"There's no place like home. . . there's no place like home. . . there's no place like home." Home for The Belt Team is Vienna, Virginia. Please stop by frequently and share with us all the things about life in Vienna that make Vienna truly the best place to live.

Welcome to Vienna, Virginia

Friday, April 18, 2014

Yeonas Park - Like The Old Fashioned "Back Fence"

As we have been every year since 2002, The Belt Team is proud to be a sponsor of Vienna Little League. And since it's Little League season once again, we thought we would re-run this post. Enjoy!

Yesterday was another one of those "I LOVE LIVING IN VIENNA" days! If you live in Vienna, you will eventually make your way to Yeonas Park. You either have children who play baseball or your children have friends who play baseball or you have friends whose children play baseball. It's just one of those inevitable things.


So yesterday, we went to see a neighbor's son play in a Vienna Little League game at Yeonas. As we entered the parking lot, it was teeming with activity. There was an air of excitement that wafted by - almost as strongly as the smell of chili dogs on the grill at the snack bar. Last Saturday was Opening Day (more than 1,100 people attended!) and this was the first week of the season. PLAY BALL!

And just like every April for the past 50+ years, the Vienna Little Leaguers took the field.

And just like every April for the past 50+ years, the Vienna parents assumed their perches from which to root.

And just like every April for the past 50+ years, the siblings gathered in the common area to play with one another.

Yeonas Field in Vienna is kind of what the back fence used to be "in the olden days". Back then, neighbors would hang their laundry out to dry in the backyard and catch up on gossip over the back fence. Or they would mow their lawns and tend their gardens, and take breaks to chat with the neighbor next door or behind them.

Well, that's just what happens at Yeonas Park. Last night, two of my girlfriends, who are normally so busy they can't see straight (they are AWESOME Moms!), settled in to the bleachers to watch the game and had themselves a nice two hour chat. The Dads like to hang out along the fences, and they are usually much more "into" the game. But don't be mistaken, there's a lot of chit chat going on there too. In a world where we are always "on the go", it's nice to have this respite.

And you ALWAYS run into people you know. It's just a fabulous gathering place where people of diverse interests and diverse backgrounds "hang out" together. I love seeing the many multi-generational families that come to the ballgames - babes in arms, grandparents in wheelchairs, and even teenagers who might be "too cool" to otherwise hang with their parents.

Just visit once and you'll see what I mean. Vienna Little League gets into your blood. Did you ever notice the "V" stickers on so many car windows in Vienna? They either say "Go Blue" or "Go Black". The stickers represent the two leagues in Vienna (National & American). And once you're a part of a certain league, you are Blue (or Black) FOREVER. Many of those cars you see with stickers have kids who are long past Little League age, but they are part of that family always.

AND we have a long history of winning. When you go to the park, you'll see the list of many State Championship wins and even a Regional Championship that sent our team to the Little League World Series in Williamsport. But it's not only about winning. It's the life lessons that are learned along the way - things like loyalty and hard work and how important it is to spend time with the ones you love.

I just LOVE living in Vienna!

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Slippers, Stories, Songs & Sweets!

Every family has a ritual that revolves around bedtime.

"Read it again Dad!" (In our house the favorites were "Goodnight Moon" and "Where The Wild Things Are". Though I'm, not sure how "Where The Wild Things Are" is supposed to make a child want to be left in a dark room all alone to fall asleep!)

"One more song Mom - pleeeeeease." (OK - this wasn't the routine in our house. I can't sing. But I know houses where they sing great nighttime songs.)

"Bless Grandma and  Grandpa and Johnny and Susie and  Muffin and Snoopy and and and . . ." "Yes, son it's great to bless the mailman, but it's time for bed!"

On Saturday, the Vienna Choral Society offers the opportunity for a family outing you've probably never experienced before. And it just might give you some fresh ideas for YOUR sleepytime ritual at night.

At least once a year, VCS does a "family-friendly" concert. This year's concert theme is "Lullabies". Not only will the performers be dressed in their jammies, but YOU and your kids can come in your slippers & pajamas too! How fun is that?!

And - VCS puts it right out there that they WANT kids to leave their seats. So no worries if your son or daughter is a wiggle worm! They say, "We go all out to engage the kids. Or at least get them to leave their seats, come to the front, and let the parents of the really young ones have a good five to ten minutes sans squirmy child in lap."

This year, in addition to the amazingly talented performers from VCS, you will hear the Mosby Woods Mustang Singers. And best of all, there will be a storyteller! Because no bedtime ritual is complete without stories.

The show will take place Saturday, March 15th from 4:30PM - 6:30PM at VBC (541 Marshall Rd SW in Vienna). You can buy tickets online & skip the line at the door. (Youth 14 and below are free with a ticketed adult. Adult tickets are $25. Seniors $20.)

