Braemar’s Adult Swim for the 2010 Season Starts June 23rd

Braemar’s Adult Swim for the 2010 Season Starts June 23rd

If you live in Bristow, VA’s  community of Braemar and love to swim in the pool without having to dodge games of Marco-Polo and otherwise rambunctious, splish-splashy kids. you are in luck.  Braemar’s adult swim begins tonight, June 23rd. 

Braemar’s Adult Swim is every Wednesday from 8p-10pm only at the Iona Sound pool.   There is no Adult Swim at the Rob Roy pool.

Adult Swim in Braemar is one of my favorite summertime features of the community.  The pool gets warmed by the sun all day and is rather comfortable when you arrive at 8pm.  You get to swim during dusk and sunset until the lights in the pool are all that is left to illuminate the dark.  It’s a totally different and calm environment, compared to the daytime mayhem, when you enjoy Braemar’s Adult Swim.

Even if you don’t want to swim, but just partake in a Braemar poolside Domino’s Pizza special at one of the umbrella covered tables, come enjoy the serenity of the Braemar poolside during Adult Swim.  It’s a great mid-week treat of relaxtion.

Braemar Residents: Get Ready for the Switch from Gatehouse Networks to RCN

If you are a resident of Braemar that receives basic cable and internet as part of your HOA dues, then you’ve probably received a letter from RCN telling you to order your new equipment.  Here are some points of clarification on what you need to know.

1.  Your HOA dues will not change as a result of this change from Gatehouse Networks to RCN.

2.  If you are currently accessing Gatehouse Networks cable TV directly by simply hooking up coaxial cable from your TV directly into the wall, you will no longer be able to do that.  All signals will need to go through a digital converter box.

3.  Each Braemar household will receive up to four standard digital converter boxes free.  If you would like an upgraded converter box, like the new TiVo Premiere, you will be charged for that box.

4.  Basic cable and internet will remain free of charge with the use of the four free standard converter boxes.  However, if you want additional channel line-ups, movie channels, etc, you will pay a premium by way of a separate monthly bill.

5.  This conversion to RCN is taking place on July 14th and converter boxes will be available at Marstellar Middle Schoold on July 12th to pick up IF you have called your order for converter boxes in ahead of time. 

Call RCN at 1-866-255-8181 to place your order for standard, or upgraded converter boxes as soon as possible to ensure you are ready for the switch to RCN.

Prince William County, VA Back to School Supply Drive

Prince William County, VA Back to School Supply Drive

I know what you’re thinking.  It’s June 21, 2010.  Prince William County Public Schools just let out last Friday, June 18th.  Why in the world is Chris Ann talking about a Back-to-School Supply Drive?

I promise you, it’s not because I have been sniffing glue, or inhaling deeply from the Sharpie markers that I like to use to write on my Short Sale Listing folders.  And I’m not trying to be a summer buzzkill.

Corey Stewart, Chairmen of the Board of County Supervisors, sent out a notification today about summer school supply drives in which his office is participating.  One is the Regional Chamber’s Tools for School and the other is SERVE’s Ready to Learn.  The supplies donated to these programs will go to underprivileged students in Prince William County schools from Kindergarten to 12th Grade.

Deadline to donate is Friday, August 6th.    Drop off the items to Corey Stewart’s office at 1 County Complex Drive, Prince William, VA 22192.

Here’s the list of items that Corey Stewart’s office is collecting.   Please help out if you can.


3-Ring Binders

Tabbed Dividers

Folders with Pockets

Spiral Notebooks

Loose Leaf Notebook Paper

Colored Pencils

Pencil Boxes/Bags


Hand Sanitizer

Marble Composition Books

Blue or Black Pens

No. 2 Pencils

Washable Markers



Glue/Glue Sticks

Rounded Scissors

Index Cards

Graph Paper

If you live in the Gainesville, Bristow or Haymarket area and would like a more central drop off point, feel free to drop off your items to my office:  Long & Foster, 7526 Limestone Drive, Gainesville, VA 20155.   Please have items to that location by July 31st.

