From DC to Crozet

Ed note: The following is the story, courtesy of Sara Gould, one who has moved to the Charlottesville area and works in Crozet – what is likely to be an emerging trend as jobs grow in Crozet. Bolding is mine.

I used to live in DC.  Crystal City in Arlington, VA to be exact, but an apartment with a view of the Pentagon and the Washington Monument sure felt close enough to call it DC.  My commute that summer consisted of walking 5 minutes to the metro, a 20 minute ride with 1 train change, and then a 10 minute walk to my office at the Navy Yard. I loved that commute, and the walking was great for my health.

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After six months there my work assignment ended, but I decided to stay in the area instead of going back to New Jersey.  Having cats, and loving to kayak, I ended up seeking open spaces outside of town.  Why rent a one bedroom box on the 15th floor in the city when, for the same price, one can have a whole house on the water 35 miles away?  So I traded a view of the monuments for a view of the Maggothy River.  It was gorgeous!  I could watch osprey and herons from my living room. I was job hunting when I rented it, but happily found a new one quickly.  Ironically, it ended up being located half a block from my old apartment in Crystal City.  If I had stayed I would have had the easiest commute ever!

My new 35 mile commute was from the Annapolis area on Route 50.  As far as DC commutes go, it wasn’t bad.  It was long, but the traffic flowed and I got to work in just over an hour.  My two co-workers were driving up from Spotslyvania.  They met the van-pool every morning at 4:45am.  Compared to them, my commute was a piece of cake.

The worst part about living in DC was that my boyfriend lived in Charlottesville.  He loved coming to the city to see me, but was traveling a lot for work. Most Fridays I sit in the Northern VA traffic jam on I-66, trying to meet him in Charlottesville for the weekend.  That 30-mile stretch to get to Route 29 often took an hour and a half.  It was horrid!  It definitely put a damper on the beginning of my weekends.  Traffic on Fridays started at noon.  I don’t know who those people were who worked a couple of hours and then then left off for the weekend, but it seemed like the whole city was trying to leave by the same road, and by the time I joined them we all were getting nowhere fast.

Last June my boyfriend and I started house shopping.  He got a promotion at his job and asked me to come to Charlottesville to be with him.  From visiting for two years I knew I liked the area, and I was happy to escape Washington, or at least to escape the traffic.

I moved the first weekend in October and ended up with a job here in Crozet.  Our home is just off exit 120 on I-64, so my new commute is about 16 miles each way.  I work from 8 to 5 and don’t have to leave home until 7:40.  The only part of my commute where I find traffic is between exit 120 and 118.  I just move over to the left and let all of the other cars head up Route 29.  From then on, I’m almost by myself on the highway.

While it might be nice to be closer to Charlottesville so I could eat lunch on the downtown mall sometimes, I love the fact that in Crozet I have the grocery store right next door and can walk to several places for lunch.  The Mexican restaurant (La Cocina del Sol) is the best I’ve found anywhere since I left DC.

Now that I’m a home owner, I plan to stay put for a while.  For the first time since college, I really enjoy my job, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for downtown Crozet.

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