Eve Thompson

2017 Labor Day Weekend in Reston

I’m still wrapping my mind around the fact that Labor Day is this weekend! But it is, and that means one of my all-time favorite events is happening. That’s the annual Jazz & Blues Festival at Lake Anne on Saturday. On Monday, head to downtown Herndon for the annual Labor Day Festival. In between, enjoy your last weekend at the pool!

11th Annual Jazz & Blues Festival

11th Annual Jazz & Blues FestivalThis free music festival is fun for the whole family (and the dogs). Every year, the stellar entertainment features acclaimed artists. The performances take place from 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Saturday (September 2). The Lake Anne Merchants, Reston Community CenterReston Association and Aperture Reston Station sponsor this event. For the full schedule of events/times, visit www.lakeanneplaza.com. Here is the line up:

  • 1 p.m. Cheick Hamala Dibate
  • 2 p.m. Sam Gunderson
  • 3 p.m. John Lee & Michael Pavone
  • 4 p.m. Integriti Reeves
  • 5 p.m. Mykle Lyons – Sextet
  • 6 p.m. Gigi MacClaughlin
  • 7 p.m. Kriss Funn
  • 8 p.m. Crush Funk Brass

Herndon Labor Day Festival

Technically not Reston, but still close and a lot of fun. There is something for everyone on the Labor Day outing. The downtown Herndon festival features Virginia wine tastings, craft beers, great music, a craft show, outstanding sponsors, delicious food vendors and lawn games. The event is on Monday (September 4) from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Tastings and beer sales end at 4 p.m.) Visit the website for ticket prices and information.

 

Want to Live on Lake Thoreau? Try Purple Beech or Upper Lake

I love contemporary architecture and Lake Thoreau, so it’s no surprise that Purple Beech Drive and Upper Lake Drive are two one of my favorite streets in Reston. While on opposite sides of the lake both are typical Reston single family home communities with an organic, natural feel to the wood-sided homes. In addition to lake access, the homes are also on generous, wooded plots. You feel like you’re at a resort!

As with most single-family home communities, the sizes and layouts are all different. Typically, though, they are 4-bedroom, multi-level homes. They have beautiful wooded yards, and the entire neighborhood is well landscaped and attractive. Purple Beech is a cul-de-sac and Upper Lake is a horseshoe, which means both are quiet and peaceful—great places to let your children play outside and enjoy nature.

While not all of the homes have direct lakefront access to Lake Thoreau, they do all have full lake access and privileges. Imagine paddling on the lake during the summer, or enjoying a picnic on your own floating barge (a favorite among many people who live on Reston’s lakes). A lovely 2-mile walking path circles the lake. In nice whether, lake residents make full use of it, walking to South Lakes Village Center to enjoy a meal or simply going for a run.

Terraset Elementary, Langston Hughes Middle School and South Lake High School are close by. Other nearby amenities include the Walker Nature Education Center, Reston Regional golf course, Reston Metro station (about 1 mile), Reston Town Center, pools and tennis courts.

These are the kind of streets you dream of: close to anything you want to do, but also perfect if you just want to hang out in your beautiful home.

Reston Townhomes Are Waiting for You

Reston townhomesI sometimes think that people visiting Reston may think condos and apartments are the only living options. Certainly in the Reston Town Center area where more condos are being built all the time it seems that way. But many long-time Reston residents associate Reston living with townhouses. That makes sense with close to a 140 separate townhouse clusters in Reston. Each has its own personality too.

Often when I’m working with new clients who aren’t from the area, they’ve never considered living in a townhouse. It’s a condo or single-family home. They perceive townhomes as dark and small with little privacy from neighbors. I just laugh a little. Because when they visit some of the townhome communities around here, they quickly change their minds.

Our townhome clusters are wildly varied from the comfortable and modest to over-the-top luxurious. Many are on lakes or a golf course. All have beautiful, well-kept common areas. What’s best for new homebuyers is that Reston townhomes offer a wide range of housing options for almost every price point. That means neighborhoods are often a combination of young families, singles, or couples who have downsized. It’s a wonderful, eclectic mix. And for busy professionals, there is the bonus of a lovely neighborhood that you don’t have to care for — your cluster maintains the common property.

