Blog :: 07-2015

Mom and Pop: The Boutique Bake Shop

The Boutique Bakeshop Is your mouth watering yet? (Photo courtesy of The Boutique Bakeshop website.)

Is your mouth watering yet? (Photo courtesy of The Boutique Bakeshop website.)

As a real estate agent and a lover of mom and pop businesses, I love it when I see young entrepreneurs making creative decisions to help them realize their dreams. That is one of two reasons why I love The Boutique Bakeshop. You just have to look at the pictures of some of their cakes and desserts to know the other reason I love them.

Yes, they are not based in Reston. But they are just a few miles down Baron Cameron (aka Rt. 606) in Herndon. You have to head that way if you're going to Trader Joe's or Mom's Organic Market anyway, so you might as well stop in for a treat.

Aside from the amazing sweets, why do I think they are creative? Because the Boutique Bakeshop is a baker's collective comprised of five very small businesses: Stephanie the Baker, Sweets by e, Sugar Pig Wholesale Sweets, The Itty-Bitty cake company, and Beau Monde Bakers.

Commercial real estate is very expensive, and none of these small businesses would be able to afford the rent alone -- that's a lot of cupcakes and pastries! But together, they can share a commercial kitchen, practice their art, be inspired by their peers, and showcase their talents through the public bakeshop. It's a quadruple win. Read more about the inspiration for this collective here.

The small bakery in the storefront is a stroke of genius--it lets people try out the bakers' treats before buying a whole cake (or whatever else is on the menu). They've got a comfy couch, a few tables, and good coffee. What more could you want? But don't trust me. Go visit them today!

Address: 336 Elden Street Herndon, VA 20170

(hint--it's right behind the McDonald's just before you get to the K-Mart/MOM's shopping center)

The Wharf, South Reston

The Wharf Reston

The Wharf has it's own two private ponds and access to Lake Audubon

Reston is full of hidden gems--it's like a real life treasure hunt here! And the The Wharf is one of them. What makes The Wharf so unique? This community of townhomes surrounds a pair of ponds at the top of a hill AND the community overlooks Lake Audubon. Yes, this is a water lover's paradise.

Reston architect Michael Oxman conceived of The Wharf in 1977. In a 1977 architectural magazine review he said: "When I decided to become a townhouse developer for my own design, I looked first at some lakefront property. Trouble is, only 20 percent of the townhouses on those sites are actually on the water. Those sell quickly, then there is often a long period trying to sell the off-water homes." (AE Concepts in Wood Design, Jan-Feb 1978, p. 9). This is not a problem in The Wharf.

The Wharf Reston

Most of The Wharf's townhomes have garages.

The Cluster was built between 1981 and 1986, and is located on Timberhead Court off Glade Drive on Lake Audubon. The 55 cedar-sided, multi-level 3- to 5-bedroom townhouses were designed and built to look like a New England fishing village. Most of the homes have garages.

What really makes The Wharf special, though, is the ponds. These delicately balanced living ecosystems are not runoff ponds like other Reston lakes. Two fresh water wells provide water to the ponds. So they are more similar to mountaintop lakes since they are not contaminated from fertilizer and waste running off with rainwater. You will find blue-gill sunfish and large mouth bass in a ratio of ten sunfish to one bass. The sunfish eat mosquito larvae, and the bass keep the sunfish population under control. And they're fun to watch.

In a place renowned for access to nature, The Wharf stands out. This is a neighborhood for people who love water and want to be close to it. This neighborhood is also close to the Walker Nature Education Center, Lake Audubon pool, and South Lakes Village Center.

Reston by Foot

Reston is known for many things--contemporary homes, village centers, proximity to Washington, DC. But one of its most fabulous features comes as a surprise to many people who move here, and that's the 55 miles of paths around Reston.

Reston Association maintains all 55 miles of paths that cover every neighborhood in Reston. You can see all the trails on the Reston VA map on the Reston Association website, or use Fairfax County's interactive map to set your route before you head out. If you don't want to check out the maps, try some of my favorite walks instead.

  • Lake Anne to Town Center, North Reston. This 1.5 miles walk takes you through two of Reston's original neighborhoods--Coleson Cluster and Hickory Cluster.
  • Tall Oaks to Lake Fairfax Park, North Reston. This is about a 2-mile loop. 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!
  • Walker Nature Education Center and Glade, South Reston. There are many options for a walk from here, and the staff at the Nature Center will be happy to give you some suggestions depending on how far you want to walk. There is one 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.
  • 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.
  • North Point Loop, North Reston. This is a 4-mile loop for those who want a little more exercise. 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).

Don't limit yourself to these walks though--you really can get anywhere you need or want to go in Reston on foot, and it's always fun to discover a new trail and see where it takes you.

Hickory Cluster, Reston, VA

Beautiful, clean modern architecture is a hallmark of Reston neighborhoods, and Hickory Cluster exemplifies all that is unique about our community. It was the first development in Reston, and world-renowned architect Charles Goodman designed it. But that's not why it is a highly sought-after Reston neighborhood today. People want to live in Hickory Cluster because the homes are well designed, it is close to everything in Reston, and the community is tight knit.

Architectural historian Elizabeth Jo Lample said "[Goodman's] dwellings feel like highly livable works of art, glazed conduits to the natural world" (Housing Washington)

One of the most striking features are the large windows--think walls, not windows! Despite the vast amounts of windows, the homes still feel private since they are nestled in a heavily wooded area. The Hickory Cluster townhomes come in a variety of designs with 2, 3 or 4 bedrooms, rooftop terraces, balconies, playrooms, private studies, family rooms and recreation rooms. There is underground garage parking or carports for many of the homes, keeping the common areas from feeling like a car park.

Hickory Cluster backs up to Reston Association paths and is just a short walk to Lake Anne plaza, Reston Town Center, and Lake Anne Elementary School. The Reston Station, Silver Line Metrorail, is a five minute drive and Dulles International Airport is within 15 minutes by car.

If you are looking for a unique, modern home that is central to everything in Reston, Hickory Cluster is your neighborhood.