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Pool Season is Almost Here

Which of the 15 Reston Association Pools is your favorite? Everyone has one, and it’s not always the one they can walk too. Some have water features for children, some are all lap lanes. One is Olympic sized, others feature great shade.

Over the years, each pool has developed it’s own personality and attracts people for different reasons. You can see the full summer pool schedule here. Here’s a lowdown on what each pool offers so you can plan your day in the sun (or shade).

For children of all ages

  • Autumwood (11950 Walnut Branch Road, North Reston)
    This pool’s large wading area with a fountain is great for toddlers. There is also a covered picnic area and playground nearby.
  • Glade (11550 Glade Drive, South Reston)
    With a 20-foot slide, this pool is a favorite for kids of all ages! Parents can relax in the spa while the kids are sliding or diving off the 1-meter diving board. There is also a wading pool for the little ones
  • Hunters Woods (2501 Reston Parkway, South Reston)
    This pool features separate water basketball and volleyball areas, a diving board, and children’s splash area. For the parents, there is a large spa. The pool also features an ADA ramp into main pool.
  • North Hills (1325 North Village Road, North Reston)
    This pool features two shallow play areas, one of which has a fountain. For family day at the pool, there are also picnic tables, a grass beach area, and a picnic pavilion with grills. And don’t forget the spa!
  • North Shore (11515 North Shore Drive, North Reston)
    This heated pool is a family favorite. It opens early in the season and is the last pool to close in September. The pool features a spa, wading pool, ADA ramp to the pool deck, ADA hydrolift chair into the main pool, and shaded upper deck with picnic tables.
  • Shadowood (2201 Springwood Drive, South Reston)
    This is a smaller and quieter pool than Glade, but feature a small slide for the kids. There is also a wading pool and small picnic area.
  • Uplands (11032 Ring Road, North Reston)
    This is the premier pool for families with toddlers. The zero-depth children’s pool (0-3 feet deep) has interactive fountains, a cold-water spa, and an interactive sand pit. The pool also has an ADA in-water wheel chair.

For serious swimmers

  • Lake Newport (11601 Lake Newport Road, North Reston)
    This is Reston’s only 50 meter pool and is a favorite for serious swimmers. There is also a sand volleyball area, and two 1-meter diving boards, a wading pool, and a covered picnic area with grills.

For sun worshippers

With plenty of sunny spots, these pools are great if you want to get some serious rays.

  • Dogwood (2460 Green Range Road, South Reston)
  • Golf Course Island (11301 Links Drive, North Reston). There is also a large playground with grills next to the pool—perfect for summer parties.
  • Lake Audubon (2070 Twin Branches Road, South Reston). In addition to your pool amenities, there is a boat ramp to Lake Audubon nearby if you want to take out your canoe or sunfish.

For shade seekers

If you want to spend the day at the pool without spending a day in the sun, these pools are perfect for you.

  • Lake Thoreau (2040 Upper Lake Drive, South Reston)
  • Newbridge (11758 Golf Course Square, South Reston)
  • Ridge Heights (11400 Ridge Heights Road, South Reston). This pool is heated. It opens early in the season and is one of the last pools to close.
  • Tall Oaks (12025 North Shore Drive, North Reston)

For spa lovers

If you love the Jacuzzi as much as the swim, visit these pools:

  • Glade
  • Hunters Woods
  • Lake Thoreau
  • North Hills
  • North Shore

Pool Passes and Alerts

You can follow Reston Association on Facebook and Twitter and get up-to-date schedule information; this can be handy when you’re wondering if that storm coming through will close the pools. Facility closures that affect a pool for more than two days will be posted here as well.

You do need your pool pass to use the pools, and fortunately you can buy them online. Just click here.

Maybe I’ll see you at the pool.

Heather Knoll Cluster, North Reston

heather knollFor families with young children, living on a cul de sac is great because it provide a safe place for the children to play. Perhaps that’s why the families I work with love Heather Knoll Cluster in North Reston.

Designed by Berry & Co., Heather Knoll Cluster was built in the early 1990s. It is a small community of 52 townhouses distributed among 13 buildings. Each home has a traditional brick front with fine detailing, classic cedar siding and elegant trim. The homes come in three different styles, with variations in room sizes and overall square footage. They are all two levels with a basement, three bedrooms, and two and half bath. They also each have a one-car garage — a bonus for Reston townhomes — and privacy fences separating the yards. And they have fireplaces!

Heather Knoll Cluster is located on Woodbrook Court off of Woodbrook Lane and Wiehle Avenue in the North Point area of Reston. The neighborhood is close to the Fairfax County Parkway and Route 7.

