Since we sold our place at the end of April (and made up our mind we were going to give this a shot) we've been looking for a site on which to build. Our only real requirements were: not too much more than a two hour drive and a natural setting with privacy. We brainstormed about the relative benefits and disadvantages of the many mountains, lakes, beaches and forests close to DC, but in the end - after staying at Jennifer Watson's spectacular Luminhaus - we came to believe that people interested in modern prefab are going to come for the house. So that's our focus. I've been to Harpers Ferry, the Shenandoah Valley, Berkeley Springs, Cumberland, Falling Waters, you name it. We've pretty much settled on being in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia for a couple of reasons: beautiful, unspoiled and sparsely populated mountains, relatively close to DC, a new highway (Corridor H) being built that will soon make it even easier to get there, and no building codes! Just pay your permit fee and build away.
We've looked at sites with spectacular views and some set in the midst of dense woods, land with water access and streams on the property, land close to "attractions," etc. We've decided that unrestricted land is the way to go (no restrictive covenants, no HOAs, no one to worry about offending or giving us a hard time) and have put a premium on size (as a buffer for privacy and to accommodate the possibility of building another rental/vacation home on the property down the road). We've found some good prospects in Hardy County, WV, and we'll update as we firm up a site.