Tysons Corner, VA

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

I’m sure you’ve thought of the big names: Care.com, WhiteHouseNannies.com, etc.

But how do you find local babysitters that won’t charge an arm and a leg? Where are these secret parent sanity saving humans hiding?

Let me share our secret… your local high school.

Did you know that Madison, Marshall, McLean and Langley have career centers in the school? My husband, the genius that he is, sent an email to the career center specialist listed on the school websites with a job posting.

We included a job description, typical hours, number of kids, any requirements, etc and they posted it on the job board at the school. We got a great high school babysitter after reading through the kids who responded.

I’m sure this could also work for after school care, mother’s helper, local businesses looking for some extra support, etc.

I don’t want to post emails for individuals staff at the schools, but it’s really easy to find on the website:

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

A few years ago, the Kustard shop on Church Street consolidated into a small cart inside of Kiln & Co on Church Street.

Kiln & Co. is a paint your own pottery shop that hosts classes, camps, parties and stop in and paint anytime opportunities. In the back of the Vienna location, you’ll find Kustard & Co. dishing out custard, making Krazy Shakes, unlimited toppings, milkshakes, Sundaes, shakes, cones, floats and other sweet treats.

They’re also always giving back to the community by attending PTA events, local 5K races and events by dishing out ice cream, sometimes even for free.

They have 3 locations:

  • 138 Church St. NW (inside Kiln & Co.) — closed Tuesdays
  • 455 S. Maple Ave. (in the Target/Tinner Hill building)
  • 1631 Washington Plaza N. (Reston) — by appointment in the Winter

Is there a local business that regularly supports your organization? We’d like to spotlight them. Please email me at [email protected] or leave a note in the comments section below.

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

A Vienna staple since July 2010, Caffe Amouri is more than just a local coffee house.

Their mission is built around community, which is easily seen by their participation in school “Walking Wednesdays” where they provide coffee for parents, Vienna Idol and about 20 or so other charities or fundraisers. They encourage sustainability; they encourage customers to reuse coffee sleeves and only take straws when necessary.

They recently expanded the space located on Church Street to allow for more seating, large tables for collaboration, a roasting sample area and some outdoor seating. They have WiFi, although they turn it off on the weekends to encourage people to actually engage with each other (oh, the horror!). They also have open mic nights, Penny University (free classes & talks) and other events (check the online calendar).

Now to get to the good stuff: the coffee and the food.

My husband loves the white mocha and the iced coffee, I’m a traditional Cappuccino girl, and my kids love their hot chocolate. But their menu is so big they have a binder of coffee options and tea, along with some specials (honey cinnamon latte!) that make for nice out of the ordinary drinks. They have local treats at the register like granola, gluten free sweets, cookies and nuts. There’s also a sandwich menu (breakfast and lunch).

Other things you might not know: there’s a strong inventory of table games to borrow in the back. There’s parking in front, on the street and in the back; there’s a rear entrance. If you park there while they’re roasting, you’ll often see things floating around the air from the roasting.

My favorite thing is the trivia. Every day at the register there’s a new question posted. If you get it right, they take 10 cents off your drink.

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

The best way I have found to find out about events and information around town is to follow local organizations and businesses on Facebook.

They’re constantly updating events, posting news and giving genuine value adding information. Last week the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department delivered pizza from Domino’s on the fire truck, as a promo and reminder to people to check their smoke detectors.

The only way I knew about this was from their Facebook page (and bonus, one of my former clients was the first pizza delivery on the truck because she saw that I shared the event).

Here’s a list of my favorite resources on Facebook:

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

Valentine’s Day is coming up and it has me thinking about different kinds of date nights. Something out of the ordinary dinner and a movie option.

If you’re looking for some new ideas, why not consider some live music, comedy or trivia? Various venues in and around town have local artists, cover bands, DJs and more.

Pair that with some good food and/or drinks, and you’ve got yourself a nice night out. It helps if you follow these businesses on Facebook or sign up for their newsletters. Events like Jammin Java 80’s night in January sold out pretty quickly, so you don’t want to miss out!

Of course there are always more adventurous ideas like:

Have an idea to add or a business you’re working on? Drop a note in the comments to let people know about it!

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Super Bowl Libations and Food

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

Super Bowl LIII is quickly approaching as the Patriots take on the Rams on Sunday, February 3 at 6:30 p.m.

We all know Super Bowl Sunday is where new year’s resolutions are forgotten. Or maybe that’s just my junk food loving heart talking. If you are thinking of hosting a party this Sunday, I have some great take-out options to help make it easier.

