For a family-friendly community with a convenient central location, excellent schools, active social calendar and a competition-sized swimming pool, look no further than James City County/ Williamsburg’s Windsor Forest.
Case in point: current Windsor Forest resident Heather Moore, who first drove through the neighborhood with her husband over a decade ago.
“We had completely scoped out tons of neighborhoods and we happened to drive through on a night of a swim meet,” Heather said. “We could hear the hustle and bustle of it. There were so many people out walking their dogs. It was clearly a really active, friendly community. We felt very much that that would be the great place to have kids.”
Now a resident of thirteen years, Heather says her hunch was right.
The 321-acre neighborhood, located off Longhill Road between Centerville Road and Route 199, was developed by Robert Hornsby in the early 1970s. Hornsby designed the lots to leave as many trees as possible for privacy, while a wooded greenbelt buffer surrounds the neighborhood.
“Windsor Forest was a little ahead of its time,” said realtor John Womeldorf, who lives in the neighborhood. “The developer would sell lots to the best builders of the day, who were also building in neighborhoods like Kingsmill, Fords Colony and First Colony and others. ”
John notes that everything in the neighborhood was custom built, so no two houses look the same to this day.
“There’s a really broad array of looks,” John said. “The homes are mostly two-story Colonials, but there are some transitional and contemporary homes throughout, on larger lots ranging between half an acre to an acre.”
One of the things Heather loves about Windsor Forest is all the social activities year-round for her children, now ages 6, 10 and 12. The pool and clubhouse, Heather said, is still the social epicenter of the neighborhood. The swim team is especially popular in the neighborhood
“Most kids join the swim team at the age of four and swim until they’re a senior in high school,” said John.
“I just think we couldn’t live without that,” Heather said, whose three kids all have been on the swim time at one point or another. “It’s such a social time and you get to know your neighbors. To me that is the crux of the neighborhood. Friday nights are huge. The pizza delivery guy is just in and out all night, and it’s been like that for years.”
In addition to the pool, the neighborhood organizes many events throughout the year.
“There’s been a resurgence in social activities for the adults, and more activities for kids than there has ever been,” said John.
This includes an annual Easter egg hunt, Memorial Day picnic, 4th of July parade, Labor day parade, Christmas party and more. Halloween is such a festive time in the neighborhood sometimes kids from other neighborhoods stop in to trick or treat. For the adults, there’s Wine Wednesdays and Ladies’ Luncheons.
One resident even makes sure to bring a neighborhood directory to new neighbors when they move in and welcome them to the neighborhood. Another special organization, called the From the Heart Club, provides meals or short-term help to neighbors needing assistance, like post-surgery or after losing a loved one.
Perhaps it’s this strength of community that’s responsible for a new trend that both John and Heather have noticed.
“There are more than a dozen people who grew up in the neighborhood and moved back as adults to raise their children,” John said. “It’s a huge testament to the neighborhood when you hear things like that.”
According to John, the close proximity to local schools, New Town, the movie theater, Colonial Williamsburg and recreation options – it’s a five to ten-minute drive to the Williamsburg Indoor Sports Complex, James City County Recreation Center, Freedom Park and the Virginia Capital Trail – make Windsor Forest an ideal location for families.
“People have called it a hidden gem for years,” Heather said. “After a decade, we’ve never even thought about moving.”
Windsor Forest’s Convenient Location to Shopping, Recreation, Transportation and More
Close to Shopping and Restaurants. Windsor Forest is located just off Longhill Road, near Lafayette High School. Although Windsor Forest’s natural design feels private and secluded, the community is less than a ten-minute drive from shopping, restaurants, and entertainment.
For a bit of retail therapy, the Williamsburg Premium Outlets, with more than 135 stores, is only a few minutes away from Windsor Forest. Nearby New Town boasts more than 300,000 square-feet of shops, restaurants and entertainment, including Open Air Main Street Shopping Mall, salons, fitness centers, day spas, a 12-screen movie theater, and more than a dozen restaurants, from quick eating spots to the best fine dining in the region. There are also four wineries and three breweries within 20 minutes of Windsor Forest.
Golf, anyone? Williamsburg is a golfer’s dream, and Windsor Forest is within a 10-minute drive of the following golf courses, all of them semi-public: Ford’s Colony, Williamsburg National, Golden Horseshoe, Kiskiak, Stonehouse, Colonial Heritage, and Kingsmill.
Some of the Best Recreation Centers Around. Just down Longhill Road is the James City County Recreation Center, which offers numerous activities for a small fee. There are two racquetball courts, two whirlpools (6-8 person capacity), a large indoor swimming pool, a gym with two basketball courts, an indoor suspended track, and a dance/aerobics room The center’s fitness area includes free weights and circuits of Cybex and Nautilus equipment, as well as cardiovascular equipment with broadcast vision theater, and saunas in the locker room. The center also offers arts and crafts areas with potter’s wheels and kilns, and a parent-supervised play area.
