My Journey to Lake of the Woods

As a Lake of the Woods resident since 2008 (as a weekender and a full time resident), I’d like to share my Journey to the Lake. My husband, John, and I were interested in finding the perfect location for a second/vacation home. Initially, we were open to looking at a beach location, as well as a lake. We began searching in the summer of 2007 through the spring of 2008 for our getaway.
We decided fairly early on that the beach just wasn’t for us because of distance from Northern Virginia and lack of activity during “non-peak season,” we began focusing on the lakes in the area. Having made the trek to Lake Anna and Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia, and Deep Creek Lake in Maryland, something wasn’t “perfect” for us regarding each location. Lake Anna was too busy for us, and Smith Mountain Lake and Deep Creek Lake were both too far for us to enjoy a home regularly, and we also didn’t care for how few conveniences were located close by (ie, grocery store, pharmacy, restaurants, etc).
Then we remembered having visited Lake of the Woods years ago, when we had been a guest of a friend. After our first house-hunting visit to the lake in early spring of 2008, we knew where we wanted to be. Lake of the Woods, as a gated, secured community, gave us peace of mind as weekenders. The community offered us close proximity (1 hr 15 min from Reston),  tons of conveniences, as we residents are supported by a grocery store, pharmacy, gas stations, cleaners, nail salons, automotive services, doctors, a library, a post office, many restaurants, and a brand new elementary school-all within 2 1/2 miles of the gates), over 50 clubs and organizations in which to participate, a fabulous club house overlooking the lake that serves excellent food, and a clear, pristine lake!! Oh…did I mention the PGA golf course and equestrian center within the community?? And the Community Center, and the non-denominational Church within the gates? Or the walking trails? And what about the wildlife!
We purchased our home in June of 2008, and after that first year (52 weekends), we realized that we had been to our home at Lake of the Woods 51 of those 52 weekends! That’s when we decided that the “allure of the lake” was just too great to resist and made the change from weekenders to full time residents!
John commutes to Northern Virginia 3 days per week, and I am fortunate to be able to share my love for the lake as a REALTOR at Coldwell Banker Elite (located directly across from the front gate), introducing others to this incredible community!
Call me today at 540/735-7998 for a boat and car tour!

0 thoughts on “My Journey to Lake of the Woods

  1. My husband, Stu, and I were looking for a place within to retire with a lake and golf course. We too had been to Smith Mountain Lake (very pricey for the location in podunk Virginia) and Lake Anna (no “community” or golf course). We also visited several courses in North Carolina but I am a Virginia girl at heart. I never considered Lake of the Woods until friends who are weekenders invited us to visit them in early 2000. We were enthralled with the woods, the lake, the varied home styles – from small weekend homes to multi-million dollar homes non of which are alike, and the friendliness of the people we met. Within a month we bought our lots and within two years we built our dream home on the golf course. We love the amenities, many of which we never use, but the fact that they are here is wonderful, no street lights, the many clubs, small town feel, and the ability to drive to Fredericksburg or Culpeper within minutes for shopping and dining. If we want to we can get to Northern Virginia, but who wants to? We are also within an hour of Richmond. It is perfectly situated. This is the best kept secret in Virginia.

  2. “Why wait?” we said. Why wait until we were ready to retire to live in an area we love and escape the craziness of Northern Virginia?
    So we found Lake of the Woods under “Paradise” and as our last child went off to college we moved to the Lake. And not a moment too soon.
    We’re very happy with our decision not to wait. We live in a beautiful community on the water and enjoy many of the great LOW amenities we are surrounded by.
    Occasionally we put up with a long ride up to NOVA or DC, but it’s always been well worth it as we come home. Five years and counting now and it does not look like we will be going anywhere else anytime soon.

  3. Planning retirement we started in the state of Maine and over time visited every state along the east coast. Cold climates or extremely hot were not an option. Virginia has all four seasons which met our criteria. While vacationing in Fredericksburg we decided to drive west on Route 3 and stopped at a firm to inquire about a gated community known as Lake of the Woods. We were not disappointed and purchased land and built a home in 1998. We were weekenders until 2002 when we became permanent residents.

  4. A picture postcard promoting water sports at Lake of the Woods only an hour and a half from our home in Burke caught our interest. The following spring weekend in 2005, my husband Norman and I headed south on I-95 and learned there were two lakefront lots for sale. We drove around the community and were impressed by the spacious 3 and ½ mile lake, the wildlife and clubhouse. The variety of the amenities available to residents, including swimming pools, marinas and lakefront beaches convinced us that we could build the vacation home we had dreamed about and commute on the weekends.
    As we look out through the picture windows and doors of our contemporary home on a cove, we love watching the swans gliding effortlessly on the lake and turtles sunning themselves on the rocks next to Turtle Island. On warm spring and summer afternoons we enjoy exploring the coves with our border collie perched on the rear seat of our power boat. Together with our neighbors, we formed a social group, The Crystal Connection, to get together for potluck dinners and other occasions. We now have a network of friends that we have met at the lake and look forward to sharing our hobbies and interests with them in this beautiful natural setting.

