Where We Live

Va. Adult Community Home to 'Pretty Outrageous Boomers'

By Ann Cameron Siegal
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, December 13, 2008

The unofficial Web site for the Villas of Ashburn proclaims that it is maintained by "a renegade group of volunteer residents" who declare themselves to be "55 or better (most of us are better)."

Their stated mission is "to not take life too seriously, to live long and prosper, and to have a good time doing it."

Jackie and Jay Stephens, residents since 2005, liked that the neighborhood, which hugs the eastern boundary of Loudoun County's sprawling Ashburn Village, didn't look or feel like an age-restricted community. Jackie described herself and other residents as "some pretty outrageous boomers."

There are no craft rooms, no lounges, no dining halls.

While many residents are retired, "Quite a few of us are still working," said Lenore Waggoner, an instructional coach with Fairfax County schools who also serves on the building and grounds committee for the larger Ashburn association.

The Villas don't have their own clubhouse or other amenities, but dues of $118 a month give residents access to those of Ashburn Village, including the Sports Pavilion, several pools, tennis courts and miles of trails. Trash, snow removal and lawn maintenance are also included.

Villas of Ashburn residents tend to form their own travel groups and clubs. Three dozen or more residents get together for monthly dinners at local restaurants, then leave reviews -- sometimes pointed -- on the Web site.

A group of 12 residents traveled to Alaska one year. Neighbors have also joined together for journeys to Austria, Hungary, Germany and the Netherlands. There are the Bunco, bridge and poker groups for the game-playing crowd. Joggers and walkers -- with or without dogs -- have numerous paths to explore.

As at many age-restricted communities, the Villas' rules say at least one family member has to be 55 and that no one under 18 can be a resident. College students can live at home or stay during breaks and grandchildren can come for overnight visits.

The Villas' 108 homes are connected in clusters of two to four units. Residents share at least one wall with a neighbor. However, it's quiet, resident Carol Vanesko said. "There are no loud noises or roughhousing here."

From the outside, the homes look like homogeneous, cozy, connected Cape Cod cottages with one-car garages -- a clever cover for what awaits inside.

Those cute little dormers adorning the rooftops are actually skylights allowing light to pour in from the 18-foot ceilings crowning much of the main level. The homes were designed for one-floor living with an entry-level master bedroom suite. Main levels also include living and dining areas as well as kitchen and laundry room. Doors are wide enough for wheelchair access.

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