Two residents of Holmes Run Acres get ready to go for a bike ride.
Holmes Run Acres, Virginia
Seconds off the beltway in Fairfax County, in between Annadale and West Falls Church sits Holmes Run Acres. The neighborhood of about 400 homes sits right in the woods. The quaint houses are typically home to small families. The accessibility to D.C. and other neighborhoods in Fairfax County is what drives people to live there, says Vivian Smith, a resident of Holmes Run Acres since 1954.
“So we’re sort of in the center of an area that was then considered to be way out, but now it’s quite close to town,” she says.
Smith and her husband moved to Holmes Run Acres right after they got married just as they were getting ready to start a family. Smith, who also serves as the Holmes Run Acres historian, says she instantly fell in love with the neighborhood.
“We moved here thinking we probably wouldn’t stay that long, but we found out there were some things we really liked about the neighborhood. The architecture, for one thing and the natural setting; the houses are built into the lay of the land,” she says.
Since then, Smith says that the neighborhood changed dramatically. Now the neighborhood has a much younger vibe to it.
“At first it was mostly people who worked for the federal government and they worked Downtown, one car in the family. And now it’s quite mixed in ages, which we like. I feel we are still accepted and able to contribute, which makes us feel very good about ourselves. And we also like the feeling of young children playing around hearing them laughing and playing,” she says.
For Smith, this carries some special significance.
“And we have families returning, second generations. Our daughter lives six doors from us," she says.
Smith and her husband both come from small towns in the Midwest. When they decided to settle in the D.C. area, she says she did not expect to find such a small-town area, but she is very happy with Holmes Run Acres.
“I like the way the houses feel; I like the openness. I like to look out my windows and see the trees and the nature. And I like the communication and the feeling that I’m part of a neighborhood. And it’s as much like being in a small town as we can find around a metropolitan area and still have the sophistication of a city,” she says.
If you get on New York Avenue in Northeast D.C. you will find the quiet neighborhood of Langdon. Small houses sit on grassy lawns in this suburban oasis area that is surprisingly still part of D.C. Langdon is not too far from the Arboretum and Brentwood.
Unlike the streets elsewhere in D.C., there are few letters and numbers, which can make defining boundaries a bit confusing.
“The community is most likely defined from Montana Avenue all the way over to Eastern Avenue and from south of Rhode Island Avenue to New York Avenue. The area mostly comprised of a lot of single family homes,” says Michael Kiefer, 40, who has lived in the area for 10 years.
Kiefer says that the area is developing quickly. Langdon Park and a nearby school district make the area appealing to families. He also adds that safety seemed to be a big concern when he first moved into the area, but now it has moved to responsible development.
“When I moved here about 10 years ago, the community had mostly been concerned with, I would say, different elements of crime and had largely worked around those issues," he says.
"Now the community seems to be rallying around the development of parks, libraries and the re-development of the Rhode Island Avenue Corridor. And a lot of that is with the resurgence of some younger families moving into the area, trying to develop more of a community and bringing greater influx of amenities to service everyone.”
Development has occurred, but many people don’t know about it, Kiefer says.
“It has a great swimming pool. And it has a wonderful library, which actually is now being rebuilt and I’m sure the library will be even nicer. And sizeable tennis courts and other amenities which a lot of other communities around the city just don’t have,” he says.
Music: "No, Girl" by Title Tracks from It Was Easy / "Merry Go Round" by Mantovani & His Orchestra from Mantovani Greatest Hits