This Neighborhood Spotlight is brought to you by The Seward Group of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.

Located just 15 miles south of Washington D.C. along the Potomac River lies the bedroom community of Stratford Landing, one of four neighborhoods located in Fort Hunt.

According to a 2019 article published by The Washington Post, “driving down Fort Hunt Road in Alexandria, the center of the Fort Hunt neighborhood, you are swept back to an idyllic time of post-World War II suburbia, where split levels and kids on bikes ruled the streets and Little League games dominated Saturday activities.”

The article continues to describe Stratford as “a classic suburb that has resisted commercial buildup… just single-family homes for its population of almost 17,000 mostly families and retirees.” Stratford itself has over 700 homes.

The Stratford community is divided into two legal subdivisions, Stratford on the Potomac and Stratford Landing. The community is surrounded on three sides by water. According to the bylaws for the Stratford Landing Citizen’s Association, it’s “bounded on the South by the tributary of the Little Hunting Creek that runs parallel to Creek Drive; on the West by Little Hunting Creek; on the North by the tributary of Little Hunting Creek that runs parallel to the East-West course of Brewster Drive; and on the East by Riverside Road and a line extending Riverside Road but also including Wittington Boulevard and its feeder roads.”

History of Stratford Landing

Built on George Washington’s original old “River Farm” alongside Little Hunting Creek, Stratford Landing is a unique blend of historical significance and modern-day luxuries.

In 1956, Long Island builders Ernest C. Beck and Walter Beck began their development of Stratford Landing, starting with 110 homes. In 1957, utilities and paved roads arrived along with the construction of even more homes. The success of the development was shouted through advertisements in The Washington Post and Times Herald!

For more on the early history of Stratford Landing, including multiple newspaper advertisements and articles, take a look at the Stratford Landing website.

The community

Nature and land preservation is a big part of Stratford Landing. With yearly community cleanups, residents join together on organized days to help pick up trash, mow common areas, and trim overgrown foliage, including tasks as simple as trimming the vines from the neighborhood sign!

Wildlife and its preservation are also a big part of life in Stratford Landing. Sightings of fox darting across driveways, deer quietly crossing through backyards or even eagles flying overhead are daily occurrences and cherished by the residents.

The residents of Stratford take a vested interest in connecting to their neighbors. Anne Merchant brought over a loaf of homemade banana bread to welcome new neighbors while Carrie Sessine left a card and a bottle of wine on her neighbor’s doorstep. When Stratford residents had their babies, neighbors created a sign-up sheet for a meal chain to help out with nightly dinners for a few weeks. And when another resident lost her husband, neighbors banded in support ranging from meals to daily check-ins.

When asked why she moved her family from D.C. out to the Stratford area, Ellen King stated that they “would spend most of our weekends leaving our home in the busy city just to frequent trials and parks along the Potomac. We loved seeing the bald eagles and nests along the parkway and simply loved the calm atmosphere of all of it so close to Washington D.C.. We fell in love with the tree-lined streets, scenic views and wooded backyards that Stratford provided. We finally decided to make it permanent and settle down here to raise our kids. It was the greatest decision we ever made!”

This fact, not surprisingly, provides a huge draw for those who face commuting to and from the city for work. The proximity to Fort Belvoir, the Pentagon, Andrews AFB and Bolling AFB make this neighborhood a favorite among military, in particular. After living in 11 different locations in 17 years, Laura Catron decided that this is where she wanted to stay for good after her husband retires.

“It is the perfect blend of city life and suburbia [for us],” she says.

Laura’s husband, Kevin, chose to live in the area because of the easy commute to work, the closeness to Old Town (a favorite hangout) and the direct route to Reagan International Airport since much of his work involved travel.

Restaurants and shopping

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This Neighborhood Spotlight is brought to you by The Seward Group of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.

This month’s neighborhood spotlight shines on Kingstowne, Virginia.

The Community

This popular community is loved for its unique environment, beautiful landscape, vibrant town center, and quick access to D.C., Fort Belvoir and the Pentagon. The tree-lined streets, miles of walking trails, acres of green space, multiple outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts and numerous tot lots are where you will find the families who call Kingstowne home.

