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The Tall Oaks Center Project

Beauty or blight? Tall Oaks Village Center has been considered both. Blight mostly because most of the stores have been empty for years. In December of 2014, McLean-based Jefferson Apartment Group purchased the Tall Oaks Center and almost immediately announced plans to redevelop it for mixed residential and commercial uses.

Not everyone in the neighborhood was happy about that. But, just about a year ago (January 26, 2016), the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the final redevelopment plan.

One of the questions from local residents was whether an anchor grocery store would be part of the plan — many in the surrounding area miss being able to walk to the store. In the spring of 2016, a retail marketing analysis concluded that a grocery store anchor is not a viable option to include in the redevelopment project. So what exactly is going in there? Well, without a grocery store, it seems retail space isn’t viable either. The report indicates there will be 7,500 square feet of space for restaurants. There will also be open spaces and a water feature for children to play in.

I have no doubt the development will be beautiful. It would be nice if there was some retail for local residents, but by now they’ve gotten used to traveling to shop. I do wonder what restaurants will go in. It’s fun to speculate.

Here is a video tour of the proposed plan.

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Last Minute Valentine's Day Ideas

Did you remember to make plans for Valentine’s Day tonight? If not, you are not alone. My friend owns Rejuvenations Massage Therapy in Herndon and around 6 p.m. every Valentine’s day they sell a ton of gift certificates. So, yes, people forget to plan for this day. But don’t worry. These last minute ideas will save the day (or evening).

Have a Gourmet Picnic at Home

Roll out your favorite blanket, dim the light and open a bottle of wine. Then serve some delicious gourmet treats. It’s almost like you’re on the lawn at Wolf Trap. There are many great gourmet food stores, and likely one or two near your office. See About.com’s list of top gourmet food stores in the area.

Get Your Honey Some Chocolate and Wine

Stop by Chesapeake Chocolates at Lake Anne and buy your honey some delectable chocolates and a bottle of Virginia wine. If you’ve never sampled these gourmet chocolates, do yourself a favor and buy a box for yourself too. And since everyone knows red wine and chocolate are a match made in heaven, get a couple bottles of Virginia wines too.

Venture into the City for a Night at the Spy Museum

The Spy Museum's Valentine's day event, Sex(pionage): Spies, Lies, and Naked Thighs (The Valentine Edition) starts at 6:00 p.m. Intelligence expert Keith Melton reveals how spys (both real and fictional) use seduction as a tool to attract and manipulate assets and targets. What fun! The event includes a complimentary cocktail, sweet treats, and lock picking tips (because you just never know when that will come in handy). Tickets: $35 (Members: $25).

What's Happening with Reston Development: More Changes for RTC

The Reston skyline is changing faster than you can wonder what is next. Some Restonians think this is good, others not so much. I think much of the development happening is pretty exciting.

There are two areas really going through changes, both in North Reston. The first is by the Wiehle Metro and the second is by Reston Town Center. In fact, by the end of this year, neither of those areas will look at all like they do today.

In a Reston Now article last week, Dave Emke reported on some more proposed development around the Town Center. It looks like property owner Renaissance Centro wants to tear down the three-story office building at 1801 Old Reston Avenue (with is on the corner of Reston Parkway and Temporary Road) and add another high-density high-rise with around 120 units. As opposed to much of the real estate in Reston Town Center, these would be condos vs apartments. Of those units, 24 would be workforce dwelling (a program in Fairfax County designed to give income-qualified households the opportunity to live at a reduced rent in some of the new privately owned and operated market rate apartments communities).

As with all of the dwellings built in Town Center, these will be upscale units. Amenities include a grand lobby, a resident lounge and party room, a fitness center, and a rooftop amenity package.

Renaissance Centro built The Harrison to the north and Stratford House to the south, and the nearby Carlton House.

The property will need to be rezoned from commercial to planned residential mixed-use for this development to happen. According to the Fairfax County website, the public hearing before the county Planning Commission has been tentatively scheduled for Sept. 28. So, if you have an opinion about this development, mark that date on your calendar. And let me know in the comments what you think about this proposal.

Welcome the New Year 2017

Glass of Wine - Celebrating New Years in RestonHere we are at the end of another year, which the holidays for the most part behind us. I must admit, I am really looking forward to New Year’s Eve. I think the coming year is going to be amazing. I’ll be ringing it in at my family’s coffee shop/wine bar that opened in November (the Lake Anne Coffee House and War Bar). I hope you join us, or perhaps visit one our Lake Anne neighbors.

