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Virginia Beach?
Old 04-21-2008, 05:27 AM   #1
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Virginia Beach?

Still searching for where to retire and on paper VB seems to fit our criteria best (no place that we're willing to afford is perfect). Before I go visit, thought I'd solicit comments good or bad from anyone with first hand knowledge.

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Old 04-21-2008, 06:12 AM   #2
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I lived on the dividing line between Norfolk and Virginia Beach in 1976, when my ex was stationed at the main Naval base at Norfolk. The area has a high percentage of Navy families. I really liked Virginia Beach, but my ex felt it was a trashy low/middle class tourist town. Every now and then it is hit by a tropical storm or hurricane. It is within easy driving distance of Cape Hatteras as well as Williamsburg, both of which are fun to visit as day trips. We also enjoyed exploring the DelMarVa peninsula, which at that time was a relatively remote area. And, Virginia Beach is not that far from D.C. and Baltimore. Virginia Beach is part of a larger metro area including Norfolk, Portsmouth, and so on, called the Tidewater area. Some parts of those areas are slummy, but Virginia Beach struck me as more reasonable than, say, some parts of Portsmouth which were "lock your car doors and don't stop" neighborhoods even back then. I think Virginia Beach is an interesting, and possibly nice choice for retirement! Perhaps someone who has been there lately, or you (after your visit) can let us know what it is like now. My information is a third of a century old.

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Old 04-22-2008, 05:17 AM   #3
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I think it's a great choice, especially for sailing-boating enthusiats. Sure, some city oriented low rent districts but that is true of anywhere, and there are so many choices with great waterfront locations away from the rough spots. Plenty of opportunity for relying on OPB (other peoples boats). I've driven through the worst of rush hour and it generally pales in comparison to problem cities. You can head up to Poquoson or as far north as Matthews if you want "less city, more country" or west towards Smithfield. RE Prices coming down steadily. VB itself is a bit more pricey and resort oriented. We are about 1 1/2 hour south in the OBX but frequent the Tidewater area quite a bit. Lots of things to do. Good luck in the search.
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Old 04-22-2008, 05:43 AM   #4
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I live in Northern Virginia and have been to Virginia Beach many times. As others have mentioned, there are nice neighborhoods and some not so nice ones too. Really no different from any other city in this regard. Overall, I like the area. Nice beach and lots of nearby attractions.
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Old 04-22-2008, 06:10 AM   #5
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I am originally from the area and lived there the last time in the late 80's. I am currently in VA, about 3 hrs. away.

I just visited there 2 weeks ago ironically, for a quick spring break camping trip with our RV.

The area truly offers a wide array of opportunities but, it does depend on what you are looking for. It has grown and continues to grow at a fast pace. Geographically, it is will continue to grow.

The area offers high recreational and historical opportunities. On the other hand, it is a fairly large metropolitan area (Hampton Roads)...34th largest in the US with about 1.6 M people.

It can seem that there are more people than that though because of the road situation. There is a lot of water in the area that plays in to the travel grid. For example, there are more tunnels in this area than any area in the U.S. With weekend beach traffic, you don't want to try and use the tunnels - or at least you have to travel at odd hours.

Norfolk is the largest Naval base in the US. It influences much of what goes on there...both the good and the bad.

Chesapeake and Suffolk are somewhat adjacent to VB. They too are growing and geographically large and give easy access to the area's amenities.

Any questions, feel free to PM me.
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Old 04-24-2008, 03:51 PM   #6
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Negatives (in my opinion): overcrowded, too much military presence (or are jet fighters screaming in the sky 24 hours a day ok by you?), jet fuel on your car, and lousy road system. Racially, not my cup of (white) tea, too much and correspondingly high crime area (Norfolk, anyone?). I've vacationed there twice, and I wouldn't go back if you paid me. To be fair, I stayed in cheaper accomodations both times. As said, there are nicer areas. It's just that, the luxury, resort areas seemed pretty darn small in proportion to all the negatives the area has to offer. I guess a area where the late great Gratful Dead (rock band) used to tour (Hampton) can't be all bad.

-- Pedorrero, who lived in No. VA most of his life and still doesn't understand why you can't drive on the Hampton Roads or read the Newport News. And still snickers when you can say "Norfolk" in polite company and no one bats an eyelash
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Old 05-04-2008, 11:03 AM   #7
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I lived in Portsmouth VA for a couple of years just before ER. Whether VB, Norfolk or Portsmouth your going to have to deal with traffic problems, crime, the noise and over crowding high taxes and badly behaved residents. I had a boat there on the river and went sailing as often as my job would allow. Dodging commercial vessels was exciting.
I didn't buy in VB because of the Navy Base with its Jet noise heck you had to wait for them to fly past you to talk outside some homes. The drivers there had no sense of courtesy and a few were aggressive. Needless to say I don't miss some aspects of the Hampton Roads area. As far as sailing goes there are better options further up the Bay IMHO.
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:50 PM   #8
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ehhh....i felt va beach was kind of scummy...we stayed in a decent hotel for a week vacation a few years back and i didnt dig it too much....
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Old 05-05-2008, 06:35 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by thefed View Post
ehhh....i felt va beach was kind of scummy...we stayed in a decent hotel for a week vacation a few years back and i didnt dig it too much....
I don't know if they have solved the violence problem around the bars on the beach or not. While I lived in the area there was a lot of fights, stabbings and shootings after the bars closed most of the perps were college age people with the occasional career criminal thrown in the mix. The Navy weren't the problem at the bars it was outsiders. I know the local government was trying to curb the violence and was having spotty results a couple of years ago.

There are neighborhoods that are very nice and you can avoid trouble spots and bad traffic can be avoided most of the time with planning. However the taxes cannot be avoided. I know some folks from the North East think it is a bargain compared to where they are coming from, that just means they were paying more not that Virginia is a low tax haven for retirees. I found the utilities and local fees for things like trash pick up vehicle taxes, boat taxes and parking permits to be outrageous, and they were constantly going up. I would live there again if someone paid me, but I don't come cheap.

If you feel you must live there do your research and pick your neighborhood wisely.


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