News and notes from Reston (tm).

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Horsehockey! Horses (Briefly) Gambol Freely Along Reston Boulevard Once Again

Artist's rendition of what the scene of mayhem may have looked like.

When we fired up our 300-baud modem and clicked on Facebook dot com this morning, we were expecting to see the usual comments about the police helicopter and missing packages. Instead, we got quite a surprise:

Fortunately, it was a short-lived crisis, as the owner found the three horses before they got to Reston Town Center and were summarily booted (or hoofed):

Of course, the picture at the top of this "web log" post isn't a recreation at all. It hearkens back to a time early in Reston's history when along with golf courses (LOL) and ample green space (LOL), a full-sized stable was considered an amenity that would entice the horsey crowd to put down 10 percent on some fancypants split level in South Reston. Check out this lovely watercolor rendering!

The stable was actually built—right off Reston Parkway, in fact—and in use for some time, as the photo at the top of this post shows, but it fell into disrepair and was ultimately torn down. Sadly, the moonbase-like cluster that was to surround it was never completed, so today all we have are memories and a few fresh horseapples on Reston Parkway, the end.

Friday, March 10, 2023

About Freaking Time: Groundbreaking for Fancy W&OD Trail Bridge Over Wiehle, Capping 11-Year Process (We Hope)


At long last, the first ceremonial shovels of dirt have been turned for the fancypants Wiehle Avenue overpass, which will allow W&OD cyclists to... continue not to stop as they streak over, not through, the intersection. Given that this project was approved way back in ought-twelve and was supposed to be completed by 2021, it's nice that they managed to break ground slightly after its 10th birthday.  Hopefully it'll be finished before it's old enough to drive!

In the past, we made some snarky comments about other large objects from around the world that managed to be built much more quickly than this relatively pedestrian pedestrian bridge. But we were just dumb web loggers who couldn't possibly understand the complexities of such an involved project in this day and age, and foolishly suggested that it was emblematic of how the county's efforts to improve infrastructure to accommodate growth dramatically lag the actual growth it was more than happy to approve. Silly rabbits! No word on why those large objects in the background somehow didn't take a decade to build, though, the end.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

The Truth is Out There: Mysterious Balloon Spotted Over Reston

Well, if this isn't exciting. Over on Our Next Door Neighbor Dot Com, instead of the usual questions about the helicopter circling overhead or "suspicious" people... wedunno, existing, we have a legitimate mystery in the skies!

"LOL" indeed. We are literally laughing out loud.


Something tells us this is less a geopolitical incident and more an outdoor birthday party gone terribly wrong. Although it's possible the folks at Harry S. Teeter decided to load up a balloon with sophisticated spy equipment and float it over the competition to see how much raw fish is being deployed in the sushi station, the end.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Flashback Monday: When Reston Fought a Fast Food Chain

We've written before about how groundbreaking Reston was in Virginia's segregated suburbs, as the first community that openly welcomed black residents. The Black community was active and empowered as seen by the photo above, where the child-free Children's Fountain in Lake Anne Plaza was reworked during a community celebration sometime in the late 60s or early 70s, as our BFFs at the Reston Museum pointed out earlier in the month.  

But we were this years old, as the kids might have said as recently as last year on their TikToks, or whatever, when we learned that the Reston community fought off a chain restaurant with an offensive name back in the 1970s. (Because we are the sensitive Alan Alda types, we won't mention the chain by name, though you can read plenty about its history here.)

Give us some good blockquote, BFFs at the Washington Post:

A national chain's attempt to bring its... restaurants to metropolitan Washington has created a furor in Reston, where one of the franchises is scheduled to be built.

The Reston Community Association's board, in an 11-to-1 vote, said. "We want to express our outrage to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors that a national restaurant franchise with the name and decor... could be welcome in Fairfax County. It is certainly not welcome in Reston."

Supervisor Martha V. Pennino (D-Centreville) said she also opposes the restaurant's name for its "racial insensitivity" and urged the chain to change it. 

And from another "news paper" article:

Ernest V. Yancey, a member of the Reston Community Association board of directors said he foresees a blacklash from Reston residents if the name stays on the restaurant.

"We are trying to build a town that welcomes all people", said Joanne Brownsword, president of the RCA. "We don't want a name (on a Reston restaurant) that insults one segment of the population."

