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Where to live in Baltimore and where to avoid?

Where to live in Baltimore and where to avoid?

Old Aug 16th, 2006, 08:17 AM
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Where to live in Baltimore and where to avoid?

Exploring a move to Baltimore and would like some local information. Family of 4, we like older neighborhoods, with less transient, educated and outgoing professionals, Mothers who tend to stay at home with the kids. Where directionally to reside East, west, north, south. Good school system or access to good private schools. Will be working with an investment firm which may be in the financial district. What is typical commute? Public tranportation? Cost of living relative to the midwest? Access to the airport? What is the coast like to visit? Any comments/suggestions are much appreciated.
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 08:39 AM
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Look at the neighborhood guides in this link. There are a few dozen neighborhoods, each with very complete and helpful descriptions.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/visitor/
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 09:34 AM
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I am a Pikesvill girl, born and bred. I now live in Philly, but my sister, Jo Ann lives in Towson.

I can tell you that the best public high schools in Baltimore County are:

Dulaney
Pikesville
Towson
Loch Raven
Hereford
Perry Hall

Worst:
Milford Mill
Overlea
Woodlawn
Chesapeake
Dundalk


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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 10:12 AM
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If you buy in the city, your children will have to go to private school. Liveable neighborhoods in Baltimore include expensive Federal Hill and trendy Canton. Ethnic Highlandtown is in a sad decline. Same with southwest Baltimore near Wilkins Ave. Hamden is being gentrified but it is still surrounded by some pretty lousy neighborhoods. West Baltimore is referred to by my college pals who still live in metropolitan Baltimore as the "Wild West", not in a complimentary way.

As someone who has to deal with the Washington DC commute, I find Baltimore much easier and faster to get around in. Thus, if you were to choose outer suburbs like Harford, Carroll and Anne Arundel counties, your commute might be reasonable. Most of Baltimore's inner suburbs are in decline, places like Dundalk and Essex. Baltimore's suburban sprawl reaches the Pennsylvania border and beyond these days due to the high crime, high taxes, and pathetically poor schools in the city and, increasingly, the inner suburbs.
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Old Aug 16th, 2006, 09:23 PM
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Anne Arundel County has several areas that fit your needs. One area is Severna Park. The area is more upscale and has some great private schools. I should know because I teach in a private school in Severana Park.

It would not be to far of a drive to Baltimore and it is also close to Annapolis which is a great charming town.
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Old Aug 17th, 2006, 01:12 PM
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Another vote for Anne Arundel County- it has great schools (public and private), its very close (15-25 minutes) to BWI airport and less than a 30 minute drive to the financial district. Plus, you have access to Annapolis for shops, dining, etc.

In this area of Maryland, public transportation is negligible-

This month, Money Magazine just rated Columbia/Ellicott City as a great place to live, in case Howard County would be of interest. (it would also help make comparisons bten B'more and the Midwest)

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Old Aug 17th, 2006, 01:57 PM
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Shug, have you spent any time in Baltimore? You need to decide whether you want to live in the suburbs or a more urban environment.
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Old Aug 18th, 2006, 12:18 AM
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I'm a Baltimore City resident. I'm very pleased with our public school, Roland Park Elementary/Middle. I would suggest looking into Roland Park, Mt. Washington, and Homeland. I would consider all of these affluent neighborhoods to be family/child friendly and quite "livable" . They are beautiful older neighborhoods with tree lined streets in close proximity to many of the city's finest private schools, such as Gilman, Roland Park Country, Friends, Bryn Mawr, and Cathedral...and still convenient to the downtown area.

This link provides information on neghborhoods, schools, and a helpful section for those relocating to the area:

http://www.livebaltimore.com/home/

I believe zip codes are listed there if you want to look into real estate for comparison...I know Roland Park is 21210...Homeland may be 21212. The schools that I mentioned above all have websites as well.


Best of luck.

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Old Aug 18th, 2006, 01:36 AM
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IMO if you can FIND an affordable house in Roland Park, GO for it. You are not going to be happy out in God-lost-his-shoes-there suburbs IF you really want to live IN the city and ALL that goes with that, both bad and good.

I am sure the other poster is trying to be helpful but on what criteria are those "good" and "bad" schools list based? graduation rates? test score results? "intuition?" color/mix?

Have you been there at all?
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Old Aug 31st, 2006, 12:52 PM
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A lot of good advice has been given already. My take for family-friendly, reasonable-commute, good-school, traditional neighborhoods (with nice houses available in the $350,000 range) is as follows:

Baltimore City: Homeland or Roland Park (but you'll probably want to go with private schools, which adds considerable $$$).

North: Stoneleigh or Wiltondale.

West: Columbia, Ellicott City, some areas of Catonsville

East: None.

South: Severna Park
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Old Aug 31st, 2006, 03:05 PM
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The chances are VERY slim that you will find a house in the $350,000 range in the Columbia and Ellicott City area. Ellicott City has been name one of the most expensive places to live in Maryland 2 years in a row. I can see why though because both Ellicott City and Columbia are nice places to live.
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Old Aug 31st, 2006, 03:54 PM
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I second the neighborhood suggestions of BaltoTraveler. I think Roland Park would be great if you could swing it. You should know that private school (high school especially) is big for affluent or professional families in Baltimore. For fairly close in suburbs, there are very nice places in Owings Mills and Timonium, as well. Public transportation is somewhat available to downtown from these areas - Owings Mills and Pikesville have subway (yes, Baltimore has a subway - but you're not going to want to ride it after certain hours) and Timonium has access to the Light Rail. However, the commute is much more reasonable in Baltimore than in many other cities (but I don't know where you're moving from). You could get downtown from these areas in a half hour. Commute should NOT be the source of your desire to live within Baltimore City.

Cost of living - housing prices have increased steadily in recent years, though it's certainly not DC-real estate. Depends on where you moved from. It's better than Chicago, worse than Topeka.

Access to airport - BWI is fairly convenient by car - you wouldn't necessarily want to live closer to BWI, and the drive to the airport isn't that bad. The Light Rail goes there.

The Coast - the Chesapeake Bay is wonderful, and people really like the Delaware beaches (and Ocean City is OK for kids). I guess you're much closer to the beach in Baltimore than you are in the Midwest, but you should realize that the Chesapeake Bay actually makes the beach a couple of hours FARTHER away than you would guess for a state that is on the Atlantic coast.
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Old Aug 31st, 2006, 05:32 PM
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Jiffer -

Yow! You're right about Columbia/Ellicott City. That $350,000 buys you a pretty nice townhouse, but that's about it.

In the traditional Baltimore County neighborhoods (Stoneleigh, Wiltondale, West Towson, Lutherville, Timonium, Cockysville, Catonsville) $350,000 still buys a pleasant individual house.
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