This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!
Where is it? Claremont is one of Arlington’s southern-most neighborhoods, conveniently located a mile from the intersection of Rt 7 and 395. Host to Claremont Immersion School (dual language), Wakefield High, and Barcroft Park, it’s made up of very well constructed cape cod and colonial homes built in the late 1940s and is a National Historic District.
About the interviewee: Merryl Burpoe, an energy consultant, moved to Claremont in 1988 where she and her husband raised three children (cute kids pictured are Merryl’s grandchildren). They purchased an original colonial home and like many families in Claremont, instead of moving away for more space, they expanded in place, including a beautiful wrap-around porch! They chose Claremont for the commute, school system, Barcroft Park, and affordability.
What makes Claremont unique? Our neighbors are so friendly, active, and diverse. It has a small town neighborhood feel with all of the benefits of being minutes from city amenities. It’s a “front-facing house” neighborhood; people spend time interacting from the front porch and kids play in the front yard/street. It’s incredible how many families choose to expand their home in order to stay here.
Where do you usually go out to eat? We usually go to the Village at Shirlington. I just hosted a girls’ weekend there and it was a blast! My favorite restaurants are Osteria Da Nino, Carlyle Grand Café, T.H.A.I., and Samuel Beckett’s for a drink!
Is it walkable/bike-friendly/family-friendly/dog-friendly? Yes, we regularly walk the park and to Shirlington. Yes, many neighbors commute to D.C. by bike. Yes, the biggest change in the neighborhood is the number of kids. The neighborhood hosts family-friendly events like a 4th of July and Halloween parade, chili cook-off, block parties, holiday lighting contest, and a garden club! The Claremont mini-park is very popular with kids. Oh my god yes, there are tons of dogs because of the lot sizes, nearby trails, and Shirlington Dog Park.
How do you feel about the local school system? South Arlington schools are very under-estimated. We had wonderful experiences with all three of our children and they felt the benefits of Arlington schools when they went to college.
What about public transportation? It’s great. Very easy access to bus stops, including the Shirlington Bus Station, and I often use the Pentagon City metro for trips into D.C. You’re also about 10 minutes from the airport.
What’s been your overall experience? It was the perfect place to raise a family and continues to be a wonderful location for my husband and I. We love being so close to the Kennedy Center and Old Town Alexandria too! Claremont isn’t as well known as other Arlington neighborhoods, but people should really come see the community, they’ll love it.
A quick look at some Claremont housing statistics:
- For Sale: There are currently two homes on the market in Claremont
- 5 year history: Lowest sale = $335,500, Highest sale = $759,500 (beautiful blue, expanded cape cod), Average sale = $558,000, Average days on market = 21 days (fast!), Average floor plan = 4BR/2BA
- Heating up: The average sold price from 2014-Today increased by $56,000 (over 10%) compared to the average sold price from 2011-2013
- Low turnover: In the last 10 years, there have been only 4 months with more than two homes sold
This is my first Neighborhood Profile and I’d love to hear what you think. Is there any information you’d like to see in future profiles? Send me an email with feedback or if you’re interested in being interviewed about your neighborhood! You’re not required to include your name or a photo.
Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.
Update at 11 a.m. Wednesday — Pumpkin Pie was found last night after authorities were able to act on a tip quickly enough to catch her near an apartment building in south Arlington.
Harry Puente-Duany thanked the ARLnow.com readers for their support and help in finding Pumpkin Pie so quickly after this article was published. He said except for some scrapes and her being a bit underweight, Pumpkin Pie is healthy and safe at home.
Earlier: An Arlington resident is asking the community to keep their eyes out for his dog, which went missing more than a week ago.
Pumpkin Pie is a seven-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier mix who ran away from her home near Virginia Square last Sunday evening, Dec. 6. She has a white and light brown coat and is described as very timid.
According to her owner, Harry Puente-Duany, Pumpkin Pie was first spotted north of his home toward Lee Highway and Old Dominion Drive on the night she ran away. Since then, sightings have been reported in parts of South Arlington.
Most recently, Pumpkin Pie was seen on Sunday afternoon in Claremont near the Four Mile Run Trail.
“We’re kind of stuck right now praying for another lead,” Puente-Duany said. “She’s on the move, but we don’t know where she’s headed.”
