Driving the George Washington Memorial Parkway south of the District at this time of year, you can get a rush of autumn color and other sights along the Potomac River — the shimmering water, the runners, the cyclists — that will make you forget that the capital city is minutes away.

About two miles from the river, on the Virginia side, Potomac Trace by K. Hovnanian Homes is a rising 35-townhouse community on 11 acres in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County. Mounds of red dirt and construction equipment dominate the scene.

Seven groups of four to seven townhouses each are planned. One set of five is complete. A Potomac Trace website describes the emerging community as “close to D.C. but not D.C.” Like the GW Parkway.

“Most of our buyers live in the vicinity,” Michael Morrello, a K. Hovnanian sales consultant, said about the early sales.

Buying New | Potomac Trace in Fairfax County, Va.

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Potomac Trace by K. Hovnanian Homes is a rising 35-townhouse community on 11 acres in the Alexandria area of Fairfax County, Va. (Benjamin C Tankersley/For The Washington Post)

Kim and Joe Teeples have lived for 15 years in a single-family house built in 1955 that is just 10 minutes away. “We were planning the next phase of upgrades to our home when Potomac Trace came to our attention,” Kim Teeples said.

“Historically we’re not new-construction people,” she said, “but when I walked around the model, I thought, ‘Wow! This would really work for us. We wouldn’t be downsizing. It would just be redistributing the-square footage because the house is laid out differently.’ ”

Joe Teeples said the opinion of their 14-year-old daughter, Charlotte, was the deciding factor. “She’s been living in the same house her whole life,” he said, “and we didn’t want to uproot her. When we brought her to the model, she lit up and said, ‘I love it.’ ”

Options available: Jovanna Pellerito also lives not far away, in Old Town Alexandria. She’s in a rental after selling her single-family house. She heard about Potomac Trace and looked at the model. “I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “Once I saw how large and spacious it is and the little yard in back, I thought it lives more like a single-family than a townhouse.”

Three floor plans are offered — Bennington, Hollins and Sweet Briar. All are 24 feet wide. Bennington is 40 feet long, and Hollins and Sweet Briar are 50 feet long.

“We spend a lot of time with buyers on the exploration process,” Morrello said. “What you’re looking for, how you live now and the why behind your move.”

The many options include bump-out extensions, decks, elevators, room layouts and kitchen locations.

Pellerito chose a layout with the kitchen in the middle of the second floor. “The kitchen is the center of the home, where you spend 90 percent of your time,” she said.

She also added an optional deck off the great room, also on the second floor. “When you’re entertaining you have the most people on that floor,” she said.

In the Bennington model unit, the two-car garage is next to the entry foyer at the front of the townhouse. A recreation room is in the back.

One flight up, the kitchen is at the back end of the open-plan layout. A glass door leads to a deck, which makes eating outdoors convenient. A dining table is at the center of the second floor, and the great room is in the front. A powder room is tucked away in a corner, two steps up from the great room.

On the third floor, two bedrooms are at one end of the townhouse, and the master bedroom suite, with a private bathroom, is at the other end. The hallway in between has a bathroom, a separate laundry room and a linen closet.

Nearby: Sherwood Regional Library is close. There’s a hiking-biking trail along the Potomac River. George Washington’s estate at Mount Vernon is a few miles south. Old Town Alexandria, a busy shopping and entertainment center, is a few miles north.

Shopping: Mount Vernon Plaza is home to more than 60 stores, restaurants and other retail and service businesses. Hybla Valley, on Route 1, has dozens of retail outlets, including Costco, Walmart and Target.

Schools: Hollin Meadows Elementary, Sandburg Middle, West Potomac High.

Transit: Potomac Trace is 17 miles from the District and about 10 miles from Reagan National Airport. The closest Metro station is Huntington, on the Yellow line. A number of bus routes traverse streets within a block of the community.

Potomac Trace

8100 Zoe Pl., Alexandria, Va.

There will be 35 townhouses. Nine are sold. Twenty-six are for sale at base prices ranging from $644,990 to $689,990.

Builder: K. Hovnanian Homes

Features: The townhouses have three levels and two-car garages. The front exterior is brick, and the rear and sides have vinyl siding. Ceilings are nine feet high on the ground and second floors; eight feet high in the third-floor bedrooms. Hardwood flooring runs through the main living area on the second floor. Wall-to-wall carpeting is installed upstairs. The kitchen is outfitted with stainless-steel appliances, birch cabinets and granite counters. Bathrooms have Moen faucets, birch vanities and cultured marble tops. Screened windows are single-hung. A finished recreation room and bathroom rough (with plumbing and other preparations for bathroom fixtures) are standard on the ground floor.

Bedrooms/bathrooms: 3 to 5 / 3 to 4

Square-footage: 2,457 to 2,988

Homeowners association fee: $100 a month

Contacts: Michael Morrello or Beth Mowery-Dunn, 703-885-7323; khov.com/PotomacTrace

View model: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily