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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In the midst of a new job search. Possible I may be taking a job if all goes well in Maryland, as its one of the places we are looking and things look promising with at least one place (though not holding breath of course).

Anyway, I need some advice that google simply isn't providing directly.

The job location would be in Gaithersburg.

With kids, oldest in high school, education is the top priority. I fully appreciate traffic considerations so i know its a fine line as to how far one could go from Gaithersburg and not go mad. Fortunately I have lived in Los Angeles and our freeways are also not my favorite :D

So....

(1) what city would provide the best school disctrict in your opinion? Acknowledging every school district probably has great schools, from my feeble google search it seems Howard county "may" be a very good choice and "may" provide cities that are driveable to work???

(2) for purpose of reality check, given number 1 priority, what actual cities could i look at to play around with realtor.com etc?

(3) what is MTBing like...what are the popular/good places to ride so i can see that would be like for me in terms of drive from potential home and/or work?

I really really appreciate your help.

Cheers
 

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Do some searches for MSA test scores. It's the standardized math and reading tests that all of the schools in MD have to partake in every year. It's a good way to rank the schools in the area that you are looking for. The schools from a quick look are great in Montgomery county. They had several in a top 10 list that I found. The schools in Howard county are awesome. HoCo was built with the vision of creating a blue ribbon school system. The worst school in the county are better than some of the best ones in other counties. We moved here 4 years ago and both my wife and I plowed through the test scores for weeks trying to buy a house in the best possible school system.

I've had a few job sites that I've traveled to in Gaithersberg over the years and the commute is all off highway. It's congested for sure, but not hiddeous. I'm in Ellicott City and it's nice here. West of here going towards Gaithersberg is also really nice. Olney is a small city/town that's great. (Read pricey too) Lots of new development. HoCo is older.

MTB: The riding is great. Patapsco state park is in Ellicott City and has a ton of great riding. Frederick also has outstanding riding. Western Maryland also has downhilling with lift service at Wisp. (I think) You really can't go wrong. Tons of road riding around when the parks are too wet and muddy if you're into it.

I'm sure others will chime in and I'll keep an eye out for questions.

Good luck!
 

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Howard, Montgomery and Anne Arundel are all excellent are within driving distance and offer great schools. Don't flame me here folks but I would stay away from Prince Georges County as a place to live. P/G does have an awesome trail at Rosaryville State Park thought.
I worked in Gaithersburg for a year and commuted to AA County. It was longer than my currant 15 minute commute but we love AA and they have great schools so it was worth it.
As it is anywhere you will also find good and not so good schools in any county. We live near Annapolis and have a great feeder system. Many people who have kids in school who live in the Annapolis school district send them to private schools.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks guys!

based on my VERY crude and naive internet approach, me guestimating it's not too far from Gaithersburg as you say, but with really top notch schools (focusing on High schools), and based on what www.realtor.com suggested I could get, attached to the given schools/district, so far I started looking at Columbia, Glenelg, Marriottsville, Clarksville, and Sykesville. Again, this is internet based - i will also check out places you noted but on the surface anyway I really like the sound of Howard County. By the way, Ellicott did sound awesome but just "looked" like it would be too far of a drive, is it?

thanks again!
 

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Can't go wrong with Howard Co. I moved here from Montgomery Co. 3 years ago. The education system was one of the main reasons we selected HoCo. Also in 2006, CNN Money ranked Columbia / Ellicott City the #4 Best Place to Live (http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2006/index.html).

A couple of my neighbours actually work in Rockville / Gaithersburg and they tend to use the secondary roads to get there. I still think it's quite a commute considering I used to work only 5 miles from the office.

For riding, there are plenty of trails in Patapsco. I live a little over a mile from the park so it worked out great. Also, the Frederick Watershed & Gambrill are less than hour's drive away if you want to get your fix for some really techy stuff.
 

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I am the owl
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If you are in Gaithersburg for work, I'd look close by. There's quite a few places for mountain biking near by and I'm positive you can find good schools in the area. Frederick City and surrounding areas south are close enough to commute and close to good biking. (I'm in Frederick and used to commute to Gaithersburg). Sykesville and Ellicott City will not be fun commutes.

Dig around this forum, I think there are a few similar threads w/ more info. Also check over on More-mtb.org, there should be some threads over there as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
riderx said:
If you are in Gaithersburg for work, I'd look close by. There's quite a few places for mountain biking near by and I'm positive you can find good schools in the area. Frederick City and surrounding areas south are close enough to commute and close to good biking. (I'm in Frederick and used to commute to Gaithersburg). Sykesville and Ellicott City will not be fun commutes.

