The Features, Where We Live

Where We Live: Columbia Pike

Photo courtesy of
‘STRENGTH_13′
courtesy of ‘Arlington County’

For those District residents who don’t own cars and don’t like MetroBus, the extent of the Washington region is limited.  Sure, you can get to a lot of major attractions via MetroRail, but you’re missing out on a lot too.  Take Columbia Pike for example– it has a vibrant, fun “main street” feel to it, but many Washingtonians haven’t been out there (except maybe to catch a movie at the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse).  Even though there isn’t a Metro station nearby, this area is definitely worth a visit.

History: Columbia Pike has always been a major thoroughfare through Arlington County since it was chartered in 1801.  It was originally a streetcar suburb, with a streetcar stop at the intersection of Walter Reed Drive and Columbia Pike and a direct bus connecting to the District.  But during the 1940s, the area became much more suburban and car-friendly, with lots of car dealerships and gas stations.  This pattern of development continued for the next fifty years.

The important thing to note here is that many of the neighborhoods in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor developed similarly, but they got Metro stations in the 1970s.  This led to a surge in land value, which then led to compact development and reinvestment right around those stations.  Columbia Pike didn’t get a Metro station, so there was no catalyst for urban development.  But the story isn’t over: a streetcar is coming to Columbia Pike in the next decade, which can finally bring the reinvestment that the area has been waiting for.

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The Daily Feed

Arlington to Gain Another Year ‘Round Farmers Market

Photo courtesy of

courtesy of ‘sarawithoutanh001′

Lovers of farmers markets, rejoice. An additional one, the Columbia Pike market in Arlington, will be staying open year ’round.

As in years past, there will be a holiday market each Sunday until Dec. 20. In addition to apples, winter squash and the like, the market will offer eggnog, holiday baked goods, gift baskets, wreaths/garlands, Christmas trees, standing rib roast, special raviolis, handmade holiday cards, jewelry, and more. I like to pick up some of the homemade chocolate truffles as gifts; they’re always a hit.

Come January, for the first time, several vendors will return to bring us local staples through the winter: J-Wen dairy, Smith Meadows All Natural Meat and Eggs, Hondo Coffee, and Union Street Soapworks. Creekside Produce and other vendors may stay through the cold months, too.

The Daily Feed

New Lost Dog Café Opens in S. Arlington

A New Lost Dog
As a big fan of Lost Dog Café, which has drawn crowds in Westover for years, I was thrilled to see a “now open” sign at its new location this weekend, across from the Arlington Cinema ‘n’ Drafthouse.

Like the original, this one has a menu with scores of specialty pizzas, 50-odd sandwiches, and more beers than I could easily count. My man and I checked it out last night, and to our yummy dinner added a Bad Dog a la Mode brownie sundae to celebrate the opening.

This area of Columbia Pike is being redeveloped, and Lost Dog is one of the first new businesses to open there, in the retail area under the first new condos. So more Lost Dog, less waiting. Oh, happy day!