"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, January 29, 2010

It's Friday Night - What Should I Do?

If you've always wondered what Jammin Java in Vienna is all about, tonight is a great night to find out!

Jammin Java is ranked in the Top 100 clubs in the world (based on ticket sales and according to Pollstar Magazine). They have all sorts of entertainment there: from folk music to rock music to comedy . . . and even Rocknocerous (for kids!).

It's a small, intimate venue inlcuding a cafe area & concert area -with a full service menu, coffee bar & regular bar.

Tonight you can see The Kennedys perform and also be part of Maura Kennedy's Solo CD Release. They are (used to be) local musicians (now based in NY) who are world travelers and have performed & recorded with Nanci Griffith & a myriad of other well known artists. Pete is an incredible guitar player. And Maura has the voice of an angel. They call their music "folk rock pop". I call it FUN!

Here's a sample:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

How Old Is Vienna?

Well, the Town of Vienna was incorporated in 1890. In fact, we celebrated the Centennial not too long ago and the Town's 120th Anniversary is coming up soon - on February 28th.

But . . . Vienna has much more history than just 120 years!

You may already be aware of some of the historic landmarks in Vienna - like The Freeman House - which at various times served as a home, Civil War hospital, fire house, railroad station & post office and now has a museum and old fashioned "General Store" that is run by Historic Vienna.

But did you know there is a 330 year old oak tree in Vienna? It's believed to be the oldest tree in town and was honored with a ceremony & plaque about 10 years ago. You can find the tree at 802 Marjorie Lane, SE.

Check out these historical markers that are located in Vienna and see if you can figure out where they are.

They mark the graves of Colonel Broadwater and his son & grandson. Captain Broadwater (the Colonel's father) served as the first Sheriff of Fairfax County. Colonel Broadwater was also a Sheriff and Justice of Fairfax County and served with George Washington as a Burgess to the Convention at Williamsburg in 1774.

Do you know where these are? The location is not widely known, but WE KNOW! Feel free to take a guess!

Vienna has all kinds of historical importance. Here's another "factoid" about Vienna from the history of Vienna on The Town of Vienna's web site:

"The fifth skirmish of the war, part of the First Battle of Manassas, took place near the Park Street railroad crossing where the Vienna Community Center now stands. This incident marked the first time in history a railroad was used tactically in battle."

Vienna is not just for gourmets, music lovers and active citizens (see previous posts), it's for history buffs too. Just another reason why we love living in Vienna!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Vienna Real Estate Update From Ryan R!

For those of you who’d rather watch than read, don’t miss our weekly Vienna Oakton Video Market Update with Special Belt Team Correspondent, Ryan R (age 10)!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Why Do I Love Living in Vienna? Let Me Count The Ways . . .

Yesterday was another one of those days where I thought to myself more than once, “I love living in Vienna”. How the day started and how the day ended were at two opposite ends of the spectrum. But what they had in common was that living here in Vienna facilitated both activities.

The day started out with an early Metro trip into Washington DC. Since I both live in and work in Vienna, I’m not normally part of the 6AM Rush Hour to town. But it was an easy trip. Only 12 stops, 1 transfer and then we arrived at our destination – the Verizon Center. The Verizon Center is home to the NHL's Capitals, NBA's Wizards, and WNBA's Mystics and also hosts Georgretown basketball & other events like Disney On Ice. But we were there for the Youth Rally and Mass that were the pre-cursor for the Annual March for Life demonstration. Now this post is not meant to be political in any way. I know that this topic is one that people on both sides of the issue feel very strongly about. The point of sharing this is that going in to DC and seeing the tens of thousands of “regular folks” from around the country made me realize how grateful I am that we live in Vienna – just far enough outside the city to enjoy “small town life” and just close enough that I can go there anytime I want to express my political opinions to the leaders of our country. We saw signs and flags from groups of people who had traveled long distances, ridden busses for many hours, just to be able to exercise their constitutional right to assemble – folks from Michigan, Vermont, Florida, Arizona and more. And after the March, they got back on their busses for a LONG ride home. All I had to do was take a 20 minute Metro ride.

I love living in Vienna!

The rest of the day was just a “regular” day – work, work, work. BUT, it was Friday. And this is where Vienna comes in again. One of the great things about our town is that we have an incredible variety of cultural opportunities right here in our backyard. And one of my favorites is The Barns of Wolftrap. The Barns is part of “Wolftrap National Park for the Performing Arts”. The initial 53 acres of land for this park was originally purchased (and later donated) by Catherine Shouse for $5,300 ( don’t you wish you could buy land around here for $100 an acre!) and she named the farm “Wolf Trap Farm”. From late May to early September each year, people enjoy the outdoor amphitheatre known as the “Filene Center”. (People like us who have grown up here just call this “Wolftrap”.) The Filene Center seats about 7,000 people. The Barns, on the other hand, is an intimate facility that probably only seats about 200 people. It is made up of two 18th century barns that were restored & rebuilt using only 18th century methods with hand -hewn beams & panels. It’s simply gorgeous and the acoustics are phenomenal.

