If you like a suburban feel that’s close to an urban center, Dominion Hills in Arlington is a good place to look for a house.
It’s an older, quiet neighborhood of 615 two-story redbrick Colonials built after World War II. Blue, black and dark-green shutters adorn windows, and mature tulip poplars and pin oaks line the sidewalks. On one corner lot, a swing hangs from a majestic sycamore, beckoning a passing child.
“There are lots of children here,” said Jeff Coughlin, former president of the civic association. “A baby boom that started in 2004 is still going on.” He and his wife, Arbora Johnson, moved there in 2002 and have three children: Theo, 12; Nick, 9; and Allie, 6. “Arlington has a lot of great neighborhoods, but I wouldn’t trade [Dominion Hills] for anyplace else.”
Laura Holtry-Hughes and her husband, Todd Hughes, have lived there for 10 years. “We expected to be here three to four years while my husband was on a temporary assignment, but we’re still here and love it,” she said.
“There’s been a big turnover since we came. There were many older families. Now there’s a shift and there are younger ones and lots of kids. People who first thought this was their starter home have decided to stay because it’s so wonderful here,” she said.
She said she loves that her daughter, Ellery, 8, walks to school and will be able to do so through eighth grade.
“The houses are sturdily built. They’re not going anywhere,” said Brian Hannigan, a third-time president of the civic association.
Enhanced appearance: Northern Virginia developer Merwin Ardeen Mace built Dominion Hills from 1945 to 1948. He varied the door surrounds and the setback distance from the sidewalk to enhance visual diversity.
“When we moved in more than 30 years ago, the community profile was much more modest. Over time it has become a middle, middle-class neighborhood,” said Hannigan, who moved in with his wife, Judy Sullivan, in 1983. Their two children are now 33 and 29.
“That’s a very interesting aspect. People want bigger houses today than they did 50, 60, 70 years ago. They’ve found a way to expand them and in doing so have stimulated the neighborhood’s character and also ratcheted it up socioeconomically,” he said.
People put up decks in the back and porches in the front; and add additions to the side or rear. “So while the neighborhood still presents a consistent visual appearance from the street, the interiors are all different,” he added.
Halloween festivities: Arlington is a bike- and pedestrian-friendly jurisdiction, and three bike trails cross the community and link up: the Interstate 66 Custis Trail, the W&OD Trail and the Four Mile Run Trail.
Bon Air Park, which adjoins the community on one side, is 24 acres of grass, ball courts, playgrounds and picnic areas with grills.
Dominion Hills Park is the neighborhood jewel and is public. Grass surrounds a sandbox, colorful play equipment, picnic tables, benches, gentle undulating topography, low bushes and a mix of plants landscaped by the county. Mace donated about half a dozen house lots to the community to create the park.
Holtry-Hughes and another neighbor look after a 93-year-old man who lives between them and whose wife died 18 months ago. “Really, this is a village,” she said. “We have a deal. He grows tomatoes and gives them to us. My daughter and I bake and make soup for him.”
The Annual Halloween Parade and Festival is scheduled for Oct. 29. A grand marshal driving a white Mustang convertible blaring Halloween tunes will lead a parade of 150 kids in costume down to the park, where they will play games, eat sugary treats and have their costumes judged.
The Dominion Hills Civic Association asks for a $20 a year household contribution, which results in an annual budget of $6,000 to $8,000, the bulk of which goes to upkeep of the park.
Where to shop: Stores and businesses line Glebe Road and Wilson Boulevard and abound at Baileys Crossroads, Clarendon and Tysons Corner. Nearby Westover runs a farmers market on Sundays.
Living there: Dominion Hills, Zip code 22205, is bounded by Interstate 66 on the north, Bon Air Park on the east, Wilson Boulevard on the south and N. McKinley Road and Ohio Street on the west.
According to Tom Anderson, an agent with Long and Foster in Arlington, no properties are for sale now. One house with three bedrooms, four bathrooms and several additions is under contract with a list price of $849,900. In the past year, 23 homes sold, ranging from a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house “as is” for $555,000 to a five-bedroom, four bathroom house for $1,180,000.
Schools: McKinley and Ashlawn Elementary, Swanson Middle, Washington-Lee and Yorktown High.
Transit: “We’re about five miles from the Washington Monument as the crow flies,” said Hannigan. From the District, the community is reached via Interstate 66 to Exit 71. The East Falls Church Metro station on the Orange Line is a mile west and Ballston-MU, also on the Orange Line, is a mile and a half east. Metrobus and Arlington Rapid Transit bus lines run across the neighborhood. Recently, a bus connection to East Falls Church was added.
Crime: According to www.spotcrime.com , no crimes were reported in the past year.