Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Goodbye Reston

After living in Reston for the past 5+ years, we recently moving to another part of Northern Virginia. As a service to those of you living in Reston, considering moving to Reston, and anyone who has ever visited or even heard of Reston, I am happy to provide the things (technical term) that make Reston great and those that I'm not going to miss.

+ I'll miss being able to walk to a shopping center with a grocery store, multiple restaurants (including California Tortilla!), and nearly everything that I need (ex. cleaners, hair salon, VABC store, optometrist). This was especially useful during December's snowpocalypse.

- I won't miss the fact that the same shopping center has not one, but two Starbucks. There is a stand-alone Starbucks and a separate Starbucks inside the Giant grocery store only a few hundred feet away.

+ I'll miss Reston Town Center. I highly recommend bringing dinner and lawn chairs to the Saturday night summer concert series. A relaxing, enjoyable and, best of all, free way to spend a Saturday evening. The Reston Town Center also hosts many annual events such as the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival. (Photo from The Washington Post.)

- I won't miss the fact that nearly everything in Reston is a chain. Are there any family businesses, especially restaurants, in Reston?

+ I'll miss the Reston parks, particularly Lake Fairfax and Baron Cameron. (Yes, they may be run by Fairfax County, but I'll include this here since they are located in Reston.) I've worked as a soccer referee at both locations, laughed watching pets and their owners at the Baron Cameron dog park, and enjoyed many ultimate frisbee games at Lake Fairfax.

- I won't miss the tolls on the Dulles Toll Road. If you want to drive to the Beltway or DC, there really isn't a way to avoid the toll road. When we first moved to Reston, the tolls were 50 cents at the main toll booth and 25 cents at the other exits. On January 1, 2010, the prices increased to $1 and 75 cents respectively. The fees allegedly fund the Metro expansion to Reston, but where has the money been going the past few years?

+ I'll miss the paved trails throughout Reston. There are some really nice walking paths which provide much better views than the treadmill.

- I won't miss the Reston Association fees. For nearly $500, you get the privilege of living in Reston. While I guess the fees pay for the aforementioned trails, I still don't understand why the fees are so high. Plus, you still have to pay an additional fee for a pool pass.

+ I'll miss the Reston Community Center at Hunters Woods. The Reston Community Players are a solid community theatre group and the CenterStage features national acts and artists and shows including the Reduced Shakespeare Company, Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind and Nick Hornby. (Photo from RCC website.)

- I won't miss risking my life trying to catch the bus. (Please excuse me as I vent.) The Wiehle Avenue Park & Ride is great. Buses come regularly to take you to and from the Metro and there are hundreds of parking spots available. However, the lot is generally full around 7:30 AM causing you to park at the Sunset Hills lot. From there, you have two options. The quickest way to reach the bus stop is to cross/sprint over four lanes of traffic on Sunset Hills and walk through the Sunset Hills Professional Center ("SHPC"). Conversely, you can take a longer route to cross at the intersection of Sunset Hills and Wiehle Avenue. The problem with the second option is that even though there is a crosswalk at this location, many cars turning right from Sunset Hills to Wiehle fly through the intersection. Both of these options are accidents waiting to happen, and they probably have. Oh, building a fence around the SHPC is not going to help. No one shovels snow on Wiehle or Sunset Hills making it particularly dangerous. Maybe SHPC can spend the money to shovel the street in front of its property instead of building its own version of the Berlin Wall.

My suggestion is to create another light/crosswalk on Sunset Hills for people to cross. SHPC should embrace this by promoting their businesses to potential new customers. There are several dentists there that could probably use more business. This would be much more effective than the constant Sport & Health flyers and cards placed on car windsheilds.

+ I'll miss albino squirrel. This was a nearly white squirrel that we saw often in our complex. I wish that I had a picture of albino squirrel.

- I won't miss having only 1 bathroom.

+ I'll miss the Lake Anne Farmers Market. Mmmm...fresh fruit!

- I won't miss the traffic lights on Reston Parkway between Baron Cameron & the Dulles Toll Road. I think I spent approximately one of my five years in Reston waiting at these lights!

Finally, I'll miss the fact that Reston was where I literally became a grown-up. We moved to Reston shortly after getting married and became first-time home-owners. Only three months after we moved in, I started a new job where I remain today. Reston is also where we brought Ziggy into our lives. I will always have wonderful memories of Reston.


carissajaded said...

Ahh but you'll always have the memories!!! What is the deal with having more than one Starbucks in a one mile radius? There Are three that I could walk to in five minutes from where I am currently sitting.

My college campus had a legendary albino squirrel. There was a club and shirts with his picture on it and everything. I miss that squirrel too.

Sean said...

I don't agree with the business model, but I can certainly understand having multiple Starbucks in a close proximity in a dense, urban environment. However, having two Starbucks so close together in this shopping center makes no sense.

There are albino squirrel T-shirts? Count me in!

Brendon said...

Congratulations on having multiple toilets to clog now.

Anonymous said...

Will miss you in the audience.

- A member of the Reduced Shakespeare Company

Krista said...

I believe that every residential lot in Fairfax county must be within walking distance of no less that two starbucks. I love out in the burbs and there are 3 within about 1.5 mies of my home.

Sean said...

Hand of Godard - Some foreshadowing perhaps for tomorrow's TMI Thursday?

Anonymous - If you're really a member of the RSC, I'm honored to have you as a visitor. The Complete History of America (abridged) is one of the funniest shows EVER! I'll still make the drive to Reston to see future shows.

Krista - I haven't noticed any Starbucks in the new neighborhood yet but I haven't really looked that closely.

Katelyn said...

Aw, that's nice to hear. I'm a big fan of the Reston Community Players too! They are really Reston's hidden gem. So very professional, great shows, and good prices!

Sean said...

Katelyn - I agree. The Reston Community Players really do put on great shows and the prices are significantly less than the rest of the DC theatre scene.