News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Reston Explained: Loudoun, the Other White Meat

Occasion had it that we had to travel into the wilds of Loudoun County, to a subdivision of elegant brick townhouses surrounded by… piles of dirt.

To be fair, this particular subdivision was nicer than most of the particleboard and vinyl shantytowns that pass for development in eastern Loudoun County. It even borrowed a few stray notes from the whole New Urbanism concept. The garages were relegated to outbuildings in the back, tastefully hidden from sight and leading into alleys that were actually called alleys. (How edgy! How urban!) You could conceivably walk to the massive strip mall under construction a short ways down the road, except that no businesses have opened there yet. A block in the heart of the subdivision had been left undeveloped and adorned with playground equipment, creating an effect vaguely suggestive of a New England village green.

It was a beautiful sunny day, unseasonably warm, and while walking down the narrow streets to the green space, you could almost imagine you were strolling down a tree-lined street of row houses in Georgetown. Except for a) the palpable lack of trees, b) the shabby, indifferent way the electric meters were bolted at eye level to the front of each home, and c) the nonstop sound of earthmovers carving out space for identical townhomes just blocks away. And then there was the complete, utter absence of people. We walked the length of the subdivision and sat in the green space for a half-hour during the late afternoon, and didn’t see a soul. Of course, this being Loudoun County, there were tons of cars parked everywhere in sight.

What was lacking in human activity was made up for by For Sale signs--dozens of them, each more desperate looking than the next. “Buy Me!” one said plaintively. Many added the ominous word “Foreclosure” to the cat-bird spot at the top of the sign usually reserved for such teasers as “I’m Beautiful Inside!” or, in happier times, “Under Contract.” A sign taped to the window of one home for sale warned that it had already been winterproofed, urging Realtors not to turn on the water or flush the toilet on the off chance they had someone to show the home to before spring rolls around.

Then, as we were sitting in the deserted green space, we finally saw movement. Two Loudoun County sheriff department cars pulling up to a townhouse whose furniture had been disgorged to the curb. An honest to goodness foreclosure! Of course, neither the foreclosers nor the foreclosees were anywhere to be seen, so the deputies settled for getting out of their cars and milling around for a few minutes before driving away. No lights, no sirens. Just another day as part of Loudoun’s Special Foreclosures Unit, we guess.

Then it was time to walk back through the deserted, faux-urban streets to our car and drive home. For some reason, the phrase “nuclear winter” kept flitting through our heads. Somehow, it fit.

It’s true: There are worse things than mauve earth tones and DRB regulations.


  1. I lived in North Reston for 11 years and I own a business that is on Isaac Newton Square. We moved from Reston to Brambleton - the neighborhood you condescendingly described in your trivial posting. I sold my 15-year old North Reston House on Craig's List for 2.5 times the amount I paid for it, and purchased a brand new 4-sides brick, lake front Gulick home that was three times the size, for not much more than my sale. Brambleton is the most incredible community a family could want. you should come and see us now - perhaps on the day of the Brambleton Festival, or July 4th Festival, or during the many park concerts we have during the summer. Your posting shows that you are uneducated about your topic, snobby, and condescending. And for those reasons, you would never fit into Brambleton.

  2. What are you brambling on about. Brambleton is a turdwaller, and quickly becoming foreclosure central. But, then, what would I expect from some chicky from Area 1. If you come down here and I find out about it, I'm going to treat you some of our Area 4 hospitality, which we call "A Night of Love and Magic in Big Bubba's Cell."

  3. BTW, what's up with spending more time telling us about LC than about Reston. C'mon, bud, get with the program.

  4. And Brambleton, much like Reston was built by a corporation. Of course you belong there Marissa! Have fun in your Forest of Foreclosure.

    The BF and I used to live pretty close to Brambleton. We referred to everything west of Ashburn as "the beyond." Anyway, we moved east to move closer to things that are cool. Not Herndon or Reston east though. More like Vienna/Oakton, Falls Church east. We're just not old enough to live near the suburbanite families yet.

  5. You are a snobby bitch for sure. How did you like Middleburg or any of the beautiful farms and wineries in Loudoun? At least you can actually see green trees and stars in Loudoun unlike Reston and it's light polluted overcrowded areas. You want to talk about the illegal immigrant issue and the Ghetto fab South Lakes High? Bring it on slut!

  6. All LCPS High Schools ASPIRE to the intellectual strength and financing of "Ghetto fab South Lakes High". Where's LoCo's TJHSST? Oh, yeah. That's right. There isn't one.

    Face it, LoCo. Even with your horsey sensibilities, you're always going to be Fairfax County Wannabes. Most of you even have to cross our borders in order to get to your jobs.

    1. At least when your cops set up speed traps at the county line - our cops set up a donut break a quarter-mile before it so we know to slow down. :)

  7. Hmm. I like Reston AND Loudoun. I am soooo out of it.

  8. Oh, now I see why Loudon is famed for its whineries.


(If you don't see comments for some reason, click here).