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Where We Live

Communing With Nature and Neighbors

In Loudoun Subdivision, People Come Together Around Lake, Family and Local Wildlife

The Lakes at Red Rock, near Leesburg, combines single-family houses and townhouses around a lake that predates the development.
The Lakes at Red Rock, near Leesburg, combines single-family houses and townhouses around a lake that predates the development. (By Ann Cameron Siegal For The Washington Pos)
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By Ann Cameron Siegal
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, March 29, 2008; Page G01

With its attractive entrances, well-maintained yards and appealing homes, the Lakes at Red Rock appears at first glance to be just one of many pleasant eastern Loudoun County neighborhoods.

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Residents say, though, that its casual camaraderie and wildlife-enticing common areas set it apart.

There actually are red rocks, primarily underground but often uncovered during landscaping. And though there's just one lake, a picturesque covered footbridge and the water's extended tributaries magnify its presence.

A raccoon and a large red-tailed hawk seemed very much at home near the water's edge early one recent morning as residents walked dogs nearby.

The lake, stocked with small bass and bluegill for catch-and-release fishing, is also used in warmer weather by kayakers and canoeists for quiet paddling.

The lake was there before the neighborhood, said Sola Pallotta, the homeowners association president and a resident since 2000. Hurricane Agnes destroyed it, though, in 1972. The lake was re-created when development of Red Rock began in the late 1990s.

Dave McCarthy recalled how his wife, Dawn, spent 18 months looking for "the perfect lot." He said, "This was the 10th place she'd seen, but this really was it, and we got the terrific neighborhood, too."

Their five-bedroom house backs to the water and a view of the covered bridge. Apple, peach and plum trees grace the property, but beavers recently took out a willow and river birch. During one of February's warm days, their son Henry, 7, had to tote his fishing rod only about 15 yards to the lake's edge.

With 374 homes, including 140 townhouses, the Lakes at Red Rock is "not too big, not too small," Pallotta said. "It's cozy. And yet we're close to everything -- we just don't have to see it. We're tucked away from the hustle and bustle but can get to Costco, Target, the outlet malls or downtown Leesburg in 10 minutes."

David Sample, a father of three and a resident since 2002, said: "For a small community like this, the participation level is incredible. The lake, trails and woods attracted us, but the neighbors kept us here."

Groups for book lovers and poker and bunco players are active. A "past-prime" soccer group plays at the Dulles SportsPlex. There is an annual neighborhood golf championship at nearby Goose Creek and a "soggy doggy day" each year after the community's pool closes.

Volunteer efforts are popular, too, including clothing drives and environmental activities. This year, residents dropped a number of discarded Christmas trees into the lake to provide habitat for fish.


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