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by Dave Emke — October 16, 2017 at 10:15 am 2 Comments

Saturday, downtown Herndon celebrated its community with its annual homecoming parade.

The parade, which traversed Elden and Lynn streets in the town, featured nearly 1,300 participants in 51 units. Athletes, bands, clubs, performers, scouts, politicians, businesses, community groups and Herndon High School’s Homecoming Court were among the participants.

The theme of the parade was “Across the World,” and included a salute to nations that have hosted the Olympics.

According to the Town of Herndon website, highlights of the parade included the St. Joseph’s School cheerleaders; Herndon High School’s cheerleading, dance and step teams; HHS NJROTC; HHS Best Buddies; Hutchison Elementary students; Herndon-Reston softball; JamBrew with JUXT; and the Class of 1987 riding Herndon’s retired 1955 GMC American pumper truck.

Dignitaries at the event included Mayor Lisa Merkel; Vice Mayor Jen Baker; councilmembers Grace Wolf Cunningham, Jeff Davidson, Signe Friedrichs, Bill McKenna and Sheila Olem; Herndon Police Department’s Capt. Brad Anzengruber; and Herndon High School Principal Dr. Liz Noto.

Trophies were presented to the first- and second-place winners in the Civic, Performing Arts, School, Show and Class Float categories. Judges also selected the Richard F. Downer theme award and the Major Robert C. Church Best in Parade winners.

Civic Group
First Place – Girl Scouts of Herndon
Second Place – Cub Scout Pack #1570

Performing Arts Group
First Place – Herndon Middle School Step Team
Second Place – Percussion Works

School Group
First Place – Herndon Elementary
Second Place – Dranesville Elementary School

Show Group
First Place – Herndon Optimists Youth Sports
Second Place – Herndon Woman’s Club, Wreaths Across America

Class Floats
First Place – Herndon High School Class of 2019
Second Place – Herndon High School Class of 2018

Richard F. Downer Theme Award – Clearview Elementary 6th grade

Major Robert C. Church Award – Best in Parade – Pride of Herndon, Herndon High School Band

More photos from the event can be found on the Herndon Homecoming Parade Facebook page.

Images via Karl Haase/Facebook

by Dave Emke — October 12, 2017 at 1:30 pm 20 Comments

New residents are beginning to move into Aperture (11410 Reston Station Blvd.), which is described as “not just an apartment building, but an artistic expression.”

Mike Henehan, senior vice president of Bozzuto Development Company, said the leasing process began last month and about 14 units in the 421-unit building are being moved into already. The finishing touches are being put on the building, with hopes for hundreds more residents moving in during the coming months.

“We didn’t want to do another high-rise — we wanted to do something that was a little cool,” said Reston developer Chuck Veatch, who has owned the property since 1978. It was previously the home of a mini-storage facility and retail strip center. “One of the things that we talked about was tying it in with a lot of art and a lot of photography.”

Veatch, who came to Reston in 1964 and was involved in its original development, is also chairman of the board and contributing editor for Nature’s Best Photography magazine. With that in mind, the building features the overarching theme of nature photography, with numerous stunning photos out of the Nature’s Best archives displayed throughout.

“We gave [the design team] all of the winners that have been in our exhibits down at the Smithsonian, and they went through and decided what they wanted to use in the building,” Veatch said. “The corridors all have Nature’s Best photography in them, and what they did was pick a theme for each floor.”

Sculptor Zachary Oxman also has works displayed inside and outside the building, including the 11-foot-tall “Convergence” that was unveiled last month. Architecture firm KTGY designed the building, and its interior design was envisioned by award-winning designer Rebecca Jones.

The building offers studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom dwelling units. There are three courtyards, with amenities including a saltwater pool, outdoor cooking stations, a pet-play area and more. Also included are a full gym, an extensive lounge area, a library and other features.

Orangetheory Fitness will soon open as Aperture’s first retail tenant. Veatch said a second retailer, which will be a restaurant, is in the works.

The goal is to cultivate a sense of camaraderie among residents, Veatch said.

“We want Aperture to be a place, a community,” he said. “There will be a lot of programming and all kinds of cool stuff here for people to do.”

Aperture residents will also be part of a larger community, as members of Reston Association.

Tours of Aperture will be included as part of the Reston Home Tour, taking place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Prospective residents are also invited to schedule their own visit to learn more.

by Dave Emke — October 10, 2017 at 2:45 pm 8 Comments

Signs now in place at the future home of Nando’s Peri-Peri (12120 Sunset Hills Road) indicate the Portuguese-style chicken restaurant will open later this year.

