The fact that Alexis Moreno is not looking to flee his "overcrowded" neighborhood of Stone Ridge in Loudoun County, Va., is proof that this place, with routine traffic congestion that tests the resolve of the most battle-hardened of steering-wheel-grippers, is well worth the headache, he said.
"It's a pretty cool place to live, with great schools, and there are always exciting community events happening," said Moreno, who moved 12 years ago to a 3,500-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bathroom single-family house on Mineral Springs Circle in Stone Ridge.
"The place has just gotten so crowded over the years. It can be a nightmare to get to an entry or exit point," he said.
Still, added Moreno, the upside of living in Stone Ridge far exceeds any burdens that result from an uptick in traffic.
Simeon Bush, who moved six years ago to a 5,400-square-foot, five-bedroom, four-bathroom Colonial on Olivine Place, said that while Stone Ridge experiences its fair share of traffic congestion, it's nothing like "the hustle and bustle of the D.C. area."
"There's some stress associated with driving in and around Stone Ridge, but once you're here it's pretty relaxing, and traffic isn't bad on the weekends."
Bush, who has three children, said he also loved the fact that Stone Ridge includes highly rated public schools, which "definitely motivated me to move here."
Plenty to do: Wrapped in the countryside of Loudoun County, Stone Ridge is a 3,700-home community that offers residents easy access to a variety of amenities, including an amphitheater, miles of trails, ball courts and a popular weekend farmers market next to the StoneSprings Hospital Center, said Gina Tufano, an agent with Pearson Smith Realty.
Tufano said that the area has exploded with development in the past couple of years, leaving residents with many retail options. A number of recent infrastructure improvements are also helping to ease the traffic burden, she said.
"Route 50 used to be a mess but they recently widened it and there are more interchanges, which has greatly improved traffic," she said. "The people came before the infrastructure was ready."
Besides, the fact that Stone Ridge has some of the lowest homeowners association fees — under $100 a month on average — leads to increased spending power for potential buyers, Tufano said.
Jill Parker, who moved four years ago from Gainesville in Prince William County to a 2,400-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bathroom house on Green Mountain Terrace, said that relocating to Stone Ridge shaved time off her husband's commute to the District.
"I could see how some people might not like the amount of traffic, but we were about 15 miles further south, so we're happy," said Parker, with a smile.
If Parker was smiling after her husband's commutes were shortened about 30 minutes, Derek Torrance, who has lived in Stone Ridge for 10 years, was downright giddy about his time saved behind the wheel.
He moved to Stone Ridge from Front Royal and reduced a commute that clocked in at an hour to less than 10 minutes.
"My life is so much nicer," said Torrance, who lives in a 1,550-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom condominium on Cathedral Valley Square.
Living there: The neighborhood is bordered to the north by Lee Jackson Memorial Highway, to the south by Braddock Road, to the west by Lobo Drive and to the east by Gum Spring Road.
In the past 12 months, 65 properties have sold in Stone Ridge, ranging from a 1,105-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom condominium for $245,000 to a 6,275-square-foot, six-bedroom, six-bathroom traditional-style house for $810,000, said Tufano of Pearson Smith Realty.
There are 22 homes for sale in Stone Ridge, ranging from a 2,205-square-foot, three-bedroom, three-bathroom condominium for $358,990 to a 5,218-square-foot six-bedroom, five-bathroom traditional-style house for $744,000, Tufano said.
Schools: Arcola Elementary, Mercer Middle and John Champe High.
Transit: Stone Ridge is serviced by the Dulles South commuter bus system and is about 16 miles from the Wiehle-Reston East Station on Metro's Silver Line. The community is also served by a network of commuter buses operated by Loudoun County Transit.
Crime: Since January, there have been 36 reports of theft, 15 assaults and one vehicle theft in the area that includes Stone Ridge, according to the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office.