would like to hear from people in Virginia

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I would like to hear from anyone in Virginia about their area. We live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and would like to move to the hills of Virginia in a few years, but not sure where. Looking for an area where the homesteading ideas are understood, somewhat close livestock auctions and reasonable real estate prices. Our area is becoming so tourist oriented, not many real country people left. We lived in southern Tennessee for five years and thought we were in heaven! Would like to move back, but so far away from family (some in Virginia). Please give us your thoughts, good or bad, about your area. Thanks.

-- Amy Tarr (amy_tarr@hotmail.com), July 15, 2001


Hi Amy,

there are a few of us on here that live in VA. Well.... we used to, moved 2 months ago to Arkansas. We moved to VA 8 yrs ago, first to the Northern Neck, Colonial Beach. Lived there in a sub-division for a yr, couldn't stand it, missed the country and since property was outrageous there we moved on down to Victoria, VA.

Land in south central VA seems to be reasonable still. However, prices are going up. Here is the KICKER::::: CLEAR CUT LOGGING.........its invading the south central area and it ruined our neighborhood! You need to be really on top of that when buying property. And let me tell you.... we moved because our entire neighborhood turned into a war zone. they make a mess! And don't fall for any realtors claims that you can get clear-cut land cheap. The price of clear-cut is going for ..... get ready for this one.... $1,000 an acre in Lunenburg County. I about fell over when I called the realtor about purchasing the mess in front of us. Well... needless to say it increased our property value and we sold. Then a developer from Fla bought the land and is now devloping it. And this was in the boonies, 8 miles of dirt roads to ge tto a main highway! So ask lots of questions about logging.

another issue to find out about, low level flying planes, we had problems with these when we first moved onto our farm. I had to call the USAF and they were astonishingly great about it and detoured their routes. But that may be an issue when buying.

As for other things.... I personally liked the area near to Charlottesville, close to the mountains so its cool in the summer, close to stores, good medical facilities, etc. i was driving 2 hrs one way to get to our dr and my classes at UVA. You will find in some areas of VA that its a long ways to stores, especially Wal- Marts, grocery stores and hospitals. Pretty much in most areas of VA, other than the Northern Neck and near DC, the homesteading ways are welcomed. As for livestock auctions, the ones we went to were in Blackstone, VA, which is a fairly big one and in Victoria, a local smaller one. I know there is a really nice auction in Culpepper too. Danville, VA also has a good auction.

I will say this, if you have children in school you may want to consider selecting your school carefully. i taught in a few of VA's public schools and do not recommend many, and the further south you go the worse the school system seems to be. again, charlottesville and the surrounding counties within a 60 mile radius have good schools.

hope this helps.


-- Bernice (geminigoats@yahoo.com), July 15, 2001.

Hi Amy, We are moving in 2 weeks to the Wytheville area. It is beautiful there with mountains in view and nice and cool in the summer. There is plenty of medical facilities, a brand new Walmart superstore, Lowes, K-Mart and tons of resturants, etc. Has a nice old fashion downtown with an old movie theature in operation. I kept expecting to see Andy and Aunt Bea pass by! Real estate is very reasonable. We have 7 acres, pond, creek, 10 room 75 yr old farm house (fully restored), spring (capped and runs into the house as backup water source), heat is either by wood, electric or propane (choice of 3 types which is great), basement, attic, huge barn with loft, chicken coop for over 100 chickens, 3 car garage, and 4 other outbuildings, fully fenced in barb wire (needs a few posts repaired), 2 garden spots, apple, pear and plum trees, grape arbor, and 3 black walnut trees, new septic tank and good well. Picked it up $110,000. There are a lot of other places in the area much cheaper if you don't mind some fixing up or a mobile home or don't mind being out of town a bit further. I don't know about schools since we homeschool. Folks there seem very friendly and helpful and it located where 2 interstates come together so commuting about is easy. There is also a mall within 1/2 hour I am told. There is an antique mall just outside of town and of course, the world famous Skeeter's hotdogs are there (folks from there go nuts if you don't meantion Skeeters..LOL. Woodrow Wilson was married in that building. Best of luck finding your perfect place!

-- Karen (db0421@yahoo.com), July 15, 2001.

Hi! I live in Loudoun county, Virginia, about an hour and a half from DC. It is so beautiful here! Rolling hills and not a very harsh winter, but it is very expensive to live here. The soil is very high in clay (bright red!). Lots of cattle and horses up here. I wouldn't suggest Loudoun as a homesteading area, even though the tracts are quite big (our area was recently zoned minimum 50 acre parcels I believe), because the prices are just so high (I think they issue everyone up here a BMW). Our neighboring counties of Frederick, Clarke, and Fauquier are just as pretty and much cheaper (but a harder commute to DC). Good Luck!

-- Elizabeth (Lividia66@aol.com), July 15, 2001.

