Moving to college town, sight unseen
May 17, 2013 6:52 AM   Subscribe

Can you suggest where to live--or where to avoid living--in Blacksburg, Virginia, and its environs?

My husband got a job offer at Virginia Tech and after much discussion we've decided to make the move from Austin to Southwest Virginia. However, we're both very busy right now and I highly doubt that either of us can make a quick trip there to scout out housing.

Someone who lives there has offered to check out any place we find online and at least make sure it's not falling down or full of spiders or something. But if possible I'd love to hear from any of you who live in the area or have lived there, and who could make recommendations. We actually found our Austin apartment thanks to an AskMetafilter post three years ago, and we have been very happy with it and have lived here for all three years.

How's living in Christiansburg? Where is the undergraduate ghetto (so we can avoid it)? What else should we know? I realize Blacksburg/Montgomery County is pretty tiny, so maybe this question is unnecessary... but would like to just see what the Internet yields, and get any insight I can.

About us: we're both 30 years old and don't want to be living in an area with too high a concentration of frat boys or sorority girls. I still need to find a job there, so we don't want to rent anything too expensive. We are a gay couple, though I don't know that matters at all for the purposes of this question. And we like nature and the outdoors.
posted by fugitivefromchaingang to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by pracowity at 7:06 AM on May 17, 2013

I was an undergrad at Tech in the early 2000s, but a little googling suggests that a couple things I remember are still true: The epicenter of the undergrad ghetto is the gigantic Foxridge apartment complex. There is quite a lot of Greek housing on campus in its own dedicated corner, so there isn't really a frat row in town that you have to avoid or anything. I lived in a CMG apartment that was totally respectable; the building was mostly undergrads then, but I would happily live in the apartment itself again, even as a grown adult. You might try just calling up CMG and asking for recommendations; they have single-family rentals as well as apartments.

And you kind of can't go wrong if you like nature and the outdoors; even if you lived right downtown, you'd still be able to drive like 15 minutes and get to some woods.
posted by clavicle at 8:01 AM on May 17, 2013

I've lived in both Austin and Blacksburg! Is your husband an engineer? Theres a pretty well traveled road between UT and VT.

I would say that Blacksburg and Austin are similar in regards to cultural climate. The "blueberry in the tomato soup". SW Virginia has been a hippie destination for years. It's not quite as pronounced as Austin, but its there.

You should know that while there are definitely complexes you should avoid, there isn't really a Blacksburg equivalent to West Campus, with shoulder to shoulder student ghettos. This is mostly due to the Burg being much less dense. Local codes make it pretty easy to discriminate against student leasers so they pretty much shunt students into a few places. (i.e. HOA codes state only X number of unrelated people can live in a N number of bedrooms house.)

I echo Clavicle in saying CMG is the landlord to go to if you don't like puke covered staircases. Flee from Foxridge, The Village, and the townhouses near the North Main Food Lion (can't recall the name). Be ready for a heavily monopolized rental market, which goes along with crappy internet service and vulture-like parking enforcement contracts.

You can absolutely ask any leasing agent "Who mostly lives here, undergrad? Or is it more grad students and families?" I was actually told upon applying for a lease that I was moving into a mostly grad student building and that we shouldn't expect to get away with big parties. The population was mostly young grad student couples, international students, and a sweet retired woman across the way would always try to feed my roommate and I tomatoes from her daughter's garden.

Good luck on your move and job hunt!
posted by fontophilic at 9:14 AM on May 17, 2013

Blacksburg is a very nice town that doesn't really have too much of a student ghetto outside of Foxridge and a few other complexes (Tech Terrace, Terrace View). Christiansburg, according to my friends that settled there after college, has really changed for the better the past few years and is the place to go if you want to rent a house inexpensively. That entire area is getting more and more like northern Virginia (bland, strip malls, national chains) but you're less than 15 minutes (in any direction) from some seriously gorgeous terrain.
posted by playertobenamedlater at 10:42 AM on May 17, 2013

Floyd is a hip little town not too far away. And it's not in the middle of all college students.

As an aside I've met a large number of lovely fraternity and sorority members in Virginia.
posted by jander03 at 12:08 PM on May 17, 2013

« Older You're better than Yelp.   |   The cat's daily barf Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.