Reston, VA

Monday, March 8

  • Living in Reston A Long Time Ago (6 p.m.) – Join the Reston Historic Trust and Museum for a trivia night put on by a South Lakes High School student who wanted to learn more about the town she grew up in. It will focus on Reston’s history and what it was like living in Reston in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.

Tuesday March 9

Wednesday, March 10

  • Paint like Van Gogh (6:30 p.m to 8:30 p.m.) – Create your own Vincent Van Gogh-inspired masterpieces. Join the Fairfax County Public Library staff in using the technique called “impasto,” meaning to lay paint on thickly to make it stand out from the canvas. All art materials will be provided and available for pick-up.

Thursday, March 11

  • Cains Branch (11 a.m.) – Hike the trails in Chantilly and learn the hidden history of this Fairfax County park. Follow the waterway to discover more about the life of early inhabitants who made this area their home.

Friday, March 12

  • Eye of an Eagle (7 p.m.) – Be it date night or family night, see if you can spot the animal by its anatomy at this virtual trivia night hosted by the Reston Association.

Saturday, March 13

  • Drive-Up Movie Night (6 p.m.) – Take a trip to Tysons for a baseball-themed drive-up movie night. Entry cost supports the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation and DC Take Steps Program. It’s a double family-friendly feature of “Field of Dreams” & “42: The Jackie Robinson Story.”

Sunday, March 14

  • Birding for Beginners (9 a.m.) – 2021’s hottest new hobby… is birding? As the spring migration season takes flight, join fellow birders at Lake Fairfax to learn how to spot feathered flyers.
  • Founder’s Day (2 p.m.) – A new exhibit at Lake Anne’s Jo Ann Rose Gallery imagines the beginnings of Reston. The art focuses on the seven principles outlined by Reston founder Robert E. Simon. On Sunday, there’s also a reception celebrating the exhibit which will be on display until April 30.

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Challah Bread (Photo via Pixabay/dinar_aulia)

Monday, March 1

  • Reston Association Board Election (5 p.m.) – Month-long voting begins at 5 p.m., with residents able to vote online or via their mailed ballot (which is being sent out on March 1). Five candidates are certified for three open seats on the 2021 Board of Directors. Results will be announced in April at the Annual Members’ Meeting.

Tuesday March 2

  • Suburban Space to Natural Oasis (7–8 p.m.) – Kim Young, a naturalist at Annandale’s Hidden Oaks Nature Center, is teaching how to turn a “typical suburban yard into a native plant wildlife habitat.” She’ll go over processes and what plants are right for your suburban space. This is a two part virtual program.

Wednesday, March 3

  • Home Fermenting (1–2 p.m.) – Fermenting vegetables at home have become somewhat of a fad during the pandemic. Join Kathryn Strong from the Virginia Cooperative Extension to learn how to properly do it and the equipment needed.

Thursday, March 4

  • Tom Stoppard (5 p.m.) – Join Smithsonian Associates as they talk with author Hermione Lee about her new biography about one of the greatest living playwrights, Tom Stoppard. He’s the author of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and co-writer of the 1998 Oscar winner Shakespeare in Love.

Friday, March 5

  • Drawing Comics (4–5:30 p.m.) – Let the creative juices follow as cartoonist Bud Little guides students through a four-week comic strip class. Students will learn how to create and illustrate basic cartoons using their own characters and settings. The class is intended for kids. It’s being put on by the Arts of Great Falls, it is in-person, and there’s a 7-student maximum.

Saturday, March 6

  • American Girl (11 a.m.) – Authors Erin Teagan and Terry Catasus Jenning are talking girl power with the introduction of their new books. Jennings is introducing her new series Definitely Dominguita and Teagan is talking about her new series about the American Girl Doll of the Year Kira’s adventures. During this Zoom event, four American Girl dolls are being raffled off, including 2018’s American Girl of the year Luciana.
  • Cider Tasting (5 p.m.) – Drink up with a virtual apple cider tasting. Join authors Dan Pucci & Craig Cavallo of the book American Cider: A Modern Guide To A Historic Beverage as they talk and walk through a virtual cider tasting featuring ciders from D.C.’s ANXO.

Sunday, March 7

  • Challah Challah (11 a.m.) – Hannah Wolfman-Arent, baker for popular Sonny’s Pizza in D.C., leads a challah workshop. She’ll teach how to make the classic egg loaf as well as variations like one with garlic jam. A full recipe, an ingredient list, and a step-by-step guide will also be provided prior to the online class.

