Truro comes together to repair basketball court vandalism - Oak Hill virtual tour to debut Nov. 1 - Trail detours and closure to start next month in Wakefield Park

McLaughlin says School Board will push for alternative to “concurrent” learning - FLAP seeks candidates for president, vice president

Welcome to Wakefield Weekly, where we’re building community through hyperlocal news. Remember to vote. Have a happy Halloween—with the porch lights on or off. And keep the news, tips, photo submissions, and more coming to

Big thanks to our sponsor, Realtor Jennifer Mack, whose column today offers advice for anyone thinking about purchasing a vacation property. Reach out to Jennifer with real estate questions at

Truro comes together to repair basketball court vandalism: Nearly 20 Truro residents came together earlier this month to repair damage to the neighborhood basketball courts that is believed to have been perpetrated by “area teenagers with too much time on their hands,” according to Kevin Brandt, president of the Truro Homes Association. 

Brandt said that when he first saw the extent of the damage, he knew it would take an entire crew to repair it—and that Truro would either have to hire a contractor or do it themselves. “With a simple message to the community, we had nearly 20 sets of hands ready to pitch in and get the job done,” he said. “In stark contrast to the teenagers who perpetrated this, we had several other neighborhood teenagers on site helping put the surface back together.”

This wasn’t the first time the basketball courts had been targeted. “We've had a few incidents of vandalism in the Truro neighborhood over the last few weeks,” Brandt explained. “The tile surface of our basketball court was ripped up in several places on two separate occasions and the glass door to our Little Free Library adjacent to our clubhouse was shattered.”

He added: “While we recognize teenage pranks happen from time to time, these incidents disrupt the ability of our community to enjoy these amenities and also have financial consequences. We continue to receive feedback from neighbors that noticed certain young people in the area of these incidents around the time they happened and want to remind these young people that destruction of property is a crime and can leave a lasting impact on someone's permanent record.”

Here are two photos of the basketball courts, the first showing the damage and the second showing neighbors working together to repair it:

Oak Hill virtual tour to debut Nov. 1: The annual fall open house at the historic Oak Hill mansion will be replaced this year by a virtual tour because of the pandemic. Oak Hill, located off Wakefield Chapel Road and Braeburn Drive, is privately owned but has a conservation easement that calls for it to be open periodically to the public. To accomplish that this year, the county has created a 16-minute video that will be available Nov. 1 on the Oak Hill website.

The virtual tour was made possible by the Fairfax County Park Foundation, Fairfax County Park Authority, Northern Virginia Conservation Trust and Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, according to a Park Authority news release.

Here’s more information from the release about the history of Oak Hill:

Oak Hill was constructed circa 1790 on the historic Ravensworth tract by Richard Fitzhugh, a descendant of one of the first land-grant holders in Northern Virginia. The late Georgian style dwelling was renovated in the Colonial Revival style during the late 1930s by renowned restoration architect Walter M. Macomber. Its name comes from two large oak trees on the property, and Oak Hill is also known for its column of 200-year-old boxwoods.

Featured Photo #1

Chapel Square residents got a treat on Saturday evening—the rock band Wakefield 221 played a block concert that included classic rock standards, Halloween hits, and even some Gnarls Barkley.


McLaughlin says School Board will push for an alternative to “concurrent” learning: Braddock District School Board Member Megan McLaughlin said FCPS Superintendent Scott Brabrand lacks the support of the board in his push for “concurrent” learning—and will likely have to come up with an alternative. Speaking at a virtual town hall last week, McLaughlin noted that the board deadlocked 6-6 on Brabrand’s plan to phase in the concurrent model between now and February. Under the model, students would get two days of virtual instruction and two days of in-person instruction each week. “For most of us the concern is that February 1 is just too late in the year to be returning our middle and high school students,” McLaughlin said.

She acknowledged that the concurrent model has caused a lot of concern among teachers, who are worried about an excessive workload, and said she believes the model should only be used in “rare circumstances.” She prefers the two-track plan that was under consideration during the summer—where students choose between in-person and virtual learning. Ultimately, McLaughlin doesn’t think the board will support the concurrent model system-wide and that Brabrand will have to put together a new plan.

McLaughlin has been one of the strongest voices in urging a speedier return to in-person learning—and she urged the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors to make their voices heard on the issue. “I welcome and encourage them to get involved in being part of this conversation of how do we safely return students to school and do it more quickly than has been done,” she said. “For supervisors who might say they agree and think the School Board and the school system are taking too long, again, I say, we need their elected leadership and voices.”

-Board directs Brabrand to consider accelerated timeline: Following McLaughlin’s town hall, the School Board passed a motion urging Brabrand to consider an accelerated timeline for resuming in-person learning. The Washington Post has additional details here about the motion and another motion related to admissions at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

Featured Photo #2 

Photo Credit: Ilda Pool President Renee Kayal

Members of the Little Run Citizens’ Association enjoyed live music, fire pits, and other socially distanced fun on Saturday, Oct. 17, in the Ilda Pool parking lot. The event was a fundraiser for the pool.