Summer Fun in Prince William County, VA: Lake Ridge Marina

Looking for something fun to do in Prince William County, VA this summer?  Why not start with Lake Ridge Marina in Woodbridge, VA.

My husband and I enjoyed a sunny afternoon on the water in a pedal boat at Lake Ridge Marina this past weekend.  For the charge of less than $9/hour, we were able to rent our pedal boat and cruise under our own power.  And in high eighty degree temperatures, with humidity on the high side, an hour was plenty of time to take in the sights.   Row boats, canoes and light weight motors to attach to the row boats, are also available for rent.

One of the sights we pursued from one side of the inlet to the other was a lovely Blue Heron.   Wanted a better in flight shot, but despite the many opportunities, this was the best of the bunch.

If you would like an escort during your Lake Ridge boating trip, take some bread crumbs for the numerous geese.  We had the pleasure of being accompanied by only one goose during our outing.

As part of the larger park, there is also a nine hole golf course and picnic facilities before you reach the marina.

The Lake Ridge Marina in Woodbridge is easily accessed by taking the Prince William County Parkway to Old Bridge Road.  Take a left on Smoketown Road and a left on Griffith Avenue (which will becomeCotton Mill Road.) Follow it to the end of the road and you’ll be in the parking lot for the marina.  

Remember to pack your sunscreen and perhaps a water bottle.  It is very sunny and warm when you are sitting on the water.

Fine Dining in Manassas, VA: Panino Ristorante Italiano

Fine Dining in Manassas, VA: Panino Ristorante Italiano

It’s not often that I get time to relax over an equisite meal in the company of my best friend.  The life I’ve chosen as a Northern Virginia Short Sale Listing Agent really eats at my schedule. Between that and representing my Northern Virginia Buyers, my weekdays are pretty well booked. But when your 40th birthday is looming on the horizon, you just have to make exceptions. After all, the countdown to 40 hit single digits last week.

So off I went Monday afternoon, with my good friend Anne, to “dine” at Panino Ristorante Italiano (or as I like to call it, Panino Italian Restaurant.) Having been there once before at the invite of a couple of very satisfied Gainesville, VA First Time Home Buyers, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. Sadly, I forgot my camera, but made do with the cell phone.

Panino is a place you could easily miss as it sits in strip mall on Mathis Avenue also housing a Jo-Ann’s fabric store and an Ace Hardware. Don’t let the location fool you. This isn’t any old restaurant. It’s is truly the only fine dining restaurant I know of in Manassas.

For starters, we got there before the afternoon rush.  It’s nice to be the first ones in the door.  Makes for great service, not that it would have been a problem otherwise.  The service at Panino is really amazing.  I felt like a refined socialite.  Negotiating Northern Virginia Short Sales with banks on a regular basis, I have to say, it was a refreshing change to not feel like a hard-nosed negotiator for two hours and feel pampered.

Next were the appetizers.   Anne ordered Grilled Vegetables with Freshly Made Mozzarella Cheese.  I ordered Grilled Portobella Mushrooms in a Balsamic Vinaigrette with Masacpone Cheese. YUM!

I barely glanced at the skinny bread sticks our server placed on the table.  It was all about the gigantic slices of warm Italian bread brought out after we placed our order.  And finally, a restaurant that didn’t skimp on the butter! 

Anne went with a tried and true classic for the entree:  Lasagna.  I tried something new.  Salmon over Yellow & Green Pasta with Asparagus and Mushrooms in a Tomato Cream Sauce.  I was not disappointed.  I could have licked the plate clean, but remember, I was playing the part of a refined socialite for the day.  Better to soak up the leftover sauce with a piece of that delightful bread.