Lake Anne Coffee House:

Ring in the new year with Lake Anne Coffee House and Wine Bar! We are offering a rare vintage wine flight dating back to 1997 for $35. Chef Meagan will be offering a small plate of delicious bites paired with the flight (priced separately). We have a very limited amount of flights, so please reserve yours by pre paying at the Coffee House or calling 703-481-9766. Regular wine and food menu available, and a Champagne toast on the house for all who are with us at midnight!

We’ll also be open on New Year’s Day, so come sit by the fire with a fresh cup of coffee.

Kalypso’s Sports Tavern

Join Vicky and the gang for a great party! NO COVER! DJ Kram will be spinning the tunes, and they’ll have free party favors. Make it a whole evening with an optional 4-course meal. Make your reservations today: http://www.kalypsossportstavern.com/reservations

Lake Anne Brew House

They’re having a private event in the evening BUT will be open until 6:00 p.m. So I think you should wander down there in the afternoon for one of their amazing craft beers, go home and take a nap, and then come back down to party with us.

Summitt Chase Cluster, North Reston

Summitt Chase ClusterThe North Point area of Reston is a wonderful community. Most of it was built in the 1980s, and there is a range of homes styles. The Summitt Chase townhouses are a lovely community of 127 two-story Ranch townhomes built in 1988. The homes range in size from 1,300 to 1,700 square feet of living space. The cluster features several designs, some with a dormer, a side entrance, or a split level. Some homes have a porch, others have columns, a balustrade, a portico, or a door with a lintel. All have multi-paned hung windows with shutters.

Like many of the neighborhoods in North Point, Summitt Chase is located on an elevated, wide open setting with beautiful landscaping in the common areas. The homes are placed in groups of four, five, or six, with plenty of surrounding space and set back from the road for more privacy. Each townhouse has a walkway and front yard.

One of the nicest features of living in Reston is access to the 55-mile network of multi-use trails. The North Point Loop is the closest to Summitt Chase Cluster, and you will see neighborhood residents walking their dogs there daily. You can also use the trail to walk the half mile to North Point Village Center (with a Giant, Starbucks, restaurants and other retail shops).

Reston Town Center is just a quick drive down Reston Parkway, as is the Dulles Toll Road. Really, you can’t the location!

Learn more on the community’s website: www.summittchasecluster.org.

(Image courtesy of the Summitt Chase Cluster website.)

So Grateful for All of You This Thankskgiving

Thanksgiving in RestonThanksgiving is upon us, and I have so very much to be grateful for this year. A little over a year ago, my family purchased the Lake Anne Coffee House and embarked on the adventure of our lives.

When I say adventure, I am not exaggerating. We completely renovated the space, and that was no small task. We encountered problems along the way (as anyone who has ever opened a retail business could have predicted), and that kept pushing our opening date back. And then the day came when we were ready.

In early November, we opened our doors. It’s a soft opening—we’re still playing with the menu and getting the finishing touches in place. But we are open and we are blown away by the support we are receiving from the community. Truly, it makes me cry. I am blessed to know so many wonderful people, and now to get to see them every day.

My daughters will be running the operation—Erin is an experienced restaurant manager and Megan is an exceptional chef. The Lake Anne Coffee House is in good hands.

My real estate office is located on the second floor (behind the wine bar), and I expect to meet many clients in the coffee shop or the wine bar. We’ll be launching our website soon. In the meantime, follow us on Facebook.

Have a fantastic Thanksgiving.

Take a Trip Down Lawyers Road in South Reston

November Lane, Lawyers RoadMany of the street names in Reston seem odd until you know why they got that name. Temporary Road cracks people up (it was, literally, a dirt road connecting North shore and Reston Avenue, but the locals used it and it became permanent). Lawyers Road is one of those street names. So I thought I’d let you in on how it got that name. Way back when, there was one road that led from the Northwestern county towns to the Fairfax County Courthouse. Every day, the lawyers would travel down that winding road to go to court. Hence, Lawyers Road. That is your fun Reston fact for the day.

I imagine Lawyers Road looks much the same today as it did 100 years ago. This twisting, winding, hilly and tree-lined state road embodies the beauty of Northern Virginia. As do the single family homes with a Lawyers Road address—you will see large lots that sit well of the street, surrounded by woods (and the occasional horse paddock).

There are several charming streets that house tight-knit communities of people who take pride in their neighborhood — such as November Lane, Steeplechase, Myrtle Lane, Charlestown, and more. Each street has it’s own style and community feel and range from small “starter” homes to larger estates. What they all have in common is natural beauty and friendly neighbors. Each neighborhood has easy access to Reston’s walking paths — making it perfect for families that enjoy the outdoors.

Lawyers Road is still the fastest way to get to old town Vienna, where you can visit antique shops and enjoy fine dining.