Dig around this forum, I think there are a few similar threads w/ more info. Also check over on More-mtb.org, there should be some threads over there as well.
thanks...yeah, even based on googling those 2 places seemed a bit further out than some of the others. I would likely consider closer places (to Gaithersburg) within Howard County. MTBing is important but schools remains top priority. I am used to driving a bit for good MTBing so not a problem in that regard.

And thanks for the other link!
 

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Also, try posting this question over on TheBikeSite.org, quite a few riders are from the Montgomery County area and can probably give insight on the schools. I don't have kids so I'm not tuned into the school situation like some others but I'm pretty sure Montgomery ranks pretty well.
 

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Other than the school prerequisite I don't know what you're looking for, but there are plenty of options in Montgomery County. If I were to move to Montgomery County I would personally look around the Darnestown and Poolesville areas. Both are a little more rural, Poolesville especially, and would be nice places to raise a family. The rest Montgomery is either too crowded or too expensive for my taste/means. As mentioned, Frederick's a great option. I live in New Market and love it. The commute to Gaithersburg would be pretty easy IMHO, and you would be close to some great riding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
eugalc said:
Other than the school prerequisite I don't know what you're looking for, but there are plenty of options in Montgomery County. If I were to move to Montgomery County I would personally look around the Darnestown and Poolesville areas. Both are a little more rural, Poolesville especially, and would be nice places to raise a family. The rest Montgomery is either too crowded or too expensive for my taste/means. As mentioned, Frederick's a great option. I live in New Market and love it. The commute to Gaithersburg would be pretty easy IMHO, and you would be close to some great riding.
its precise city names that would be helpful so thanks!

other than schools in a good neighborhood, dont really have any priority. I cant afford a 2 million dollar home but yeah, in general am looking for top schools within driving distance (<= hour) from Gaithersburg. I will suck it up and drive further to MTBing if necessary - just wanted to know that there was some of that as well driving distance and it sounds like there is
 

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Montgomery County does have a good school system. Howard has definitely made their mark, but just recently Carrol County has been a big jump too. You mentioned Sykesville which is in Carrol County. Clarksville is nice, but the houses there are pretty big ($$$). The further west you go towards Mont. County, the bigger the houses. Glenelg and Roxbury Mills are right on the border of the two counties on the Howard side and are a bit more rural. Still very nice. But I have to agree with riderX, the cross county commute can be nasty since it's mainly two lane roads. Traffic and range from 45 minutes to 2 hours.

Bottom line is, Howard, Montgomery, Carroll, and Anne Arundle counties all have great school systems.

Have you visited the area yet?

All well within great driving to great trails!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
RubberSideDown34 said:
Montgomery County does have a good school system. Howard has definitely made their mark, but just recently Carrol County has been a big jump too. You mentioned Sykesville which is in Carrol County. Clarksville is nice, but the houses there are pretty big ($$$). The further west you go towards Mont. County, the bigger the houses. Glenelg and Roxbury Mills are right on the border of the two counties on the Howard side and are a bit more rural. Still very nice. But I have to agree with riderX, the cross county commute can be nasty since it's mainly two lane roads. Traffic and range from 45 minutes to 2 hours.

Bottom line is, Howard, Montgomery, Carroll, and Anne Arundle counties all have great school systems.

Have you visited the area yet?

All well within great driving to great trails!
wow, thanks for that very useful map link and all the great info! I have only been to the area for the purpose of work in Rockville (and Bethesda) but honestly never stayed otherwise so i am a newbie.

My OCD is only being employed cuz i am having to do the best i can to talk with the wife about where we could possibly live IF this were to work out, etc thus, my appreciation for your help!

So...realistically, if we say Glenelg, Clarksville, Columbia, and Skykesville (the others seem to far just based on the map alone let alone real time driving), how long of a drive are we talking to Gaithersburg for work on average? Normal work schedule hours...are one or more of the cities just smack dab on a bad traffic artery? A newbie just never knows from looking at google maps alone of course

sorry for all the questions but i REALLY appreciate your help
 

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You want to avoid 495 and 270 at all costs. But then again, so do most other people so that can clog the smaller roads too. From downtown Frederick to Gaithersburg was taking me about 50 minutes on back roads. My friend was living in Sykesville/Eldersburg and it was over an hour. When I would head to Patapsco after work it would take well over an hour to get near Ellicott City.

Go to MD SHA's web site, they have a live traffic map. Check it out day after day during rush hour and it might help you visualize where the hot spots are. Also, this historic data may help
 

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I don't have personal experience with them but I hear a lot of good things about Montgomery County schools.

Howard County schools are great but you want to try to stay toward the western edge of the county. You also want to stay away from some of the Columbia schools. For high schools you should try to be in the Centennial HS, River Hill HS or maybe Atholton HS districts. The middle and elementary school feeding those high schools are good. Mostly you want to stay away from Jessup and the Columbia Mall areas, I think.

If you don't mind a longer commute, Carroll County schools are good too.
 

