Mr. Williamsburg knows that when you’re looking for a new place, you’re searching for more than just four walls plus amenities; you’re looking for that welcoming refuge we call home. That’s why we go beyond the standard “4 bedrooms, 3 baths on large lot” statistics, to share how others have lived in this house, to reveal the home’s unique personality, to help you decide whether this is a place where your family could thrive. Below are a few of my favorites!
Linda and John Niedzwick have loved Williamsburg since they first vacationed here in 1988. At that time, the couple resided near Rochester, New York, where Linda was a nurse and John worked for Kodak. They lived in a log cabin that John, a talented carpenter and wood worker, had built. But the history buffs’ attraction to Williamsburg drew them south.
“We both just love history and the whole Williamsburg area… Yorktown, Jamestown,” said Linda. “We were visiting here several times a year. And the more we came, the more we came back.”
Although the couple first planned to relocate to Williamsburg after retirement, in 2002 they decided to change jobs in order to make the move earlier.
Bennington Condos in New Town
When Susan Richardson first walked through the door of her 4th floor New Town condo to find a fabulous vista of Sullivan Square Park, she was immediately smitten.
“I could look straight ahead at the sliding doors to the balcony and have a great view of Sullivan Square,” she said. “I just loved that you could see through the condo to the other side.”
Wendy Carrington can watch her children at the neighborhood playground from a white rocking chair on her front porch. In fact, she picked the neighborhood— Burlington Woods — the lot, and the big, welcoming porch in order to do just that.
We chose this neighborhood because it’s small, close-knit, and family-friendly,” said Wendy, an insurance underwriter with two children, 5 and 8. “Then we picked this lot to build on because it’s across the street from the playground.” The porch was an extra she added to the nearly 3,000 square-foot home that she and her husband, Steve, a Coast Guard retiree, built in 2010.
Canterbury Woods-“Home is where the heart is”
If Garrett Fesler was having a bad day at work, he’d just think about being home, in his backyard sunroom. “It extends out into our yard so that you’re looking out at green — like being in the middle of the woods — and it’s a great place to relax,” he says. “I love to open up all the windows and just sit and catch a breeze.”
That all-season sunroom, with a vaulted ceiling and floor-to-ceiling glass doors on three sides, was one of the main reasons Garrett and his wife, Corine, bought their 2,300 square-foot ranch in 2007. The couple, who had ties to the College of William & Mary, wanted a home with a large yard and mature trees in an established neighborhood that was close to the college. Their Canterbury Hills home on a heavily-treed, 2/3 acre lot, located within an easy walk or bike ride to W & M, offers all of that.
Dick and Mary Sue Metrey’s traditionally-styled, open concept home on a quiet cul-de-sac in Colonial Heritage is up for sale. But that’s not because the couple wants to leave the gated, 55+ active adults community; it’s because they want to stay.
For Dick and Mary Sue, the gracious 3-bedroom, 2-bath home they built on Blakemore Terrace in Colonial Heritage was only a summer place; their primary residence was near Washington, DC. But after less than two years of living there part-time, the couple have decided to make Colonial Heritage their permanent home.
“There is such a sense of community here,” said Mary Sue, who is retired from working with the mentally disabled. “People are friendly and they’re interesting.” However, with a huge immediate family of 19 children and grandchildren who love to visit, the Metreys need more room than their 1,756 square foot “Aldrich” model can provide. The couple regretfully decided to sell their Blakemore Terrace home, but they are building a larger home in Colonial Heritage just down the street.
“Grand and comfortable.” This was John and Diana’s guiding vision in designing their gracious brick Colonial that bears resemblance to the Governor’s Palace in Colonial Williamsburg.
“We wanted a house that was not a replica of the Governor’s Palace, but that made people say ‘Hey, this looks a little like it,’” said John, the CEO of a federal government contractor. “We wanted it to be one of the neighborhood’s showcases, but we also wanted a place where people would feel comfortable, where they could put their feet up and relax. I feel we accomplished that.”
The 6,500 square foot home was built in 2006 by Hallmark Builders. “We went with Hallmark because of the quality of their homes,” John said. “Their homes are very sturdy and we like the creativity of the owner.”
The couple chose to build their home in the country club community of Ford’s Colony because it offered multiple golf courses. “Diana and I play golf several times a week,” said John. “We knew we would get bored if we played the same course so often.” Ford’s Colony includes three Dan Maples championship golf courses; the couple chose to build their home on the 15th hole of the Blue Heron course.
