Around Exit 35 on Interstate 66 westbound, the landscape opens up. Ahead are the Blue Ridge Mountains, and lining the highway are green hills. By Exit 6, the ambiance is pure country.
That’s the exit and the setting for the 900-acre Trilogy at Lake Frederick, in Frederick County, Va., a community of single-family houses, for adults 55 and older, by Shea Homes. The name is evocative of resort living for the retirement set, and residents are called members.
There are 13 other Trilogy communities, in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina and Washington state. “We have people shop Trilogy communities around the country to decide where they want to live,” said Dyric Snyder, community development manager.
Rob and Suzanne Drewniak moved from Half Moon Bay, Calif. “It was time to retire, and I started scoping out the four Trilogys in California. Then we came here and thought, ‘This can’t be real.’ As soon as we saw the Blue Ridge Mountains, we knew. If you had a hard day, you don’t have it here. Everything just drains away,” he said.
The Hanrahans moved from Ashburn, Va., where they raised their daughters. “I saw the community online and took my daughter to see it. Then I went home and said to [husband] Kevin, ‘You have to go,’ ” Sue Hanrahan said.
Kevin Hanrahan added, “We came out, signed a contract and didn’t look at another place.”
Bass, bluegill and channel catfish: The development’s centerpiece, Lake Frederick, is a 117-acre man-made fishing and boating lake surrounded by a 100-foot-wide buffer of trees. “When you’re out on the lake, especially in summer, it doesn’t seem like you’re in the middle of a residential neighborhood because you can’t see the houses,” Snyder said.
The state of Virginia owns and maintains the lake and stocks it with largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish and northern pike.
When the community is fully built out, in a few years, it will have 1,000 single-family houses. Right now several hundred homes are built and occupied, and others are under construction. The dwellings are intended for occupancy by households with at least one person 55 or older, with some exceptions.
Four exterior architectural styles — Craftsman, Ranch, Vineyard and Cape Cod — are offered, as well as seven floor plans. Five model houses — open for viewing by prospective buyers — showcase Aspen, Refresh, Engage, Evoke and Nice floor plans.
One-level houses on flat terrain are built on a concrete slab. With some two-level houses on sloping land, an optional walk-out basement is available below the main living floor. All the houses have front porches. “We believe in encouraging members to be outdoors and mingle with neighbors,” Snyder said.
The Engage model house has a front door that opens from a porch into a double-height clerestory with windows above eye level. A bedroom and bathroom are immediately to the right, and to the left are stairs to the basement.
Ahead is a spacious open-concept living area, with a kitchen, dining and great rooms, and a lounge. The kitchen has two rectangular islands, parallel to each other, with abundant cabinet space and seating. The back wall leads to a covered patio through sliding glass doors.
“In almost every floor plan, we offer covered outdoor space because we want to give everyone a piece of Shenandoah Valley,” Snyder said. “Some people enclose the sides to create a three-season room, but the roof overhang is effective in keeping out the rain unless there’s a wind.”
The master bedroom and bathroom are in the far left corner at the back of the house, for maximum privacy. The large tiled shower has a built-in seat. A walk-in closet, with an exhaust fan, is reached through the bathroom.
At the club: The Shenandoah Lodge & Athletic Club is the focal point of fitness and social activities. “Exposed beams and reclaimed wood make the club feel like an old barn that’s been converted to a lakeside lodge,” Snyder said. Abstract paintings and artifacts hang on the walls.
One recent morning, Sue Hanrahan was hanging out with friends in Inglenook, a lounge area with a gas fireplace. A platter of pumpkin loaf she’d baked was in their midst. “We’re the Ladies of the Lake and meet every Wednesday,” she said. Residents have formed clubs to pursue interests ranging from photography to books to quilting, and there’s no limit to new ones.
The club’s main level is open to the public. Region’s 117, an open-kitchen restaurant, has a back wall of glass that faces the lake and leads to a covered veranda with outdoor seating.
The Paddock is a private dining room, with wall lockers where residents can store wine. The Market Place offers light fare for breakfast and lunch, and has jewelry, hats, shirts and sundries for purchase.
On the lower level, open to residents only, is an arts and crafts room and the Crow’s Nest, a game room with card tables, pool and billiards tables, shuffleboard and TV. There’s also a full-size golf simulator.
Rachel’s Kitchen — for cooking demonstrations, private parties and classes — has a dining area that holds 30 people.
The club has indoor and outdoor swimming pools.
There’s a community vegetable and flower garden and a chef’s garden with red currant, blackberry and blueberry bushes.
Shopping and transit: The Hanrahans shop for groceries in Stephens City, eight miles from Trilogy; Front Royal, 11 miles; and Winchester, 13 miles. “Suzanne and I both like shopping,” Rob Drewniak said. “We go to Leesburg [41 miles] for the restaurants, independent shops and historical sites. And Premium Outlet Malls is only a couple miles farther.”
Dulles International Airport is 66 miles away; Reagan National, 79 miles; and the White House, 78 miles.
104 Hawthorn Ct., Lake Frederick, Va.
There will be 1,000 single-family houses ranging from $336,990 to the high $600,000s.
Builder: Shea Homes
Features: Four exterior architectural styles and seven floor plans are offered. Houses are built with James Hardie ColorPlus pre-painted fiber-cement siding and trim. Two-car garages are standard, with insulated garage doors. Inside there are three cable and two phone outlets, installed wiring for two ceiling fans, and a digital programmable thermostat. Ceilings are nine or 10 feet high, depending on the model. Engineered (or composite) hardwood floors run through the foyer and kitchen. The kitchen has GE appliances, granite counters, a double-bowl stainless-steel sink and a Moen faucet. Bathrooms have comfort-height toilets and marble vanities.
Bedrooms/bathrooms: 2 to 7 / 2 to 4
Square footage: 1,762 to 5,169
Homeowners association fee: $303 a month
View models: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday to Thursday. Noon to 5 p.m. Friday.
Contact: 888-850-7088 or TrilogyLife.com/LakeFrederick