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Living Lakeside: Drawn to Water

For 15 years, Shobha Sahgal lived close enough only to see Fairview Lake in Falls Church, but three years ago she jumped at the opportunity to a move closer.

“You come home from work and you look out on the water and it just calms you down,” said Sahgal, who bought an end-unit townhouse right on the water. “It’s a great stress reliever.”

Sahgal has spent many hours walking the path that runs along the lake, watching “beautiful sunsets” and having lunch and tea near the water.

“I enjoy the birds and the geese, the herons that are in the water all the time, and just listening to the water – you can hear the sound of the fountain,” said Sahgal.

While having a lake view or being on the lake increases property value, people go wild for lakeside homes because of everything but money.

“It’s like coming home to a vacation everyday,” said Sherry Samadani, who, with her husband, has raised a family in a home on Lake Thoreau in Reston.

Lynda Orr, who lives in a townhouse with a view of Mercer Lake in Springfield, feels the same way.

“It’s almost like a beach if you like living close to water,” said Orr, who has lived in her property since 1989.

“People are just fascinated when they find out you’re by a lake,” said Orr. “There’s not a lot of water property around here.”

Orr, a birdwatcher, often sees wildlife around her home and near the lake. “There are a lot of blue herons down at the lake,” said Orr, who walks her dog, Joda, near the lake three or four times a day.

“There’s suppose to be osprey here, and I think I’ve seen them once,” she said. “There are some huge beavers that are fun to go out at dusk and watch.”

After living on Lake Thoreau for 27 years, Samadani can’t imagine waking up in the morning without seeing sunrays sparkle off the water and bounce into her home. Because of four man-made lakes, Reston has more waterfront homes and properties with lake views than most areas in Northern Virginia. Samadani’s view, which is almost 180 degrees, stretches down two long doglegs of the lake.

“The first thing we did when we moved there was buy a sailboat and I can tell you it got used almost every day,” said Samadani. “It is so nice to come home from a hectic day of work and sit outside by the lake and collect your thoughts.”

Ann Fry, who owns a townhouse on Huntsman Lake in Springfield, finds lakeside living tranquil, too. “For me it’s mesmerizing,” said Fry, who has lived on the lake since 1987. “We enjoy it because it’s very private – it’s almost like our own little world down here.”

In winter, Fry likes her views even more. “It’s better on a winter day because all the trees are clear,” said Fry, who has seen fox and deer in her backyard. “We have no curtains in the back because nobody’s there – it’s just the lake.

“We should have moved to a bigger, single-family home years ago, but nobody could get us out of this spot,” said Fry.