Reston, VA

Due to health concerns posed by COVID-19, the Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta will return sometime next year.

But Restonians can take part in a different cardboard-related challenge. The Reston Historic Trust and Museum is hosting an at-home cardboard challenge.

Residents can submit cardboard fabrications of their favorite Reston place, landmark or boat. Entries must be entirely made of cardboard and duct tape. Submissions are due by August 31.

Entrants can submit images or videos of their cardboard creation to [email protected] or via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram by tagging the museum.

Those interested can also register online to have their creation exhibited inside the Reston Museum in October and receive a trophy from NovaLabs.

Registration is not required to participate, but only registered participants will be eligible for the exhibit and award. Awardees will be notified in September 2020.

The first-place winner for the following categories will be selected for the exhibit:

  • Building
  • Art
  • Nature
  • Most Reston
  • Boat for your favorite lake

Guidelines for the competition are below the jump.

Photo via Charlotte Geary Photography

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Public Art Reston released an updated self-guided art tour through Lake Anne Village Center. 

The “Public Art Tour Series – Lake Anne” goes hand in hand with the “Public Art Tour Series – Reston Town Center” as a way for people to view Reston’s art and history. 

With the new Lake Anne Village Center self-guided tour, people are invited to explore Reston’s history and unique artworks. According to a statement released by the organization, Lake Anne Village Center is the “historic heart of Reston,” and public art has been fully integrated into its design. 

The guided tour takes participants through Lake Anne’s open plazas and along several paths that show off 11 different works art within communal spaces. The tour will also discuss four different temporary projects and programs that took place there, according to the statement. The tour also includes how the public art ties into the architecture of the area.

Public Art Reston encourages visitors to embark on the “Public Art Tour Series- Reston Town Center” tour once they finish Lake Anne. The tour takes participants through the 14 different public art works throughout Reston Town Center. It emphasizes the “urban environment within a suburban setting”, according to the statement. 

Public Art Reston is a non-profit organization with a mission to inspire commitment to public art and the new generation of artwork. They are committed to raising awareness to the role of public art in a community, according to the statement. 

Both guides are sold at the Reston Historic Trust & Museum and at Reston Association, and can be viewed on the Public Art Reston website.

Photo courtesy of Public Art Reston

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Restonians broke from a 16-year-long tradition of celebrating Founder’s Day at Lake Anne Plaza this year.

With social distancing guidelines and a stay-at-home order in effect, the Reston Historic Trust & Museum encouraged residents to find ways to celebrate the birthday of Reston’s founder Bob Simon and the community’s founding.

Alexandra Campbell, the director of the trust and museum, said she was glad the community was able to find embody one of Reston’s founding principles — to live, work and play in the neighborhood — in a new but truly Restonian way.

“While we are sad we could not hold this event on the plaza and could not connect with the community face to face, it has been a reminder that we can enjoy Reston’s history every day in our own homes. The community reflected and celebrated Reston’s unique history with us in a variety of ways,” Campbell said.

Nonetheless, residents submitted videos uploaded social media posts showing how they celebrated Founder’s Day from home.

Foley Academy of Irish Dance, which was scheduled to perform during Founder’s Day, shared a performance from members at home.

Kristina Alcorn, author of “In His Own Words,” shared memories of her book project and friendship with Simon.

Reston Community Center also encouraged residents to enjoy a film created by Rebekah Wingert of Storycatcher Productions for Simon’s memorial in April 2016. The film was commissioned by Reston Community Center.

Nonprofit organization Cornerstones — which has been on the frontline of offering financial assistance and resources to people affected b yCOVID-10 — also wrote the following about Founder’s Day:

When Robert Simon founded Reston in 1964, his pioneering vision helped create a compassionate, thriving, and equitable community where everyone could live and work. Today, during this unprecedented economic and health crisis, our community’s resiliency and generosity remains a shining example of his legacy. We are proud to join the Reston Museum in celebrating Founder’s Day and thanking the many individuals, faith-based organizations, and community partners who have supported Cornerstones over the past 50 years. Our continued work together will help sustain neighbors hurting today and begin rebuilding stability, empowerment, and hope so everyone has a bright, healthy future in our community If you know someone who needs a hand-up, please encourage them to contact us at 571.323.9555 or visit cornerstonesva.org. We are ready to help!

Chuck Veatch, founding and current band member of the Reston Historic Trust & Museum, described this year’s founder’s day as the “most unusual” in Reston’s history. He encourages Rsetonians to continue to take part in celebrating the day.

