I always look at “top lists” of cities to live in, even though they’re usually chosen by dubious standards and really just meant to sell copies of the magazine in the markets they list (“Lookie! We’re on the list!”). Money magazine just did one on “the best small towns” and I was shocked to see the place I grew up, Centreville, VA, as #30 on the list. Centreville recently became (in)famous as the hometown of the Virginia Tech murderer. Centreville was a horrible horrible horrible place when I lived there. I couldn’t wait to move. So what made Money like it?
Washington, D.C., is anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour and a half away, depending on traffic.
I love that the range of travel times doesn’t even phase the editors of Money magazine. And I think they’re even optimistic about those times! It’s only 24 miles away from DC, but it took 45 minutes on a light traffic day and could take 2-3 hours when traffic is bad when I lived there in the mid-1990s. I can’t imagine it’s gotten any better since then.
When I was working and living in an area about as far away as Centreville is from DC, I got sick of the 90-minute stop-and-go commute to my job just outside of DC that I started riding my bike to work instead. It took me 90 minutes to bike it each way (regardless of traffic, of course), which meant cars travel at the same speed as bikes and sometimes slower.
Incidentally, hardly a day went by that I wasn’t honked-at or yelled-at by motorists, had things thrown at me and was called “faggot” a few times, just for riding a bike. This is the behavior of affluent supposedly-educated Northern Virginians who are angry about wasting their lives in traffic. That’s another story, but I don’t see how a place filled with people like this is anything but a horrible place to live even if you don’t ride a bike.
The other good thing Money had to say about it:
With major shopping centers nearby and the Bull Run Mountains an hour's drive away, Centerville [sic] lives up to its name.
“Major shopping centers” must mean “tons of strip malls” and the “Bull Run Mountains” should be called “Bull Run Hills”. And an hour’s drive away is not close. They may as well claim it’s a beach-front community – the beach is just a three-hours’ drive away.
The comments from people who live there confirm that it hasn’t improved since I escaped:
Too many people, horrible traffic, pretentious people. don't move here (or Gaithersburg) unless you like lots of people, enjoy traffic jams and aggressive drivers, and are a snob. Look further west of this town.
I love it. Centreville SUCKS...I mean Centreville is not that bad but it's the whole NOVA experience that comes with it (like it or not). Stopping at every traffic light, take off at one to stop at another. If you like sitting at 4 minute traffic lights and going 10 miles in 1hr then this place is for you. Getting out as soon as I can! Unfortunately the jobs and money are here. But unless you can afford $200K for an old run down townhouse or $160 for a condo your living in an apartment for $1,100-$2,000 a month depending on your requirements.
Townhouse Central. Nice area in Fairfax County, but I think I just lost all respect for Money's reports.
Centreville is a joke. It should be in top 5 worst places to live in the US.
Are they kidding? The traffic is a nightmare. There's no town. It's a sprawling burb I have lived in Northern Virginia for 42 years, (I grew up in McLean) my brother owns a town house in Centreville and I lived there for two years. There is no way Centreville deserves to be on this list. I don't even see it as in the top 100 places to live in Virginia.
When did Centreville become a "historic town?" It is the epitome of suburban sprawl, with some historic Civil War sites. The town, if one can call it that, is anything but historic. C'ville is an indistinguishable suburban enclave with lots of strip malls and ubiquitous housing developments. As someone who lived in the area for 30 years (DC, Fairfax, Burke, and Centreville), there are plenty of better places to live in the DC area.
Really????? This is not a great area at all. Try living there and getting to work. Try getting anywhere on a saturday or sunday down 66. This is a middle to lower class area, probably a bit closer to middle. [Racism deleted] I dont get it. Having Gaithersburg ranked number 30 is even worse. There are 5 or 10 cities in this area alone that are much nicer places to live. Reston, Mclean, Potomac, Bethesda and Ashburn, just to name a few. This survey is terrible.
Seriously...Centreville??? I lived here when I first moved to DC. 30th in the US? What a joke. This neighborhood isn't even 30th in Northern Va. Besides...it would have to be classified as Fairfax, Va, which is a huge area with many neighborhoods. Maybe they are trying to include South Riding and beyond...but then that is Chantilly and still Fairfax county. Maybe they meant Clifton?
Terrible choice. Traffic, long commutes, suburban hell. Great for folks who like to spend a lot of time in their cars and aren't interested in cultural activities or the arts easily accessible.