Military Families

Anyone at Walter Reed for first duty station (or just stationed there)

I've been a KS girl my whole life, so the thought of moving halfway across the country, with a toddler, terrifies me. I'm becoming overwhelmed by the areas that are out there. 

What are the good close areas to look at and live in? We're planning on making a trip out this winter and possibly over spring break. Then the move will more than likely happen late May/early June.

Am I looking into all this too soon? 

Re: Anyone at Walter Reed for first duty station (or just stationed there)

  • Never been stationed at Walter Reed, but I lived in northwest DC for 4 years. What kind of neighborhood are you looking for? Do you want a typical suburban-type deal? More of the city feel? Are you expecting to be stationed there long enough for schools to be a consideration? If so, are you interested in public or private schools? (FYI DC/MD public schools are the worst in the nation, generally speaking)

    Are you going to have a car or do you need to be near a metro station? 

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  • Origionally we were looking at Montgomery County, MD but DH thinks it's too far for him to travel to work. We would really like to get away from apartment/townhome living unless it's guaranteed to be quiet. We live in a city of about 200k and it's big enough for me, but DH doesn't mind big city feels (he's been to DC twice and loves it). We know he'll be there at least a year, at most 4 and have looked at pre-school areas. DS will be 2.5 when we move so when he is 3.5ish he'll start pre-school a couple days a week.

    We want private school and found a great one (St Andrews) but it's in Mont. County so I don't know how doable that is.

    We each have a car we plan to bring so we don't need to be near a metro that I know of. 

  • Parking at Walter Reed is horrible. Friends that I have that are stationed there drive to work a couple hours before their shift so that they can find a parking spot, then sleep in their car until they have to report for work.

    You need to make sure you look at commute times, not just mileage when deciding if something is too far to drive or not.

  • image Green*Flamingo:

    Parking at Walter Reed is horrible. Friends that I have that are stationed there drive to work a couple hours before their shift so that they can find a parking spot, then sleep in their car until they have to report for work.

    You need to make sure you look at commute times, not just mileage when deciding if something is too far to drive or not.

    This, this, and this.....it can take you 45 minutes to go 10 miles.

  • No you are not looking too soon! My DH is stationed at Bethesda Naval Hospital, which is 4 or 5 miles from Walter Reed from what I understand. We just moved here about a month ago so I can't really help you with where to live, but I will tell you what worked for me. 
     
    I would like to second what a pp said about parking/driving.....its absolutely terrible here.  Because of that my husband and I wanted to live as close to the hospital as possible. I found out that was going to be difficult because of how expensive housing is. I spent tons of time on craigslist and realtor website looking at housing options, and we visited DC 2 times before moving. I ended up finding the perfect house for us thats close enough for DH to ride his bike to work. 

    I would definitely start looking at housing options now. Best of luck to you! 



  • NSLNSL
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    You're right that most areas of Montgomery County are going to be a long, long drive for him every day, even though on the map it doesn't look too bad.  You don't want to live too close to the hospital, though, as the neighborhood gets seriously scary pretty much the second you exit the gates.  Silver Spring is a reasonably nice and mostly affordable area, and surprisingly there are a number of locations in NoVa that will give him a much shorter commute than he'd find in MD.  The Metro station closest to Walter Reed is outside the gates, but I believe that there's a shuttle during rush hour to take people on and off post.

    One other thing to consider is that the consolidation of WRAMC and NNMC is very close to completion.  Wherever you live should be within reasonable commuting distance of both hospitals.  NNMC is quite convenient from Rockville and Gaithersburg, MD and I'd recommend both suburbs having lived there myself.  WRAMC from either will take him up to an hour each way depending on traffic, though.

  • Look in to Silver Spring and Gaithersburg, MD. These are great, family-friendly areas with good schools and lots of affordable small-medium sized houses.

    However, for all those pros you need to keep in mind that everything PPs said about your H's commute could not be more true. Your best option would honestly be to drive him to the metro station and drop him off. Parking at WRAMC is horrible and traffic is even worse. That's pretty much true of the entire DC metro area. That's why every metro station has a "kiss and ride" drop off area that is packed with cars every morning.

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  • image Green*Flamingo:

    Parking at Walter Reed is horrible. Friends that I have that are stationed there drive to work a couple hours before their shift so that they can find a parking spot, then sleep in their car until they have to report for work.

    You need to make sure you look at commute times, not just mileage when deciding if something is too far to drive or not.

    omg. I'm glad I've managed to avoid that duty station. I've been to DC on vacation, though, and the metro wasn't too terrible. I think I'd go with that option if I lived there.

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  • Actually, there are some pretty nice areas right near Walter Reed. The neighborhood off 16th street near the Georgia Ave. entrance is quite nice.

    Even if you plan to have a car, please do consider traffic and drive times when looking at where to live...you might end up wishing you were near Metro if you don't.

    image NSL:

    You're right that most areas of Montgomery County are going to be a long, long drive for him every day, even though on the map it doesn't look too bad.  You don't want to live too close to the hospital, though, as the neighborhood gets seriously scary pretty much the second you exit the gates.  Silver Spring is a reasonably nice and mostly affordable area, and surprisingly there are a number of locations in NoVa that will give him a much shorter commute than he'd find in MD.  The Metro station closest to Walter Reed is outside the gates, but I believe that there's a shuttle during rush hour to take people on and off post.

    One other thing to consider is that the consolidation of WRAMC and NNMC is very close to completion.  Wherever you live should be within reasonable commuting distance of both hospitals.  NNMC is quite convenient from Rockville and Gaithersburg, MD and I'd recommend both suburbs having lived there myself.  WRAMC from either will take him up to an hour each way depending on traffic, though.

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  • I loved living in the city but my husband and I lived in a one bedroom basement apartment a few miles from walter reed in an "up and coming" neighborhood in DC. Our rent was $1000/month plus electric which was anywhere from $50-200. Just to give you an idea of how expensive it can be to live in an okay place. I'd highly recommend living in Montgomery County. The public schools are some of the best in the country. It is a bit expensive but every where in this area is expensive. Try Silver Spring, Beltsville, and Burtonsville areas. Bethesda and Chevy Chase are nice but can be pretty expensive in terms of housing. Rockville is a good option as well. As far as schooling in DC, most go to private schools or charter schools. I've lived in this area all my life and honestly you're husband is going to probably have a rough commute no matter where you live [unless you want to live really close to Walter Reed but then you won't be close to anything else in that neighborhood.] Traffic is just horrible around here all the time. Most people have an hour commute. Even taking the metro you will still probably have an hour commute at least. My friend lived about 10 minutes from Walter Reed and the road he drove on to get to his house from there, GA Ave, always had bad traffic. It would talk him 20-30 minutes just to go the short distance from Walter Reed to his home.Most of DC is fairly safe and none of it is really actually scary. It is a city though so of course there is going to be crime and such. VA is okay. There really isn't much in VA. Montgomery County in MD is great but maybe I'm bias. Prince Georges County in MD isn't too bad. It's cheaper then Montgomery county but not at nice. Sorry I got a bit carried away :) I love this area and would be more then happy to answer any questions you have! 
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