The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Villas at 55-plus Va. community come with lots of amenities

The living area of the Rainier model townhouse-style villa at Cascades at Embrey Mill, a 55-and-older community. ( Benjamin C Tankersley for The Washington Post)

Townhouse-style “villas” are for sale at Cascades at Embrey Mill, a new 55-and-older retirement community with access to a wide variety of existing and planned amenities in Stafford County, Va.

Miller & Smith is building 78 two- and three-level villas for older adults at Cascades, 15 of which have already been sold. The age-restricted development also has condominium “flats,” but they are not yet available to buy.

Pete and Wendy Chambers rented a unit in the unrestricted first phase of the Embrey Mill development while waiting for their villa to be finished. They had been living in southwest Virginia and moved east for a job opportunity. “The rental was a quick fix,” said Pete, who is 56. “We did this so we could take our time looking for a place we liked.”

Two variations of the Rainier model villa are for sale at Cascades. The two-level model without a walkout basement has three or four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a powder room (half-bath). It starts at $474,990 for 2,028 square feet. End units are a bit bigger, at 2,079 square feet, and their prices start at $492,990. The three-level model with a walkout basement also has three or four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a powder room. It starts at $524,990 for 2,756 square feet.

Finding inspiration and relaxation in luxury condos of Old Town North

Swimming pools and vegetable gardens are among Embrey Mill’s many outdoor attractions. “Our 55-plus residents will have access to all of Embrey Mill’s incredible amenities, including more than 10 miles of paths and wooded trails, 15 parks and playgrounds, doggy stations, racetrack park for tricycles, and a full-service bistro,” said Jackie DeGennaro, community sales manager at Miller & Smith.

The list of planned amenities includes pickleball courts, bocce ball courts and the private Cascade Club, which will have an event kitchen. The club will also have a lounge with a fireplace, a yoga room, a weight room, a meeting room, a game room, a sun deck with outdoor grills, two fire pits and an oversize chess/checkers board.

Pete and Wendy Chambers found out about Embrey Mill from friends who were living there. The chance to downsize and the unit’s layout helped seal the deal. “We wanted a smaller place for two people — our kids are grown — and didn’t want a large house,” Pete said. “The Cascades was perfect size, and we loved the floor plan.”

Several builders are working at Embrey Mill. The Miller & Smith section is about three miles northwest of Stafford, the county seat, which is a little more than 40 miles southwest of Washington and about 10 miles northeast of Fredericksburg. The Fredericksburg-Stafford area — with commuter rail service into Washington and easy access to Interstate 95 — has become a hot housing market.

Townhouse community is close to beach but still ‘feels very private’

In 2021, Fredericksburg ranked sixth in a study by SmartAsset of the best places to retire in Virginia. The study cited the city’s “tax-friendliness, medical care, and opportunities for social activity and recreation.”

Fredericksburg has a charming downtown, and local history includes two Civil War battles. The Stafford area’s small-town feel was another reason Pete and Wendy Chambers picked it for their golden years.

“We did not want to live in the city and love the proximity of Stafford being close to everything and so much to do,” Pete said.

Schools: Park Ridge Elementary, H.H. Poole Middle, North Stafford High

Transit: Embrey Mill residents have easy access to I-95. Virginia Railway Express’s Brooke station in Stafford is about six miles southeast.

Nearby: Stafford, Fredericksburg, Government Island, Stafford Civil War Park, Widewater State Park, Patawomeck Park, Jeff Rouse Swim and Sport Center.

Cascades at Embrey Mill

247 Smokebush Dr., Stafford, Va. 22554

The plan calls for 78 townhouse-style villas; 15 have sold. Prices start at $474,990 for 2,028 square-feet; $492,990 for 2,079 square feet; $524,990 for 2,756 square feet.

Builder: Miller & Smith

Features: Nine-foot ceilings on the main and loft levels; oversize, energy-efficient low-E glass windows; engineered-hardwood floors in foyer, powder room and kitchen; full-overlay (for seamless appearance) cabinetry in the kitchen and bathrooms; granite countertops and stainless-steel Samsung appliances in kitchen.

Bedrooms/bathrooms: 3 or 4/2.5

Square footage: 2,208-2,756

Homeowners association fee: $183 a month

View model: By appointment

Sales: Jackie DeGennaro, 703-300-1333,