The surrounding area has wonderful walking paths and plenty of trees and nature. North Hills pool and tennis courts are about a five-minute walk, and North Point Village a 10 to 15 minute walk (depending on how fast you walk).

This is the perfect neighborhood for anyone who wants something slightly off the beaten path, but still wants to have all the amenities of Reston easily accessible.

 

You Can Appeal a DRB Decision

A friend of mine had her Reston Association Design Review Board application denied this week, and she was not very happy about that. I told her not to fret; she can appeal the decision. Here is how:

How to Appeal a DRB Decision

Your rejection letter will indicate why the DRB rejected your project, and indicate what changes you need to show. Once you pull that information together, you can submit it and get in the queue for a meeting.

Good things to know: To appeal a DRB decision, you must be either the applicant or a registered Affected Party. And the DRB will hear only one appeal of a decision.

You have 15 days after the notice of a decision has been mailed to get your appeal letter to the DRB Secretary. All requests for appeals must be submitted in writing to your covenants advisor.

After that, the Secretary will schedule the appeal to the next available full Design Review Board. DRB decisions may be overturned on appeal for either or both of two reasons:

  • If the original reviewer(s) misapplied specific guidelines or DRB-approved cluster standards.
  • If there is new and/or additional design information that was not available to the original reviewer(s).

Typically, the appeal decision becomes the final decision.

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Celebrate the Lake Anne Coffee House Grand Opening!

lake anne coffee house grand opening

When I’m not helping people find their dream home in Reston, I’m spending time with my family at our coffee shop and wine bar at Lake Anne. That’s right—about a year ago, our family purchased the Lake Anne Coffee Shop, remodeled it, and added a wine bar into the mix. And this weekend is our official Grand Opening!

We’ve been open since November, but we wanted to wait until the summer farmer’s market and craft markets opened to have our Grand Opening Weekend, because to us, that’s when Lake Anne really shines.

We are celebrating with new spring menu items, including our already-famous spinach salad with strawberries and goat cheese and the very best basil-mint balsamic dressing EVER. We also have added some great summer whites and rosés to the menu. Personally, I’m most excited about the seasonal signature craft cocktails. They will be unique to us, most importantly, they are super tasty. Not to worry, we will also have house made lemonades with some unique twists (basil-blueberry lemonade), new iced teas, matcha (hot and iced), and cold brew and tonic (it's good, I swear).

What I’m most excited for is the BIG EVENT:

WINE DINNER — SUNDAY MAY 7TH 6PM. $75 (before tax and gratuity)

Kate NorrisJoin us for a 4-course, seasonal dinner by Chef Meagan. Each course paired with a wine from Division Winemaking Company.  Wine maker Kate Norris will be in attendance to discuss her wines. This is going to be great.

Reservations required, no menu substitutions. Call 703-481-9766 to make your reservation.

It will be the first of many wine dinners we hope to do with all of the interesting winemakers represented on our wine list. We hope to see you!

Urban Pop Brings Spark to Reston Station

urban popDrudgery is a good way to describe the afternoon commute. That is unless you have something fun to look forward to at the end of your metro ride.

For those who are using the Silver Line to commute these days, there is something to look forward to when you get off the train at Reston Station — Urban Pop. This is a brilliant concept. Urban pop is a collection of tiny shops on the plaza. By tiny, I mean maybe 100 square feet. They’re only open during the afternoon commute and they offer high-quality gifts for people who may not have time to go shopping for a bottle of wine for dinner, a good book to read, a chocolate treat or a nice, calming tea.

The Urban Pop website describes this fun concept as “a fresh retail revolution packed with talent, innovation and attitude that puts creativity and energy where it belongs — in the neighborhood, on the plaza, and accessible to everyone. A unique mix of food, fashion, lifestyle and entertainment.”

These shops are great. I also love that these small retailers have an opportunity to test their concept without committing to a big lease in a retail center. Really, everyone benefits. And the shops are adorable. I know people who shop at them even when they’re not riding the metro. If you find yourself by Reston Station in the afternoon, drop by. And in the summer, there is live entertainment and family movie nights. It’s a fun and festive place.

Urban Pop Retailers

urban pop shopsOPEN: Monday-Friday 3-8 PM

Lakeside Cluster, Lake Anne, Reston

lakeside cluster townhomeI’m partial to Lake Anne neighborhoods. I can’t help it; it’s my neighborhood and I think these little communities are beautiful. They’re also convenient to all the amenities Reston has to offer — including the restaurants at Lake Anne. Lakeside Cluster is one of these gorgeous communities.

Most of the attention around Lake Anne focuses on the famous Waterview Cluster. As a result, Lakeside Cluster doesn’t get as much attention. The community is okay with that. This is a friendly, quiet, unassuming neighborhood.

