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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.

Lake Life in South Reston

Lake Thoreau in South Reston, Virginia is one of the most serene spots in Reston. The charming homes are located with in walking distance of South Lakes Village Center, and are a short drive to the Dulles Toll Road and Reston Metro Station.

Built between 1975 and 1978, Lakewinds is actually divided into two clusters: Lakewinds I and Lakewinds II. In total, the two clusters consist of 93 brick and cedar townhomes — 46 in Lakewinds I and 47 in Lakewinds II. The 3-level 3 and 4 bedroom homes each have assigned parking spaces; the Lakewinds II townhomes have one carport spot.

About 70% of the homes are lakefront, and all have lake access. In nice weather, you will see the residents enjoying their small boats or barges.

The local schools are Terraset Elementary School, Langston Hughes Middle School, and South Lakes High School—all of which are within walking distance. Other nearby South Reston attractions include the Reston Regional Golf Course and Walker Nature Education Center. In fact, this neighborhood is great for anyone who values spending time outdoors!

Photo courtesy of Lakewinds II cluster website.

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.

Inlet Cluster, North Reston

inlet clusterInlet Cluster in the Lake Anne neighborhood sports is a small community of 63 townhomes. While none of them are directly on Lake Anne, the cluster has private dock at the inlet where residents can moor their boats. 

These contemporary 3-level, 3- to 5-bedroom homes were built in 1971. Every house has a carport space, and there is additional parking throughout the neighborhood. The cluster was designed for privacy, with the homes located behind the parking structures. Having been built in 1971, the trees and landscaping are mature—the neighborhood has a feeling of being nestled in the woods.

Inlet Cluster is located off Wiehle Avenue just north of the Lake Anne dam. It’s about a five-minute walk to Lake Anne Village Center (or a quick paddle in the canoe).

inlet cluster housesThe local schools are Lake Anne Elementary, Langston Hughes Middle and South Lakes High School. With easy access to Wiehle Avenue, the Reston Station and Toll Road are only minutes away.

 

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.

Heather Knoll Cluster, North Reston

heather knollFor families with young children, living on a cul de sac is great because it provide a safe place for the children to play. Perhaps that’s why the families I work with love Heather Knoll Cluster in North Reston.

Designed by Berry & Co., Heather Knoll Cluster was built in the early 1990s. It is a small community of 52 townhouses distributed among 13 buildings. Each home has a traditional brick front with fine detailing, classic cedar siding and elegant trim. The homes come in three different styles, with variations in room sizes and overall square footage. They are all two levels with a basement, three bedrooms, and two and half bath. They also each have a one-car garage — a bonus for Reston townhomes — and privacy fences separating the yards. And they have fireplaces!

Heather Knoll Cluster is located on Woodbrook Court off of Woodbrook Lane and Wiehle Avenue in the North Point area of Reston. The neighborhood is close to the Fairfax County Parkway and Route 7.

The surrounding area has wonderful walking paths and plenty of trees and nature. North Hills pool and tennis courts are about a five-minute walk, and North Point Village a 10 to 15 minute walk (depending on how fast you walk).

This is the perfect neighborhood for anyone who wants something slightly off the beaten path, but still wants to have all the amenities of Reston easily accessible.

 

You Can Appeal a DRB Decision

A friend of mine had her Reston Association Design Review Board application denied this week, and she was not very happy about that. I told her not to fret; she can appeal the decision. Here is how:

How to Appeal a DRB Decision

Your rejection letter will indicate why the DRB rejected your project, and indicate what changes you need to show. Once you pull that information together, you can submit it and get in the queue for a meeting.

Good things to know: To appeal a DRB decision, you must be either the applicant or a registered Affected Party. And the DRB will hear only one appeal of a decision.

You have 15 days after the notice of a decision has been mailed to get your appeal letter to the DRB Secretary. All requests for appeals must be submitted in writing to your covenants advisor.

After that, the Secretary will schedule the appeal to the next available full Design Review Board. DRB decisions may be overturned on appeal for either or both of two reasons:

  • If the original reviewer(s) misapplied specific guidelines or DRB-approved cluster standards.
  • If there is new and/or additional design information that was not available to the original reviewer(s).

Typically, the appeal decision becomes the final decision.

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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!