Archives: October 2011

The Eagles Have Landed!

Pat Licata, Coldwell Banker Elite REALTOR from the Lake of the Woods
office in Locust Grove, released the eagle collection she and her
husband, John, own to the newly built Locust Grove Elementary Eagles.
Through Pat’s affiliation with the Lake of the Woods Civic Club,
Pat and other interested citizens received a tour of the school by
Principal Jesse Magruder.

When Mr. Magruder stated that the school, whose mascot is the eagle,
had two beautiful display cases, one of which would be empty,
Pat "flew" into action! “Immediately I knew that I wanted to help!
I was positive that John would be happy to loan the collection for
at least this first school year,” Pat stated.

Shortly after the tour, Pat and John gathered their flock of eagles
(more than 50 in all), and migrated it to Locust Grove Elementary
just in time for the first, inaugural day of school. Mr. Magruder
states that the students, faculty, and staff are extremely
appreciative and are enjoying the collection.

Pat, a 2010 recipient of Coldwell Banker Elite's "Shining Star" award,
is committed to making a difference. In addition to sharing her passion
for Lake of the Woods and surrounding areas as a REALTOR, she is
extremely active in her Lake of the Woods community, as well as the
Fredericksburg Area Association of Realtors (FAAR). Pat serves on the
Communications Committee and the External Affairs Committee at the
Lake of the Woods Association, volunteers for Cause 4 Paws (an Orange
County feline rescue group), is a member of the Lake of the Woods
Civic Club, and also serves as a Block Captain for the Neighborhood
Watch Program at the lake. At FAAR, Pat serves on two committees:
Member Outreach and Education.

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!

Falling For Lake of the Woods VA!

As much as I love the summer fun and activities at Lake of the Woods, I must admit that fall truly is my favorite season here. I look forward to the spectacular color display of the trees along the shores of the lake. I also enjoy the cooler weather and being able to get in and out of my car without becoming drenched. This week, I have had the pleasure of meandering through many of the streets within the gates with my client, Tom, who is looking for the perfect Lake of the Woods house to make his home! I must admit that simply driving within the community makes me smile. From watching a dad help his son put down that darned umbrella before boarding the bus (with the family’s tail-wagging dog along to see his friend off to school),  to swerving on countless occasions to avoid the squirrels and chipmunks playing “chicken” with my car, it is those simple experiences that make this place so special. I think it begins with the speed limit being 25-one is forced to slow down and take in the sights. When I pull down my driveway and see the swans gliding through the water, I know I’m where I belong…I’m home! And I truly look forward to having been a part of Tom’s journey to becoming a resident and also being high on LOW!
It’s another beautiful day at the lake!
Pat Licata, REALTOR
Licata on the Lake

