The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Aquia Harbour offers gated privacy, boat access and a relaxed weekend vibe

Where We Live | Aquia Harbour in Stafford County, Va.

(For The Washington Post)

Aquia Harbour is a gated community in Stafford County that was originally intended as a retreat for boaters and active seniors. These days, it is a thriving resort-style enclave for government workers and military personnel with families.

When a developer bought nearly 2,000 acres in 1968, the goal was to create a place where D.C. residents could escape on weekends or where retirees could enjoy outdoor activities.

“I grew up on [Route] 610, so I remember the mystique of Aquia Harbour — the big wall out front,” said Patricia Harman, Aquia Harbour’s general manager. “It was the premier neighborhood when it was built. There was nothing like it in Stafford County.”

Aquia Harbour takes its name from Aquia Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River. The neighborhood forms a horseshoe around the end of the creek.

Nearby Government Island produces Aquia sandstone, which was used to build many government buildings in the District, including the U.S. Capitol and White House.

“I can see [Government Island] from my house and it’s a nice walk around there,” said David Humphrey, a 19-year resident of the community. “It’s now owned by Stafford County and operated as a historic site.”

The community extends 38 miles around Aquia Creek. It has about 2,300 homes in a mix of styles, from Colonial to contemporary to rambler to Cape Cod, according to Tammie Mason, a real estate agent at Century 21 Redwood Realty.

Many homes back up to canals with private boat docks, and the 136-slip marina has waterways leading to the Potomac. Residents enjoy water activities including boating, kayaking and canoeing.

“I would say the marina is the jewel in our crown,” Harman said. “We’re a water community, without a doubt.”

Brookmont: A river runs by it, drawing everyone from paddlers to poets

Nearly all homes have mature trees and some overlook wetlands and forests, according to Harman. The neighborhood has stables, two swimming pools, tennis courts, a nine-hole golf course, a clubhouse and the Clubhouse at Aquia Harbour, a favorite restaurant tucked within the center of the community and open to the public.

“It’s just a great, family-oriented neighborhood,” Mason said. “It’s like a neighborhood where you can let your kids go out and play, like in the old days.”

It is also a close-knit community. In 2016, when Humphrey was involved in a motorcycle accident and his wife was undergoing treatment for breast cancer, he said their neighbors and the Aquia Harbour staff came to their aid. People brought meals. Harman offered assistance from the staff.

“She said, if I needed anything, if I just needed help getting up from the chair, help getting up the stair or anything like that . . . ‘Call whoever the duty officer is. Here’s his cellphone number, he’ll be there within 10 minutes,” Humphrey said.

Capitol Hill’s history and ambiance are right up this neighborhood’s alley

Harman said that’s the kind of community Aquia Harbour is.

“When somebody’s in trouble, everybody rallies,” she said. “If you’re Aquia Harbour, you’re family, and everybody pitches in.”

Living there: Aquia Harbour is bound by Harpoon Drive to the north, Decatur Road to the east, Jefferson Davis Highway to the west and Aquia Creek to the south.

There were 148 homes sold in 2018. The average price was $349,000. A three-bedroom, three-bathroom home sold for $175,000. A four-bedroom, six-bathroom house sold for $558,000.

There are 31 homes on the market. The lowest-priced is a five-bedroom, three-bathroom home for $255,000. The highest-priced is a four-bedroom, four-bathroom home for $609,000.

Transportation: Aquia Harbour is about 28 miles from the Franconia-Springfield Metro station. The closest VRE stops are Brooke station, which is about eight miles south, and the Quantico station, about 11 miles north. Fredericksburg Regional Transit and the VRE feeder service operate bus routes in the neighborhood. The OmniRide PRTC bus stops at the park-and-ride commuter lot in nearby Dumfries. Interstate 95, Route 1 and Route 610 are the closest major thoroughfares.

Schools : Hampton Oaks Elementary, Shirley C. Heim Middle, Brooke Point High.

Crime : Ten larceny cases, including one to a vehicle, five vandalism incidents and an attempted burglary were reported in 2018, the Aquia Harbour Police Department said. This year, an assault, a theft from a vehicle and three vandalism incidents were reported.