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Thread: Hello from MD!

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    Thumbs up Hello from MD!

    Hello Everybody - Good afternoon to each of you, I hope the weather is being kinder to you than it is to us at this moment.

    Sadly, I've yet to visit your beautiful mountain-side paradise but recently my family and I (I've two sons, ages 4 and 5) are looking to move away (far away, hah) from the DC area and I happened upon Shannondale as I looked for a place in Harper's Ferry. While we're moving away (at least that's the plan) I'm still going to be working in the DC area.. I'm wondering if anyone here is in the same boat and if so could they just touch base on how it's been for them, tricks to getting where you need to be on time, telecommuting during the snowy months, etc... Anything like that would be appreciated. Our "plan" is to drive up to the MARC and take the train into the city, on the way home my better half would drop the boys off at school. But then again, I might be getting ahead of myself. I'm hoping to drive on down this Saturday (rain or shine) and visit a home that looks just right for my family and I (It's located at 271 Moonshine Lane)..

    A bit about me.. I'm a twenty-eight year old father of two, I've been married for almost 10 years {two years of dating counts right? } , an Iraqi war Vet, Former-Marine (Once and Always), IT jack-of-all-trades type of guy who wants to get back in the woods and teach my sons what it's like to live separated from the all-mighty boobtube (as my daddy would say), perhaps fish, read, bike and live a little, something I don't see kids doing often here in the city/suburban area. I'm a Maryland local but I've been up and down the east coast the past few years, I even spent a year living in your beautiful mountain state (I met my wife that year) about 10 years ago. Since that time I've always had a special place in my heart for West Virginia, the locals always (mostly) treated me with fairness and dignity. I've been lurkering around your forums now for a few days and I figured that I would say Hi and hope for the best with my VA Loan application!


    As you've probably noticed, I comma at a near constant rate.. been between that and the read-between-the-lines parentheses.. I apologize!

    Have a good one!

    - AsYouWere

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    Greetings and welcome...
    - I think you'll find lots of folks with lots in common.

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    AsYouWereUSMC (10-02-2012)

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    I can't write without commas or read between the line parenthesis so we have a lot in common and welcome!

    I along with many others commute to DC. I work downtown and have done this deal for 10 years now - 8 from WV and 2 from PA near Gettysburg.

    I do not have children and do not see how people with children do the commute. They apparently have a LOT more patience and stamina than I do with night-time children's activities.

    Anyway if your job is downtown DC (not in Silver Spring or Rockville or other northern suburb), I recommend Loudon county transit bus service - as an alternative to driving over the MARC. It takes the Metro Smart Card and costs $7.50 each way with the card. Cash is more - maybe $8.50?? but I am not sure. Buses leave from a lot at the North end of Purcellville, a lot south of Hamilton, VA and a big lot in Leesburg near the airport. They generally run about every 15 min or so. The most options are available at the Leesburg lot. Loudon County also has buses that go to Tysons Corner now, but not as many as to downtown DC - they route is: first stop by State Dept, then up 18th St., down I or K depending if it is morning or evening, down 14th to Independence, then over to Unions Station, and up to H and North Capitol St.

    If you work in the northern suburbs, MARC is probably more convenient, but dirtier, slower, more frequently late than the bus and I think more expensive. Also if you take the MARC and work Downtown other than immediate by Union Station, you also then need to get a bus or Metro to K St. or wherever it is you work downtown which adds extra expense to the MARC ticket. Whereas, if you take the bus, if your work is anywhere downtown, you generally are dropped off by Loudon Co within a block or 2-3 to your workplace.

    Moonshine - I think that is a up high and keep in mind what the roads will look like in the winter with a ton of snow or ice packed etc.

    Have a job that does not mind your working from home during stormy weather or even from time to time regularly. Otherwise, the commute will burn you out in bad weather or faster in nice weather.

    do a search on "orphan roads" on this website to get more information on that issue with respect to Shannondale Roads.

    Hold off buying a house and buy mine in 2016
    Last edited by KatherineA; 10-02-2012 at 03:44 PM.
    I know up on the top you are seeing great sights, but down at the bottom we, too, should have rights. "Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories" by Dr. Seuss

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    Welcome, AYW. It's always a delight to see someone doing their homework before making what might be the biggest investment of their life. Browse the forum and don't forget that we're a full-service website with thousands of pages dealing with the history and activities of the "Mountain".
    Quote Originally Posted by KatherineA View Post
    Moonshine - I think that is a up high
    KatA lives in the lowlands near the Shenandoah and tends to think anything else is in the Stratosphere With the exception of the hill on Mission Road that descends to the river and the incline up Lower Clubhouse Drive at Gate 2, the route to Moonshine Lane shouldn't pose a problem w/ an all wheel drive (or front wheel). If we have a 54" snow as we did in 1996, all bets are off

    Thanks for the intro. i'm sure others will weigh in.

    Check our calendar of events and plan a trip up to meet us F2F if possible.
    Don't CLOWN around! Join us NOW and get involved in YOUR Blue Ridge Mountain Community!