The county Human Rights Commission will "try to negotiate a fair agreement [with] "officials on the name of the restuarant, according to Patricia Horton, executive director of the Fairfax Human Rights Commission. Construction is scheduled to start next week on the restaurant and it is to open in early May.

Apparently the owners agreed to change the name to Jolly Tiger, but then switched it back when they planned to open a second location in Fairfax (which we vaguely remember from our dissolute, non-planned community youth).  The Internets have a fuzzy memory about some things (and we're sure our search history is going to reward us with some... interesting ads for our attempts to learn more), so it's not clear how long the restaurant stayed open, or when it joined the ranks of Burger Chef, Jack in the Box, and, of course, the other midscale chain eatery that is no longer with us that we can't bring ourselves to mention by name. But it's another chapter in Reston's history as an outlier, as it was one of just a dozen communities across the country that fought the chain during its not-so-storied history, the end.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Soapstone Speeders Sought for Slick Shots: Reston Speed Camera Goes Live

V. v. exciting news for people who travel at exactly the speed limit in the left lane with their turn signal on: Fairfax County's fun new speed camera trial went live today, with one of its cameras trained directly on a major South Reston thoroughfare. That's right, the Reston camera is on Soapstone Drive, near Terraset Elementary School. No word if it's also buried halfway underground with just the top of the lens sticking out. 

Anyhoo! Give us some good happy motoring blockquote, BFFs at Reston Patch:

Friday was the first day the photo monitoring devices were activated as part of a pilot program to improve pedestrian safety and save lives by changing motorists' driving habits.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn originally introduced the measure to develop a speed camera program for school and work zones in the county, during the Dec. 7, 2021 board of supervisors meeting. The board voted unanimously to adopt the measure, which was cosponsored by Supervisors John Foust (Dranesville) and Rodney Lusk (Franconia).

For the first 30 days, ticketed drivers will only receive a warning, but after that fines start mounting quickly for repeat offenders. Fairfax County is only placing these near schools and in work zones (for now), so it's hard to complain about Big Gubmint attacking our Freedoms, especially since at least two Fairfax County students have lost their lives due to speeding drivers in the past year. We do wonder, though, if the Reston speed camera will be able to tell the difference between Terraset and some of the cars on the road:

Monday, February 6, 2023

Meanwhile, in Tysons Corner....

 ...things appear to be getting weird, at least from the window of our E-ticket ride from D.C. to Ashburn (wherever that is):

A mall, a bunch of unimaginative greyscale office buildings and parking garages, and a grossly underutilized bus/cyclorama station for a veneer of "walkable urbanism." Looks like "America's Next Great City" (tm)!!

But wait. Computer, enhance:


That whole Emerald City thing is starting to make sense, the end.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Breaking: With Fancy New Wegmans Open, Reston Beats Manhattan to the Punch

Mark your calendars. Today -- Feb. 1, 2023 -- will forever be known as W-Day in Reston, the day we no longer had to get a day pass to Loudoun County or pay $11 to take the Toll Road to (shudder) Tysons to access the cornucopia of prepared foods offered by the New York grocer. 

But who knew that in the hypercompetitive world of grocering, Reston is a higher priority than another, slightly less planned community -- namely, Manhattan in fancypants New York City

Pass the cheese and salami platter and check out this SHOCKING blockquote from Progressive Grocer, which appears to be a magazine for... progressive grocers:

As it prepares to open new stores in both Reston, Va., and New York City, Wegmans Food Markets is ready to fill management roles in those locations and across the rest of its eight-state footprint.

But the Manhattan Wegmans won't open until later this year, so suck on that, highfalutin' New Yorkers! We were a higher priority than your now demonstrably less important city.

It's funny -- back in the early days of this "web log," when the server was powered by candelight and comments were all in Middle English ("forsooks! My portcullis is the wrong shade of Black Plague Russet Brown"), there was lots of handwringing about how Reston was in danger of becoming "another Manhattan." The discernible lack of hot dog carts around our fancy not-subway stations notwithstanding, maybe now New Yorkers should worry about becoming "another Reston."  Imagine a merger of the DRB and the NYPD -- the NYPDRB!

"Got a 10-39 about some improper vent placements on 76th Street. Let's roll!"

Meanwhile, back here in Manhattan's Far South Side Reston, people are loving the new Wegmans.

To be fair, we haven't made it over to the new Wegmans yet, so a complete review will have to wait. We keep waiting for this to pick us up, but something tells us it might be a while, the end.