Also close by is the Williamsburg Indoor Sports Complex (WISC). With its state-of-the-art, 100,000 square-foot indoor facilities, WISC is home to a turf indoor field, a fully equipped fitness center, a first-class team gymnastics center, an Academy Gymnastics center, Marmon Muscle (home of CrossFit Williamsburg), and a dance and karate studio. This unique facility also has a Kids Club (a superior preschool), and a Before & After School Center. WISC is located within the Warhill Sports Complex, which has baseball/softball fields, multi-purpose fields for soccer and lacrosse, and a football stadium. Bicyclists and joggers can try mountain biking at nearby Freedom Park or running the 3.5-mile trail in Warhill Park.
Farther Down the Road. Newport News is about a 40 minute drive from Windsor Forest, and Richmond is about an hour away. The commute to Fort Eustis is about 30 minutes.
Airports. The nearest airports to Windsor Forest include Newport News/Williamsburg (PHF), about 35 minutes away; Norfolk International (ORF), about 45 minutes away; and Richmond International (RIC), about 45 minutes away.
Windsor Forest’s Homeowners Association
The Windsor Forest Homeowner’s Association is run by volunteers, and membership in the HOA is optional; as of 2017, more than half of residents belonged. The 2017 annual dues for general membership are $250, and cover maintenance of the neighborhood entrances, playgrounds and park areas, clubhouse and recreational courts and fields. There are additional dues for use of the community’s pool.
Windsor Forest’s Amenities
Clubhouse. The Windsor Forest Clubhouse is used for many neighborhood activities. It features a large open entertaining area, full kitchen, fireplace, and a deck with gas grill.
Tennis and Basketball Courts; Soccer Fields. The community has two outdoor tennis courts available for the use of HOA members. The courts, which were refurbished and updated in 2008, and are located in the recreation area.
Pool . The Windsor Forest pool is a 25 meter, competition-sized pool, located near the clubhouse and playground. It includes a lap lane, a diving well, and a separate baby pool. Windsor Forest has its own swim team, the Windsor Forest Frogs, which competes with other VPSU neighborhood teams through the Virginia Peninsula Swim Union.
Community Newsletter. The Windsor Forest HOA issues a quarterly newsletter, called The Forester, to keep members informed of upcoming events. Newsletters also include classifieds, news on new residents, and reports from HOA committees such as the Social, Neighborhood Watch, and the Grounds Committees, as well as other news of interest to the community. Want to read more about the residents and social activities in Windsor Forest? CLICK HERE to read back issues of the community newsletter.
Planned Social Activities. The HOA has an active social committee that offers a variety of activities, including an annual Fall Festival with chili cook-off, Easter Egg Hunt and Breakfast, July 4th celebration, Holiday Lights contest and caroling, and monthly Windsor Wine Wednesdays and Ladies’ Luncheons.
Neighbors Helping Neighbors. The community has a “From the Heart Club” which is dedicated to helping neighbors needing short-term assistance such as meals when recovering from an illness. It also offers small home maintenance tasks (such as changing a ceiling light bulb) for elderly or disabled neighbors.
Windsor Forest History
The Windsor Forest neighborhood was developed by Robert S. Hornsby, Sr., a well-known real estate developer and community leader since the 1950s. Hornsby, Sr. served in a variety of capacities on local Williamsburg boards, including as a board member of the Alumni Association of William and Mary, a trustee on the board of Williamsburg Community Hospital, and president of the Golden Horseshoe Club.
Hornsby had a specific vision for Windsor Forest when he purchased the 321-acre tract of land from Frank and Lester Bozarth and began developing it in 1971. He wanted to leave much of the Windsor Forest natural surroundings intact, so when he designed roads, street lights, and lots, it was with the goal of leaving as many trees as possible to protect residents’ privacy. Construction in Windsor Forest began in the 1970s and continued through the mid 2000s.
Windsor Forest Schools
Children living in Windsor Forest attend public schools operated by the Williamsburg-James City County Public School Division, a joint school system that serves both localities. In recent years, Expansion Management magazine, which rates school systems nationally, has consistently rated this system with a gold ribbon, indicating ranking in the top 17% nationally of systems evaluated.
Windsor Forest children attend*:
- J. Blayton Elementary School
- Lois Hornsby Middle School
- Lafayette High School
* Rezoning is slated for the 2018 school year.
Private school options include Walsingham Academy, Hampton Roads Academy, Williamsburg Christian Academy, Williamsburg Montessori, Providence Classical and others.