This planned community was developed in the 1980s in stages called villages. The South Village, North Village and Middle Village all contain a mix of apartments, condominiums, townhouses and single-family homes.

The Crest, a new high-end 55+ planned community includes condominiums, elevator townhomes and single-family houses.

Not many communities have their own ZIP codes, but Kingstowne does — 22315. Kingstowne’s own post office, UPS store, movie theater, library and town center are just some of the places that serve this neighborhood of over 5,300 homes. You never have to travel out of the community to find what you need.

Schools

Many families choose to live in Kingstowne so their children can attend school very close to the neighborhood. Younger students may attend Lane Elementary, Hayfield Elementary or Franconia Elementary depending on which part of Kingstowne they live in. The older children will attend either Mark Twain or Hayfield Middle School and/or Hayfield Secondary School or Edison High School.

Dining and shopping

Even long-time residents have a hard time keeping up with Kingstowne’s dining and shopping options! Anything you want or need is right in the neighborhood.

Kingstowne Towne Center is a beautiful retail shopping and professional services center. It is hard to believe there are so many options in one single community location. HomeGoods, T.J. Maxx, Ross, World Market, Kohl’s, Walmart, Old Virginia Tobacco Cigar Shop, GameStop, Lane Bryant and more. (Ashley Home Store is opening soon!) Grocery stores include Giant, Safeway and Aldi.

The Kingstowne Farmers Market is located across the parking lot from Giant and is open Fridays, May 7 to October 29, 2021, from 3 to 7 p.m. And Amazon’s first new concept grocery store in Northern Virginia is opening here soon! (No official opening date, but hiring has started.) With amazing professional services also available (think: massage, nails, hair, optometrist, cat clinic, dentist and dermatologist), Kingstowne Towne Center is truly a one-stop location for the families who live here.

From seafood to Italian to Indian to Thai and Vietnamese, Kingstowne Towne Center has it all for dining options! Some family favorites include Romano’s Macaroni Grill, Bone Fish Grill, and Uno’s Pizzeria & Grill. But residents and visitors also love Starbucks, Panera and all the fast food restaurant options! (The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved a drive-thru Chick-fil-A coming soon!) And don’t forget Sweet Frog and Dairy Queen for a fun dessert! Now that spring is here, residents take advantage of all the outdoor dining opportunities available in the Towne Center.

Kingstown keepers

We can’t forget these Kingstowne keepers around the neighborhood! Wegman’s is a favorite destination in Kingstowne as well as Burton’s Grill & Bar, LA Fitness and all the small (and large) businesses and dining options in Hilltop Village Center.

The Hayfield Shopping Center is another local place to check out! House of Dynasty is a 5-star Chinese restaurant that has been a neighborhood staple for decades. Dancensations has been providing dance and gymnastics classes to the children of Kingstowne since 1989. Planet Fitness, fast food options, professional services and more can be found in this center.

Real estate

Kingstowne is an expansive community in the Fairfax County section of Alexandria. Located just 12 miles from Washington, D.C., this 1,200-acre community is convenient to I-95, the Capital Beltway, two Metro stations, Fort Belvoir and the Coast Guard Station.

The boundaries for Kingstowne are:

  • Franconia Road to the north,
  • Beulah Street to the west,
  • S. Van Dorn Street to the east and
  • Telegraph Road to the south

According to Bright MLS, at the time this article was written there were 13 homes for sale in Kingstowne. Prices ranging from $265,000 for a one-bed condo to $850,000 for a four-bed single-family home. Homes in this popular community have been selling quickly. On average, homes receive seven offers with waived contingencies and sell in less than a week.

If you have a question about Kingstowne real estate or would like to set up an appointment with one of our agents, please email [email protected], call 703-298-0562 or visit The Seward Group website.

