Tysons, 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.

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

It seems like everyday a new “for sale” or “for lease” sign goes up somewhere around town.

It’s hard to keep up with what’s coming in, going out, or going up. Some plans get denied, some you’ve never heard about get approved, and others have got PR teams who blast about upcoming changes. There’s a Facebook group for Vienna, called the Vienna Development: Open Discussion, which is a good place to start.

There are multiple resources online if you are curious about a specific project:

Don’t see something listed? You can always email me and I’ll do some digging for you!

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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.

I have heard from so many clients and friends that would have otherwise drew a hard no in the sand about having a pool in their backyard, that the pandemic has changed their opinion on that.

Many are now considering either installing a pool or moving to a home that has a pool existing. I don’t blame them — with the run on blow up pools from Amazon and Target, you’d think we’d have a shortage on water now, not toilet paper!

If you’re thinking of building a pool, here are some basic concepts to think about:

Town of Vienna

  • Don’t forget that 25% lot coverage which applies to the deck of the pool, HOWEVER, coping/surrounding walkways of under 5 ft from the edge of the pool will not be counted towards the lot coverage
  • Pools must be at least 10 ft from any side or rear lot line, and is measured from the edge of the actual pool; also must be at least 20 ft from any alley line
  • Can only be in the rear yard
  • A permit is required through the Town

Fairfax County: Vienna and McLean

  • Require a building permit, plumbing permit and electrical permit
  • Pool can be in rear or side yards, and lots that are over 36,000 sq. ft. can even have the pool in the front yard
  • Mechanical pool equipment must be contained within 10 ft of width, and at least 5 ft from any lot line
  • If you have well and septic, you’ll need at least 20′ from them for the pool

What do you think about having a pool now? With these blistering heat days, coupled with 45 minute times slots at the public pools, would you consider installing a pool now?

Now, the age old question of resale value.

Most people think if you have a pool, it’s a deal breaker for many people. I think maybe that’s true, but you’ll also find a group of buyers who want the pool. And honestly, if the pool is old and needs work, it might be cheaper to just fill it in than deal with upkeep. I’ve told clients before, you build a pool to enjoy it, not to sell the house. It’s not like a kitchen renovation where you’re adding value. Someone else will come in and love the pool too.

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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.

We’ve all been home for 4 months now and last week, we got a little burned out of the monotony of juggling work and kids and now the heat, and we all decided we need a day of fun!

We took a day off and packed up a beach bag, threw the kids in the car, and hit the road. If you’re like me, and need a change of scenery, here’s a list of potential places to visit if you’re looking for sand and water!

Some COVID-19 friendly tips:

  • Bring enough food and water for yourselves.
  • Try going on a week day if possible. Obviously all of these will be busier on a weekend.
  • The Virginia State Parks will require face masks inside any building (i.e. visitor centers).

Colonial Beach, VA: 90 minutes away from Tyson’s, easy parking, on the Potomac River so very few waves, shallow water, fishing pier. Cute snow cone and ice cream spot (try the chocolate éclair ice cream!).

Aquia Landing Park, Stafford, VA: About an hour from Tyson’s, there’s a fee for access, popular fishing spot and beach for swimming.

Sandy Point, Annapolis, MD: An hour drive from Tyson’s, Sandy Point is a popular beach for a day just before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge with lots of space for distancing, sand and water.

Mason Neck State Park, Lorton, VA: This small hidden gem is located under an hour from Tyson’s and offers fishing, canoe and kayak rentals (call ahead for a reservation), swimming and walking trails.

Lake Anna State Park, Spotsylvania, VA: About 2 hours away, sand and water for swimming and playing, camping grounds for overnight stays, no tents allowed on the beach, lots of walking trails.

Calvert Cliffs, Lusby, MD: Located about 90 minutes from Tyson’s, Calvert Cliffs is a Maryland state park featuring fishing, swimming and walking trails. $7 per car day use for Virginia state plates.

