I’m contemplating a transfer to work in Hampton in mid-June, and I’m interested in anything anyone can tell me about settling there. My current office here in Maine is closing, and I was last in Virgina in 1979, when I was 12 years old…
You’ll probably get better results in a forum other than GQ, so I’ve moved this one.
Thanks, samclem. Long/stressful night.
Hey! I live in Virginia Beach, which is fairly close. It seems nice to be living so near the ocean, but it’s really not all that big a deal when you live there all the time. Plus, there are so many stupid tourists!
We have museums, the beach (obviously), movie theatres, a couple of live theatres (that occasionally put on something worth watching), and shopping malls. If you’re willing to take a drive, you can go to Bush Gardens, our amusment park- it’s pretty cool, although not as much after you’ve been there 20,000 (ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a little) times. We also have Water Country USA, and supposedly we’re getting another water park as well.
Thanks for your reply, monica!
I know what you mean about tourists and theme parks. I grew up in Carlsbad, CA just down the road from Disneyland and right on the beach.
I’m just a bit worried because my family of 6 has to go into an apartment that I haven’t found yet. (We’re living in a nice big house for the moment). I have something like 3 weeks to get it together and the stress level is high. Thank God for the web, though, or I’d really be in dire straits. Truth be told, I’m hoping to make it temporary until I can find a way to make a living in a more rural setting. It breaks my heart to leave Maine.
The worst part is that everyone I tell that I’m going to Virginia says, “Well, sure… but for God’s sake, don’t go to Hampton! It’s terrible there!”
Hampton dopers, un-worry me, please!
Another Va Beach Doper. Well, kinda. We’re military and have only been here for six months. I wasn’t too impressed with the little bit of Hampton that I did see. You’ll probably want to live on the peninsula though. I’ve heard HRBT can be a major pain to drive through. Housing tends to be overpriced. We’re paying over 800 for a 2 bedroom apartment with no utilities included. It’s because there is so much military here and good housing can be a little difficult to come by.
I’ve heard Newport News is worse than Hampton. Suffolk might not be that bad though. I’m not sure how your commute would be in the morning though since I think you have to go through a tunnel. I tend to stay over here in my little corner. Everything I need is out here in Va Beach for the most part.
We should have a Hampton Roads Area doperfest for hammerbach when he gets here.
Be gentle - it’s my first time.
I grew up in Hampton Roads - Virginia Beach in particular - and lived there for 23 years before moving to Chicago. I dated two girls that lived in Hampton - one for six years, and another for six months, so I’ve spent a good amount of time around there.
I’ll be honest with you - the vast majority of Hampton is a stinky shithole. It’s mostly crime-ridden, ugly, and smells. The majority of the city - around the Hampton Coliseum area - is in a very marshy area, and it frankly smells.
However, there’s a section that’s much closer to the hampton roads bridge tunnel, near the Virginia Air and Space Center that’s just gorgeous - large victorian houses ($$$$) on tree-lined streets, but there are also a lot of nice condos that have gone up in the area. It seems to radiate out from that little “downtown” area over there. On the other side of the interstate, though, it’s a toilet - the Phoebus and Buckroe Beach areas are particularly horrible.
If you live far enough away, there are some nicer areas in Newport News, and living on the other side of the bridge-tunnel isn’t that bad. The traffic does suck during rush hour, but its liveable unless there’s a major accident.
Hope this helps some. Feel free to ask any more specific questions.
I’m looking at Chesapeake to live in right now. Looks like a really nice place if I can swing it. My actual office is in Hampton hard by a shopping mall (or at least that’s what it looks like in the satellite photo).
When is the rush hour, by the way?
I’ve heard parts of Chesapeake are nice, but it also borders Portsmouth which IMO is the worst part of Hampton Roads.
Never thought I would defend Hampton as I’m still not crazy about it but that’s from culture shock I still haven’t gotten over.
It is best to live on the side of water you work on. Hubby is Navy and in the shipyard in Newport News, It’s a 12 mile, 20 minute round trip, as long as I don’t hit shift change at the ship yard. There is work on 64 around the Mercury Blvd interchange due to be completed in the next year or two.
Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel (between Hampton and Norfolk) is a pain in the mornings from around 6:30 - 7:30. After that the traffic is heavy but moving for another hour. Evening rush hour around here is 3:30 - 7:30 pm. An accident will cost you another 45 minutes to an hour, or more.
664/Monitor-Merrimac (between Newport News/Hampton and Portsmouth/Chesapeake/Suffolk) moves better but there are occasional glitches.
James River Bridge (between Newport News/Hampton and Suffolk) lifts for river traffic but I don’t cross it enough to know the schedule. I can tell you that traffic backs up on both sides of the bridge really well and especially sucks if it occurs during shipyard shift change.
Hampton is in the midst of another attempt at renovation. The Coliseum area is getting the most work at the moment. A new convention center has been built beside the coliseum which looks very nice (the convention center, not the coliseum). A new shopping area is being built at Mercury and Powerplant Pkwy. Suppose to get a new Starbucks in there soon, save me a detour in the mornings.
If you are used to city life where you don’t have to drive everywhere this is not the place you want, you’d be better off in downtown Norfolk or Ghent, also in Norfolk. Virginia Beach is building a faux downtown in the Pembroke area on Virginia Beach Blvd. Not a fan of Va.Bch but even I am impressed with their efforts.
Until recently Chesapeake was second to Suffolk in rural life. A new by-pass to the Outer Banks was recently completed there and the cost of living has skyrocketed.
For Portsmouth and Suffolk I don’t know much. I do know that 164 (connects 664 to downtown Portsmouth and the midtown tunnel to Norfolk) is being worked on and I got lost a few times trying to get to the Naval Hospital for appointments because the signs were not clear enough.
Hampton and Newport News are not that bad and crime is not as bad as the news sometimes makes it seem. It’s all a matter of where you live, just like anywhere else.
The newspaper, The Daily Press aka The Daily Mess sucks.
Did I miss anything?
IIRC Q.E.D. lives in that area.
I’ve lived here for more than 6 months, and that was one of the most helpful descriptions of the HR traffic situation I have seen. I have oatmeal crasin cookies if you want one.
This thread might help you a bit.
I think Q.E.D.
How did that post?
I think he’s in Richmond which is about 90 minutes away.
We live in Norfolk and my husband drives up to Newport News every day for work. He leaves at about 5:30 am and comes home usually around 2 pm or so and never seems to hit any traffic.
On the other hand, it seems that any time I try to go up that way, I get stuck in the tunnel, so I just stick to Norfolk/VA Beach.
I also live in Hampton, about 2 miles from Catnoe, although we’ve never met.
I’l 17th the opinion that you should live on the side of the James river that you work on. If you can’t do that, then make sure you’re going against the flow of traffic at rush hour.
Need an apartment? Stay away from The Township. The apartments are little, and the management will steal you blind. We’re moving out before Memorial Day.
Anything else you want to know?
While we’re bashing the seven cities of Hampton Roads, IMAO Virginia Beach is the most uptight collection of busybody NIMBYs I’ve ever come across. Makes Carmel, IN look positively laid back.