This is our 17th Founder’s Day and marks my 56th year living working playing and or serving in Reston. I will miss welcoming everyone in person to Founder’s Day this year but really want to see how each of us celebrates in this the most unusual Founder’s Day in our history.”

Photo via YouTube

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For the last 55 years, Restonians have celebrated Founder’s Day in the spring to celebrate the birthday of Reston’s founder Bob Simon.

The Reston Historic Trust & Museum, which hosts the annual celebration and community gathering, has canceled this year’s event.

As a stay-at-home order remains in effect ad gatherings are limited to less than 10 people, Lake Anne Plaza will not be busy with activities, a moon bounce, exhibits and performances.

“We are very sorry for the disruption, and, like you, we hope life will return to normal sometime soon. In the interim, be safe and be kind,” the museum wrote on its website.

The museum will remain closed through June. But executive director Alex Campbell said that the organization is pushing out new online resources and content.

On Monday mornings, the museum posts tidbits of history in a series called #museumfromhome. Residents can also take advantage of kids’ activities, artifact collections, online history books, and an online exhibit.

Campbell said that the organization is adjusting its budget to remain financially stable.

“We are hopeful we can still engage with the community during our big fundraisers: the Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta and Reston Home Tour.”

Founder’s Day is made possible with support from Reston Community Center and co-sponsorship by Public Art Reston.

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It’s been 50 years since humans first stepped on the surface of the moon. To celebrate the anniversary of the Apollo 11 Mission, the Reston Historic Trust & Museum is hosting a special exhibit until the end of the year.

The traveling exhibit, which is called Destination Moon: The Apollo Mission, features posters provided by the Smithsonian Institution’s traveling exhibition service and developed with the National Air and Space Museum.

The exhibit features the command module Columbia — the only portion of the spacecraft to return from the mission in 1961 — as well as other mission-related objects.

Here’s more from Smithsonian about the exhibit tour:

The Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission traveling exhibition will bring the iconic Apollo 11 Command Module Columbia to four cities–its first national tour since 1970/71. The exhibition will also include one-of-a-kind artifacts from this historic mission. Organized in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, the Destination Moon: The Apollo 11 Mission tour will launch in 2017 and will travel through 2019. Eyes will be on the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington, which is slated to host the exhibition during the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing in 2019. The Museum in Washington, DC, plans to mark the historic occasion by displaying Neil Armstrong’s spacesuit–made possible through our Kickstarter campaign Reboot the Suit.

The Reston Historic Trust & Museum is open Monday through Saturday and is located at 1639 Washington Plaza-N.

The exhibit is made possible with the support of Jeff and Bezos, Joe Clark, Bruce R. McCaw Family Foundation, the Charles and Lisa Simonyi Fund for Arts and Sciences, John and Susann Norton, and Gregory D. and Jennifer Walston Joh 

Photos courtesy NASA

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Volunteers Sought for Reston Home Tour — The Reston Historic Trust & Museum is looking for volunteers to help with the annual home tour, which takes place on Saturday, Oct. 19. [Reston Historic Trust & Museum]

Fairfax County Public Schools Maintain High On-Time Graduation Rate — “For the second straight year, more than nine out of ten Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) high school students earned a diploma within four years, according to graduation reports released today by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE). More than three out of five of these students earned Advanced Studies Diplomas.” [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Herndon Man Arrested in Connection with Assault — Irving Duncan, 33, of Herndon was arrested for the aggravated assault of a victim that is known to him, according to police. The assault happened while the victim was asleep on Oct. 6. [Herndon Police Department]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Tuesday Morning Notes

Brookfield Breaks Ground on $1.4 Billion Development — “Brookfield Properties celebrated the groundbreaking Monday for Halley Rise, a $1.4B project on the site of a 36-acre Reston office park.  The development’s first phase, scheduled to deliver in 2022, will feature 640 residential units, 450K SF of office and 200K SF of retail. The retail will be anchored by Wegmans, which is bringing its smaller urban grocery store concept to the project, and Pinstripes, a restaurant with a bowling alley and bocce court.” [Bisnow]

Metro Investigates Monday Train Collision — “The investigation into the cause of a low-speed train collision outside Farragut West is ongoing, including analysis of railcar data recorders, control center event logs, and signal system playback.  While Metro has not yet identified the root cause of the incident, investigators have found no evidence of a signal system failure and have ruled out “loss of shunt” as a cause.”  [Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority]

