Stafford, That Sleepy Little Big Town

What makes Stafford Virginia such a unique place in sprawling Northern Virginia.

Nestled in northern Virginia, just south of Quantico on the famous Route 1 is the town of Stafford, Virginia.  This is a town steeped in local history.  Founded in 1664 Stafford is now a bustling suburb in the midst of rapid population growth and Development. “It’s a great mix of urban, suburban and country living,” College student Robyn Shutts, graduate of Brook Point High School stated, “and we’re right in the middle.”

Aquia Landing
Aquia Landing Park – Stafford Beach (Photo: S.K. Allen)

Being at the crossroads of commerce during colonial times and in the center of the Civil War, Stafford is Steeped in the nation’s history.  It was the childhood home of President George Washington, it was the hub of Virginia’s commerce transporting goods, and slaves.  It became the gateway to freedom when it became the location of the “Trail to Freedom” The path where 10,000 slaves found freedom by walking to Aquia Landing and boarding steamboats north when the Union Army came through Stafford.  It was also a cultural center when Artist Gari Melcher settled there with his young wife.  It held the quarry that provided the material to build most of the government buildings in the nation’s capital.

Stafford, Virginia, sits about 45 miles south of Washington D.C. it has a population of 139,992 and growing. The demographics of the town is a mixed bag of ages, the median age being 35, and the median household income is 75,000 and above. The major employers in the area include the FBI, the Department of Defense, and other facets of the US Government just to name a few.

So Stafford is a place where Families come to in a transitionary state.  They are coming here because they have School for their Military skills at Quantico.  Or even school to enter into the FBI.  We have Agents of the Secret Service that take up residence here as well and all of their families (spouses and children) that make this place their home either temporarily or have chosen it to retire here and transition into more permanent Government positions.

“I have loved every year of the 13 we have lived here. We made a great choice.”–Martha Oberheu Fard

“We settled in Stafford because at that time, we couldn’t afford anything closer to the city where Hubby works.” Says Martha Oberheu Fard, Emergency Room Nurse at Mary Washington Hospital, “We did research on property values and crime rates, and really thought it would be a good place to race our family.”  The Fards have three children.  “The fact that it was so close to Military base and had many law enforcement departments represented, we felt a calm sense of security. I have loved every year of the 13 we have lived here. We made a great choice.”   Not many people that live in Stafford are from Stafford.  So there is an eclectic gathering of middle-class people mingling and making friends that have found this place and called it home.

There is so much to learn there and it is close to everything.   For the past few years, Stafford (town and County) has been going through major redevelopment.  As Stafford is an interesting balance between Small town and sprawling suburbia. 

There is rarely a time where you enter an establishment and you don’t know at least one person.  You may not know everyone, but you know enough.  But there are drawbacks to the area, that for some, Makes Stafford the best place to be stuck. “I love the people I serve in ministry, and my friends.  And I like that If I want anything at 3am I can drive to a 24-hour store.”  Rev. Kim Lindeman said.  She has settled in Stafford after her husband’s retirement from the Marine Corps.  “BUT NO- I dislike living in this area.  I miss home.  The density of people.  There’s waiting, waiting, waiting everywhere I go!  I miss the small town mom-and-pop(ness) of home.”

The traffic is frantic in the area, with its population growth largely related to government agencies, Traffic is directly related to Washington DC Traffic patterns. The Stafford County Board of supervisors is looking into public and private partnerships to redevelop the area to provide more opportunities for businesses and recreation.  There are plans to widen and expand major thoroughfares, and attract more private redevelopment by transforming a community shopping center into a mixed-use development so that people will work and live in Stafford and thus alleviating traffic.  There are plans for more entertainment venues. Whether by choice or by chance, It’s no wonder this sleepy little big town has become home for many who settle here.



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