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Five Fun New Years Day Activities

I'm looking forward to tonight. I love New Year's Eve! I don't know about you, though, but I usually spend so much energy deciding what to do on New Year's Eve, that I completely forget about planning about New Year's Day! This year I thought I'd actually look into what's going on New Year's Day in the Reston and DC area. Here are the five activities that made my list. Chances are I'll just decide to stay inside and drink coffee all day, but it's nice to have good options.

  1. Visit the Smithsonian museums I have to say it never occurred to me that the museums would be open on New Year's Day. But they are. Whether you love modern art, airplanes, or dinosaurs, the Smithsonian has something for you. Visit their website to find hours and locations.
  2. Explore the National Zoo Want to spend some time outside in the brisk January air? Visit the National Zoo. It should be quiet on New Years Day. And if you feel adventurous, you can wander on into Rock Creek park for an outdoor picnic. The website has more information.
  3. Take a hike I love hiking in the winter. The air is brisk and there are no bugs. If you really want to stay local, simply pick up any of the RA trails and go for an adventure. Or head off to one of the many local parks (click here for a list). I love starting at River Bend park in Great Falls and hiking along the river into Great Falls Park to look at the falls. The dogs like it too.
  4. Have brunch with friends Why should the new year festivities end at midnight? I love getting together with friends on New Year's Day and talking about our big plans for the coming year. Between Reston Town Center, Lake Anne, and South Lakes Village Center, and there are plenty of wonderful options to choose from in Reston. If I run out of coffee, you'll likely see me down at Lake Anne!
  5. Watch some college bowl games I'm not a huge football fan, but somehow watching college football on New Years Day just feels right. And since I'm not emotionally invested in any of the games, it's a stress-free activity! There are games all week, but here is the January 1 lineup:
  • Gator Bowl, EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Fla. - 12 p.m.
  • Heart of Dallas Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Dallas - 12 p.m.
  • Capital One Bowl, Florida Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Fla.- 1 p.m.
  • Outback Bowl, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla. - 1 p.m.
  • Rose Bowl Game Presented by Vizio, Rose Bowl, Pasadena, Calif. - 5 p.m.
  • Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz., - 8:30 p.m.

However you decide to spend that day, I hope it is a fun and relaxing start to 2014. Happy New Year!

Ivy Oak Cluster

Ivy Oak Cluster

Ivy Oak cluster is close to Reston Town Center, Lake Anne, pools, paths, and the new metro!

Want the ease of condo living, without living in a traditional condominium high rise? Ivy Oak is the place for you. This condominium community is truly a gem, especially for families with young children (they will love the large playground!). And, Ivy Oak is about a ten minute walk to Reston Town Center, close to both Whole Foods and Harris Teeter, and has easy access to the new Wiehle metro station.

Ivy Oak Cluster was built in 1970/71 and consists of 96 2-story, 3 or 4 bedroom townhomes.  Each has a nice backyard space, many of which are fenced. The neighborhood also has a large common space with a wonderful playground. Ivy Oak is located off North Shore Drive, close to Temporary Road.

Ivy Oak Cluster

There is plenty of space for children to play in Ivy Oak Cluster

For me, the nice thing about condo living in Reston is that all of the exterior maintenance is covered in your condo fee. That means you won't have to replace your roof, or any other major exterior repair. Now that is peace of mind for the busy professional or family.

There are no current listings in Ivy Oak Square but this past year 9 properties sold with an average price of $355,700 (maximum $384,900; minimum $323,000) and an average days on market of just 12.

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Ring in the New Year Reston (Town Center) Style

New Year's Eve at Reston Town Center

Skating in the pavilion at Reston Town Center. Photo Courtesy of Jacky Cheong, Flickr.

I live, work, and socialize on Lake Anne, so my idea of an adventure is to head over to Reston Town Center (which is only a mile away, but feels like a different world). On New Years Eve, Reston Town Center is an idyllic place to be with the twinkling lights and sounds of laughter echoing down the streets. It's beautiful. As I'm making my own plans for New Year's Eve, I thought I'd share my idea of the perfect New Years at Reston Town Center:

1. Strap on your skates. The skating rink at town center will be open until 8:00 p.m. on New Years Eve. Take a few spins before and reconnect with your inner child. Click here for more details. After you've fallen a few times, head over to Clyde's, Paolo's, or any of the other restaurants nearby to warm up.

