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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.

2015 July 4th Fireworks in Reston, Virginia

Did you know that fireworks retailers sold $369.4 million fireworks in 2012 and fireworks wholesalers sold $508.1 million? Yes, we Americans LOVE our July 4th fireworks shows. And no place is this more evident than the Washington, DC metro area.

As you plan your Independence Day celebrations, think about which fireworks show you want to watch. You can stay local in Reston, head into the City, or out to the country. You have amny choices!

The National Fireworks are perhaps some of the most spectacular, and you can get wonderful views of them from various spots around the city: venture down to the National Mall and hang out at the Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima) in Arlington, Virginia near the Rosslyn Metro station. Or stop at areas along the Virginia side of the Potomac River.

Of course, you don't need to go into DC to see great fireworks. We've got our own right here in Reston at Lake Fairfax Park (1400 Lake Fairfax Dr., Reston, Virginia. (703) 471-5415). Fireworks begin around 9:15 p.m. Here is a list of other Independence Day fireworks near Reston. See a map of fireworks locations in the DC metropolitan area courtesy of About.com.

  • Herndon: Bready Park, Herndon Community Center, 814 Ferndale Ave. Herndon, Virginia. (703) 787-7300. Face painting, balloon sculpturing, bingo and crafts begin at 6:30 p.m. Music at 7 p.m. Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
  • Fairfax: Fairfax City, Independence Day Parade through the downtown area beginning at 10 a.m. Musical entertainment begins at 7 p.m. at Fairfax High School with a spectacular fireworks display at dark. (703) 385-7858.
  • Falls Church: George Mason High School, 7124 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, Virginia. Live music will start at 7 p.m. followed by fireworks at 9:20 p.m.
  • Leesburg: Ida Lee Park, Rt. 15 (King Street) and Ida Lee Drive, Leesburg, Virginia. (703) 777-1368. Gates open at 6 p.m. Fireworks around 9:30 p.m.
  • McLean: Langley High School, 6520 Georgetown Pike McLean, Virginia. (703) 790-0123. Grounds open at 8 p.m., fireworks at 9:15 p.m. Free admission and parking. Shuttle buses will be available from St. John's Lutheran Church (on Douglass St. and Georgetown Pike) and the McLean Community Center.
  • Vienna - Vienna Community Center, 120 Cherry Street Southeast, Vienna, Virginia. Arts and crafts, food, live music, vendors, and games. Celebrations start at 11 a.m. Fireworks at 9:15 p.m. at Southside Park on Ross Dr.

Have a great July 4th!

New Reston Restaurants in Town Center

I love dining out, especially in the summer when I can sit outside to enjoy a great meal and some wonderful people watching. I also love trying new restaurants, so I was pretty happy when three new places opened this Spring in Reston Town Center. All are great, and I'm looking forward to many wonderful evenings on the patios (or inside when it starts getting colder). Next time you're looking for a Reston restaurant in Town Center, try one of them out.

Barcelona is known for Spanish food and a long wine list -- featuring, of course, lots of Spanish wine. The food is simple and filled with the flavors of olive oil, lemon, smoky paprika. The restaurant is designed to recreate the feel and the look of an evening on the Ramblas in Barcelona. The result is sophisticated décor that evokes the world's hippest cities--Milan, SoHo, and Rio de Janeiro. And for the wine lovers, they have a comprehensive list of wines by the glass from around the world, with an emphasis on the lesser-known regions of Spain and Portugal.

Bartaco is for those who want an upscale TexMex menu. Can you say duck tacos? How about cauliflower tacos? And, of course, you can get all of the wonderful side dishes that make TexMex so popular--chips and guacamole, plantains, rice and beans. Is your mouth watering yet? Bartaco is like the best food truck you can imagine placed into a hip restaurant. It's a great place to meet friends for a drink and nosh.

Neyla is the newest addition to Reston Town Center. Although I was sad to see Paolo's go, I am excited about having a new Mediterranean bistro in town. This is a place where "old world leisure combines with new world convenience." The menu is filled with garden fresh vegetables, select cheeses, meats and fish prepared with an Eastern Mediterranean influence. Their dishes feature coriander, cinnamon, basil, thyme, and coffee with cardamom... yum.

Are you hungry yet? I am. Maybe I'll see you at Reston Town Center.

Mediterranean Villa, Reston

 

Mediterranean Villa

Mediterranean Villa brings European charm to North Reston.

