My husband makes regular business trips to DC for work. We are considering a move to Wiiliamsburg VA area or Annapolis MD area. What can you tell me about Family life there with small kids? Is the weather better in VA than MD? We would be first time home buyers, like ranch houses, walking in outdoor parks/shopping malls, daily mass and accessibility to Eucharistic Adoration once a week. We’re more urban than rural types but not interested in living in the Beltway. We like old historic churches and walkable neighborhoods. Is there a regional train system to DC so we don’t have to drive in? Also looking for info on weather shopping parks and schools. Thanks and God Bless
I can’t speak for Annapolis, but I live in So. MD if you’re interested in a bit of a farther commute. Quality of life and Catholic culture are overflowing here.
The commuter train doesn’t go to either of the places you’re looking at, as far as I know. You might be able to connect using Amtrak, but I’m not sure. Look at the link above.
Annapolis is closer to DC than WIlliamsburg (an hour compared to two+ hours), but more expensive and the traffic tends to be worse. However, the downtown area is quaint and walkable, and there are many Catholics in MD. That said, I would not consider Annapolis “family friendly.” There isn’t much for kids to do and it is very liberal. It’s the seat of government for MD. MD itself is horribly liberal and becoming moreso each day. Think Massachusetts, New York or California. It’s that bad.
In VA you would be in the Richmond diocese, which is fairly orthodox, especially compared with anyplace I’ve visited in MD. You’ll probably find a historic church or two in either location, though. VA is also much more conservative than MD politically, especially down as far south as Williamsburg. W’burg is more family-oriented than Annapolis, but if you’re into exotic food and whatnot, you’ll have to take a drive to Virginia Beach or NoVA. There’s plenty of GOOD food, but nothing that I’d call innovative.
As for ranch houses … I think you’ll find them in either location, but there will be more of them in Virginia. And be prepared for sticker shock. Even outside the beltway, prices are pretty high. Lucky for you, it’s a buyers’ market right now. So you may find a deal.
God bless you in your search!
Do you realize how far Williamsburg is from DC? Annapolis is not so bad, a few ppl I work with live in there. Just to warn you, the traffic here is horrible. I’m talking like rush hour lasts between 3 - 8PM in some areas. It has a lot to do with the quality of life to ppl in this area. If you like wide open spaces, this place is not for you. Not to mention Maryland is very liberal and you’ll feel like a small fish in a big pond. There are Catholics here, but not very many serious ones. Not a lot of nice folks, expensive real estate (like 1/2 million for a 3br, 2 ba house) road rage, clogged roads, crime. Umm, might want to skip it.
I’m originally from Southern Maryland, so I would suggest looking into down there if your husband doesn’t mind the commute.
If it were up to me I’d move to New Mexico, but I’m native to Maryland, my family is here, and so is my job.
Thanks for all the info. I’m from southern california so I’m used to horrible traffic, liberals and outrageous home prices. I did a comparison on sperlings best places website but it can’t tell me where to find a solid church community, My husband would prefer to drive to a train stop and take a train into dc twice a month (he works from home otherwise). Does anyone know about specific churches in either areas? One’s that have good liturgy, Eucharistic Adoration and good preists for confession? Since I’m from CA, can you tell me about the weather? God Bless
I can definitely tell you about the weather since I lived in the DC area for 7 years .
Since both are on the east coast, you will have to deal with hurricanes and/or tropical storms at least once a year. Summer storms tend to be fast and heavy since they tend to roll off the mountains there.
In winter, you have at least one nor-easter a year that will blanket the area with at least a foot (sometimes upto 3 based on where you are). These are like winter tropical storms. This snow is very heavy and will shut the whole DC area down for at least a couple of days. In addition to the nor-easters, you will also have a number of ice storms each year.
Yes, but as a transplant from Southern California myself (been here 7 years), I can tell you that fall and spring more than make up for January/February and July/August. You’ve never seen anything so beautiful as the changing leaves or the new springtime blossoms.
As for churches, I’d recommend mine, but I’m in the DC metro area (Virginia side, near Dulles Airport).
There are a number of good parishes in the densely populated areas around DC – after all, when you have dozens of parishes within easy driving distance, a few of them are bound to have a welcoming and orthodox community. I hear good things about St. Mary of the Mills in Laurel, MD. Laurel is a small city outside the beltway, although it still might be too close to DC for you.
