Nestled between tributaries of the Occoquan River and the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary War National Historic Trail in southern Fairfax County, close to the Prince William County border, lies a community of about 160 single-family houses unknown to many people.
And the residents like it that way.
“It’s a little secret back here,” Marlise “Roo” Edwards says as she wends her way through the neighborhood. “They like it that it’s a little private area.”
Harbor View, which is part of Mason Neck, seems remote, yet it’s minutes from Interstate 95 and Route 1.
“It gives you that country, tucked-away feeling,” she said.
When Ty Harrington and his wife, Dee, married 24 years ago, they moved to Harbor View after selling his house in Stafford and hers in Springfield.
“We like boats,” Ty Harrington says at Alli’s Restaurant. “We like water.”
Harrington, a retired battalion chief with the Fairfax County Fire Department, has never looked back. Besides the house, they bought a Bayliner motorboat. Dee Harrington works as a dental hygienist. Ty teaches at the Fairfax County Fire Academy.
“We’ll never leave,” he said. “She likes boating, too.”
Water is a draw: You don’t have to love boats to live in Harbor View, which has its own marina, but a lot of residents do. The Harbor View Marina connects with Massey Creek, which flows into the Occoquan River, which flows into the Potomac. The marina has 10 slips. Watercraft include paddleboards, canoes, kayaks, water scooters, powerboats, sailboats and pontoon boats.
“More than half are water-oriented people,” said Harrington, who is president of the Harbor View Recreation Center. “Fifteen to 20 percent were born and raised here.”
Edwards and her then-partner, Shannon, were kayaking nearby when they came upon the community.
“We’re going to live in that neighborhood one day,” Edwards, 41, secretary of the Harbor View Recreation Club, recalls thinking. They moved into their house in 2013, later marrying in their back yard, surrounded by family and new friends from the neighborhood.
Lots of trees, wildlife: After living in a townhouse in Fairfax County for 20 years, Bob and Sharon I’Anson were looking for a single-family house. Their daughters were approaching college age.
“We were ready for a change,” Bob I’Anson said.
A real estate agent showed them a lot of options, but most of the houses were older and needed work. When they saw the 1973 house they bought in Harbor View, they were taken by the size of the lot and all of the trees. Many of the lots are about half an acre.
“I had never seen this community before,” he said. “I didn’t know it was here. People drive by here and don’t even know this is here, and that’s fine.”
After 20 years of driving to his federal job and later, to contracting jobs, from the house, he retired in 2015.
Sharon I’Anson had been working as an elementary school teacher in Fairfax County and was used to being closer to work. Retired since 2005, she enjoys seeing children riding by on their bicycles or skateboarding down the street.
One of the appeals of the neighborhood besides access to the water is wildlife. Residents have spotted eagles, a barred owl, a red fox and a small black bear.
“You get it all here,” said Bob I’Anson, 72.
Neighbors drive golf carts around the neighborhood rather than their cars. Others walk, many with their dogs, or jog through the neighborhood. One downside is flooding at times.
“Mainly, the creek just crests its bank and water will come up into the back yards, but nothing too bad,” says Edwards. “When Hurricane Lee came through in 2012, it raised the creek water level enough to cause some flooding in homes, but that was a rare occurrence.”
Living there: Shopping includes Gunston Plaza in Lorton, Springfield Town Center, Lorton Marketplace and Potomac Mills.
The Harbor View Recreation Club organizes a number of events each year, including Super Bowl, Christmas, Fourth of July and Mardi Gras parties, for those who live in the area and join the club. Neighbors visit one another often.
“Everybody looks out for each other,” Bob I’Anson said.
Residents include independent business owners, artists and writers, and military service members as well as some government workers.
“It’s kind of a mix,” said Bob I’Anson.
Said Edwards, “There are people from different walks of life. In the end everyone is just a neighbor.”
Harbor View is bounded by Greene Drive and Bard Street to the east, Anita Drive to the southwest and Old Colchester Road to the northwest. According to Donna Baez, owner/broker with Blue Post Realty, seven properties sold in the past 12 months. The highest-priced was a four-bedroom, four-bathroom Colonial for $820,000. The lowest-priced was a four-bedroom, three-bathroom Colonial for $505,000. Two properties are on the market: a four-bedroom, three-bathroom Colonial for $649,900 and a four-bedroom, three-bathroom split-foyer for $619,900.
Schools: Gunston Elementary, Lorton Station Elementary, South County Middle, South County High.
Transit: Harbor View is a car-oriented community. The Springfield-Franconia Station on the Blue Line is the closest Metro station. The Virginia Railway Express stops at Woodbridge and Lorton.
Crime: According to the LexisNexis Community Crime map, no crime was reported in Harbor View in the past 12 months.