Tell me where to live!

My husband and I have lived in the DC area for going on 10 years now, and quite frankly, we’re tired of it. On a good week, I get 2 barn days, max, and it takes an hour with no traffic to get to my barn. I’ve been able to flex my schedule to avoid the worst traffic, but it is still a very long drive. We live very close in to be near a job he no longer has (current job based in DC but can be remote) and a job I have but don’t want anymore. Original plan was to eventually just move further out west (beyond the Dulles corridor) so I could still be close to jobs, but the property costs are just so high.

We have two kids so schools are a concern. I own one horse that I’ve had for almost 14 years, and one of my long time dreams is to be able to retire him on my own property, somewhere more affordable. We have no family or real connections in the area other than friends we’ve made here. We’re tired of the crazy cost of living and the rat race to keep up, and basically just want a change.

We want to move, but we have no idea where. Husband’s job can follow him. I want to get a new job, but most things in my current industry are heavily tied to DC so I’m thinking of just picking a place I like and trying to find a job there. It’s not a huge concern to me.

We prefer to stay somewhat on the east coast and out of extreme weather conditions. A smaller city with somewhat of an arts scene would be nice. As I mentioned before, we need decent schools, and enjoy outdoors activities in our (very limited) free time.

Easy access to horse professionals is high on the list for me. I used to event, but now just dabble with occasional lessons and small local shows. I don’t need to be near upper level riders or fancy training facilities - I’m more concerned about having good farriers, vets, etc. One of my kids rides as well, so lesson barns with good instruction would be nice too. Biggest priority though is to live somewhere where my dream of owning a small farmette for 1-2 horses is actually doable.

Please give suggestions! Or feel free to commiserate on the DC life.

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The DC rat race was totally not for me. I moved just outside of Loudoun County to Jefferson Co WV. I can be in Arlington driving in 1.5 hours or take the train to DC and be there in an hour. I work remote and go to the office once every couple months.

In Jefferson Co I own a 20+ stall farm with 11.5 acres for way less than a townhouse in LoCo

Look at Shepardstown, WV.


We’re north of Columbus GA and there is an active foxhunt (Midland Foxhounds) and a surprising amount of eventing (Poplar Place Farm in Hamilton GA). The university in Auburn AL has a vet school with a large animal clinic and is an hour or so away. Weather wise we’re far enough inland that hurricanes mostly dissipate before they get here and it’s just rain and some wind, but the area does get tornadoes. Also keep in mind this is the deep south and very conservative politically.


Try Roanoke Va. I’d move there in a heartbeat. Lovey small city with an emphasis on greenspace. Still rural enough and reasonable enough to get a place and keep your horse. Nice little airport too. Weather has four seasons but winter is minimal.


Cobb County Georgia may fit the bill, NE suburbs of Atlanta (Smyrna, Marietta, etc.).

Aiken, SC, of course very horsey, no idea about schools.

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I don’t know specifically about Aiken, but South Carolina schools in general are pretty bad.



I know Cobb county schools are not very good.

I’m over in Alpharetta. I don’t know the cost of a farmette but we are rich in trainers, farriers, local and A shows between Wills, Conyers and Chatt Hills.

You are a short drive to the north Georgia mountains. A lot of state parks for hiking and outdoor activities. Some awesome lakes for water sports in the summer.

Cons are that traffic sucks to get into the city and you would need to go that way for the art scene and potentially your job.

Great performances at Cobb center, fox theater (parking sucks though), art festivals such as the Dogwood. The High Museum is great and brings in some pretty cool exhibits.

We go to horse shows at Wills Park and Alpharetta is a treat. Tack shops, restaurants of all sorts, and great shopping are all right there. There are lots of nice farmette neighborhoods in the area, although I’m sure they are quite expensive. Development is steadily encroaching on what was horse property, but that’s true of almost every large urban area in the country.

I’m fundamentally a rural dweller, but if I was forced to go urban/suburban, it’s definitely an area I would consider, if I had the budget.

I like the Atlanta area except for the traffic. But, if you’re coming from the DC area, you’re used to that.


