Acres of lush trees and bucolic fields surround the 44-acre site of the Archstone Stoneridge apartment complex in Ashburn.
"You just don't find properties that have the luxury of this much land," said Brad Harrison, the community manager.
Many of the complex's 630 units and its community clubhouse sit at the top of a hill. The rest of the units and a second pool are at the bottom of the hill, adjacent to county-owned soccer fields, a minimal playground and a 70-acre nature preserve that includes Broad Run Creek.
Residents comment on the privacy. "I never hear people in my apartment," said Rusty Markland, 51, whose family moved into the Loudoun County complex this spring.
"To be honest, I was afraid of apartment living -- you hear wild stories about teenagers and people working on their cars in the parking lot," said Markland. However, he said, his fears proved unfounded.
For Markland's family, living at Stoneridge is an interim step while their new house is being built. But he said he is happy that the community center has media and billiards rooms, so that his son can reserve the rooms and invite a bunch of friends over for an evening. The clubhouse also includes a huge community room and a workout room as well as a business center.
Markland is also pleased about the parking situation -- there's plenty of space for the family's "three cars. Four, counting the company truck." (For a treasured sports car, he rents a garage space.) There are two car care areas in the complex as well, with hoses and vacuums.
Jenn Duvall, 28, and her husband live in the complex with their 3-year-old Siberian husky, Kuma. "We moved up here from Florida. So to be able to see mountains is great," she said of the view from her second-floor apartment on the top of the hill.
Duvall praised the "very nice and large" clothes washer and dryer in her unit. Each apartment also has a gas stove, a microwave and a refrigerator with ice maker. The apartments all have a computer niche and high-speed Internet access.
Stoneridge is pet friendly, Duvall said -- "one of the only apartments that allows dogs over 50 pounds."
The complex is also friendly to those who don't have pets. Harrison has arranged for a company called Doody Calls to clean bimonthly; there are also trash cans and bags throughout the complex available to pet owners. Animals are required to be leashed.
Sue Lubin, 49, who doesn't own a pet, said there don't seem to be any problems. "Almost every breed of dog you can think of lives here," she said.
Lubin's roommate, Sharon Nolan, 49, said, "They take really good care of the grounds. They're very good here."
They said together, "Otherwise we'd be gone."
Added Lubin, "If something is wrong with our place, they are fast at coming to fix it."
Matthew Myers, 28, and his wife, who had been at the complex since August 2001, recently bought a house and moved. "The apartment was brand new when we moved in," Myers said. "We have been the only people to live there."
While Myers said the apartment was spacious and quiet, he and his family were ready to leave. Because of a leak, they had two problems with mold in as many years.
The complex's management resolved the issues, Myers said, but he still felt management was slow to act, especially as his wife was pregnant during the first instance and they now have an 8-month-old baby.
"They didn't really seem to understand," he said of the upheaval caused by work.
Myers said after he had a problem, the management checked all the apartments in his building for mold. He added, "Obviously, we stayed."
Said Harrison, the community manager, "If someone brings up the concern, we address it immediately. With 630 apartments we're going to have some water leaks. Usually a work order we get is taken care of the same day."
Almost daily, Lubin and Nolan travel to their jobs at Dulles International Airport. The two women, who have lived at Stoneridge for three years, said the commute is easy and the lifestyle overall is nice. The only thing they miss is nearby nightclubs -- Ashburn isn't exactly a night life center. However, they said, there's plenty of shopping in the area, even if it is at a bit of a distance.
Myers also said he appreciates the location. "You're central, with Leesburg to the right, Ashburn straight ahead and Sterling [and] Cascades to the left."