By Kerry White
Who lives here: This is home to tech and government workers, small-business owners, doctors, lawyers, and teachers. There are lots of parents under 40 as well as plenty of stay-at-home and work-at-home parents.
Homefront: Roomy brick and stucco “estate homes” on large lots, Colonials, and shingled window-filled townhouses. The most expensive homes feature grand foyers, sunken family rooms, master suites, and three-car garages.
For sale: According to real-estate agent and resident Cathy Strittmater, the neighborhood’s largest homes—starting at 4,000 square feet—sell for $900,000 to $1.2 million; smaller single-family homes run $525,000 to $650,000; and townhouses start at $400,000. Fairway or wooded views go for a premium.
Meet you at the club: A $26,000 initiation fee gives you privileges on the Arnold Palmer golf course, but all residents get free social membership to the club, which has Sunday brunches, half-price-burger days, and happy hours.
Big events: Halloween parades, Easter-egg hunt, and Dominion Valley Day, an all-day extravaganza. Neighbors gather regularly for book-club meetings, winetastings, poker, and basketball.
For the kids: Soccer, karate, basketball, and rec programs at the sports center, which is planning an indoor pool. Two schools, Battlefield High (with an information-technology specialty program) and J.W. Alvey Elementary, are new and an easy walk.
Draws: The active lifestyle and family-friendly atmosphere. “We live like we’re on vacation,” says Kelly Giesler, who moved here with her family in 2003. The neighborhood’s great for walking; just outside the gates is a new shopping strip with a coffee shop, grocery store, and restaurant.
Drawback: Traffic can double the hour’s drive to DC and the half-hour drive to the Dulles corridor. Some commuters carpool or ride the Virginia Railway Express from nearby Manassas.
Why it beats Avenel: Affordability. Residents say they get a millionaire’s lifestyle at a discount. They also say the distance from DC means people focus more on recreation and what they like to do rather than careers and money.
On the Web: Dominion Valley Country Club (www.dominionvalley.com).