About The Seward Group: We are award-winning real estate agents with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty. Lyssa Seward, Brittanie DeChino, Anita Edwards, Melody Abella, Laura Catron, Gina Wimpey and Elaine McCall make up our team. We offer our clients Full-Spectrum Concierge Real Estate Service at all price points, assisting with every step of the process from beginning to end. We are licensed in Virginia, D.C. and Maryland with TTR Sotheby’s International Realty in Old Town Alexandria.

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This Neighborhood Spotlight is brought to you by The Seward Group of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.

This month’s Neighborhood Spotlight lands on Beverley Hills.

Nestled in the hills above Del Ray and Rosemont is a neighborhood pocket called “Beverley Hills,” which encompasses the upper half of the broader neighborhood of North Ridge (portions of ZIP codes 22305 and 22302) in the City of Alexandria.

The boundaries for Beverley Hills are:

  • West Glebe on the north
  • ParkFairfax on the west
  • Russell Road on the east
  • Beverley Drive/Monticello Park on the south

Proximity to Washington D.C. (an easy drive from Glebe to 395) makes this a popular neighborhood for folks who need to get in and out of the District on a regular basis. Also, it’s less than a 10-minute drive to both National Airport (DCA) and the Pentagon. It’s just a 10 to 15-minute drive to Shirlington, Ballston, Crystal and Pentagon cities, and Old Town Alexandria — all great options for restaurants, dining and shopping without much traffic along the way!

The Beverly Hills Community

Beverley Hills is known for its rolling hill topography (not surprising, given its name), which provides stunning views, excellent opportunities for getting the heart rate up on walks and sledding!

“I love when we wake up to a fresh snowfall and the neighbors have blocked off Canyon Drive on each end — families are sledding downhill together, you feel like you are somewhere special.” — Nick Huck, a Beverly Hills resident

In this community, neighbors wave to one another in passing and check in on one another. When Rama and Jay Chauhan (Pullman Place) moved to the neighborhood from a row home in Washington, D.C. in 2017, they were pleasantly surprised with how welcomed their neighbors made them feel and the almost instantaneous support they had from their new community.

“[Our] neighbors feel like family; we can count on them for anything,” Rama said. “And all the walks we have taken during COVID have provided us with an opportunity to meet other folks in the neighborhood — everyone is friendly.”

They also happily pass the time together in local gathering spots, especially The Pit (aka Beverley Park) and Monticello Park. The Pit, renovated in 2017, features a large playground, nature play area, grass and plenty of seating for adults. Rumor has it that sometimes, after the dinner hour, adults may find their way there to relax and hang out with neighbors over a fire. Monticello Park, more of a nature park, is well-known for its bird watching, walking trail and dog run.

The tall, beautiful trees make Beverley Hills feel like a forest outside of the city. Members of the community have a strong appreciation and connection to the natural growth of wildlife in the neighborhood.

“The trees and flowers are something I feel like the neighborhood, in general, cares for,” Huck said. “I was just talking to two neighbors, and they told me about how the flowers growing in that yard were shared from another neighbor, who got them from yet another. In fact, some of our azaleas are from neighbors who shared them with our property.”

Residents also collectively enjoy the variety in architectural style. There are colonials, split-levels, ranchers, bungalows, Tudors and more!

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This Neighborhood Spotlight is brought to you by The Seward Group of TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.

Welcome to our first Neighborhood Spotlight. We are pleased to present this new monthly column that will highlight the vast array of Alexandria neighborhoods.

This month’s Neighborhood Spotlight lands on Old Town.

The saying “don’t judge a book by its cover” holds true for a town’s name. Our beloved Old Town Alexandria is historic and charming, but it’s changing and showing itself as anything but old in 2021. Vibrant and full of life, Old Town is the perfect place to call home — or simply visit for an afternoon or a night on the town. Check out the top five things to see and do in Old Town Alexandria.

Known for its rich history, Old Town is located just 6.5 miles north of George Washington’s Mount Vernon home and 5 miles south of Washington, D.C. Recently, Old Town has been welcoming many new businesses and new residences, making it a true melding of historic charm (dating from the 1700s) to today’s modern life. Whether you’re visiting or a resident, the rich history and attractions are not to be missed!