2. Treat yourself to an evening of dining and decadence. When you're done skating (and après skating), relax in your hotel room before heading out for a gourmet dinner and party. Every year the Hyatt Regency offers spectacular New Years Eve specials (4 course dinner at Tavern 64, room, and breakfast @ $299 per couple--what a deal!). For me, getting a hotel room less than a mile from my home is the ultimate indulgence--a mini vacation with no worry of stressful travel. Check out the specials here.

3. Start the new year right with a 5k run Okay, so you've indulged and had your fun. Now it's time to start the new year right. Or at least start it with 700 other crazy souls willing to strap on their sneakers and go for a fun around town center. The New Year's Day 5K presented by Potomac River Running is always a fun event. And if you really don't want to run (or you can't get a spot since they're limiting it to 700), then grab a coffee and come cheer the runners on! Find registration details here.

Whatever you choose to do, have a wonderful and safe New Year's Eve in Reston!

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  1. Susan on

    Thanks for the suggestion Eve. My husband and I have booked our room at the Hyatt and are looking forward to that wonderful 4-course meal. Not sure about the ice-skating, but I'm doing the run in the morning. Can't wait!

    Governour's Square

    Governour's Square

    Governour's Square offers comfortable homes in a great location!

    For those who like a more traditional, colonial style of home, Governour's Square (aka Governor's Square) in Reston is the community for you. Developed in the late 1960?s, the Governour's Square townhomes are 3-level homes with exterior brick construction and about 1,600 square feet of living space. A central common area is a great place for children and dogs to play, and the nearby Reston Association paths are perfect for those who like to walk or run.

    In fact, everything about the location of Governour's Square is great--this small community of townhouses in Reston is less than a 10 minute walk to Reston Town Center, and close to the new Wiehle Metro station. It's also within a few miles of several grocery stores, including Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and Harris Teeter. For those with young children, Governor's Square is also a quick walk to Lake Anne Elementary School.

    Check out the current listings in Governour's Square and Reston townhomes here.

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    5 Fun Holiday Festivities Near Reston


    holiday festivities near Reston

    Come welcome Santa to Lake Anne Saturday, December 7. The Jingle on Lake Anne is fun for the whole family!


    Can you believe it's already December? The first Saturday in December is upon us, and in Reston that means Santa is coming to Lake Anne plaza. Watching the children as they wait for Santa to come into sight is one of my absolute favorite things. Jingle on Lake Anne got me thinking of other fun holiday festivities near Reston. There are many things to do, but these are five of my favorites. Enjoy!

    Jingle on Lake Anne Cost: Free Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013; 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., 1609 Washington Plaza, Reston

    Come cheer with the crowds as Santa Claus travels to Lake Anne by barge. Santa loves taking photos and greeting the children. He loves the other activities too--caroling, a petting zoo, music, wine tastings, children's crafts, cookie decorating, a holiday arts and crafts market and much more!

    City of Fairfax Festival of Lights & Carols Cost: Free December 7, 2013, 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. Kitty Pozer Garden and Old Town Hall, 3999 University Dr., Fairfax

    After you visit Santa at Lake Anne, venture over to Historic Downtown Fairfax for a day and evening of seasonal fun. The holiday cheer lasts all day long--I especially love the s'more's by the yule log! There is also ice sculpting, hot cider, face painting, Christmas tree lighting and caroling.

    National Christmas Tree Cost: Free E St NW & 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20500, Phone:(202) 619-7400 Hours: Wednesday 4:00-6:30 pm, 7:00-9:30 pm

    If you didn't win a ticket to the tree lighting this weekend, don't worry--you can still enjoy the National Christmas Tree. I love parking on the Mall and walking over to the tree to enjoy its majesty. From Wednesday, December 11 until Sunday, December 22, 2013, you can enjoy fabulous music while you gaze at the tree. Bring along a thermos of hot chocolate and a blanket and enjoy the free concert!

    Festival of Lights at Bull Run Cost: See the website for fee schedules. Bull Run Regional Park, 7700 Bull Run Dr., Centreville, Virginia, (703) 359-4633

    The Bull Run Festival of Lights is a 2.5-mile drive-through holiday light show at Bull Run Regional Park. I love the penguins and snowmen. You'll see candy canes, jumping deer, Santa's workshop, Frosty the Snowman, tin soldiers, elves and Santa too. After viewing the lights you can visit the Winter Wonderland Holiday Village that includes amusement rides, an ice skating rink, entertainment, shopping, contests, food, and more. The park is located just off of Interstate 66 in Centreville, on Rt. 29 (Lee Highway).