The windows at the new storefront within the RTC West development are now adorned with advertisements for the coming restaurant. The largest reads that the fast-casual restaurant’s opening has been scheduled for “Fall 2017.” Others encourage future customers to send their email address to “make a date” with the restaurant, and future employees to text “RESTON” to 41-411 for information about job opportunities.

We emailed a Nando’s spokesperson for additional information about the opening date of the restaurant. We were told there will be “big news in Reston shortly.”

According to promotional information, Nando’s has about 1,200 restaurants in 23 countries on five continents. It was founded in 1987 in South Africa, and first came to the United States in 2008 with a DC location. Other area restaurants include at One Loudoun and in the Mosaic District.

Also in the RTC West development, Starbucks (12130A Sunset Hills Road) opened this week. Meanwhile, progress continues at Mezeh Mediterranean Grill, which will be located next to Nando’s.

by Dave Emke — October 6, 2017 at 10:15 am 3 Comments

UPDATE: The Starbucks location opened Monday, Oct. 9.

Another new Starbucks will soon open in Reston.

Signs inside the future coffee shop at 12130A Sunset Hills Road, within the RTC West development, indicate that the new Starbucks will be ready soon. The storefront is attached to Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant, which opened in August.

A spokesperson for RTC West developer JBG Smith said she could not provide an exact opening date for the Starbucks. An “opening soon” sign hangs inside, visible through the front windows. Several “Now Open” sandwich boards are also stacked inside, ready for deployment.

This will be the ninth Starbucks in Reston, joining locations at North Point Village Center, South Lakes Village Center, Hunters Woods Village Center, Reston Town Center, the Spectrum shopping plaza, Plaza America, Reston Station and inside Target.

Six additional restaurants are also planned for the development. Significant work has been done at the sites of the future Nando’s and Mezeh restaurants, which have been in the plans since April 2016. Other coming restaurants, which were announced earlier this year, include BGR The Burger Joint, Punjabi by Nature, The Black Squirrel and Honeygrow.

by Dave Emke — September 28, 2017 at 2:45 pm 2 Comments

Check out these “Throwback Thursday” photos of the early days of Station 25, Reston, posted on Twitter today by Fairfax County Fire and Rescue.

Soon, the station as it has been known by longtime Reston residents will change forever.

The station, at 1820 Wiehle Ave., was built in 1972 and last renovated in 1986. It was one of five fire stations approved for replacement and/or renovation under the county’s 2015 Public Safety Bond Referendum. The new fire station on Wiehle Avenue, according to the county’s Capital Improvement Plan, will cost about $13 million. It is needed due to “outdated infrastructure and critical operational space deficiencies.”

The work on the new station is estimated to take place from spring 2019 through late 2020.

While the permanent station is being replaced, a temporary fire station will stand at 1800 Cameron Glen Drive. The Fairfax County Planning Commission unanimously gave its OK to the plan for the temporary fire station earlier this month, and the County Board of Supervisors did the same at their meeting this week.

You can see more historical photos of the Wiehle Avenue station at the FairfaxFirefighters.org website.

by RestonNow.com — September 28, 2017 at 1:30 pm 5 Comments

Companies looking for an outlet for team-building and bonding exercises have a new local option, thanks to the Fairfax County Park Authority.

Frying Pan Farm Park (2739 W. Ox Road, Herndon), known for its kids’ activities, is now offering a program led by Middleburg-based Empower Adventures that “can be customized to meet a company’s specific goals,” according to information provided by the Park Authority.

The Park Authority says it is offering “farm-themed activities” that tackle issues including individual accountability, increased efficiency, the importance of strategy, communication, prioritizing and problem-solving. The activities are designed for groups of 10-50 people.

The Park Authority says:

Program packages include two or four hours of team-building activities followed by an equal amount of meeting time. Free indoor Wi-Fi and use of the park’s picnic pavilion are included. To make the day away from the office even more productive and fun, companies can add options such as wagon rides and farm tours, a sound system and projector, and extended meeting space time and break-out space.

For more information, including prices, call 703-437-9101 or visit the park’s website.

by RestonNow.com — September 27, 2017 at 1:30 pm 3 Comments

The fall edition of Reston Association’s semi-annual community yard sale is scheduled for Saturday, 8:30 a.m to noon.

The event will take place at 1900 Campus Commons Drive, at the corner of Sunrise Valley Drive and Wiehle Avenue. According to information provided by Ashleigh Soloff, RA’s community events supervisor, “85 families will be selling a variety of items, so this is a great opportunity to find things for a new home or a college dorm.”