Waterfront For Sale at Lake of the Woods VA: The Swan Conveys

Licata on the Lake


What prompts life’s journeys can be most unexpected. My now one-and-a half-year journey with Carl, the lone mute swan, began on my first viewing of a waterfront home for sale at Lake of the Woods in April of 2008. My husband liked the house, which was in need of extensive updating and repair. I loved the house; I saw tremendous potential in it becoming our home. And then, of course, the added allure of the swan! Did he, too, convey with the house? Each of the three times we visited prior to closing, the swan was right there at the dock—my personal welcoming committee of one—so, naturally, I assumed that he did.
By most accounts, I am a normal woman. Always somewhat of an “animal person,” as a child I brought stray dogs home, and once, even a bunny. I tried to hatch robins’ eggs on the old coal furnace in my grandfather’s cellar year after year. As I began my own family, cats became the pet of choice. I donate to the ASPCA regularly and would most likely get into a car accident to avoid hitting any animal running into the street. But that was the extent of it.
Now, however, I find myself caring for, and worrying about, Carl. My days begin and end with looking for him to confirm his safety. My husband has even lovingly indulged my passion by announcing “Your bird’s here!” when he is the first to notice that Carl is gracing us with his presence. Honored that Carl has “adopted” me, I believe it is my duty to know. I spend time researching information regarding swans and their behavior through the Regal Swan Foundation’s Ask the Swan Specialist forum. I want to learn; I want to understand; I want to participate.
My journey with Carl has been interesting, exciting, and rewarding! The first time he came into my yard and approached while I was sitting on a chair, I panicked. I jumped up, knocking the chair on its side, and ran. Carl didn’t waiver, though. He just sat next to the chair. I finally got the courage to sit in it, and we sat there, side-by-side, for an hour. And so our bond was formed.
I’ll never forget the first time I walked into my family room to see Carl sitting outside the door on the patio, which is now a regular occurrence. Then, even more incredibly, was the fist time I heard-and saw-him knocking on the door, now also a regular occurrence! Or when we first got our boat, how he would  escort us out of the cove to the main lake and wait for our return to escort us back to our dock. Or how he followed us out on the lake to watch the fireworks on the 4th of July and stayed with us until it got too crowded. Or how he scrambles into my yard for refuge when the younger, stronger male swans come through the cove. Or how he now is so used to the leaf blower, that he doesn’t even move when my husband blows the leaves around him. Or how me acknowledges me, my husband, and our guests, through his snorts and bleats.
Like many Lake of the Woods residents, I’ve hosted a great deal of company. When I hear from my past guests, each one asks about Carl. I’ve received calls from concerned neighbors to check on him when his behavior seemed unusual. When I asked my friend to care for my cats for a few days while I am out of town, she asked, “What about Carl?” A resident who regularly fishes in “my” cove introduces Carl by name to his guests. Carl is becoming a celebrity in his own right!
As part of this journey, I’ve tried to understand why Carl is important to me, and I initially drew the conclusion that it has something to do with being a nurturer and being needed. My only child, a 21 year old daughter, is away at school. But Carl, as an older, disabled male with challenges, needs me! And I am happy to provide him with a friendly place to rest. Carl has given me the opportunity to truly commune with nature to a degree I could have never imagined and to participate in what the lake has to offer in that sense.
But is it that simple, really? Or does it go much deeper? Will someone be so compassionate to me should I become old, disabled, and/or alone? Will someone provide me a safe harbor? Will someone be there to protect me from others who want to prey on my weaknesses? Will someone be there to assist me in keeping my dignity through my golden years?
Through Carl, I’ve learned that journeys are there to be taken if you open yourself to the possibilities. I’ve learned that caring is contagious. I’ve learned that we are fortunate to live among great people at the lake. I’ve learned that the tides have turned; I am now Carl’s personal welcoming committee of one. To my utter delight, I’ve learned that Carl did convey with the house!
If you stop by to visit, most likely you will find Carl perusing the cove or napping on my beach or in my yard; you will find me immersed in the beauty and wonder of it all!

This story was written in November of 2008. In December, Carl
disappeared. I can only assume he succumbed to the harsh winter.

It's another beautiful day at the lake! 

Too Many Leaves?

Just for fun, take an inventory of all the leaf removal tools cluttering your garage.
If you’re like me, you’ve got a half-dozen rakes of different sizes and materials, a couple of blowers in various states of repair, and a couple of infomercial gadgets that promise to make annual leaf gathering faster and easier.
In fact, you need only a few essential leaf removal items in your landscape tool collection to accomplish your autumn goal — removing the heavy leaves that smother grass and make your lawn a splotchy mess in spring.
Fewer gizmos and more elbow grease help home owners remove leaves and keep up withlawn maintenance, says Brett Lemcke of R. M. Landscape Inc. in Rochester, NY.
“The reality is, you can’t avoid hard work” when it comes to fall landscaping chores, says Lemcke. “There are some tools that will help us, but the best help is family and friends. The more hands, the better. Doing it yourself is daunting.”
Unless you tether a mower to a stick and let it mulch leaves all by itself.
Whether you rake, blow, or tie a mower to a stick, you should remove leaves at least twice each fall.
“Some people wait until every last leaf falls, and then they pick them up,” Lemke says. “You should pick them up throughout the season. Don’t wait until the last minute.”
Here are four essential leaf-removal tools that’ll help you clear your lawn before winter sets in:

  • Rigid leaf rake. This plastic, fan-shaped rake is your go-to rake for collecting leaves. Pick one with a cushion handle and a 30- to 36-inch fan. Avoid the super-wide fans that can spread to 48 inches; they’re too big to rake between shrubs and in flower beds. Cost: $10-$20 (30-inch fan).
  • Leaf tarp. Instead of scooping leaves into a million plastic bags, rake or blow them into a big pile on top of a polypropylene leaf tarp. Then drag the tarp to the curb and dump. Cost: $22 for 12.5-by-10-ft. tarp.
  • Leaf blower. Select a two-cycle, gasoline-powered blower to collect leaves in tarps or blow them directly to the curb. If you have a large yard, buy a backpack model, which is more expensive but more comfortable than handheld blowers. Cost: 2-cycle handheld blower: $180; 2-cycle backpack blower: $300.
  • Yard vacuum. This tool vacuums, shreds, chips, and bags leaves and other yard debris. Once leaves are ground up, they’ll decompose quickly in your compost pile. Cost: $400-$650.