Named one of the Top 5 Best Small Cities in the U.S. in 2020 by Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards and one of the South’s Best Cities by Southern Living, one would have a hard time disagreeing. Old Town boasts a Walk Score of 85, Bike Score of 80 and a strong transit score as it is both Metro and water taxi accessible and only 3.5 miles to Reagan National Airport. Commuters enjoy many options, including two metro stations (King Street and Braddock Road), the 11Y Express Bus (runs north/south on GW Parkway to/from downtown Washington, D.C. and Mount Vernon), 495 and Route 1. Check out more of Old Town’s national accolades!

The Community

What makes Old Town Alexandria the best community? The people, of course… but also, the dogs! You won’t get far walking on King Street before you see water bowls, biscuit offerings and even signs for free treats for our four-legged pals if you pop inside. Known as one of the top dog-friendly locations in the country, hotels, restaurants and shops alike are ready for your pups to move about town with you.

Old Town Alexandrians love their town, their neighbors and their community — and it shows. Alexandria has a rich history of philanthropy and community involvement.

Some popular local nonprofits include:

…and so many more!

Dining & Shopping

One of the most unique things about Old Town is that it has only a few national chains and is populated by many small, independent businesses. The newly revived Waterfront is a wonderful place to people-watch, grab a bite to eat and catch the water taxi to Nationals Park or National Harbor!

Old Town’s culinary scene includes a variety of favorite restaurants, many of which are housed in historic buildings. From seafood to Italian to French bistros, Old Town has it all! A sampling of our favorite family-run restaurants includes Taverna Cretekou and Landini Brothers. Other favorites include Hummingbird, Ada’s on the River and Virtue Feed & Grain.

As for hotels, The Alexandrian Hotel is our team’s favorite place for photo shoots. The Gadsby Tavern & Inn is a favorite tourist destination hosting local events and even yoga in the ballroom! The Lorien features its own on-site spa, The Morrison House is a small boutique and luxury hotel, and Hotel Indigo is the newest addition on the waterfront.

In 2019, Forbes named Old Town Alexandria the “Ice Cream Cone Capital of the United States” for good reason! Where do we start? Pop’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream Company, Kilwins on King Street, Ben and Jerry’s, and Jeni’s on Patrick.

To work off your ice cream, Old Town provides a fitness lovers paradise with jogging and bike paths nearby and many wonderful fitness and yoga studios.

Old Town’s Farmer’s Market is a local favorite every Saturday, not to mention it’s the oldest farmer’s market in the country consistently held at the same location! Did you know that George Washington sent produce from his farm to this market to be sold? Visitors and locals alike love the abundant selection of fresh local produce, baked goods, various ethnic delicacies and dairy products. The market also boasts a wonderful selection of local artisans!

Our Local Favorites

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What a busy week in Alexandria.

Our top story this week was on Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to Old Town shop fibre space on March 3. It was Harris’ first official visit outside of the White House since she was inaugurated, and she spoke about the American Rescue Plan with shop owner Danielle Romanetti.

Alexandria City Public Schools reopened for hybrid instruction this week, the first time since all school facilities were shut down on March 13. The school system reportedly welcomed back 1,200 special needs students in kindergarten through fifth grade. ACPS will open on March 9 for special education students, and then fully reopen its doors to hybrid learning for students on March 16.

On the coronavirus front, the number  of deaths due to the virus has climbed to 123, and cases are at 10,404 since the first case was reported on March 11, 2020. Mayor Justin Wilson says the city is doing well keeping the numbers down, although with a vaccine waiting list exceeding 45,000 and 3,000 vaccine doses being given out weekly, distribution will continue to be slow.

More than 550 people responded to this week’s poll on the proposed new names for T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary School. About 60% of respondents said they were happy with Alexandria High School, but not with Naomi Brooks Elementary School; 25% said they liked both names; 8% didn’t like either name; and 6% didn’t like the high school name and were happy with the elementary school name.

