Braemar Residents: Be Careful Which RCN Bill You Pay

Braemar residents off of Sudley Manor Drive, and the entire community of Dunbarton, have been undergoing a change of the guard in their cable and internet provider.  RCN has taken over Gatehouse Networks community contract and has been getting home owners on board since mid-July. 

Because the transition was some groups of home owners at a time, RCN took over billing for Gatehouse.  And as one of the home owners who has had RCN as a provider since mid-July, I will tell you, I’m now receiving two cable bills.  Both are from RCN, but one is black and white, one is in color.

The black and white bill is the bill you would normally receive from Gatehouse.  If you are up and running with RCN, do not pay the black and white bill anymore.  If you do, the money goes to Gatehouse and RCN has no record of the payment.

Likewise, if you have online bill payment, like me, make sure to update the new billing address for RCN shown on the color bill.  Again, if you don’t, the money is going to Gatehouse and your next color RCN bill will show a missed payment. 

RCN personnel have been very cooperative during this serivce and billing transition.  If you have any questions, or unresolved billing issues, make sure to call RCN.  The number on either the black and white, or color bill will connect you to them.

Braemar’s Pool Vandalized

On the morning of August 17, 2010, community management personnel arrived at Braemar’s Iona Sound Clubhouse to find that everything within reach of the pool had been thrown IN the pool.  This included lawn chairs, trash cans (full at the time), umbrella stands and filter covers that created trip hazards around the pool.

Profane messages and drawings were scribbled in chalk around the deck of the pool.  One a death threat.  All messages were anger directed at the HOA.

I don’t know about you, but this seems the exact wrong tact to take if you are an angry home owner in Braemar.  It’s clean ups from vandalism events like this that will raise your HOA dues.  And if you had a legitimate beef, your credibility about the issue is gone once you break-in to the pool and throw everything you can get your hands on in the pool. 

This incident was reported to the Prince William County Police.  And since it is the second incident of vandalism occuring at the Iona Sound Clubhouse, I am for one am hoping that the Braemar Board will institute paid security patrols or security cameras.  At least it didn’t mean no pool to the residents.  With Braemar having two community pools, and the other being untouched, little changed for anyone wanting to use the pool.

This may be related to the suspected random grafitti happening throughout the neighborhood.  Braemar has replaced many street and traffic signs as a result of the spray painted graffiti.   Braemar’s Board of Directors have taken that repeated vandalism issue seriously enough to offer a $500 reward for information leading to the person or people responsible for defacing our community signs.  Hopefully they will do something similar for this larger incident of pool vandalism.

You can contact the on-site Community Manager, Kerry Farmer, at 703-361-8785 if you have information about the pool vandalism or spray painted graffiti.  And if you want to get involved in the Braemar Neighborhood Watch, attend the meeting at the Iona Sound Clubhouse, Thursday, August 19th at 7pm.

Who Are You Hiring to List Your Home?

This picture is not a joke.  It is picture of a local Bristow home, listed with a well known Real Estate Brokerage.  Sadly, it is also a vacant property that this particular brokerage holds as property managers.

Aren’t Property Managers supposed to maintain your property when it’s vacant?  Doesn’t that include mowing the lawn?  This yard and curb look like a chia pet.

When you are looking for a Real Estate Firm to represent you in the sale  of your Bristow-Gainesville-Haymarket home, drive through neighborhoods and pay close attention to how the properties, and real estate signs are maintained.  Are there brochures if there is a brochure box?  Is the lawn mowed?  All of this means even more if you are out of state, or out of the country. 

Know who you are hiring and why.  If you aren’t there to care for your property, and the Brokerage you’ve hired isn’t, it ultimately hurts you.

It’s Saturday. That Means It’s Moving Day.

Up and down the Linton Hall Corridor, every Saturday since Summer began, you see moving trucks and rental trucks in neighborhoods like Braemar, Kingsbrooke, Morris Farm and Victory Lakes…just to name a few.

Be the kind of neighbor you are hoping to get. Introduce yourself to your new neighbor. Maybe buy them a case of soda or water. What a great impression that would make.  At the very least, make sure you have each other’s contact information in the even that you need it one day.

If you want you want good neighbors, you have to start by being one. So if you see a movng truck on your street today, or any other Saturday, take a step in the neighborly direction and at least introduce yourself.

Crazy from the Heat in Braemar

Maybe it’s because it’s been bumping up to triple digits this week in Braemar.  The heat is enough to make anyone crazy.  I’m sure I’m not the only one that would like the blame the recent fire set by wandering juveniles on a case of heat-induced wackiness.

Whatever the reason, there my husband and I were driving down Tartan Hills Parkway from Native Rocks, heading to Sudley Manor Drive, when we saw smoke billowing up from the grassy, wooded area to the right of the walking path.   Because there is quite a ditch there, and other cars stopped, we pulled over to see if there had been an accident.  Nope.  There was a fire in the large storm sewer that went between two wooded areas and under Tartan Hills Parkway.  The car that had stopped saw some teenage boys leaving the scene.

Obviously, these kids were up to no good, but seemed to not have the sense the good Lord gave them.  Setting up a campfire on a 90+ degree day in an enclosed area?  No wonder they set it and took off.  They couldn’t breathe and it was hot as hell.

The Nokesville Volunteer Fire Department was called to the scene and made short work of dousing the fire.  My husband, James and another passerby had done their best to stomp out what they could before the fire truck arrived.  James said that sticks and branches were gathered and placed in an area in the middle of the storm sewer.  The “campfire” was about six feet by six feet.  No small job. 

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize how bad this could have turned out if even one ember had blown into the wooded area that runs up next to homes.  Northern Virginia is experiencing a severe drought.  Normally light green grass for this time of year looks scorched and dead as you drive by any landscaping that is not consistently watered.  Trees are having browning and dead leaves.  Property could have been put at risk by this prank.  And the wildlife that lives in the woods and ocassionally travel through the storm sewer could have been injured as well.  (Yes, the images of the forest fire in Bambi will never leave my mind.)

Just another reminder to do two things:  Keep an eye on your kids and teach them the dangers of playing with fire.  This was a minor inconvenience to residents kind enough to stop, and the Nokesville Volunteer Fire Department certainly had better things to do with their time than put an end to a group of juvenilles ill-conceived plan. 

Crazy from the heat indeed.  Got me to thinking back to the days of MTV and missing this character.

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.

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.