Located in the suburb of Sterling, Virginia, the subdivision of CountrySide is located about 30 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. in eastern Loudoun County, Virginia. The Potomac River flows along its northern boundary, about 12 miles above Great Falls, and Route 7 forms a boundary to the south. Covering about 3.75 square miles, and home to close to 10,000 residents, CountrySide is near the Dulles Greenway, and about 9 miles from Dulles International Airport.
This neighborhood was conceived in the middle 1970’s when a 1000-acre tract of open farmland was subdivided for a planned housing development. Home construction for mid-range housing began in 1981, and continued through 1991. Today, completely built out, CountrySide includes 2,539 homes: 1,269 single-family homes (16 of which are manor homes), 1,168 town homes, and 102 condominium units in the Villa’s. Pulte Homes is one of the builders in CountrySide, using colonial architectural style; most of the single-family homes have two stories and a basement. CountrySide is governed by the CountrySide Proprietary, the homeowner’s association for the community, which is managed by PMP Management.
The community was built in phases by different builders, and consists of seven different villages, each represented by a volunteer director on the Proprietary’s Board: Rokeby Ridge, Morven, Oak Ridge, Oatlands, Belmont, Foxfield, and Welbourne. Long-time CountrySide resident, Pat Bour, moved to the community in 1983, and has lived in the same house ever since, where she raised her three kids. She remembers feeling like she was on a frontier when she first arrived from Maryland. There was no such thing as Dulles Town Center. As the community has grown, so did the markets. Within the mixed-use CountrySide Commercial and Professional Center, is the CountrySide Marketplace, anchored by Safeway and CVS. Various offices also operate at the Center. Regal CountrySide 20 movie theatre is nearby.
Bour remembers why they chose Countryside to raise their family. “We loved the people, the houses, the generous lots,” she said. “My children were excited, because they’d heard that Loudoun kids never went to school on snow days. We were into the swim teams big time. I love the mature trees in the neighborhood now. I remember when we collected our first fall leaves in a sandwich bag—we were so proud of our young trees. Now we have the opposite problem!”
Originally, Monocam or Mannahoak Indians inhabited this land. The area surrounding CountrySide is rich in history, elaborated in more detail on the HOA website. In 1649, when the upper Potomac was not yet navigated by the Europeans, King Charles II, living in exile in France, granted over 5 million acres of unexplored land, between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, from the sea to the mountains, to a band of his loyal constituents. Because the land had not yet been explored, Charles II had no way of determining the exact size of the territory. This grant was known as the “Northern Neck Proprietary”; lost in the middle of this tract was the area that would later become CountrySide.
From the 1700’s on, this area remained a pocket of small farms and pastures. During the Civil War, the land witnessed its share of trouble before again returning by the late 1800‘s to its pre-war prosperity. Between 1955-1970, the 777 Stock Farm acquired much of the farmland and wooded acres on the CountrySide tract, using it for cultivation of feed corn. Hartford Insurance Company bought the property from 777 and other landowners, and created the CountrySide planned community. Many of the boundaries currently existing at CountrySide owe their shape to those early farmers from the 1700’s.
CountrySide is blessed with abundant open space and pockets of wooded areas. One unusual feature of this community is a 370-acre tract of undeveloped land known as Horsepen Run, donated to the Proprietary by the original developer, 437 Land Company. Archival sources offer evidence of prehistoric habitation from ca. 7000 B.C. to European contact. Through the 1800‘s until 1984, the land was used primarily for agricultural purposes, and there are gravesites from the Civil War in the overgrown forest just east of the landfill.
Since 1984, Horsepen Run remained an open parcel of land, slowly reverting to a floodplain, forested condition. It is one of the area’s last large stretches of wild land. In the 90’s, the community favored allowing the area to remain in its natural state, with low impact improvements to the road. By 1998, the improvement project complete, the road along Horsepen Run, prohibited for vehicular traffic, was level enough for residents to enjoy hikes and nature walks through this natural area leading to the Potomac River, one of the treasured amenities of living in the community. Additionally, an extensive network of walking trails and paved paths wind through the wooded neighborhoods, some branching off to allow scenic views for hiking, mountain biking, nature watching, and jogging.
Other amenities at CountrySide include a largemouth bass catch and release pond between the Oakridge and Belmont neighborhoods; no permits required. Three stations of a Parcourse Fitness Circuit using a series of 18 exercises are set up along a two-mile jogging trail. Residents enjoy three 25-metre pools (Cromwell, Lindenwood, and Parkway) and strongly support the swim team, the “Waves.” Five tennis courts, 2 basketball and multi-purpose courts, a skate area and ten tot lots are peppered throughout the community. Special events draw the CountrySide community together as they celebrate the seasons with family fun nights, concerts in the summer, and an annual Fall Festival.
Loudoun County public schools offer educational programs that rank with the best in Virginia and in the nation, providing well-run programs for Gifted Students, Vocational and Alternative Education, as well as Special Education. CountrySide students attend CountrySide Elementary, Algonkian Elementary, River Bend Middle School and Potomac Falls High School, all schools in Sterling.
As Bour reflected on her years at CountrySide, she conveyed the feelings of countless residents: “We have always valued the strong sense of community here,” she said. “Our friendships have run so true and deep,” very much like the waters of the Potomac running along this auspicious land.
Between 2009 and 2014, the population in this area is projected to increase about 12%. In comparison, Loudoun County population is expected to grow 23.5%. The population of Virginia is projected to increase 5.5%.
Between 2009 and 2014, the White population is expected to grow by 2%, the African American population by 29%, the Asian population by 47% and Hispanic population by 47%.
|Race/Ethnicity||% of population||% of population (VA)|
The median household income for this area is $113,595, compared to a state median of $60,690, as estimated for 2009.
|Income Category||% of households||% of households (VA)|
|Less than $25,000||4.68%||17.87%|
|Less than $50,000||16.58%||40.94%|
|Less than $75,000||33.55%||60.5%|
|Less than $150,000||81.45%||88.89%|
|More than $150,000||18.55%||11.11%|
|Type of unit||% of units||% of units (VA)|
|Single family - detached||58.24%||62.6%|
|Single family - attached||28.18%||9.96%|