Ask Ashley: Getting to the Beach and Finding an Apartment

Ask Ashley is GTJ’s new weekly advice column for questions about living in DC.  Have a question you want answered?  Email info@gatherthejews.com with subject line “Ask Ashley.”

Dewey Beach image from: http://www.extraordinarydelawarerealestate.com/Dewey-Beach-Real-Estate-and-Homes-For-Sale

Question:  Dear Ashley, my friends and I are here in DC for the summer and looking for an easy way to spend the weekend at the beach.  Any suggestions?
Ashley:   For those of you like me, who moved to DC after living off a beach your entire life, the idea of driving three hours to sit on the sand is hard to handle.  But don’t worry, there are actually more options than you realize. For Memorial Day weekend this year, I hopped in the car with some friends and drove two and half hours and ended up on the coast of Delaware.

I know, if you’re not from the area, the thought of going to Delaware might seem a little weird, but I promise it’s not as random as you think.  Welcome to Dewey Beach, everything you could ever want out of a summer beach weekend plus a lot of things you’d prefer to do without.  Our adventure started at the Sand Palace Motel, right off the coastal highway, minutes from the ocean, and directly across from bars and food.  Throughout the weekend, we wandered our way to Seacrets in Ocean City, Maryland and ate calzones in the much nicer areas of Rehoboth. But over all, there was plenty to do, lots of people from all over the East Coast, and, of course, the beach right there, to enjoy!

Now, of course, the hardest part about getting out there is that you may not own a car.   But lucky for you DC2NY conveniently heads to the beach every weekend of the summer, straight from Dupont Circle or Union Station, and drops off passengers in either Dewey Beach or Rehoboth.

Could this be the ultimate apartment for you?  Probably not, considering it’s located in Portland… It’s just what came up when I typed in “apartments” in Google Images.  – Stephen

Question:  Dear Ashley, what’s a good way to find a great apartment in DC?
Ashley:   Finding an apartment in the District is not easy.  It can be extremely stressful, complicated, and often times misleading.  But lucky for you, there are several tips and tricks that can make apartment searching in DC a little more doable.

For starters, tell everyone you know—friends, colleagues, random people you meet, every Jewish person you know—that you are looking.  Tell them multiple times, whenever you see them, and continuously ask them if they know anyone who is subletting, transferring their lease, or looking for a roommate.  The reality is that finding an apartment is like finding a job:  It’s all about networking with people to get the connection.  You never know which random person you tell might have the dream apartment.

The next tip:  Do not be afraid of Craigslist.  Obviously, be smart; if something looks weird, it probably is.  But at the same time, there’s nothing wrong with meeting someone you don’t know in a neutral area.  If you are nervous, you can always bring someone along.  In addition to Craigslist, check:

Also make your search known on Twitter and Facebook. It doesn’t matter how, just get the word out there that you are looking.

The take-away tip is to be extremely proactive.  The fact is, everyone is looking for apartments in DC and even if something feels like it’s “in the bag” you never know until you sign something that you have it for sure, and you never know what else is out there.  Just continuously check for postings and keep emailing and calling.  As frustrating as it can be, do not get discouraged and you will find the best apartment that’s perfect for you.

And in the end, if you really don’t like where you end up, you can always sublet!

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Have questions for Ashley?  Ask her anything by emailing info@gatherthejews.com (yes, we’ll get her an individualized email soon!)