When Sara and Vince Plaxico found their house in Arlington’s Rock Spring and moved from San Francisco almost a year ago, they came home.
“We always knew we wanted to come back,” Sara said. “We wanted to be close to family.”
To make it happen, Vince was able to work remotely for the San Francisco-based solar company he’d been with for five years, and Sara was transferred with her recruiter job to Bethesda, Md. “We knew we weren’t going to be in San Francisco for the long term,” Vince said.
Finding the right house meant moving quickly. “All of the houses that we looked at would sell within a week, so it went very fast,” said Sara, 31. She flew in and went with her mother and a real estate agent to see a number of houses, including the one they ultimately purchased after a Sunday open house. She saw it twice, then toured it with Vince on FaceTime. The couple made an offer the next day, and it was accepted that week.
“We really lucked out,” said Vince, 31. “We’re happy to be here. We knew we wanted to have a house with a yard and good schools.”
The Plaxicos have a sentimental attachment to Arlington County because they met in the Ballston area when both were living in houses with two other friends from college. She grew up in Clifton, and he grew up in Vienna. So far, they have a goldendoodle named Melli.
Midcentury ambiance: In the North Arlington neighborhood, some 1,150 single-family brick ramblers, split-levels and Colonials from the 1950s dominate the landscape, standing side by side with contemporary houses that have replaced some demolished original houses as well as some that have been renovated rather than torn down. A few farmhouses from the late 1800s dot Rock Spring, which has a midcentury ambiance. Most lots are 10,000 square feet.
Rock Spring, named for a bubbling brook, is a purely residential neighborhood where homeowners — young couples, families with young children or teenagers, and empty-nesters — care about the quality of life.
On a July morning, neighbors walked, some with their dogs, through Rock Spring Park, an Arlington County park at 5012 Little Falls Rd., two wooded acres where Rock Spring runs.
The Rock Spring Civic Association was formed in 1950 and continues to work toward keeping the neighborhood safe and comfortable.
Because it is close to Interstate 66 and a mile or two from two Metro stations — Ballston and East Falls Church — Rock Spring is primarily a vehicle-oriented community, although walking to neighborhood schools is possible for some. The public schools are one of the biggest draws. “We sought after these schools,” said Mark Luncher, 49, president of the Rock Spring Civic Association. “We bought these schools and the house came with them.”
In fact, Luncher and his wife, Julie, moved to Rock Spring in 2003, after they outgrew the house they had in Lyon Park, another Arlington neighborhood. A few years later, with the arrival of a third child, they moved to a larger house, also in Rock Spring. Their family includes a 21-year-old daughter, an 18-year-old son and a 12-year-old son. Luncher, an engineer, has a preference for midcentury houses. “I just love the feel of the older homes,” he said.
Living in Rock Spring means a “quiet suburban setting” close to urban-like amenities such as those along the Metro corridor in Ballston and Clarendon as well as those near the East Falls Church Metro and in Tysons Corner, Luncher said. There are also a number of nearby swimming pools. They include the Knights of Columbus Pool at 5115 Little Falls Rd., which nonmembers can join for a fee, and the Yorktown Aquatics Center at 5200 Yorktown Blvd., an Arlington Parks & Recreation facility managed by the Arlington Public Schools, just outside Rock Spring’s boundaries. “This is a place people move and stay,” he said.
Yet, as president of the civic association, Luncher has three chief concerns based on a neighborhood survey: traffic management, pedestrian safety and storm water management. The aim is to “calm” traffic, Luncher said. “We want the cars to go on their way, but we want them to slow down.”
Retail: The Lee Harrison Shopping Center at 2425 N. Harrison St. has a Harris Teeter supermarket, Starbucks, Duck Donuts, Chesapeake Bagel Bakery and other stores. A Safeway is across the street at 2500 N. Harrison St.
Living there: Fairfax County borders Rock Spring on the west. Otherwise the neighborhood is bounded by North Kensington Street to the southwest, Little Falls Road, Rock Spring Road and Old Dominion Drive to the south and east, and North Glebe Road (Route 120) and Albemarle Street to the north and east.
According to Heidi Robbins, an agent with Buck & Associates, in the past 12 months, 48 properties were sold in Rock Spring, ranging from a three-bedroom, two-bath 1950 rambler for $660,000 to a 2018 Craftsman-style house with six bedrooms and eight baths for $2.37 million.
There are 18 properties on the market, ranging from a three-bedroom, two-bath 1949 rambler listed for $729,000 to a 2014 Craftsman-style house with five bedrooms and six baths, listed for $2.199 million.
Schools: Jamestown Elementary, Discovery Elementary, Williamsburg Middle, Yorktown High.
Transit: Rock Spring is situated between the Ballston and the East Falls Church Metro stations. Metro and Arlington Transit buses connect to the neighborhood.
The Plaxicos keep one car between them, and Sara drives to her office in Bethesda some days and works from home others.
Crime: According to the LexisNexis Community Crime Map, in the past year there were three residential burglaries reported in the neighborhood.