    Dates and Hours:

    • November 20, 2013 - January 5, 2014.
    • Hours: Monday - Thursday & Sunday: 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.,
    • Fridays, Saturdays & holidays: 5:30 to 10 p.m.

    Mount Vernon by Candlelight Cost: $22 for adults and $15 for children under 12 November 29 - December 22, 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM 3200 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Mount Vernon, Virginia 22121

    Visiting Mount Vernon by candlelight is one of the most delightful ways to experience this piece of history. The town crier invites your group into the historic area and an expert Mount Vernon guide takes you on a tour of candlelit lanes, sharing the history of Christmases past as you approach Washington's beloved home. Meet characters from Washington's time, including "Martha Washington" and "Nelly Custis" inside the Mansion as you hear stories about how the Washingtons celebrated Christmas.

    After the Mansion tour, stay around for some 18th-century dancing in the greenhouse and enjoy the crisp evening air near an outdoor bonfire, complete with caroling, cookies, and cider.

    Be sure to purchase your tickets in advance as you'll be assigned a tour time. Click her to buy them.

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    Happy Thanksgiving

    Lake Anne Reston

    Looking out at Lake Anne from my home fills me with joy!

    I love Thanksgiving in Reston. Everyday, I am truly grateful to live in such an amazing place. In fact, my love of Reston--especially Lake Anne--had much to do with my decision to become a real estate agent, and everything to do with my decision to focus only on Reston Real Estate. Helping people find a dream home in the place I call home really can't be called work.

    As I'm getting ready for Thanksgiving this year, I've been reflecting on some of the things about Lake Anne (and Reston) I especially love.

    1. I love looking out of my office window at Lake Anne and watching the model boat regattas or couples paddling toward the fountain in a paddle boat.
    2. I love going to the Farmer's Market every weekend and buying fresh produce and meats from local farmers.
    3. I love walking on the Reston Association paths--whether I have a destination like Town Center in mind, or I'm just wandering.
    4. I love running into friends at the grocery store or when I'm out to dinner.
    5. I love the civic activism, and how people in Reston care about this place and want it to flourish.

    There is more that I love about Reston, but those five things sum it up for me. Reston is a fabulous place not only to live, but to have a full life. Today, I feel very grateful.

    I hope your Thanksgiving is filled with laughter, love, and gratitude.

    Bentana Woods

    Bentana Woods

    You can walk to the Reston Metor, Lake Fairfax, Lake Anne, and Reston Town Center from Bentana Woods.

    Bentana Woods is one of those Reston neighborhoods that makes you forget you live in a bustling urban area. Built in1972 by Bennett of Virginia, this community is located in the Tall Oaks section of Reston, Virginia--about 1 mile from the Wiehle Metro Station, a quick walk into Lake Fairfax Park, and short drive to Reston Town Center or Lake Anne Plaza. The location is fantastic, which makes the fact that these townhouses are charming and well designed even better.

    Bentana Woods is actually two separate clusters--Bentana Woods Cluster has 48 homes while Bentana Woods West has 108 homes. More than 50% of the neighborhood lands are common areas with open grass, tot lots, and stands of trees--trees that the National Wildlife Federation has certified as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat. The townhomes feature 3 to 4 bedrooms with about 1,700 square feet of living space.

    If you want to be close to the action, but feel like you're living in a National park, Bentana Woods is the Reston neighborhood for you!

    5 fun fall weekend activities within an hour of Reston

    Autumn in Northern Virginia is a beautiful time of year, and there are plenty of activities within an hour of Reston you and your family can enjoy. In fact, there are too many to list. So I've narrowed it down to five of my favorites. Whether I want to hang out in Reston, venture into the city, or head out into the country, there is always something fun to do in or near Reston.

    1. Reston Farmer's Market and Artisan Craft Market Lake Anne Plaza, Reston The popular Reston Farmer's Market and open air craft market are the must-do Saturday morning activity for many Restonians. People enjoy the markets so much that starting this year they'll stay open through December 22. If you love buying seasonal produce from local farmers and buying beautiful handcrafted arts and gifts from local artisans, you will not want to miss the markets! The Farmer's Market is open 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and the open air market is open 8:00 a.m. to 1 p.m.

      great falls park

      Hiking at Great Falls in the autumn is beautiful, and there are so many trails, you never have many options!


