Tysons, VA

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

As the fall sports wrap up and the weather turns cold, I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to dread the cold days inside with nowhere to go and nothing to do due to COVID-19. So, I’ve been looking around for activities that I’d feel comfortable taking my kids to as something to look forward to.

I’ve found it takes very little to get them excited these days. If you’re like me, take a look at this list and see what makes you feel comfortable venturing out!

The Ni Family Lights: 2528 Drexel Street, Vienna
Now through October 31, 6:30-9:30 p.m. or 10 p.m. (hours vary on weekends)
A 28 minute light show set to 8 songs!

House of Terror and Trunk or Treat: Old Firehouse in McLean
Saturday, October 24, 6-9 p.m.
Best for kids age 10 or over.

Haunted Mini Golf: Upton Hill in Arlington
October 28-October 31, 4-8 p.m.
Buy one adult round, get one kids round free. Children in costumes receive a spooky treat!

Haunted Trail and Festival: The Salamander Resort
October 28-October 31, 6:30-9 p.m.
A haunted 0.6 mile trail for kids ages 4- 12, plus food and other activities.

Halloween Drive-Up Movie Night: Tysons II
Friday, October 30
6 p.m. — Car trick or treating
6:45 p.m. — Scooby-Doo Stage Fright
8:45 p.m. — Beetlejuice
Proceeds benefit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation.

Spooktacular Science Show: Veteran Amphitheater in Fairfax
Saturday, October 31, 1:30-2:15 p.m.

Drive-by Pumpkin Patch: Fairfax High School
October 31, 6-9 p.m.
Drive through to look at various carved pumpkins on display. Also accepting donations for A Place to Stand (cereal, granola bars, oatmeal, crackers, PB&J, dried beans, rice and pasta).

I have a poll for you, because who doesn’t love to give their opinion? When house hunting in the fall/winter, do holiday decorations (Halloween blow ups for example) deter you from looking at the house?

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Music Schools Around Tysons

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

We all look for opportunities for our kids to expose them to new things outside of school. Some of the popular ones around Northern Virginia is sports, Karate/Tae Kwon Do, crafts, or music.

Luckily for us, there are a number of opportunities to expose your children to making music. I’m listing some of my favorite organizations below, which are offering both in person programs as well as online. In “normal” times, they also offer after school programs.

Vienna

Vienna Jammers — 314 Dominion Road NE, Vienna

Originally created in 2005-2006 by Vienna Elementary music teacher, Dave Reynolds. Jammers are a group of kids between the ages of 8 and 17 that play percussion instruments like the marimbas, hand drums, trash cans and steel pans. Practices range from 1-2 times per week and include performances like the Vienna Halloween Parade, Viva Vienna, the “Big Jam” in May, and typically an overnight trip for a performance for the older kids.

Typically, Vienna Jammers holds a “mini camp” in the fall and winter as an introduction to the group, which also makes them eligible for the Summer Experience Camp which is the audition for 2nd and 3rd grade for entry into Jammers. There are several different “colors” which dictates the level of commitment: Green and White (2-6 grade), Black (5-6 grade), Red (2-4 grade) and Steel/Platinum (7 grade +). For more information on the Jammers organization, visit their website.

School of Rock — 111 Center Street S., Vienna

The School of Rock offers lessons in guitar, drum, singing, bass guitar, keyboard and piano. They also offer a program in songwriting. They have in person and online classes for kids as young as 3, along with adult programs. Weekly schedules include a private lesson along with a group rehearsal. You’ll often see these kids in the parking lot giving performances nowadays. They also perform at many of the Vienna town events like Oktoberfest, Viva Vienna and Taste of Vienna. Learn more about their programs here.

Harmonia School of Music & Art — 204-F Mill Street NE, Vienna

Harmonia offers music programs in voice, guitar, woodwinds, brass, piano, violin, viola and cello. They also have a theater option, summer camp and online options. The programs offered include private and group classes. Find more information here.

Vienna Academy of Music and Arts — 2561 Chain Bridge Road, Vienna

VAMA offers private lessons in piano, flute, guitar, trumpet and voice, along with music for babies and toddlers. They’re currently offering online classes as well. Find more information here.

McLean

Bach to Rock — 6649A Old Dominion Drive, McLean (Balducci’s Plaza)

Bach to Rock offers classes in guitar, piano, drums, voice, DJ, violin, trumpet as well as their Beat Refinery DJ School which offers mixing, scratching and music production. Their programs include individual lessons, group classes, parties and camps. You can find more information here.

McLean School of Music — 6723 Whittier Avenue, Suite L-5, McLean

McLean School of Music offers classes in piano, violin, viola, cello, voice and singing, guitar, bass, ukulele, clarinet, saxophone, euphonium, baritone, tuba, trumpet and trombone. Currently offering online classes, they provide private lessons and offer 3 recitals per year. Find more information here.

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Fall Festivals Near Tysons

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

This list will look different from last year’s list, where we were blissfully unaware of overcrowding and social distancing.

