A Newcomer Family’s Delights in Willowsford, A 3-Part Series
Part 1: Summer
By Mardeene Mitchell, New Resident, Author, Photojournalist, Mother, Live-in Grandmother
At the very end of August, what a refreshing change—no longer to be startled out of a restless sleep in hot Midtown Atlanta by the screaming sirens of fire engines, ambulances and police cars and the blaring bass beats of boom boxes. How refreshing to be awakened instead in our new peaceful village of The Greens by the staccato honking of Canada Geese on the wing and the squawking of the Great Blue Heron skimming over Willow Lake.
My 7 and 3.5 year-old grandsons and I were even delighted to hear in the wee hours the “yip-yip-yipping” in the distance of what we presumed to be the songs of coyotes. We couldn’t wait to hurry outside for the promise of a new adventure that morning.
Armed with our Audubon Society’s Pocket Guide to Familiar Animal Tracks, we searched for tracks in sand patches and mud puddles and along trails. We were thrilled to find what we thought might be coyote tracks with four toes with pronounced claw marks and a narrower pad. As opposed to the broader pads of dog tracks without such pronounced claw marks. But that may have been wishful thinking. On the other hand, if they were coyote tracks, not everyone might be as delighted as we were.
Those questions prompted me to contact the Willowsford Conservancy. They told me that they we likely did hear coyotes and that those may have been their tracks—as coyotes are common to Loudoun County and regularly move through Willowsford. The good news is, because pet owners here are diligent about keeping their pets leashed and under control while in open space, and keeping their yards free of trash and pet food, they have not been any reported pet incidents. If there were a nuisance animal, we can be sure the Conservancy would take appropriate action.
The other good news we were happy to learn is that coyotes are beneficial in our ecosystems. They feed on rodents (a major link in spreading Lyme disease) and help remove dead and diseased animals. Here is an article in The Habitat Herald about coyotes which was shared with residents in past years in order to spread awareness.
The boys couldn’t wait to get outside to run through the meadows. It made my heart sing to watch them chase butterflies and make friends with grasshoppers; rays shining on their blowing hair like sunshine on the wheat.
My grandsons are especially lucky that their papa grew up on a farm in South Dakota, totally at home in the outdoors and very eager to take them fishing for the plentiful bass and catfish in catch-and-release Willow Lake.
The boys’ mama, my daughter, a suburban city girl raised in San Jose, California, is also very physically active. If only she had more time to indulge. As much as she loves her high-level corporate job, she is a Road Warrior most weekdays and nights, so she can’t wait to get home to her men and ride bikes with them, relax in the kid-friendly pool at The Lodge, steal away in a kayak on the lake, or just chill in her beautiful new idyllic home.
I love to join the family at The Lodge Pool and at the lake as well, reveling in family and good times spent together. However, as anyone who is a grandparent or has parents living in with them knows, it benefits the whole family when Grammie gets away to herself sometimes. And what’s perfect for that?
Another pleasant diversion steeped in history is the historic Red Fox Tavern & Inn (built in 1728). Travel 20 minutes from Willowsford through lush horse farm pastures to the Tavern, which celebrates Virginia’s Piedmont Region and four centuries of Virginia Hunt Country tradition. The two gentlemen below graciously consented to pose with me. Living here, I’m discovering so many historic points of interest in the area that I plan to explore.
At Willowsford, I learned that we’d better sign up fast for events we’d like to attend, as they sell out fast. An astounding array of community activities from which to choose! We enjoyed our picnic lunch and the live country-rock music at the First Friday Summer Concert. A family favorite not to be missed is the annual Conservancy Community Bonfire & Camp-Over in The Greens. The BBQ and potluck dishes were superbly satisfying. Sitting on bales of hay around a bonfire, under the moonlight shining over the fields was…magical. The family decided that next year they’d be camping overnight in tents, for sure.
Our neighbors kindly came over to introduce themselves. How gratifying. It felt like my days growing up in the U.S. Army when folks came to call to welcome a new family.
It appears that the new way of life at Willowsford can be a balance of total relaxation and sporting get-in-shape activity, indoors and out; getting involved with the Farm and consciously conserving; or as socially fast-paced as you’d like—all of which contributes to sound slumbering.
Exploring, fishing, swimming, hiking, biking—sleeping on the floor until the beds come in the moving van? No problem.
Willowsford Ramblings is a blog by Willowsford, a community of new single-family homes in Loudoun County, Northern Virginia.55 and older communities, active adult communities, adult communities, agri-hood, agrihood, ashburn va new homes, Chantilly va new homes, Community Supported Agriculture, CSA, eat local, Farm to table, home communities, homes aldie va, homes for seniors, Loudoun County, main-level living, new build homes for sale, new home builders, new home communities, new home developments, northern virginia, over 55 communities, retirement communities, retirement living, senior independent living, senior living, Willowsford, willowsford blog, willowsford conservancy, Willowsford Farm, Willowsford Ramblings, willowsford va, Willowsford Virginia