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So Grateful for All of You This Thankskgiving

Thanksgiving 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

I 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!

Find Your Wooded Sanctuary: Bentana Woods

Do you ever dream of finding a quick place in the woods, free from the hustle and bustle of urban life? Except that you like the hustle and bustle of urban life, so you don’t want to go live in the woods. What if you could find both? Bentana Woods is the neighborhood for you.

Bennett of Virginia built these town homes in1972. They’re located in the Tall Oaks section of Reston, Virginia, about 1 mile from the Wiehle Metro Station (which means you could walk there if you wanted to). They’re also a quick walk into Lake Fairfax Park and short drive to Reston Town Center or Lake Anne Plaza. The original Tall Oaks Village Center is slated for redevelopment, so within the next few years there will be new shops and restaurants all a quick walk from your front door. But you won’t be able to tell because this neighborhood is so secluded you feel like you’re in rural Virginia.

The fact that these 3 to 4 bedroom, 1,700 square foot townhouses are charming and well designed is icing on the cake. 

Bentana Woods is actually two separate clusters — Bentana Woods Cluster has 48 homes while Bentana Woods West has 108 homes. More than 50% of the neighborhood lands are common areas with open grass, tot lots, and stands of trees — trees that the National Wildlife Federation has certified as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat.

If you want to be close to the action, but feel like you’re living in a National park, Bentana Woods is the Reston neighborhood for you!

Mom and Pop: Potomac River Running

Reston is a runner or walkers paradise — with miles and miles of trails, you can go pretty much anywhere by foot. And if you’re going to use the trails, you need a good pair of running or walking shoes. Potomac River Running is not only the best place around to find them, it’s a locally owned shop, and I love that.

 

Just because they’re a mom-and-pop shop doesn’t mean they aren’t insanely successful—they have eight locations throughout Northern Virginia, with the Reston shop located at Reston Town Center. All that since opening their first store in 2003! In that short time they have also been voted one of the 50 Best Running Stores in America for the past eight years. Each year, Competitor magazine and Running Insight® identify the 50 Best Running Stores in America®.

A True Family Affair

The stores have four owners, all of who are related somehow. Cathy and Margie are sisters who grew up in Fairfax County. Their husbands Ray and Brendan joined them in making this dream a reality. No surprise, before opening the store, they were each heavily involved in the local running community in one way or another. They all ran track and cross country through high school. Cathy, Ray and Margie enjoyed successful running careers in college. Cathy and Ray met while running for the same professional post-collegiate racing team. Margie continues to race triathlons professionally. Brendan is proof that being a “middle of the packer” is okay too.

One of the things I most admire about Potomac River Running is their commitment to the community. It’s not just about selling running gear to them. They want people to walk and run together, to feel the joy of being surrounded by people who will always root for you. The offer training programs and fun runs from the store, and their races are a blast. Not only do they support charities throughout the region, the participants eagerly await each race simply because they are so much fun (costumes play a major roll in this).

As our world gets bigger, finding connection in community is so important. And Potomac River Running is a model of how to do that in a small specialty store. No, not every person in Reston has a reason to shop there. But the people who do are very loyal. If you run or walk, I suggest wandering over to Potomac River Running and saying hi. The staff will love to spend some time chatting with you.

Off Great Owl Drive in North Reston

I have to share a secret, and I hope it doesn’t come as a shock. There is no ocean in Reston, nor are there any bluffs from which you can stand and look out at the sea. But that’s okay, because what we do have is a charming community of Nantucket Style homes.

Nantucket is known for its cedar planked, homes that are open, bright and airy. Now that is something the developers of Reston could provide here.

Great Owl Drive, the next street down from North Point Village, is one community of these quaint homes.

On Old Brookville Court and Springhouse Place, you will find single family homes in the Nantucket style. These cheerful homes have four bedrooms, ground-floor master bedrooms and garages. Instead of the ocean, they back up to wooded areas—which you will appreciate as you sip lemonade on the huge deck.

