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Moving Away from Del Ray

Headed on our next big adventure.

Almost eight years to the day when we first wrote a contract on our fixer-upper in Del Ray, we are leaving town. Eight years of calling Del Ray home—years filled nurturing a new marriage, three new babies and a total home renovation. We keep expecting to be overcome with nostalgia and emotion yet we are not.

You see, my husband grew up running through the wide-open fields that surrounded his childhood home—fields ripe for exploring with all manner of wildlife and fresh air. His youth sounds idyllic and his love of the outdoors has never abated.

I grew up in the land of large homes and sprinkler systems—a resident of a neighborhood that came complete with a country club. And, I loved it. I have wonderful memories of the friendships I made and the freedom I enjoyed.

We never expected to want to replicate these experiences for our own children. However, that’s exactly what happened. When our sons turned a certain age and we couldn’t simply open the back door and let them roam and explore and discover on their own, we were amazed at how heartbroken this made us. There was no backyard—just a brick patio in the middle of a busy, always on, always risky urban environment.

Well over a year ago now, we started planning our move away from the Washington, D.C.-area. Our daughter, Millie, was a delightful delay to our plans, so when she turned two months old, we decided the time was right to make a change. 

We sold our house and purchased another and will soon be settled near Richmond. We have found a new home that is simply perfect for our family. It is a home that I can envision spending a very long time in—a home that my children can return to again and again. It is cozy and warm and not too big and I can’t wait to get my hands on it! Our children and their education—both in school and out of school—have made this an easy decision.

There is no doubt that we will miss Del Ray. Throughout our years spent here, we came to rely on our neighbors and our neighborhood for support. The people are what make Del Ray such an amazing respite from the city that surrounds it. The people that invest in their homes, their businesses and their neighbors have propelled this community to its present success.

Writing this column for Del Ray Patch for the past 18 months has been a delight. I am one of those people that just adore houses. My mother and sisters share this genetic passion for all things shelter-related. And, there is almost no better community around for house lovers than Del Ray. From carefully restored kit cottages to new-build craftsman-styled two-stories, Del Ray is full of wonderful houses.

Thank you to all who have opened their homes to me for tours, patiently explained detailed histories of their properties or just plain pretended not to notice when they caught me looking in their windows when out walking with my kids.

We hope to return to Del Ray often. With so many dear friends here, I envision visiting frequently. Besides, the Del Ray House and Garden Tour is scheduled for May 19, and you know I’ll never pass up an opportunity to see more homes!

Bernardo Piereck April 30, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Best of luck in Richmond! Thanks for your articles on Patch!
Dana Damico April 30, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Good luck, Joanna. I hope and your family find everything you're looking for in your new home!

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