Fords Colony/ Eaglescliffe Condos
Susan – who lives in Texas – tried to get her parents to move to the Lonestar state when their previous home became too much for them to care for on their own, but they loved Williamsburg too much. Susan says she can’t blame them though, because the condos at Eaglescliffe are fantastic. “It’s such a wonderful place,” she says. “Living there is like living in an upscale college dormitory because of the community it gives you. All of the neighbors know each other, socialize, knock on each other’s doors and play funny jokes on one another. If a neighbor is sick, someone will come by with some soup. They checkup on each other and that was always comforting for me to know they had such an amazing community looking out for them.”
Susan says one feature her parents loved about the home is the amount of storage it has to offer. One storage closet is so large it could double as a computer room. The bathrooms are also large in size and the master bedroom is just beautiful with its walk-in closet and master bath with garden tub and separate shower. For those who like to enjoy time outdoors, the home has a screened in balcony that you access through beautiful French doors. Below the complex is an underground garage where residents park their cars and access the elevator. Each resident also has their own storage unit down there.
Gloucester VA Life on the Rivah !
There’s a rhythm to the lifestyle that Bill and Anne Tennent enjoy from their Gloucester waterfront retreat on the Ware River. Mornings often start slow and relaxing, with coffee on their deck while watching the river change color as the tide comes in and the sun rises. Bill might head out for a quiet hour with his boat and his fishing pole before returning to take Anne for a more lively spin along the Ware as the day gets warmer. Some days the couple makes the 10-minute drive to old town Gloucester for an art exhibit or a festival along the village’s historic Main Street, perhaps followed by dinner at one of the intimate restaurants there. Then they head back home to their sunroom for panoramic views of a breathtaking sunset across the water, sometimes catching sight of a heron or an egret in the fading light. As Anne puts it, “We have the best of all worlds here.”
The classic, elegant exterior of the Georgian Federal home on Ann Johnson Lane in Governor’s Land was what first enticed Caz Wesley when she was house-shopping in 2008.
“I could see the house was an architectural gem when I walked up to it,” said Caz, an interior designer. “On the exterior, all four sides are classic, dark red brick with keystones over the windows. The front stoop has four brick steps and gracious, curved black railings with beautiful balustrades going down both sides. There’s a Federal-style portico with four pillars over the Charleston-style front door, which has an arched, webbed glass window above it and sidelights on both sides. There are just so many beautiful architectural features.”
Gloria Baller took a giant leap of faith when it came to building her home in Thorngate Landing/ Greensprings West two years ago. “My husband was in the military and stationed in Germany,” recalls Gloria, who met her husband, Craig, when he was stationed in Italy 17 years ago. “We knew we wanted to be in Williamsburg, and we knew that / Greensprings West was the type of close-knit, family-oriented community we were looking for. But we were still living outside the U.S. at that time.”
While Gloria and the couple’s two children stayed in Germany, Craig flew to Virginia to work with real estate agent John “Mr. Williamsburg” Womeldorf on finding the perfect / Greensprings West building lot. Gloria didn’t get to see the properties in person, but based on her husband’s communications and a little help from Google maps, she got a good feel for what they were like. Eventually, she and Craig found the right lot, a flat, .34-acre property with mature trees, just right for building their new home.
Gloria’s stress level rose a bit when it came time to actually build the house – again, without seeing anything in person. “It was pretty stressful because I’m oriented toward details,” said Gloria, who loves art and design. “I like to see the materials that go into my home.” Craig did visit Greensprings West / Thorngate Landing once during construction of their 4-bedroom, 2.5-bath transitional Colonial. However, most design decisions had to be made long distance, based upon emails, photos, and the help of their agent, John
Kevin and Naomh met during their years as students at William & Mary, so they are no strangers to Williamsburg or Kingsmill, which is just a short drive to the university. While the neighborhood and proximity to the interstate were the two biggest draws for the couple, they also loved how big and private the lot is. Located partially in the woods, there’s a beautiful view out of the back of the house and ample privacy. There’s a vacant. wooded lot on one side and the home backs up to a drainage easement, so there will never be a home built close behind it. A huge deck stretches the entire length of the house and features three different levels, so it’s very private and serene.
Lan, an author and a professor at the William & Mary Law School, moved into the Kingsmill home in 2004 with her husband, Bill Van Alstyne, also a law professor, and daughter, Harlan, then two-years-old. Kingsmill’s location just three miles from Colonial Williamsburg and the College of William & Mary was a major attraction to the couple.
When Melanie and Wil first moved in, their neighbors referred to their house as “The Pool House of Williamsburg.” Coming from Texas, the Baaks knew they wanted a home with a pool but didn’t think they would find one they could use year-round. The indoor pool allowed them to swim during all four seasons.