It’s hard to know whether one person’s affordable is another’s “no way” - but based on what you wrote, I wonder if maybe somewhere in the Pioneer Valley of MA, close to Northampton, might be something to consider? You don’t name your industry so not sure how hard or easy it would be to find something there, but with the universities, there tend to be options.

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In VA, if you get south of Warrenton and north of Charlottesville the pricing is very much different from Northern VA. If you are planning working from home, being west of 29 out into the mountains would not be good. The internet is pretty much just satellite.

Orange/Gordonsville is a pretty good area for horses and better technology access. Also it puts you within striking distance of DC/Fredricksburg and Charlottesville.

I live near the Pioneer Valley, and it does check all your boxes except “no extreme weather”. I have your exact couple-of-horses hobby farm, too, and it is a dream come true. If you don’t have access to an indoor you will be idle for a significant part of the year unless you snowbird south. I typically pack it in by mid December and trails will be icy at least through March.

Land prices – high middle, I would say. It’s a long way from a major city (Boston is 2.5 hours), but the population is a good bit more educated and sophisticated than the norm for a rural-ish area. Schools in New England are generally excellent, compared to most other places.

Personally I absolutely love it here. Even the winters.


My experience is dated at this point, but I really loved living in central Virginia. Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Lexington, Roanoke would probably all tick your boxes.

I live on the eastern shore of MD. It ticks most of your boxes. If you position yourself in Queen Anne’s county, you have decent schools and are close enough to the bay bridge that you can jet over to Annapolis or even DC for all things “city.” Easton in Talbot county has quite a bit of arts and entertainment for its size.

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It sounds like MA might be a consideration for your though the land prices at the moment are insane off of any major interstate corridor. I live about 45m from Boston and work in the town that has one of the best public schools in the country. Education is very important here and the MA schools are generally good.

The only thing this doesn’t tick is your no extreme weather box. We have some rough winters but global warming seems to be tempering it some. We only just had our first real snowstorm of the winter yesterday.

But horses, serious competitor barns, and spaces to ride are still thriving here. There is a big event and HJ scene west of where I live. No indoor will handicap your winter goals but if someone could afford it, the barns here are generally very nice and many people go south for the winter to train.

There’s a decent arts and restaurant scene here. My town in particular went from a a single stop light ten years ago to a major farm to table movement with restaurants, grocery stores and art. My town is fairly small in the scheme of Boston suburbs but just next door is a huge art district with museums and lots of entertainment.

I’ve lived all over the country in my 20s and came back to MA. I love it here except the stupid awful winters. The people are largely good and educated, towns are generally safe, and communities welcoming. The only thing I would change about where I live is the winter and the land prices.


Hmm, that’s interesting, my twin sister moved there from Washington DC almost two years ago, and she did a crap ton of research and chose Cobb County with schools being a major reason.

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That’s why I recommended Pioneer Valley. I definitely don’t think of MA winters as “extreme,” but I’m a Vermonter :wink: I go to Northampton once a month generally, and where we have cold and snow, it basically feels like spring there most of the winter. But like what’s considered expensive is relative, I suppose so is weather.


Philadelphia metro area might be worth looking into. Bucks and Chester counties both have smaller arty towns but also with decent equestrian scene and good school districts.


Knox County, TN or border counties might be a consideration.

UT Knoxville has an Equne section that many in Middle Tennessee still carry their horses to. I say still because we now have Tennessee Equine in Thompson’s Station which is much closer.

Tennessee still does not have a state tax, no personal property tax, and C.O.L.L.A. Is still not too bad.

I am a retired die hard trail rider and I know there are great trails nearby. I can’t speak to other styles of riding

For farriers and lesson barns in any state/area you’re curious about, check out the links on

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Ahh, girl; wait till tomorrow after it’s rained all night and the snow changes into an 8-inch thick sheet of ice. :slight_smile:

I love New England and would stay here forever except for the biting swarming insects in summer and the ice in winter. An indoor takes care of alot of that, but, ice in winter and bugs in summer does cut down on being able to enjoy the trails through our pretty New England woods.


I am not ready. :sob:


Hi all just popping in quickly to say thank you so much for all the replies so far! Haven’t had a chance yet to read through everything but hopefully I can later today

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