Annual Fiscal Year 2019 Report for Town of Herndon — Herndon Town Manager Bill Ashton presented findings and progress on different measures at a meeting in late September. The report highlights progress on major initiatives undertaken by the town in the last fiscal year. [Town of Herndon]

Early Bird Ticket Rates for Reston Home Tour Ending Soon — The $25 rate for the Reston Historic Trust & Museum’s annual Reston Home Tour is in effect until Friday (Oct. 11). The tour takes place on Saturday, Oct. 9. Regular price tickets are $30.  [Reston Historic Trust & Museum]

Photo by Dario Pipair/Flickr

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The owner of a business at Lake Anne Plaza has filed a cease-and-desist order urging the Reston Historic Trust & Museum and the Lake Anne Condominium Association to temporarily halt the installation of the historic Lakeside Pharmacy icons on a damaged wall at the plaza.

Sarah Selvaraj, the owner of Kiln and Co., says that installing the icons — which where removed last year from their original location at the plaza — could cause further damage to the wall near her business. She says the board has not adequately maintained the wall or addressed her concerns about the damage, which she says has stalled her ability to install a much-needed air conditioning unit in her business for almost two years.

“The internal structure of the wall is already deteriorating and the addition of any signage or other load-bearing material to the wall is going to further add pressure and cause significantly more damage to the wall… the ramifications of this would be significant and detrimental to all property with exposure to or supported by the Wall and their property owners,” wrote Maria Simon, managing partner of The Geller Law Group.

A spokesperson for the Reston Historic Trust & Museum said the museum is expected to provide a statement on the issue sometime today. The board did not respond to a request for comment from Reston Now. The icons — which served as advertisements for the former Lakeside Pharmacy — were expected to be installed over the weekend, according to an email received by Reston Now.

The letter also asserts that the board has “ignored repeated requests to make any repairs.”

“When such harm occurs, the LARCA Board and the Reston Museum will be facing significant liability to all parties who have been harmed as a result.”

Selvaraj says she is concerned about a pattern of issues related to maintenance and repairs at the plaza and its businesses.

Her business — a shop that combines the worlds of pottery and custard — is currently closed due to structural damage. A pipe burst last Wednesday caused major damage to the shop. It’s unclear when the business will reopen.

She says operating the Reston location of her business is especially challenging. Kiln and Co. has other locations in Vienna and Falls Church.

“When you look at the empty storefronts at the plaza, you walk around and wonder why. Then, when you own a business here, you no longer wonder.”

Photos via Sarah Selvaraj

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The Reston Historic Trust & Museum’s18th annual Reston Home Tour returns on Saturday, October 19.

This year’s home tour includes five private properties that have different styles and flair. The tour also includes the VY/Reston Heights, new luxury apartments, and Hunters Woods at Trails Edge, a new retirement community. 

Tickets are on sale online and in the store at Reston Museum, The Wine Cabinet, Chesapeake Chocolates and the Greater Reston Arts Center. All proceeds will benefit the Reston Historic Trust and Museum. Attendees can purchase a $12 box lunch at the retirement community and refreshments at VY, courtesy of JBG Smith. 

Descriptions of the homes, which were provided by the museum, are below:

