By Eve Thompson
Happy Thanksgiving from some real turkeys (who, no lie, showed up at my friend’s house on Thanksgiving day!)
I love Thanksgiving weekend—there is so much to do and so much fun to be had. I wish it could last longer. If you’re new to Reston, or just want some new ideas about what to do this weekend, here are some of my favorites.
Donate Food to Those in Need
Before the weekend, consider donating food to Cornerstones—a fabulous Reston-based organization that makes a real difference in people’s lives. The Reston Community Center, Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, and Cornerstones have joined to collect food. You can drop off non-perishable food and other items from November 1 – 24 at the Reston Community Center’s Hunters Woods and Lake Anne facilities, the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce, and a variety of other drop-off points throughout the community. Visit the web page for a list of items they really need.
If you don’t feel like cooking this Thanksgiving, I suggest visiting Vinifera at the Westin Reston. They are offering a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday buffet for a reasonable price: $49 per adult; $20 per child ages 5-12; and $7 per child ages 5 and under. They’re located at 11750 Sunrise Valley Dr, Reston, VA (703) 234-3550. Call for reservations. Or if you have a hankering for something else, check out this list of Northern VA restaurants serving Thanksgiving dinner.
Reston Holiday Parade
An annual tradition on the Friday after Thanksgiving, the Reston Holiday Parade has grown in every way. Macy’s-style balloons, musicians and marching bands, dancers, antique cars, community groups, and more make up this one-of-a-kind, one-hour procession welcoming the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus for the season. The 2014 Parade Theme — “Home for the Holidays” — invites adults and kids alike to join the fun to celebrate home, family, and freedom! Come early to get your free sleigh bells. The fun starts at 11:00 a.m. at Reston Town Center.
Tree Lighting and Sing Along
After you’ve warmed up from your morning at the Holiday Parade, come back to the Reston Town Center for the annual tree lighting and sing along at 6:00pm. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive in a horse-drawn carriage to magically light up the huge Christmas tree in Fountain Square. After that is a traditional holiday sing along led by The Reston Chorale and brass quintet. From 6:30 until 10 pm, horse-drawn carriage rides are available, embarking from outside of Talbots on Market Street. All proceeds benefit local charities.
Shop for Gifts from the Heart
Shop at the annual “Gifts from the HeART” from December 1 to January 5 to benefit Cornerstones. Sales of original works of two- and three- dimensional art in many mediums including watercolor, oil, acrylic, clay, mixed media, photography, and fiber are available—and make great gifts. Come to the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne and find the perfect gift!
That should do it—after all, you need plenty of time to lounge around and visit with your family and friends!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
By Eve Thompson
Photo courtesy of the Reston Museum.
Urban planning and architectural students study Reston, VA for a reason—some of Reston’s early designs were groundbreaking. Hickory Cluster, the first development in Reston, is one. Designed by the famous architect Charles Goodman, they represent why Goodman’s early designs changed the way developments were planned.
Architectural historian Elizabeth Jo Lample noted in Housing Washington: ” … The appeal of living in a Goodman house is enormous to those who share his avant-garde spirit, plus his ideals for openness, engagement with nature, and liberal social values. … To those who are fortunate enough to obtain them, his dwellings feel like highly livable works of art, glazed conduits to the natural world.”
One of Goodman’s trademarks is the way he used the land. In Hickory Cluster, he arranged groups of townhouses around intricately paved terraces, which in turn are leveled into a wooded hilltop. Overlooking Lake Anne Village Center, the Hickory Cluster townhomes features sharp changes in the rooflines, varying sizes, and contrasting textures. The homes come in a variety of designs with 2, 3 or 4 bedrooms, rooftop terraces, balconies, playrooms, private studies, family rooms and recreation rooms.
Parking is ample: there is underground garage parking or carports for some models and large parking areas for others. The cluster backs up to Reston Association path and is just a short walk to Lake Anne, Reston Town Center, and Lake Anne Elementary School. The new Reston Station, Silver Line Metrorail, is a five minute drive and Dulles International Airport is within 15 minutes by car.
Visit the Hickory Cluster website to learn more about this historic, and beautiful, Reston community.
By Eve Thompson
Sipping a glass of wine from the Wine Cabinet is one of life’s many pleasures.
Is there any better way to spend a crisp fall evening than out on the deck, sipping a lovely glass of wine (or craft beer)? Most Restonians don’t think so. And neither does Rande Jenus, owner of the Wine Cabinet specialty wine and gourmet store in Reston’s North Point Village Center. That’s why he sells the perfect wines for any occasion—whether you’re enjoying an evening on the deck or hosting a special dinner party.
Rande believes there is a place between the big “box stores” and the small wine shops where good value, excellent knowledge, and discerning selection meet with professional business management to create shops of extraordinary taste and ambiance. The Wine Cabinet is proof of this.
Everyone at the Wine Cabinet is committed to creating a comfortable experience for every customer. You don’t need to know anything about wines to come out with the perfect bottle—the knowledgeable staff enjoys helping you find the right wine for your event (and budget). And if wine isn’t what you want, the craft beer selection should do the trick. The Wine Cabinet’s customer contract says it all: We place great value in the selection of wines, food and giftware and have a good wine at the right price for every budget and every palate.
The Wine Cabinet has become a gathering place for people who love fine wines, craft beers, cooking demonstrations, and culinary tools. There is always some fun event happening—all the more reason to come back time and again! You will see Rande and his staff out in the community too—they are a small, local business completely committed to the Reston/Fairfax community.