In case you missed them, here are some other important stories:

Here are our most-read posts this week:

  1. Just In: Vice President Visits Old Town Shop Fibre Space
  2. Alexandria Wants Feedback on Building Spray Park in Del Ray
  3. El Chapo’s Wife to be Isolated in Alexandria Jail for One Month Per COVID-19 Distancing Rules
  4. Consultant Proposes Replacing Community Shelter with Mixed-Use Development
  5. Alexandria Advocacy Facebook Group Parodied in New Blog
  6. Superintendent Proposes New Names for T.C. Williams High School and Matthew Maury Elementary
  7. Patrick Moran, Son of Former Congressman Jim Moran, is Running for City Council
  8. ACPS Reopens its Doors and Evaluating Grading System for Traumatized Students
  9. Man Arrested for High-Speed Vehicle Race on I-495
  10. Meronne Teklu Enters City Council Race
  11. Neighborhood Spotlight: Old Town is the New Town

Have a safe weekend!

Photo via Peter Velz/Twitter 

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It was another busy week in Alexandria.

For the second week in a row, our top story was on T.C. Williams High School teacher Gregory Elliott, whose D.C.-based go-go band Experience Unlimited was featured at the Oscars.

There are less than three weeks before the June 8 democratic primary, which will determine the candidates for lieutenant governor, the 45th District in the House of Delegates, Alexandria Mayor and City Council.

Speaking of elections, this week we covered two election forums hosted by the Seminary Ridge Civic Association. Much of the conversations were focused on community engagement, colocating affordable housing on school grounds and the Seminary Road diet. Thursday night’s forum also introduced candidate Darryl Nirenberg, who is a lone Republican contender facing off against a mostly Democrat slate of candidates in November.

In our weekly poll, we tried to settle the appropriate name for the Parker-Gray/Braddock neighborhood. What should it be called? Of the 339 votes tallied, 53% (180 votes) favor Braddock, 32% (110 votes) call it Parker-Gray and 14% (49 votes) use both interchangeably.

Election stories

Important stories

Top stories

  1. Go-go music star-turned Alexandria teacher ‘Sugar Bear’ in the spotlight after Oscars shoutout
  2. Inova wants to convert Alexandria Hospital into residential properties
  3. Racism, sexism and favoritism reported within the Alexandria Fire Department
  4. Here’s how expensive it is to rebrand Alexandria City High School and Naomi L. Brooks Elementary School
  5. PHOTOS: King Street-Old Town Metro Access Improvement Project nears completion
  6. Amazon Fresh supermarket planned for former Shopper’s Food Warehouse in Potomac Yard
  7. Local diner franchise pinches former crab shack in Old Town, crawling toward fall opening
  8. Officials find Cameron Run Regional Park at fault for chlorine spill in Lake Cook
  9. Catholic Charities hopes to turn vacant Carlyle restaurant into workforce training kitchen
  10. Here’s the order that City Council candidates will appear on the ballot for the June 8 democratic primary
  11. ARHA aims to convert Old Town public housing properties to resemble the mixed-use ‘Lineage’ development

Have a safe weekend!

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Kate Garvey, Director of the Alexandria Department of Community and Human Services, says COVID-19 has helped lay bare existing islands of food insecurity in the city.

As her department has worked extensively with community partners like ALIVE! for food distribution, Garvey said the pandemic emphasizes a growing need.

“We have a sense of urgency and have to look at the immediate need,” Garvey said, “[but] the disproportionate impact shows us the severity of the problem and how we have to look at this going forward.”

Garvey said programs like support for housing and food assistance aren’t isolated, but inter-dependent.

“You never expect something of this nature, but there are things we can learn from it and how vulnerable so many people are,” Garvey said. “The same individuals are so negatively impacted. It’s not separate projects… food, rent, etc. It’s all together to support families across Alexandria.”

Garvey was one of three department heads who put forward plans earlier this week to address dire community needs like rent assistance and helping local businesses stay afloat.

The Food Security Plan proposed by the Department of Community and Human Services includes allocating $532,325 in CARES act funding — which must be used directly on coronavirus response programs — on ensuring those in areas hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic have access to food and essential supplies.