What Residents Have to Say About Windsor Forest
We all have concerns about moving into a new community. So, what is it like to actually live in Windsor Forest? Here’s what residents have to say:
Long-time resident and former HOA Board member loves great social activities and close neighborhood ties. As a longtime Windsor Forest resident, John Womeldorf notes that residents of the “Forest” span all age ranges. “There are many families living here who grew up, got married, and then moved back,” he notes. “In some of these instances, both three generations were living in the neighborhood. We have seen a new wave of younger families with kids coming in and purchasing homes of the original families. This has been most evident when you see all of the younger kids on the Frogs swim team.”
John, a realtor who served on the Windsor Forest volunteer HOA for 12 years, points out that the association sponsors numerous events, including Wiffle Ball Golf, legendary Margaritaville Parties, the Grand Hallucination (always the first Friday after Thanksgiving), Easter Egg hunts, and a 4th of July parade and picnic. There are also Windsor Wine Wednesdays, Ladies’ Luncheons, parties on Labor Day, Memorial Day, and Halloween, and many other events for kids, adults, and families.
“Christmas is especially fun in Windsor Forest,” John adds. “Remember in the movie ‘Christmas Vacation’ when Clark Griswold’s eyes lit up as he plugged in his home’s elaborate Christmas decorations and you think that no one in the real world actually goes that far? Well, there actually are people in Windsor Forest who go that far! They all compete, and the winner gets the ‘Griswold Award.’” Christmas season also brings neighborhood Christmas parties and caroling.
Another thing John loves about living in Windsor Forest is its central and convenient location. “You can be anywhere around town in 15 minutes or less,” he says. “Schools are close by, and so is shopping, dining, movies, and more. I can cycle to Colonial Williamsburg or the Virginia Capital Trail in 30 minutes or less.”
Retired William & Mary professor loves peaceful privacy and neighbors who care. Dorothy Coleman, who moved into Windsor Forest in 1998, loves the mature trees and green spaces of Windsor Woods. Her contemporary-style home is surrounded by trees, which filter the view of her neighbors’ homes. “It gives you a nice feeling of privacy, yet still feeling you belong to a neighborhood,” she says.
Dorothy, who has lived in Windsor Forest nearly 20 years, considers those neighbors to be friends. “I have had very good relationships with my neighbors; I love my neighbors,” Dorothy says. “Everyone is so generous and kind and social. I couldn’t ask for better.”
Dorothy, who has become a “snowbird,” using her Windsor Forest home as her winter place, also enjoys seeing the wildlife residing within Windsor Forest. “I love the fact that when I drive home at night and turn into my driveway I often see deer in my headlights,” she says. “I love being greeted by the deer.”
Dorothy likes that the neighborhood is conveniently located within a mile of the Old Towne Square shopping center, home to stores and several restaurants. “There is an incredible pharmacy there that offers amazing service; they even know your name,” Dorothy says. “There’s also a fresh fish shop near Old Towne Square that is very good. Once I wanted to make bouillabaisse from scratch and they gave me the bones and heads to make the broth.”
Who is moving to Windsor Forest in Williamsburg VA:
Here are a few of the most recent families to move into the ‘Forest
Sarah and Daniel Lavinder moved to the Forest from Kodiak, Alaska just in time to have a taste of Williamsburg’s July heat and humidity. They have three children. Daniel is in the Coast Guard, and Sarah is a homemaker.
Katie and Harris Hovarter and their children are the newest neighbors, arriving in Windsor Forest from Front Royal, VA in August. Harris is a Department of Defense civilian, and Katie is a stay-at-home mom and homeschooler.
Louise Kale is a Williamsburg native who moved across town in “the forest” in mid-July. She is retired from William & Mary, having served as Registrar of the College’s art collection and the Muscarelle Museum of Art. In addition, she was Executive Director of the William and Mary Historic Campus (administrator of the College’s three colonial buildings).
Julia and David Lee and their rescue dogs Mandy and Oscar came to Windsor Forest from Deltaville, VA, where they still maintain a home. David, a retiree active in the stock market at home, and Julia, a retired pastry chef, also owned a B&B for seven years. They have a long list of hobbies—sailing, boating, volunteering for humane societies, and for Julia yoga, walking, gardening, quilting, and meeting new people.
Kari and Thomas Rice are both Williamsburg natives who came from Riverview Plantation to Windsor Forest in July. Thomas is no stranger to the community—-he grew up on Hempstead Road! He is in sales, and Kari is an elementary school teacher.
Hilary and Brian Deaver and their daughter moved down the road from Fox Ridge to their new home in Windsor Forest. Hilary is a fashion consultant with LuLaRoe and stay-at-home- mom, and Brian is an owner/general manager with Ace Hardware. Hilary and Brian both often can be found at American Family Fitness, and Hilary would be happy to help with babysitting and pet-sitting in the community.
