By the early evening hours, when the sunset transforms the Northern Virginia sky into the mellowing colors of a pinkish tie-dyed T-shirt, much of the fishing, swimming and boating on Lake Audubon in Reston draws to a close. The scene unfolds beneath weeping willows. Pontoon boats and canoes glide atop Reston's largest man-made lake, heading for the docks. Families pack up the remains of a summer picnic on a small pier. Children in swimsuits cling to colorful flotation devices while making their way out of the water.

Looking down on the lake's western banks are several town house developments with more than 150 units. On street maps the area is listed as Cabots Point. It is, however, an area made up of a handful of separate town house communities with names such as South Bay, Cabots Point and Cedar Cove.

All were built in the early- to mid-1980s and share a distinctive contemporary design that deviates from the traditional colonial house designs associated with the Virginia suburbs. The architecture of the town houses at Cabots Point features sharp right angles and sun-drenched cedar siding.

Instead of the adjoining walls that are typical of most town house developments, these units are attached by two-car garages. Landscaped yards and common areas with ivy and other plants add to the wooded setting. The town houses, which come with one or two decks, are staggered along winding, narrow cul-de-sacs that give the impression of a small village. While some of the units have a lake view, others are built higher on the sloping grounds.

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