Whether you are a wine lover or not, stop into the Wine Cabinet. It is always an enjoyable experience…and you’ll always find some treasure to bring home.
1416 Northpoint Village Ctr
Reston, VA 20194
Hours of operation
Mon – Sat: 10AM – 8PM
Sunday: 12PM – 5PM
By Eve Thompson
Hunt Club Road, North Reston
Living in Reston is about being close to everything. For people who love the outdoors, but still value easy access to Route 7 or the Toll Road, Hunt Club Road is worth a look. Located adjacent to Lake Fairfax Park, the neighborhood has quick access to miles of hiking and biking trails (you won’t feel like you’re in a developed area). If water parks are more your family’s speed, the Water Mine is right there too.
The long, winding street is the local’s secret short cut to Baron Cameron—connecting with Ring Road, it takes you up to the entrance to Lake Fairfax Park, just off Baron Cameron. Built in the early 70s, the street has a mixture of Colonial, split-level, and ranch single family homes. Hunt Club Road is very well-maintained and the homes tend to maintain their value over time.
If you want to do more than explore the miles of park trails, you can pop over to the nearby RA tennis court, basketball courts, and one of the most popular RA pools in Reston—the Uplands pool, which has a wonderful water feature for children.
This neighborhood tends to attract urban sophisticates—people who are well traveled, well educated, and enjoy the arts. Neighbors here know each other, and it’s common to hear stories of frequent get-togethers (I know of at least one dinner club that makes me wish I lived in the neighborhood).
If you’re looking for a single-family home in a friendly and beautiful neighborhood, Hunt Club Road is worth a look.
By Eve Thompson
First impressions matter. And that means the curb appeal of you home influences whether a prospective buyer even wants to look inside. Boosting your curb appeal doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are seven simple things you can do to make your home more appealing to prospective buyers.
Install lights along the sidewalk
Lights lining the path to your home are cheery and inviting…and not very expensive. Lighting can also emphasize your landscaping and any other features you want to highlight. And, lights improve security. Solar lights are perfect for this job. Since they don’t require running electrical cable or extension cords, you can put them wherever you want—down the sidewalk, around a tree. All you have to do to install them is stick them in the ground. There are so many designs today that they can add a nice, decorative touch. It’s a small thing that has a big impact.
Need I say more? Just thinking about flowers makes me smile. And I’m not alone. Whether they’re in flower boxes, hanging baskets, or berms, they provide a huge boost to your curb appeal. Planting flowers is one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to make a big impact. We have tons of nurseries in the area that can recommend exactly what to plant for your yard conditions. It won’t take long or break the bank, and it will make you happy.
Cover Up Dead Spots on Your Lawn
Oh how we love our trees in Reston. Alas, we don’t love their constant shade, and the inevitable dead spots that surround them. I say surrender to the dead spots. Rather than fight them by constantly planting grass that will never grow, cover them up. Plant some shade loving flowers or plants around them (hostas do particularly well here). An even easier solution is to mulch them. You will be amazed at how clean and appealing your yard looks when you cover the dead spots!
Upgrade the Hardware on Your Door
Another super simple upgrade is to change the hardware on your door. Styles change, even for door handles and locks. Swapping out old light fixtures and mailboxes (if you have one by your door) can also add new life to your entrance. And while you’re at it, painting the door will add new vibrancy. You can refresh the entire entrance to you home with those simple fixes.
Replace Rotted Wood
Many of the homes in Reston have wood exteriors and HOA requirements forbid any other type of siding. In our moist climate, wood will sometimes rot—especially around window casings. The good news is that fixing it may not be as costly as you think. Sure it’s not as quick a fix as planting flowers, but it will drastically boost your curb appeal.
Clean the Gutters
Cleaning the gutters really doesn’t take that long. Whether you do it yourself or pay to have it done, it will help make your house look more inviting. Something about weeds growing out of gutters just looks untidy.
Power Wash Your House and Decks
Over time, your house and deck can start looking grungy. Sometimes a new coat of paint or stain is called for (you should do that every six or seven years), but often a good power washing is more than enough to make your house look brand-spanking new. Your house will look so fresh, you may wonder why you’ve never done this before!
There are many more things you can do to boost your curb appeal…some small, some more involved. But these seven things alone will drastically improve how your house looks to potential buyers and will make them want to come in and see more.
By Eve Thompson
south bay cluster
Lake Audubon is one of Reston, VA’s gems. And on it sits South Bay Cluster, a neighborhood of 33 cedar-siding, contemporary homes—30% of which are direct lakefront property, and the rest have private access to the lake. Built in the mid-80s, these three and four bedroom townhomes all have garages as well—what more could you want?
Well, for families, South Bay is walking distance to Terraset Elementary, Langston Hughes Middle, and South Lakes High School. It is also a short walk to the South Lakes Shopping Center—with Starbucks, Safeway, Café Sano, and more. It’s also a quick ride to the Reston Metro station, Dulles Airport, and Reston Town Center.
For those who want to play close to home, there is a Reston Association playground near the entrance of the community. And if you have a small, portable boats (canoes, rowboats, sailboats, etc.) boat, the community dock is available to all residents. If you want to venture out a bit, Walker Nature Education Center is close by, as is Lake Fairfax Park (home of the Water Mine), and the many RA pools and tennis courts.
South Bay Cluster has something for everyone, all centrally located in South Reston.