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dude you live in LA...dont worry about driving here...I am from San diego cty, use to have to drive from Vista to Ventura, Colton, Van Nuys...god driving here is no big deal compared to there...out there its about distance...hell here 10-20 miles and your on the other side of a county....heck the distance we used to drive out there for alot of things is like driving from here to Philly...did you ride or ski out at Big Bear? That would be almost like making it to NYC...so it's totally different, and your right driving to "riding" is nothing here compared to there...schools I know nothing about, no kids at home anymore...my jobs while here (6 years) have me driving to almost all counties in Maryland....good luck but definently come out and visit....
 

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The Anti Bling said:
wow, thanks for that very useful map link and all the great info! I have only been to the area for the purpose of work in Rockville (and Bethesda) but honestly never stayed otherwise so i am a newbie.

My OCD is only being employed cuz i am having to do the best i can to talk with the wife about where we could possibly live IF this were to work out, etc thus, my appreciation for your help!

So...realistically, if we say Glenelg, Clarksville, Columbia, and Skykesville (the others seem to far just based on the map alone let alone real time driving), how long of a drive are we talking to Gaithersburg for work on average? Normal work schedule hours...are one or more of the cities just smack dab on a bad traffic artery? A newbie just never knows from looking at google maps alone of course

sorry for all the questions but i REALLY appreciate your help
On average from those towns are 40-50 drive time to Gaithersburg. But again, you are talking two lane roads/back roads. Which can be nice, but they are roads used to avoid the main arteries. If there are backups anywhere, they get even more congested and can double your commute time.

You should check out Germantown too, just north of Gaithersburg. Seneca Valley has always seemed to be a top high school in Mont. County and your commute to Gaithersburg would be about 5 - 10 minutes. And Shaeffer Farm trails would be in your backyard.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
cableguy46 said:
dude you live in LA...dont worry about driving here...I am from San diego cty, use to have to drive from Vista to Ventura, Colton, Van Nuys...god driving here is no big deal compared to there...out there its about distance...hell here 10-20 miles and your on the other side of a county....heck the distance we used to drive out there for alot of things is like driving from here to Philly...did you ride or ski out at Big Bear? That would be almost like making it to NYC...so it's totally different, and your right driving to "riding" is nothing here compared to there...schools I know nothing about, no kids at home anymore...my jobs while here (6 years) have me driving to almost all counties in Maryland....good luck but definently come out and visit....
LOL...yeah, thanks for that. I guess the silver lining is that LA areas suck ass for driving so i wouldnt be too shocked with that element. I currently have a short commute but i also dont mind taking longer to get home since the upside is i have longer till the wife nags me with the to do list when i get in.

I am not worried about a drive and just want to get the best house in the best school district, period. I have a phone interview this week and hopefully it turns into an invite.

Regardless of where we move, if we move, what i am most dreading is dealing with moving house etc but at least the timing could be good as relates to the start of the next academic school year. Hey, maybe I will get lucky and get the job quickly and have to move solo ahead of the family for a while! In which case i will be asking about where to rent a rad bachelor pad!

I also need help with an argument that my West Coast MTBs are not well suited for East Coast riding therefore, in order for me to be safe and continue to be able to support the family, I will need to tell the wife I need to buy more bikes...that's true, right ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
RubberSideDown34 said:
On average from those towns are 40-50 drive time to Gaithersburg. But again, you are talking two lane roads/back roads. Which can be nice, but they are roads used to avoid the main arteries. If there are backups anywhere, they get even more congested and can double your commute time.

You should check out Germantown too, just north of Gaithersburg. Seneca Valley has always seemed to be a top high school in Mont. County and your commute to Gaithersburg would be about 5 - 10 minutes. And Shaeffer Farm trails would be in your backyard.
thanks!
 

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Howard County does have very good schools and I'm a product of them. As recommended by others you would want to stick to the western edges but I can tell you it will be very pricey in those areas. I moved to Frederick county once I had kids to New Market and as someone else pointed out I love it too. Keep in mind I commute from New Market to Arlington, VA (96 miles round trip) on off hours (leave home at 10am and come home at 7pm)...one of the benefits of being in IT. If your looking for an affordable area look at Urbana, MD as its just past the Montgomery Co. (expensive area) line into Frederick Co. (reasonably priced). Urbana is also right off of 270 and not far from Gaithersburg but I will be honest and say that 270 can be a real pain in the ass for regular commuting hours. This area has a lot of new construction and thus a lot of new schools and although it would be nice to be in Howard Co. I'm fine with the education I've seen so far in Frederick Co. Plus if your really worried there are good private schools you could send them to with the saving you would get by not buying in Montgomery or Howard. You could easily spend $100k extra for the Howard or Montgomery zip codes for a comperable (same model and builder) new home.

Good luck with your job search.
 
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