For those who prefer townhome living, at the end of the drive is Great Owl Circle, which houses Ridgewood Cluster. These richly appointed, 3-level townhomes have lofts and cathedral ceilings to add space and visual appeal. Each home has a brick and cedar siding exterior, and many have a garage. There are five models of townhomes throughout the cluster—some offer luxurious master suites, others offer fabulous areas for entertaining. There is a home here for whatever your style of living is!

Great Owl Drive is right off Reston Parkway between Baron Cameron and Route 7. This community is a quick walk to North Point Village shopping (and America’s favorite coffee shop and ice cream store), and just a quick trip down Reston Parkway to Reston Town Center and Lake Anne Plaza.

Visit these homes and decide for yourself is the ocean is really all that necessary.

The Horse and Hound Streets of South Reston

Restonians love horses and hounds… or at least equestrian names. That’s why if you turn off Reston Reston Parkway and Glade Drive in South Reston, you will find the horse neighborhoods (as we like to call them): Paddock Lane, Colts Neck Drive, Steeplechase Drive, Basset Lane, Hounds Lane, Stirrup Road, Trotter Lane, Silver Fox Lane. You will practically crave a mint julep just driving down these charming roads.

These single-family home communities were all built in the late 60s and early 70s. They are on gorgeous quarter- to half-acre plots that, for the most part, back up to Reston’s common land—meaning chances are you can’t see any other neighbors from the back yard. The styles of homes range from Colonial to contemporary—there is no cookie cutter feel in this part of South Reston.

In addition to the well-kept homes and yards, one of the most appealing aspects of the horse streets is the location. Hunters Woods Elementary School is an easy walk for young children. Hunters Woods Village Center, home to the Reston Community Center, and Fox Mill Shopping Center are also nearby. There are several parks, a community garden, tennis courts, and the Hunters Woods pool all within walking distance.

South Reston is only a few short miles from the Dulles Toll Road or the Fairfax County Parkway, which is nice for commuters. This is the perfect area for anyone looking for a little bit of land, a friendly neighborhood, and easy access around Reston.

Neighborhood children attend Hunters Woods Elementary School, Langston Hughes Middle School, and South Lakes High School. Both Hunters Woods Village Center and Fox Mill Shopping Center offer easy access to grocery shopping and quick dining. As part of Reston Association, residents also have access to nearby pools and tennis courts.

If you are a nature lover and you want a great yard, this is the neighborhood for you!

 

Red's Table at South Lakes Village Center

Red's Table Reston. Photo by Astri Wee

I love eating out, and so when locally owned Red’s Table opened up in South Lakes Village Center, I was thrilled. The restaurant space is one of the best in Reston—from the covered patio, diners have a view of Lake Thoreau. It is magical.

What I also love about Red’s is that they are committed to using regionally grown produce, meat and dairy. We have access to so much great quality food in the mid-Atlantic region, and it makes me happy when chefs embrace that and create seasonal menus focused around it. I knew I would like Red’s when I saw that their goal is “to stand out by use of quality ingredients in fresh and simple preparations. We will always offer the highest quality food we can source in the region. We will never offer factory farmed meats and all of our proteins are traceable to the source.”

From baking their own bread to making their own mustard, Red’s Table pays attention to the details, and it shows in the food. Oh the food is so tasty! Owners Matthew, Patrick and Ryan Tracy are Reston locals—they actually went to South Lakes High School, and like spent many a day down at the dock by Red’s patio. When they had the opportunity to take the space over and create their dream restaurant, they knew they needed the right chef to bring it all together. Enter Chef Adam. He also grew up in the area, and then traveled a bit while attending culinary school and cooking in some great kitchens. He brought together everything he learned to create the menu that Restonians have quickly come to adore.

As the weather starts to cool, spending an evening on the patio is definitely something to put on your to do list. Red’s Table is open daily from 11 a.m. until Midnight. They take reservations, which is always a good idea because this place is rocking! Click here to reserve your table.

PHOTO CREDIT: This photo is courtesy of the amazingly talented Astri Wee, a Reston local who specializes in family portraits and food photography.