By this point in time, I realized that I may not have room for desert.  Then I heard the words Homemade Chocolate Gelato.  Seemed the perfect end.,,and something that was a bit more light.  When the server brought out the three dark chocolate balls of Gelato, I knew it would be much richer than anticipated and sinfully tasty.   When they said chocolate, they weren’t messing around.  Meanwhile Anne enjoyed a piece of Mascapone Cheesecake.

Panino Ristorante Italiano is definitely fine dining and worth the trip.  Don’t wait for a special occasion to try it.  I’m advised that you may want to call ahead for reservations for their busier evenings, like Friday or Saturday night.  Panino’s phone number is 703-335-2566.  Their address:  9116 Mathis Avenue, Manassas, VA, 20110. 


Greenhill Crossing in Gainesville-Haymarket, VA Offers a Small Town Feel

As you approach the community Greenhill Crossing in Gainesville/Haymarket, VA  off of the main drag through Haymarket, you get a glimpse of a simpler time.  With homes built from 1996 to 2008, and a variety that includes single family homes and townhouses, there is something here for just about every buyer.  In any market, the home prices are a great value no matter what you are buying.

The community of Greenhill Crossing is located off of Route 55 (a.k.a. John Marshall Highway & Washington Street)and straddles both Gainesville and the Town of Haymarket.  It’s the latter that gives Greenhill Crossing a small town feel….when Main Street USA was really a two lane, 25 mile per hour road, lined with Mom & Pop shops in businesses that sat in more residential looking buildings than commercial ones.  You can walk your dog to the vet (Healthy PAWS) or to mail a package at the post office, meander half a block up to Cupcake Heaven, or take a two block stroll to get your favorite sandwich at the best Subway in the area.

As you turn into Greenhill Crossing’s main entrance off of Route 55, you immediately notice the immaculate gazebo to your left.  It looks like a scene straight out of the Andy Griffith Show.  A beautiful white building on a rectangular lot, surrounded by perfectly trimmed hedges.  This is what sits outside the Greenhill Crossing Community Clubhouse where you enter the swimming pool.  And right next door are the tennis courts.

Greenhill Crossing in Gainesville-Haymarket may not be for everyone.  Any buyer looking at the community should be made aware (as if the word Crossing in the community’s name wasn’t enough of a clue)that train tracks do run through the back side of the neighborhood.  In my experience as a Realtor®, the mere mention of train tracks puts you in one camp or another.  The first is you love the soothing sound of the train passing by.  The second is you won’t be able to deal with it.  So now you’re aware, if you’re in the first camp, read on.

Greenhill Crossing has two easy entrance points for eastbound commuters that need access to Interstate 66 for the morning drive.  One is the Route 15 on ramp in Haymarket.  The second is the Route 29 on ramp in Gainesville.  Gainesville is the east-most exit on I-66, but it’s probably splitting hairs to determine which is closest to the neighborhood. 

Living in Greenhill Crossing you would have access to the quaint shops that line Route 55 in downtown Haymarket and into Gainesville.  The closest grocery store is Bloom in Haymarket.  If you’re looking for more a mega-grocery store, you’ll find Wegmans in Gainesville and two Giant Food in Gainesville, one in Dominion Valley in Haymarket.  The newest addition to the area is the Haymarket Heathcote Health Center, a satellite Emergency Room and Outpatient Building of Prince William Hospital, less than two miles from Greenhill Crossing.

If you’re looking for a place to call home in Gainesville or Haymarket, and like a small town feel, Greenhill Crossing may be just the ticket.

Morris Farm: A Surburban Gainesville, VA Surrounded by Rural Meadows

Gainesville, VA’s community of Morris Farm (a.k.a. Meadows at Morris Farm) began delivering homes in 2005.  As of the time of this post, builders are still delivering newly built home to Gainesville, VA buyers.  Buidlers in Morris Farm include Brookfield Homes, Craftmark Homes and Richmond American.

Morris Farm offers a variety of homes to fit just about any Gainesville home buyer.  There are large single family home, single family homes on the more modest size, and single family starter homes.  Townhouses are also something a Gainesville, VA buyer will find when they drive through Morris Farm.