No early birds will be allowed prior to the 8:30 a.m. opening time. Vendor space is sold out, and Soloff said the event will be canceled in the event of rain.

Anyone seeking more information should contact Soloff at [email protected] or 703-435-6577.

The event will be held concurrently with RA’s annual Reston Expo, scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the same address. Advertised as “a one-stop shopping event for home improvement and more,” that event will also include food, music, kids’ tent events and workshops. Questions about the Expo should be directed to [email protected] or 703-435-6530.

Photo courtesy Reston Association

by Dave Emke — September 26, 2017 at 11:30 am 34 Comments

Local Big Lots fans will soon have farther to travel to get to their favorite discount store.

The location at 490 Elden St. in the Herndon Centre plaza will close Oct. 15, a Big Lots media representative confirmed to Reston Now. Signage now in place outside the store informs customers that after that date, they can visit locations in Sterling (300 Enterprise St.) and Fairfax (11181 Lee Highway).

Lotte Plaza Market will be taking over the 26,000-square-foot Big Lots space in the spring, Herndon spokesperson Anne Papa Curtis confirmed to Reston Now. We first reported in July that the market, described on its website as “the premier source for Asian groceries in Maryland and Virginia,” would be opening in the plaza in early 2018.

In the interim, a large percentage of the west side of the plaza will be vacant, following the closing of Kmart earlier this year. The 84,000-square-foot former department store space is expected to be broken up among several new businesses, Herndon Mayor Lisa Merkel said at the time of its closing.

Herndon Centre is owned by A.J. Dwoskin & Associates Inc.

by RestonNow.com — September 25, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 Cornerstones of Our Community: Best of Reston Awards, presented by Cornerstones and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce. Nomination forms are due by 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3.

According to information provided by Cornerstones:

Awardees will be selected for working selflessly without consideration of recognition to improve communities served by Cornerstones and the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce. Nomination applications can be found at www.cornerstonesva.org/BOR. Finalist selections and notifications will be completed by early January 2018.

In 2018, finalists will not be broken into categories, as they have been in previous years. Rather, they will be recognized collectively as “Best of Reston Finalists.” According to Cornerstones, this will enable them “to consider the merits and diversity of community service, volunteerism and/or philanthropy, whether demonstrating an immediate impact or sustained over a period of time, without the restrictions of being defined by a category.”

The 2017 awards event raised more than $515,000 for Cornerstones, in support of the organization’s strategies of starting individuals on a pathway to sustainable living-wage employment, and to identify and address other barriers to move from surviving to living prosperous, healthy lives. Highlights from last year’s event are available at Cornerstones’ website.

The awards have been given out each year since 1992.

The 2018 ceremony will be held Thursday, April 12 at the Hyatt Regency Reston (1800 Presidents St.).

Anyone with questions about the nomination or selection process can contact to Likitta Crawley at [email protected] or by calling 571-323-9570.

Image from 2017 Best of Reston Awards courtesy Chip McCrea Photography

by Dave Emke — September 20, 2017 at 3:00 pm 2 Comments

 As Amazon searches for a home for its second headquarters, local government leaders across the nation have pitched their communities.

Fairfax County is no exception.

In June, it was announced that Amazon Web Services would use the One Dulles Tower (13200 Woodland Park Road, Herndon) as a new East Coast corporate campus, bringing up to 1,500 new jobs to the area. But local officials would like to see it make an even bigger investment.

“Fairfax County would love to be home to Amazon’s second headquarters,” said Sharon Bulova, chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, recently to the Fairfax News. “In our community they would find a well-educated, talented and motivated workforce, and an outstanding quality of life.”

Amazon’s new headquarters could require up to 8 million square feet, the Washington Business Journal reported, and jurisdictions all over the DC Metro area have expressed their interest. But of course, they are nowhere close to alone — interest in the project has been expressed almost everywhere.

Do you think Amazon would we wise to make Fairfax County home to its new headquarters? If so, why — and if not, where else? Let us know below.

by RestonNow.com — September 18, 2017 at 2:45 pm 23 Comments

Local activist group Herndon-Reston Indivisible has planned an “issues fair” as part of its public meeting Tuesday.

According to information provided by the group:

Herndon-Reston Indivisible is hosting an Issues Fair to give current and prospective volunteers the opportunity to explore the more than 10 groups that exist within Herndon-Reston Indivisible that are focused on following and taking action on specific issues (for example, healthcare, science & the environment). Attendees can find out what these groups have been doing, what they are planning for the future, and how to can get involved.

