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With its unique homes and wooded beauty, Truro really is special

Truro, a neighborhood of 377 houses in Annandale, Va., takes its name from Truro Parish, which was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1732. Truro Parish was named for a mining district in Cornwall, England. (Craig Hudson for The Washington Post)
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A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Truro’s distances from Interstate 66 and Interstate 95. This article has been corrected.

Kevin Brandt hears it all the time when he raves to his friends and colleagues about Truro, his neighborhood in Annandale, Va.

“When I try to explain to them how special it is, I get, ‘Well, everyone thinks their neighborhood is,’ ” said Brandt, who has lived in Truro since 2010 and is its neighborhood association president.

And while that sentiment is mostly true, Truro is unusual in many respects.

The enclave of 377 houses takes its name from Truro Parish, which was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1732. Robert “King” Carter named it after a mining district in Cornwall, England.

Streets in Truro have curious names, such as Necostin Way for the Native American tribe that inhabited the area, Burbank Road for the noted horticulturalist Luther Burbank, Gifford Pinchot Drive for America’s first professional forester, and Ken­wyn Court for the river in Cornwall that flows through the city of Truro. Two streets, Ann Fitz Hugh Drive and Charles Hawkins Way, are named for a pair of star-crossed lovers. She was the daughter of William Fitzhugh, a member of the Continental Congress. He was a British army captain.

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Like most people in the neighborhood, Brandt was initially attracted to Truro by its home styles. “It was such a draw for my wife and I when we were purchasing this home to see these very interesting mid-century modern, contemporary-style homes in a sea of center-hall Colonials,” he said.

Ten of the 11 models of ­mid-century modern houses were designed by prominent D.C. architectural firm Deigert & Yerkes. The Skyview model was designed by award-winning modernist architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen. There are six Skyview or, as residents call them, “pod” houses in Truro.

“The pod houses are phenomenal,” said Dave Watts, who has lived in a Ridgeview model since 1969. “God bless the people who bought them. They have maintained them and continue to protect the architectural integrity of them.”

The neighborhood also has a smattering of traditional brick Colonials, which were built during a later phase of the development.

“When you look at Truro, it has basically three levels of houses,” said Watts, who is an original owner. “If you like a Colonial, you could have a Colonial. If you’d like a medium-sized contemporary, we’ve got medium-sized contemporaries. If you want one of the originals, which are around 3,800 [square] feet, you can buy one of those. There’s a spread in the market that allows you to have a more diverse set of homeowners.”

The natural beauty of the area is a draw for many owners. The community has 36 acres of parkland with more than 1½ miles of trails, many of which wander along Turkey Run Creek.

“When the developer, Miller & Smith, built this neighborhood, they did a very good job of preserving the trees as much as possible,” said Bill Ulman, who has lived in Truro since 1976. “That’s good news and bad news, because it is heavily wooded. It’s beautiful right now when you drive through. There’s green all over us. And then in the fall, all of that comes down and you have to clean it away.”

Truro’s location is also a draw. The neighborhood is near the Capital Beltway and not far from Interstate 66 and Interstate 95, but it has no retail.

“We’re not walking distance to anything over here,” Ulman said. “It’s a very car-based community. We can walk to a 7-Eleven, but that’s about it.”

Residents note Truro’s proximity to several houses of worship.

“For the religious community, there’s a lot of diversity here — or should we say opportunity to practice,” Watts said.

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But what truly sets Truro apart is its homeowners association. “We are one of the few remaining, if not the sole remaining, self-managed homeowners associations in Northern Virginia,” said Watts, a former association president. “We do it all ourselves. . . . Everybody volunteers.”

Although the association pays for a treasurer and a record-keeper, all the other positions are unpaid. Volunteers run the swim and dive program, the tennis program, the parkland cleanup program, the social committee and the architectural control committee. The clubhouse with its pool and tennis courts is the neighborhood hub. Dues are $210 annually for homeowners and an additional $560 annually for use of the amenities.

“They have a very active social community,” said Jay D’Alessandro, a real estate agent with Long & Foster, who doesn’t live in Truro but has been selling houses in the neighborhood for 20 years. “It feels like you are in a little village when you get there. . . . I think whoever has been organizing the social community built around the pool has been very good about being inclusive of everyone.”

Truro is a neighborhood where people come to live and rarely leave.

“Another testament to that close-knit community and overall feel of togetherness is evident by the number of people who have made Truro their home since the neighborhood was built in the late ’60s,” Brandt said. “That really goes to show how strongly people feel about this great neighborhood.”

When Truro celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2018, 26 houses were occupied by original owners. Brandt doesn’t know how many original owners still live in the neighborhood, but he says the number has come down in the past three years.

Every year since 1969, neighborhood volunteers have published a monthly newsletter, Truro Trails. Once a typewritten document hand-delivered to residents, it is now a slick, multicolor electronic document distributed via email.

“People wait for that to come out,” Brandt said. “I work in the marketing space for my real job; we publish several communications on a regular basis. I wish we got the open rates that our newsletter gets.”

Volunteers also maintain a website that includes not only a history of the neighborhood but also upcoming events such as board meetings and information on what food trucks will be at the clubhouse.

Living there: Truro is roughly bounded by Elizabeth Lane to the north, Ordinary Way to the east, Burbank Road and Pappas Way to the south and Guinea Road to the west.

Only four houses in Truro were listed and sold last year, according to D’Alessandro.

“There are a decent number of homes with primary bedrooms on the main level,” D’Alessandro said. “So some people just age in place, and that’s why you don’t get quite as much turnover.”

Of the four houses sold, the most expensive was $790,000. Because the neighborhood is popular, some homes never made it to market; they sold before they were listed with an agent.

This year, six homes sold after being listed. All went for at least $800,000. The most expensive house was $888,000. A couple of houses sold without reaching the market.

Schools: Wakefield Forest Elementary; Frost Middle; Woodson High.

Transit: Truro is a 10-to-15-minute drive from the Vienna or Dunn Loring Metro stations. No buses stop in the neighborhood, but there are stops on Wakefield Chapel Road and Little River Turnpike, a short walk away.

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