:Moving to the D.C. Area, Need advice

2RIsoon's avatar2RIsoonNew Member

We are in the DC area now. My husband is stationed at the Pentagon. We chose to live in Annandale, but we're on the border with Fairfax. If you can vision a circle as the beltway, most people want to live outside the beltway. Ft. Belvoir is just southwest of the beltway and WR is northeast. Fairfax, West Springfield, and Burke are all good options west and southwest of the beltway, as well as our little slice of Annandale.. We are in the Kings Park area of Annandale and my kids go to Canterbury Woods Elem. They had no problems transitioning from Japan to here because Canterbury Woods was so welcoming. It's a diverse area and school. Burke can get pricey, and you don't want to go too deep into Fairfax (west or north). Looking for something near the Springfield/Franconia Metro would be good, although you might have to drop your husband off there, or if you want to go further north you could look at homes near the Vienna or Dunn Loring Metro (great schools there, too). That way your husband could Metro to work and you could drive to Belvoir. The schools in Fairfax County are good. My boys are going into the 1st and 2nd grades this year. Many of the elem. schools have a preschool also, but Ft. Belvoir is a big base and does have childcare there, too. Housing at Ft. Belvoir looks nice on the outside, I've never been on the inside of a unit. There is a lot of construction on base there and it is a headache and will be for a while longer, but it's nothing compared to beltway or downtown DC traffic at rush hours. There are some nice options in Alexandria, too. You would have to do your research and find a good school there, but it is an option. It's inside the beltway, but to the south, so still in between both workplaces. Depending on how long you are stationed here, you don't have to worry too much about the schools in Fairfax County. Your children will get the education they need here and there is no standardized testing until 3rd grade in VA. I was nervous about the commute and the "beltway", too when we moved here last year. My husband gets a stipend for traveling on the Metro, I'm sure you and yours would, too. So my husband takes the bus that comes through the neighborhood to work and they pay for 3 months worth of working days at a time. If we lived near a Metro he would take the train instead. It's much easier and user friendly than it seems at first, really. The kids and I travel the Metro all the time. And you won't be driving into DC all the time, so you don't have to worry about the traffic too much. It is a very big area, but everything is close. All the towns and neighborhoods have grocery stores, strip malls, fast food, etc. You don't have to drive very far to find what you are looking for, and parking at the Metro stations is free on the weekends. Feel free to ask any more questions you might have. I go to Ft. Belvoir all the time for the commissary and PX shopping and to take the kids swimming. It's about 15 minutes from my house during working hours and maybe 20-25 during the rush. Bottom line: the traffic is unavoidable. So you want to find a place to live that you can enjoy while you are home.

Re: Moving to the D.C. Area, Need advice

blisp's avatarblispOccasional Visitor

Suggest you try to locate near public transportation; it's much easier than driving.  For years I commuted from outside Annapolis, MD to downtown DC and saved money and aggravation.

 

Now . . .   how do I start a new post. Help, somebody, please?

Re: Moving to the D.C. Area, Need advice

BrianaHartzellUSAA's avatarBrianaHartzellUSAACommunity Manager

Hi Blisp!

 

Thank you for commenting!

 

To start a new thread ( I am assuming you want to post something in the "I'm Moving to..." section)

1. Go to the Main topic https://communities.usaa.com/t5/I-m-Moving-To/bd-p/im-moving-to

2. Then under the page title "I'm Moving to..." there is a green circular button that says "Submit a Topic"

3. Click Submit a Topic, from there you can start a discussion about whatever you would like!

 

Please let me know if you need any more assistance!

 

Thank you!

Re: Moving to the D.C. Area, Need advice

DrStep's avatarDrStepOccasional Visitor

It depends on what you need advice on..