Lakeside Cluster has the same amenities all of the neighborhoods that border Reston’s Lake Anne share — access to the lake, a quick walk to Lake Anne Village Center, well-designed homes (many of which are direct lakefront).

These townhomes were built between 1965 and 1969. The 90 units are two and three levels with two to four bedrooms. They also have garages (which makes them different than most of their Lake Anne neighbors). All homes have lake access via a trail to the cluster dock, even if they are not direct lakefront property.

The Cluster couldn’t be positioned better. It is located on Greenbriar Road and Orchard Lane off Fairway Drive, which is the south shore of Lake Anne. Fairway Drive provides easy access to both North Shore Drive and Wiehle Avenue.

lakeside cluster dockFor families with children, the cluster is an easy walk to Lake Anne Elementary. Children also attend Langston Hughes Middle and South Lakes High School. For the parents, Lake Side Cluster is only 1.5 miles to the Reston Station Metro, and a short hop to Reston Town Center and the Toll Road. And, of course, a five minute walk to Lake Anne Village Center — home of the Lake Anne Brew House, Lake Anne Coffee House and Wine Bar, Reston Farmer’s Market and several other awesome mom-and-pop restaurants.

Photos from the Lakeside Cluster website: https://www.lakesidecluster.org/

Getting Your Exterior Project Approved: the DRB

If you’re living in Reston, chances are you are a member of Reston Association. That means if you want to make a change to the exterior of your home, you’ll need the approval of the Reston Association Design Review Board (DRB). A few weeks ago I posted on blog on how to get your exterior project approved.  

The process really isn’t hard, but it still seems to fill people with dread. I’m not sure why. I find working the DRB very easy. I’m not just saying that because I’m on the RA board. For years I have helped my clients (and friends and neighbors) get the changes to their homes approved. I have discovered three simple tips for making the whole process smooth sailing.

1. Don’t assume that what your neighbor did is ok

It is not fun to get a letter from RA saying you’re in violation of design standards, even though your neighbor has the same deck or new windows. In most cases, had the homeowner shown the plans to the DRB, the plans would have been approved with just a minor adjustment — saving the homeowner a lot of money and time in the long run.

The moral is: don't assume because your neighbor has done something that it is okay. If you want to build an addition or make an alteration, contact RA and go through the design review process. The time you spend upfront will save you time and money later.

2. Follow the Process

My second piece of advice for homeowners is to simply follow the process. It can feel slow, but it’s the surest way to get your project approved. The Reston Association website provides very detailed information about what the DRB covers, how to fill out the application, and who to talk to if you have questions. (Hint, it’s your covenants advisor. Call 703-435-6530 to find yours.)

3. Take advantage of the Covenants Advisors

The biggest asset you have in the DRB process is your covenants advisor. They know your neighborhood and what the DRB is looking for. They are a tremendous resource when it comes to planning your alteration/addition. Work with them from the beginning. Some of the things they’ll do for you include:

  • Sending you the guidelines or cluster standards that relate to your project
  • Advising you about the information you will need to provide with your application
  • Explaining how the review process works and what level of review and application will be necessary
  • Giving you an estimate of how long the review process might take for your project

The DRB plays an important role in upholding the design standards that make Reston so unique. I think you’ll find that within the design standards, there is still room for creativity. So enjoy the process — and enjoy the changes to your home!

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The Trails of Reston

trails of restonWhat are you doing this Sunday (April 9)? May I suggest grabbing a cup of coffee and heading down to cheer on the people running in the Runner’s Marathon of Reston? It’s a hard and hilly course (so I’m told), and the runners love the boost from the crowd. Here is a link to the map.

Maybe spending some time along the Reston trails will inspire you to run or walk on them. To me, the 55 miles of footpaths that Reston Association maintains are one of the defining features of Reston.

The trails cover every neighborhood in Reston, and walking, running or biking them is a great way to get to know the community. RA has maps on their website, or you can use the wonderful interactive map Fairfax County has of all the paths. I like this tool because it lets you plan your route before you head out. Here are a few of my favorite walks about town — but don’t stop with these.

