I was born and raised in New Hampshire. My wife, 2 daughters, 8 & 10, and myself moved down to Charlottesville (C'ville) last August. WE ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT HERE!! The scenery with its farms, rolling hills, and trees. The weather--oh my G_d. It was 70 degrees last December! I know, it was a little unusual, but still beats the cold and snow up in New Hampshire!! Anyway, I wanted to take a moment to fill you in on some "things" we discovered during our relocation.
1. We were interested in moving to Charlottesville. We found out that "Charlottesville" means the city of Charlottesville--with the University, the Downtown Mall, and Rte 250 East and West transecting the northern part of the city, etc. Charlottesville is located pretty centrally in Albemarle County. So we actually live in Albemarle, even though our mailing address is Charlottesville. Other towns in Albemarle are Crozet, Ivy, Earlysville, Scottsville, North Garden, Keswick, Mount Alto, Advance Mills, and Bolling Siding.
2. Albemarle is governed by a Board of Supervisors. Albemarle County Information We pay taxes to the county. The county building is located in downtown C'ville. Charlottesville has its own ruling government separate from Albemarle. City of Charlottesville Information However, some of our taxes go directly to C'ville.
4. If you go with Direct TV (in order to get NFL Sunday Ticket--very important) you cannot get local stations. We tried twice to get waiver and they said not in Charlottesville...?
5. They finally got ComCast here the middle of this past year. Comcast bought out Adelphia. We have our internet through ComCast.
6. Verizon is everywhere around C'ville (Richmond, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Lynchburg, etc.) but not IN C'ville, yet. They said they would be here in a few months. I'm holding out 'till then 'cause I hear nothing good about NTelos, Sprint, ATT, and Cingular.
7. When you go to closing on your new home? Don't be weirded out that you're all alone at the closing table! They don't do simulataneous closings here like we're used to! And your mortgage person and Realtor usually don't come either! Everywhere else around the region they do simultaneous closings--with the buyer and seller sitting at the same table. But not here in C'ville. The wife and I had no idea...we thought the seller was mad at us for some reason? We had no idea they did our closing then went somewhere else to close with the sellers! We're STILL trying to get our garage door opener combo and some information about the appliances--which would have been pretty simple had we ever been able to speak with the sellers!
8. And only in C'ville is it recommended by Realtors that you gotta get a lawyer for the home purchase! Not us, we'll use a closing company everytime. The practice is slowly changing as more people see the light--heck, even real estate attorneys are buying into title companys! Some of the best known lawyers in C'ville were, until lately, advertising in all their brochures about the horrors of using title companys. Then soon after? They go and open their own--yup, you guessed it--title company! Pretty funny. Even they see the writing on the walls. Lawyers are capturing less and less of the closing business 'cause consumers are demanding change.
9. They cancel school here for weather. Last August it rained pretty steadily. Got a call from Hollymead Elementary school (in Forest Lakes) to come pick up the kids--school was closing? Huh? Yup, with all the hilly, one-lane bridges, etc. they had to call school 'cause of flooding and impassability of many roads in the outlying areas of the county. One snow storm of a couple inches closed school last winter for 3 days! (Hollymead PTO) My wife teaches in C'ville proper and they only closed one day--different from Albemarle's 3 days. So we had a day care "situation". Same could happen if you work at UVA in C'ville and live out in the county like us.
10. Charlottesville Airport is a gorgeous facility. But...it is usually about $200-300 more to fly in and out of and flights get cancelled regulary. Also, you fly here to a connector, usually Charlotte NC, Atlanta, Philly, Cleveland, or Chicago. No direct flights. Found that Richmond Airport, an hour and 15 away, is easy to get to, easy to park and get in and out of, reasonably priced, etc. etc.
11. One thing we weren't used to is the naming and placement on maps of neighborhoods. Pretty cool. So you can live in Carrsbrook and actually find it on the map. Several well known neighborhoods: Hollymead, Forest Lakes--North and South, Woodbrook, Fontana, Key West, and Mill Creek.
12. There are a whole bunch of wineries within an easy drive of C'ville. Virginia wine? Supposedly up and coming. I'll let you taste and decide. But the wineries themselves make for a wonderful visit and picnic. Very beautiful and there are often special events sponsored at or by each winery at different times of the year and seasonally.
13. The Downtown Mall is the central focus of C'ville. It is a half mile long pedestrian food and shopping indoor outdoor mall. Banks, antique stores, art gallerys, restaurants, boutiques, fountains and sculptures all anchored at one end by an outdoor open air theater called the Pavillion (at the East end of the mall) and on the other end by the Omni Hotel and the indoor ice rink (open year round! COOL). There is a free trolley that stops at different places north and south of the mall and also allows access to all points in The University of Virginia (UVA).
14. ArtInPlace: cool to see art sculptures on several major thourough fares in the city. Some are funny, some very beautiful. Nice touch, Charlottesville! I like it!