Cabots Point in the News

The following is a copy of an article from the Washington Post describing Cabots Point Cluster in 1998:


Louie Estrada
Washington Post Staff Writer
July 18, 1998; Page G1

By the early evening hours, when the sunset transforms the Northern Virginia sky into the mellowing colors of a pinkish tie-dyed T-shirt, much of the fishing, swimming and boating on Lake Audubon in Reston draws to a close. The scene unfolds beneath weeping willows. Pontoon boats and canoes glide atop Reston’s largest man-made lake, heading for the docks. Families pack up the remains of a summer picnic on a small pier. Children in swimsuits cling to colorful flotation devices while making their way out of the water.

Looking down on the lake’s western banks are several town house developments with more than 150 units. On street maps the area is listed as Cabots Point. It is, however, an area made up of a handful of separate town house communities with names such as South Bay, Cabots Point and Cedar Cove.

All were built in the early- to mid-1980s and share a distinctive contemporary design that deviates from the traditional colonial house designs associated with the Virginia suburbs. The architecture of the town houses at Cabots Point features sharp right angles and sun-drenched cedar siding.

Instead of the adjoining walls that are typical of most town house developments, these units are attached by two-car garages. Landscaped yards and common areas with ivy and other plants add to the wooded setting. The town houses, which come with one or two decks, are staggered along winding, narrow cul-de-sacs that give the impression of a small village. While some of the units have a lake view, others are built higher on the sloping grounds.

“The openness and natural beauty of the area is really wonderful,” said Tom Rowney, [former] vice president of the Cabots Point Cluster Association and a Cabots Point resident since 1985. “It has a very warm neighborhood-feel to it. Of course, the access to the water is always a plus, but the natural wooded area gives just the right amount of privacy.”

Access to Cabots Point comes from South Lakes Drive, which is lined with fir trees that create a curtain of foliage.

In 1992, when Stan and Colleen Ivie were planning to move to the Washington area from Dallas because his employer, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., transferred him to its headquarters in Arlington, they believed they had to live near the Metro line to cope with the commute.

Besides the sticker shock of housing prices, Colleen Ivie said she was unhappy with the homes she was being shown by a real estate agent and decided to take matters into her own hands — she began touring different neighborhoods. What she discovered at Cabots Point was a town house that looked different and offered such amenities as lake privileges and privacy.

“I’ve always preferred contemporary styles over colonial architecture,” Ivie said. “I also like the fact that I can look out my window and see trees. In some developments, they knock down all the trees to make room for more town houses and in the process ruin the view.”

At the time they settled in at Cabots Point, Ivie’s son from a previous marriage, Rusty Raubs, was a sixth-grader and at a prime age for enjoying fishing with his friends, Ivie said.

With Raubs set to attend Old Dominion University this fall and the Ivies’ other child, 4-year-old daughter Devon, barely school age, the Ivies recently realized that if there was an opportune time to move, it was now. Instead, they elected to stay and make some upgrades to their home.

“These houses have a lot of potential for improvement,” said Ivie, who plans to remodel her kitchen.

The town houses in Cabots Point, which offer four different floor plans, range in price from about $230,000 to $350,000, said Jeanne Strokes, a real estate agent with Pardoe & Graham Real Estate Inc. Many units have three bedrooms and 2 1/2 baths. In some units, an upper loft can be used as a fourth bedroom. The units do not have basements.


“It’s so secluded that many people don’t even realize there are houses back there,” Strokes said.

Cabots Point has retained many of its original owners, such as John B. Norton and his wife, Claudine, who moved there in 1981 from another house a few miles away.

“It’s a good place to bring up kids,” John Norton said, citing the closeness of South Lakes High School, Langston Hughes Middle School and Terraset Elementary School, which are all within a few minutes driving distance. Other residents mentioned the annual Octoberfest as a highlight of the community. The event is hosted by one of Cabots Point’s residents and features bratwurst and other German food.

For many residents, though, lazy evenings on the lake rate high as a major attraction, even though some have curtailed their outings since their children have grown.

It’s enough, they say, to offset paying tolls on the Dulles Toll Road when commuting to Washington. Others, such as Norton, deal with that issue by taking a bus to the West Falls Church Metro station for their daily commute.

“We wanted to stay in Reston because of what it can provide for families,” Norton said. “Our children were involved in swimming and soccer, and so there seemed to be just about everything we needed right here.”

Cutline: Kishi and Tom Rowney lived in Cabots Point from 1985 to 1999.