Home – Part 1: Ashburn

This is the first installment of a trilogy of posts relating to cities that have become my home. I have a broad audience here, so I figured it’d help to know what shaped me into who I am.

When I was three, my parents moved to Northern Virginia from Pasadena, California. As I understand it, the reasoning was because of the trees (and to escape the in-laws, naturally). Both of my parents served their missions for the LDS church in Germany, and that’s where they met. My dad was just finishing up and Mom had just started. My mom served mostly in southwestern Germany near Stuttgart and Dad in Bayern close to Munich. After Dad finished up his basic stuff at BYU (I’m assuming he studied pre-chiropractic), they headed out to California to finish his Doctor of Chirporactic degree in LA. One of my dad’s roomie’s from the Y moved out to Nova, and on a visit out there, mommy and daddy fell in love with the greenery.
We bounced around a bit once we got there, but eventually settled in Ashburn, just 40 minutes west of Washington, DC. Growing up, I always took it for granted. Every field trip in elementary school was into the capital city somewhere, so I felt like I had seen it all. It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I went to DC with friends for fun. Crazy what we take for granted.
Fun-fact: Ashburn was originally called Farmwell after a mansion that General Lee had in the area. Didn’t know that! (Ashburn Wiki) Loudoun County has also been named richest county in the country and for a while was tied with Orange County as fastest growing in the nation. Doin’ big things out east!
Now lemme outline a few reasons why living in Ashburn is the greatest:
  • The Caps: DC’s pride and joy. Virginia doesn’t have any professional teams of its own, and all the other teams that represent DC suck (Nationals, Redskins, Wizards). The Capitals, though – they don’t mess around.
    Original logo 1974/75–1994/95 
    Second logo 1995/96–2001/02 
    Third home logo 2002/03–2006/07 
    Current alternate logo, 2007/08–present 

    Pictures from Wikipedia

    I love everything about this
    (Capitals Outsider)

  • History: Viginia is rich in history. I can also just drive to Gettysburg, Harpers Ferry, Jamestown, and Williamsburg. I remember living in Utah for a few months in elementary school hating history, because they were learning about the stupid Rocky Mountains when no one knew what Jamestown was. Even as a 5th grader it blew my mind. 
  • Wegmans: If you haven’t experienced it for yourself, you’re seriously missing out. It needs to be one of the Wonders of the World. Way cooler than some polyhedrons formed by connecting a polygonal base and a point. They have the best local prices on Twizzlers and Monster, so stock up!
  • The Washington DC Temple: Even for those who aren’t members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon), it’s gorgeous. As you drive up 495, you round a corner and boom! There it is. It looks like the Walt Disney Castle. They have a bunch of free events in their Visitors Center, like Swiss Alp horn or Lindsey Stirling concerts. During the winter, they put up an insane amount of Christmas lights. It’s seriously worth going to. Festival of Lights
  • Washington, DC Temple with my mom. No filter on this one!

    A post shared by Jonny Hender☀️ (@jonnymhenderson) on

  • Trees: Oh my gosh. I seriously miss trees! Is that weird? Boise is the supposed “City of Trees”, which I get, because it’s in the middle of a desert. But the east coast, man. Nothing like it. 
  • Appalachian Trail: No, they’re not the Rockies, but we’ve still got some awesome mountains with a lot of camping and backpacking to be done.
  • Hot 99.5: It’s only the greatest station for the latest and greatest. We’ve even got Ryan Seacrest! I listen to it through iHeartRadio, and it makes me totally miss VA sometimes.
  • Traffic: I dunno. It wouldn’t be home without it.
  • Dulles Airport: I live 7 miles away from what about.com rates as the 23rd busiest airport in the US. It’s seriously like the most convenient thing. Before flying out to Germany, the exchange students form the entire Southeast met at a hotel outside the airport. While everyone had 4am flights, I rolled out of bed at 8am to finish packing and leisurely made my way over to the hotel. IAD, as it’s sometimes called (Internat. Airport – Dulles [I once wrote IED on my baggage on accident…]), also has an iconic architecture to it

    Photo from Wikipedia

  • Deer: I randomly miss waking up to deer being in the front yard. It’s intense! The county pays people to hunt deer, because so many get hit each year. It also makes speeding inconvenient, because all our roads are covered in trees, and you never know when they’re gonna jump out.
  • Schools: It obviously depends on where you go, but my high school was rated #8 in the state. We also have a lot of moneys because of all the rich government employees 🙂
  • Metro: Public transportation is seriously awesome. The Metro isn’t the cleanest, but it sure beats trying to navigate in DC. I promised myself to not drive there again. It’s full of one-way streets and contradicting street signs! In a couple years, the Metro’s being extended to Ashburn, only two miles from my house!
  • License Plates: It’s like those random cravings that pregnant women get. I don’t know how to explain it. The little safety stickers on the windshield, too!
    Photo from Plate Shack
    I dunno guys. I never missed Nova while I was in Germany, but having lived in Idaho for two years now, there’s no place like home.

    Photo from  virginia.org

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