Schoolchildren and tourists regularly visit Civil War sites across Virginia, but the residents of Fawn Lake in Spotsylvania can say they live next to historic Civil War lands and ride through them to get to their home.
Driving into the gated community on Longstreet Drive, one sees linear depressions in the ground along the road. “Those are earthwork trench lines from the Wilderness Battlefield,” said Rick Berry, vice president for development at NTS/Virginia Development and Fawn Lake’s sales manager. Bollard posts bear small signs — “Protected Area” — to prevent people from walking on them.
Fawn Lake is about 70 miles southwest of Washington. It is a growing 2,350-acre community of custom-built single-family houses with a 288-acre lake and more than seven miles of shoreline.
Large living area: A development of 160 single-family, one-level houses by M/I Homes — an active adult community without age limits and with property maintenance on one-quarter to one-third acres — is a new offering that joins other long-term custom home neighborhoods. The density is higher, there are curbs and gutter streets, public water and sewer, fiber optic cable, underground utilities and streetscapes with common-area landscaping. Twenty are built, and 44 home sites are for sale.
John and Shelva Mason lived in a large five-bedroom, four-bathroom house in another Fawn Lake neighborhood for more than two decades. “We were one of the first 10 families to move in. We’ve loved it and didn’t want to leave,” said Shelva Mason, “but my husband couldn’t do the yard work anymore.” In January 2014 they contracted for an M/I Home and now don’t worry about mowing the lawn.
“My grandkids were amazed when they came the first time,” she said. “People think when you downsize you get all scrunched up. But not here. The living area is very big. Our ceilings are 12-feet in the great room, and the kitchen is huge. We have a nine-foot island, which is bigger than in our last house and there are lots of cabinets.”
In December, Howard and Evelyn Sterling moved from a two-level house in Aldie into an M/I Home. “The layout was exactly what we were looking for. Spacious main-level living in a woodsy area,” Howard Sterling said.
“The people are wonderful, too,” Mason said. “I broke my femur playing golf, and in a day or two I had enough meals come in for six weeks.”
Golf and swimming: Fawn Lake Country Club offers membership to the private Arnold Palmer-designed golf course. Prospective home buyers have a standing invitation for a round of golf and lunch via the Member for a Day program through the Fawn Lake Real Estate Sales team.
Fawn Lake Community Association organizes activities, sports classes and clubs for quilting, yachting, bowling, Bible studies, reading, gardening, music and bridge.
There is a clubhouse, cookout facilities, pavilion, pool, beachfront, ball courts and fields, playground and 11 miles of trails. And there’s the lake with sandy beach for swimming, ramp and slips for boating and banks for fishing.
“This isn’t your typical cookie-cutter development,” Berry said. “It’s not a Starbucks-on-the-corner location. But if you don’t mind driving five minutes to a grocery store or 15 minutes to Wegmans, this could be a wonderful place to call home.”
Conservation areas: In 1988, Fawn Lake originally comprised 2,800 acres. In 2002, the developer sold 456 acres to the National Park Service in a widely anticipated and celebrated agreement because it adjoined the 13,181-acre Civil War Wilderness Battlefield. “History is here, and we’ve helped preserve it,” Berry said.
NPS property surrounds Fawn Lake with heavy woods. White and red oaks, poplar, river birches and pines make up the dense forest. Practically all the homes and home sites back onto greenery and conservation areas. The development is “beautiful, tranquil, private, quiet,” said Evelyn Sterling.
Longstreet Drive, the primary road into the community, curves gently and leads to the clubhouse, pro shop and pool on the lake. “We went through the front gate the first time and said, ‘Wow,’ ” said Howard Sterling.
Fawn Lake Parkway — “our own Beltway,” said Berry — circles the community. There are two main road arteries lined with wooded home sites and enclaves of homes off of them, typically ending in cul-de-sacs. Many streets commemorate Civil War soldiers, including Benning Way, named for Confederate Brig. Gen. Henry L. Benning; Longstreet Drive, for Confederate Lt. Gen. James Longstreet; and Meade Pointe, for Union General George G. Meade.
Schools: Brock Road Elementary, Ni River Middle, Riverbend High.
Transit: From Washington, Fawn Lake is reached via Interstate 395 South to I-95 South/exit 130B, then right on Virginia Route 3 west and left on Virginia Route 621 for three miles. The drive is about an hour and a quarter from Washington.
“Some residents have arranged a four-day work-week downtown and one day telecommuting from home,” said Berry. Others arrange vanpools, take Virginia Rail Express or Amtrak from stations in Fredericksburg, about 16 miles away. Richmond is 69 miles away, Reagan National Airport is 63 miles away, and Dulles International Airport is 71 miles away.
Audrey Hoffer is a freelance writer.
12201 Longstreet Dr., Spotsylvania
The single-family main-level houses range from $371,990 to $389,990.
Builder: M/I Homes
Features: There’s 6
Bedrooms/bathrooms: 2 to 6/2 to 4.
Square-footage: 2,310 to 3,454.
Homeowner association fee: $2,500 per year.
View model: 3:30 to 6 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.