Before living in Prince William County, my family and I spent our life growing up in Fairfax County. Our starter home was a condo at the Four Winds off of Bushman Drive by the Blake Lane park. We walked our dogs every day on that mile sidewalk path to the 7-Eleven on Chain Bridge.
Life was good. The Four Winds is part of a collection of condo and townhome associations grouped together on Bushman Drive. The kids waited right outside our building with all the other kids in the neighborhood right outside our building. All the schools in our district and surrounding districts have some of the highest ratings in the nation.
The Four Winds has a pool, gym, and its own dog park. Most of the time people took their dogs to the other two neighboring dog parks, Blake Lane or Nottoway Park in Vienna. We usually had the dog run all to ourselves with our two dogs. Contractors had donated to build the run for our association. Our neighborhood was filled with children and pets. Each summer before the pool closed for the season, the dogs got to enjoy a swim. That’s when all the dog owners that never frequented the pool would come out with their dogs.
Sometimes, people organized community yard sales. My family usually did well. Here’s some tips on how-to score when you are selling at a yard sale.
- Have lots of items to donate.
- Price everything low.
- If someone wants to negotiate consider their negotiation. How much do you want to keep the item you wanted to sell anyway?
- Create packages like selling $5 bags that people could fill up with as much stuff as the bag will hold. (Minus big ticket items like electronics.)
- Have things displayed in an organized fashion.
- Group things by age for clothing or toys.
- Small furniture items like lamps or clocks work better than large items so people can just throw it in their car.
Yard sales are great for pre-moving days. Afterwards, take everything not sold to a donation center or consider giving items away or trade with the other yard sale vendors. Remember the point of yard sales isn’t about making a quick buck, it’s about getting rid of junk!
At Oakton Elementary where my kids attended before we entered Prince William County schools, the offered orchestra to 4th graders and Spanish was taught regularly. They offered a range of after school activities such as Chinese, art club, and Hip Hop. After care for when my kids were younger always had a waiting list. So if you plan on signing up for SACC, make sure to call your child in ASAP to get on the wait list. My second child was waitlisted and we used private aftercare until a few months after we registered him for SACC.
All along 123 or Chain Bridge Rd., restaurants, grocery stores, any type of boutique or specialty store line themselves all the way from our block’s street intersection to the residential area of Tyson’s Corner. On the side streets leading into the suburban oasis of Vienna is Old Town Vienna. It includes a clock repair store that has been there ever since I could remember. There are delicious crepe and fudge shops, cafes, and a Japanese sushi restaurant.
My kids’ pediatrician, dentist, and orthodontist have offices all along 123 which turns into Maple Avenue. We still go to these same doctors just because they’ve been to them all their childhood. The hour drive is worth it to me just to avoid researching new places and transferring files. In an emergency, we would just go to the closest hospital near us.
It was a memorable first-home experience raising a young family. The price tag on singe-family homes was high for us, so we expanded our horizons to PWC. Our kids are still getting quality education and our making new experiences into lifetime memories. But am I very thankful for the warm memories of the first ten years of my children’s lives with us there in Oakton.
I expect many changes to continue as Amazon moves into Arlington, just 20 minutes away. Also, a new school is expected to develop nearby our old haunts. There are pros and cons to all of these additions and the Oakton area continues to convert to city life more and more each year.