West Market Street in Leesburg, Va.
It's our weekly trip around the region. This week, we visit Leesburg, Va., and Greenbriar, Va.
In Greenbriar, Va., all of the street names start with "P" or "M" -- it's one of the hints that this town did not grow up organically. Indeed, as 64-year-old Greenbriar Civic Association President Vince Krevinas explains, the development group Levitt & Sons created the town of out rural farmland.
"When they bought it, it was totally undeveloped — nothing here — and built a community," he says. "It was so rural at the time that there was even a 'Save the Barns' campaign."
That was in 1967, and today Greenbrier is a town of nearly 5,000. Krevinas calls it a "great place to raise kids... We have a huge swimming pool facility, swim club, diving club, Easter egg hunt." And not only that, the town is "surrounded by all the amenities you would want, right here." Although Krevis does lament the growing traffic problem.
Nonetheless, he says, Greenbriar residents have a reputation for looking out for each other.
"It's a very tangible, strong, family-style atmosphere that you never get tired of."
The town of Leesburg, Va. has a much older pedigree. Resident Alana Blumenthal, 26, describes how it was founded in 1758 as the county seat for the newly formed Loudon County, which had just split off from Fairfax.
She loves the small-town feel, calling the "burg" suffix a "conscious effort. As more people move here, more businesses move here, there's a desire to still keep Leesburg as a town, as a 'burg.'" The trolleys that serve as mass transport downtown even have old-style wooden benches.
Blumenthal is also a fan of ghost stories, and she says her town has plenty of them. "I know that there are a few places in Northern Virginia that have their own ghosts," she acknowledges, "But you always hear about them happening in and around Leesburg."
There are stories of ghostly lanterns still visible on Ball's Bluff Battlefield, and of Colonel Burt, a confederate soldier who died of his injuries at Glenfiddich House on King's Street. Residents say a mysterious spot of blood disappears and reappears periodically, and they sometimes hear the sounds of a ghostly wake on Sunday afternoon.
But, Blumenthal calls Colonel Burt a "friendly ghost," who likes it when people are around. Like Burt, Blumenthal says she'll stay it Leesburg forever, if she can.
[Music: "No, Girl" by John Davis from Title Tracks]
Explore previously featured neighborhoods on our Door to Door map:
This map shows previous Door to Door segments, and includes links to photos and show audio. The yellow marker represents neighborhoods featured in Washington, D.C., the blue represents neighborhoods in Maryland, and the red represents neighborhoods in Virginia.