  5. Having grown up on the Potomac River waterfront in Woodbridge, Virginia, I developed a love for the water, be it a lake, a river, or the ocean. My wife of almost 41 years grew up in a small coal mining town in Pennsylvania. As we visited my parent’s home in Woodbridge, or vacationed on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, she grew to share my love of the water.
    In the late 1990’s, when I was able to start my “countdown” to retirement, we began thinking about places to retire, anywhere near the water. We covered the both the Virginia and Maryland sides of the Potomac. We checked out areas in Eastern North Carolina. As both of our children and grandchildren live in Northern Virginia, we didn’t want to retire too far away from them.
    In 2005, our close friends of over 30 years purchased a home in Lake of the Woods. We came down to see their new home and, lo and behold, there was another house for sale almost across the street from them. It was a beautiful home, and it was waterfront. We purchased it, and after 38 years of commuting into D.C., I retired.
    To me, moving to Lake of the Woods was like going back to a different place in time. We left the rat race, the traffic, the crime, the hassles of life, back there in Northern Virginia. We met more caring people, and wonderful neighbors, in our first year or two here, than in the 25 years we lived in Springfield. As I said, it’s like going back to a time when I was growing up, when neighbors/people cared about and helped each other. Between the lake, the church, the golf course, and the countless groups and activities, there is something for everybody. Lake of the Woods is a very “special” community. I used to say that moving here was like dying and going to Heaven, without the dying part.

  6. it was a “fluke”…A fluke that was meant to be apparently. Bob and I were in NC where he was a City Commissioner (does this surprise anyone?) and I was still working for the Dept of Army. I don’t remember exactly why we came out to LOW in 2005 to look for a 2nd home. The market was hot…we looked at 15 houses in one day. Had a super realtor that day. We gave her 5 prioritized offers and said we won’t counter. We wanted a place to stay so that when we came up to see the family we didn’t have to camp out in their houses. We thought we would own the house and then sell it when I retired. So we bought a house just before the market tanked…bad decision..probably. However fast forward almost 7 years later…I have retired (2009); we moved up here shortly after that; moved into the little house which we updated and are now renting. We are settling in to a life in Virginia around our family. We have found a home on the lake, life is very good. We like our church, our new friends and our new life. We both worked at Fort Belvoir for years so we still have many friends in the area. Lake of the Woods is very similar in size to the little southern town in NC where we lived. We are close to our children and grandchildren. The lake is growing on me as it becomes more and more like the caring small community we moved from in NC. We have everything we need here and access to everything for a short drive. Hopefully we’ll sell our rental home next year without taking a big hit! All the things that seemed so important when I was working no longer are. I love watching the wildlife on the lake and we enjoy boating in our pontoon boat. We enjoy some of the amenities but don’t use all of them. But it is very nice to have things to choose to do. I feel very safe here. This community is full of very active and very caring people. You can be as active as you want to be here. Life at the lake is very good.

  7. There is no place quite like Lake of the Woods. We moved here after retirement to entice our four young families to visit from out of state. That was in 1987. Oh such wonderful memories; the grandchildren all grew up looking forward to visiting and getting to know their cousins, Aunts and Uncles, and enjoying the amenities. The oldest of 13 was 3yrs of age and the rest came along. Now we have 13, college plus graduate school students and two youngest in high school. My husband and I were semi employed , then just volunteering, meeting and making great friends in various activities, and of course, playing bridge. I am now a widow and found another side of LOW that has kept me involved and young at heart, still enjoying the best assets of the lake and the people…young and not so young.

  8. Having been retired for a year, we needed to escape the high cost and congestion of Northern Virginia. Since I had spent summers growing up in a lake cottage in Pennsylvania, Lake of the Woods seemed an idyllic existence for our remaining years. After reading Pat Licata’s biography on her website, she seemed to be a good fit to be our realtor. How right that choice was! Pat contacted us immediately and an appointment was set up to view several houses that I had seen online. Upon meeting her for the first time, it was as if we were meeting an old friend.
    When she opened the door to the second house, we knew that we had found our dream home: beautifully appointed, in tip-top shape. I was mentally arranging our furniture in the house. Phil was admiring the landscaped yard and view of the golf course, and placing his yard equipment and the car in the garage.
    To be open-minded, we viewed a few other properties, but kept coming back to the original choice. We made a second trip, on which Pat showed us some back-up properties. She was unobtrusive as we viewed the houses and suggested other properties that she thought we would like without exceeding our price range. Pat was excellent at pointing out pros and cons of each property, without being judgmental.
    In the end, our first choice worked out. Pat was in constant communication with us, by phone and email, letting us know what was taking place in the purchasing process. We had a few bumps in the road with the closing of our old house, but Pat was flexible and able to ease our panic. Closing at Lakeside Title ran so smoothly and professionally, and then we were moved in.
    Our neighbors quickly introduced themselves, and new friendships began. Activities and clubs were suggested, at which we felt welcome. The area has all that we need within half an hour, with excursions to Charlottesville, Skyline Drive, Historic Fredericksburg and Culpeper a short distance away. Having the lake or pools to swim met the requirement of water.
    We can’t give enough praise to Pat and her services. She is a true advocate of Lake of the Woods with its beauty and amenities. Hopefully, we’ll enjoy many years of “another beautiful day at the lake”.