The floorplan of the home quite unique. The four-bedroom, three-bath house with an office covers 4,457 square feet and even has a separate apartment on the second floor with its own private entrance.
When you arrive at the home, a circular asphalt driveway brings you around front where there’s a hardscaped planter in the center. The home is completely surrounded by trees, including four beautiful crepe myrtles in the front yard and four more in the back. Though it is nestled in an established neighborhood, the home gives off the feel of wooded seclusion and privacy.
The Baaks love their master bedroom. The large walk-in closet features built-ins and plenty of space, but their favorite thing about the master is the size of the master bathroom. The tub is gigantic, there are heat lamps and a large bench in the center where you can take a load off, sit to get dressed or even hire your own masseuse to give you a massage right there. The bathroom also overlooks the pool area, giving off a spa-like vibe.
Mirror Lake Estates
Close to I-64, yet with a relaxing, country feel: that was the allure of Mirror Lake Estates when Liz and John bought a home there in 2007. “We were drawn to it because of its location in a quiet, more rural area of Williamsburg,” says Liz, a supervisor at a utility company. “The neighborhood is away from the ebb and flow of tourism…. but only 15 minutes from downtown Williamsburg.”
Liz and her husband, John, a D.O.D. employee, chose a two-story, transitional-style home with a cozy porch. It overlooks a front yard boasting one of the largest cherry trees in the neighborhood.
New Kent County–Unique Rural Retreat
After touring some homes in town, the Sibley’s were drawn to the idea of living a more quiet and private life in the country – different than the hustle and bustle that they were so accustomed to out west. They fell in love with the small town of Barhamsville, and found that 20301 Holly Pines was a unique rural retreat that was far more than just a home.
They loved that the house was country yet beachy. Being from the PNW, they loved the homes proximity to York River State Park and its coastal vibe. The mint green exterior and bright, open floor plan with neutral colors and tons of natural light reminded them of home.
Arguably one of the most unique homes in the Williamsburg area, the Sibley’s retreat features four different living quarters: a main house, guest house, pool house and carriage house. Altogether, the retreat consists of six bedrooms, eight bathrooms and nearly 7,000 square feet. The previous owners used the home as a residence as well as an income property, but the Sibley’s have used the multiple quarters for guests as well as for their adult daughter to have a place of her own.
“I actually thought it would be just Neil and
“The culture in New Town is that every single person you see on the street, without fail, speaks to you, asks how you’re doing, waves from their car,” she adds. “It’s so unusual for a Chicago girl like me to experience something like that. I think there’s something about the culture, maybe relative to the climate or the small-town atmosphere, where people just find each other here.”
Choosing Williamsburg. Pat and Neil left their long-time home in Oberlin, Ohio after Neil retired from his job as a retirement community administrator in 2016. Since Pat’s job allowed her to work from home, they were not limited in where they could retire, and spent a year winnowing down their options.
Being within a two-hour radius of their daughter, Sarah, and her family—including two young grandchildren–who were then living in Waldorf, Maryland, was one criterion. A warmer climate, away from Ohio’s gray days and
The “welcoming, charming people of New Town” in Williamsburg VA are among the reasons Ellen and John Morgan moved into the community a year ago. Ellen did online research when John accepted a call to become the senior pastor at Williamsburg Presbyterian Church. They were looking for a walkable, environmentally friendly neighborhood that would offer some restaurants for two foodies to enjoy. Realtor John Womeldorf (Mr Williamsburg) of Liz Moore & Associates led them to New Town. John claims they were “predestined” to live here.
Skimino Landing Estates
With yards large enough for family softball games—and he’s had several of them — builder David Campbell knew Skimino Landing Estates, located near the York River and Camp Perry, was the right place to build his own family’s custom home.
“The lots here are all 2 plus acres, and I like that,” said David, co-owner of York County’s Tabb Homes Inc. “I didn’t want to be crammed into my neighbors next door. The yard here is big enough for my two Sheltie sheep dogs to run, and my son-in-law to practice his golf swings.”
David’s vision for his Skimino Landing home was a generously sized ranch with the upscale amenities that are a signature in the Skimino Landing community. “I wanted a really good floor plan, a large family room, a very nice kitchen and baths, and great closets,” said David. “I also wanted a lot of light.”
David included all of those must-haves in his 3,300 square foot home, which includes three bedrooms plus an above-garage “bonus” suite with full bath that is accessed via a hallway near the kitchen. With three additional full baths, and an open concept kitchen/family room, the home has ample space for even a large family. The two-car garage is also generously sized, with enough room for two vehicles plus David’s tools.