  • Don Pollo — The Vienna Charcoal chicken newcomer is offering a free chicken with any Fiesta Family Platter.
  • Taco Bamba in Vienna — Is taking catering requests by Thursday, 1/31 for their wings, nachos, tacos and all of their other goodies.
  • Foster’s Grill — For wings, order ahead of time or they WILL sell out.
  • Santini’s — In Oakton or McLean for pizza, party subs and their other decadent food.
  • Open Road — In Merrifield has platters for wings or chicken bites with pre-order.
  • Bonchon — In Fairfax or Arlington for some of the most delicious wings that exist.
  • Founding Farmers — To go catering where you can order off the full menu.
  • Liberty BBQ — In Falls Church, offering Super Bowl specials on their BBQ meat, wings, sides and desserts. Must pre-order and pick up on Friday.
  • Rocco’s — In McLean for pizza or wings.
  • O’Malley’s Pub — In McLean for wings.

Check out Tyson’s Biergarten if you would rather go out to watch the game. They have a long list of beer and food.

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Summer Camps in Northern Virginia

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

You know what’s even more cut throat than daycare registration in Northern Virginia? Summer camp registration. Watch out parents, those registrations start EARLY and they fill up fast.

McLean Registration —  McLean has already released the 2019 camp catalog. Registration for McLean residents starts February 4, and everyone else can register starting February 11. My son did the McLean Camp for 3 year-olds last year, where they bring in entertainment and have water play on site.

Fairfax County Registration — Begins on February 7. You can search the available camps on the Partakes website. They will upload a full camp guide soon.

Town of Vienna — Summer Camp registration starts in early April for town residents, and usually the week after for everyone else. They have a variety of camps offered, so it’s great if you have a random week to fill in, or maybe just want a few hours in the morning before the pool opens.

Personally, my son did the “Learn to Ride a Bike Camp” and it was great for him. He went from training wheels to riding on his own in 3-4 days. They also did an art and lego class which was good, especially for a one day drop off if your kids are close in age. You’ll be able to find the camp options here in a few weeks.

Below is a list of private schools who offer camp options that run all summer if you want more continuity:

Northern Virginia complied a list of the best summer camps of 2017 here!

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

Happy Snow Day!

You know what stir-crazy parents and kids need on a day where we got almost a foot of snow? To get out! If you’re lucky enough to live on a sloped lot or on a street with a good angle, happy sledding.

For those of you looking to find a good place to go sledding, here’s my list of the best places to go sledding in Vienna and McLean:

Vienna

  • There’s a small hill at Meadow Lane Park on the baseball field. It’s small enough for little kids who might be scared, but enough to give them some speed.
  • Westbriar Elementary School (behind the school).
  • Cunningham Park Elementary — has a big hill that’s great for picking up speed.
  • Wolftrap (the theatre) — there’s 2 places at Wolfrap, the “Bowl” and the “Big Hill.”
  • Marshall Road Elementary — in the back there’s a small hill.

McLean

  • Westgate Park — there’s a hill behind the 2nd baseball field.
  • Lemon Road Elementary — has a large hill.
  • Franklin Sherman Elementary School

McLean can be hilly in areas, so some of the best sledding is likely right in your neighborhood. Don’t forget to watch out for cars if you’re on a road. Stay safe!

If you’re looking for some other ideas on playing in the snow, one mom hack that I found is to mix cold water with food coloring and put it in a squeeze bottle. I call it “snow paint.” My kids love it!

Happy Sledding!

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New Resident Guide to McLean

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

(Updated on 1/8/19) Even to newcomers, McLean is best known for the businesses that are based in town. However, there are many hidden gems and things to do around town as well.

If you’re new to McLean, consider this your guide. As always, drop a comment below if I missed anything!

Technically, Tysons Corner itself falls within McLean’s two zip codes, 22101 and 22102. Most of McLean is made up of single family homes and townhomes, but there are some condo and apartments buildings as well. The town is rather small and most retail can be found in “Downtown McLean” or the Tysons Corner area.

Events and Classes

Stay up to date with special events, educational classes or performances by signing up for the Community Center newsletter or searching the online portal for offerings. You can also check out the Old Firehouse, which is now the “Teen Center” of McLean.

Sign up for the Partakes Online emails from the Park Authority of Fairfax County. They’ll notify you of events (Celebrate Fairfax4th of July Parade, etc.) along with camps and class sign ups.

There are also local businesses that offer camps, classes, events and other things depending on your interests.

Be sure to add these annual McLean events to your calendar — McLean Day, McLean 5K, McLean Winterfest, McLean Farmers Market and more.

Kids and Parenting

If your kids are into sports, you can check out the McLean Youth Sports Programs (basketball, fencing, field hockey, flag football, football, lacrosse, rugby, squash, track & field, volleyball and wrestling). There’s also McLean Little League for baseball and softball. The McLean Youth Soccer program is also another option!