  9. Our journey to Lake of the Woods happened quite by chance. My husband, Steve, and I had lived in Manassas, Virginia for our entire married life and I had lived there from the time I was 11 years old. My Dad had relocated our family from rural West Virginia to something I had never experienced before, something called “a housing development”. I remember the first time we drove down Manassas Drive and saw that every house was white and every other house was green and I knew automatically that I was not going to like that place. BUT, after a few months, I started to get a real feeling of community. We moved from that community to other areas of Manassas but I never felt that sense of belonging to a community again. That changed one Sunday afternoon in 1999 when I was enjoying my normal thorough reading of the Washington Post and happened upon an ad from a developer selling lots in a placed called Lake of the Woods. Steve was about to retire from his career with the Fairfax County Fire Service and we had always talked about leaving the congested area Manassas had become but we wanted to remain close enough to be near our children. So, we scheduled a trip to Lake of the Woods and took a tour with the developer who was selling the lots. After driving around the commmunity and seeing the lake, the beaches, the golf course and everything else this place had to offer, we did something we have NEVER done before. We purchased a lot that very day. Soon, house building plans were under way and we moved into our new home on July 7, 2001 just as Steve was starting his second career with a neighboring county. Almost instantly, the feeling of community was obvious. Our neighbors came to greet us and welcome us to the neighborhood. People actually stopped during their daily walks by the house to chat. There was no feeling of “hurry, hurry, hurry” that we always experienced in our previous location. I started to love this place even more. Getting involved with the in-lake preschool afforded me the opportunity to meet so many of the young families who were moving in and I loved it. Steve would live on the lake if the fish would cooperate with him! I love the walking trails, the fitness center, the beaches, the pools and the absolute convenience of everything close by without the congestion. When I take trips back to Northern Virginia to visit with friends, I am always so happy to return here. Once again, because we now want to be closer to our grandson, we will be relocating again…if all goes according to plan. Now when I drive around the Lake to look at the wonderful Christmas lights, I know that it may possibily be the last year for us to do this and I know how much I will miss this place. I just hope that our next location will give us just a small percentage of the feeling of community that Lake of the Woods has given us. We will miss this place.

  10. Our journey to Lake of the Woods began in 1997 with a compass, a map and the desire to find a weekend home within a short drive of Alexandria. The compass pencil landed on a lake about which we knew nothing, and so we drove here to take a look. After several weekends of house hunting, we found our home – one of the early homes built here, then in need of updating. We were attracted to the home’s “good bones,” as well as the lake and 24/7 security of a gated community. While we made some initial updates after the purchase, over time we began to think of retiring here (as had many of our weekend friends), and that decision led to a major house renovation in 2010.
    What did we find here that lead to the decision to move here full time? In sum, it was a community with interesting, friendly people and amenities for a wide range of ages. As weekenders, we came here just about every weekend, and when we couldn’t, we missed being here. It would be difficult not to love a community where you can golf, swim, sail, play tennis, ride a horse, kayak, waterski, cruise around in a motor boat or enjoy a delicious meal at the clubhouse. When some outdoor activities become limited in the winter, there are clubs and activities and a fitness center to stay active. It’s all here at Lake of the Woods!
    After our move here in 2013, we took up golf and are finding a number of ways to volunteer and become more involved in the community. It’s easy to make friends here, and we enjoy getting together with others for a morning walk, coffee or a meal. We’re not far from shopping, medical facilities, movie theaters, Amtrak trains and major airports. And for those like us interested in Civil War history, the lake sits on part of the Wilderness Battlefield site, with Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg and Brandy Station close by. It’s great to retire to a community that isn’t a “retirement community,” but has many children and families. Best of all, over the years, the lake house has been a treasured draw for our young-adult children and a special place for gatherings of our extended family.

  11. Carey, you have stated the exact same reasons that I like LOW. We are looking at property now haven’t bought yet but hopefully soon. We looked at Lake Caroline, Lake Land Or, but when we drove around LOW we knew that this was the place we wanted to be. It may be a weekend getaway place or it may become our retirement home, we haven’t decided yet. I work in Annapolis and my wife works in Baltimore so commuting isn’t an option now. But I hope we have a chance to meet once we become owners at LOW it’s just a matter of time.

    1. Hi Larry,
      I’m sure you will find that the community will meet, or most likely exceed, your expectations!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *