So you’ve decided to move. Welcome to one of the most exciting and stressful events of your life! Whether it’s because a job transfer, to be closer to family, or needing a change in life, the biggest part of the move is, “where will I live?” That question refers to both location and the type of housing you will acquire on the other side of your move. Because you are reading this blog, I’m going to assume the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia is on your list. So lets look at picking a location within the panhandle in this edition of the “Welcome Mat”
One factor that you will need to consider is how far from work am I willing to live? In my opinion this is one of the biggest questions you will face. My father in law once gave some great advice: “you will visit your job 5 days a week, you will visit friends and family less than that.” Answering this question will help you narrow down your search from many communities to just a handful. While some prefer to live closer to work and have a short commute, others prefer to have a longer commute and potentially get more house for their money by living outside of a large city. We are lucky here in Berkeley and Jefferson counties because this area offers both! If you are willing to take the MARC Train (either from Martinsburg or Harpers Ferry) your options of working in Northern VA and Washington D.C. are endless. If you prefer to have a short commute that allows you to go home on lunch to let the dog out you can find that as well. Personally I enjoy a short commute because that means more family time.
Once you have a short list of communities, I think it’s important to visit those communities if you are able. Sure there are websites that provide the stats of an area: the different restaurants, entertainment options, etc., but actually spending a day in that community’s city center will allow you to see first hand all it has to offer and in some cases what it doesn’t.
When my family was faced with moving from Colorado to the Panhandle we planned a trip out for a weekend. We spent time in both Martinsburg and in Charles Town/Ranson to be able to make a well informed decision. That also allowed us to be able to gage commute times in case we found a home outside of the larger communities in the area. No one knows yours and your family’s expectations better than you, so knowing what amenities are high on the priority list is crucial to make sure you pick a community that will fit the needs of your family.
One of the biggest “pluses” to the Panhandle was the fact that D.C and Baltimore are within a few short hours. We knew that, while there may not be as many “fine dining” places and Broadway theater productions, we were only a short drive away from some major metropolitan areas. Not having to deal with the traffic and cost of living of those places but still being able to visit was a major draw for us to live in the Martinsburg area. We enjoy living in Berkeley County because it feels like everyone is welcome — from our very first trip the people we encountered were extremely nice and helpful. We enjoy the local festivals, being in close proximity to hiking, and other other outdoor recreation the region has to offer.
In my opinion the Panhandle has something for everyone and I encourage you and your family spend a weekend here so you can fall in love with it too!