  • Goldcup Lane – Beth Arborgast: “It was “love at first sight” for Beth the first time she saw Goldcup Lane. Built in the 1970’s and still occupied by the original owner, this Michael Oxman designed home had great architectural appeal, but there was work to do! Renovations were not unfamiliar to Beth; after owning 17 homes in the last 27 years, she was experienced at remodeling and took on the challenge. Visitors will enjoy the finished product, including the remodeled kitchen and bathrooms, and soothing paint colors. Modern and minimalistic furnishings and beautiful artwork collected over the years complement the natural Reston setting of the home.”
  • Beacon Place – Matthew Benson and Carol O’Connell:  “On a cloudy day in 1999, Carol was the last visitor of the day at the model home on Beacon Place, and the site manager was on her way out the door. Despite the lights being off and the cloudy sky overhead, the home offered wonderful architecture and natural light that led Carol to draw up the contract the next day. In 2017, Carol and Matt decided to go through a major renovation on the main and upper levels to bring the home up-to-date.They moved into an apartment at Reston Town Center for seven months while their home was under construction. Carol and Matt love to cook and entertain, and their kitchen is the heart of their home. Lots of thought was put into the materials selected. It’s a true chef’s kitchen built to last and sure to inspire.”
  • Wild Bramble Way – James and Tammy Edgemond:  “After seven years in their first home together as a family in Reston, the Edgemonds found their current house of 14 years just by coincidence when they received a letter by mistake. Being a good Samaritan, James delivered the letter to the next street over (which had the same house number as theirs). Noticing it was on the market, they took a peek and put in an offer! Providing more square footage and a larger yard for their growing family without going too far from their friends, the house was perfect for their needs. They sold their home, packed and moved in just four weeks – all just as school was starting. They have done major renovations in all five bathrooms, the kitchen, family room, a fabulous screened porch (their favorite spot), sunroom, office and laundry room.”
  • Wedge Drive – Brandon and Shayda Power: As the first house seen on Brandon’s house tour in 2004 with his realtor, this Wedge Drive home ticked all the boxes. After viewing six to eight more homes, they circled back to Wedge Drive. This was the one! The previous owners were downsizing and relocating to an assisted- living facility and were unsure how they would be able to keep their six-year old beagle, Trouble. Being a dog lover, Brandon quickly offered to keep Trouble. The beagle conveyed! Marrying Shayda in 2013 and getting their dog day care and boarding business off the ground, they were able to start their major house renovation in 2017. With the help of Brandon’s mother, a talented interior designer, and some skilled contractors, they have created a very functional yet exquisite home. Visitors will find amazing entertaining spaces inside and out and incredible use of cabinetry that maximizes storage potential.”
  • Wedge Drive – Ray Fernandez and Kathleen Williams:  With only two weeks to find a house and low inventory to choose from, Kathleen settled for Wedge Drive. She honestly didn’t like the house at first but has since crafted an eclectic home that tells the story of all their travels and chapters in their life. Being a social worker for the Navy, Kathleen has many interesting experiences to share. Each collectible, piece of furniture and artwork help bring the years together. The setting on the edge of Hidden Creek Golf Course among the trees and the garden that is in constant development all help tell the story. Visitors should not miss Ray’s garage, which is his sanctuary. The early bird rate for tickets is $25 and is only available at the museum. Early bird pricing ends on October 11.”

Photos courtesy Charlotte Geary Photography

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The author of the book, “Radical Suburbs: Experimental Living on the Fringes of the American City,” will discuss why she classifies Reston as a radical suburb this month.

The event, which features author Amanda Hurley, is set to take place on September 18 from 7-9 p.m. at Reston Community Center Lake Anne’s Jo Ann Rose Gallery.

Hurley’s talk will compare Reston to other communities, including a co-housing commune in Pennsylvania, a tiny-house anarchist community in New Jersey and a government-planned garden city in Maryland.

Here’s more about the book from the publisher:

America’s suburbs are not the homogenous places we sometimes take them for. Today’s suburbs are racially, ethnically, and economically diverse, with as many Democratic as Republican voters, a growing population of renters, and rising poverty. The cliche of white picket fences is well past its expiration date.

The history of suburbia is equally surprising: American suburbs were once fertile ground for utopian planning, communal living, socially-conscious design, and integrated housing. We have forgotten that we built suburbs like these, such as the co-housing commune of Old Economy, Pennsylvania; a tiny-house anarchist community in Piscataway, New Jersey; a government-planned garden city in Greenbelt, Maryland; a racially integrated subdivision (before the Fair Housing Act) in Trevose, Pennsylvania; experimental Modernist enclaves in Lexington, Massachusetts; and the mixed-use, architecturally daring Reston, Virginia.

Inside Radical Suburbs you will find blueprints for affordable, walkable, and integrated communities, filled with a range of environmentally sound residential options. Radical Suburbs is a history that will help us remake the future and rethink our assumptions of suburbia.

Signed copies of her book will also be available for purchase. The event is hosted by the Reston Historic Trust & Museum.

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A record number of teams competed in the Reston Historic Trust & Museum’s third annual Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta over the weekend.

This year, 56 teams assembled bright, duct-taped boats to compete in the race on Saturday – the largest number of teams to take part in the event Designs ranged from a large pinwheel to Slinky from Toy Story.

In addition to watching the race, attendees had the chance to run on a life-size human hamster wheel to make a snow cone, as well as fun with super. soakers.

Five Fairfax County public schools took part in the race, as well as several nonprofits, businesses, and families.

Lake Anne Brew House won first place in the navigator category with the fastest time of 1 minute and 45 seconds. Lake Anne Coffee House & Wine Bar took the “the titanic award” and the school winner was “Hunters Woods Elementary School.” From the crop of merchants, Lake Anne Brew also took first place in the “merchants” category. The complete results are below:

Skipper:

  1. Marty Boys
  2. Ehrlich
  3. Eighty-Fifty Nine

Cadet:

  1. Yellow Submarine
  2. Swim Team Kids
  3. The Wild Sloth

Navigator:

  1. Lake Anne Brew House
  2. RHOA’s Ark
  3. Hunters Woods Elementary

Registration for the next race is expected to open in early 2020. This year’s title sponsor was Griffin Owens Insurance Group.

