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Harrisonburg, VA? 4/17/2008 9:02PM Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Just got a job offer from a company based in Harrisonburg, VA. I've visited some extended family in Charlottesville and Richmond, but never been to Harrisonburg. Anybody have any experience with the area? How's the running there? The offer's tempting - the pay is pretty good, and I imagine the cost of living there is dirt cheap. However, I'm worried about winding up in some redneck cesspool where the big social event of the week involves a trip to the Super Wal-Mart. I'm sure that's completely off base, but it still worries me. Any input is appreciated.
RE: Harrisonburg, VA? 4/17/2008 9:17PM - in reply to Eyegore Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I wouldn't say it's completely off base. by the way, Research the demographics yourself. I don't live in Harrisonburg, but I've been there several times.

Maybe some members of the now eliminated XC/track programs can chime in about the running scene there.
RE: Harrisonburg, VA? 4/17/2008 9:28PM - in reply to Eyegore Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Spent a couple years in the Burg but its been many moons. All I can tell you is the university provides any and all culture and it aint as cheap as you might think.
three revolutions removed
RE: Harrisonburg, VA? 4/17/2008 9:58PM - in reply to Rizzo Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
The burg is a great place if you don't mind driving out about 20 minutes to run awesome trails. Depending on your age, you may end up having no social life there due to the fact that everyone over the age of 30 in that town is a redneck (you mentioned you dislike such people). If you're under 30 you can reasonably find people to mingle with.

Small town, good running, not so good social scene outside of college or just thereafter.
RE: Harrisonburg, VA? 4/17/2008 11:08PM - in reply to three revolutions removed Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I like Harrisonburg and the Shenandoah Valley is one of the prettiest places to live on the east coast. H'burg has a federal court and a bankruptcy court too - so it has a bit of a government anchor. I might add I also like Staunton 20 miles to the south - which has its own Shakespeare theatre and funky social scene and good restaurants.

But if you are in your late 20's or early 30's - meaning that it will be harder to connect with the JMU scene (a school with lots of nice looking and nice young women) - I can only pass on the advice of a Shenandoah Valley physician couple in their 50's who I shared company with at the Virginia State track meet (they were watching their daughters). I asked them what it was like for single people in town, and they said there is a cadre of professional and educated types - but that you have to work harder to find them - meaning join a club that regularly meets or the like - and put formality into your social life. I replied that this is not so easy for some people - and the wife said yes, but she said that is why a busybody like her was a good person to know and talk to. The key is accepting ideas like that - as opposed to hitting the bars - where the college or redneck scene would generally prevail. In any event, I live in expensive N. Va, and would move to Harrisonburg in a heartbeat with a good job - but I don't need much stimulation.
RE: Harrisonburg, VA? 4/18/2008 6:56AM - in reply to Eyegore Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I ran in a meet at EMU one time, and warming up in the surrounding areas reminded me a lot of Edward Scissorhands.
burg resident
RE: Harrisonburg, VA? 4/18/2008 7:28AM - in reply to burton Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Harrisonburg is a beautiful place to live. The Shenandoah Valley is gorgeous and JMU offers a great party atmosphere for 20-30 year olds (especially if you are a single 20-30 year old).

As for training, I was on the JMU XC team here and the training is not the most ideal but if you take the time to drive out 20 to 30 minutes to the George Washington National Forest you will have some of the best trail running around. Harrisonburg also has a couple of parks with cinder loops. They are not that long but they are a nice haven from the asphalt and concrete.

I'm sure if you move here and make contact with the coaches they would be more than happy to give you directions to some of the sites we used to train at.

Hope this helps and congrats on the new job! Where did you get hired if you don't mind me asking?
RE: Harrisonburg, VA? 4/18/2008 7:40AM - in reply to burg resident Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Terminex, I treat termites.
Hall fan
RE: Harrisonburg, VA? 4/18/2008 9:11AM - in reply to Eyegore Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I currently attend JMU and have been running marathons over the past year. The running in hburg itself is not the most exotic, but is manageable. The one plus is tons of hills, which makes "hilly" race courses seem hill-less. As a couple others have stated, the best running is about 30 minutes away in George Washington National Forest.. lots of great trails. Another good option is Skyline Drive, where we do all of our long runs during training.

I'm from Northern VA so socially, coming to Hburg was a bit of a culture shock. It def has a smaller "town" redneckish vibe to it. Since i'm a college student, I cant offer too much on the social scene for people older than college... obviously JMU has quite the social scene for the students, though...

guilty pleasures...
RE: Harrisonburg, VA? 4/18/2008 9:41AM - in reply to burg resident Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Thanks for all the input so far. Sounds like it may not be such a bad fit for me. I'll be moving from Flagstaff, so the small-town vibe won't be a huge shock. I had forgotten that the JMU XC/track programs fell victim to Title IX a couple of years ago - are there any competitive groups/clubs in town to fill the void? Also, any other decent trail running aside from the GW Natl Forest? By the way, for whoever asked, I was offered a job by a company called SI International. They're based in DC, but have offices in Hburg.
RE: Harrisonburg, VA? 4/18/2008 10:17AM - in reply to guilty pleasures... Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Yeah, forgot to change the user name back. That's right, I'm the guy who confessed to enjoying Undercover Brother on another thread. I'm so ashamed...
RE: Harrisonburg, VA? 4/18/2008 10:27AM - in reply to Eyegore Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
the city of harrisonburg is not really that good for running, get into cycling and you'll have plenty of places to ride and people to ride with. as other people said if you drive out 20 to 30 minutes away from the city you'll find plenty of places to run. the north river gorge is a great place to run. it's a flat 6 mile stretch in which you cross the north river (water can get up to a little bit above your knees when it's high) about 9 times. many other trails around are very hilly and you will find yourself climbing a lot or running downhill very quickly. the AT goes along skyline drive which is a good place to run too.

