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Reston, VA

Reston, Sterling, Ashburn...the kid triangle - 6/24/2009
Yes, kids rule. Families rule. This area is not for singles or couple without kids. I totally agree about the endless bombardment of misbehaved kids. And it's getting worse! Reston didn't start out this way. There was suppose to be balance in this planned community. A middle class. A place for seniors and young families alike. It retains some of that, but the influx of wealthier people has made this a have and have-not place. Sterling is worse in terms of children. Ashburn might as well be one big maternity ward. Adults in quest of some quiet cafe or a place to enjoy an adult beverage or two will hate it here, unless of course they have kids. I gave up on going to a nearby sports pub because parents have turned the joint in Disney World. Why they need to invade adult bars is a mystery because there are plenty of kid and family-oriented eateries in these three towns. My feeling is that people are so wealthy here that they think they can do and have it all. That they are indeed entitled to everything this area has to offer and see nothing wrong with sitting four children down at a table at Morton's or changing a diaper at a countertop in Starbucks. I have to go into Arlington just to get away from all these howdy-doody/yuppie families.

The good news is that Reston is changing a bit. Adults are retiring here. Young professionals are buying high-rise condos. The construction of schools and ball fields for kids has subsided. Unfortunately, neighboring Sterling and Ashburn have picked up the slack and are catering to families in ways even Reston never did.

It's an astonishing area. A bit scary. Pregnancy is an epidemic. Not unusual to see a pregnant woman walking by with twins in a stroller and a five year old at her side. I don't know what's in the water, but this whole area is going to explode with teenagers one day, and be fertile for all the problems teens bring. Many of my friends are moving because they are tired of their taxes going up to build schools. And even some large employers have left the area. The promise of Northern Virginia was destroyed by growth. Too much of everything converged all at once. In some ways, I am glad there is a recession, it forced the area to slow down a bit. But still, it's a pretty overcrowded, annoying and expensive part of the state. The over abundance of large families is only one of the problems here.

Reston, VA

Kids, kids and more kids - 6/16/2009
A swath of Northern Virginia suburbs running from Reston to Leesburg is the most kid-populated area I have every seen...and I have lived in several states. In fact, there was a statistic released a few years ago that said Loudoun County, Virginia, which Reston butts up against, has the second-most multi-children families in the nation. Per capita, only Salt Lake City has more. Reston has many events, parks and other functions geared towards families with children. It gets overwhelming at times. But Sterling and Ashburn in Loudoun County take the prize for catering to children. What does this mean in terms of quality of life in this area?

1. You will be unable to eat in even high-end restaurants without being seated next to screaming children.
2. Every parent in this area calls their sons "buddy." An entire generation of males is going to grow up thinking Buddy is actually their name.
3. The sense of entitlement parents have in this area is off the charts. If you're a couple without children, or a senior citizen, it's like you are invisible here.
4. You will be stuck behind minivans on a regular basis. Most travel 10 mph below the limit and like driving in the left lane. Traffic in general is a mess, even on local roads.
5. Your taxes will go up every year even though your property value goes down. Gotta build more schools for all of those "buddies."
6. You won't be able to walk through a park, a library or grocery store without witnessing a tantrum from a 2-year-old, as the pregnant mother tries to find her 5-year-old who decided it was time to go out on his own.
7. Finding adult friends is impossible if you don't have children. Parents hang with parents. The few childless couples are too busy trying to find a way out of this suburban Hell.
8. Have a hobby like golf? Forget it. You will be pressured to have children and attend soccer games 6 days a week. On the seventh day you will be expected to work on your breeding. Just having one child is not an option here.

It's too bad this has become "family land." It's actually a fairly nice area. But the out of balance number of kids is wearing the place out. As you drive beyond Leesburg, the area starts to get more rural. But the houses are still the size of small castles so that you can shelter your six children. A little farther away, and you can breathe again, go to a restaurant that doesn't have 40 high-chairs in stock, and generally act and feel like an adult. No baby talk from 35-year-olds.

A couple other things. The education of the population is high. That's a good thing. The amenities and access to D.C. are great. But the mish-mash of so-called diversity has made this a cold place to live. There is no cohesion. Sterling is known for its massive Indian and Arab populations. Reston is heavy on Asians. Hispanics from all countries are everywhere. There is virtually nothing Virginia about this section of Virginia. No one talks to each other, or can, because of language barriers. Workaholics abound. Traffic is so surreal that it's hard to explain, but all the "diverse" drivers on the roads sure make it challenging to get from point A to B.

People come here because there are jobs and because their kids can go to good and often brand new schools. If you have a good job, friends who talk to you and neighbors who speak English, and don't plan on fielding your own baseball team with your kids, I would advise not coming here. You will waste countless hours in traffic. You won't be able to do anything that is exclusively for adults (I've seen kids sitting on bar stools around here). And you will pay three times what it cost for decent housing elsewhere.

If you just have to be in the D.C. area, either move inside the beltway (if you are a city person) or move well into the more rural areas if you like peace and quiet. Unless, of course, you don't mind buddies and the self-centered, entitled parents who so arrogantly unleash them on society.


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