I live in Virginia but I'm afraid I can't help you much as I live in an area that is quite expensive. I live in Stafford which is forty miles south of DC because I must commute into DC to work. I did end up with the best of both worlds because I get a good income from the city and hubby is able to stay home and take care of the six and a half acre homestead. We bought this property eight years ago but with the way real estate has gone up, I would not be able to afford it if I were buying it today. One thing I would recommend is to find out what the weather is like in the area you are interested. There can be areas that get a lot of thunder storms and there can be areas that seem to not get much rain. If you live in the mountain area, you need to consider how far you will commute to work because those mountain roads tend to get icy in winter storms. The winters here tend to be those borderline ones not quite rain but not quite snow either and they end up being sleet which then becomes ice. I would much rather deal with two feet of snow then one inch of ice since you can't really get around on ice. The summers here are also very humid and generally hot (high 90s). I'm from New Hampshire and have difficulty dealing with the summers but get around it most of the time by gardening in the early morning and evening when it is a little more tolerable. I do love March through June and September through December though because the weather is quite pleasant. The trade off is worth it because not having severe winters allows me a longer gardening season. Virginia tends to be pretty friendly to Agriculture but you need to check your local zoning before you buy to make sure you can have animals if you want them. They are very friendly to horses and even have subdivisions that allow horses but they won't allow other livestock so watch out for those. If your house is in an agricultural zone, you should be fine. That is what we have and we don't run into any problems. One neighbor has horses and the other has chickens and has had goats although they don't have them now but I see they are building a new fence so I suspect they are getting ready to add some kind of animals. Overall, I would recommend Virginia as a nice state to live in unless you have breathing problems if you live in a humid area. Keep us all posted on how your search goes.

-- Colleen (pyramidgreatdanes@erols.com), July 16, 2001.

We live in Rappahannock County. We moved here 14 years ago when prices were reasonable. Now you must be wealthy.

There are still bargains to be had in Virginia, mainly in the southwestern part of the state. That area is losing population.

-- walt (longyear@shentel.net), July 16, 2001.

Hi, folks! We live in Rockbridge county, near Lexington, right now and are thinking about moving to Floyd county in the near future. Anywhere within commuting distance to DC is very expensive, but down where we are, land is more reasonable. Don't know about livestock auctions near here as we aren't doing that yet. But there are lots of cattle, beef and dairy, in this area so I imagine there are auctions nearby. Lexington area is very "mainstream" in my opinion and building codes and inspectors tend to be focused on the-way-everyone-does-it. Alternative ways of building are possible, but an uphill struggle. Composting toilets are just now being accepted, after 20 years of good experience with folks who pioneered them. The deer populations have exploded and they are a major problem - everyone with a garden has 8 to 9 foot fences around them to keep the deer out.

In Floyd county, the alternative ways ARE mainstream. Lots and lots and lots of owner built homes, greywater systems, etc. No major problems with deer altho the occasional bear comes thru during mating season. Bear tend to go out of their way to avoid people and homes and I haven't heard of anyone who had any problems with them. Lots of woods and undeveloped areas all over that county - plenty of room for people and bears as long as everything stays respectful. People there tend to be very concerned with ecology and the environment. Most folks I know grow gardens without pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, etc.

Both places are in the mountains and the climate is WONDERFUL! I have good friends in Floyd and they live without air condiditoning and without suffering for it, as we do here. Shutting up the house in the late morning and using fans for the few hot hours during the day is very comfortable. Water, from great springs or drilled wells, is easy to find and drilling a well is reasonably prices. The water, straight from the ground, is great.

Lexington area is a boom town for retired folks. Good paying, full time jobs can be a problem - depends on your job skills - but there are plenty of part time jobs available. Lots of demand for organically grown produce, eggs, etc. Some folks raise beef and chicken without the antibiotic and/or hormone-laced feed and there is more demand than can be met. I believe the same is true for the Floyd area.

Carol Mora

-- Carol Mora (carollm@rockbridge.net), July 17, 2001.

Hi Amy - we live in southwest VA, in the beautiful Appalachian Mountains. Specifically, it's Tazewell County. We live on a small homestead where I breed American Bashkir Curly horses, have Romney and Shetland sheep. I do a lot of Agri-tourism activities to pay the bills. There are livestock auctions here in Tazewell, in Narrows, Wytheville and several places across the line in WV. Land prices are about what they are anywhere in rural areas. There's a farm up the road for sale - 2 story, 5 bedrooms, 2 bath, brick house, built in 1933 for 1 owner, now deceased, 40 acres but house needs a bit of TLC and the asking price is $140,000. There is also a 400 acre parcel that goes along with the house & 40 acres but that's extra $$. Loads of "old" families around who farm "the way grandpap did" and not particularly open to new ideas but as the mortgages were paid off 3 generations ago, I don't suppose they need to be but so innovative. And, of course, that's only the way I see it and I'm perfectly willing to be wrong. Often am, as a matter of fact.

This is a good place to live but I can't speak to the school system as we don't have children. Most of my friends home school so maybe that tells a story.

This is the second time I've ever posted at this Forum and don't know if I can tell you my web address or not. If I can, let me know and you can see a bit of what "beautiful one day, perfect the next" looks like. I love living in a rural area and on our farm. There are drawbacks but not as many as living in an urban setting...at least to my mind. If you have questions for me, I'd be happy to try and answer. At the very least, I can give you an opinion .

Time to feed the critters and beasties.

Sandra Bennett bricbenn@netscope.net

-- Sandra Bennett (bricbenn@netscope.net), December 30, 2001.

well the shenandoah valley is by far the prettiest with a extremly good enonomy.tourist sometimes buy a house the first vist here because they fall hard in love with the place.if you visit friday saturday or sunday, you can expect it to smell because the farmers throw out thier animal waste on weekends to drive away tourists, because tourists are literly a threat to farm country.farm country is like endangered spiecies in the valley here. but beware of building codes galore.

-- steve (cadiliackid@yahoo.com), January 05, 2002.

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