132 Cameron Lane - 4 BR, 2 full & 1 half-bath, 5071 sq. ft., .40 acres, asking price: $1,230,000, assessment: $865,600, Sally DuBose, Virginia Real Estate Partners, 434-981-0289
1958 Thomson Road - 3 BR, 3 full & 1 half-bath, 5981 sq. ft., .58 acres, asking price: $1,895,000, assessment: $1,132,000, Steve McLean, McLean Faulconer Realtors, 434-981-1863
Area: Lewis Mountain
Schools: Venable, Walker & Buford, Charlottesville
Price Range: $440,000-$1,895,000
Pros: proximity to amenities, especially UVA
Cons: potential traffic tie-ups on home football days
#1 Lewis Mountain Parkway is a house characterized by both irony and legend. Irony in that it sits just outside city limits in Albemarle County while the neighborhood that bears its name is located within the confines of the city of Charlottesville, which annexed the land in the late 1930s. And legend (of the urban variety) in that at various times this house, known as Lewis Mountain House, has been said to be owned by (a) a former UVA student expelled for an honor offense or (b) Dr. Seuss himself, Theodore Geisel.
As most Charlottesville residents know, however, Dr. Seuss’s Whoville and our own have little in common beyond their homonymic (or homophonic, depending on how specific you choose to get) nature. There's also no evidence that anyone who's lived there ran afoul of the university's legendary honor code.
Lewis Mountain House is sited on Lewis Mountain, which was part of 2,300 acres acquired in 1734 by David Lewis, a Hanover County native and merchant who owned a plantation near Thomas Jefferson's birthplace, Shadwell. Today’s Lewis Mountain neighborhood of approximately 133 acres is largely surrounded by the University of Virginia and primarily comprises stately single-family homes on spacious lots with mature landscaping.
A large number of these homes are occupied by professors, administrators and other professionals associated with the University. Because of Lewis Mountain’s proximity to UVA, listings don’t appear very often and most don't spend very long on the market once they do, providing sellers are realistic about their asking prices, of course.
Sally DuBose, the principal broker at Virginia Real Estate Partners and the listing agent for the fieldstone house designed by architects Milton Grigg and W.G. Clark and located at 132 Cameron Lane, says there’s not much to dislike about the Lewis Mountain neighborhood.
“The whole area is beyond lovely, and it’s highly sought after because of the location," says DuBose, citing its proximity to Barracks Road, Foods of All Nations, and UVA. "I think a lot of the people who live in the Lewis Mountain neighborhood enjoy seeing the students come back after the summer and watching the University come to life again.”
For some residents, however, there’s at least one aspect of University life that may prove inconvenient, at least on certain Saturdays in the fall. Many of the streets in the Lewis Mountain area are closed for the better part of the day or evening in an effort to manage the traffic during UVA home football games held at nearby Scott Stadium.
The Lewis Mountain Neighborhood Association is diligent about keeping abreast of upcoming events and does a great job of posting reminders about situations that may result in complex traffic situations— like home football games and graduation ceremonies— on its website.
“I suppose if you’re not part of the football scene or if you have a problem planning in advance, you might find the traffic situation on home game days inconvenient,” DuBose allows. But she’s quick to add that there are signficant trade-offs about the neighborhood in general, and her current listing in particular.
“Finding a house situated in a great neighborhood like this within walking distance of UVA and featuring designs by two noted architects is a rare occurence,” she says.
There are currently four listings available in the Lewis Mountain area priced from $574,999 to $1,895,000. Lot sizes are fairly generous for city properties, ranging from one-third of an acre to over half an acre.
There’ve been numerous sales in Lewis Mountain over the past couple of years, and while typically the houses move quickly, a few have languished on the market for close to a year. No word as to which factor contributed most significantly to those long listing periods— an unrealistic asking price or a serious aversion to game-day traffic.