David enjoys living in the communities he helps to build. Between 1998 and 2006, he constructed 77 homes in The Greenlands, and lived in one of them for several years. He has also built a half-dozen other custom and semi-custom homes in Skimino Landing, where he has lived with his wife since 2009.
April Guminsky knew she wanted to build a family home in Stonehouse as soon as she drove in.
“We looked at a lot of places before we found where we wanted to build,” said April, a pediatrician. “Then we drove into Stonehouse and found the most beautiful development we had ever seen. The crepe myrtles were breathtaking. We knew we wanted to live there.”
Beautiful and Welcoming on the Outside.
April and her husband, Michael, who works at NASA, found the perfect lot, and began working with their builder to design a 2-level, 4-bedroom/3.5-bath home. Their first consideration was how the house was sited. “It was important to us that we have plenty of space between our neighbors, and that we have some quiet space,” April noted.
April wanted her new home to have strong curb appeal. “We wanted brick, and we wanted the house not to be shaped like a block, but to have lots of nice shapes and angles.” They designed a brick and frame home with steeply peaked roofs and double dormers in the front, a blend of Ranch and Cape.
The couple also wanted “a nice front porch with a bench,” and since they moved into their home in 2005, that porch has been a well-loved feature. “We are set back a bit from the sidewalk, but there are plenty of friendly neighbors to yell to,” April laughed.
When Edward and Michael decided to build their dream home, they knew it had to be large enough to accommodate their elderly parents and have a layout that offered privacy, luxury, and all the amenities for entertaining. They also knew it had to be in Stonehouse, a Toano VA neighborhood located about 15 miles from Colonial Williamsburg.
“We love this neighborhood. The people are friendly, it’s quiet, and there’s 50% green space here,” said Edward, noting he and Michael had lived in Stonehouse for years before building their home on Mill Pond Run. “When we decided to build a larger home so that our parents could live with us, I walked every lot available in Stonehouse to find the perfect property.” They finally found just the right lot: almost an acre with 3 acres of green space behind it, and a sloping yard to accommodate a walk-out basement.
The Settlement at Powhatan Creek
Tom and Diane Rhoads: Building The Perfect “Downsize” House
“This is just the perfect downsize house for a retired couple,” says Tom Rhoads of the custom, 3 bedroom/3 full bath Cape Cod that he and his wife, Diane, built in The Settlement at Powhatan Creek in Williamsburg VA. Diane agrees, with one proviso: you don’t have to be retired to love their open concept, perfect-for-entertaining house or the Settlement’s friendly, active, and amenities-rich adult community
Village at Quarterpath
From their home overlooking the village green, Matt and Sarah Menefee can enjoy a peaceful view of the square’s lush lawn and manicured greenery, get together with neighbors at the gazebo, or simply walk across the street to play there with their 2-year-old daughter. “It’s such an appealing place,” said Sarah. “There are kids and dogs, and yesterday we watched people there playing ball.”
That charming village green is just one of the features that drew the Menefees to the Village at Quarterpath four years ago. The couple had decided to move from their Williamsburg condo in order to shorten the commute for Matt, who works in Hampton Roads. “With 64 East so close, the location at Quarterpath was stellar for Matt,” said Sarah. “And it turned out to be a great commute for me, too.”
Village at Quarterpath Came To Rent; Decided To Buy. Sarah and Matt hadn’t planned on buying a home at Quarterpath, though.
“We actually came to look for a rental, but after we met the builder, we realized it made sense for us to buy instead,” Sarah said. The couple decided on new construction, a 2-story, brick-faced duplex home that would be built across from the green.
Westmoreland: The Cotes’ Custom Home
Carol and Don Cotes moved from Florida to Williamsburg in 2009 to be close to their son, Tim, and his family. And, it didn’t hurt that Tim was a custom builder eager to build his parents the home of their dreams.
“I wanted a French country house,” said Carol, who is retired from sales and has a French family heritage. “So, Tim researched the features of that type of home before he designed our house.” The result is a gracious, 4-bedroom, 3-bath home that combines luxurious amenities with architectural and decorative elements reflecting a French influence
Many of you have asked who is building in Fords Colony’s newest community. We’d like to introduce you to the Weslowskis, who will be moving in within a few months.
Pat Wesolowski is the finance director of a small city outside Chicago. Her husband, Joe, has a woodworking business there. They both grew up in Chicago, and started dating in high school. When Joe joined the Navy Reserves, Pat went to the University of Illinois, and for more than 30 years — most of their married life — they have lived in the Chicago suburbs. So, deciding to leave the Windy City for a brand new community in Williamsburg was not easy. It was, however, pretty exciting.
