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a VirtualTourist member from Maui


Will we love Alexandria??

My husband and I are moving to the D.C. area as he is being transferred with his company. We have been living in Maui, Hawaii for the past two years and are originally from Toronto, Canada. I never thought about moving to D.C. and know nothing about it so am currently doing a lot of research. We are looking to rent a 2-3 bedroom that allows dogs as we are looking to adopt one. My husband is of Japanese descent and I am wondering how the community of Alexandria would welcome us. It looks beautiful. We are very active and enjoy hiking and biking. How connected is Alexandria to D.C.? I know the rail and bus system is good. What about the drive to the city? How about biking there?
Also, are there groups that will connect us to new friends, our age?
Any information would be so appreciated.

11 Answers

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Fredericksburg

Northern VA will be quite a change from Maui.It can be very busy and traffic sucks.Try to live as close to work as possible if you don't want to spend alot of time in your car.I wouldn't worry about being Japanese.The DC area has a great diversity of people.My wife grew up in Alexandria and always say that DC is the dividing line between the north and south.I live about an hour south of there and it can be a little Redneckie down here.It can be frustrating to be with people who have no clue what the rest of the world is like.There is a great biking trail along the river you can take all the way to the zoo.Lots and lots of things to do.

If you have any questions on VA feel free to ask---CR

The Japanese cherry trees are blooming this week on the tidal basin-quite a sight!

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Richmond

The cherry trees, BTW, were a gift from Japan way back when. There is an annual Cherry Blossom Festival during the latter part of March and into April. They feature Japanese culture with food, art, and entertainment on a closed street downtown.


Hiking is best out in the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east. For cycling in the DC area, you might check with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association ( and the Potomac Pedalars Touring Club (

Good luck!

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Virginia

Cherry Blossom Festival is a full month ahead of schedule is normally durring the later part of April, but due to very unseasonably warm weather, currently we are at Peak Blossomage..Will you like Alexandria?? Well..depends on where you are moving to in Alex...I live in NVA and have alot of pics in my travel albums of Virgina, as well as data. Alexandria has Metro,and the Metro Bus system can be spotty...Soooo...where are you moving to and I will do my best to accomodate you.~

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Maui

We will unfortunately miss the Cherry blossoms because we are arriving around April 24th to May 7th. My husbands company will put us up for 2-3 weeks and during that time I will be looking for a place to rent. My husband said insurance is much more expensive in the city so that's why I was looking outside the center. I also want to live in a nice place that's relatively big. I am open to any suggestion on areas to look at, especially specific neighbourhoods, streets, etc. Thanks for the input. Very much appreciated.
P.S. We are from Toronto, so we can handle the weather change.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Virginia

Ok...Well, taking into consideration that big is better, I am thinking the Telegraph Road area of Alex., which also encompasses the Springfield area..Springfield would be a great place to live, as well as where I live, in Burke. Albeit, Burke does not have metro, but it does have the VRE...the train system. I know of several townhomes in my area that are for rent, but I also suggest at looking into "Craig's"...under DC...for rentals, as well as the Washington Post...Personally, I would opt for Craig's List first, as I found my bargin there. Yes, I know that you are orginally from Toronto, and I am from NY originally, close to your home city.~

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Arlington

I grew up in Northern Virginia (McLean) and now live in Arlington. Alexandria is a very nice city, especially Old Town Alexandria. The post office of Alexandria spills over into Fairfax County, so may places with an Alexandria address are not actually in the City of Alexandria. It's very easy to get from Old Town Alexandria into DC by car on the GW Parkway, which runs right through the heart of Old Town Alexandria, to either the 14th St. Bridge or the Roosevelt Bridge, though it can take a while durng rush hour. The Blue line and Yellow line of the Metro stops at King Street at the edge of Old Town, and there are a few more stops on the southern and western edges of Alexandria (Eisenhower Ave. and Von Dorn St.)

Old Town Alexandria is great for walking along the old streets and also for sailing, if you're into that. There is a bike path that runs along the GW Parkway north and south of Alexadria so ytou can bike for miles and miles.

I don't know what your price range is for rent, but Old Town can be very expensive.

As others have said, the fact that your husband is of Japanese descent will not be an issue at all. There is a very large asian population in the DC area/Northern Virginia/Suburban Maryland.

I think you'll love it here.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Virginia

The only issue I have with Old Towne, is the congestion on the week-ends when the weather is nice, and the price to live there. The Washington Parkway is beautiful though.~

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Göteborg


I came to Alexandria about two years ago from Sweden, and I ended up in Old Town. This being a really pretty area, and quite European in it's form I thought it would fit me perfectly. Alexandria melts together with DC so you hardly notice when you go into the next. The negative sides of Old Town are that it's extremely expensive and quite shallow...the old town mob, consisting of wealthy middleaged people with too much free time and too many nannies, are a pretty hefty bunch to get used to. Other than Old Town, Alexandria is a pretty ugly place, a lot of strip malls, plazas where every store is the same from the other and you can't get to any of them unless you have a car. Ok. There is the bus. Which unless , again, you are in Old Town, I try to avoid...especially since it doesn't seem to always come. If you are lucky to live within walking distance to the Metro you're all set though, that works great. Alot of people have to drive to the Metro, pay to park and then pay to go on the Metro, so it's a hazzle.
Along the Potomac river it's very pretty, but expensive to buy houses, and a lot of bugs, we can't forget that this whole area really is a swamp. You can get cheaper homes a bit south of Alexandria in fairly nice areas, but the commute will not be too fun. A trip that normally takes 45 minutes can easily turn out to be 3 1/5 during rush hour.
The hiking in the area can be great though, and it actually gets some snow during winter!
I wouldn't recommend biking in DC...or Alexandria for that matter...I see some people doing it and they look like they have a deathwish.

Ok hope I didn't scare you too much! :) Btw, if you know of a good place in California to relocate to, let me know please.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Virginia thoughts exactly. "Old Town" is boring to me as well, which is probably why I haven't finished my Alexandria page...I prefer the other side of the river in Georgetown down on the Harbor. Forget about buying in that neck of the weeds though, as it will cost you close to a million, and then some. One of my favorite old towns is in Fredericksburg, VA...great stores, antique shops, old book stores, and very affordable eating establishments, as well as affordable shops. You can check it out on one of my sites.~

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Fredericksburg

oh yeah....Viva Fred-Vegas hee hee hee
The comute to alexandria from here is miserable-unless you can take the vre train-CR

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Göteborg

Ah yes Fredericksburgh! I love it too. There's a genuine felt Old Town. But like Z said..the commute is awful awful (that's actually the 45 min that becomes a 3 1/5 h commute I was referring to) We actually had a house down there for a breif period of time, the house prices are so much lower than up here. But the time spent on the road each day just isn't worth it.

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