Community. What Does it Mean for You in Northern Virginia?

I've been going to Lake Anne Plaza since I was 7 years old and it feels like "home". I've hung out and purchased many books in the used book shop there.


I've been thinking about this one word and what it means since last Friday. You see….I know Sandy Hook, Connecticut and it's community very well. I come from a divorced family and spent much of my time visiting my father, stepmother and two sisters there. My sisters attended Sandy Hook Elementary and I had been there quite a few times to pick them up from school or go to see them in a school play.

Sandy Hook. What a wonderful tight knit community. Everyone knew each other and it felt very "safe". I walked everywhere with my young sisters. In the Summer we would be dropped off at the pool shaped like a lake and hang out there all day long.  At night we would go to the ice cream parlor for a treat. I have the best memories of that town.

I grew up in Reston. We moved here when I was really young and there were actual dirt roads. Reston Parkway was called Reston Avenue. There was no Reston Town Center and the tallest building and only high rise was the Sheraton Hotel.  South Lakes High School was brand new when I attended and  my brother graduated in the first graduating class of 1981. Reston was a great community to grow up in. It was smaller and simpler than it is now and Herndon, right next door, felt like a sleepy Southern Town!

Do I think we still have a great community in this area even though it's grown so much? I do. I still run into people I know all over the place. I love to walk my dog then go to the Starbucks at the South Lakes shopping center and meet my friend who lives nearby (I sold her a home across the street)I've made some new friends there as well…regulars that walk their dogs then stop in for a coffee each morning, or the retired couple who walk miles every day, rain or shine, to chill out with their tea and talk awhile.

I find community at the Reston Farmers Market at Lake Anne during the Summer. I've met and made friends with many of the vendors and inevitably see prior clients or friends there. I've been going to Lake Anne Plaza since I was 7 years old and it feels like "home". I've hung out and purchased many books in the used book shop there. I've introduced many clients and friends to Lake Anne.

I find community at Barnes & Noble in Reston (I'm super sad it's closing) and definitely at Anita's Restaurant in Herndon where I meet a group of awesome women each week to eat breakfast and chat about our lives. Afterwards I pop over to Great Harvest Bread company.

Yes. I feel like there is a great sense of community in Reston and Herndon as well as other parts of Northern Virginia. I do fear that with all the growth happening we might lose some of that feeling, though. My good friend says "growth it not what kills community, it's lack of meaningful contact with people. There are people who live in Manhattan who feel a sense of community"

What do you think? Where do you feel a sense of community?

Ellen Moyer
RE/MAX Allegiance 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jane December 22, 2012 at 04:50 PM
I feel the same, very nice piece, Ellen.
Connie Hartke May 06, 2013 at 06:46 PM
In the last two years I have become involved in several Reston things and am really enjoying the sense of community that this brings. For quite a few years before that I was very time-constrained with caregiving, which has its own rewards. Now I have time and enjoy volunteering at Reston's triathlons and other race events, walking or running with the Reston Runners, gift wrapping for Herndon-Reston FISH, and working with other volunteers of Rescue Reston. I've been meeting some really interesting and fun people!


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