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Contemplating move to MD/VA/DC area

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  • Contemplating move to MD/VA/DC area

    This is very premature but I'm the kind of person who does best with change when I roll everything around in my head for a while and have a whole bunch of contingency plans.

    Hubby is beginning the process of submitting resumes to the government and we may end up in the MD/VA/DC area some time this year. Obviously, nothing says this really will happen but, like I said, I do best when I have worked through my concerns by research.

    I've been in Area I my entire horse life. I know the barns up here, I know the trainers, I know the events, I know the towns. I know nothing about the metro DC area except that it is expensive and crowded (with fabulous shopping so it isn't all bad!).

    Is it even possible to live within a Metro commute of DC while still living within an easy commute of a boarding facility with good turn out?

    I do realize that we couldn't be contemplating moving to a better location for eventing so that is good. But are there good lower level events (unrecognized are fine)? My filly is still too young to be started under saddle but, once that happens, I would like to get her out to a bunch of tadpole events as soon as she is going comfortably and up here there are a ton to pick from.

    I'm not a fan of the heat/humidity. Do riders just ride ultra early/late or skip the hottest months the way many riders skip February in Maine?

    Give me a great reason to move to this area so I can calm these butterflies! We may leave our own farm where my son and dogs can go out the back door to play without worry to living in a postage stamp lot or townhouse where the dogs are always on leashes and my son needs to be inside unless I'm with him (he's just 3). But, job security is worth a lot and I would love to see hubby without ulcers from worry.

    Thanks for listening to this mostly lurker!

  • #2
    Well our traffic here is a good deal worse than anything Maine can offer except for having Bullwinkle traipsing on the roads. We just have deer. Location in the DC Metro area would be governed by where you have to work. You want a decent commute to wherever that would be.

    As far as eventing in concerned, you are coming to one of the eventing hotspots in the country. You'll have lots of choices between recognized, unrecognized and schooling shows every weekend.

    Anyway, no use worrying until you know 1)if DH gets the job and 2)where that job will be.
    Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule
    http://www.ironwood-farm.com

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    • #3
      A slightly less stressful government job option is the Social Security Administration. Headquarters is just outside Baltimore, and if you settle on the I-70 corridor you will experience much more tolerable traffic/commute (that said, I think getting hired here right now is pretty difficult, not many openings).

      There's a huge eventing community here and loads of places to school and ride, but commuting from DC to just about anywhere is pretty awful (even jobs in surrounding areas, like Rockville or Gaithersburg, can be nutty).

      I'm in Damascus (I actually rent a house on the same property where my horse is boarded, which is flipping awesome), north of Germantown, work in Baltimore and have it pretty easy.
      "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

      My CANTER blog.

      Comment


      • #4
        That would be a big change! The DC metro area has a lot to offer in terms of horse stuff, but it will really come down to the location of your husband's job and how much of a commute he is willing to suffer. Then people can help you pinpoint certain areas that might work best for you.

        As for the heat ... yeah. People do continue to ride throughout the summer, but I personally do not like to compete in July/August. A lot of people do, though. Overall, it's a very horsey area, it's just that things are spread apart, and an 8 mile commute can take 45 minutes or more every day depending on where you are.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Classic Melody View Post
          As for the heat ... yeah. People do continue to ride throughout the summer, but I personally do not like to compete in July/August. A lot of people do, though.
          The biggest issue I've noticed with summer isn't so much the heat/humidity, but the footing. Seems like it always dries out badly at some point and the ground can be very, very hard.
          "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

          My CANTER blog.

          Comment


          • #6
            traffic aside, it's a great area! Where will he possibly be? (I'm at APG). There
            s areas around here to suit everybody. You can find places that are out of the way, or smack dab in the middle of things. There are farms and trainers to suit every need, price, and personality too! But yes, GETTING the job first is important, and that will determine where to look, because that will make a huge difference on where you look (and prices!). Best of luck to him!

            oh, and you do get used to the weather. I usually work days, so I ride in the evenings, around 5or 6. Usually pretty decent out by then. And there are TONS of small schooling events within an hour of me. I'm in Harford County.

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            • #7
              What type of government position would he be looking for?