And we hear they'll have cookies afterward.

Slippers, stories, songs & sweets. You can't beat it!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Concert For A Cause

If you're looking for a fabulous interlude in what can often be a season of craziness, we've got a good one for you!

Once a year, the Vienna Choral Society does what they call "Concert For A Cause". This year's concert is done in partnership with a wonderful local organization, The Women's Center of Vienna. Though they have been around for a number of years, you may not have heard of the Women's Center - unless you have experienced some sort of loss or challenge. And then they were likely a light for you in a time of great darkness.(Read more about The Womens's Center).

That brings me to this month's concert. VCS always comes up with clever themes for their concerts and this year's Concert For A Cause is called "SOLSTICE: Light And Dark".

The concert will take place on Saturday, December 21st - which is the shortest day of the year. VCS's tag line is "We raise voices and spirits". And so at this holiday time, when many are celebrating, they are aware that there are others for which this may be a time of sadness & struggle. VCS's aim (and we think it's a good one) is to make this a time of "great community, coming together & raising hope".

We invite you to join in that mission - to either be community and hope for someone else - or to come and be lifted by others.

Their shows always offer a variety of music - something for the casual listening novice, as well as for the most discerning afficionado. This time, you might hear everything from a 17th century carol, to a modern American classic like Eric Whitacre's "Lux Aurumque," to the Appalachian folk song "Bright Morning Stars."  And there will be an after-show reception catered by Vienna Whole Foods.

Here are the details:

Date: Saturday, December 21

Time: 4:30PM to 6:30 PM

Where: Vienna Baptist Church (541 Marshall Rd SW in Vienna)

Tickets:  $20-$25 (youth under 14 FREE with a paying adult)

Buy your tickets now & skip the line at the door!

Vienna Choral Society - just another hidden secret of why WE LOVE LIVING IN VIENNA!

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Beatles, A Good Beat and a Great Buzz!

The Beatles

A Good Beat,

And a Great Buzz.

It's NOT what you think.

You can even bring the kids!

Cuz we're talking about the season opener of the Vienna Choral Society (VCS) with their "Coffee House Concert".

VCS is one of those "hidden secrets" of Vienna. The musical quality rivals anything you'll hear at Jammin Java, Wolftrap, The Barns or even The Kennedy Center!  And their sense of fun & sense of humor are unparalleled.

With four concerts scheduled between October & May, the new season kicks off with a coffeehouse concert. It's billed as "an eclectic evening of folk music and familiar tunes with a great caffeine buzz". We hear they'll be performing everything from The Beatles to Billy Joel to Cyndi Lauper and The Turtles. And no worries if your kids (or your parents) don't recognize the groups - they'll probably recognize the tunes from popular shows like "Glee", "American Idol" or even commercials!

As an added bonus, there will be nibbles from Whole Food AND coffee from Caffe Amouri. Who needs to go to Vienna Austria for great coffee, when we've got Caffe Amouri right here at home?!

The concert is on October 26th at 7:30. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors & students (15-18), and kids 14 & under are free with a paying adult. You can buy tickets for Vienna Choral Society's Coffee House Concert here.

Vienna Choral Society . . . making music fun  . . . and just another reason why we love Life in Vienna!

Friday, August 30, 2013

End of Summer Fun In Vienna

This weekend is Labor Day weekend. For many, this time of year signals "end of summer" and "back to school". (Show your sad face here.)

But we say - let's take summer out with a BANG! And if you live in Vienna - that's EASY!


Sing-A-Long Sound of Music

Head to Wolftrap & bring the whole family on Saturday, August 31st. Do you remember "Rocky Horror Picture Show"? It was the first audience participation movie "back in the day". Well, this weekend - you can share in that experience - except family style. (Rocky Horror wasn't quite family-style!).

The movie "Sound of Music" will be run on GIGANTIC screens both in house & on the lawn at Wolftrap. There will be a costume contest. The audience is invited to sing a long. AND your ticket will include a goodie bag of props. It's a fun, interactive event for all ages.

Here's a peek at what you can expect:

More Info about Sing-A-Long Sound of Music.


First Sunday Jazz Brunch at Bazin's on Church

Don't just treat your taste buds, but treat your ears as well at Bazin's First Sunday Jazz Brunch. Bazin's On Church (and that's Church Street - not a church building!) is one of our favorite Vienna restaurants. On the 1st Sunday of each month, they have live jazz music from Virginia Music Adventure's Chapel Square Combo. We say if you start your day off with a Pear & Cranberry Bellini & Bananas Foster French Toast - you just can't go wrong!