Puente-Duany rescued Pumpkin Pie about five years ago from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington shelter. He added she can be finicky and very afraid of people because her previous owner treated her poorly.
Despite his dog being missing for several days, Puente-Duany is staying optimistic.
“The fact that we’ve continued to have sightings has helped me to remain hopeful,” he said. “It makes be believe she’s still out there, on the move and safe, for the most part. She could be going anywhere next, but I’m trying to continue to keep the faith.”
Puente-Duany said all the sightings so far have been reports of Pumpkin Pie running down a street or through wooded areas, suggesting she’s scared and spending most of her time running away or hiding out of sight.
He asks that anyone who sees Pumpkin Pie doesn’t chase her or call after her, or risk scaring her more or encouraging to run further away.
“If possible, give us a call and try to keep an eye on her,” he added. “People have been very active doing that so far, but it’s been hard to keep track of her. I’m still amazed by the amount of support from people in Arlington, giving me suggestions and letting me know they’re on the lookout. It’s been so encouraging.”
If anyone sees Pumpkin Pie, they can call Puente-Duany at 301-467-0433 or Animal Control at 703-931-9241.
This pothole, on N. Fillmore Street in Clarendon, is one of the biggest we’ve seen in Arlington.
It’s about two feet across and several inches deep. But is it actually the biggest in Arlington, which is being plagued by potholes as a result of the especially cold and damp winter?
If you’ve seen one that might be bigger, let us know in the comments. And post a photo, if you have one.
The incident happened on the 1200 block of N. Herndon Street, about two blocks from the Clarendon Metro station, according to the crime report.
“At 12:20 am on January 31, a 28 year-old male victim was stopped by two subjects on the sidewalk. One of the subjects held the victim’s throat while the other subject went through his pockets,” the crime report states. “The suspects fled the scene on foot with the victim’s keys.”
“Suspect one is described as a Hispanic male, approximately 5’9” tall and 160 lbs. He was wearing a red Under Armour sweatshirt and blue jeans at the time of the incident,” the report continues. “Suspect two is described as a Hispanic male, 5’9” tall and 160 lbs, wearing a black sweatshirt and jeans.”
It’s not every day that a new church starts in Arlington, but musician-turned-pastor Scott Maurer of newly formed West City Fellowship has a background even more unique.
Maurer, 46, was raised Jewish, played in a rock band for five years in the mid-Atlantic region and worked in the D.C. tech industry for 10 years before deciding to join the ministry.
West City Fellowship, which is a nondenominational Christian church, held its first official service Sunday morning in a lecture hall at Wakefield High School, where it will continue to hold weekly services at 10:30 a.m.
Raised in Alexandria, Maurer’s father was a “very religious Jew,” but his mother wasn’t observant, so when they divorced, Maurer said he was drifting spiritually. As he grew up, he had a natural curiosity; studying Eastern philosophy and several other Western religions, but shunning Christianity.
“I was extremely hostile to Christianity, very cynical to anyone that claimed to be a Christian,” he said. “I had the idea that you couldn’t be an intellectual and believe any of that nonsense.”
As Maurer got older and entered graduate school, he met a lay pastor and began gravitating more toward Christianity. In his late 20s, after marrying his wife, Julie, Maurer finally “gave his life to Christ.” He said he woke up in the middle of the night and realized he was meant to be a member of the ministry. He trained and was ordained at Fair Oaks Church and moved to South Dakota, where he led a church for four years. A few years after Maurer’s conversion Julie, also Jewish and a one-time groupie of Maurer’s band, converted.
“Not exactly what I signed up for, this Jewish girl, a Pastor’s wife?” she said.
Scott, Julie and their two children moved to Arlington in June and decided to start his own “plant church.”
“This area in general, it’s not a Bible Belt by any means,” Maurer said. “It’s just the opposite. A lot of people share the attitude I had for a long time. Anywhere from a skeptical hostility toward Christ, or more just a neutral, apathetic condescension, with not too much interest. I get it, I really do, I understand where they’re coming from, I understand the hostility.”
“I’ve come to believe,” Maurer continued, “that the really most important question that anyone can ask is, ‘is God real and can I know him? What does he want from me and what can he give me?'”
