REAL ESTATE- ON THE BLOCK- Albemarle arcadia: A pastoral Hickory Ridge reverie


Address: 610 Bridlespur Lane

Neighborhood: Earlysville

Asking: $399,000

Assessment: $389,200

Year Built: 1975

Size: 2,221 fin sq. ft. / 100 unfin. sq. ft.

Land: 0.76 acres

Agent: Cynthia Viejo, Montague, Miller & Co., (434) 981-2419

Curb Appeal: 7 out of 10

When the Hickory Ridge subdivision was developed during the 1970s, it was conceived as a weekend retreat where D.C. well-to-do's could visit their horses. So the vibe of the development is 18th century English pastoral: elegant detached homes, gardens with flowering shrubs, expansive views, and grassy commons that all would share. Not a bad idea. 

But whether they're locals or out-of-towners, lots of the homes in this area are up for sale: we counted five realtors' signs on our visit.

The house at 610 Bridlespur Lane is being sold by the former owner's heirs, and she certainly enjoyed the country life. She was a prolific gardener: her house was on the garden tour in 1989, and is surrounded by magnolias, boxwood, holly, peonies, and forsythia, with daffodils lining the white picket fence enclosing the backyard. The property adjoins the subdivision's common area, so the views are pleasant, and the house appears to be situated on more land than the plot actually comprises. 

With a shingle roof, white clapboard siding with red brick accents, and black shutters and doors, the house fits in with the Hickory Ridge aesthetic without looking like a cookie-cutter copy of its neighbors. 

Inside, the slate-tiled foyer leads to the living room with a fireplace and plank oak flooring. On this main floor, a half bath has been tucked off to the side for the convenience of dinner guests. The kitchen was just renovated and now sports grey granite countertops and a tile floor. A second public space with parquet floor leads to a screened-in porch along the side of the house.

The stairs— lined with some ‘70s carpet we would rip up— lead to the upstairs master suite. The bathroom is odd— two rooms with the toilet (appropriately) in a closet, and the sage green tub and toilet and the golden dragon faucet over the sink all shriek Dynasty!

The master bedroom looks like a finished attic. It's large, with walnut floors and a sloping ceiling that mirrors the pitch of the roof. Hall closets provide storage. Skylights illuminate the room, with small windowpanes above nooks on either side of the chimney. 

The downstairs, finished off with dun-colored carpeting, has a smaller bedroom and a bathroom with yellowing Formica. A very large den has a glass-front woodstove, built-in bookshelves and cabinets for storing games.

To complete the English pastoral: a couple of boxes filled with the former owner's books sport titles like Wellington: Pillar of State and How to Grow a Miracle (they probably convey). The den leads into an outdoor porch beneath the screened-in porch upstairs. 

Although the agent suggests that the den could be turned into a third bedroom, the house feels like it's built for entertaining, with more public spaces than private ones. It's a spacious house— with 2,221 square feet— but with only two bedrooms over three floors, the layout feels disjointed. The large public rooms on the main floor are the house's major attractions, along with the light that streams in from every angle, a perk during long winters.

But the garden is definitely its glory. With a fenced-in backyard in a quiet neighborhood, it's perfect for green thumbs. There's a small white garden shed (still filled with old Ortho) and a honeysuckle archway framing the yard. It's a quiet neighborhood, with no audible traffic from nearby Buck Mountain Road. While we were there, a woman walked to the common grounds to throw sticks to her dogs. Ah... the simple life of years gone by. 




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