Kelli and Chad Cooke and their children arrived in Windsor Forest from Fredericksburg, VA in time to join in summer fun at the pool and area attractions. Kelli is truly “home”, as she grew up in Windsor Forest! Kelli and Chad are both teachers. They stay active with the kids’ sports and enjoy time with friends and family. The children are interested in pet-sitting jobs,sopleaseaddthemtothelistinyourWindsor Forest Directory.
Carey and Kerry Beverly purchased their home in Windsor Forest about two years ago, but didn’t actually move from Portsmouth until this spring. Kerry is retired from civil service, and Carey left a brokerage firm in Norfolk and now works for a local company. Kerry would love to link up with neighbors who share an interest in his main hobby—he has two 120- gallon salt water fish tanks. The Beverly’s have several PBGV dogs (Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen) including a certified therapy dog“Bandit”.
Karen and Richard Hibbard, the newest homeowners in Windsor Forest, now call Windsor Forest“home”. Karen is a realtor with Coldwell Banker, and Richard owns and operates Boswell Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning, & Electrical.
Kym and Brad Smith and their children arrived at Windsor Forest just in time to enjoy last fall in “the Forest”. Kym and Brad are natives of Newport News who graduated from Menchville HS and Radford University. They lived in Hampton and then South Florida. Their children enjoy band and scouting and are learning all about yard work. Brad, a 3rd generation Redskins fan, enjoys using his smoker and playing pool-plenty of room for that at the new Smith residence. Kym enjoys walking, hiking, reading and is looking forward to learning to garden.
James Beason and Rebecca Whalen, longtime Hampton Roads residents moved to Windsor Forest from Smith eld and Hampton respectively last September. James is a nuclear engineer at Newport News Shipyard, and Rebecca is a culinary manager at Water Country USA/Busch Gardens. In addition to work, they both are pursuing degrees—James is enrolled at VCU for a master’s degree in mechanical and nuclear engineering, and Rebecca is pursuing bachelor degrees in biology and chemistry at ODU. Not much time for hobbies, but when they do have free time, Rebecca enjoys reading and animals of all types.
The Dellingers (Kim, Scott and daughters) went from tenant to homeowner last August, after living in “the forest” since 2014. Kim is Executive Director at Bacon Street Youth and Family Services, and Scott is System Administrator, University of Vermont.
Welcome to Jen and Will Gallagher and sons. They are our new neighbors in Windsor Forest, moving on February 1st from across town. Will is in sales, and Jen is a stay-at-home mom. The oldest son plays baseball and plans to begin soccer this year. Jen Gallagher’s favorite pastimes are hanging out with friends and spending time together as a family.
Another former Windsor Forest resident has returned! Andrew Marcotte and his wife Kourtney moved from Lexington, VA and now call Windsor Forest “home”. Andrew grew up on Clarendon Court and is happy to be back in the “best neighborhood”. Kourtney is a safety specialist with Printpack, and Andrew is General Manager at American Pride Automotive.
Mary and John Slokovitz came south from Long Island, NY to their new home in Windsor Forest at Windsor Forest last November. They have three small children (future FROGs?)—. John is a plumber, and Mary is a stay- at-home mom who has experience running events.
Ready to Check Out Windsor Forest?
I am a local Realtor and resident of Windsor Forest who knows this beautiful, peaceful, and socially active community very well. I would be happy to answer your questions, get you acquainted with the neighborhood, and help you find the perfect Windsor Forest home. Just call me, John “Mr. Williamsburg” Womeldorf, at 757-254-8136, or send me an email at John@MrWilliamsburg.com
If Windsor Forest isn’t your thing, you might consider some other area neighborhoods such as First Colony,Kingswood, Queens Lake, Settlers Mill, Fieldcrest, Kingsmill, Fords Colony, Stonehouse, Kingspoint and others. CLICK HERE to read my neighborhood spotlights on other neighborhoods. I have helped hundreds of folks find their dream home and community and would love to help you find yours in Williamsburg, Yorktown, New Kent, VA Beach, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Isle of Wight, Poquoson as well as Richmond.
You can reach me by phone at 757-254-8136 or email John@MrWilliamsburg.com
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Whether your home is in Windsor Forest or another of Williamsburg’s beautiful communities, if you are searching for someone innovative to sell your home I would love to share my thoughts on marketing. CLICK HERE to read some of the stories I have written about the homes I have sold.
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Psst. I’m a real estate agent…
This Neighborhood Spotlight is brought to you by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf, known around town as “Mr. Williamsburg” because of his extensive knowledge of the Williamsburg/Hampton Roads area and its real estate market. If you are relocating, retiring, seeking a vacation home, or simply curious about homes and neighborhoods in the Williamsburg/Richmond/Hampton Roads area, John is happy to help. Click here to send him an email, or you can text/ call him at 757-254-8136.