"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

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm In A New York State of Mind

You're probably wondering (since this is a blog about "Life in Vienna, VA") what being in a New York state of mind has to do with Vienna?

Well - stay with me here. You might think it's kind of a stretch, but there really is a connection. (And if you are a true "New Yorker", perhaps you'll keep this quote from Meyer Berger in mind: "Each man reads his own meaning into New York". My perspective is certainly more that of a native Vienna-an than a native New Yorker! )

So . . .

Being located where we are here in Vienna, it's super easy to get to New York City. From Vienna, you can of course drive. You can also take a bus from DC. But we prefer taking Metro to Union Station and then hopping aboard Amtrak . The Acela is our preferred train because less than 3 hours later, you're in Grand Central Station - New York City.

My mother and I used to do this once a year at Christmastime. It's arguably one of the most beautiful times of year in Manhattan. And my memories of it will never fade. Seeing Broadway shows, eating dinner at midnight, strolling by the store windows decorated so beautifully, stopping in at Cafe Carlyle for a Bobby Short show.

Times have changed and we don't get up to New York as often as we used to. But as I drove through Vienna this week, something caught my eye that made me think back and reminisce. And then I realized that even though I might not have time to visit New York, I can still have a few "New York moments" right here in Vienna. So here they are:

Store Windows

Have you ever noticed the full length windows at Karin's Florist on Maple Avenue in Vienna? They change their displays with the season and they offer a lovely vista as you drive by their store. This Spring, it was a beautiful vision of "April Showers Bring May Flowers". The windows were full of pastel colored parasols & umbrellas and gorgeous flowers and greenery. This summer, the windows are full of beach balls and beach umbrellas. Every time I drive by, I remember the windows in New York and I wonder what we will see at Karin's this Christmas?!

Diners & Dives

In New York City, no matter what time of day or night, you can get a full meal. And you'll find tiny little hole-in-the-wall places that only the locals know about. Their diners & dives are world renowned. Well, here in Vienna - we have our own diners & dives. People come from all over the DC area to go to the Vienna Inn - our local dive. But don't be fooled, there's lots of history there. And it's a great place to meet the locals. And if you're looking for breakfast at 2AM or dinner at 6AM - try the Amphora in Vienna. It's open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. And the menu has everything from cream chipped beef to prime rib to souvlaki to shrimp to pancakes. Plus one of the best bakeries around - try the New York Cheesecake!

David Letterman & Cafe Carlyle

My favorite part of the "Late Night with David Letterman" show (which films in New York City) is the last 5 minutes when various bands are showcased. Sometimes they have high profile groups and sometimes they host new, up & coming bands. You never know who you might see. Well, if you live in Vienna, you often have the opportunity to see the same bands that perform on Letterman, except right here in Vienna at Jammin Java - a great little venue on Maple Avenue. For example, last week, Letterman had "Steel Train" on and guess who's playing at Jammin Java tonight? Yup - that would be "Steel Train"!

Now, if you're more of a Cafe Carlyle person (read "not so loud!"), don't despair. Vienna has one of the area's best piano bars. It's at the Maplewood Grill. And not only are the performers good, the 'regulars' provide just as much entertainment. And unlike at Cafe Carlyle, there's no cover charge and no minimum!

There are lots of other "New York moments" available to those who live in Vienna - seeing shows at the theater in DC when they are on their way up to Broadway, catching the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the nearby Patriot Center - and more. We've shared ours with you, but what are your favorites?

And what we've decided is that while New York City is fun to visit, we love living in Vienna!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Power Bars, Protein Shakes & Prayers

Many of the agents in our Keller Williams McLean office (including The Belt Team) have family members serving in the military overseas. One colleague's son (Josh Gibson) is an Army medic stationed in Iraq and starting this month he will be working with us to coordinate care packages for the troops there.

Our KW Cares McLean charitable foundation will provide the postage and we are collecting items for the care packages now. Our first box will ship on July 26th. If you would like to participate, please drop items you would like to donate (see list below) at our office (6820 Elm Street in McLean) or contact a Belt Team member and we will make a pick up. Here are the items the soldiers have particularly requested this month:

~ Canned meat like tuna, chicken or salmon (MUST HAVE A POP TOP)
~ Power bars
~ Protein powder or protein shakes
~ Beef jerkey

Here's what a recent message from Josh said: "We just played tug-o-war in 125 degree heat (148 with humidity factored in) with full gear including full armor to celebrate Independence Day! So stuff being as NON melting as possible is really important!" You gotta love the spirit of the men & women serving our country!

Thanks for your help and please keep all our soldiers in your prayers!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hearts of Gold

Vienna, VA is in Fairfax County - one of the wealthiest counties in the United States. And the people in Vienna have hearts of gold. Philanthropies abound here - with everything from million dollar gala events in hotel ballrooms to raise money for the American Cancer Society to lemonade stands & bake sales held by local school children to raise money for Haiti.

One local fundraiser we have participated in is the local AAUW (American Association of University Women) Annual Booksale. This year will be their 41st year! The proceeds benefit scholarships for women. The sale itself takes place in September, but AAUW is collecting donations (see list below) in Vienna this month - on Saturday, July 10th & Saturday, July 31st. Donations can be dropped at Sun Trust Bank (515 Maple Ave East) in Vienna from 10AM to 4PM.

Please consider donating! You can clean your house, recycle and help someone else get on their feet - all at the same time. (AAUW normally receives a significant number of donated books from the McLean branch of the Fairfax County Public Library, but due to construction - this is not an option this year. So they would really appreciate your help!) And AAUW says 2/3 of the value of your donation is tax deductible!

Items Needed (new or gently used / children or adult)

~ Books
~ DVD's
~ VHS tapes
~ CD's
~ Software
~ Audio books

Hearts of gold . . . just another reason why we love living in Vienna!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Vienna Real Estate Update

So . . . you know what your neighbors were asking for their home - but what did it actually sell for? Here's a list of all the settled sales in Vienna, VA (22180, 22181, 22182) for June 2010.

And how did the Vienna real estate market fare in June? Check out June Sales & Stats here.