              There is also Pax River Navy Base in southern Maryland. Quite a few government jobs down here.

              As you get closer to DC the traffic can make you insane at times. I have had to go into Arlington for work and have been ready to curse everybody out on the beltway.

              Also the closer you get to DC the more expensive board is. You go further from DC the board $$ drops but it is a long trip to DC.
              OTTB - Hurricane Denton - Kane - the big dog!
              Tuggy - RIP 9/12/2016 - Wait for me at the bridge
              Foster LolaMaria AKA LolaBean (Boxer)

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              • #8
                The trick is considering where he might be (like others have mentioned).

                There will be a HUGE difference in where you want to live and board if he's working in downtown DC or if he ends up over in Annapolis, or up at Aberdeen (on the other side of Baltimore!) or down at Andrews (southeast side of the Beltway) or down in Northern Virginia or wherever.

                If you know he's mostly only applying at places that are only located in one particular area (or two areas), then you might be able to narrow your search. If he's applying at a lot of places or at an agency with a lot of satellite locations where he might be posted but still be in the Baltimore/Washington "area"...it gets more iffy.

                HOWEVER, you're definitely in a good spot for eventing, from what I've seen, and plenty of barns around here seem to do turnout. I've seen a lot of places out in western Howard county (along I-70), down in Montgomery county (Damascus/Gaithersburg/Potomac areas) that would likely suit.

                I'd suggest taking a gander periodically through the Equiery classifieds and see what barns might interest you. The Equiery also has a riding and boarding stables directory (click the "horsin' around in Maryland" link) that might give you some good leads too. Plus you can search in the classifieds to see what kinds of shows and events are coming up.
                The Trials and Jubilations of a Twenty-Something Re-rider
                Happy owner of Kieran the mostly-white-very-large-not-pony.

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                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thanks guys! If this happens we really do hope to live close/on the Metro so the commute is more reliable and less at the whim of car accidents, weather, etc. Both of us did the Boston commute for years before the luxury of Maine and would hate to go back to 90 -120 minute commutes.

                  Currently he is looking at Dept of Army and IRS positions. I believe both state Metro DC as the location but we've been told that once you are in the system, your resume is available to other areas so it's completely open to opportunity.

                  I do know I'm jumping the gun but he really needs something new before the end of the year unless there is a major change at his current position and that would take a force of nature to happen. My first hope is that we end up back in Boston but that market isn't exactly booming right now.

                  Caffeinated, thanks for the suggestion about the SSA (even though they aren't hiring)! I agree, Baltimore would be a better option for us with young children, horses and dogs.

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                  • #10
                    This area is fabulous for eventing! I used to be in Area I, and it doesn't even compare to down here There are more green bean events and shows than you can imagine, so no worries there! You can make the commute work. Once you find out where your husband's job is, and where your job will be, you can plan where to live and where to board as your "triangle commute" as I like to call it! Traffic can be bad, but you can work around it. I get into work by 7:30am each day and am out by 4 and don't hit much traffic at all. My barn is 25 mins (without traffic) from my work in DC, and my horse has a lovely 6 acre pasture with a few other horses, indoor, outdoor ring, trails, etc. 6 acres probably seems small to a lot of people, but it's certainly enough to let them romp around and the grass stays nice. So, moral of the story, you'll figure out the horse situation once you know what's going on in the rest of your life. There are loads of options, you just have to look for them! So come back on this board when you have things more firm and we'll help you find a nice place for your horse to live

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                    • #11
                      It IS possible to live here and have a Metro commute to work and an ok commute to your horse. However, all things are relative- what long time DC Metro area horse people consider an ok or good commute to their horses can often leave newbies reeling. Depending on how in you want/need to be, you should expect 45 min or more to get to your horse.

                      I have dealt with a lot of clients who insist upon living very close in who struggle with the commute to their horses. My suggestion would always be to live further out, closer to the end of a Metro line (ie, if you live near the Shady Grove metro- Germantown, Gaithersburg, etc, etc- you can be to Metro Center in 30 min) you can get to a lot more decent boarding facilities in short order (our farm is about 15-20 min from Shady Grove but it feels like another world). You may even be able to find a little elbow room, but still have the convenience of the Metro. Knowing where your husband will be working will also make a HUGE difference on where you house and barn shop, though, I also know plenty of people who live on one side of the river and DRIVE to the other for work (one of our clients lives in Gaithersburg but works in LEESBURG...on the map that may not look too bad, but it sucks).

