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Fun in Fairfax: Reston Area Ice Skating Fun

This is an occasional series from Fun in Fairfax VA, a blog written by Reston resident Julie McCool that spotlights places to go and things to do in Fairfax and slightly beyond.

Chilly temps have returned at last, which puts us in the mood for a wintery outing. Happily, Northern Virginia has several ice skating rinks that offer healthy fun for every age.

A very popular Northern Virginia rink is right in town at the Reston Town Center Pavilion. The covered rink is open daily until mid-March, including Christmas and New Years, so it’s ideal if you have family visiting for the holidays. There are special kid-targeted events on the weekend, and the ice is open to the public every day.

If you haven’t visited the Plaza at Tysons Corner, ice skating in the sunshine is a great reason to go. The Tysons rink is open every day, with extended hours on holidays. Tysons offers skating until 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, making it a fun date night destination.

You’ll find a large, covered, outdoor rink in Old Town Manassas, with free Wednesday night skating from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Two local indoor rinks offer public skating hours ideal for when the polar vortex, or a summer heatwave, move in to the area.

Whether you prefer to skate indoors or out, local ice skating rinks offers smooth ice, happy music, and family fun. Read more about area ice skating rinks on Fun in Fairfax VA.

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Fun in Fairfax: Fall Foliage Drives Close to Reston

Scenic Snickersville/Fun in Fairfax

This is an occasional series from Fun in Fairfax, a blog written by Reston resident Julie McCool that spotlights places to go and things to do in Fairfax and slightly beyond.

Scenic drives are a fun pastime throughout the year, but the return of fall color makes leisurely exploring of local sites even more appealing. Colorful foliage adds a beautiful dimension to the roadways, and summer crowds are gone.

One of our favorite destinations for scenic drives are the country roads of Loudoun County. Our favorite routes are perfect for a leisurely outing, but we also include several stops and activities along the way for hiking, history, dining, drinks, and more local fun.

Drive the Snickersville Turnpike (SR 734) from Aldie to Bluemont to enjoy beautiful scenery and interesting history. The Snickersville Turnpike is a quiet, two-lane road, that passes farms and fields, and preserves much of it’s early character. George Washington travelled the road as a surveyor, and by 1786 it was the first operating turnpike in America, praised by Thomas Jefferson as a success.

Closer to DC, we suggest a scenic drive on Georgetown Pike or the George Washington Parkway. Though they aren’t much fun during a busy commute, both historic roads offer beautiful scenery and excellent parks and hikes along the drive. Both roads offer stops that will impress visiting friends, or entertain the family on a staycation outing.

Whichever drive you choose, remember to relax, take it slow, and enjoy the journey.

Read more about scenic drives in Northern Virginia on Fun in Fairfax.

Photo: Scenic Snickersville/Fun in Fairfax 

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Fun in Fairfax: Stroller Friendly Trails in Northern Virginia

Huntley Meadows Park/Credit: Julie McCool

This is a bi-weekly lifestyle column from Reston resident Julie McCool, who blogs about local parks, hikes, bike trails, historic sites, restaurants, wineries, breweries, events, and getaways on her Northern Virginia travel blog FuninFairfaxVA.com

Reston residents are fortunate to have easy access to paved and natural trails throughout town that are ideal for outdoor fun. When your family outing includes a stroller, however, the choices narrow.

We’ve identified several stroller friendly paths in Northern Virginia that are easy to navigate and provide interesting diversions whether you’re inside or behind the stroller. Most of the paths are paved, but we’ve also found dirt trails that are navigable with a sturdy stroller.

The Glade Stream Valley Trail in south Reston follows a paved path through The Glade, a stream that has been restored to reduce flooding and erosion.

We recommend the section between Twin Branches Road and Soapstone Drive, which is mostly shady with pretty stream and woodland views. Start at the Twin Branches end if you want a hilly workout, begin at Soapstone for a level stretch, or include both in a nearly four-mile circuit with a stop at the Walker Nature Center.

Nearby, Meadowlark Gardens in Vienna offers another paved path with a mix of steep and gentle hills, and lots of appeal for every age. Children love to watch koi from the gazebo and play in the children’s garden.

You can also explore a unique hemi-marsh from dirt trails and boardwalks at the Huntley Meadows Park, a hidden gem in Alexandria.

Read about more stroller-friendly trails on Fun in Fairfax.

Photo: Huntley Meadows Park/Credit: Julie McCool

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