Lucky for us, if you’re still looking for that Fall Festival feeling, some of the great farms around us are still trying to pull something together for everyone to enjoy. If you go to any of these places, please report back! You can comment below or DM me on Instagram (@LauraSchwartzRealtor).

Cox Farms — Centreville, Virginia
September 25 — November 2, Hours Vary, Close Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday
Instead of piling into their hayride, this year they’re offering a self-driven hayride through the fields. Don’t worry — that treacherous puddle we all drive through is only 2 inches deep. Must buy tickets in advance. At the end, there’s an opportunity to get out of the car and takes pictures, do curbside pickup for food/pumpkins at their market.

Great County Farms — Bluemont, Virginia
September 28 — October 31
Fall Pumpkin Harvest Festival featuring pick your own pumpkins (also apples), wagon rides, marshmallow roasting, cider pressing, live music, 5-acre play area, donuts and their market.

Pumpkin Village at Leesburg Animal Park — Leesburg, Virginia
September 19 — November 3, Closed on Mondays
Festival activities scavenger hunt, animal barn, live performers, and treats. Purchase tickets online in advance.

Reston Farm Fall Fest — Reston, Virginia
Friday, Saturday and Sunday — now through November 1
Weekends feature a pumpkin moon bounces, moon bounce slides, corn maze moon bounce, train rides, farm animals, balloon artist, face painter and caricature portrait artist! Buy tickets online.

City of Fairfax Fall Festival — Open Virtually Only
Month of October
The festival will be virtual for the entire month of October. No details currently provided, but check the website for more information.

Whitehall Farms — Fairfax, Virginia
Weekends through October 31
Wagon rides, nature trails, lawn games, animals and fields of pumpkins. Bonus: their menu is prepared by local favorite The Fermented Pig. Make sure you buy tickets online.

Wayside Farm — Berryville, Virginia
Fridays — Mondays, through November 1
Amazing Corn Maze (that reads: Wayside Farm Fun Thanks Our Everyday Heroes), pig races, pumpkin patch, farm animals, slides, play area, jumping pillows and more. Buy tickets online.

Don’t Forget

Town of Vienna has Halloween in a Bag available for purchase. Each bag includes: 2 pie size pumpkins, 2 cape kits, pumpkin decorating kits, pumpkin scoop, various Halloween theme toys, candy, activity packet and more. Buy online here.

Vienna Halloween Parade this year is now coming to you! The floats will drive through the Town on October 31 starting at 10 a.m. Read more here.

McLean Fall Scavenger Hunt — Offered through the McLean Community Center through December 7. The hunt includes 75 challenges both indoors and outdoors, such as take specific photos, geocaching, or completing specific tasks. For teams of 4-10.

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Where to Pick Apples In Virginia

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

My favorite season is upon us! Sunshine, crisp air, football and fall traditions.

One of the things I love doing with my kids in the fall is to go apple picking, which inevitably also turns into baking. As September marches on, we’re well into apple picking season and I wanted to highlight some local places to go pick your own.

There are also closer in options like DePauls, the Farmer’s Market, or Reston Farm (check out their weekend Fall Fest… more on those options coming soon!) If you are up for a drive, check out one of these options. Make sure you check ahead to see if they require timed appointments.

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Where and How to Decrease Stress

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

Happy week 2 all your home schooling parents!

I say that with the enthusiasm of someone who’s had two cups of coffee today (and it’s not even noon yet). Regardless of your child care situation right now, everyone I know is under more stress lately than ever, myself included, and I wanted to help offer up some opportunities to combat that cortisol!

Exercise

  • I did a post a few months ago about the best hidden walking trails. Still an option, especially on Monday afternoons like today where the work at home is light.
  • Outdoor fitness classes: Orange Theory, Pure Barre and Yoga just to name a few, are all doing an outdoor fitness class if you have an interest and comfort level with being outdoor.

Food

  • I read online, reducing caffeine intake helps with reducing stress. This might be one of those do as I say, not as a I do… you could try a Viva Sol smoothie, South Block smoothie or SweetLeaf smoothie (fruit, kale or sweet mix-in).
  • The total opposite of that is a decadent treat — Crumbl, Pie Gourmet, Kiln and Co, etc.

Hang Out With Friends

  • Lots of socially distanced options right now — outdoor tables at many of the eateries, wineries/breweries, apple picking, pumpkin picking — so many options.
  • Organize an outdoor “playdate” on the grass at a school or the blacktop

As the weather begins to finally (thankfully) turn to the fall, I look forward to getting back outside when my own kids are off the screens. Happy fall!

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

Some of the hardest times allow opportunities for people to stand out as local heroes. John Wood, the owner of 29 Diner, is one of those heroes. The diner was declared a Virginia Historic Landmark in 1992, but has been open since 1947. The current owner, John Wood, took ownership of the diner in September 2014 (happy 6 years, John!).

The menu features your diner favs: breakfast, fried foods galore, burgers, sandwiches, kids menu and a surprise section of BBQ platters. They also have a pretty tempting milkshake menu.