                      As for eventing, there is no better place to be. You can spit and get decent (if not world class) help, and when your horse is old enough you'll be blown away by the choices and loving not having to give up your ENTIRE weekend for an event (most events are one days and since you can get to many, many events within an hour or two, you won't have to stable, do hotels, miss work/family time, etc, etc, etc). There are lots of unrecognized options, too (several of the bigger venues, such as Waredaca and Loch Moy Farm/MD Horse Trials, host both popular rec and unrec events. Not to mention many other smaller venues and the fact that you can get to Fair Hill, another fabulous venue, with in a couple of hours and enjoy either rec or unrec events there, too). And THAT'S just the eventing...you can be VERY busy and get that young horse all sorts of mileage.

                      As for summers, well, they may be hot, humid and the footing might turn to concrete (we avoid events in July and August unless we travel to Area 1), but our summers are not nearly as brutal as Maine's winters are! You'll miss a lot less riding due to our heat than you probably do now due to cold, nasty winters.

                      I say this often, but I think is a pretty cool place to live. Yes, the traffic sucks and it is expensive, but you've got a pretty cool city with all sorts of interesting things to do AND some of the best the horse world has to offer all within 50 miles or so of the district. Hard to beat, if I do say so myself.
                      Amanda

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Sadiegem View Post
                        Thanks guys! If this happens we really do hope to live close/on the Metro so the commute is more reliable and less at the whim of car accidents, weather, etc. Both of us did the Boston commute for years before the luxury of Maine and would hate to go back to 90 -120 minute commutes.
                        Apparently you don't know much about Metro! Reliable isn't exactly the word I would use to describe it. Unless you mean "The Red Line reliably breaks down during the evening rush."
                        Visit my Spoonflower shop

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by yellowbritches View Post
                          I say this often, but I think is a pretty cool place to live. Yes, the traffic sucks and it is expensive, but you've got a pretty cool city with all sorts of interesting things to do AND some of the best the horse world has to offer all within 50 miles or so of the district. Hard to beat, if I do say so myself.
                          Ditto . We are very lucky to have the resources here that we do- whether it be horsey, jobs, schools, entertainment, access to amazing medical care (for us AND our critters!). It's not perfect (traffic, expensive real estate, etc) but by growing up here and getting used to all of it, I am not sure I could imagine living anywhere else.

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                          • Original Poster

                            #14
                            Sonoma City...I love you...

                            6 acres is huge! I know not really but right now my girls have a 2 acre field, tiny 1/2 acre field and dirt sacrifice paddocks. Just knowing that such a place exists without a 2 hour drive outside of the DC area makes me feel better.

                            Analise, thank you for the equiry link. There is an ad for a retirement place in MD which would be like something I would be looking for to keep my arthritic drafty mare. And it is affordable, even for Maine standards!

                            Luckily, I work from home so we only have to contemplate one commute and job change. My only stipulation is that we have an extra room that can be my office and do double duty as a guest bedroom as both family will just die if we leave the New England area.

                            I'm starting to feel better (which means now it won't happen!)...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As others have mentioned the DC metro area is great for eventers. Where I live and board in MD it is less than 1 hours drive to Maryland Horse Trials, Seneca Valley PC, Waredaca, Rubicon, Morven Park, and Loudoun PC. Many of these places have one or 2 (or more) events a year - recognized, unrecognized etc. The trick is going to be A) husband getting the job and B) finding a place to live. Some commutes are easier to than others. I'm probably a bit biased but having lived in Alexandria, VA worked in DC and MD I found that riding in VA was not practical (traffic) Now I live in MD, work in VA but still ride in MD. If job is inside the beltway - and particularly if in DC, then MD might be the best option for home for you and horse. Fortunately you will have a good selection of barns/trainers in the area too. keep us posted and we can offer up more advise if the job comes to fruition..

                              The humidity can be bad...but bearable

                              Best of luck.