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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.

Summer is here, or at least the calendar says it is, which means it’s great weather for family photo shoots.

There are so many beautiful places around Tysons that lends itself well to family photos. I haven’t gone through the necessary steps to see which location may require extra paperwork and/or fees for on site photos, so make sure you check that!

Also, your photographer may know of secret spaces they like to use that are free. But here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Meadowlark Botanical Gardens — both inside and out!
  2. Colvin Run Mill
  3. The LOVE sign on the W&OD Trail at Northside Park
  4. Seneca Creek Park Peony Field
  5. Scott’s Run Nature Preserve
  6. Great Falls Park
  7. Cherry Hill Park (Falls Church)
  8. If you like water, you could also try one of the Creeks: Wolftrap Creek, Pimmit Run, Scott’s Run

Have you taken photos somewhere not mentioned? Please share with others in the comments 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.

It’s finally time for the return of the farmers market!

The Vienna one opened this Saturday, while Falls Church is still on Saturday, McLean is on Friday and the Mosaic District is the host for Sundays.

Each market will have their own vendors, some overlap, but all will generally follow the same rules:

  • Wear a mask
  • Go early to avoid a line — they’re limiting the number of people inside the market at a time
  • You can’t pick your own produce — we found fruit to be pre-packaged, and the veggies were taped off so the vendors will pick for you what you order
  • There are plenty of spaces to step aside and eat/drink whatever you buy in comfort
  • Bring a credit card instead of cash

I know for my family, we partly go for the ambiance — beautiful weather, sometimes live music and someone cooking break fast for you. We were still able to feel that way this past Saturday at the Vienna market, and again at the Sunday one in Mosaic.

Here are some of my favorite vendors:

Vienna

  • Green Heart Juice — Liquid Gold for adults, Summer Crush for kids
  • Call Your Mother Bagels — Amazing everything bagels
  • Mama’s Donut Bites — Apple Cider Donuts: they didn’t have the truck, but they did have a stand
  • Savagely Good — Cinnamon Rolls
  • Almond Croissant at the Falls Church City Market (there are several baked good vendors, but there’s one in particular that has the best croissants, also sold at Mom & Pop at Mosaic)
  • McCleaf’s Orchard — Fruits and veggies
  • Crepe Shop at the Vienna Market — My kids LOVE this place for breakfast. They have egg crepes, as well as savory or dessert crepes.
  • Swirly Girl Creamery — Cheese

Photo by Jakub Kapusnak/Unsplash

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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.

No babysitter? No problem! When Clarity opened their “a lot of clarity” concept with individually, socially distanced tables outside, my husband and I jumped on the idea (in fact, we have a reservation tonight) since we haven’t had a “date night” in over 3 months.

We plan to bring our reliable, charged babysitter — the iPad — and have our kids sit in the back of our SUV and properly ignore them for the duration of our dinner (let’s be honest, with the iPad, they’ll be happy to ignore us too). But this got me thinking to what else we could do to get a break from pandemic life.

Mosaic District — they have their green space blocked off from traffic with tables outside. Perfect for getting take out from Alta Strada, Jinya, Bar Taco, Matchbox or one of your other favorites and sitting outside for a meal.

Picnic — there are a lot of open green spaces around Vienna, Oakton and McLean where you can pack a lunch, get take out, and bring a blanket to sit outside for a quiet picnic. Break up the norm of your kitchen table, try getting take out from one of the spots who doesn’t have outdoor seating and may as a result not get as much traffic. Think Mo:Mo House, Social Burger, or McLean Family Restaurant.

Outside patio at Bazin’s or Blend 111 — call for reservations!

Neighborhood dinner date — one night a bunch of the mom’s in my neighborhood each brought our own chair and beverage and we set up shop on a neighbor’s driveway for a socially distanced “Mom’s Night Out.” It was a fun change of pace, and much needed break from the every day. One idea could be to have all of your neighbors bring their own drinks/dinner and have everyone sit outside on their lawns and have a neighborhood dinner. Social interaction, socially distanced.

