I’d be awfully impressed if you could find anything beyond a 1 bedroom luxury condo (and every condo is self-billed as a “luxury condo” around here) for $200K. Housing prices, even though down, are still depressingly high.
Rockville is not the end of the line. (Shady Grove in Gaithersburg is.) It’s also not cheap, not even close, but it is nice in parts.
Manassas, however, is the most horrible place in the world. I think it only exists as an example of what a vast area looks like completely paved over. Overdeveloped to oblivion. Even the national battlefield there is crisscrossed with roads with rush hour 24/7. It is my idea of hell.
Personally, unless you love driving an hour to work and an hour home, and sitting in traffic constantly, I’d go with having a smaller place in a more “questionable” neighborhood. There are some nice areas in Silver Spring, for example. The northern part of it (Olney) still has a somewhat rural character and isn’t too terribly far from the Glenmont Metro. I know less about NoVA, but tend to avoid it unless I have business there (traffic seems worse to me on that side of the river), although I do like Old Town Alexandria, Ballston and Clarendon.
I can attest to things being expensive in Poolesville. I was there this past weekend and drove past a new development of modest homes “starting in the high 500s”. Blah!
There are an endless number of museums and attractions around here; I’ve been hitting them heavy for 8 years and still haven’t seen everything.