“Our home in Westport [part of Ford’s Colony] will be one of the first ones completed, and that’s really exciting,” said Pat. “We’ll get to know the people who come in after us. In fact, we’ve already had dinner with the people who bought the lot next to us.”
White Hall Toano
The hustle and bustle of living in Yorktown were wearing thin for Kim and James Repp.
“We really wanted more space and a more country living feel,” says Kim of the couple’s 2010 decision to move from their townhouse in Yorktown to a single family home in Toano’s White Hall. “We loved that the White Hall community was part of a huge farm, and we loved the wonderful sense of history there.” One neighborhood feature the history buffs particularly liked was the 1805 Whitehall Plantation farmhouse, and now serving as the community’s club house.
In 1997, Ed and Sun Crosby were just coming out of military housing, where they’d known only one or two of their frequently-changing neighbors. They were excited about getting into a more static community, one where they could form long-term friendships with other residents. Their new community also needed to have an “optimum location” that would allow easy access to Hampton, where Ed worked as a network consultant.
The Crosbys found everything they were looking for at Williamsburg Bluffs, then a new development in York County, offering high-quality schools and good accessibility to both Richmond (45-minute drive) and Hampton (30 minutes away). “It’s great that the neighborhood is so close to I-64,” Ed notes. “But it’s not so close that we have road noise.”
More importantly, Williamsburg Bluffs turned out to be the friendly, close-knit type of neighborhood that Ed and Sun had yearned for. “We know all of the neighbors on our block, even their kids’ names,” says Ed. “That’s a great plus for us. You just don’t see this type of closeness in a lot of neighborhoods today.”
When the Newton’s first moved to Williamsburg from the plains of Northern Illinois, they fell in love with the wooded feel of Windsor Forest. They were used to windy, barren, cold terrain so it felt very welcoming and comforting for them to be amongst the trees.
The three-bedroom, three-bathroom home features a finished space on the third floor that the Newton’s have transitioned through the years depending on what season of life their family was in. It has gone from being a playroom when the children were little, to an office and even a music room where they can play their electric piano and guitar while being away from the rest of the house. “It’s a tucked-away space at the top of the house that we really enjoy,” she says. “It has served a lot of purposes.”
Laura says her favorite room in the house is the second-floor family room over the garage. “It’s big with bright windows looking out into the trees and we spend a lot of family time in there,” she says. “It’s a comfortable space to relax, especially when the kids were little and they were just down the hall instead of us being downstairs and them upstairs.” Read More of the Story Here.
Bill and Liz Sykes were searching for a lifestyle change in 2001, when they decided to leave behind the long commutes and congestion of Northern Virginia. They found it in Williamsburg’s Windsor Forest.
“At first, we tried to find a home that was closer to my work in Northwest Washington, D.C., but it was way too cost prohibitive,” explains Liz. “So, we decided to make a big change. Since we had both gone to William & Mary, we felt comfortable with moving to Williamsburg.”
The couple had a vision. They wanted to start a family, so they sought more space than their Northern Virginia townhouse had offered, and they wanted their new home to have some character. They wanted a big yard for their two dogs. And they wanted a family-friendly, tree-lined neighborhood with a community pool.
“We were driving around Williamsburg neighborhoods in the spring and saw this cute Cape Cod with a flowering dogwood in the front yard,” Liz says. “It had great curb appeal, and we immediately thought we just had to live there.”
A “Great Family Home.” The 2,100 square-foot, 3 bedroom/3 full bath home, built in 1978, has formal living and dining rooms and a kitchen-family room area. A bonus room above the side-loading garage, accessible via the kitchen, offered the couple additional living space. The .88-acre yard backing to mature trees — no one can build behind them —seemed perfect for the dogs. Read more of the story here
Why the stories? Because these aren’t just houses, they’re homes.
Mr. Williamsburg knows that when you’re looking for a new place, you’re searching for more than just four walls plus amenities, you’re looking for that welcoming refuge we call home. That’s why we go beyond the standard “4 bedrooms, 3 baths on large lot” statistics, to share how others have lived in this house, to reveal the home’s unique personality, to help you decide whether this is a place where your family could thrive.
Want to tell your home’s story? I would be happy to meet to help you market your home or find your dream home/ neighborhood in the area Contact John “Mr. Williamsburg” Womeldorf at (757) 254-8136 or John@MrWilliamsburg.com and we’ll get you started.
To schedule a visit to see homes/ neighborhoods in the Williamsburg or Hampton Roads VA area call/text 757 254 8136 or email John@MrWilliamsburg.com