Photo courtesy Charlotte Geary Photography

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Small Change Consignment, a relic of Reston’s history and Bob Simon’s vision for the community, is closing its doors at historic Lake Anne Plaza on Saturday.

The children’s consignment shop — home to hundreds of items and the hearts of consigning families — has cemented its role in the community as a place to buy used clothing and a community gathering place. On a recent Wednesday evening, customers and friends came in to say goodbye to owner Susann Gerstein, 70, who has operated the shop for the last 37 years.

A group of teenagers lined up empty hangers in rainbow form — an organizational style Gerstein loves. She spent most of the night on Tuesday packing away clothes and coordinating donation drop-offs with local nonprofits.

Not much has changed since three young mothers and friends  started the venture on Nov. 21, 1981 in the vacant offices of an optician across the lake. The friends embraced the dark interior — with its Marimekko wallpaper and lime green carpeting. Gerstein’s husband built wooden clothing stands. Gerstein stitched hand-sewn clothing tags.

The paint was still drying when the store first opened. From the first day, customers embraced the business as a place to buy used clothes, chat over the racks and build community. The store has averaged 1,200 consigning families annually.

Eighteen years later, the shop moved to its current location, giving it a bigger space to work with. Gerstein’s paper ledger and the same Rolodexes from its opening day sit on the counter.

“Friendships grow for me here and they’ve grown for me too,”Gerstein said. “That’s the hardest part of saying goodbye.” She said the store brought out the extroverted side of her otherwise introverted personality.

Rents, which had been steadily increasing over the years, skyrocketed this year, making it hard to make ends meet, Gerstein says.

“I tried and we just couldn’t make it work,” she said.

She describes herself as a Reston booster and a big believer in Simon’s vision. Her involvement with Cornerstones, a nonprofit organization that promotes self-sufficiency; the Reston Historic Trust & Museum; and other organizations is clear in the store. She was the founding president of the Reston Museum and helped found the Reston Historic Trust for Community Revitalization.

A Cornerstones donation jar sits on the counter and Gerstein often donates clothing to local nonprofits and domestic violence victims through various community partnerships.

Politics entered her shop following the November 2016 presidential election. Gerstein put up a sign, “Stop Tearing Families Apart” in the window of her storefront. She began selling “Hate Has No Home Here” signs. A fabric banner of children holding balloons — which was made by the friend in the original space — hangs from the ceiling. On weeknights, she tries to ride with members of Herndon-Reston Indivisible to hold lighted letters at the White House several times a month.

“I wanted my store to be a safe space for everyone. Some people didn’t like it but everyone knows where I stand,” Gerstein said.

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Registration to participate in Reston Historic Trust & Museum’s annual Lake Anne Cardboard Boat Regatta ends next month.

More than 50 teams will construct and decorate a life-size cardboard boats and participate in timed heats during the regatta on Saturday, Aug. 10 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Registration ends on July 1 or whenever 80 teams have registered. The form is open online. Fees start at $50, with varying sponsorship levels.

Awards will be given to boats in differing categories, including the “Titanic” or the fastest to sink.

All proceeds from the event benefit the Reston Historic Trust & Museum. This year’s presenting sponsor is Griffen Owens Insurance.

Photo via Reston Historic Trust & Museum

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Wednesday Morning Notes

Film on Reston Takes CenterStage Tonight — Dive into the story of how Reston founder Robert Simon envisioned Reston and fought to keep his original principles strong during the film screening of “Another Way of Living: The Story of Reston VA” tonight at 7 p.m. at CenterStage. The event is free and open for all ages. [Reston Community Center]

High Honors for Herndon High School Freshman — The student, Claire, was recognized by the Town of Herndon as the Distinguished Teen Volunteer for 2019. She contributed more than 400 hours of service since 2017. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Reston Students Win Big at Virginia Odyssey of the Mind — Students from six Fairfax County schools, including several competitors from Reston, earned top honors at the state competition over the weekend. The contest encourages students to solve complex problems. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

A Recap of Founder’s Day — Reston Historic Trust & Museum organized the 2019 Founder’s Day Celebration over the weekend with a day-long event to mark the 55th anniversary of Reston’s founding. [The Connection]

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