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    Hi, I moved to the near top of the mountain four years ago and would do it again in a heartbeat. I'm in IT and am able to work from home but my other half must go in and I think the only days she missed were two years ago when we had 3 feet of snow. Some will park at the bottom of the hill and walk up/down during winter storms.

    Lots of stuff to do here hiking, fishing, hunting, kayaking, tubing, and check out the Mountain Community Center (MCC) if you make the trip it is the first building on your right when you turn on Mission rd.

    One thing I don't think was mentioned before...the people up here are a mixed bunch but have been more of a community than I have I have experienced in my years. I too lived in MD for 9 years and hated it.
    Commandment number one Shut the hell up!

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    Thanks for all the replies and welcomes.

    Kat -

    To be honest, if I was a single parent it wouldn't be an option, luckily my wife is a superhero and with her I'm able to have an option to move out of the city. She's been the rock at home that I've needed. I'm not certain what other children do during the evening hours but my sons are both exceedingly easy to handle, with a firm voice and hand (when necessary) of course, and are usually in bed about 8:30... But I agree, when they were younger (0 -2) it was a bit different. I do work in Rockville (White Flint Metro area) and it seems that the monthly pass (175.00 according to their site, 225.00 according to the human on the phone) is within reason... another 80 dollars for the monthly transit pass for the metro (it's about 92/month paying daily.) and we're somewhere between 255.00 and 305.00 a month. That's still a bit pricey but I'm going to have to deal with it - right now driving + parking works to about the same amount.

    Moonshine sits about 600 ft above sea level... that's only about 200 feet higher than nearer to the river (perhaps you're in a lower depression ), I thought it a happy medium between Skyline (1200ish ft above) and the river. I'm hoping that it works out relatively well.

    Luckily I am able to work remotely but I will definitely speak with both of my bosses about where I'm planning on settling. I do appreciate all of your advice and I welcome anything else you would like to share.

    Well, with the housing market as it is, I might not be able to hold off that long! While I don't think interest rates are going anywhere north of 4% for a while, I don't think that housing prices will be in that same boat.

    Willis -

    Thanks for the bid of confidence! I've been told that I've a knack for being a bit anal with my purchases.. And as this is my first home purchase I'm going to lead with my cautious foot.. After I've scanned the area with my infrared laser beams.. Ha-ha...

    This site has helped me a great deal already, I've enjoyed being able to read about the mountain, lake and springs and to see photos of the area and community... as well as the historical family photos.. (I'm a big history buff). I'm hoping to be able to come by this weekend and see the area.. Sadly the home I was looking at is already under contract! (UGH) 3 days on the market and it's gone, oh well, I'll find another within the area I'm sure. I've been told not to rush into anything so I'll stick with that advice for now and keep reading.

    Pat -

    Thanks for weighing in and aren't you lucky! Does your company need another work-from-homer? I've a steady job but I've recently decided to be back in the market for just that kind of gig. (So I can be like you! haha)

    All that is what I'm looking for and both of my sons are physical so I'm sure that they will get into the grove within their first summer. I've also read about the MCC and I can tell you that I was very happy at the amount of activities it seems to provide for the kids and the adults. It's really nice to see such a diverse community of personalities (if this website is telling, which I'm sure it is!) that look out for their area and neighborhood.. That's probably the #1 on my "Do I want to live there" list. So far, so good.

    Have a good one!

    - AsYouWere

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    AsYouWere,

    Where in the area of White Flint do you work? I am at the NRC, which is right across the street. I currently live in what is called the "flat lands" but spend 20 years living on the mountain. If your work would allow you to work at home on the days it snows, it would be great, but I have never been able to not get out if I had to. I take the MARC train from Harpers Ferry, Brunswick has more choices but you fight traffic between the bridges on Rt. 340. I am a government employee and they give me $$$ toward my transportation because I take public transportation. The MARC has its issues, but it is so much better than driving. I go in to the office 3 days a week and I spend about $11 each way to get to work. Hope this helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AsYouWereUSMC View Post
    I've always had a special place in my heart for West Virginia...
    Just FYI, most of the panhandle is now a part of the Washington DC metropolitan area, not really a part of "West Virginia". I mean, you'll have to look hard to find any real WV hillbillies here, but will have no trouble finding [aging] hippies from the big city.

    Then there's always the point that Jefferson County has never actually agreed to be a part of the state of West Virginia!

    Also, be careful saying you're at 600 feet from sea level. When judging snow access, you really need to calculate Distance From Mission Rd. I too am at 600ft, but the top of my driveway abuts Mission Road so we can always get one car out the very next day, after we shovel out everything the plow throws into the drive.


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    Yes, buying a house anywhere in Shannondale that requires going down Gate 1's slippery hill or Gate 2's long slippery hill is just nuts to me. So just keep all the roads that you will use to exit and enter to your dream house in mind as you look for a residence up here.

    Also ask about ATV crazy teens and adults in the area that you purchase. Hang out if you can and see/listen for that activity as it can be rampant and super annoying depending on your location.


