Fun And Games

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.

 

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.

 

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.

Tags

Tennis Anyone?

52.

Weeks in the year? Nope. That is the number of Reston Association tennis courts in Reston. If that’s not enough for you, Hidden Creek Country Club has 6. Between them, there is a tennis court, lesson, or league for everyone. Throughout the summer, you will hear the sound of balls being hit pretty much no matter where you are in Reston (that is, if unless the court is next to a pool, where the sound of children playing will drown it out).

What I think is great about tennis is you don’t have to be great to enjoy playing. Anyone of any skill level can play tennis. There aren’t really all that many sports where you can say that.

Here is what you need to know about getting on the Reston tennis courts:

Reston Association Tennis Courts

For the Reston Association tennis courts, obtaining a pass is a simple matter of visiting the RA website or the customer service center at RA headquarters. Reston Association Tennis is a USTA certified Community Tennis Association and the courts include 26 lighted courts, 8 clay courts, 6 quickstart courts, and 3 practice walls.

RA offers lessons for children and adults, league play, flights, and challenge ladders to all RA members as well as non-members owning a valid Tennis membership pass. Virginia Living magazine readers vote the Reston Tennis Association one of the Best Tennis Clubs in Northern Virginia! The USTA Mid-Atlantic awarded Reston Tennis Association as Section Organization of the Year.

Hidden Creek Country Club Tennis

Hidden Creek has six lighted tennis courts, two of which are permanent indoor heated courts that allow for year round play in cold or wet weather. A staff of tennis professionals is available for group and private lessons, team practices, cardio tennis, and junior tennis camps. You do need to be a Hidden Creek member to reserve the courts.

Wait, there is more…

In case there aren’t enough courts in Reston for you, this website offers a complete list of tennis facilities in the Reston area. That’s right — there is no excuse for staying off the courts this summer.

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.

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

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.