If you’re looking for a swim team, you’ll have to check out one of the local McLean Pools such as McLean Swim & Tennis, Tuckahoe Rec Club, Chesterbrook Swim & Tennis, Highlands Swim & Tennis, Langley Swim & Tennis or Kent Gardens Rec Club. Some homes are located within an HOA that has a pool (like Hamlet Swim & Tennis Club).

You can also find a gym and pool at McLean Health and Racquet or McLean Sport & Health. Another option is to check out the Spring Hill Rec Center.

McLean has a Project for the Arts (MPA) to help showcase local artists. There is a performance center called 1st Stage with ongoing performances and special events.

You can also join the McLean Moms Club which organizes playgroups, outings and events.

My favorite playgrounds in McLean are the McLean Central Park (located next to the library), and Clemyjontri Park which even has a carousel! There’s also an awesome hiking option at Scott’s Run Nature Preserve.

Also, don’t miss Child’s Play for your toy and gift needs.

You can sign up for OurKids.com, which is a weekly email roundup to find out about local events

Food

If you’re looking for something new, you can check out the Northern Virginia Magazine top restaurants or Washingtonian top restaurants.

My favorite local coffee spots are the Star Nut Gourmet, Greenberry’s and Republik Coffee Bar.

Local restaurants to check out in Downtown McLean include Rocco’s Italian, J. Gilbert’s, Greek Taverna, Kazan, Madison Deli, McLean Family Restaurant, Assaggi OsteriaDal Grano, Tachibana Sushi, and Tama Sushi while you can indulge in dessert at Sweetbites, Fluffy Thoughts Cakes or Danielle’s Desserts.

There are many good options at Tyson’s Corner I and II for dining options. I’d try Eddie V’s, Earl’s, Lebanese Taverna or Café Deluxe.

Pets

There is no specific off leash dog park in McLean, but you’ll find other places where your canine pals are welcome. Scott’s Run Nature Preserve is often full of happy dogs.

Don’t forget to register your dog through Fairfax County.

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New Vienna Resident Guide

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Reach the office at 703-790-9090.

If you’re thinking of moving to the Vienna area, or maybe you’ve recently relocated, you might not know the ins and outs of the town. It’s easy to fall back on big chains when you don’t know where to start, so please use this guide to get to know the town of Vienna.

Actually, let’s start with defining that there exists a subsection of the Town of Vienna — any address that has a SE, SW, NW, NE at the end of the street is part of the Town of Vienna AND Fairfax County. Any other Vienna address is part of Fairfax County only.

The homes that fall under the Town of Vienna have their own Government, including a town mayor, code, trash, police department, water service and they pay an extra Town of Vienna real estate tax on top of their Fairfax County taxes to fund the Town.

Perks of living within the town: early registration for Town of Vienna camps and events, and trash service (including the popular leaf vacuum collection). You don’t need to live specifically within the Town limits to use the Community Center, attend events, or sign up for classes (town residents just get priority sign up).

Now that we’ve defined the difference, let’s get to the good stuff. Vienna has a small town feel, despite the growing traffic concerns and larger developments on the horizon. Knowing where to go and what to do will help you enjoy what the town has to offer:

Events and Classes

Make sure you pencil into your calendar the annual events put on: Halloween Parade, Viva Vienna, Kids Adventure Race, 4th of July fireworks and so many more.

You can sign up for classes (both kids and adults) through the Town of Vienna website. You can browse by age, type of class, etc.

Sign up for the Partakes Online emails from the Park Authority of Fairfax County. They’ll notify you of events (Celebrate Fairfax, 4th of July Parade, etc) along with camps and class sign ups.

Browse the Jammin Java calendar for concerts (adults and kids)

There are also local businesses that offer camps, classes, events etc depending on your interests.

Kids & Parenting

Looking for new “mom friends,” resources to find a nanny or babysitter, doctors, etc. Join Vienna Moms.

Sign your kids up for sports, keeping in mind registration starts early! Vienna Youth (basketball, cheerleading, football, lacrosse, rugby, track, volleyball and wrestling), baseball, soccer, softball,

Find indoor play spaces to takes your kids

When the weather gets warmer, you can explore the playgrounds all over Vienna. Top favorites are Meadow Lane Park (also known as the toy graveyard), Glyndon Park, Peterson Lane Park and Northside Park (bring carrots to leave for the deer — a favorite activity my kids loved).

Join a pool: Vienna Woods Swim & Tennis, Vienna Aquatic Club, Dunn Loring Swim Club, Cardinal Hill Swim & Racquet Club or Westwood Country Club.

Take a bike ride or walk/run on the W&OD Trail.

Sign up for OurKids.com, which is a weekly email roundup to find out about local events

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