Photo via Pixabay/dinar_aulia

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Monday, Feb. 22

  • Undefeated (2:30-3:15 p.m.) – Meet Kwame Alexander, one of the hottest young adult book authors writing today. The New York Times best selling and Caldecott Medal-winning author (for his 2019 book “The Undefeated“) will talk about his writing process and give a short reading.
  • Brothers Gupta (6:30-7:30 p.m.) – After being rejected many times, Suneel Gupta dives into the question of if “charisma”can be learned. He gets into a conversation with his brother Sanjay Gupta, and famed CNN medical correspondent, about his new book focusing on this topic. This virtual event is hosted by Politics and Prose.

Tuesday Feb. 23

  • Burn (6-7 p.m.) – In October 1933, George Armwood of Princess Anne, Maryland was lynched. It was the last known lynching in a state with a horrific history of the crime. Join filmmaker Will Schwarz – and founder of the Maryland Lynching Memorial Project – as he virtually screens and discusses his documentary film, “Burn: The Lynching of George Armwood.” This event is for adults.

Wednesday, Feb. 24

  • Backyard Bats (7-8 p.m.) – Learn about the enchanting life of the world’s only flying mammal from Leslie Sturges, President of the Save Lucy Campaign. She’s teaching participants about the seven bat species that call this region home and how to spot the animals in your own backyard. This event is virtual.

Thursday, Feb. 25 

  • A Reckoning (Noon to 1 p.m.) – This virtual event from Woodlawn & Pope-Leighey House in Alexandria features four poets giving voices to the erased lives of those who were enslaved at Woodlawn. Readings are accompanied by music from harmonica player Cliff Bernier.

Friday, Feb. 26

  • Asteroid (3 p.m.) – Last October, a NASA spacecraft touched down on Bennu, an asteroid, and collected samples of the rock. Hear from Dr. Ben Ashman, a member of the mission’s navigation team, about how they did it.

Saturday, Feb. 27

  • Geocaching (2 p.m.) – Go on a Global Positioning System-led treasure hunt at Lake Fairfax. Geocaching continues a much-beloved activity, especially during the pandemic since it’s almost entirely done outdoors. Bring your own GPS and learn how to find your own treasure.

Photo via alobenda/Pixabay

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The non-profit Friends of Reston Regional Library is providing about 1,800 free books to local students. The Book Bites project is giving new books to children at four Reston public schools during meal and school supply pick-up, which typically runs from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m on weekdays.

The schools that will receive donations are Dogwood Elementary, Hunters Woods Elementary, Forest Edge Elementary, and South Lakes High School. The first day of distribution took place at Dogwood late last week and is expected to continue until March.

Eileen Evon, Community Outreach Chair for FRRL, says the idea came to the organization when they realized how many families were in need of partaking in the meal pick-ups.

“Knowing more kids than ever were going to schools to pick up meals got us thinking about what else they might need to feed their brains and hearts and imaginations during this crazy time,” Evon wrote in an email to Reston Now. “We believed we, as Friends of the Library, could and should help.”

With access to libraries still limited, Evon says, this made the need even greater.

Books were sorted, inventoried, and arranged by reading level by more than 25 volunteers. Families are able to take bundles for multiple students within the same household. Books will also be handed out at schools in the coming weeks, when more students are expected to return in-person.

The books chosen for the project are from recommended school reading lists and were based on input from school librarians, reading specialists, and other school staff.

The organization received assistance from the local business Scrawl Books at Reston Town Center, which provided discounts on books. Jersey Mike’s of Reston also donated 1,000 new paper bags for the book bundles.

FRRL says the total cost of the books being distributed is nearly $15,000. Funds for the project came from sales of donated books as well as cash donations.

In normal times, FRRL raises money (often with book sales) to assist Reston libraries in filling funding gaps. Their mission is to make the local library system the “can be the best it can be” by providing technology, collection materials, programming, and books for free or discounted costs to the community, according to its website.

Evon says that while giving away free books looks easy, it requires a lot of work.

“It seems like a simple idea: ‘let’s give away a bunch of free, brand-new books to kids who rarely get them.’ But it actually has required months of planning and creative thinking,” she says. “The schools have so much going on right now, and they have had to adapt constantly. We’ve been delighted to partner with them so our volunteers can come to their schools to distribute these books to their families.”

Photo courtesy of Friends of Reston Regional Library

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Monday, Jan 25

  • The Nields Livestream Concert (8 p.m.) – Local folk band the Nields recently released their 20th album and they are celebrating by performing a livestream concert from Jammin Java in Vienna. Known for their songs being inspired by headlines, tickets are free but donations are welcomed.

