Best of Vienna & McLean: Where You’ll Find Me
We asked four locals—including Newt Gingrich and David Baldacci—where they like to go.
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M. Jane Seeman has been mayor of Vienna since 2000. During her tenure, the town was named one of the top four places to live in the United States by Money magazine.
Church Street in Vienna is full of small, family-owned businesses that are really friendly. It’s a very walkable street, and it’s right next to the Washington & Old Dominion Trail, which runs through town.
On Saturdays, the Vienna Farmers’ Market (Caboose parking lot, 131 Church St., NE, Vienna; 703-200-7806) is by the town green, which is where I usually go to relax. There are nice benches to sit and think.
There’s a fantastic toy store called Once Upon a Time (120 Church St. NE, Vienna; 703-255-3285). I love dolls, so I always like to go in and take a look. People come from all over to go there.
Maple Avenue Market (128 Maple Ave. E., Vienna; 703-957-9348) just opened. It sells local, farmers-market type food.
The Freeman Store and Museum (131 Church St. NE, Vienna; 703-938-5187) is our main historic building. It houses a little general store and a museum with wonderful exhibits. You can buy history and Civil War books and old-fashioned candy.
We have one of the oldest model railroads in the country at Vienna Station (231 Dominion Rd., Vienna; 703-938-5157). The Northern Virginia Model Railroaders run it; they’ve been in existence for 60 years and do a great job. It’s open one Saturday a month.
Newt Gingrich was speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999. He’s a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a contributor to Fox News, and an author.
My wife and I love McLean Family Restaurant (1321 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean; 703-356-9883). With great service, great food, and great prices, what’s not to like? I tend to eat either an omelet or poached eggs for breakfast and a Greek salad for lunch.
For dry cleaning, we usually go to Chain Bridge Cleaners (1310 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean; 703-356-9400), and we also use Burns Brothers (6821 Old Dominion Dr., McLean; 703-356-3330) for specialty things. I should also mention Simon’s Shoe Repair (1309 Old Chain Bridge Rd., McLean; 703-893-8782), which my wife goes to almost as often as the cleaner’s. Simon does a terrific job.
McLean Hardware (1445 Chain Bridge Rd., McLean; 703-356-5496) is a great family hardware store. If I need something around the house, I run there straight away.
We live about four blocks off Route 123, and sometimes I walk down that way to the CIA headquarters, about three or four miles. Very close to Langley is a wonderful Revolutionary-era farm, Claude Moore Colonial Farm (6310 Georgetown Pike, McLean; 703-442-7557). It’s a little bit like Williamsburg and is probably the best unique thing to do in the area.
Nick Sorensen is a defensive back for the Cleveland Browns. He grew up in Vienna and attended George C. Marshall High School in Falls Church. His family still lives in Vienna, and he comes home often during the off-season.
You gotta start at the Vienna Inn (120 Maple Ave. E., Vienna; 703-938-9548). Whenever we have visitors, we take them there. It’s been around since the early ’60s, and I don’t think they’ve remodeled since it opened. They sponsor all sorts of local softball and baseball games—the owner, Marty Volk, is very involved in the community. I love the chili cheese dogs and Dominion root beer. I’d take a root beer over a Corona any day.
Every now and then, I’ll check out a Little League game at Yeonas Park (1319 Ross Dr., SW, Vienna). They play on Saturdays. Playing baseball there is always what I think of when I think about Vienna.
I go to Wolf Trap (1645 Trap Rd., Vienna; 703-938-2404) all the time. I’ve seen a bunch of people there, from Alison Krauss to the Gipsy Kings, and it’s great because you’re close to the stage, not a million miles away like at Nissan or Merriweather. The last show I saw there was James Taylor, and he was unbelievable.
David Baldacci is the author of 17 best-selling novels. His 18th, True Blue—which is just out—is about a female former DC cop and a young lawyer who wind up investigating a murder.
We frequently go to the Vienna Vintner (233 Maple Ave. E., Vienna; 703-242-9463). My wife knows Victor, who runs the place, and he has good recommendations and a great selection.
Also in Vienna is one of the best Italian restaurants you’ve never heard of—Bonaroti’s (428 Maple Ave. E., Vienna; 703-281-7550). There’s a beautiful ambience inside—and the owner, Sergio Domestici, runs the place really well. On the wall are photographs of people who go there, like Chris Cooley from the Redskins. We always end up staying for hours.
Nottoway Park (9537 Courthouse Rd., Vienna; 703-938-7532), where my son used to play baseball, is a good place to take visitors. People in Vienna call it the “spy park” because it’s where a lot of spies used to drop off documents. I went to pick up my son from Little League one time, and he said, “Dad, how come the spies don’t pick another park to go to? Because they always come here and they always get caught!”