For Glenda Hutchison and Jerry Lawson, discovering Fredericksburg was a life-changing event. Passing through town one day on their way home to Washington, they did a little exploring and both arrived at the same conclusion: “Wouldn’t this be a nice place to live?”

That was 1991, and within a week or two, Hutchison was back in the area looking for a home.

“We thought it would be a great place to raise our daughter and to get away from the city,” she said. “And when we found this place, it was like a dream come true.”

“This place” is 6103 River Road in Spotsylvania, a brick home on 3.25 acres that dates to 1980. Sitting on a bluff above the Rappahannock River, the site offers river views when the leaves are off the trees. This time of year, with the trees and surroundings so green and lush, there’s a feeling of “tree-top living,” as the owners refer to it, thanks to the home’s elevation.

Lawson notes that you can’t help but become a birder, with all of the surrounding trees and the river nearby. So they’ve got a bluebird house that’s occupied every year and feeders that attract all kinds.

“We’ve had grosbeaks, scarlet tanagers, cardinals, woodpeckers and finches,” he said, as a goldfinch arrived right on cue. “We had a hawk swoop through the other day.”

There’s no doubt Hutchison and Lawson will find it hard to leave their piece of heaven along the river. But they also know that it’s a lot of home and grounds to maintain for just the two of them.

So they’ve decided to list it for sale with Kevin Michael Breen of Coldwell Banker Elite in Fredericksburg. The asking price is $1.2 million.

The house has a deceivingly modest appearance at the end of the driveway off River Road. It is soon apparent, however, that like the proverbial iceberg, there is much you don’t see. Due to its hillside location, the home has a self-sufficient lower level that opens to a rear patio and pool that are seriously inviting.

Altogether, the house has more than 4,300 square feet of living space, evenly divided on the two levels. There are four bedrooms, three full bathrooms and a half bath.

A tour of the house gives the impression that certain areas have been remodeled or refreshed, and there’s a reason for that.

Two years ago, on Father’s Day 2017, Lawson said he was called into the house by his concerned wife, who reported a “crackling sound” above a ceiling. He immediately smelled smoke and when he opened the attic, it was evident from the smoke that there was a fire—more than his household fire extinguisher could handle.

Firefighters from Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania contained the fire quickly, limiting the actual fire damage. But there was significant water damage in the aftermath. The couple praises the work of firefighters, who managed to protect and save many furnishings and a lot of clothing. They also praise the work of Jenkins Restorations, who, along with ServiceMaster of Fredericksburg, made their home like new again. As part of the reconstruction work, the culprit electrical circuit and the home’s entire electrical system were replaced. The couple also got a completely new bathroom and some remodeling improvements they’d wanted.

“Everyone did an amazing job,” Lawson said, adding that six months later, the couple ended up with about 60 percent new house.

Today, the house is as bright and well-appointed as it ever was. The piano and all the antiques and furniture pieces the couple has collected from their travels over the years are as handsome as ever.

The main level of the home is the more formal of the two. The front door, with sidelights, opens to the foyer with its marble floor and a nice sight line through the living room to a bow window overlooking the rear of the property.

Main-level living areas have crown molding and new, rich-looking scraped hardwood floors. To the right of the foyer is the dining room, which has a fireplace and is equipped with a granite wet bar.

Behind the dining room is the kitchen, appointed with granite counters, stainless steel appliances and off-white cabinetry. There’s plenty of space for a breakfast table in here as well. Adjacent to the kitchen is what the couple calls the morning room, a bright space with waist-high shadowbox wainscoting.

Also on this level are three bedrooms, including the master suite and two secondary bedrooms that share a hallway bath. Nearby is an enclosed alcove that holds the laundry machines as well as access to the attached, oversized two-car garage.

The lower level offers a more casual take on living space, with a wide-open floor plan, ceramic tile flooring and access the patio and pool. There’s space for seating and game tables in the large recreation area.

There’s a full kitchen down here and a wood stove to keep things cozy. Also on this level is a guest bedroom, with its own patio access, and a full bathroom.

The house is served by two water heaters, a well-water treatment system, a central vacuum system and a home security system.

Outside is plenty of space to be enjoyed. The pool is surrounded by a concrete patio and wood deck, and next to that is pergola-style gazebo. Landscaping surrounds the house and the aforementioned trees provide both privacy and tranquility. A grassy area called “the Meadow” has been the scene of a wedding or two.

Who better than owner Hutchison to share her own fondness for the property in the listing’s narrative: “Turning onto this property gives you the sense of entering another world, far from the hectic pace of city living.... [T]he noise abates and you are surrounded by a forest of one hundred year old trees, beautiful landscaping and the sound of birds. You get the sense you are at a retreat.”

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Richard Amrhine: 540/374-5406

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