For Bour and her family, affordability was the main draw.
“We could afford the largest of the Pulte homes in Loudoun County,” she said. “It would have been more money for even the smallest Pulte homes in Montgomery County, Md.”
To her surprise, the location also turned out to be a plus.
“In 45 minutes, I can get down to all the art galleries and museums and fabulous concerts in the District, or in the other direction, the beauty of Loudoun County,” Bour said.
CountrySide was developed on farmland by Four Thirty Seven Land Company from 1981 to 1991. Among the multiple builders were Fairfield Homes, Pulte, Van Metre and Globe/USA.
The planned community has 1,253 single-family homes, 1,168 townhouses, 16 duplex units and 102 condos in seven distinct neighborhoods named after historic Loudoun estates such as Oatlands, Belmont and Morven.
Each neighborhood has a representative on the board of CountrySide Proprietary, the homeowners association that enforces design standards, manages trash and recycling services, and maintains the recreational facilities and private streets. HOA fees run $76 monthly for single-family houses and $99 monthly for townhouses. Loudoun Water provides water and sewer service.
“Once people move to CountrySide, they tend to stay here,” said Judy Smith, a real estate professional with Keller Williams Realty, who has been selling homes in the area for six years. The variety of housing types and sizes gives homeowners options to move from small townhouses to larger ones, or to single-family homes, she said.
Smith, an 18-year CountrySide resident, said the lots in CountrySide tend to be larger than those in newer developments nearby.
“There are a lot of open, wooded areas,” she added. “So you may have a third-acre lot with some common area behind you.”
One trade-off is that most of the homes have traditional floor plans, with lower ceilings and separate rooms, rather than the open floor plans that became popular in the 1990s, Smith said.
Neighborhood amenities include three swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts, tot lots, and 12 miles of walking trails, which wind through wooded areas and around a pond stocked with bass and catfish for catch-and-release fishing.
CountrySide residents and their guests also have access to Horsepen Run, a 370-acre nature preserve with trails that lead to the Potomac River. A developer donated the tract to the community after it was deemed unsuitable for development.
Over the past decade, a neighborhood committee has been working to clear 10 miles of trails through the preserve.
“Our goal is to keep the trails in really good shape so people don’t go off the trails,” committee member Rob Heckman said. “And that’s actually been the beauty of it, [that] people have respected staying on the trails and letting nature do its thing in the middle.”
Bour said that Horsepen Run, the CountrySide Waves youth swim team and events such as the annual Fall Fest, featuring rides, bounce houses and carnival-style vendors, have brought neighbors together and created the feel of a small town.
Although she described the residential and commercial growth surrounding CountrySide in eastern Loudoun as “mind-blowing,” the community has retained its character, Bour said, referring to her neighborhood as “my little cocoon.”
“It was a great place to raise kids,” She said. “I can’t think of a better place to give kids a solid foundation.”
There are many retail and dining options in nearby shopping centers, including the CountrySide Marketplace, at the edge of the community, and Dulles Town Center mall, just across Route 7.
Living there: CountrySide is bordered by Route 7 to the south, the Potomac River to the north, and the communities of Broad Run Farms to the west and Cascades to the east.
Over the past year, according to Smith, the average sale price was $409,300. Prices ranged from $201,000 for a two-bedroom, one-bathroom condo to $720,000 for a single-family home with six bedrooms and five bathrooms.
There are 21 homes on the market, ranging from a condo with two bedrooms and one bathroom for $225,000 to a single-family home with four bedrooms and three bathrooms for $664,900.
Schools: Algonkian and Countryside elementary schools, River Bend Middle, and Potomac Falls High.
Transit: There are two Loudoun County Transit bus stops about a mile from CountrySide, in Cascades, providing weekday connections to the Ballston Metro station. Commuter bus service to the District has been temporarily suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. The community is less than a mile from the intersection of Routes 7 and 28, the main commuting arteries.