I don’t think Catholic life in MD is as horrible as many people here say it is. DC has Catholic U, the Archdiocese and bishop’s conference, the Basilica, and many Catholic nonprofits and cultural institutions. These draw many Catholics to the area. I’ve even been hearing about plans to establish a new parish in MD (which, as you know, is very rare in America nowadays.) I grew up in rural Ohio, and the Catholic community there was absolutely dead. Half of the parishes there don’t even have priests anymore.
I also hear a lot of people on this thread stressing how liberal MD is. It’s true that the areas surrounding DC and Baltimore are very liberal, but the same would be true for VA (just try finding a Republican in Arlington.) 3 out of every 4 counties in MD voted for Bush in the 2004 election. MD is more “blue” than VA because so much of MD is urbanized, but I don’t think rural parts of MD are going to be much different from rural parts of VA.
I like it here. I was reaised here and plan to stay. I only have 4 children now and the oldest is in first grade. So far we like the school system. Another thing to consider is most of the people I know have two incomes. We have one and we are doing ok. So it can be done. Prices of houses have peeked or are have droped a little. (nothing to worry about). It seems the churches have gotten smaller in the past 10 years or so, but now you can see more people going and being more active.
We are outside of Annapolis in Riva.
Politicaly I don’t know what I am anymore. But I don’t think Maryland will see any abortion laws changed anytime soon and that is my main concern so I am always on the loosing side. (but I will keep fighting).
I use to live in the Edgewater area (south of Annapolis, but still Anne Arundel County). That is an area that is fairly conservative, the people are kind, and there are many involved Catholics. I was a parishoner and CCD teacher at Holy Family Catholic Church in Davidsonville. The pastor is AWESOME and it IS a very family friendly parish. When you move and become involved in a parish, you can learn better what and where there are more family friendly activities. Also, there are a LOT of horses in this area, so you can always take lessons as a family. Adam’s Ribs is a great family restaurant (their pulled pork is my favorite and I haven’t found any like it here in Chicagoland). The Annapolis Mall has a play area for children (my daughter had a lot of fun). You’re also so close to DC and Baltimore that you have plenty of options. My dd loved just looking at the boats in Annapolis. Also, the Easter Mass at the Naval Academy is the most beautiful I have ever attended.
gmarie, how long ago did you move away? I grew up in Shorhambeach. And go to OLPH.
I moved in 2002 and have attended Our Lady of Perpetual Help a few times. You have adoration there now, right? My dad is a KofC there (he’s a parishoner at Holy Family).
Hi Gmarie21 and Teddy
I noticed you both live(d) WSW of Annapolis. I googled the zipcodes and they both look quite nice for families yet not too far from a good sushi place ;).
Can you give me an idea how far driving time you are from Annapois Mall? Assuming traffic at noon? Could either of you opine on St Marys in Annapolis? Also what are your supermarkets? Here we have Albertsons (Jewel) and Vons (Safeway)
Thanks for the great info and God Bless
Safeway is out in MD too. Also, Giant and Food Lion (not a big fan of this store) as well as Whole Foods. The drive to Annapolis Mall is about 10-15 minutes, the drive to downtown Annapolis is about 15-20 minutes (just don’t take West, that way is longer). I never attended St. Mary’s, but their perpetual adoration chapel website is AWESOME! I wish my parish’s adoration had such a technologically advanced website (but that would require technologically advanced permanent adorers:D ). When I lived out there, I never felt like I needed to attend another parish b/c I LOVED Holy Family parish (still do). However, the only Christian bookstore in the area that sells anything Catholic is about 30 minutes away (I forgot what city, but it’s in Anne Arundal, however that was a few years ago, things may have changed). Also, in DC there is the Catholic Information Center. Get on their email list. They have WONDERFUL speakers and series.
I am about 5 min. from the mall. We shop at Giant mostly, Food Lion has the cheepest babyfood. And I always thought Safeway was not a good store because the one in Edgewater was so small. Now the new one is open, I like that best of all of them. I have only been to St Marys a couple times when I was a kid and we missed our morning service on sundays. St. Marys had and maybe has afternoon service on sundays. It is a nice old church unless they changed it in the past 15 years.
I don’t know about the adoration. My parents go to Holy Family and they have 12 or 24 hrs adoration.
this is where I go and they have links to other churches in the area.