By: Pat Winter
Former residents of Virginia Beach, Dennis and Carla Sobota are now the newest residents of Randolph Village, but from the time of their first visit until their move here last spring, twelve years has gone by. “The first time through the gate, we knew this is where we wanted to be. It was so peaceful and just felt like home. I can’t explain it any better than that,” comments Carla.
It sounds like love at first sight. So why did it take twelve years for them to make the move?
Life in Virginia Beach was keeping them there. Both were busy with their careers, Carla as an interior designer and Dennis as a professional engineer . Too, they had designed their Virginia home and were worried they were not ready to leave it. However by 2012 when they had both retired, the Sobotas began to realize it was time to consider making that trip through our gate a daily occurrence. Traffic congestion and community changes were making it easy to decide this was the time to make the move, but the real estate market in Virginia Beach kept them there a few years longer. Carla and Dennis lived in a small community with only twenty-nine houses along the Elizabeth River. Putting their house on the market in that location was tricky, as there were no “comps,” comparable houses a realtor could use to evaluate their home. Unfortunately, their first attempt at selling was unsuccessful and they eventually took the house off the market.
Last January a home in Albemarle Plantation’s Randolph’s Village caught their eye, and they knew it was time to try their chances with the real estate market again. Luckily, the market had turned around and their house sold quickly, the Sobotas joined us officially last May, twelve years after their initial visit!
Before life on the Albemarle Sound, Dennis worked at Clark Nexsen, Architects and Engineers, as a registered engineer retiring in 2012. A graduate of both Penn State and the University of Pittsburgh, he enlisted in the Army and later the Navy for a combined service record of over thirty years. He has always loved construction, especially working with quality control and contracts, a subject he taught at Old Dominion University in their Continuing Engineering Education Certificate program. Even today he enjoys working part-time.
Carla started her career in administrative support at the Virginia National Bank. She met Dennis when they were both employed by the then Sovran Bank, in the Facilities Management Department. But after many mergers, they both left the banking business, Dennis joining Clark Nexsen and Carla working as a contracts administrator. Her love of design and color, however, pushed her to return to school and complete her degree in Interior design.
Now you can find Dennis working around his garage or planning home projects, while Carla puts the finishing touches on the interior makeover on their home. The Sobotas, who categorize themselves as “crafty,” love to make holiday decorations as well as other projects they admire in the stores. And the result is charming, filling their home with unique creations. And if you’ve been to the Clubhouse over the holidays, you surely have noticed the wonderful train set in the Grill Room. This is only one of Dennis’s trains, and he is delighted with the opportunity to share it with Clubhouse patrons this holiday season. Here’s an insider secret: the buildings in the train yard were built to scale by Dennis using TJ Maxx’s bird houses that he converted! While both Carla and Dennis also admit to being “homebodies,” Carla is an avid reader and has joined the Sangria Sisters Book Club. And Dennis has joined the Italian Club primarily to learn the language, but also because he enjoys delicious Italian cuisine.
When you get a chance to meet the Sobotas, be sure to ask Dennis about the antique Harley Davidson golf cart he is restoring in his garage and ask Carla about their seven grandchildren. Lastly, be sure to welcome them “home.” It really is about time!