    As Willis says, I live on a relatively flat area that used to be a farm down by the river. However, I still have to get to the State maintained portion of the road (about 1/4- 1/2 mile away from the house) on my own dime and with 4-wheel drive and I have a BIG hill to climb on John Brown Farm Road after I make it to the "state" road. However, that is blacktop and my work is govt. and so when OPM says we can work flexiplace my office permits it and I generally work 2 days from home every week anyway. I could not live here without that option.

    You also might want to look at houses for sale in the J.B. Farm "subdivision" we are relatively peaceful back here and I think all lots are at least an acre and most have 2 acres - except for the newer homes built in the "boom" during 2005 when money grubbing developers put houses on one acre. I can't recall seeing any signs recently for sale, but haven't looked on Old Shenandoah Trail. In any case, think of me in 2016 - nice 2 + acres, reasonably priced small home, with plenty of garden space in a quiet location.

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    Lightbulb Good morning!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony View Post
    Just FYI, most of the panhandle is now a part of the Washington DC metropolitan area, not really a part of "West Virginia". I mean, you'll have to look hard to find any real WV hillbillies here, but will have no trouble finding [aging] hippies from the big city.

    Then there's always the point that Jefferson County has never actually agreed to be a part of the state of West Virginia!

    Also, be careful saying you're at 600 feet from sea level. When judging snow access, you really need to calculate Distance From Mission Rd. I too am at 600ft, but the top of my driveway abuts Mission Road so we can always get one car out the very next day, after we shovel out everything the plow throws into the drive.
    That's good for me! I'm not looking for a complete culture shock.. and I enjoy a bit of controversy now and again! I do after all live in the DC area.. Actually what you're saying is what I was hoping for - diversity is something that I find very important - even though the demographics (from what I've read) in the shannondale area (and the schools) are.. to put it lightly.. marginally more Caucasian than what my family used to.. I'm hoping that overt or even subtle racist acts aren't something your area is prone to.. I myself am Caucasian but both of my sons are mixed (Filipino and white) and my wife is from the Philippines but was raised the majority of her life in the US. It's something that I have to realistically address moving out of an urban/suburban area where the demographics are much more diverse (please correct me if I'm WAY off). I'm not saying that's what we'll face in the area but numerous potential consequences of this decision have crossed my mind. I know that this is something we could face in nearly any region of the country but with my wife and sons not being white... It’s something I’m more aware of.

    I’ve already tracked down a 4x4 vehicle that I am going to buy this weekend. Hell, the dealer even has a trade in deal (130% over KBB value J ) that will let me walk away with a SUV for just an additional 900 dollars after the trade in... I can’t really beat that! I will keep my eye out for a sweet spot near(er) Mission rd!

    Quote Originally Posted by KellyR View Post
    AsYouWere,

    Where in the area of White Flint do you work? I am at the NRC.
    Hi Kelly! Thanks for the response.. and what a small world! I too work at the NRC – I’m in the TWFN, Data Center working as a Systems Engineer/Administrator. I’ve been contracting here since I left the military in 07 – first as the Lead IT Coordinator for RES – under Tom Kardaras with the ITIB branch in their PMDA division. I hoped for a federal position while I was there but with the current (and near-term past) budgeting issues it seems like it might be a pipe dream for me. It’s sad to say too – I love working here. Thank you for letting me know that you make that commute to this very spot! I feel even more confident that I’ll be able to make this journey knowing that. I appreciate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by KatherineA View Post
    going down Gate 1's slippery hill or Gate 2's long slippery hill, ATV crazy teens and adults in the area that you purchase. see/listen for that activity as it can be rampant


    You also might want to look at houses for sale in the J.B. Farm "subdivision" we are relatively peaceful back here and I think all lots are at least an acre and most have 2 acres - except for the newer homes built in the "boom" during 2005 when money grubbing developers put houses on one acre. I can't recall seeing any signs recently for sale, but haven't looked on Old Shenandoah Trail. In any case, think of me in 2016 - nice 2 + acres, reasonably priced small home, with plenty of garden space in a quiet location. [IMG]file:///c:\temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image001.png[/IMG]
    I’ll keep all this information in mind, Thanks a lot Kat. I did notice you had some recent problems with some dogs in the area barking between 2-5am... I hope that worked out for you getting them to chill out. That lot sounds perfect, I can’t wait to get down there and start stomping around in the woodssss! J

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    Yes. The dogs are now quiet - other than "normal" barking - like when a deer runs through or something else that is to be expected from a dog. no more tied up unhappy pups who bark, howl and whine for hours and hours. I think the worst offender finally built a dog pen/run and a new garage way behind the house and the dogs don't seem to chase his vehicle at 4:30 a.m. anymore. I actually have ENJOYED having the windows open during this gorgeous weather.

    Knocking on wood numerous times as I type this . . . . . . . I hope I haven't jinxed it (or the dogs or the owners).

    I probably should have thanked the neighbors . . . . anyway. Thanks!!

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    I sent you a PM USM about a house recently on the market . . .

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