“I wanted something more adult, something that didn’t look cookie-cutter,” said Kathy Lee, who moved to Belmont Bay from Lake Ridge two years ago. She downsized from a house to a townhouse.
The community is bounded by the Occoquan River to the east, Route 1 to the north, Dawson Beach Road on the west and the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge to the south. Belmont Bay Drive is the main road in the community, which connects to Express Drive next to the VRE station and runs next to the harbor.
The Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge offers birdwatching, hiking trails and marshes. It’s a popular spot for the ospreys to nest during the spring and attracts other marsh birds. Conrad Island is a popular gathering spot. On summer weekends, concerts are held on the island.
Since the Ospreys at Belmont Bay Golf Course closed a few years ago, residents have walked their dogs on the land.
“I didn’t have a dog when I moved in,” said Lee. “You have to carve out 30 more minutes for your walk. I know some of the dogs’ names more than their owners.”
The central green space has a gazebo where the community social committee has live music, yoga and a Halloween party every year. A new strip of shops including a small grocery store, a hair salon and the Freedom Boat Club overlooks the harbor.
Brent Parker is the general manager of the Freedom Boat Club, one of two boat clubs in the community. The other is the Carefree Boat Club. At Freedom, the club owns the boats and members use them for a monthly fee.
“We have lots of members here in Belmont Bay,” he said. “We had a couple that were members and ended up buying a townhouse in Belmont Bay.”
Next to the Freedom Boat Club is TG Hair FX, owned by Teresa Jackson, who moved from Occoquan and bought the salon, in part, because of the harbor.
“I have a great view, so relaxing,” she said.
Yared Araya and Sosena Engeda run the Harbor Side Market overlooking the harbor. The market sells sundries, offers dry-cleaning services, and has a small cafe for those wanting coffee and a muffin.
“We’re expecting it’s going to grow,” said Engeda. “During summertime, it’s good. The boaters are here.”
County officials are planning North Woodbridge Town Center on Route 123 just down the road from Belmont Bay. The development is expected to have offices, homes and stores. There will be pedestrian and bike crossings across Route 1 and a link to the Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail.
Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi has proposed a high-speed ferry for commuters into Washington. The ferry would leave the docks in Occoquan and go through Belmont Bay with stops at National Harbor, the Yards, the Wharf and Washington Harbor. The proposal is for two 92-foot boats that can carry 400 passengers each.
Nicole Canole is a real estate agent for Keller Williams and a member of the Freedom Boat Club. Canole says the water is a big draw for buyers, including herself.
“That’s the reason I moved here,” she said.
Canole added that Belmont Bay is a walkable community and the neighbors are friendly.
“We have a lot of buyers waiting for waterfront units to come available,” Canole said.
Canole has a three-bedroom, four-bathroom townhouse near the harbor listed for $475,000.
Condominiums are under construction on land near the former golf course. Beacon Park Towns at Belmont Bay is a 67-unit townhouse community for 55-and-older residents with some non-age-restricted homes that is expected to be ready in June 2020. Around the corner from Beacon Park Towns is Aspire at Belmont Bay, an independent living complex. The 126 one- and two-bedroom apartments will lease for between the mid-$3,000s to $5,000 monthly.
Living there: In the past six months, according to Canole, 55 condominiums, townhouses and houses have sold in Belmont Bay, ranging from a two-bedroom, 1,338-square-foot condo for $290,000 to a four-bedroom, four-bathroom waterfront townhouse with private dock and boat lift for $1.3 million. There are 18 homes on the market, ranging from a two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo priced at $279,000 to a detached four-bedroom four-bathroom house priced at $665,000.
The westernmost portion of Belmont Bay, closest to the Virginia Railway Express station, is popular with families drawn to a mix of townhouses, single-family homes and condominiums as well as a pool and playground.
Schools: Belmont Elementary, Fred M. Lynn Middle and Gar-Field High.
Transit: The VRE Woodbridge station, a block from Belmont Bay, runs daily trains into Washington. The Prince William Metro Express bus system connects the VRE station to the Franconia-Springfield Metro station. The commuter lot on Route 123 has bus connections and a slug line for carpoolers.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is planning a $165 million project to widen Richmond Highway from four to six lanes near the entrance of Belmont Bay. The plan includes enhancing the kiss-and-ride lot at the nearby VRE station. It is scheduled to be completed next fall.