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. 


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.

Victory Lakes: A Wide Variety of Amenities and Homes

Victory Lakes is a Bristow, VA community straddling Sudley Manor Drive east of Linton Hall Road. The community was built in 2002 and is still selling new construction as of Spring 2010. It’s a blend of single family homes and townhouses. Builders in Victory Lakes included Beazer, Winchester Homes, Craftmark Homes, and Miller & Smith. Within Victory Lakes you’ll find a variety of single family homes and townhouses, with each type of home in many styles and sizes. There is something for every price range in Victory Lakes.

Victory Lakes offers easy access to Route 66, Route 28, and Route 29. For fans of mass transit, it is also within five miles of the Manassas Regional Airport VRE Station. It also close to a variety of shops in Bristow, Manassas and Gainesville.


Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Victory Lakes are the amenities.  The Victory Lakes Clubhouse, styled to look like a lighthouse, is a beacon for the neighborhood to come enjoy the activities.  There is a outdoor pool, tennis courts, tot lots, basketball court and the only inline hockey court in the area.   Of course, the clubhouse itself is a party facility that can rented year round, or used as a gathering area for community clubs like the monthly poker night.

Outside the grounds of the Victory Lakes Clubhouse there are walking/biking trails that wind their way through the community and take you past the three fully stocked lakes.  You can see Victory Lakes residents fishing in the lakes in Spring, Summer and Fall.

Victory Lakes may be the Bristow, VA community for you.  If you’ve been looking for a wide variety of homes and amenities all in one location, look no further.

Hylton Performing Arts Center Opens in Manassas, VA

If you’ve been driving up and down the Prince William Parkway, in the vicinity of George Mason University’s Prince William Campus and wondered what that circular shaped building is, prepare to satisfy your curiosity. That odd shaped building is the Hylton Performing Arts Center, and is located close to the popular Freedom Center. Now that it’s open, the Manassas-Bristow-Gainesville-Haymarket areas have a nearby location to enjoy live music, dance and more.

The Hylton Performing Arts Center is a venture between George Mason Univeristy, the City of Manassas, Prince William County and the Commonwealth of Virginia. There were many other donors that made the project possible as well.

You can check the calendar of events on the Hylton Performing Arts Center’s online.  Read about Prince William County’s latest gem and see what you mght like to see of their upcoming events. Maybe you like ballet, orchestras, pops, or even comedy.

The Hylton Performing Arts Center also has space available to rent for social or business functions. More great news for Manassas-Bristow-Gainesville-Haymarket residents and businesses.

Bristow-Gainesvilles-Haymarket Community Pools Will Be Open Soon

Moving to the Bristow-Gainesville-Haymarket area and wondering when community pools open?  Don’t worry, our community pools will be open soon.  I suppose, as a lifelong resident of Northern Virginia that I take our custom of opening pools Memorial Day weekend as the norm.  It’s all I’ve ever known. 

Northern Virginia community pools usually open Memorial Day weekend.Not the case if you’re moving to the Bristow-Gainesville-Haymarket area from warmer climates like Southern California, or Florida, for example.  Waiting for the pool to open on Memorial Day Weekend may be torture.

This year, Memorial Day falls on May 31st.  That means most area pools will be opening Saturday, May 29th.  so with one weekend left to go, get out there and get a new swimsuit and stcok up on sunscreen.   Enjoy the pool season while it’s here.