So back to last night. We hadn’t been to the Barns in a while, so a few weeks ago we picked out 3 music groups we had never seen before, sent an email out to several friends (2 of whom are musicians who have performed at The Barns themselves) and asked for a recommendation. The name that got the most votes was Paul Cebar & The Milwaukeeans. So we bought tickets. The web site described the music as “"Afro-Caribbean, Afro-pop, and conjunto music, as well as the sounds of New Orleans, Motown, Memphis, New York and, yes, Milwaukee.” We've only ever met one person from Milwaukee LOL, so we didn’t quite know what to expect.

Well, it turned out to be a BLAST! Instead of setting the space up with rows of seats, The Barns was set up for a “general admission dance” – with the entire main floor free for dancing and seats available in the balcony so you could watch the show (or better yet the people – check out these folks who came “decked” out for the occasion - notice the hats!)

The band was fantabulous, very talented and so much fun. Great rhythms (thanks to both a drummer and percussionist) and they never stopped between songs (except for a quick intermission which we ALL needed after so much dancing!)

We met a ton of really nice people – most of whom have followed the band for years. But none of them were from Vienna. So after the show, when they got back in their cars to drive home to Arlington, Springfield, Silver Spring, DC, etc…we thanked our lucky stars again that we live in Vienna and only had to drive a couple of miles to get home.


PS – If you’re looking for a good show to see at The Barns, a very talented friend of ours (Deeme Katson) is singing with Grammy Award winning local artist Jon Carroll on March 5th. Tickets are still available.

Here's what they sound like:

YES WE CAN CAN--Jon Carroll Live

Jon Carroll MySpace Music Videos

Friday, January 22, 2010

New Weekly Update Video!

Thanks to Ryan R, Special Correspondent for The Belt Team!

Hope you enjoy this quick 2 minute video update on the Vienna Oakton market.

Open This Weekend - and the "Friday Open House Theme Song of the Week"

Today is Friday and that means it’s time for the Friday Open House Theme Song of the Week!

Remember when you were growing up and your parents would take the family for a drive on Sunday afternoon? Well, this weekend, we've got two great open houses for you to stop by when you're out for a drive. (Scroll down for open house details.)

To get you in the mood, watch this video of our Theme Song of the Week, Queen's "Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon"!

Here's where you can find us:

~ 201 Charles Street, SE in Vienna - Sunday, January 24th from 1PM to 4PM

~ 1624 Poplar Grove Drive in Reston - Sunday, January 24th from 1PM to 4PM

201 Charles Street in Vienna- Listed at $1,295,000

Enjoy 5 bedrooms, 4.5 baths and 3 finished levels! Brand new in the heart of Vienna . . . walking distance to great restaurants, wonderful shops & convenient to public transportation.

Directions: From Tysons: Route 123 South, Left Branch Road, Right Locust Street to corner of Charles Street on the left. Or from Vienna Metro: Nutley Street to Vienna, Right Maple Ave (Rt 123), Right Glyndon Ave, Left Locust to corner of Charles Street on the right.

1624 Poplar Grove Drive in Reston - listed at $324,900

Charming townhome - updated, upgraded & move in ready! Updated kitchen with granite countertops & stainless appliances, hardwood floors in the living room & dining room AND both bedrooms. Finished walkout lower level and more! Walk to North Ppoint Village Center.

Directions: Dulles Toll Road West to Reston Parkway Exit, Right on Reston Parkway, Left Lake Newport, Left Poplar Grove, bear right at the "T" on Poplar Grove to #1624 on right.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This Week's Vienna Real Estate Update

As promised, we will be tracking what's happening in the Vienna Oakton real estate market this Spring on a WEEKLY basis - because that is how fast things change at this tme of year.

So let's start with the weekly update for Vienna:

As you can see by the above chart, 3 homes in Vienna went under contract this week and inventory has increased only very slightly. Anecdotally though, what you do not see in the chart is that a number of listings are "percolating under the surface". What we mean by that is that we have had a number of sellers sign listing agreements or contact us for listing appointments, but they are not quite ready to go on the market yet. Based on our appointments & phone calls this week, it looks like the first week of February will see an uptick in listing inventory.

Average days on market (DOM) for active listings in Vienna is at 168 days.

And with 168 total homes currently on the market, we now have a 3.3 month supply of homes based on the average number of sales over the past 90 days.

Here's the update for Oakton:

In Oakton, net inventory decreased from 54 total homes for sale to just 51. However, only 1 home went under contract. (Several listings expired or were withdrawn.)

Average days on market is slightly less in Oakton than it is in Vienna - at 147 DOM.

And there is currently a 3 month supply of inventory on the market.

