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In Alexandria’s Warwick Village, making friends one front yard at a time

Where We Live | Warwick Village in Alexandria, Va.

ALEXANDRIA, VA - APRIL 19: Clematis blossom along a fence in Warwick Village in Alexandria, Virginia on April 19, 2020. Residents say they enjoy the proximity of the neighborhood as well as a strong sense of community. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

Just a few miles outside Washington, Alexandria’s Warwick Village is a social, family-oriented community that provides its residents with a small-town feel in the middle of an urban landscape.

Comprising 600 red-brick townhouses, the neighborhood offers families and first-time home buyers the convenience of living close to the amenities of Alexandria and the District in a friendly setting. Different paint colors, landscaping and indoor renovations make each house unique.

“The location can’t be beat,” said Mark Malseed, a consultant and vice president of the Warwick Village Citizens Association.

For Malseed, who’s lived in Warwick Village with his wife and their two young sons since 2007, the area’s closeness to the city and the easily accessible recreation stood out. His wife bikes to work in Washington, and the family frequents the neighborhood’s parks and the nearby Mount Vernon Trail for running and biking.

Built in 1953, the neighborhood is named after the former site of the Warwick Estate. It was the country home of Frank Hume, a prominent Washington businessman. Warwick Village was originally a rental home development but transitioned to individual ownership in the 1970s.

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Renee Weisbecker, who moved to Warwick Village in 2011 with her husband, was drawn to the neighborhood because of its proximity to nearby Del Ray and reasonable prices. Now raising two children there, she found a new love for the neighbors’ strong sense of community.

“Having the houses be close together as they are, and the fact that a lot of the people here have pets and kids . . . people tend to get outside,” she says. “My husband and I have one of the larger backyards in the whole area, but we hardly use it because we go out in the front yard and find ourselves socializing with our neighbors.”

Hilary Riedemann, a stay-at-home mom and spin instructor, was also attracted to Warwick Village in 2009 because of its prices and family-friendliness. Riedemann, her husband and their two children live down the street from Weisbecker. In pre-coronavirus days, the families enjoyed meeting outside on nice days for a neighborhood “happy hour,” in the evenings when parents sip drinks and socialize while watching their children play together. Now they keep up the connections even while social distancing.

“There’s a ton of families on our street, and we’ve all kind of come together and formed our own families,” Riedemann said. “We call ourselves the Guthrie gang and we’ve rallied together through births, through deaths, through the coronavirus, and it’s just been a really great way for my husband and I to raise our family with no family nearby.”

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Block parties in different parts of the neighborhood happen year-round. Events ranging from an Easter egg hunt in the spring, to ice cream socials, barbecues, yard sales and a Fourth of July fireworks viewing party in the summer, to a neighborhood version of Oktoberfest and trick-or-treating in the fall, to a holiday party and candle lighting in December, are all well loved and well attended by members of the community.

A particular favorite of many Warwick Village residents is the Fourth of July. In the afternoon, one block is closed off for grilling and socializing. When it gets dark, families flock to the top of the hill on Landover Street to watch the fireworks at the Washington Monument, which can be seen from several miles away.

Even with the coronavirus calling for social distancing, the residents of Warwick Village still manage to stay in touch through a Facebook Messenger group chat. Neighbors often ask if anyone has grocery store requests or hold virtual story times for kids.

Though many residents initially moved to the neighborhood for its affordability, the market has become more expensive and competitive in recent years, according to Sue Goodhart, a real estate agent with Compass.

People moving to the neighborhood have been renovating older townhouses to make them more attractive for first-time home buyers, and the neighborhood’s proximity to the planned Amazon headquarters has caused prices to explode as well, said Goodhart.

Darryl Francois, a supervisor at a federal government agency who moved to Warwick Village in 1987, has noticed an influx of federal workers moving into the neighborhood, drawn to its location near the Pentagon and other agencies in the District.

Even with changes over the years, Francois appreciates the convenience and walkability of the area. He frequents the local farmers market and library. He and his wife, who raised their three children in the neighborhood, liked that the schools were within a reasonable distance.

“I think it’s a very diverse neighborhood, close to a lot of wonderful, easy-to-access activities,” he said.

The community is within easy walking distance to shops, restaurants and other businesses along Mount Vernon Avenue and the neighboring Del Ray neighborhood.

Living there: Warwick Village is bordered by West Glebe Road to the north, Mount Vernon Avenue to the east, West Mount Ida Avenue to the south and Mosby Street to the west.

Residents can join the Warwick Village Citizens Association for $15 annually (or $5 for seniors) if they choose. The dues go toward neighborhood programming and events.

According to Goodhart, 48 homes have sold in Warwick Village in the past year. The lowest-priced was a three-bedroom, one-bathroom townhouse for $485,000. The highest-priced was a four-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouse for $733,000. The average sales price was around $638,000. There are at the moment no homes for sale in Warwick Village.

Schools: Mount Vernon Community School, George Washington Middle, T.C. Williams High.

Transit: The closest Metro station is Braddock Road on the Blue and Yellow lines, about two miles south of the neighborhood. DASH, the city of Alexandria’s public bus system, runs along West Glebe Road, Russell Avenue and Mount Vernon Avenue. Metrobuses also run along Mount Vernon Avenue. Downtown Washington is approximately a 15- to 20-minute drive, depending on traffic.

Correction: A previous version of this story had the incorrect western boundary for Warwick Village. It is Mosby Street, not Russell Road.