Trail detours and closure to start next month in Wakefield Park: Regulars on the Accotink Creek cross-country trail have probably noticed the signs (see below) announcing intermittent closures and detours starting next month in the section of the trail that runs through Wakefield Park. We emailed Park Authority spokesperson Judy Pedersen for more information, and she responded that the closures and detours are part of the Accotink Stream Restoration project.

“The Accotink Creek Stream Restoration is expected to last through July 2021,” Pedersen said. “The work is a partnership between the Fairfax County Park Authority and the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services, Stormwater Planning Division. The project will restore 2,000 linear feet of natural channel in Wakefield Park, upstream of Braddock Road. The stream channel exhibits eroded and over-widened banks, head-cuts and the potential for further erosion.”

FLAP seeks candidates for president, vice president: The Trump-Biden race isn’t the only presidency up for grabs. Friends of Lake Accotink Park, or FLAP, is seeking candidates for president and vice president as the current officeholders, Mary Keeser and Anthony Vellucci, reach the end of their two-year terms. The average monthly time commitment is about three hours and the organization is “fully functioning,” Keeser said in an email. “Everything is in place and running smoothly.”

The 501(c)(3) organization has a mission to “protect, restore, preserve, and educate all concerning the natural, historical, and cultural resources of Lake Accotink Park.”

Interested candidates should email

Real Estate

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Jennifer Mack column: Questions to answer before purchasing a vacation property

I’ve received an unprecedented number of calls recently from clients interested in purchasing vacation properties. Some want to be at the beach, others in the mountains. But the common theme is a desire to be near nature and away from traffic.

If you are thinking of purchasing a vacation property, here are some factors to keep in mind.

One of the biggest decisions to make is whether you want to rent it out to paying guests or if you will keep it for your exclusive use. If you want to rent it out, the first thing to research are local ordinances as well as any restrictions that an HOA may impose. Many HOAs limit the number of rentals an owner can entertain in a time period or restrict the length of the stay. Most local jurisdictions also collect taxes from homeowners for these stays, so it is important to understand what those amounts will be and how often they are remitted. Some areas inspect the properties and grant business licenses for them. 

Property insurance is another big factor—you have to do your research to make sure you can get insurance on a rental property for a reasonable price. You will also want to be sure the house has an adequate number of bedrooms and bathrooms and space to yield the rental rates you want to command. In addition, there are safety considerations if the property has a pool, hot tub, or boat access.

You will want to think about how long it will take you to get there in the event of a guest emergency, or if you will hire someone locally for this. Cleaners are in demand and can be difficult to find, so start researching them early.

If you plan to just use the home for yourself and your family, the key factors are ease of maintaining the property, travel time to ensure you will actually use it, and how many months out of the year you would be able to best utilize it based on where it is located. A vacation home can be a wonderful investment, especially in these stressful times, but must be carefully considered to ensure it will give you the rest and relaxation you crave.

Jennifer Mack has more than 15 years of experience in the real estate industry. Her team services Virginia, Maryland, and D.C., with the bulk of her business in the Woodson High School area. You can contact her with real estate questions at or by calling 703-672-0038. She’s happy to answer specific questions privately or more general questions publicly in this column.

On the market

8285 Private Ln | $1,550,000
4 beds, 4.5 baths, 5,788 sf
Listed by Debbie Dogrul Associates & Jamie Petrik | Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.

4104  Accotink Pkwy | $849,900
3 beds, 4.5 baths, 3,216 sf
Listed by Leela Singh | Keller Williams Fairfax Gateway 

4604 Sleaford Rd | $789,000
5 beds, 4 baths, 3,608 sf
Listed by Nancy Gordon | Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. 

8625 Blackpool Dr | $649,888
4 beds, 4 baths, 3,305 sf
Listed by Debbie Dogrul Associates & Nicole Dash | Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.

4025 Guinea Rd | $600,000
4 beds, 3 baths, 1,460 sf
Listed by Nathan Johnson & Philip Johnson | Keller Williams Capital Properties

4600 Duncan Dr | $669,000
4 beds, 2.5 baths, 1,661 sf
Listed by Avi Ron | SSG Real Estate LLC. 

8406 Briar Creek Dr | $739,900
4 beds, 2.5 baths, 2,691 sf
Listed by Jana Gilbert & Kay Graff | Weichert, REALTORS

4309 Holly Ln | $499,000
0.90 acres
Listed by Jonathan Kennedy | McEnearney Associates, Inc. 

Recently sold

8432 Georgian Way | $830,000
4 beds, 3.5 baths, 1,971 sf
Listed by Casey O'Neal | Compass
Bought with Meiling Yang | McEnearney Associates, Inc. 

4231 Guinea Rd | $740,000
4 beds, 3 baths, 1,705 sf
Listed by Debbie Dogrul Associates & Willans Delgadillo | Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
Bought with Debbie Dogrul Associates | Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.