Relocation Guide for Winchester and Frederick County: What You Need to Know for a Successful Move
Are you considering a relocation to the city of Winchester or have you recently moved to Frederick County? Keep reading for everything you need to know about living in the Shenandoah Valley.
Founded in 1752, Winchester is a medium-sized city with plenty to offer history buffs as well as people looking for modern amenities and entertainment. Still affordable and within commuting distance to D.C., Winchester is a great place to raise a family and/or to telecommute to a job in the greater metro area. In addition to its proximity to the Northern Virginia/D.C. metro area, you can also drive to other East Coast Cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia, and even New York (4 hours away).
As part of the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester and the rest of Frederick County have an abundance of natural beauty, parks and trails, and historical sites. Vineyards and farms dot the landscape here as well. Keep reading to learn more about Winchester and Frederick County!
What is the cost of living in Winchester and Frederick County?
According to the rankings from Sperling’s Best Places, Winchester’s cost of living is 101.8 out of 100, making it slightly more expensive than the U.S. average but more affordable than the statewide average for Virginia.
Perhaps the biggest factor in Winchester’s cost of living is its hot housing market, where demand outweighs supply and homes sell for a median price of $251,000. Still, that is very affordable compared to home prices in towns closer to D.C. Winchester is a great option for people who want to be within commuting distance of the metro area but can work remotely some or all of the time.
Another benefit of living in Winchester is that real estate taxes are relatively low, with the tax rate for 2020 at $0.93 per $100 of assessed value.
Looking to rent instead of buy? You’ll find that one-bedroom units rent for an average of $770/month in Winchester and two-bedrooms go for about $1,020.
Education in Frederick County
Frederick County Public Schools offers 12 elementary schools, including eight in Winchester; four middle schools, with three in Winchester; and three high schools, two of which are in Winchester. Preschool is also available for eligible students in certain elementary school attendance zones.
If you’re interested in private school in Winchester, here is a sampling of options:
- Sacred Heart Academy: PreK-Grade 8 Catholic School
- Lighthouse Baptist Academy: PreK-Grade 12 Christian School
- Mountain View Christian Academy: K-12
- Winchester Montessori School: Toddler-Grade 6
- Independent School of Winchester: K-12 College Prep School
As for higher education in Frederick County:
Neighborhoods in Winchester
As a medium-sized city, Winchester offers a mix of newer and more historic housing in both urban and suburban settings. Popular neighborhoods include:
- Old Town: Historic downtown neighborhood with residential units as well as retail, dining, and cultural attractions.
- College Park: Suburban neighborhood adjacent to Shenandoah University
- Green Acres: Suburban community with midsize homes dating back to 1959.
- Ash Hollow Estates: Another planned suburban community
Other Major Towns in Frederick County
Transportation and Infrastructure
- The Winchester Regional Airport is 70 miles from Dulles International Airport.
- Major roadways include I-81, I-66, US 50, US 11, US 522, VA Primary 7, and VA Primary 37.
- Public transit options include Win Tran and RouteShout.
- Commuting to D.C.? You can drive to a Park & Ride Lot and take a commuter bus to a nearby metro station.
Setting Up Local Utilities
Creating new utility accounts may not be the most fun task associated with moving, but we’ve made it easier for you with this handy list of local providers:
- The City of Winchester’s Public Utilities department provides water and wastewater services to residents. To apply for water and sewer service, fill out the online application or visit the Utilities Customer Service Center in Rouss City Hall. A $170 deposit is required of all first-time residential customers and will be credited back to your account after a certain number of on-time payments. If you are renting your home in Winchester, you’ll need to fill out the Tenant Form and get it signed by your landlord.
- Winchester receives electricity from the Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative. To open a new account, call SVEC at 1 (800) 234-7832. You’ll pay a $5 membership fee and a deposit may be required, depending on the results of their evaluation.
- For natural gas, you’ll need to open an account with Shenandoah Gas, a subsidiary of Washington Gas.
- When it comes to telecom providers, you can choose from a variety of options, including Comcast, DIRECTV, DISH Network, HughesNet, Lumos Networks, Verizon, Visuallink, Wave2Net, and Winchester Wireless.
Looking for new doctors for your family? Winchester Medical Center, part of the Valley Health System, offers urgent care, internal medicine and pediatric services, as well as a variety of specialty fields in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Medical offices are located on the hospital’s main campus, or within a quick drive. Winchester Medical Center is an award-winning facility and essential resource for residents of the Northern Shenandoah Valley. Numerous dental practices can also be found throughout the city.
To care for the pets in your life, you’ll be pleased to find many veterinarian offices and emergency hospitals throughout Frederick County. If you’re looking to adopt a pet, check out the Esther Boyd Animal Shelter or the SPCA of Winchester, Frederick, and Clarke Counties.
Parks and Recreation
Winchester’s Parks and Rec department offers a variety of educational, athletic, and arts/crafts programs for children and adults as well as facilities, parks, trails, dog parks, and camps. Jim Barnett Park is the largest park in Winchester with over 170 acres of green space and amenities.
For even more parks and recreational opportunities, visit Frederick County’s Parks & Recreation page.
- Shop independent businesses in Old Town Winchester
- Shop national retailers in the Apple Blossom Mall
- Local drinks and dining in Winchester
- Various chain eateries can be found surrounding the Apple Blossom Mall area.
- Sip local beer and wine throughout Winchester and Frederick County
- Museums and Entertainment in Winchester
- The Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum is a must for families with small children!
- Apple Blossom Festival
- Winchester is known as the “Apple Capital”, and the Apple Blossom Festival celebrates the arrival of spring and the city’s rich agricultural history. This nine-day celebration attracts crowds in excess of 250,000 each year!
- Frederick County Fair
- The Winchester Star
- The Northern Virginia Daily
- WHSV 3
- NBC Washington
- Public Radio in the Shenandoah Valley
Frederick County Libraries
Find local branches and use digital resources from the Handley Regional Library System.
Community Banking with F&M
If you’ve recently moved to Winchester-Frederick County, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is where to bank. F&M has a long local history of commitment to serving and investing in Shenandoah Valley communities. At our branches, you’ll find a friendly group of employees ready to answer your questions about getting a mortgage, taking out a personal loan or business loan, or opening one of our high interest checking and savings accounts.