Sara Kirstein recently made a new friend in Wessynton, a neighborhood in Fairfax County, Va. — a beaver who greeted her down by the community dock.

After moving to the neighborhood just off of Mount Vernon Highway in early 2019, Kirstein has enjoyed the melding of midcentury modern houses and the tranquility of the area.

“The neighborhood is lovely for walking around,” she said. “We have a wooded nature trail that is very short so we like to go on a lot of walks.”

While Kirstein gushed about the sense of community, which included resident-planned Fourth of July pool parties and haunted Halloween forests, her partner, Alejandro Silva, was drawn to Wessynton because of the style of homes.

“He loves the clean lines, the big windows and the type of floor plan,” Kirstein said.

This neighborhood of 156 midcentury modern houses was designed by Nicholas Pappas of Deigert and Yerkes. Five styles of houses were created in symbiosis with the woodland areas that encase the neighborhood.

They are forest, garden, manor, meadow and river. Manor is the most repeated style, representing 46 of the homes. The least-repeated is garden, representing 11 of the homes. The size ranges from 3,125 square feet to 4,440 square feet and each style reflects aspects of the natural terrain — large windows to show beautiful gardens and dark wood to create harmony between the forest and the homes.

To maintain the mid-century modern design, the Wessynton Architectural Review Committee was founded. While changes have been made to the homes over the years, the neighborhood retains its harmony.

“If you drive through the neighborhood and look you’ll see the sitings of the houses are unique,” Linda Ely said. “You’ll see some houses sideways when you know the elevation should be to the front. And I’m told that that’s because [the Ladies of Mount Vernon] got involved and said, ‘Oh no you can’t take those trees.’ ”

Ely has lived in Wessynton for 33 of its 54 years and likens the neighborhood to being on a permanent vacation.

“During the pandemic, it was such a blessing because we were in our little cocoon,” she said.

Ely enjoyed being able to get out and see her neighbors without fear because of their spacious neighborhood. A favorite spot is the Wessynton Forest, a 20-acre space for contemplation and exercise shrouded in the nature that inspired Pappas.

Her best memories of Wessynton include her dogs. Ely had a Shih Tzu named Bubbles who was known to the community.

“We would walk Bubbles and everyone knew Bubbles and Bubbles knew everybody; she would stop for cars,” Ely said.

Her new dog, Callie, gets the same attention as Bubbles once did. This welcoming community has kept Ely, Bubbles and now Callie walking around the neighborhood.

Neighbors with George Washington’s Mount Vernon, 8 ½ miles from downtown Alexandria and 10 miles from Washington, Wessynton is a woodsy suburb bustling with history. Long before Wessynton was planned and George Washington owned the land, it was home to the Doeg, a Native American tribe. After the English colonized Virginia, this Doeg hunting ground was granted to George Washington’s predecessors. The Doegs that survived disease and armed conflict brought by the English are believed to have relocated to the eastern bank of the Potomac River or to the northern bank of the Rappahannock River.

Several houses have plaques inscribed with George Washington’s cypher, an embellishment used on his coach, clothing or wax seal. Homeowners who have a membership to the Neighborhood Friends of Mount Vernon can buy a commemorative plaque that states their home lies on the Five Farms of George Washington’s Estate.

“It’s a really tranquil wooded area that does have a homeowners association, and they’ve really tried to keep that wooded, natural feel to it,” said real estate agent Rebecca McCullough of McEnearney Associates.

The neighborhood has a pool, tennis courts, a playground, a community clubhouse and the Wessynton woods. The HOA fees are $943 annually.

“From a historical perspective, the fact that we’re on land that I’m certain was walked on by George Washington and his family is a pretty cool thing” said HOA President Mark Wisniewski. “I like the fact that we essentially butt right up against Mount Vernon, we’re our own little enclave and it’s quiet here.”

Wisniewski has lived in Wessynton for 28 years. Like many in the neighborhood, he and his wife are retired Navy servicemembers. They were transferred to the area and chose Wessynton as their home. While the schools and location are what drew him in, what made Wessynton his home is the sense of tranquility.

Wessynton has a community dock accessible to those who live in the neighborhood, but there are also 23 homes that have waterfront access to portions of the Little Hunting Creek, according to Wisniewski.

Living there: Bound by George Washington Memorial Parkway to the south, Little Huntington Creek to the east, residences on Woodland Lane to the north and Mount Vernon Highway on the west. The only entrances to the neighborhood are Wessynton Way and Cunningham Drive.

Since the start of 2021, seven houses have been sold. The average sale price was $865,200. No houses are for sale, and one sale is pending.

According to Rebecca McCullough, the highest priced house to sell was $1.392 million and had five bedrooms and three bathrooms. The lowest priced was also a five-bedroom house with three bathrooms that sold for $678,000.

Schools: Woodley Hill Elementary, Whitman Middle and Mount Vernon High.

Transit: The nearest Metro station is more than 15 minutes from the neighborhood. The Fairfax Connector offers bus service across Mount Vernon Highway. The George Washington Memorial Parkway and Richmond Highway are close to the neighborhood.

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