According to the organization’s summer newsletter, HRI’s issues groups include the Russian Influence group, the Informed Public group, the Immigration Issues group, the Election Issues group, the Economy Issues group, and the Science and Environment group.

The meeting and fair will take place at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Sunset Hills Montessori School (11180 Ridge Heights Road). Snacks and soft drinks will be provided.

Herndon-Reston Indivisible describes itself as “a local organization of like-minded citizens who are resisting the Trump administration and his hateful policies.” The group has had several hundred people attend past meetings.

by Dave Emke — September 18, 2017 at 1:30 pm 19 Comments

Money magazine today released its list of the best places to live in America and, once again, Reston made the cut.

The community, which was No. 7 on list in 2012 and No. 10 in 2014, came in this year at No. 29 on the Top 100. (In 2016, Reston was ranked No. 28 as part of an entry that included the entire Hunter Mill District of Fairfax County.)

Of the three Virginia communities on this year’s list, Reston ranked the highest. It is just above nearby Ashburn, which placed at No. 30; and Midlothian, located near Richmond in Chesterfield County, at No. 49.

Reston is also the highest-ranked community in the DC Metro, with the area’s only other nod coming for Rockville at No. 39.

According to the writeup from the Money magazine, which is published by Time Inc.:

Reston was once just an idea. In the early 1960s, architect and economist Robert E. Simon mapped out a vision for a community that upheld open space, recreational facilities, and aesthetic beauty.

Today, the thriving Washington, D.C., suburb offers a woodsy atmosphere that includes expanses of parks, lakes, golf courses, and bridle paths. Over 50 miles of pathways were designed to weave in and around its communities to increase pedestrian safety and to ensure that most residents’ homes were no more than a half-mile walk to village centers.

Reston Town Center, the community hub, provides an array of dining, entertainment, and shopping venues, along with headquarters for ComScore and Rolls-Royce North America; the town is also the site of a Google office and five of the largest venture capital firms in Virginia, as well as a Metro rail station for Washington commuters. Those help keep the town’s unemployment rate well below the national average. — Gabriela Fernandez

(Editor’s Note: While the writeup refers to Reston as a town, it is not an incorporated community, but rather a census-designated place.)

According to Money magazine, this year’s list includes communities with populations between 10,000 and 100,000. After they “eliminated any place that had more than double the national crime risk, less than 85 percent of its state’s median household income, or a lack of ethnic diversity,” the list’s creators were left with about 2,400 communities from which to choose.

To find the top 100, they “considered data on each place’s economic health, cost of living, public education, crime, ease of living, and amenities, all provided by research partner Witlytic.” Realtor.com helped compile the list by contributing data on housing market costs and growth.

Take a look at the full list, topped by the Indianapolis suburb of Fishers, and let us know what you think of the ranking.

by Dave Emke — September 18, 2017 at 11:30 am 21 Comments

Simple social media lip service or not, this does raise some questions.

Would a Shake Shack in Reston rock your world? And while we’re at it, what other fast-food or fast-casual restaurants would you like to see here?

Recently, fast-casual spots for which some have clamored (Cava, Kung Fu Tea, King Pollo, etc.) have opened here. Still others (including Nando’sHoneygrow and Sweet Leaf) are on the way. But some people still want more.

After we recently posted an article updating the status of a future Chick-fil-A at North Point Village Center, our Facebook commenters responded with a number of other quick-service restaurants they’d like to see in Reston. Some of the names they threw out don’t have any locations in our part of the country (In-N-Out, Jack in the Box, Del Taco), while others they mentioned (Sonic, Arby’s) are a little more likely.

Of course, if you’ve ever frequented the Reston Now comment threads, you know this guy who has a particular dream. Maybe someday he’ll get his wish.

For now, use this comment thread to let us know what you’d like to see here — and why.

by Dave Emke — September 12, 2017 at 1:15 pm 2 Comments

Concerts, art exhibits, theater, film showings — there is always something entertaining to do in Reston.

But what about live comedy? A Reston native is trying to make it a more regular event here as well.

“I went out and scoped out the comedy scene, and I’m bringing the best comics back to Reston,” said Robin Rex, a six-month veteran of comedy who has already started her own show-booking company, Funny Friend Productions. “We don’t have comedy [here], and I want people to have a place to go to see comedy, good shows.”

In July, Funny Friend Productions put on its first show at Café Montmartre, a longtime favorite venue of Rex. The show had about 75 attendees and was a success for all involved, she said. Another show at the restaurant (1625 Washington Plaza N.) is planned for Sept. 23.