Eating at the restaurant not only supports the historic diner, but also allows John to keep doing what he’s been doing since the pandemic started. He turned the dining room into a free food pantry for at risk members in our community.

He allows them to come in, 7 days a week from 8a.m.-8 p.m., and get free hot meals, non-perishable foods, refrigerated foods, household items and healthcare items. The restaurant also has a food truck deliver and serve free meals. To date he has served 38,000 free meals. You can donate via PayPal to [email protected]. There is also a GoFundMe page.

As if that wasn’t enough….

John has also taken over the construction of the Rustic Love Vienna signs, which has now been featured here on Tyson’s Reporter as well as ABC7.

As a reminder, Rustic Love Vienna was created by a local Vienna family as a way to help raise money for the food insecure and provide them meals and grocery deliveries. The signs are made by volunteers and people can order specific colors and donate what they want. All proceeds go to feed local families in need.

To order now, follow John on Facebook and look out for his posts. His recent orders have sold out quickly and you’ll notice those little heart signs popping up all over Vienna. Know that every one of them raised money to feed someone.

If you have someone who wants to jump in and help, he’s also looking for volunteers to join in the construction at the Diner.

You can find food and heroism at 10536 Fairfax Boulevard, Fairfax, VA 22030.

Photo via 29 Diner Facebook

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Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

While I mourn what would have been the start of the school year, I find myself with 2 weeks to go and looking for things to do with my kids to make the most of the rest of the summer.

One of the COVID-friendly activities I’ve found we can still do is mini golf. Even better if I can pair it with something else to make it last longer. If you’re looking for places for mini golfing, here are some suggestions:

  1. Oak Marr (Oakton) — noon to 8 p.m. There’s also a driving range if you get tired of putting!
  2. The Magic Putting Place (Manassas) — which is right next to Nathan’s Dairy Bar for fabulous ice cream (closed on Monday).
  3. Upton Hill Mini Golf (Arlington) — which also has batting cages and is near Westover, which has Toby’s Ice Cream and many other lunch options.
  4. For future reference — there is also Jefferson Falls (Falls Church) which is near Mosaic, however it is under construction at the time of this writing. They also have a full 18-hole golf course.

Have any ideas to share? Please spread the wealth! Drop a comment below or please post on the Facebook page for Tysons Reporter!

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Where to Buy Plants Around Tysons

Laura Schwartz is a licensed Realtor in VA, D.C. and MD with McEnearney Associates in Vienna. You can follow Laura on Instagram at @LauraSchwartzRealtor or her Facebook page. Laura can be reached at 703-283-6120 or [email protected].

I do not have a green thumb. I do not know what kind of tree is in your yard or when a specific plant will bloom.

My husband jokes that my wedding vows included NOT doing yard work. He’s not wrong. With that said, I know others are far more skilled and much more invested in how their yard looks. There are lots of places around to buy plants and get advice on what to do with them!

This is also a really easy way to increase your curb appeal. Some of these places also have blogs if you’re looking for specific content or weekly tips on how to maintain your garden, yard, shrubs, etc.

Merrifield Garden Center: Multiple locations — Merrifield/Falls Church, Fairfax and Gainesville. Here’s their blog of Tips and Inspiration.

DePaul’s Urban Farm: 2599 Chain Bridge Road, Vienna. Follow their Facebook page for daily updates. They offer an outdoor nursery for shopping, along with some produce and treats inside.

Four Seasons Flower Market: 6808 Elm Street, McLean. Open from April through December, this outdoor market carries annuals, perennials, veggies, pumpkin & Halloween décor, wreaths, garden supplies, soil and more.

Wolf Trap Nursey: 9439 Leesburg Pike, Vienna. Gardening, plants, Bonsai, flowers, garden accessories, and soil, fertilizer, etc.

Krop’s Crops: 11110 Georgetown Pike, Great Falls. A seasonal 20 acre farm locally owned, that offers plants, produce and offers seasonal activities.

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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.

Has all of this time at home finally given you that “time” you’ve been dreaming about?

I know I spent April, when I was home most, organizing every closet we had out of boredom. I’ve seen many posts around social media showing people doing the same — finally purging all of that stuff you never actually needed. I’ve also seen people wondering if donations are still being accepted during this time of COVID-19.

If you’re tackling a summer clean out, please consider donating your items to these organizations:

Photo via Community Cares Vienna/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.

Born during the pandemic, one neighborhood is having kids create little rustic wood signs with a base color and a heart out of wood. They are pay-what-you-want, contactless pick up, and all proceeds go directly to the Vienna VA Foodies group, who has been providing meals and grocery packs to local families in need.

There is currently a waitlist for a sign, which you can find here through Google Sheets. Pick your base sign color, heart color, send payment via Venmo, Paypal or cash at pickup.

You’ll start noticing these around town! Know that each sign went to help feed someone.

You can also follow along on their Facebook page.

Photo via Rustic Love Vienna Facebook

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