One of the most pleasing concepts of the Morris Farm community is the forty-five acres of conservation area near Lake Manassas.  This is a conservation area for birds of all kinds.  You may even see deer or fox traipsing through the meadows as you sit in my favorite spot in Morris Farm: The Overlook.  Take in the dappled sunlight as you gaze out over a hundred year old oak tree.  Walk along the trail, provided to residents, that takes you alongside the conservation area.

And what better place to put a community pool!  The clubhouse and pool back to this large, peaceful tract of land.  The pool and its surroundings invite you to leave your troubles at the door and relax.  And if you can’t sit still, how about a game of shuffleboard?  For the kids, there’s a playground just in front of the clubhouse.

Morris Farm is in a convenient Gainesville, VA location, at the end of Rollins Ford Road, off of Linton Hall Road.  From here, it’s a quick drive up Linton Hall Road to many of the area’s shops and restaurants.  And the commute for eastbound workers is just as easy as you are about three miles from the intersection of Route 29 and Interstate 66 in Gainesville, VA.

If you’re looking for a suburban community, surrounded by the peace and quiet of rural meadows, it’s time to see Morris Farm.   You won’t be disappointed.

Where to Live in Western Prince William County, VA: North or South of Route 29?

If you are considering a move to Western Prince William County, VA, you are likely to include the areas of Bristow, Gainesville and Haymarket to your home search.  There is one major road that splits the area in two:  Route 29 going through Gainesville, VA.  Do you want to live north of it?  Or south of it?

This was a question I never considered when moving to Bristow, VA.  I found the home I loved in the community of Braemar.  So without a thought, I landed south of Route 29.  I’ve never had a point of comparision.  However, a client I recently represented sold a townhouse north or Route 29 in Gainesville’s community of Crossroads Village, only to move south of Route 29 to Bristow’s community of KingsbrookeWhen I caught up with after being in her Kingsbrooke home for two months, I asked how she liked life in Kingsbrooke.  Her response surprised me.

She told me that she LOVED living in KingsbrookeMore specifically, she loved living south of Route 29.  She explained that she didn’t have to worry about battling Route 29 traffic (which backs up regularly with rush hour traffic, or weekend concert traffic at Jiffy Lube Live) to go to the grocery store or most of the shops she frequented in Gainesville, which are south of the main road.  As a young, stay-at-home Mom, she is the local errand runner and has noticed her time spent in the car locally has noticeably decreased since moving to Kingsbrooke, thus making her a happier camper. 

This may be something for buyers looking to relocate to Western Prince William County, VA to consider.  If ease of access to local shops and grocery stores is something important to you, living south of Route 29 might be the place to look. Don’t worry.  This leaves many wonderful communities like Kingsbrooke, Braemar,  Morris Farm, Sheffield Manor, and Victory Lakes for you to search…just to name a few.

Glenkirk Estates Community Pool: Selling Membership to Non-Residents

Gainesville, VA’s community of Glenkirk Estates is a brand new community along the Linton Hall Corridor.  It can be accessed by Glenkirk Road or by Rollins Ford Drive off of Linton Hall Road.  If you live in Bristow or Gainesville, and do not have a community pool, Glenkirk Estates has something wonderful to offer:


It’s only June at the time of this post and already the temperatures are in the low to mid 90’s.  The humidity is here.  The pool is relief that communities like Ashley Ridge, Laurianne Woods and Village Place just don’t have.  So here’s  your chance to buy a cool-off and fun package for the entire family.

Memberships are for the entire season, which ends September 6, 2010 and cost $475 for the whole family.  Call of email TWC Association Management at 703-437-5800 or email Michelle Goard at  I just emailed Michelle before writing this post and there are only five memberships still available.

If you want to beat the heat this summer in Bristow or Gainesville, VA and don’t have a community pool of your own, this is your opportunity.