"Of all the properties which belong to honorable men, not one is so highly prized as that of character."
--Henry Clay, politician born in Ashland, Virginia
Ashland, Virginia, is located in the heart of the state. That's right, it's smack-dab in the middle of everything, and that is one of the reasons why Ashland is known to locals as the "Center of the Universe." Ashland has over 7,000 residents, covers a scope of around 7 square miles, and is located in Hanover County. This tight-knit and friendly little town owes its early development to the railroad, as it was first created to be a mineral springs resort. Now, Ashland functions as a small college town full of people who love to be outdoors -- walking, biking, and hiking. Another bonus: Ashland is only 15 minutes north of Richmond. It's all about location!
Moving to Ashland
Before you make your big move to Ashland, you may want to give yourself some extra time to secure rental housing. Depending on which neighborhood you prefer, the housing market can be kind of tight. It's recommended that you give yourself 6-8 weeks to look for housing in this area.
What to Bring
When you head out to look at rentals, bring your checkbook, and make sure your account is loaded with at least two months' rent. Most landlords require one month's rent as a security deposit, and you'll get the money back if you move and leave the apartment in pristine condition. Other documents to have on hand would be proof of identification, proof of employment, some recent bank statements, and a current credit history.
After the lease is signed, you will have to set up accounts with your local utilities companies -- don't forget to think about cable and internet service if you like to be wired! If you've moved from out of state, check with the area DMV to figure out what steps you'll need to take to update your driver's license, plates, and registration.
With three neighborhood areas to choose from in Ashland, you'll have no trouble finding something that suits all of your needs.
Gwathmey and Gilman: If you are looking for rental homes in Ashland, you will want to begin your search in Gwathmey and Gilman. This area is primarily rural and is made up of mostly single-family homes and townhomes. Most properties are newer here, and the neighborhood is quiet.
Washington Highway Area: Located directly below the Town Center, this neighborhood has the least expensive rents in the area and access to three parks. Carter Park even has a junior Olympic-sized swimming pool! Your search for rental housing will be fruitful here, as there is a variety of apartment sizes and types available.
Town Center: The Town Center surrounds the Randolph-Macon College, which means that you will find apartment rentals here. Rents here are reasonable, and you should be able to find a studio apartment for rent that won't break the bank. There are tons of shops and things to do in this neighborhood -- if you like to be out and about, choose Town Center.
Living in Ashland
It should go without saying, but there is plenty to do in a college town like Ashland. For starters, you need to check out the Ashland Farmers Market behind the Town Hall -- it's held every Saturday from May to October. The market features local honey, eggs, meats, and produce. There are even vendors who sell a variety of cut flowers that you can use to spruce up your new digs. Don't forget to sample the famous Hanover tomatoes. If you are in the mood to caffeinate, make a visit to Ashland Coffee and Tea. This hip and cozy little coffee shop hosts live music, and the atmosphere will beg you to stay longer. Although the baristas here mix a mean Pufferbelly -- a blend of toffee and hazelnut coffees topped with whipped cream -- the black coffee is of superior quality as well. During weekend concerts, they even serve beer. If being outdoors is more your style, you can catch a shuttle bus and visit several cultivated Virginia gardens during Historic Garden Week. You'll see garden beds bordered with ancient volcanic boulders, and you can have your questions answered by Master Gardeners. There's also the Ashland Railroad Run for those of you who like to display your athletic prowess. You can choose your distance -- 10k race or 5k fun run -- and make your way from start to finish along Ashland's historic railroad tracks.