Tuesday, Jan 26

  • Treasure Hunting at Home (11 a.m. to 12 p.m) – The Reston Association is hosting a virtual appraisal roadshow, where residents can show off their family heirlooms to see if they truly have a price. Each family can present one item – like jewelry, coins, timepiece, porcelain, or artwork – and experts will explain their origins and their monetary worth.

Wednesday, Jan 27

  • Summer Camp in a Bag (12 p.m. to 2 p.m.) – Due to COVID-19, the Reston Summer Camp Expo isn’t being held this year. But that doesn’t mean families can’t dream of sunshine and kids getting out of the house. Pick up a swag bag full of summer camp information and fun surprises at the Reston Community Center at Hunter Woods from January 25 to 30.

Thursday, Jan 28 

  • Queen’s Gambit (4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.) – Inspired by the popular Netflix show, local Ashley Xing joins the Fairfax County Public Library for a history of women in chess. Xing was a U.S. representative to the World Youth Chess Championships and founder of the Tyson-Pimmit library’s chess team.

Friday, Jan 29

  • Winter Wanderland (6 p.m.) – Take a socially distant wander through ice sculptures in the Village at Leesburg. There’s a new ice theme every week, but visitors have to guess what it is. Correctly doing so gets you entered into a drawing for a $100 gift card at a local store. If there’s poor weather, check social media for updates to the schedule.

Saturday, Jan 30 

  • Dear COVID Poetry Slam (6-8 p.m.) – Recovery Program Solutions of Virginia is partnering with Busboys and Poets for a poetry slam and open mic. Here’s a chance to get thoughts and feelings about COVID off your chest. Tickets are free, but donations are welcome. NBC4’s Drew Wilder is the guest emcee.

Photo via Helena1962/Pixabay

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After being prompted by the murder of George Floyd and national protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement,  community members in Reston are turning to local bookstores for resources on systemic racism and the black community.

Scrawl Books, located at 11911 Freedom Drive, has already sold hundreds of anti-racism books, according to manager Molly McMahon.

“We have seen a profound uptick in sales for books by and about people of color, diversity, black lives matter issues and titles that address the causes and effects of racism (both fiction and nonfiction) over the past few weeks,” she said.

In the coming weeks, the location will also be organizing free books talks and events to help promote activism and education.

On Thursday (June 18), guests can tune into Zoom to hear from Daven McQueen about her new novel, “The Invincible Summer or Juniper Jones,” which focuses on a biracial adolescent sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Alabama in 1955,” according to McMahon.

Later in the month, on June 25, Mahogany L. Browne will give a book talk about her novel “Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice.”

Some of the best sellers so far include “‘How to be an Antiracist‘ by Ibram X. Kendi, ‘Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America‘ by Ibram X. Kendi and ‘White Fragility‘ by  Robin D’Angelo,” McMahon said.

Because of high demand across the country, some of the books are on back-order form publishers, according to McMahon but they would once again be available on shelves later this month.

“We ensure our inventory increases along with demand for specific titles and topics, so we can fill orders as quickly as possible,” she said.

At the shop, some of McMahon’s favorite titles for all ages from Black authors include:

For those wanting to explore other local shops around town, Reston’s Used Book Shop (1623 Washington Plaza North Lake Anne) also carries titles from black authors, but given the nature of a used book shop, one employee said they cannot guarantee that they will have specific titles.

“There’s been an increase in requests,” said one of the employees at Reston’s Used Book Shop. “Because we are a used book store, its just a matter of what we have in the shop.”

People can call the store at 703-435-9772 if they want to find out if a specific title is in stock.

Photo via Mahogany L. Browne/Facebook

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A South Lakes High School graduate decided to create an organization called Student Impact, attracting the attention of teachers around the East Coast looking for extra student opportunities.

Student Impact hosts writing contests, book drives for underprivileged kids, peer support groups and leadership programs, according to founder Ana Stanisavljev.

The program launched in April and is now introducing a new tutoring program next Tuesday, Stanisavljev said.

Though there will be a fee for most tutoring opportunities, Stanisavljev said that she is asking volunteers to also donate a few hours of their time a month to help students whose families cannot pay.

The program has gained traction outside of the Northern Virginia area. New Jersey public schools noticed the program and tweeted about it, letting students know about the upcoming writing contest.

The writing contest asks middle school and high school students to write a collection of stories between 500-1,000 words for young kids. Cash prizes will be given to finalists, and the deadline for submission is Friday, June 5.

This summer, Student Impact is gearing up for a high school leadership program that will help students build valuable skills, according to Stanisavljev.

“It’ll give them the opportunity to engage with their communities and actually have an impact,” she said.