If you’ve never considered townhome living because you’re worried about the size, the light or living in such close proximity, may I invite you to tour some Reston townhomes. In my opinion, we do it better than any other town. From the first communities built in Reston, Waterview and Hickory Clusters, to West Market built in 1998, Reston has perfected townhome living.

Explore the Public Art of Reston

A Bird in the Hand, public art RestonArt is part of the heart and soul of Reston. Since the beginning, public art was placed in the village centers, and it continues today. And the Greater Reston Arts Center and Jo Ann Rose Art Gallery at the RCC Lake Anne have places where the community has access to contemporary visual arts.

In my opinion, the art is one of the distinguishing features of Reston—among a very long list of amazing features.

Whether you want to go to a gallery, an art show or explore public art, Reston has something for you.

I think taking a walking tour of public art installations is particularly fun. Public Art Reston has a map you can download for just such an adventure. Okay, so it would really be several adventures if you were walking as the art is spread out around Reston.

For the many programs and installations GRACE sponsors, click these links: exhibitions, educational programming, and the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival. To find out about exhibits at the RCC, click here.

Photo: A Bird in the Hand by Patrick Dougherty was installed at Reston Town Center in 2015. www.stickwork.net Photo from the Public Art Reston website.

 

Three Great Communities off Wainwright Drive

I love wandering through the original Reston communities. I’m always struck by the differences in each neighborhood, even those adjacent to each other. Wainwright Drive in the Lake Anne area is a great example. The three townhome communities couldn’t be more different, despite all sharing an excellent location near Reston Town Center and Lake Anne and having been developed within years of each other.

Coleson Cluster

Coleson Cluster, Wainwright DriveMost people who know anything of Reston’s history know about Waterview Cluster — the iconic townhomes on Lake Anne. Few people know that award-winning architect Chloethiel Woodard Smith designed another community of townhomes with the same floor plan and style as nearby Waterview. Coleson Cluster was built during the mid 1960s and comprises 45 townhomes spread over four and a half acres of lush lawn and trees. The townhouses in this beautiful community have a charming mid-century modern meets cottage vibe. They are light and airy, with light and inviting interior spaces. With flat roofs, large windows and contemporary style, they range in size from 1,500 to 2,800 square feet.

Mediterranean Villa, Reston

Mediterranean Villa, Wainwright DriveContinuing the European feel is Mediterranean Villa. Developed in 1970, the Mediterranean Villa homes feature white stucco exteriors with tiled roofs, 2-car garages, and about 1900 to 2500 square feet of living space. It’s a small and tight-knit community of 37 homes sited on a quiet cul-de-sac. Yes, these patio homes are nestled among oaks and pines rather than the coast, but they are as bright and airy as you will find anywhere in the Mediterranean.

Wainwright Cluster

Wainwright Cluster, Wainwright DriveBoston-based PARD Team, a young multi-disciplinary group of urban planners, architects, researchers and designers designed Wainwright Cluster in 1966. The cluster was part of the PARD Team’s mission to meet "the new challenges created by the uncontrolled urbanization of our environment, recent discoveries in the fields of social research, and rapid changes in building technology."

These homes were designed for first time homeowners. There are six models varying in size and layout. However, spacious bedrooms, large closets, ample storage space, breakfast nooks, and ground floor powder rooms are standard in all of them. The homes also feature spacious carports, large storage sheds, well-equipped play areas and private outdoor patios. Grouped into neighborhood subclusters, each neighborhood group is situated around a common landscaped green. Large windows at the rear of each home provide panoramic views of the thickly wooded areas surrounding the subclusters.

All of these neighborhoods are ideally located. Just off North Shore Drive, both Reston Town Center and Lake Anne are an easy walk. In fact, the Reston Association paths in this area are among community favorites and you are guaranteed to run into friends as you walk. The neighborhood is also close to the Reston Metro, Dulles Toll Road and Dulles airport. The kids can walk to Lake Anne Elementary, which is just two blocks away. And the entire family can enjoy the Reston pools and tennis courts, also within walking distance.

