News and notes from Reston (tm).

Monday, April 3, 2023

We’re #28! Or #1! Or #50! Reston Ranked, Over the Years

If you believe the various clickbait lists churned out by ill-tempered AI robots toiling away for websites and magazines, Reston has shot up and down the charts more than a novelty record by a pirate metal cover band.

The most recent rankings, from some- thing called Niche dot com, put Reston at #28 in its list of Best Places to Live in Virginia. The top ranking went to some neighborhood called “Colonial Village” in Arlington, which another clickbait-generating AI decided to illustrate with a picture of Colonial Williamsburg. Apparently candlemaking demonstrations rank highly in the bot’s criteria, so maybe we should dedicate a little-used corner of RTC to Colonial Reston, complete with demonstrations of how old-timey suburbanites booted horses which overstayed their time in the paddocks.

But we digress. It’s been a crazy ride for our plastic fantastic planned community. Here’s a recap of some of the more memorable times Reston has shot up and down the charts:

2021: Reston was named the #1 place to work from home in the U.S. by Money magazine, which said it was “practically designed with the remote employee in mind.” Who knew sunken living rooms and wall-to-wall shag carpeting provided the perfect Zoom room acoustics?

2020: A big time “dub” for Reston, as the kids haven’t said in years—Washington Business Journal ranked us #15 in the region’s hot neighborhoods for home sales. Why is #15 so exciting? Because Ashburn was ranked #16—scientifically proving that we’re ONE BETTER than that particleboard nirvana to the west. And this was even before we got a Wegmans!

2018: Number one again, baby, with a bullet! This time it was Money’s list of Best Places to Live in Virginia, meaning we beat out communities like Miner’s Lung, Oysterman’s Boot, and Big Box Nexus Off I-95 Exit 437B.

2016: Money put us at #28 nationwide— but lumped us in with a bunch of other communities as “Hunter Mill.” They also called out all the tech jobs at a place called “AOL,” which we’ll have to get out our trusty dial-up modem to learn more about.

2015: Reston was ranked #50—but for credit card debt, according to CardHub. With an average $7,168 credit card bill, that’s a lot of extra rounds of breadsticks at our midscale chain eateries. 

2012: Perhaps the apex of Reston’s Reston-ness: a Top 10 hit. Money ranked us 7th nationwide, saying one big plus is that you shouldn’t expect “cookie cutter homes here.... houses of all shapes and sizes sit next to one another.” Definitely true, but not of all different colors.

2010: We’ll end with what was rock bottom for Reston, even worse than the times we were snubbed by cloverleaf intersections like Centreville and Manassas Park. Reston’s evil Maryland planned community doppelgänger, Columbia, was ranked the 2nd best place to live in the country by Money. Why evil? Columbia used to have a street called “Satan Wood Drive,” which it changed at some point— something to keep in mind as Temporary Road celebrates multiple decades of weird, but demonstrably less troubling, existence, the end.

This post was originally published in the Reston Letter.

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