“I grew up on that side of Reston, and I’ve always loved being at Lake Anne,” said Rex, who now lives in Centreville. “There’s places is Centreville [to do shows], but Lake Anne is where my heart is.”

Rex, 43, is a 20-year high school teacher who said she has been performing at venues around Northern Virginia this year as she begins to gain experience in the comedy business. She got started at the suggestion of a co-worker who also works as a standup.

“He just thought that I would be good at it because I’m talking all day [and] I’m good at keeping the kids’ attention, at being funny,” she said. “I finally had my opportunity and I went for it, and from my first night people have started asking me to do other shows.”

She said she has been intimidated at times in the past months as she has started getting her feet wet in the business, but that her confidence is building and she is comfortable once she gets on stage.

“I’m still beside myself nervous, but once I get up there I’m able to flip a switch,” she said, saying her brand of comedy is influenced by standups such as Amy Schumer. “My friends say, ‘You don’t look nervous at all,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I’m dying on the inside.’ … But I just put it out there, and I’m not embarrassed.”

The Sept. 23 show  — planned as Rex’s 44th birthday celebration — has numerous area comedians on the bill. In addition to Rex, the show will be headlined by Franqi French, who also grew up in Reston. Other standups slated to perform are Sumedha Ahuja Bahri, Kevin Skington, Wendy Wroblewski, Gil Segev, Leon Scott, Dan Kaufman and Steve Coltrain.

“What’s great about it is I’ve had the past six months to go around [the DC Metro area] and listen to other comics, and then I could handpick the ones that I want to book for my shows,” she said. “Also, it’s my birthday, so I have some of my friends who are comedians on the lineup.”

A door charge of $10 will be collected. Doors will open at 7 p.m., with the show starting at 8.

“[Attendees] probably want to come [early] and get a table and eat, because it was standing-room-only last time,” Rex said.

For information about this show, or to inquire about bringing a Funny Friend Productions show to another venue, connect with Rex on Facebook.

(Note: In addition to the standup show, Café Montmarte will also be hosting a free improv comedy show with Reflex Improv this Friday at 8 p.m.)

Photo courtesy Robin Rex

by Dave Emke — September 7, 2017 at 2:45 pm 13 Comments

Bonita Weinstein and her husband, Lowell, took over ownership of the Reston Farm Market (10800 Baron Cameron Ave.) on Aug. 1 and immediately realized they had a lot of work to do.

“When we took on this project, I just thought ‘Yeah, we’ll get in there and we can do it quickly,'” Weinstein said. “We’ve been working on this place for a month now.”

The full renovation project at the business near Leesburg Pike is still in progress, as crews could be seen on the site Thursday morning working to set the new patio and continuing to revamp the barn’s interior. Bonita said they are getting ready for a “soft opening” Tuesday, with a grand-opening celebration scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 23.

A website that celebrates the “original” Reston Farm Market gives some information about its history. It opened in 1976 and was under the guidance of its founder, Hall Kern, through 1997. It has been owned by several different people since, Weinstein said, and she and her husband are hopeful they will usher in its return to prominence.

“In recent years, the reviews weren’t so great,” she said. “It was run down, but my husband said, ‘We can make it nice [again].'”

The Weinsteins are owners of Seasonal Celebrations garden centers. They have nine locations in the region, including in the Fox Mill and Sugarland Crossing shopping plazas. Bonita said they have high hopes of bringing the success they’ve had with those stores to the Farm Market.

“When people come here, they’re going to be shocked that it’s totally different,” Weinstein said. “We’ve put a lot of money into revamping this place.”

The renovated market will sell fresh produce from local farmers, pies, dairy products, garden supplies and more. Fall decorating supplies including pumpkins and gourds will be available, as will mums and firewood. Christmas trees will be sold when the season arrives.

Kids’ favorites including train rides, moon bounces and an expanded petting zoo will also be on the premises. Parking for the property has been expanded, Weinstein said, and Hoggmeister BBQ will provide a food truck on the weekends.

“This place is going to be totally different from what it has ever been,” she said. “I think this place is going to be extraordinary, I really do.”

The grand-opening event Sept. 23 will include a DJ, face painting and more. Food trucks will provide items for purchase, including ice cream, Weinstein said.

The Reston Farm Market is scheduled to be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day beginning Tuesday. Weinstein said it will be open through December, and will reopen in March for the spring season.

For more information, call 703-759-0000.

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