Around 70 people are already involved in the program. People who are interested in volunteering can sign up online.

Though everyone is “involved on different levels,” according to Stanisavljev, she said people from college-age and up can apply to be in a tutor or mentor position.

“We are constantly coming up with new projects and initiatives to create resources for students and teachers, so stay tuned for even more opportunities,” Stanisavljev said.

Stanisavljev said she started the program as an immediate response to the needs of students and teachers struggling with distance learning but hopes it continues to grow depending on the needs of students.

Stanisavljev is currently studying business at the University of Virginia. She said that she wanted to launch this program to give back to her home community of Reston.

Photo courtesy Ana Stanisavljev

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Fairfax County put out an all-call for independent authors who want to submit their work to the Virginia Author Project Contest.

The statewide fiction contest allows people to compete for several prizes, according to Fairfax County.

To qualify, each submission must be independently published, either in the adult fiction or young adult fiction genre, written by a Virginia resident and available in certain file formats, the website said.

Prizes include:

  • $500 each in adult and young adult categories
  • Honors at the 2021 spring IAP Reception
  • Opportunities to promote your book(s) at Virginia public libraries
  • Inclusion in a full-page print spread in Library Journal
  • Opportunities to earn royalties through the IAP Select collection

Anyone interested can submit their work online before May 31.

Photo via Green Chameleon/Unsplash

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As people self-isolate and social distance, there are activities happening digitally to help fight the boredom and redundancy.

Fairfax County Libraries announced closures through March 29, but people who normally visit local libraries can check out free online resources including audiobooks and e-books.

Anyone with a library card can log into a system called Overdrive, which allows people to choose from a wide range of works from all genres.

Though some titles have limited availability and a waitlist, the system offers a list of popular titles available now.

The Brews and Books event at Lake Anne Brew House will take place online this week from 7 -8:30 p.m. on Saturday (March 21), according to the Facebook page. This week people will be talking about “Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity” the page said.

People can log onto Zoom to attend the event. The meeting “ID”  is 332 501 624 and the “password” is 649440.

Lake Anne Brew House also announced it will be able to deliver pretzels, food and beer to anyone who is interested.

Fans of musical theatre can stream broadway musicals online using Broadway HD, which lets people stream certain productions in the comfort of their own home. The company is offering a free 7-day trial but costs around $9 each month after that.

Photo via Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

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Former Charlottesville Mayor, Michael Signer, will discuss the violence and aftermath of the infamous “Unite the Right” rally and his upcoming book “Cry Havoc: Charlottesville and American Democracy Under Siege” next week in Reston.

On March 19, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Signer will be at the Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive), giving a free talk for those interested in his first-person narrative of violence, according to the event description.

The book dives into the “terror and mayhem of the August 2017,” the event page said.

“Cry Havoc: Charlottesville and American Democracy Under Siege” is available for purchase beginning tomorrow (March 19). Readers can preorder online or visit Scrawl Books (11911 Freedom Drive) to pick up a copy tomorrow.

Several other publications have written about the aftermath of the Charlottesville violence in the past, but this in-depth look will explore the topic from a new perspective.

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After people may have lost sight of their New Year’s regulations, enVISION 2020 invites people to rebuild or create a new vision board.

A vision board is a guide to help people realize their goals and imagine what they want their life to look like, according to the HuffPost, which added it usually collages magazine clippings, photos and paper accents.

This session will take place on Saturday (Feb. 29) and feature music, food and guidance from two mental health professionals, according to the event page.

The session will take place at Best Life Therapeutic Services, LLC (11250 Roger Bacon Drive). Tickets are $40, and the event will run from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Tomorrow (Feb. 29)

  • Get to Know Your Muslim Neighbor (11 .m. until 3 p.m.) — The Reston Regional Library (11925 Bowman Towne Drive) is hosting an event where people from all cultures can come mingle and learn about history while enjoying activities such as henna and calligraphy. Coffee will be provided at this free event.
  • Ramen ‘Round the World  Cooking Class (11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.) — Attendees will learn how to make umami-rich soup at 100 Bowls of Soup (279 Sunset Park Drive). The tickets are $75.

Sunday (March 1)

  • “City of Peace” Book Talk (1 to 2 p.m.) — Trinity Presbyterian Church (651 Dranesville Road) is hosting a book event with author Henry Brinton. People will have the chance to ask questions and buy a copy for $17.
  • Herndon Depot Museum Reopening (noon to 4 p.m.) — This weekend, people can attend a train show and silent auction featuring antiques at 717 Lynn Street to celebrate the reopening of the Herndon Depot Museum. People will also have the chance to learn about telegraphs, according to the Facebook page.