 

Brookshire, Chatham Colony, Wyndmere and Moorings Clusters

moorings driveRight next to Lake Anne Plaza, is a street called Moorings Drive. I think there are a lot of people in the area who think Moorings Drive is a parking lot (it fills on Saturdays in the summer for those shopping at the Reston Farmer’s Market.) Yet there are actually four town home clusters and an apartment complex off Moorings Drive. It’s one of Reston secret neighborhoods; the kind of community where people move in and never want to move out.

The clusters off Moorings Drive are a wonderful mix of the different styles of Reston town homes. This neighbor is not only charming, it’s quiet and close to everything.

Tour of Moorings Drive

Brookshire is the first cluster on the left. It’s one of the first clusters built in Reston in 1964 and 65, and one of Reston’s smallest. Despite it’s humble size, it has an impressive ratio of green space to homes — 5 acres to 26 homes. These two and three bedroom townhomes feature an average of 1,500 square feet of living space. These small colonial style homes are favorites for young families and singles.

Next up is Chatham Colony Cluster. This is also a small cluster with about 45 homes, although they are quite a bit larger than their neighbors. Each also has a wooded backyard. These colonial style townhomes have brick exteriors, shuttered windows, and two designated parking spaces. With three bedrooms and full basements, each home offers plenty of space for growing families and empty nesters alike. And like most Reston homes built in the 1970’s, each has beautiful hardwood floors and large windows.

Next on the tour is Wyndmere Cluster. Built in 1992, it’s the newest addition to this area. These townhomes are more contemporary and feature vaulted ceilings in the bedrooms. Listings in this cluster rarely come up, and when they do, they go fast! Like all of the townhome clusters off moorings, residents have access to Lake Anne.

Finally, there is Moorings Cluster, built between 1971 and 1972. These 50 spacious three- to five-bedroom townhomes have fantastic views of Lake Anne (70% are direct lakefront properties). What makes these townhomes especially unique is that each of the homes has a garage. That makes up for the tight street parking.

Walking to Lake Anne, jogging on the nearby Reston Association paths, or getting to Reston Town Center in a matter of minutes are just a few of the perks of living off Moorings Drive. It’s also close to ballparks, pools, tennis courts, the sprinkler park (off North Shore Drive) and more. Many residents have small boats and canoes that they take out on Lake Anne, enjoying a leisurely paddle to the plaza for concerts, festivals and dining. In the summer, residents can walk to the popular Farmer’s Market and Reston Market. Neighborhood residents attend Reston’s Lake Anne Elementary, Langston Hughes Middle and South Lakes High School.

All of the clusters off Moorings Drive have easy access to main roads and public transportation.

Lake Season in Reston

Lake season in RestonSummer is in full swing, and it has been a glorious July. The weather has been beautiful, with lower than normal humidity. Perhaps that is why I’ve been seeing so many people on Lake Anne. Here are just a few of the lake season sports happening in Reston.

Paddle boarding in Reston

We are lucky to have a company here in Reston that offers standup paddle boarding (SUP) workshops on our Reston lakes — Surf Reston. SUP has been growing in popularity, probably because it is so much fun! Paddle boarding started as an offshoot of surfing, only it’s much easier and you don’t need waves. The concept is simple — you stand on a surf style board and use a long paddle to move across the water. It’s a fun sport anyone can enjoy.

Surf Reston offers workshops at Lake Anne, Lake Audubon, Lake Thoreau and Lake Newport. The company started as a way to build a community of individuals who enjoy paddling; they teach how to paddle responsibly and safely and give their customers the opportunities to connect with other enthusiasts. Sign up for one of their workshops today! Better yet, get a group of friends to do it together. It’s a blast.

Kayak and Canoe Rental

Until Labor Day weekend, you can enjoy a leisurely paddle around Lake Anne. Reston Association provides kayak, canoe, and paddle boat rentals by the hour. It’s a fun way to spend a summer evening! You can purchase tickets at Reston’s Used Book Shop, 1623 Washington Plaza (near the fountain). Contact the book shop by calling 703-435-9772. The cost is $6 per boat for 1-hour rental.