Programs include:

  • Large scale food distributions (2 per month): 8,000 people served, the program costs $56,000 monthly
  • Pop-up distributions in impacted neighborhoods/apartment complexes: 1000 people served monthly, the program costs $7,000
  • World Central Kitchen service weekly: 1000 served monthly, 250 per week, with a program cost of $7,000 monthly
  • Support to 13 food pantries: supports 1,500 households monthly and the program costs $14,000
  • Home delivery of 14 frozen meals for self-isolating older adults: 100 people served weekly with a program cost of $26,000 monthly
  • Home delivery to individuals and families in ARHA, AHDC housing and non-profit programs: 1,125 people served monthly, the program costs $12,625
  • Serving households under quarantine: 25 households served and 20 in reserve with a program cost of $3,700 monthly
  • Grocery gift card distribution: 1,000 families with $400 per family for a cost of $400,000 monthly

Garvey said the gift card distribution, by far the largest cost in the plan, is essential as one that allows families in need to give them the independence to prioritize and assess their own needs.

World Central Kitchen’s new program runs every Thursday, alternating between the parking lot at Casa Chirilagua (4109 Mount Vernon Avenue) and William Ramsay Elementary School (5700 Sanger Avenue). There, the Department of Community and Human Services and community partners like ALIVE! to distribute hot meals and groceries for future meals.

“With these large scale food distributions, we’re able to reach a lot of people, but we want to make sure we’re not making people come out(side) too much,” Garvey said. “ALIVE! has really created an atmosphere where there is a lot of focus on health practices. We’re minimizing the health risk.”

In general, Garvey was effusive in praise for non-profits around Alexandria and other community partners who have stepped up to help during the pandemic.

“It’s amazing how generous residents have been and in donating things,” she said. “It’s really taking all of us to respond and we’re lucky how generous and thoughtful people have been.”

Photo via ALIVE!/Facebook

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There are big things in store for Eisenhower Valley, and local leadership says the southwest Alexandria neighborhood is ready for its moment in the spotlight.

The city is in the middle of developing an update to its master plan for the Eisenhower Valley. Leadership from the Eisenhower Partnership — an organization that recently celebrated its 25th anniversary — spoke with ALXnow about how they see that plan taking shape.

Agnés Artemel started the Eisenhower Partnership in 1994, when the Carlyle neighborhood was just a twinkle in a developer’s eyes. Artemel said she remembered how the first marketing piece the partnership ever put out showed the federal courthouse under construction.

One of the big shifts in the plan would be changes in land use. Today, Eisenhower is mostly a collection of office buildings and some scattered retail. Artemel said the new plans call for a shift toward more residential uses and greater flexibility for mixed use developments.

“The new plan is more flexible to fit the market conditions,” Artemel said. “The original vision was office parks here, but the world has changed and multi-family [residential] is a great addition.”

The East End

Artemel said the strip mall at the end of Eisenhower Avenue (2000 Eisenhower Avenue), home to Foster’s Grille and Zikrayet Lebanese Restaurant and Lounge, has leases that run to 2025, but sometime after that the property will likely be torn down and redeveloped. The update to the Eisenhower Master Plan aims to have this eastern end of the Eisenhower Valley transformed into a retail-focused and pedestrian-friendly neighborhood.

At Hoffman Town Center (2404 Eisenhower Avenue), many of the new developments announced after the arrival of the National Science Foundation — like the new Wegmans — are starting to take shape. But there are concerns about how the local streets will be able to handle the additional traffic.

“People say that visitors will take uber or bikes, but that’s not going to happen,” said Kay Tyler, who joined the organization in 2005. “We need to focus on transportation.”

Daniel Beason, the current vice president of the partnership, said he was excited about the DASH network’s restructuring that would create more frequent, reliable service in high-density areas like Eisenhower.

The group also noted that the type of complete street changes, like the controversial new bike lanes recently installed on Seminary Road, shouldn’t come to Eisenhower Avenue.

“We’re suburban density, it’s not right for us,” Artemel said. “The city wants to be Copenhagen, which is a noble goal, but we’re not there yet. We’re too spread out.”

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