Wolf Trap: the Best of Suburbia

Wolf Trap performing arts center

The five best suburban communities in which to live in Virginia are all located in Northern Virginia, if you believe the methodology employed by Caldwell Banker in a national survey of “Suburbanites Best Places to Live.”

Wolf Trap took the top honors, sufficient to rank it No. 5 in the entire country, followed by Great Falls, McLean, Franklin Farm and Mantua. The rest of Virginia, cry your eyes out.

The areas analyzed include U.S. Census designated places, incorporated places and county subdivisions. The survey incorporated a wide variety of elements such as disposable income, percentage of home ownership, length of commute, gas affordability, quality of schools, prevalence of crime, and access to amenities such as coffee shops, grocery stores, banks, outdoor resources and cultural activities.

Wolf Trap ranked a 969 score (our of 1,000) for “suburbanite” attributes but only a 553 score for “social seeker” attributes. Social seekers place a higher value on such amenities as public transportation, multicultural food options, a lively nightlife and a variety of housing alternatives such as rentals, condos and co-ops.

The best suburban place in Virginia for social seekers are Arlington, Huntington and Tysons Corner. Indeed, of the 25 top “social seeker” places to live all 25 but two are in Northern Virginia. The only two exceptions were Blacksburg and Pantops (Charlottesville).

Question to readers: Do Northern Virginia really offer a vastly higher quality of life than other Virginia communities? Or are they just wealthier?


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  1. DJRippert Avatar

    Anybody who doubts that Metro transforms areas need only consider Huntington as a top neighborhood for social seekers.

    “Do Northern Virginia really offer a vastly higher quality of life than other Virginia communities? Or are they just wealthier?”.

    Huntington is still not wealthy. Nor is Mantua.

    Waiting for change to “bubble up” does not work. Huntington, for example, has improved by overt design, not by “bubble up”.

    Richmond needs to get with the program.

  2. Harrison A. Glasgow Avatar
    Harrison A. Glasgow

    That ‘cheek-to-jowl’ Wolf Trap is cited as an emblem of elegent, tasteful and artfull living is offered by someone who perhaps has never attended a concert at Tanglewood, or Ravinia, or the Blossom Music Festival. At these lovely outdoor venues one can actually spread a blanket on the lawn, hear beautifully performed music, and be very alone, with the nearest other listener nearly out of sight. A concert on the lawn at Wolf Trap means enduring cell phone conversations, the risk of wine spills, and an uninvited intimacy with the neighboring patrons who use the performance as back ground music for a cocktail party. Northern Virginia does have a lot to brag about, but I wouldn’t list an evening on the Wolf Trap lawn as one of them.

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