But that’s only if you choose to leave Reston. Lawyers Road intersects with Twin Branches, making it a quick jaunt to Lake Audubon, Lake Thoreau, and South Lakes Village Center. Or jump on Soapstone for a quick trip to the Walker Nature Education Center and South Lakes High School. It also ends at Reston Parkway at Fox Mill Center.

If you’re looking for a community of single-family homes that is in Reston, but slightly removed from the hustle and bustle, look at the areas surrounding Lawyers Road.

Where to Vote in Reston

Today is Election Day, and I hope every eligible voter in Reston has register and is ready to cast a vote in this very important election. It’s too late to register in Virginia (I wish we had same day voter-registration, but we don’t). However, I have found over the years that many of my clients who are new to the area aren’t sure where they’re supposed to vote. So, to honor this day, here is information on how to find your polling place.

Your voter information card lists the name and address of your voting location (polling place).

However, if you still aren’t sure where to go, the Virginia Department of Elections website has an on-line form to help you find your polling place called Where do I vote?. This on-line form provides your precinct code based on the address you submit. You can then check out this online map of the district polling places to find you spot.

If you can't locate your polling place, or if you have any questions about where you should vote on election day, please call 703-222-0776.

What You Need to Have With You

Lost your voter ID card? Well, you don’t actually have to have it to vote. According to the VA Board of Elections, here is what you do need to have:

  • Valid Virginia Driver’s License or Identification Card
  • Valid Virginia DMV issued Veteran’s ID card
  • Valid United States Passport
  • Other government-issued photo identification cards (must be issued by US Government, the Commonwealth of Virginia, or a political subdivision of the Commonwealth)
  • Tribal enrollment or other tribal ID issued by one of 11 tribes recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia
  • Valid college or university student photo identification card (must be from an institution of higher education located in Virginia)
  • Valid student ID issued by a public school or private school in Virginia displaying a photo
  • Employee identification card containing a photograph of the voter and issued by an employer of the voter in the ordinary course of the employer’s business

The website also offers a more detailed list of acceptable forms of id.

It’s time to stop reading and start voting. Maybe I’ll see you at the polls!

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Bayfield Station Cluster in North Reston

In the North Point area of Reston, just off Reston Parkway, is a charming cluster of 50 townhouses called Bayfield Station. Designed in a Garrison Colonial style and built in 1984, these small homes are either 1,120 or 1,160 square feet. While the lots vary in size, all of them have a fenced back yard.

The Bayfield Station townhouses are positioned in groups, most of which are face Bayfield Court (the cluster’s main road). Three groups face into the wooded buffer areas.

The cluster is comprised of two streets: Bayfield Court and the shorter, Bayfield Way, with the two making a “T” shape. This shape provides “dead ends,” which means the cluster does not have a through street, minimizing traffic through the neighborhood.

Bayfield Station is just a few blocks from North Point Village Center, which has a Giant food store, gas station, several banks, a selection of restaurants, a gym, dance studio, and retail stores.  Reston Town Center is a little over a mile away. The close proximity to Reston Parkway makes getting to major roads and the Reston Metro Station (3 miles away) a breeze.

The cluster is also close to Lake Newport swimming pool, soccer fields and tennis courts. Still within a mile is Brown’s Chapel Park, which is an access point to trail networks, the Lake Newport tennis courts, featuring six lighted courts, plus facilities for other sports-baseball, basketball, volleyball.

Halloween 2016 in Reston is Loads of Fun

Dogs Dressed For Halloween in RestonI will never tire of seeing children in their Halloween costumes, roaming the streets (or the plaza or the Reston Town Center) in search of the perfect treat. Or any treat. The joy is a pure delight. Second only, perhaps, to seeing dogs and cats dressed in adorably costumes, roaming the plaza in search of the perfect treat.

On Saturday, October 29, I’m going to get my fill of both. And you can too. I hope you can come out and enjoy two delightful Reston Halloween events.

Howl-o-Ween on the Plaza

Saturday, October 29, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Being this cute isn’t so ruff. Especially if you are a dog lover! Come down and see the dogs (and a few cats) of Reston in their How-o-Ween finery. There are games, there are contests, and there are treats for your furry friends. Festivities start at 1 and continue until 3. The costume contest starts at 1:30.

Trick or Treat at Reston Town Center

Saturday, October 29, noon to 4 p.m.

On your way to or from Howl-o-Ween, stop by Reston Town Center for a little trick-or-treating. Any child in wearing a costume (maybe one to match the dog?) can celebrate this special day by visiting participating retailers and the Information Center for treats and goodies. Look for the pumpkin flyer in the window. If you aren’t coming over to Howl-o-ween, be sure to enjoy a spooky, magical performance for all ages by Turley the Magician at 1 pm in Fountain Square.

Happy Halloween everyone!