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Mom and Pop: The Boutique Bake Shop

By Eve Thompson

The Boutique Bakeshop

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!

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

By Eve Thompson

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

By Eve Thompson

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

By Eve Thompson

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

By Eve Thompson

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

By Eve Thompson

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.

Tweets from Eve:

After years of trying to be all things to all people I finally said ENOUGH! Reston, VA is what I know and love and this is where I add real value to my clients! So if you're looking to buy or sell in Reston, VA please give me a call.

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