Hours of Operation are:
Thursdays, 4 – 8 p.m.
Fridays, 4 – 8 p.m.
Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sundays, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Boating and Fishing at Lake Fairfax Park

The 476 acre Lake Fairfax Park includes a 20-acre lake where you can fish and boat (bring your own or rent a paddle boat or take a tour in the tour boat). There is a small fee for launching your own boat, but it’s completely worth it! Follow the link for more information: boat rentals. Hours are 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. every day until Labor Day. The address is

1400 Lake Fairfax Drive
Reston, VA 20190
703-471-5414 

For other fun ways to spend your summer day, check out this comprehensive guide in Modern Reston.

Visit the NOVA Parks, our gorgeous regional parks

I spend a lot of time talking about all the amenities Reston has to offer, and you could easily fill all of your free time doing everything. But I would be remiss if I did not point you to the NOVA Parks. I sometimes get so focused on my life at Lake Anne, I forget the incredible resources we have in Northern Virginia. The park authority maintains many of them.NOVA Parks Meadowlark Gardens

NOVA Parks is a nonprofit that represents three counties and three cities — Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, the City of Alexandria, the City of Falls Church and the City of Fairfax. NOVA Parks staff, volunteer board members appointed from each jurisdiction and friends of the regional parks have worked together to preserve more than 12,000 acres of the rolling and wooded Virginia countryside, creating a priceless legacy for future generations. We are truly blessed that way back in the 50s regional leaders has the foresight to protect the Northern Virginia Wilderness.

NOVA Parks provides so many things to do, I can’t possibly list them all. So I’m just going to share my favorite. That is Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, also known as a little slice of heaven.

The gardens consist of 95 acres of ornamental display gardens and unique native plant collections. I particularly love the fairy garden, but all of the gardens are beautiful and fun. You can sit on a bench in your favorite spot, or meander along the walking trails, discovering local flora and fauna (be careful of nesting Geese… they don’t appreciate visitors and they will charge you). The Atrium contains an indoor tropical garden. I’ve been to several events there, and the space is amazing. Meadowlark Botanical Gardens is also home to the annual Winter Walk of Lights, a spectacular holiday light show featuring dozens of illuminated displays. 

What is really nice is you can buy an annual pass for only $45 for the entire family! I think that is one of the best deals around. Of course, if you don’t want a pass you can buy single tickets — $5 for an adult, $2.50 for seniors and children 7 to 17, children under 7 free.

Happy July 4 from my family to yours

July 4 fireworks

Happy Independence Day! I hope you have a fun filled day planned. I’m looking forward to hanging out with my family — my favorite way to spend every holiday!

To me, the highlight of the 4th is always the fireworks. Most places did their fireworks on Saturday, which honestly is a bit of a letdown. There is nothing like watching the fireworks on the 4th. Thanks to the town of Herndon, you can!

The town of Herndon will hold its annual 4th of July celebration beginning at 6:30 p.m. tonight. This free event will feature entertainment, arts and crafts, bingo, and family games. How fun is that? The fireworks display will begin at around 9:30. Maybe I’ll see you there.

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Upper Lake Drive, South Reston

house on Upper Lake DriveRight off Sunrise Valley Drive and within walking distance of the Reston Silver Line station is a lovely street of contemporary homes. Upper Lake Drive is simply gorgeous.

Like many neighborhoods in Reston, Upper Lake is a horseshoe shaped drive (don’t ask me why). Much of the street backs up to lovely Lake Thoreau (hence the name “Upper Lake.” At the entrance closest to the metro, residents have easy access to an RA tennis court. At the other entrance, is Lake Thoreau pool. In between are mature oaks and maples and contemporary single-family homes nestled in the woods.

The neighbor was built in the late 1970s, and the homes are spacious. All are on generous plots, giving owners plenty of private space. I have a listing on Upper Lake with an open floor plan, exposed wood beam ceilings, wood floors and big windows. I’m not saying ALL the homes are like this, but this is typical of the neighborhood.

Upper Lake Drive is what Reston is all about: close proximity to schools, shopping and recreation while still feeling like you live in the country.