as for the social scene, if you are in your mid to late 20's and not a red neck good luck find others like yourself...
RE: Harrisonburg, VA? 4/18/2008 11:25AM - in reply to guilty pleasures... Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I'm in the area w/ a daughter at JMU. Uh, Flagstaff to Harrisonburg? ...think hard and visit for a while. It's definitely a bit back on the cultural scale - high school graduates may not be in the majority in H'burg. (JMU coeds do provide entertainment for a few of the local no-gooders - at least according to the frequent police bulletins posted on campus.) It has all the stores and amenities, just prepare for the culture shock from AZ.
RE: Harrisonburg, VA? 4/18/2008 3:09PM - in reply to ?? Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Live in Staunton and drive to Harrisonburg. The commute is only 20-30 min. and both towns are on the interstate. Staunton is a very nice town with plenty of history, restaurants, social scene and culture. Harrisonburg...not so much.
tto hsoj
RE: Harrisonburg, VA? 4/18/2008 9:29PM - in reply to Eyegore Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
a little more info

Running in Harrisonburg/surrounding area: typical sidewalks and paved roads in the city but pretty easy to run on grass/gravel on the sides of majority of roads. Don't have to run too far out of city to find back/country roads. Purcell Park has a 1.4 mile gravel path. Hillandale has a 1.3 mile gravel path, as well as some newly constructed mountain bike trails that probably add on another 2.5-3 miles (I've heard they are planning on having a 4 miler on the mtb trails). There's another park on the northern part of town which I don't know the name of that has a .8 mile gravel path as well as 4 soccer fields. As others have mentioned, if you are willing to drive out ~30 minutes from town you can get on some pretty good trails in the national forest. Some of these are forest service roads and some are actual single track trails. The JMU teams used to run on FS road 85 which is about a 16 mile loop that starts on the WV side of the WV/VA border and finishes on the VA side about a 1/4 mile from the start. Another popular area is Reddish Knob, which is the second highest point in VA at 4,397 ft. There are some good dirt/gravel roads in this area.

Local running scene: Harrisonburg has a running store called The Runner's Corner. There is a local running/track club called the Shenandoah Valley track club. The track club puts on several road races through out the year, has group runs, and also puts on track meets during the summer for anyone who wants to participate. JMU has a lot of 5ks during the school year and there are quite a few other 5ks put on by organizations to choose from. A couple of weekends ago there was a 5k on Saturday and Sunday and both had ~500 people. Harrisonburg High school hosted the AA state track meet last year and the guys team won the state championship. The AA state meet is scheduled to be held at Harrisonburg High again this year on 5/30-5/31. There is some pretty solid young talent in the area as a couple of guys have gone 4:19-4:22 and low 9:20's. Charlottesville has a very big running community and is only about 70 minutes from Harrisonburg. There are 2 running stores in Charlottesville, Ragged Mountain Running Shop (been around since 82) and the Charlottesville Running Company. The Charlottesville Marathon is actually tomorrow.

Social Scene/Things to do: JMU was ranked 16th in the country in the "Lots of beer" category by the Princeton Review (whatever thats worth). Three years ago on the weekend before classes started I heard the Food Lion on Port Road did $125,000 in beer sales (don't know the accuracy of this). Simply put, there are a lot of "good times" being had by students and locals at JMU. Tuesday is karaoke night at the Pub, which usually gets pretty busy. Wednesday is college night at Bourbon Street on Main. Thursday is college night at Rocktown which gets really crowded and then Friday and Saturday nights they have live music at The Pub and Rocktown. There are other "local" bars/restaurants that are really fun too. Seems there is constantly something being built in Harrisonburg and the surrounding area. JMU's enrollment is around 17,000 now and by 2013 they are projecting an increase of another 4,000 students which will probably lead to more restaurants/businesses etc. Oh yeah and JMU is ~60% female, 40% male.

I like living in Harrisonburg for now
RE: Harrisonburg, VA? 5/22/2009 10:31AM - in reply to Eyegore Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
An H'burg bump....any more thoughts?
drivers perspective
RE: Harrisonburg, VA? 5/22/2009 11:51AM - in reply to peepitude Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
That is where I got my first speeding ticket. That totally ruined it for me. I found an article that said they put more troopers on the interstate during spring break with a focus on catching college students speeding through...bull shit if you ask me
RE: Harrisonburg, VA? 5/22/2009 11:59AM - in reply to drivers perspective Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
They were cracking down on I-81 yesterday...saw a few of them hiding in the center divide probably not far from Harrisonburg.
Brad ONeil - SR - Coe College
RE: Harrisonburg, VA? 5/22/2009 12:01PM - in reply to peepitude Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

peepitude wrote:

They were cracking down on I-81 yesterday...saw a few of them hiding in the center divide probably not far from Harrisonburg.

Ha, it's like this all over the Shenandoah Valley (perhaps the whole state? Dunno.) I think they forgot that the point of policing isn't to see who can give out the most tickets...
Southern Man
H-burg bump 5/22/2009 12:16PM - in reply to peepitude Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
All of the above looks pretty accurate to me. They continue to work on adding to mountain bike trails at Hillendale park. Rocktown Grill is now closed, the Basement has taken it's place.

Good place for outdoor recreation in general. As an almost 40 year old who is single I find the dating pool somewhat limited. I have been dating a lot of women from Charlottesville.
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