Neighborhood profile: A taste of the country in Hamilton, Va.

December 6, 2013

Jeff and Cassie Lauterette had a list of requirements when they sought to move from their Springfield townhouse into a single-family home six years ago.

“We wanted at least three acres in the country, 6,000 square feet, and to be close to a walking trail and shopping,” said Jeff, 44.

“I thought, no way,” said Cassie, 39. But in a few days, their real estate agent called to say he had found a place in Hamilton, Va., that met their specifications.

The house sits on 3.2 acres surrounded by farmland and open vistas. It is close to the 100-foot-wide Washington & Old Dominion Trail, which stretches 45 miles from the Potomac River in Arlington to Purcellville in the Blue Ridge Mountains and offers hiking, biking, running and walking.

“It’s rural but still close to everything,” said Jeff, who drives downtown daily to meet with clients for his company, Mid Atlantic Consulting. Cassie manages the firm from a home office.


(The Washington Post)

“It’s quiet and peaceful and not too far away. If I want to take the boys [Tucker, 5, and Ashton, 2] to the National Zoo, I can,” she said. “I wouldn’t move for anything. I love it out here.”

Keeping it small: Hamilton is a tiny town in western Loudoun County, about 50 miles from Washington.

The town is narrow — about a mile long and a block or so wide on both sides of Colonial Highway. The Hamilton mailing address extends a little farther.

“There haven’t been a lot of changes in the town proper over the years,” said Kenneth Wine, 53, a self-employed carpenter who serves as vice mayor and sits on the Town Council. “It’s built out as far as it can go unless we annex more property.”

“It’s the people’s choice to keep it rural. We like the hometown feel. We’re a close-knit community,” he said, “and don’t have an interest in growing rapidly like Purcellville.” The town exercises strict zoning requirements on commercial enterprises.

For Ray Whitbey, a former mayor and the founder of a CPA practice called Harold Ray Whitbey, the joy of living in Hamilton is that “you get a country feeling without being 20 miles down a farm road.”

Donna Norton, 71, a resident since 1991, said Hamilton is a little town caught in a time warp. “Neighbors are friendly but not the kind constantly coming over for a cup of sugar, although we keep an eye out for each other,” she said.

Access to shopping and transit: Along the main drag, there are only a few businesses — Mosby Center, Lowry’s Crab Shack, Natural Mercantile Store, Progressive Auto, Harmony Hairworks, Hamilton Service Center.

Cassie Lauterette shops for groceries at Giant, Harris Teeter and Food Lion in Purcellville, nearly three miles away, and she goes to Target, Wal-Mart and outlet malls in Leesburg, seven miles away.

Loudoun County Transit operates rush-hour commuter bus service from Loudoun to the District and to the West Falls Church, Rosslyn and Pentagon Metro stations.

The Dulles Toll Road is the most direct corridor downtown, but it is expensive. Jeff Lauterette pays $15 a day. Route 7 is a free alternative, but it takes longer.

White’s Ferry crosses the Potomac River between Leesburg and Poolesville daily from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. and holds 24 vehicles.

Living there: Hamilton includes parts of Zip codes 20158 and 20159 and is west of Clarke’s Gap — a pass through Catoctin Mountain— and east of Purcellville. It is roughly bordered by the Route 7 bypass to the north, Hamilton Station Road to the east, Sands Road to the south and Route 287 to the west.

The community includes a mix of dwellings: modest homes built in the early 1900s, located in and near the town center, and, mansion-like newer properties on expansive lots beyond the town center, as well as apartments, townhouses and mobile homes.

“There’ll always be growth,” Whitbey said of several developments in and out of town, “and a challenge is the traffic that comes with more houses and more people.”

According to Erin Kavanagh, an agent with Keller Williams Realty Loudoun Gateway, there are 26 active listings, ranging from in price from $149,000 for three bedrooms and one bathroom to $2.8 million for four bedrooms, 41 / 2 baths.

The eight properties now under contract range from $250,000 for three bedrooms and 21 / 2 baths to $858,310 for four bedrooms, 41 / 2 baths.

Between late November 2012 and late November 2013, 80 properties have sold, from $165,000 for three bedrooms, 11 / 2 baths, to $3.2 million for five bedrooms, five full baths and two half-baths.

Schools: Hamilton Elementary, Blue Ridge Middle, Loudoun Valley High School

Crime: The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office said by e-mail that Hamilton “enjoys a low crime rate” but would not provide statistics for the town.

Audrey Hoffer is a freelance writer.

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