Photo by Andy Art on Unsplash

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Three local businesses decided to partner on a brand new monthly book and tea pairing for people looking for book lovers and stay-cationers.

The program, which makes its debut on Wednesday (Feb. 26), allows people to pick up a predetermined book and tea pairing at Elden Street Tea Shop (714 Pine Street) for $34.95, according to Bridget Blakely, a spokesperson from Mascot Books.

“Three weeks after the pairing’s launch, readers are invited to participate in the novel-tea book club and discussion at the tea shop, ” Rachel Eisenfeld, the owner of Elden Street Tea Shop, said in a Q&A.

Each month, the tea for the pairings will be chosen by Elden Street Tea Shop while books will be chosen by Mascot Books and then supplied by Scrawl Books (11911 Freedom Drive), according to Blakely.

For the first month, program participants will be able to read “Anna Incognito” while sipping a cup of Crème Earl Grey, Blakely said.

“We tried to do a good mix of fiction and non-fiction and caffeinated teas versus herbal teas,” Blakely said.

Going forward, a new pairing will be available at the end of each month, according to a press release.

Photo courtesy Bridget Blakely

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Friends of the Reston Regional Library kicks off a special book sale tomorrow (Thursday) at Reston Regional Library (11925. Bowman Towne Drive).

The sale features mystery, thriller, and adventure books. The timing of the sale is as follows:

  • Tomorrow (Thursday), 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Friday, Feb. 7 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
  • Saturday (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • Sunday (1-5 p.m.)

The next book sale, which features books for children, young adults and educators, takes place at the end of March.

According to information provided by the Friends, the nonprofit organization has raised more than $700,000 for the library through its book sales over the past 15 years.

In addition, it has been able to donate $200,000 to direct library support programs — including $100,000 in eBooks, $25,000 in children’s series books, a Braille printing station for the Access Services branch, librarian scholarships and more.

Friends of the Reston Regional Library is made up of nearly 100 active volunteers who donate over 10,000 hours a year to process donations, run sales and reach out to the community.

More information about the Friends’ other six annual sales is available online.

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This Saturday (Feb. 1), a local author will discuss his newest murder mystery at Scrawl Books.

From 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., John Adam Wasowicz will be signing books, meeting fans and introducing his latest book “Jones Point.”

“Jones Point” is the second book in the series and was originally published in the fall of 2019 after the first book “Daingerfield Island” was released in the summer of 2017.

Wasowicz lives in Mt. Vernon, according to a press release, which added that his book takes place in Alexandria.

The 236-page-book guides readers through the eyes of Mo Katz, a U.S. Attorney, and Sheri Stone, an Alexandria policewoman, who solve murders to save the nation’s capitol, the event page said.

Anyone interested in purchasing the book can find it online for $14 or at Scrawl Books for $22.

Everyone is welcome to attend the signing event and RSVP is not required.

Image courtesy Scrawl Books 

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A local bookshop plans to “purge” textbooks published by Pearson from its education section following a New York Times’ report that found the publisher’s American history textbooks offer different histories on highly partisan topics.

The investigation found that the publisher and others presented information on the Second Amendment, civil rights, capital, immigration and other topics differently in California and Texas.

For example, a California textbook explains how rulings on the Second Amendment leave space for some gun regulations. The Texas edition of the book contains a blank white space instead of the explanation in the California textbook.

Here’s more from the Jan. 12 story:

In a country that cannot come to a consensus on fundamental questions — how restricted capitalism should be, whether immigrants are a burden or a boon, to what extent the legacy of slavery continues to shape American life — textbook publishers are caught in the middle. On these questions and others, classroom materials are not only shaded by politics, but are also helping to shape a generation of future voters.

Conservatives have fought for schools to promote patriotism, highlight the influence of Christianity and celebrate the founding fathers. In a September speech, President Trump warned against a “radical left” that wants to “erase American history, crush religious liberty, indoctrinate our students with left-wing ideology.”

The left has pushed for students to encounter history more from the ground up than from the top down, with a focus on the experiences of marginalized groups such as enslaved people, women and Native Americans.

The books The Times analyzed were published in 2016 or later and have been widely adopted for eighth and 11th graders, though publishers declined to share sales figures. Each text has editions for Texas and California, among other states, customized to satisfy policymakers with different priorities.

The story prompted Reston’s Used Book Shop to reconsider how it categorizes certain American history textbooks. 

“This is outrageous. We often buy used books published by Pearson – no longer. And I will be purging them from our ‘education section.'”  The business wrote on Facebook

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