Maurer and his small congregation have gone around the neighborhoods near Wakefield High School and left flyers on doorsteps and “prayed for the people inside,” he said. He said he plans on writing a blog to draw interest from those skeptical or curious about the church.
Update at 4:40 p.m. — Chlorinated water leaking from a water main near Shirlington has seeped into Four Mile Run and killed “dozens” of fish, an Arlington County official told ARLnow.com this afternoon.
We first reported the leak near 2400 S. Walter Reed Drive this morning, after Claremont and Fairlington residents reported widespread low water pressure in the area. Now we’re told that the leak — in a 12-inch pipe — has resulted in a significant fish kill.
From Arlington Department of Environmental Services spokeswoman Shannon Whalen McDaniel:
Residents may notice dead fish in portions of Four Mile Run downstream of the break due to the chlorinated water being released. This water is not harmful to humans or pets, but unfortunately resulted in a fish kill. Residents should follow the County’s normal precautions for safe use of urban streams.
McDaniel said repairs on the water main are expected to continue into tomorrow. Residents may continue to experience low water pressure but “no one is expected to be without water,” she said.
Less than seven months after a car ran into his house in the Claremont neighborhood, Patrick Lee is dealing with a similar problem. Somebody hit his car overnight, likely while trying to speed through the crash-prone traffic circle at S. Chesterfield Road and S. Dinwiddie Street.
Lee said his father woke him around 5:00 a.m. asking what happened to his car. That’s when he went outside to find the banged-up vehicle. The other driver left nothing behind except a few shards from a smashed headlight, which Lee hopes will eventually help police find the perpetrator.
Lee’s car had been parked on the street in front of his neighbor’s house when it was hit. He explained that three houses on the block, including his, had all recently sustained property damage from vehicles speeding through the traffic circle. The next-door neighbors escaped a car slamming into their home when the vehicle rammed a tree in the front yard instead.
Lee says when his home was hit in April, the person behind the wheel didn’t end up paying for repairs. A loophole voided her insurance because she uses the vehicle for work. That meant Lee and his parents had to pay about $5,000 out of pocket for repairs. The total estimated cost for damage, both outside and inside, ended up being about $28,000.
Neighbors are concerned not only for their own property and safety, but also because of the traffic circle’s proximity to Wakefield High School.
“I drive for a living and spend a lot of time in traffic,” Lee said. “Never, not anywhere in Northern Virginia, Thailand or other countries, never have I seen such a poorly maintained and dangerous intersection next to a school.”
The intersection has two stop signs and two yield signs for drivers entering the circle. People in the neighborhood say drivers speed through the circle without stopping or even slowing down. Lee mentioned that the layout of the intersection has been changed several times, but a good solution has yet to be found.
“You really have to be flying through these stop signs for something like this to happen,” Lee said. “This is right next to a school and everybody is going 45 to 50 miles per hour and not stopping.”
Lee said he talked to the responding officers about fixing the intersection when his house was hit in April. Although he doesn’t have an easy solution, he said a good start would be a four-way stop. In the meantime, Lee is going to contact his insurance company about his car, and hopes to find the driver who hit it.
A Toyota Camry somehow hopped a curb, smashed a small stone wall and hit the side of a house in the Claremont neighborhood this afternoon.
The crash happened near the traffic circle at the intersection of S. Chesterfield Road and S. Dinwiddie Street, across the street from Wakefield High School. Only one vehicle was involved and there were no reported injuries. No word on whether any charges will be filed against the driver.
The car wound up in a homeowner’s garden, about five feet above street level. A large crack was visible in the base of the home’s brick chimney, about where the car struck, but it’s not known for sure whether it was actually caused by the collision.
Roads were temporarily blocked while a tow truck worked to extract the car from the yard. More photos, after the jump.
A pit bull that attacked a pet sitter and then went after another dog was Tasered by police Friday evening.
Police were called to a home on the 2400 block of South Dinwiddie Street in Claremont for a report of a man being attacked by a dog. By the time officers arrived, just after 5:30 p.m., the dog was no longer attacking the man. Instead, it had another pit bull by the throat.
An officer attempted to separate the two dogs. When those attempts were unsuccessful, the officer used a Taser on the aggressive dog, according to police spokesperson Det. Crystal Nosal.
The man, who had been hired to watch over the two dogs, was injured and required medical attention. The pit bulls were taken to an emergency veterinarian.