 

You don't need to move to Greece to have your own beautiful Mediterranean home. You simply need to visit Mediterranean Villa in Reston. Developed in 1970, the Mediterranean Villa homes bring European charm to Reston. They have 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, tree-lined cul-de-sac.

Yes, these patio homes are nestled among oaks and pines rather than sitting along the coast. But they are as bright and airy as you will find anywhere in the Mediterranean.

Mediterranean Villa is in an ideal location. 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 ...  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.

Mediterranean Villa has it all.

Edgewater Cluster, Reston, VA

 

Edgewater Cluster Edgewater Cluster in the Spring. Photo courtesy of the Edgewater Condo Association photo gallery.

Edgewater Cluster in the Spring. Photo courtesy of the Edgewater Condo Association photo gallery.

 

Condo living in Reston is perfect for young professionals starting out, empty nesters who are downsizing, or really anyone who wants to live in a lovely, low-maintenance community. Edgewater Cluster in North Reston is a great example. Located at the intersection of Baron Cameron and Town Center Parkway, these condos offer easy access to major roads, shopping (right across the street from Trader Joe's), and entertainment. While they are in walking distance to Reston Town Center, they're a little bit removed from the hustle and bustle--perfect for people who want a quieter environment.

Built between 1992 and 1995, this low-rise condominium complex features primarily two-bedroom units with 1 ½ or 2 baths ranging in size from 801 to 1224 sq ft. In addition to the two-bedroom condos, you can find studios and one-bedroom units as well. Every unit has a balcony, and the upper units have a lovely loft.

Many of the condos face a large pond, which is a perfect place to walk your dog or just hang out on a lovely evening. What's especially nice about Edgewater is that the complex is divided into small clusters, which lends to a tighter community feel. The complex also has it's own pool, tennis facilities, and clubhouse--providing ample places for residents to hang out and have some fun.

Edgewater is walking distance to Reston Town Center, the library and the Reston Hospital Center too. Being located between the Fairfax County Parkway and Reston Parkway, residents have easy access to any place they need to go--the Dulles Toll Road and Route 7 are within a few miles.

If you want access to all the Reston Town Center and Reston have to offer at an affordable price, Edgewater Cluster is a great value.

Three Easy Summer Day Trips from Reston, VA

day trips from RestonSummer is here and it's hard not to spend my days daydreaming about the adventures I could be having. While Reston has so much to offer--pools, tennis courts, walking paths, parks and more--sometimes you just want to get in the car and take off. Fortunately, Reston, VA is perfectly located so you can do any number of fun day trips. Here are three of my favorites.

The Beach and Shark Teeth Did you know you could be at the beach within an hour? Yes, we are that close... at least to the beaches of the Chesapeake Bay. (If you want to drive three hours, the entire Eastern Shore is waiting for you). Chesapeake Beach, Maryland is about a one-hour drive, and it is well worth it. From charming restaurants to sandy beaches, it's the perfect summer day trip. It's fun to hunt for shark's teeth, an activity that keeps kids young and old occupied for hours. The best spot is along Calvert Cliffs, and you will see people sifting through the sand at all hours of the day. Learn more about this fun activity here.

Hiking in the Catoctin Mountains Most people know of the Shenandoah Valley, and it is certainly beautiful. But some of my favorite close hiking is in the Catoctin Mountains in Maryland. The expansive vistas are stunning. Although you can get to hiking in trails within an hour of leaving Reston, you can stay overnight if you want--many people enjoy camping out in the Adirondack Shelters. Many of the hiking trails take you near Camp David, so it's always fun to try to glimpse the President (no, you won't get a glimpse, but it's fun to try). Learn more at nps.gov/cato.

Ladew Topiary Gardens There are actually many lovely gardens within a three-hour drive of Reston. One of my favorite (aside from Meadowlark Gardens in Vienna) is the Ladew Topiary Gardens in Monkton, MD, which is about an hour and a half to the north of Reston. It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the grounds are stunning with more than 100 topiaries filling the landscape, including a pack of dogs traipsing through the grounds (I think they may be on the hunt, but I'm not sure). Learn more before you visit at ladewgardens.com.

If you can swing a vacation this summer and want to have some local fun, give these day trips a try. Or, for more ideas, visit Northern Virginia Magazine's list of 52 day trips. Enjoy!

