For young families yearning to own, Fairfax’s London Towne beckons

When Anita Ramos was growing up near Falls Church in the 1960s, her father would occasionally drive into the country to watch the construction of London Towne, a community of 665 townhouses west of Centreville in Fairfax County.

“My relatives would ask, ‘Why are people building rowhouses out in the middle of nowhere?’ ” Ramos said.

The answer became evident by 1985…

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The Washington Post, Aug. 5, 2020

In Loudoun County, ‘village of Oz’ turns into an amenity-rich, family-friendly neighborhood

When Shirley Barber moved with her young family to Ashburn Farm in 1989, “it was like the village of Oz dropped down into this country area — one road coming in and out, no buildings,” she said. “There was nothing here.”

Barber and her husband, David Tabor, were the original owners of a house in the eastern Loudoun County community of 3,863 homes, most of which were built between 1988 and 1993. A few smaller neighborhoods were annexed into Ashburn Farm during the ensuing decade.

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The Washington Post, July 8, 2020

In eastern Loudoun, CountrySide lives up to its bucolic name

Pat Bour described it as “scary” in 1983 when she and her young family moved from suburban Maryland to CountrySide in eastern Loudoun County.

“There was nothing when we moved out here — no malls, no other HOAs, nothing. But once I got here, I loved it,” Bour said. “We’re retired now. We have no plans to move. I’m going to stay here until I’m taken out feet first.”

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The Washington Post, June 10, 2020

Case of the disappearing wineglasses

Breaux Vineyards opened the spring wine-tasting season this year with a supply of 2,000 high-end crystal wineglasses manufactured by Riedel. The popular winery in western Loudoun County has only about 200 of them left.

Customers are stealing them, company Vice President Jen Breaux said.

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The Washington Post, Sept. 17, 2017

New business promotes artists with autism

An array of Zenaviv’s products featuring artwork created by people with autism

Brightly colored paintings decorate the home of Harish and Sandhya Bikmal, an Ashburn couple with two teenage sons.

Their older son, Saket, 17, is a rising senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria. Himal, 15, who will attend Briar Woods High School in the fall, was diagnosed with profound autism when he was 2.

As Himal’s parents came to terms with his diagnosis, they worried about his future.

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The Washington Post, June 18, 2017

Randall: Exciting times in Loudoun

In her annual State of the County presentation, Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) described Loudoun as strong, thriving and “standing on the cusp of an exciting future.”

A standing-room-only crowd that included business leaders and public officials from across the region packed the Board of Supervisors’ meeting room Wednesday, as Randall recapped the county’s successes of the past year. She also pointed out some of the challenges associated with Loudoun’s high cost of living, including the lack of workforce housing and an inadequate pay scale for public safety workers.

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The Washington Post, May 28, 2017

Leesburg Vintner withstands competition

Owner Mike Carroll in his shop, Leesburg Vintner

Although Leesburg Vintner was closed Monday, owner Mike Carroll was working in his shop while a ribbon-cutting for Delirium Cafe was taking place across the street.

“I think it’s going to be a game-changer,” Carroll said as he peered through the blinds at the growing crowd outside the cafe, a franchisee of a popular Belgian beer company. “It’s created a buzz unlike anything I’ve seen since I’ve been here.”

Carroll has been selling bottled wines at the northwest corner of King and Loudoun streets in Leesburg for almost three decades. During that time, he has withstood increasing competition from big box stores and local wineries.

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The Washington Post, May 21, 2017

Purcellville Library observes 60th anniversary of desegregation

In the early 1950s, Reggie Simms mended damaged books so they could remain in circulation at the Purcellville Library. But he was not allowed to check them out for personal use.

For two decades after it opened in 1937, the library was open only to white patrons. Simms and other African Americans were excluded until the library was desegregated on April 9, 1957.

On Saturday, the library will mark the 60th anniversary of that milestone with “Cross the Line,” a day-long program focusing on the desegregation of public facilities in Loudoun County. Simms will join other African Americans from that era in sharing memories of the cultural shifts in Loudoun as segregation died a slow death in the 1950s and ’60s.

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The Washington Post, April 2, 2017

B. Doughnut is drawing crowds

Pin and Brian Chanthapanya, co-owners of B. Doughnut in downtown Leesburg 

The line outside B. Doughnut is already starting to form at eight o’clock Saturday morning, even though it won’t open for another hour. Some of the customers sit in chairs outside the shop on Loudoun Street in downtown Leesburg, reading a book or swiping at their phones to pass the time.

By 9 a.m., when the door opens, the line has grown to more than 40 people. Greeted by the mingled aromas of roasted coffee and fried dough, the customers begin placing orders for doughnuts with their favorite fillings and toppings — vanilla bean, lemon curd, cinnamon sugar.

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The Washington Post, March 5, 2017