I split a ~$1700 rent for a 1 bedroom plus den with my boyfriend/partner/sig other/etc, but I opted for a high-end apartment if I was going to make the move to VA. The apartment's a little over 1,000sq ft, carpet and tile, dishwasher, washer/dryer, jacuzzi tub and separate shower, walk-in closet, central A/C, balcony. Building amenties... both an indoor and an outdoor pool, a full gym, racquetball courts, a rec room, a convenience store with dry-cleaning, free parking spot, package services. Walking distance to Metro, Whole Foods, Safeway, Starbucks, bank, movie theatre, restaurants, bars, city government, post office, Barnes & Noble, movie rental stores, etc.It wears off. I lived in four Foggy Bottom-area apartments, then a Glover Park apartment, and moving to VA was a dream. My commute to GW is five minutes and direct (vs. 20 minutes on the bus from Glover Park, or involving transfers to the Red Line (CT ave) or Green Line (CH) that believe me, get seriously old after awhile).
If you don't mind sharing, how much do you pay in rent? The couple times I've browsed, apartments within a 5 minute walk to a metro seem to be about the same price as DC rent. I feel like the walk needed to get a decent price cancels out the transfers/bus riding.
No question that the buildings near Metro stations will be generally as expensive, but your buck goes a lot further. I can't even think of a building with those amenities in DC and am certain it would be priced higher. And like I said, we opted to go for a nicer building than the ones we lived in in DC... there are much cheaper buildings in the area. Check out Barton House... long waitlist but it's cheaper, and right next to the Whole Foods. Yum.
Arlington is very, very different from the rest of Virginia -- the county government gave their employees domestic partnership rights all the way back in 97, though they were later quashed by the state legislature. The county government opposed the ban on gay marriage, and a solid majority of voters in Arlington voted against it. Arlington is very, very liberal.GW's in a very pretty area but there's absolutely no reason to live in Foggy Bottom unless you're a college student. Van Ness and Cleveland Park are fun neighborhoods, but you can get newer buildings, better amenities, lower taxes, voting rights, and a shorter commute across the river.
All those things are great, but is there any strong gay community there? Even if there is no community, how gay friendly is it? Do you see same-sex couples? Is there ethnic diversity? When I visited a friend in Ballston last summer, my impression was no to all. I would love to know if my impressions are wrong, because I know there are many benefits to DC.
I definitely see gay couples... the area is very 20/30-something. And I see enough single guys looking at my boyfriend to pay attention
As for racial diversity, that's the difficult card. Arlington has a strong Latino population but like DC there are white-white areas and black-black areas with nary a gray thread to be found. It's the most unfortunate stain on this metro area.
Saw you mentioned Ballston. Ballston felt too far from DC for me at the time, and I didn't like the area as much. Check out the run from Rosslyn through Clarendon - I liked it better.
I suppose "interesting" is in the definition of the beholder. One thing to be said about Foggy Bottom in particular is how it utterly shuts down after 5PM and on the weekends. It is more vacant than any area in a city where I've ever been.I dunno, just my two cents. People come to DC pre-programmed to be suspicious of Virginia (myself included... I remember pleading with a friend in college not to move "so far away")... but it just makes more sense. I have much love and nostalgia for my little DC apartments, but I feel like I live in luxury now comparatively.
I am not suspicious of NoVa per se, but I don't need much space. I don't spend time at home, so that isn't as important to me. I would live in NoVa if the right opportunity came along, but it just seem as interesting a place to live. I don't know that I am ready to trade the urban community, with all its failings, for a better quality of living per dollar spent.
I do appreciate your response though! I spend a lot of my time thinking about this, and writing this email has convinced me to broaden my search to NoVa (not that I will move there. I can't! )
As for trading in the urban community, I'd disagree - the area is very urbanized. Higher-rises than DC, popular bars and restaurants are all along Wilson/Clarendon Blvd, and anything you want in DC is just as easy to get to as if you lived in DC. The state line isn't impermeable, and some areas in DC are even more easily reached from Arlington (compare getting to Georgetown from Arlington vs. from Cleveland Park). I still feel very connected to DC, perhaps even more so then when I was off the metro grid and living on a bus line.
Like I said, it's all about personal preference. I laughed when I met a GW student the other day who'd followed my exact same living track -- Foggy Bottom -> Glover Park -> Arlington. I think it's kind of something that just happens but maybe people need to live in the city first and find their own likes and dislikes. That's certainly how it worked for both me and my boyfriend. After living in DC for 5 years, I lost nothing and gained much by moving to VA, but that isn't necessarily the case for everyone.