Small Town Warmth, Cutting Edge Vitality Vienna, VA-4th Best Place to Live

Established 1890Vienna
(Fairfax County)

Sprawling Fairfax County has thousands of neighborhoods, but according to Sam and Pamela Karam, there’s only one that is perfect. When they began their search for the best neighborhood, they had three criteria: One, the schools had to be excellent for their young sons. Two, the house had to be charming but still fit within their budget. And three, the area needed to be culturally diverse. Because Sam owns a produce company in Washington D.C., they knew they needed to stay as close to the city as possible.

After a year of searching on their own and with a realtor, the Karam family finally found their ideal haven in Chatham Square, on the border of Dunn Loring and Vienna. “It was a struggle and sometimes frustrating,” says Pamela, “But we found everything we were hoping for, and more.”

“I feel passionate about the education my kids are receiving here,” Pamela explains. “My youngest son attends Holly Brook Montessori School where they celebrate International Day on Halloween. All the children dress up in ethnic costumes, then point to the country that they represent. What a great way to learn about the world!” Her older son attends the neighborhood public school, where she is the monthly “mystery” reader for his class. Pamela points out another important aspect in choosing their neighborhood. “I work, but I wanted to be physically close to my kids. I have a wonderful boss so I’m able to zip over and have lunch with my kids on a regular basis.”

Although Vienna is located in one of the most affluent counties in the nation, residents say you won’t feel a hard, cold reception here. Instead, Vienna prides itself on their small town warmth. Neighbors mingle and stay involved with a busy calendar of events. The Community Center’s active Phoenix Teen Center is so successful that other areas are using it as a model.

“We love to explore,” says Sam. “There are so many ethnic possibilities in Vienna. It’s fun to expose the kids to different types of food. And we’ve met some wonderful people here.” During the last five years, the Karams have seen an explosion of growth. “It’s a mixed bag,” says Pamela. “There’s more traffic, but there’s also more shops, theaters and restaurants. And that means that we have everything we need right here in our neighborhood.”

Vienna’s Claim to Fame
“We are honored to have been chosen as the ‘4th Best Place to Live in America’ by Money Magazine,” Mayor M. Jane Seeman says about her town. “The Town of Vienna is an authentic small town of about 15,000 residents. There are many family oriented festivals and events throughout the year including ViVa!Vienna!, July 4th and the Halloween Parade. We pride ourselves in maintaining our residential character and providing the best possible service to our citizens. The Town of Vienna has character, traditions and a rich history.”

Vienna’s Favorites
For shopping, the favorite spot used to be Tysons Corner Center. Then they built Tysons Galleria, and now… it’s back to the new wing of Tysons Corner Center. With valet parking and hip new stores like Ruehl, Urban Outfitters, and Arhaus for home décor, it’s easy to be extravagant. There’s also a 16-screen megaplex movie theater with comfy stadium seating. Once shopping is complete, the reward is a trip to Coastal Flats for an exotic Key Lime Pie Martini. Delicious!

Vienna locals (and anyone else passing through) rave about the tiny but terrific Skorpios Maggio’s Family Restaurant. Tucked away in a mini strip mall on Maple Ave, this family owned Greek restaurant serves the best rotisserie chicken you’ve ever tasted. Generous in portions and spirit, affable owner Chris Maggio and his wife Sherry will make sure you have plenty of tzatziki sauce, pita and baklava. Just like in the old days, all advertising is done by word of mouth.

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