                              Comment

                              • Original Poster

                                #16
                                Awww...Red Mares

                                It's okay, I'm used to commuting on the Red Line in Boston, which is useless unless the weather is a perfect 72 degrees with crystal clear skies. But, I had heard that the Metro is excellent. I've been on it several times as a tourist but never as a commuter.

                                Thanks YellowBritches! I did a quick realtor search this morning and focused on the end of the Metro lines (I did warn you, I'm slightly insane with the planning for no real reason) and found some homes in our price range that I wouldn't cry to live in. A 30 minute commute is nothing! In fact, that would even be an improvement from his Maine commute.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  The IRS has a big facility here in the Eastern Panhandle, as does the Coast Guard. Don't forget that the MARC train comes out here. My Father commuted from our farm into Washington for 20+ years.
                                  There are lots of facilities here, and available real estate, and we are still close to everything, including UL eventers and foxhunting.
                                  One thing you can give and still keep is your word.

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                                  • #18
                                    You want a great reason to move to the area? You can go to an event pretty much every weekend of the season without driving more than an hour and a half The only time I have driven further than that was when we went to AECs. You also have event trainer options galore.
                                    The barn/work/home commute can be tough but it can be managed and the more flexible you are on certain things (using metro or whether you go to MD or VA or when you commute to the barn) the better your options will be. It also takes some planning about where you live in relation to where you work and where you board and everybody has different preferences (personally you could not pay me to either live or board anywhere in Virginia that required ever driving on Route 66 but I know people who do it and say it works for them). I personally think there are more close, good boarding/riding options in Maryland than VA but that is just MO.
                                    Since I have lived here, I have either lived in NW DC or in Bethesda within sight of the DC line. Right now my commute to work is 10-25 minutes depending on what time I drive in (30 minutes if I bike) and 35-45 minutes to the barn (non-rush hour). Totally doable for me. You could also live further out but close to a metro stop, and use metro to get to work and live closer to the barn.
                                    In general if your commute (either to work or the barn) involves driving at rush hour and the beltway or Rte 270 or Rte 66, then add lots of time to any commute. I took the red line to work for years and rarely had a problem with break downs but maybe I just got lucky.
                                    As for weather- I am still at heart a New Englander and the humidity can be tough. During the week, I usually ride in the evening after it has started to cool down a bit- the early morning thing works too. I do not compete in July and August- not only is it way too hot for me, but the ground is usually pretty hard both for competing (although many events do lots to alleviate this) and conditioning.
                                    Of all the large cities I have lived in and near (one of which was Boston)- this one is the easiest to have horses in.
                                    There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.(Churchill)

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      ditto with most of all what the other COTHers posted here, except to add...from one riding Mom with small kids to another, childcare in the DC area is HUGELY expensive. It (almost more than the cost of riding) is one reason why I don't ride as much as I would like to do. If you plan on riding in the evening (as I used to do with a 3 year old and an infant) and you have to wait for your husband to get home from work to watch the kids, his arrival depends on metro/traffic (both unpredictable), and you will still be dealing with traffic on the major thru-ways, sometimes until 7 or 8 pm at night. Weekends are obviously better, but again, if you are a detail nut (as I am), factor in not only board, real estate, job, commute, etc., but also reliable child care while you're riding!
                                      “Always saddle your own horse. Always know what you’re doing. And go in the direction you are heading.” Connie Reeves
                                      Jump Start Solutions LLC

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Sadiegem... take it from one planner to another. Wait til your husband has job interviews/offers before thinking about what area you want to live in. It'll make you nuts to consider all the different logistics without that key element. And then come back here and everyone will give you excellent advice on where/where not to live

                                        Reality check for those who do not take the metro every day - it has greatly deteriorated in the last few years. You can look at metro's fare calculator for ride times, but add at least 15 min, and transferring is a real hassle. Parking + metroing in from the outskirts can cost upwards of $12-15 a day. Not that driving is much better. Still, as the OP has lived in Boston, I'm sure she'll manage.

                                        I would actually disagree with yellowbritches' advice to live near your barn. Nope, live near your husband's work. You want time together. The barn is an extra, and you don't have to go there every day. Limit you/your family's daily commute when you can.

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