You are more sensitive to this distinction than most of us are. I live in Gaithersburg. If someone from far away asks me where I live, I say "near Washington, D.C."
When I was in Europe and I said I was from near DC, Europeans expected me to be able to explain why all our politicians are idiots. Apparently because I'm from near DC I'm an official ambassador for Congress.
Eventually I just started saying "Virginia".