For Jim and Abby Hughey, finding a house in the Old Dominion neighborhood of Arlington was no easy task, but they say it was worth the effort.
The couple placed offers on nine or 10 houses before finally closing on their 1940s brick Colonial house and moving in at the beginning of July 2014. All told, it was a six-month process.
“We didn’t say we need a brand-new house,” Jim Hughey said. “We were very interested in a good location with a neighborhood feel.”
And for them, Old Dominion filled the bill. Finding a house required discipline, said Jim Hughey, a banker. “We looked ourselves. When you’re on the house hunt, you keep your eyes peeled.” Then they turned to a real estate agent.
The Hugheys, new parents and first-time homeowners, say they like that they can walk to nearby shopping and get to their jobs easily.
They had lived in a high-rise close to the Ballston Metro station for almost 10 years and had their eyes on the nearby residential neighborhood just 1¼ to 1½ miles from the station. “We always liked it,” he said. “It had a neighborhood feel and was also walkable. We knew we wanted to stay in Arlington.”
It’s an easy commute — by bus or bike — for him, and even closer for his wife, who works as a government contractor in Tysons Corner. “That’s why it all makes sense,” said Jim Hughey, 36. He tends to bike when the weather is appealing and otherwise relies on an express bus to the McPherson Square Metro station. He can pick up the 3Y Metro bus on Lee Highway, a block from their house.
Plethora of shops and eateries: Old Dominion’s closest shopping area is just across Lee Highway, where there are banks and insurance businesses as well as locally owned shops that draw neighborhood residents and others.
The Lee Heights Shops, on Lee Highway (Route 29), include restaurants, a bakery, a needlepoint shop, a children’s shoe store and an antiques and home furnishings store, among others. “It really checks all of our boxes,” Jim Hughey said. Other stores, including a Harris Teeter, are at the Lee Harrison Shopping Center, and there is a Safeway in Cherrydale.
On a recent Monday, midday diners were already seated at Cassatt’s: A Kiwi Café & Gallery, where local art is displayed and a variety of egg dishes, quesadillas, burgers and vegetarian lasagna dot the menu. The marble mousse cake at Pastries by Randolph calls out to customers from a glass case filled with cakes, pastries and cookies.
“It’s very neighborhoody,” said Jenni Emory, the manager at Random Harvest, Antiques and Home Furnishings. Emory lives in a townhouse in the neighborhood. Her younger son attends Yorktown High School while her older son is a student at Virginia Commonwealth University. Of the Lee Heights Shops, she says, “It’s really a sweet little destination. Everybody makes their stops along the way.” On the other side of Lee Highway, closer to the residential neighborhood, is the Metro 29 Diner, and farther up the hill, away from the District, is a hardware store.
Living there: Old Dominion is bounded by 26th Street North to the north, North Wakefield Street to the east, Lee Highway to the south and North Columbus Street to the west.
The Old Dominion Citizens Association includes about 450 households, according to Richard Lolich, president of the association, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1983. He worked in the private sector and, more recently, retired from the Transportation Department. Through the years, he has seen a lot of changes in the neighborhood, most notably the increase in families with school-age children.
Houses range from brick Colonials built in the 1940s to newer houses that have replaced older homes, as is common inside the Beltway. In addition, there are townhouses built in the 1970s, condominiums and apartments. The neighborhood association is working with Arlington County to create a new park at North 26th Street and Old Dominion Drive.
According to Jade Yang, principal agent with Metropolitan Premier Living, Signature Home Realty, in Tysons Corner, in the past year, 21 properties sold in the Old Dominion neighborhood, ranging from a three-bedroom, one-bath bungalow for $360,000 to a five-bedroom, seven-bath transitional home for $1.8 million. Two properties are on the market: a three-bedroom, two-bath Cape Cod for $709,000 and a five-bedroom, five-bath Craftsman for $1.6 million, based on data from multiple-listing service MRIS.
Schools: Discovery Elementary, Williamsburg Middle, Yorktown High.
Transit: Ballston Metro on the Orange and Silver lines is the closest Metro stop; there are both Metro and Arlington County Transit (ART) buses. The 3Y Metro bus stops in Lee Heights en route to the McPherson Square Metro station Monday through Friday during the rush hour, suitable for commuters to the District.
Crime: During the past 12 months, according to Arlington County police, one aggravated assault (domestic) was reported in the neighborhood.