  • Town Center to Lake Anne, North Reston. This walk is just shy of 1.5 miles and winds through a few of North Reston’s original neighborhoods — Coleson Cluster and Hickory Woods. It’s fun to start at Lake Anne, grabbing breakfast at the Lake Anne Coffee House and shopping at the Farmer’s Market (starting in early May and going through November), then walking up to Town Center for lunch.
  • Lake Thoreau Loop, South Reston. This loop is just over 2 miles and circles around charming Lake Thoreau and past the Reston Regional Golf Course. Begin and end your loop at South Lakes Village with a coffee or delicious lunch at Red’s Table or Café Sano.
  • North Point Loop, North Reston. This is a 4-mile loop for those who want a little more exercise. This trail is great because it really gives you a sense of the North Point community. I recommend starting at Lake Newport pool. These trails take you through several charming neighborhoods, and you’ll notice an abundance of RA pools and tennis courts (in fact, if you do this in the summer, pop into one of the pools for a refreshing dip). After your brisk walk, cross the street over to North Point Village for coffee, ice cream, or lunch!
  • Walker Nature Education Center and Glade, South Reston. There are many options for a walk from here. From the Center, follow the trailhead and see where it takes you! There is a short loop (probably ½ mile), or you can venture off on the RA path that follows Glade. Whatever you choose, you will feel like you are miles from civilization. It’s a wonderful place to recharge.
  • Tall Oaks to Lake Fairfax Park, North Reston. I’m not entirely sure how long this walk is, but the park loop takes about ½ hour — longer if you’re with a dog who needs to investigate all the great smells. Park at Tall Oaks Village Center, cross under the underpass and head toward the wooden bridge. When you hit a dirt trailhead, take a left and follow the trail into Lake Fairfax Park. You’ll cross a little creek and then the path opens to what is a large loop. Go left or right and just follow it around. It’s a gorgeous walk in the woods! Just be careful — mountain bikers train here. They’re very courteous, but they’re also usually going pretty fast!

What you’ll soon find is you can have any type of walk or run you want in Reston — relaxing and easy, or very challenging. And you can get anywhere you need or want to go on foot. It’s always fun to discover a new trail and see where it takes you.

How to Get Your Exterior Project Done (or at least approved)

Spring is in the air and people are thinking about all the ways they want to spruce up the outside of their homes. It’s exciting. But in Reston, it may not be fast. If you are part of Reston Association, that plan is going to have to be approved, and it takes time. Here is a primer on the RA Design Review Board application process.

First, this is not something you need to dread. The DRB application procedures are very easy to follow. It just takes a little bit of time. But you will have help along the way: the Covenant’s Advisors are one of Reston homeowners’ greatest resources that nobody knows about. They are here to help make the design review process the easiest part of your renovation project.

DRB application procedures

The Reston Associate website has all the phone numbers and forms you need. Here is a recap of the DRB application procedures.

1. Contact RA to find out who your Covenant’s Advisor is. They’ll meet with you and advise you on your project and everything you’ll need for your application.

2. Submit your application. The application can be found on the RA website. The application includes the following:

  • A detailed written description of the proposed exterior modification or addition
  • Scale drawings
  • A site plan showing the size and location of project
  • Photographs of the existing condition
  • A brochure, detail sheet or catalog photo of materials
  • Estimated project completion date
  • Signatures of at least three different property owners adjacent to or within view of your alteration or improvement. If your property is located within a Cluster Association, at least one of the signatures must be that of a Cluster Officer. 

Bring in or mail your application to the Reston Association.

4. Property Visit
RA staff and/or members of the DRB may visit and possibly photograph your property for reference.

5. Attend the DRB review panel meeting
While not all projects go in front of the DRB review panel, if your project does require it, you should plan on attending the meeting. Your Covenant’s Advisor can you let you know when it’s on the agenda.

Those are the basic steps. If your application is rejected, you can appeal the decision. Or you can revise the plans to meet RA Design Covenants and Guidelines and resubmit your application. However, if you work with your Covenant’s Advisor and follow the RA guidelines, your project should be approved and you are on your way!

What do you have planned? Let me know.

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Newport Springs Cluster, North Reston

Newport Springs Cluster, photo from Zillow.comBack in the late 1980s, the face of North Reston changed. In 1989, Newport Springs Cluster joined the collection of close communities that line Reston Parkway. Newport Springs is a community of 28 townhouses designed with Folk Victorian architecture, homes that are relatively plain in construction and then embellished with decorative trim.

Grouped into six buildings fronting Newport Spring Court, the street meanders in a wide curve with a cul-de-sac at the end—providing privacy and safety as there is no through street. 

The homes are three stories high with a garage on the first level and a flight of stairs leading to the front entry on the second floor. The end units have wrap around porches; the others have recessed front entries. The three-bedroom homes range in size from 1,400 to 1,550 square feet.  The lot sizes range from around 1,500 to 2,200 square feet.

Located off Lake Newport Road between Reston Parkway and Fairfax County Parkway, Newport Springs Cluster is walking distance to North Point Village Center. There you’ll find a Giant food store, Starbucks, restaurants, gym, gas station, and more.

This is a great neighborhood for a growing family.