Stay tuned & check back frequently to see what is happening in Vienna and Oakton. . And keep your eyes peeled for our new You Tube series that will be coming out with local real estate updates! You can subscribe to The Belt Team channel on You Tube also. It's a great way to see new listings as they come onto the market.

In the meantime, enjoy this quick 48 second video. (And let us know if you like it!)

Friday, January 15, 2010

Travel Around The World - Right Here in Vienna!

One of the things that's fun about living in Vienna is that you have the world at your fingertips - at least when it comes to restaurants. You can find everything from food-on-a-budget to the finest dining and you can enjoy the palates from countries on every continent.

Last night, I had a FABULOUS meal at Bazin's on Church. The lollipop lamb chops were yummy. And the flounder stuffed with crabmeat was light & delicious. The restaurant was packed with a lively, local crowd. And service was top-notch.

But there are LOTS of other options in town to try. You can make it a point to travel all around the globe, without leaving town! Here are some of our favorites:
  • Ristorante Bonaroti - wonderful Northern Italian food and the best Host in town - Sergio Domestici!
  • Vienna Inn - almost a historic landmark in Vienna, and the best chili dogs & beer anywhere
  • Sweet Ginger - Asian fusion/Japanese, great sushi, fresh & fast!
  • Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant - healthy & tasty
  • Cafe Renaissance - fine French dining & very romantic
  • Rose Kabob - the place to go when you need a Middle Eastern "fix"
  • Amphora - the local "diner", just about anything you want 24 hours a day,7 days a week, Greek/Italian/American/Mexican
  • Natta Thai - sunny & cheerful, good Thai dishes
  • Skorpios Maggio's Grill - great place to pick up a Greek salad and a rotisserie chicken
  • Foster's Grille - burgers "too big for two hands" - and they taste good too!

This is only a snapshot of what's available in our Town of Vienna. Let us know what your favorites are!

Open House Sunday, January 17th

Today is Friday and that means it’s time for the Friday Open House Theme Song of the Week!

"Back in the day", we knew how to rock. And "back in the day", builders knew how to build. You often hear people say "they don't build 'em like they used to." Well, that's not the case with master builder Dominion Associates Inc. Come to our open house this Sunday and you will see the quality of yesteryear combined with the conveniences & updates of today. (Scroll down for more info on the open house.)

In the meantime, to get you "in the mood", enjoy this video of Grand Funk Railroad "back in the day" where they sing "I'm getting closer to my home . . . ". Maybe you're getting closer to a new home too?

The home that we are holding open this weekend is a brand new home in the heart of Vienna - located on Charles Street . . . walking distance to great restaurants, wonderful shops & convenient to public transportation.

Here's where you can find us:

201 Charles Street, SE in Vienna - Sunday, January 10thd from 1Pm to 4PM

Listed at $1,295,000. Five bedrooms. Four and a half baths. Three finished levels.

Directions: From Tysons: Route 123 South, Left Branch Road, Right Locust Street to corner of Charles Street on the left. Or from Vienna Metro: Nutley Street to Vienna, Right Maple Ave (Rt 123), Right Glyndon Ave, Left Locust to corner of Charles Street on the right.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Real Estate Update - Our Town & Our Region

Here is what MRIS reported on January 11th for our region in general:
  • "For the first time since February 2006, the number of active listings in the MRIS region has fallen below 50,000.

  • As of January 2, there were 48,554 homes for sale in the region, down over 25,500 units from a year ago.

  • Strong sales and weak new listings are drawing down the available inventory and slowly pushing the market back towards balance.

  • For the week ending January 2, there were 1,221 signed purchase agreements, up 9.5 percent from a year ago.

  • New listings posted 1,816 units, down 21.8 percent from a year ago.

  • There are two other healthy indicators worth noting. The Average Days on Market Until Sale has fallen to 87—22.5 percent below a year ago.

  • And the Percent of Original List Price Received at Sale has jumped 3.2 percent to 93.8."

Here in Vienna, this is what you'll find on the market:

125 Single Family Detached Homes - ranging in price from a $398,765 tear-down possibility to a $4,250,000 home with 7 bedrooms, 9 full baths and 6 acres.

12 Townhomes - ranging in price from a $320,000 townhome in Cyrandall Valley North to a $720,000 townhome in The Reserve at Tysons Corner

13 Condos - ranging in price from a $175,000 unit at Mosbys Landing to a $349,900 unit at The Westbriar by the Dunn Loring Metro.

We'll be tracking things here in Vienna as we move into Spring. So check back regularly and you will be able to see how our market is moving in terms of how long it takes to sell a home (average days on market or "DOM"), how much homes actually sell for in comparison to how much they were listed for (SP/LP Ratio), and what the inventory is.

If you are thinking of buying or selling a home in Vienna or anywhere in Northern Virginia, contact The Belt Team at (703) 242-3975.