Make sure you call your favorite restaurant and see if they’ve set up outdoor seating. I know a lot of places that didn’t have it before have found ways to create space now.

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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.

Since quarantine hit, Facebook stalking has been my new (okay, fine, continued) source of entertainment research.

Anything “new” to make the day more exciting and something to look forward to. Recently I stumbled upon a feature where you can request these 2 dessert trucks to come to your neighborhood and deliver treats to you and your neighbors.

Scoops2U: Ice Cream

Follow their Facebook page for details on where the truck will be. You can visit their website for updates as well and see the flavors. There you can request a visit to your part of town.

Kona Ice: Shaved Ice

Follow this Facebook page (there are many as there are trucks all over NoVA). You can see where they’ll be and at what time. We placed an order online, paid online, and then my kids got to pick their flavor when the truck rolled up in front of my house. A great way to chat on our lawn with our neighbors.

It was a small treat that was affordable as well as exciting!

If you want other options, don’t forget that these places are all doing contact-less pick up:

Ben & Jerry’s Vienna

Kiln & Co Custard

Rita’s Window

Lazy Mike’s

Bruster’s in Dunn Loring

Lil City Creamery

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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.

This past week was one of the hardest for me during this pandemic.

It seems no matter how many times we took my kids outside to play, or activities we tried, the walls just seemed to cave in on me. I decided it was time to venture out of our home for a safe adventure. While not everyone will feel safe leaving their homes, for my family, my kids wore masks and we stayed far apart from everyone else we saw on our recent adventure to pick strawberries.

It was a really small piece of normalcy for my kids (who yelled “this is the best day ever!” when we told them the deal — masks for berry picking), and a nice change of scenery for the adults. There’s a great website that lists all of the farms in the area that allow for a “pick your own” experience, but I wanted to highlight a few favorites that are an easy drive from Northern Virginia.

Messick’s Farm in Bealton, Virginia. Check their Facebook page for updates on the availability of u-pick. There are so many rows of strawberries, we were far away from other people. While Messick’s has their own custard and availability of treats, we drove about 3 miles down the road to the famous Moo Thru — an ice cream drive through which was so good (coffee ice cream was delicious).

Wegmeyer Farms has 3 locations in Hamilton, Aldie and Leesburg, Virginia. They have strawberry picking by appointment, which opens up the night before and fills up fast. Make sure you follow them on Facebook as well for the most up to date information. Don’t miss their donuts!

Leesburg Animal Park has reopened as a drive thru experience where you get to stay in your car to maintain social distancing — Friday through Sunday. Tickets must be purchased online ahead of time.

Roer’s Zoofari in Reston also has opened as a safari drive thru and they are open daily.

Remember things might have a line, but really, where else do you need to be right now?

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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.

Many know the brewery and restaurant located on the W&OD trail, Caboose Brewing, which is a Vienna favorite for beer.

Like most businesses during COVID-19, they’ve also had to pivot their business model during this time. There are many restaurants doing grocery packs right now, but the ability to also buy a meal for your neighbors is a reason to celebrate this local company.

Grocery and Beer Pickup or Delivery:

  • They have many staples including steak, beef, poultry, seafood, fruits, veggies, dairy, meal kits and toilet paper (!), along with cocktails and beer. You can customize the delivery you want.

Donations:

  • You can pay $35 for a food pack they’ll deliver to community members in need of food, through InovaCares Clinics for Women and Children, FCPS and Food for Others.
  • You can pay $8 for a meal for INOVA staff.

If you want food take out or coffee, the Caboose Commons in Mosaic is also offering curbside pick up.

To follow more ways to give back to the community through food donations, or learn about new restaurants and the ways they’re conducting business right now, make sure you join the Vienna Foodies group on Facebook.

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