W&OD Trail:

On Monday, it's time to work off all those treats from the weekend, get back in shape & get outdoors! The W&OD Trail goes right through Vienna. But which way will you ride (or skate or run or bike or stroll)? In one direction - you'll head toward Falls Church & Arlington. And in the other, you'll hit Herndon & (eventually) Purcellville. You never know what you might see along the trail, so keep your eyes wide open - not only is there gorgeous flora & fauna - but there is lots of wildlife along the way!

When you get home, put on Pandora, set it on The Beach Boys station. And BAM. You'll think summer is just beginning.

Happy Endless Summer!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

5 Fabulous Ways To Celebrate Summer

"It's summertime and the living is easy" . . . at least it is for kids! If you're a grownup, I bet you wish you still got to have summers off too.

Well, you may not have a 2 month summer vacation, but how about welcoming the season in with Five Fab Summer Celebrations! If you live in or near Vienna - you're in luck!
1. Vienna's July Fourth Festival & Fireworks (FREE)

Vienna does 4th of July right! It's an old-fashioned kind of holiday and that's just up Vienna's alley. The Vienna Community Center is the site of the daytime activities (from 11AM to 4PM). The festival will include:
  • Chili cookoff
  • Arts & crafts sale
  • Antique & classic car show
  • Pooches on Parade!
  • Oldies music
  • Kid's crafts
  • Vienna Community Band
  • Presentation of the Colors by the Vienna Police Honor Guard
In the evening - head over to Yeonas Park for some great music by "Fat Chance" and the Vienna Fireworks show. Music starts at 7PM and fireworks are scheduled for 9:15PM. I've been watching the Vienna Fireworks since 1972. And truly, these are usually some of the best fireworks in Northern VA!

More info about Vienna's 4th of July celebration

2. Vienna's Summer on the Green Concert Series (FREE)

Grab a chair or a blanket & head down to Vienna's Town Green for free concerts every Friday & Monday (early May through early September). You'll hear a variety of groups - with everything from country to jazz to rock to bluegrass.(One of my favorites is Tommy Lepson Band!) You can picnic (no alcohol though) and if you have kids, they'll love it too.

Vienna Town Green Concert Schedule

3. Nottoway Nights (FREE)

One of Vienna's many parks is Nottoway Park. And during the summer, they also host a concert series. It's on Thursday nights throughout June, July and August. And it's also free! Groups like The Seldom Scene & The Hula Monsters can be found there this year. This is another great picnic location.

Nottoway Nights Schedule

4. Five After Five (Thirty) at Whole Foods ($5)

Pretend you're on vacation, head to Happy Hour & let someone else do the cooking! Whole Foods often has an event called "Five After Five Thirty" - also called "Thirsty Thursdays." Each event has a different theme. For example, tonight's event is "Backyard Celebrations". For $5, you get a wine glass, 5 pours of wine to taste and 5 small plates of food that might be served at summer cookouts. What a deal!

Whole Foods Vienna Events

5. Summer Stories and Sprinklers (FREE)

At 1 PM each Wednesday, Historic Vienna, Inc sponsors Story Hour (actually - story HALF hour) at the Historic Vienna Little Library (behind the Freeman House). Then at 1:30 the kids are invited to run through the sprinklers. This is a perfect way to beat the heat!

Just because you don't get the whole summer off like your kids do doesn't mean you can't celebrate summer. Especially if you're lucky enough to live in Vienna, VA!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Opera in Vienna (Virginia, Not Austria!)

Why go all the way to Vienna, Austria to hear opera when you can hear 150 fabulous voices right here in Vienna, Virginia?!

This Sunday, May 19th, The Reston Chorale joins our very own Vienna Chorale Society in presenting "Opera For The People".

I love the name they've given the show. And Vienna Chorale Society President Karen Akers wrote a hilarious article ("Opera: 18th Century Metallica") where she talks about what the typical listener thinks about opera and then challenges our thinking.

I have to admit, I am one of those people who thinks (or should I say thought) opera is just weird. Big ladies, singing in another language, wearing costumes & wigs. And that's supposed to be culture?!

But after reading Karen's article, I just might have to re-think. (Sample quote: "Opera is the bad boy of the classical music world").

As a Mom living in Vienna, I love having the opportunities that are so often afforded us for family events - whether that is with my own children or with multiple generations. And Vienna Chorale Society is great at offering these types of events. Growing up, my kids had to try every food at least once before they could say they didn't like it. So why not apply that same philosophy to music? You know your kids love country (or rock or rap or metal or whatever), but maybe they just might like opera too!

The show on Sunday takes place at 4PM at DeSales Hall at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church. (If you can't make that show, you can catch "Opera For The People" on Saturday night, May 18th, at 7:30PM at Reston Community Center in Hunters Woods.) Ticket prices range from $15-$25 and children 15 & under are free with a ticketed adult. (Tickets available here or at the door.)

Opera in my hometown . . . just another reason why THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE VIENNA!