      Hiking at Great Falls Park Great Falls, Virginia and Potomac, Maryland Many people who move to Reston are surprised to find they don't have to travel far to find themselves in a tranquil wilderness. Great Falls National Park may only be a few short miles from the bustle of Washington, DC, but it is worlds away from any city. On the Virginia side, you can watch the mighty falls or hike along the miles of paths that twine through the park. On the Maryland side, you can experience the Billy Goat Trail (so named for the rock scrambling you get to do). Both sides of the river are great, and about a ½ hour from Reston.

    3. Beer tasting at the Corcoran Brewery Waterford, VA A visit to the Corcoran Brewery is a hops lovers paradise. This craft brewery uses locally grown hops as much as possible, and brews small batch beers in a variety of styles. The tasting room is cozy--bring a picnic, the kids, and your dog and prepare for a wonderful afternoon. Just 45 minutes from Reston, the rural setting of Waterford will rejuvenate you. And if you are traveling with wine lovers, there is something for them too...
    4. Wine tours and tastings Loudoun County, VA Virginia wines have come into their own in the past several years, and many of the best wineries in Virginia are a quick 45-minute trip from Reston. Few things are more fun then getting together with friends and touring the great wineries in the area. I like being adventurous and just driving down Route 9, pulling off to the vineyards as I see them. But many people prefer to schedule a tour. Virginia Wine Country Tours and Reston Limousine both offer great private tours. Either way, you're bound to experience some amazing wines.
    5. Union Market Washington, DC There is more to do in DC than visiting museums (although that is fun). Union Market showcases local artisanal vendors like Rappahannock Oysters, Red Apron Meats, and Lyon Bakery. Although it first opened in 1871, it's recent revitalization in 2012 is adding some energy into this North East neighborhood. Come sample treats, enjoy coffee or cocktails, and attend foodie events like celebrity chef demonstrations. There is always something to do, taste, or smell at Union Market.

    What are your favorite activities within an hour of Reston? Share's always fun to discover something new!

    South Shore and Fairway Drive, Reston

    South Shore Drive

    The homes of South Shore Drive have lake privileges for Lake Anne--and the owners use them!

    Ask anyone who lived in Reston in the 60s and 70s what the most "exclusive" neighborhood was, and they'll likely say South Shore Drive and Fairway. Why? Because each custom-designed single family home is beautiful, the streets are tree-lined, and you can float down to Lake Anne Plaza on your private boat.

    South Shore and Fairway Drive, RestonAlmost 50 years later, it is still one of the most tranquil and idyllic neighborhoods in Reston. The variety of architecture makes it one of the most unique and the proximity to Lake Anne and the Town Center make one of the most desirable.

    The neighborhood consists of 3- to 4-bedroom homes built between 1965 and 1970. Most are Contemporary style with hardwood floors and plenty of windows (the better to gaze upon the lake).

    Fairway Drive is off Wiehle Avenue, between the two North Shore Drives (North Shore is a horseshoe, which can cause a little bit of confusion when giving directions). South Shore Drive sits on Lake Anne, and residents have private dock privileges--most take advantage of that with private boats that they take to concerts and events at Lake Anne Plaza.

    Children attend Lake Anne Elementary, Langston Hughes Middle and South Lakes High School. It's an easy walk to Lake Anne Plaza or Tall Oaks Village Center, and a quick hop over to Reston Town Center. South Shore and Fairway are also just minutes from the Toll Road the new Reston Metro Center.

    Autumn is a perfect time to take walk around Lake Anne, and to stop and admire this charming neighborhood!

    Reston's public art

    Reston's public art

    The mosaic at the Glade underpass in Reston (photo courtesy of Reston Association).

    If you're new to Reston, you've probably noticed that there are sculptures and murals everywhere you go. That's no mistake. Reston founder Robert Simon was (and still is) a proponent of public art, mentioning it several time in his guiding principals for Reston. As a result, public art thrives in this community.

    Why is public art such a key feature of Reston?

    Because it embodies what Reston in general is all about--it creates a reason for people to communicate and engage with each other.

    Watch this short documentary about Reston's public art for a wonderful overview of the many public artworks you can find in Reston. The Initiative for Public Art - Reston (IPAR) produced it and Rebekah Wingert-Jabi directed it.

    After you watch the video, I have a challenge for you... and this is the perfect time of year for it. This weekend, take a stroll around Lake Anne, through Reston Town Center, or by Lake Thoreau and see how many pieces of public art you can find. From the Fountain at Lake Anne to murals in the underpasses, art is everywhere in Reston, and we love it! I think you'll love it too.


    Waterfront like along a lake