Reston is known throughout the world as being the first planned community in the United States. Ranked among both CNN Money and Time Magazine’s “best places to live” in recent years, this census-designated place (CDP) has been recognized for decades as a safe, comfortable, and beautiful place to live. It is situated in Fairfax County, with a population of just over 58,000. The Reston Association governs the unincorporated town and provides services to residents.
Reston’s history is an interesting one. The land on which it is built was, in the 1700s, owned by Lord Fairfax. The land changed hands a few times over the years, becoming a bourbon distillery, and, later, a farm. The plot was purchased by Robert E. Simon, the initials of whom gave Reston its name. The Simon family had, in 1964, recently sold Carnegie Hall, and Simon used the proceeds from that sale to build Reston - the first post-war planned community of its type. Simon’s family still lives in Reston to this very day.
Reston was built in five sections, each with a neighborhood shopping center and supermarket. Most homes are within half a mile of the village center. The housing styles in each section reflect contemporary trends, and can be used to visually identify neighborhoods. Lake Anne Plaza, the first section to be built, was designed with the influence of coastal Italian Portofino in mind. No chain stores or restaurants are allowed in Lake Anne, and many of the thriving community of local businesses also share the same “look” as the houses there. Hickory Cluster was built in the international style, and features some iconic cubist townhouses.
The town is woodsy and is rife with lakes and scenic vistas. There are two golf courses in Reston, along with fifty-five miles of walking paths that show off Reston’s gorgeous natural resources. Reston’s “downtown” consists of Reston Town Center, a shopping mall with an attached pavilion that hosts concerts and wintertime ice-skating. There are nearly 20 public pools. Careful planning and a commitment to a “back to nature” philosophy in building means that the beauty of nature is everywhere: in wildflower fields, public parks, and backyard wildlife habitats.
The headquarters of ComScore and Rolls-Royce North America are situated in Reston’s Town Center and are major employers, along with five of the largest venture capital firms in the Greater D.C. area. Many Reston residents are employed in Washington, and commuting there recently got a little easier thanks to an extension of the D.C. Metro.