Colonial Heritage: A unique retirement community
In May, 2018 Erin and Kenny Cox sold their home in Manassas (Northern Virginia) and made the move to Colonial Heritage.
“One of us had to be 55 to live here,” Erin says with a laugh. “I was 56 when we moved here, but Kenny is a little younger.”
Don’t let the 55+ throw you. Colonial Heritage, situated around a spectacular golf course, is home to a host of busy and vibrant people.
Located on Route 60 near the Williamsburg Pottery, this is a master-planned, gated community just minutes away from amazing restaurants, shopping and entertainment, as well as local attractions.
“Even though we enjoy close proximity to everything, we still have the feeling that we are away from it all,” says Erin. “And everyone waves to you! Even when we were simply prospective buyers, everyone on the walking paths waved to us; even the folks driving past us gave us a wave.”
The couple says they were so used to the absolute hustle and bustle and heavy traffic of Northern Virginia that it took some time to adjust. Even though she lived just 23 miles from her job in Fairfax City, it took Erin an hour and a half to get to work each morning.
“It makes us laugh what passes for traffic jams here,” says Erin.
Erin and Kenny always talked about retiring Williamsburg when the day came. They had been here before, having spent their honeymoon in Williamsburg, but built their lives and law enforcement careers in Northern Virginia.
Finally, the day cam. But it came first for Erin.
“I retired first,” she says. “And since we had family with a home here in Westmoreland, I was able to come down and spend time looking for potential places.”
She discovered their realtor, John Womeldorf, via his website and reached out. With John’s help, their search started with widely known Williamsburg communities like Fords Colony and Kingsmill. Though Kenny and Erin never had children of their own, they wanted to live closer to their young nieces and their nephew and they lived in Williamsburg.
With family in Kingsmill so that community was on the short list.
“Being closer to family was certainly one thing that drew us here,” says Kenny. “We were working full-time, so we didn’t get to be here as often with our first niece. But when the second one was born, that was certainly a motivating factor because we wanted to be part of her life.”
The Draw of Colonial Heritage
After learning more about the couple and what they were looking for, John led them to Colonial Heritage. Located in close proximity to the Historic Triangle, the community has a lot to offer including miles of walking and biking trails and spectacular facilities.
While neither Erin nor Kenny play golf, they were both struck by the beauty of the golf course.
“When you turn into Colonial Heritage, it is just beautiful,” says Erin. “You can’t help but notice how beautiful and how beautifully maintained the grounds are. It’s very welcoming.”
The day they came to tour the house that would later become their home, they met some neighbors. One lady was working in her yard, and another was outside with her dog. Erin says that the neighbors waited while Erin and Kenny toured the home.
“When we were finished looking at the inside, of course, the neighbors wanted to know what we thought.”
One neighbor, with the same model – but with a finished versus unfinished basement – offered to show them her home. Because of that, Erin and Kenny were able to visualize what their home would look like with a finished basement which was icing on the cake. Within the hour this friendly neighbor had shown them not one but two homes!
“John admitted he’s never seen that happen before,” says Erin. “We have the best neighbors anyone could ask for and it started the day we looked at this house.”
They say that from the moment they walked into their home, they knew immediately that it was the one for them.
The Two C’s: community and Convenience
Once Erin and Kenny moved in, they realized that the kind of neighborly reception they received while house hunting is the kind of hospitality residents extend to each other every day. They say they met more neighbors in two weeks than they did in the 19 years they lived in their last house.
“We’re always at each other’s houses,” says Erin. “Our neighbors are great people. Everyone here is so friendly and open. We all look out for each other.”
Gathering for dinner parties is a favorite pastime, even when Covid was in high gear. Neighbors would get together, bringing their own lawn chairs, and visit (while socially distancing) in someone’s driveway. There are regular game nights as well as holiday and seasonal parties.
“There’s something for everyone here,” says Kenny. “On the 4th of July, there is usually an antique car show, but in the pandemic they did a parade of cars instead. A lot of these gentlemen are antique car enthusiasts and it was so fun.”
The community is active with outreach, putting out a quarterly magazine (and this is a magazine, not a flyer!), called The Chronicle. The thick, glossy publication is chock full of information about the neighborhood and its array of clubs and organizations.
“You can see that there’s a ton of stuff to do,” says Kenny. “There are trips to DC where folks can tour the White House, there’s a tech club for tech savvy folks, there’s a model train enthusiast group and even a woodworking shop stocked with tools.”
At the clubhouse, there’s always something going on, whether it’s a musical quartet that comes to perform or police officers visiting to educate residents about a myriad of safety issues from staying safe while walking to avoiding computer and credit card hacks.
“Next week there’s someone coming in to talk about living with someone with Alzheimer’s,” says Erin.
Beyond the abundance of activities, the manicured grounds as well as the facilities on property are spectacular.
There’s the Arthur Hills golf course and an Aquatic Center with an indoor and outdoor pool, as well as an outdoor pool. Residents also have access to a beautiful, 25,000-foot clubhouse and the restaurant and café.
It’s all covered by a monthly HOA payment which is surprisingly modest as compared to other gated communities – not to mention the NOVA communities the couple is familiar with!
Beyond the aesthetics and social amenities, Erin and Kenny marvel at the convenience of Colonial Heritage.
“We have family in Northern Virginia so it’s important that we can be on I-64 pretty quickly,” says Kenny.
They love the fact that even though they are a stone’s throw from Williamsburg’s version of hustle and bustle, there is such peace and quiet in their community, especially at night.
“All we hear are the sounds of nature at night, or the distant rain whistle,” says Erin. “We find that very relaxing.
Erin and Kenny say that they wouldn’t trade their home or community to live anywhere else.
“We are exactly where we’re supposed to be,” says Kenny.
Sidebar: About working with realtor John Womeldorf
Erin discovered John Womeldorf via his “Mr. Williamsburg” website.
“I first met him online,” she says. “I saw his ‘Mr. Williamsburg website and loved it!”
Erin and Kenny say that John worked with them for about three years, from 2015 until 2018, until they found the perfect home and community.
“Erin would travel to Williamsburg to house hunt on weekends,” says Kenny. “I was working shift work at the time so she’d come down and recon (law enforcement speak for ‘conducting reconnaissance’) the area with her sister.
Because they had family in Kingsmill, the first properties they asked to see where located in the the popular and widely regarded community. Their search also extended to other well-established neighborhoods like Fords Colony and Stonehouse, and they even purchased property in Stonehouse.
“We just love John,” says Erin. “He spent so much time with us and really took time with us to learn what we were looking for.”
Because of that, they say he was able to suggest a neighborhood they had never heard of: Colonial Heritage. They admit that the models available for touring didn’t really suit their needs, but John told them that Colonial Heritage switches out their models, as new ones come online.
“Beyond the models we saw, John told us that there were probably 35 different floor plans in here. By the time we got back to Manassas he’d sent us an email that included all of the floor plans.”
From those floor plans, Erin was able to build a folder of favorites. Since moving to town four years ago, Erin and Kenny have become good friends with John.
“In fact, when he’s looking for something in Colonial Heritage, he’ll ask us if we know of anyone in our section getting ready to sell.”
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