Lake Anne is Purr-fect for Felines

just cats clinic

Just Cats Clinic works with rescues, showcasing adoptable cats in their playroom. How fun! (photo from Just Cats Clinic)

It is not unusual to see someone walking a cat through Lake Anne Plaza (yes, you can put a leash on a cat!). Perhaps that is why mom-and-pop shop Just Cats Clinic felt that Lake Anne was the perfect spot for a feline-only veterinary clinic. Visitors to Lake Anne love it too--they love stopping by to see the adoptable cats hanging out in the playroom (which you can also watch on the webcam).

Why have a cats-only clinic? Just visit any multi-species vet, and you'll see how the friendly, yet barky, dogs stress the cats out. Just Cats Clinic strives to make visits as stress free as possible, with a quiet environment and floor to ceiling windows in all the exam rooms. They also offer boarding facilities to help your cat feel more at home.

They are pros at working with difficult cats, and will even offer sedated exams, which can be a safer alternative for your furry friend and their staff. They also offer longer appointment times to make sure they have the appropriate time to work with you and your cat. Or you can drop your kitty off in the morning. Your cat gets medical care and a vacation day! Before you pick you cat up, drop by Pet-Mac for some fun cat toys too.

The motto at Just Cats Clinic is "Live Beyond 9 Lives," and they strive for that for every patient. They are open six days per week. This clinic is just one of the great small businesses that make Lake Anne a unique and special spot in Reston.

Contemporary Beauty on Owl's Cove Lane

Owl's Cove LaneReston is known for it's custom designed homes. From its inception in the 1960s, the most talented architects were drawn to the area and put their signature on many of the neighborhoods. One of the things I love most about Owl's Cove Lane in South Reston is how each one of these contemporary homes is unique. What they all have in common are designs that are as relevant today as the day they were built. Among the architects that made this neighborhood special are P.D Gravett and Peter Gulick, Cumberland Custom Builders, Roy Mason Associates, Rob Wellington Quigley, Oxman Stewart Associates and more. Each house is truly special. The diversity of the homes adds to the charm. And you cannot beat the location. Residents have easy access to Lake Audubon, and it's just three blocks from South Lake High School, Langston Hughes Middle School and Terraset Elementary. You can enjoy the walking paths along the lake, and take easy strolls over to South Lakes Shopping center (and Starbucks, Café Sano, and soon Red's Table). The neighborhood is also convenient to the Reston Metro, Dulles Toll Road and every amenity Reston has to offer. If you are looking for a unique, contemporary, single-family home, Owl's Cove is worth a visit.

3 Ways to Get a Fine Arts Fix in Reston

Winner of the 2014 Junior/Senior High School category at the Lake Anne Chalk Festival,

Winner of the 2014 Junior/Senior High School category at the Lake Anne Chalk Festival,

Spring is here, and that means it's time for the free (or nearly free) festivals you can find every weekend in Northern Virginia. Three of the best places to get a fine arts fix happen to be in Reston, and happen to be coming up very soon. Perhaps I'll see you at one or all of them.

Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival

Saturday, May 16: 10 am - 6 pm and Sunday, May 17: 10 am - 5 pm

The 24th annual Greater Reston Arts Center Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival is a nationally top-ranked fine art and craft festival, and one of my absolute favorite spring activities. It typically draws 30,000+ patrons to support GRACE--the area's largest non-profit dedicated exclusively to enhancing community life through excellence in and the promotion of the visual arts. The festival features over 200 skilled artisans, all of whom are juried into the show. You'll find both traditional and unconventional materials and techniques used in the hand-crafted, original works of art. All of the artists are there, and it's fun to talk to them about their art. The art is diverse--both in style and price. See the list of participating artists for 2015!

The Reston Market

Saturdays May through November

Reston's indie arts market runs every week from the 1st Saturday of May through the 1st Saturday of November from 8:00 a.m. to about 1:00 p.m. (sometimes the artisans stay a little longer if they're having fun). It's not just one of my favorites because I run it. It's my favorite because of the talented regional artisans who choose this venue to show their art--hand-crafted jewelry, linens, garden sculpture and more. The beauty is that the vendors can change week to week, so there is always something to discover here. And, of course, you can enjoy live music and shop at the Reston's Farmers Market. Lake Anne Plaza is the place to be on Saturday mornings in the summer!

2nd Annual Lake Anne Chalk Festival

Saturday and Sunday June 13 and 14, 11:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.

So maybe this isn't technically fine art, but it is great fun. And everyone can participate! Your inner artist can come out and paint Lake Anne Plaza red (or green, blue, yellow...) as we turn the Lake Anne Plaza into a chalk art museum. There are three categories and cash and prizes are awarded in each category. This event is fun for the whole family. Register online!