Pam and Dave Sisson: The Colonies of Powhatan Secondary
“We’d been playing in the Williamsburg area for a long time,” says Pam, a retired nurse. “We were actively involved in the Foundation at Colonial Williamsburg.”
“We especially had a lot of interest in the CW’s citizenship and education programs,” adds Dave, a retired realtor and small business owner with experience in residential and commercial construction. “So, Williamsburg was a place we visited often, and we decided we might as well live there.”
After their plans to build in Williamsburg changed, the couple began driving through various communities looking for a newly constructed home. While in Williamsburg on July 4, 2005, they ended up in The Colonies at Powhatan Secondary.
“We said, ‘Wow! This is a really nice neighborhood!’” recalls Pam, noting the community of single family homes was attractive, well-maintained and conveniently located near major highways. “Then we said, ‘Wow! This is a really nice house!’ It had almost everything we wanted, and it was on a corner lot with mature trees and that was very appealing.”
A home well crafted. Dave, as a construction professional, is fussy about a home showing careful attention to detail. He was pleased to find that evident in the newly built, custom brick Colonies home.
“I saw that the bricks were well pointed and that bricks from different pallets were nicely mixed, so you couldn’t see one section of the house being a different color from another,” Dave notes. “I checked that all the doors fit right and that the rooms had square corners and no nail pops.”
“I saw so much attention to detail,” he adds about the 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath home built by Hallmark Homes. “For example, the faceplates on the switches and plugs all had their screws turned the same way so that they matched. That showed me that the craftsmen working on the house tried to do something that spoke above and beyond perfection. I’ve been trained to look for all these visuals, and they all told me that this house was very well done.”
Dave and Pam were also blown away by the home’s intricate trim work. Most rooms have double crown molding, there is wainscoting in the formal dining room, and ornate tray ceilings in the dining room and master bedroom. “It’s a stunning house when you walk into it,” Dave says. “The detailed trim work is immaculate; I loved it. It gave the house the kind of feel that I had wanted when I was planning to build.”
The couple loved the home’s main floor living and its layout, which has the master bedroom suite separated from the two main floor guest bedrooms by common areas. A large bonus room with full bath on the second floor also offered another guest bedroom and/or office space.
Pam and Dave put a contract on the house the next day and they moved in a few months later.
A sunroom for the gardeners. The house was built with a large open porch adjacent to the back deck. However, the year after they moved in, the couple enclosed the porch to become a sunroom accessible from their master bedroom and the deck. The room, located on the southwest corner of the house, was set up to accommodate the wide array of plants that Pam and Dave, both master gardeners, kept during winter months.
“We grew tomato and pepper starts, we had all kinds of veggie gardens, and we grew cactus. We hung things from the ceiling, we had tray tables out there, and we had grow lights all over. You name it, we grew it,” Pam says, laughing.
“It has continuous Anderson windows, all insulated and fully screened,” adds Dave, noting the room, which is also wonderful for reading or watching TV, is his favorite space. “We were able to keep the architectural integrity of the house, but it gave us all this good grow light, and was a very pleasant place to sit and watch the squirrels. We also had bluebird houses all over the back yard and they were always full.”
The sunroom includes a free-standing gas log fireplace that keeps the space toasty in winter and offers a great backdrop to watching the snow fall. Plus, in 2007, Dave and Pam added another feature to enjoy watching from the sunroom: a pond with waterfalls.
A pond for sheer delight. “In Spring 2007, we put a pond in the back yard. I kind of argued that since we couldn’t get waterfront property, a pond would make up for it,” Pam says, laughing. “I’ve spent a lot of time sitting and staring at that pond. We just love it.”
The pond, hand built by a craftsman from Gloucester, holds 1,200 gallons of water and features two waterfalls. “I put in water lilies, water irises, and a variety of grasses. We had coy until the Blue Heron got them all; then we had goldfish,” Pam says.
“It’s a shady nook in the summer, and a beautiful place to sit and watch in the summer or the winter. It became adjunct to the sunroom, and we’d open the windows and listen to the water and the birds and the frogs. It’s a delightful place.”
A place for good times and celebrations. That delightful space, along with the home’s spacious common areas, was also conducive to entertaining, something the couple has enjoyed, often with their neighbors.
“Our house was always one of the big neighborhood gathering places because we have the big kitchen open to the family room, a good size dining room, and the deck in the back,” Pam says. “Plus, we both cooked a lot.” Pam liked to bake, while Dave made cured or smoked meats, including pepperoni, corned beef, pastrami, and smoked sausages, most of it from scratch.
“We would have casual parties, and some years we did neighborhood progressive dinners,” Dave adds. “We’d go to each others’ houses and discuss a little bit of politics and things of local interest.”
“We love our neighbors,” Pam says, noting that from their first days, neighbors had come over to introduce themselves, and sit and chat. “We partied all the time, with any excuse we could find, whether it was for a meal or just snacks and drinks. This is an awesome community, very kind, highly educated and diverse in their interests. It’s highly populated by active and retired military and professionals, and they’re a very congenial group.”
“This is the kind of neighborhood where every evening a lot of people are out walking and chatting,” Dave points out. “You know all your neighbors because the community is a series of loops and cul-de-sacs with only one road in and out.”
The Sisson home also was a family hub for the couple’s six adult children and eight grandchildren, especially over the holidays. One year they hosted 15 overnight guests, with children sleeping on sofas. At Christmas, the couple enjoyed taking their family to holiday activities at Colonial Williamsburg.
Benefits of Powhatan Secondary. The Colonies, as part of the larger Powhattan Secondary community, offers amenities such as a swimming pool and clubhouse, three ponds, and five miles of walking paths. The community’s social committee organizes events such as kids’ movie nights, family game nights, and holiday parties.
Pam and Dave particularly enjoyed the walking trails, and Dave often walked or rode his 3-wheel bike to a nearby shopping center that includes a grocery store, many shops and restaurants. “It’s a nice walk, mostly on sidewalks, sometimes on the walking trails,” Dave explains. “This is mostly a very quiet residential area where a lot of people walk, so it’s not like you’re walking in traffic.”
Hard to leave. After Dave developed health issues, the couple moved to Delaware in 2014 to be closer to their family. They rented their beloved home for a few years and are now ready to sell it to another family that can enjoy it as much as they have. But it isn’t easy to say goodbye to the home and neighborhood they so loved for nine years.
“When I started having health problems, the neighbors were there every minute,” Dave says. “I love the people and the community.”
The couple notes that living in Williamsburg gave them the chance to do some things they really wanted to do, such as becoming deeply involved with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and even traveling to England with CW members.
Pam and Dave asked John “Mr. Williamsburg” Womeldorf to help them sell their home. “I found his website and really liked it,” Dave says. “It’s well put together and speaks of professionalism.”
“I will miss the house, and wish I could still be there. It was the perfect house for us,” Dave adds. “But we had a great time there, it was a great time in our lives, and we have a lot of great memories.”
Psst. I’m a real estate agent.
Want to see this home or others in the area ? You can text or call me at 757-254-8136 or email [email protected]
This post was authored by local resident and REALTOR, John Womeldorf. John is known around town as Mr. Williamsburg, for both his extensive knowledge of the Williamsburg/ Hampton Roads/ Richmond VA area and his expertise helping buyers and sellers in the local real estate market.
If you are a homeowner searching for someone innovative to sell your home I would love to share my thoughts on marketing. You can read some of the stories I have written about the homes I have sold here.
Additionally, I have helped hundreds of folks find their dream home/ 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.
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