At AHRN.com, we want to offer our readers a place to turn to when facing the challenge of a PCS. You know how it is when you get orders. You go to your Facebook friends list, find someone who is there or has been recently and get all the details! We are sharing the little things that help you to make a home at Ft Belvoir!
What are the most desirable neighborhoods to live in?
If you’re opting to live off-post, Springfield, Alexandria or Lorton are very close by. Some families head south to Woodbridge or Dale City because you can sometimes get more space for your BAH.
What schools are the most desirable?
Most families typically want to utilize Fairfax County Schools. The schools on post are a part of Fairfax County Public Schools. For more great education options, check out Great Schools.
Is there anywhere the traffic is especially bad?
Unfortunately, traffic gets pretty bad during rush hour and the stretch of I-95 and Route 1 that borders Fort Belvoir get particularly bad at times. Route 1 is undergoing major construction, so be sure to allot that into your travel time.
What is the easiest gate to get into at busy times?
There is one gate you should avoid and it is Tulley Gate because it’s the only one non-DoD ID card holders can use. Pence and Kingman Gate are the ones I prefer to use because those are the only other two that are open 7 days a week. Walker and Telegraph are also good, but are only open M-F at limited hours during the day.
What roads close for PT?
There are none. You will rarely see organized PT outside.
Where do I (service member) actually report to when I arrive?
People typically report to the welcome center behind the Dunkin’ Donuts, but each unit is a little different so be sure to reach out to your sponsor to see where you need to go.
Can I (service member) get off-post for lunch or does traffic make it a no-go?
There are places that are easy to get to from the gates, particularly the Telegraph gate. It’s doable, but there will be traffic, so it’s not recommended.
Where do you grocery shop? Where are the best prices and best produce?
Luckily, there are several local farmer’s markets that offer a wonderful selection of fruits and veggies (one in Lorton and Springfield). In addition, lots of families shop at Wegmans, Trader Joes and the commissary too.
What are your favorite restaurants around Ft Belvoir?
My husband and I enjoy the restaurants at the newly renovated Springfield Towne Center, particularly Silver Diner for breakfast and the Kingstowne area, but we love to patronize the Japanese Hibachi restaurant that’s down the street from us in Lorton called Toyko One.
Where do you like to do your clothes/home shopping? Is it worth the drive to go out of town anywhere?
There are a lot of wonderful places to shop nearby! Like I mentioned above, the Springfield Towne Center and Kingstowne area have stores like Target, Macy’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Home Goods, etc. Another great shopping area that is a bit more crowded with lots of store though is Potomac Mills. It is more of an outlet mall type shopping center.
Where do you go if you want to grab a coffee with friends and relax?
I love to relax at Great Harvest Bread Company in Lorton.
Best spot for a date night?
I love to drive 15 miles north to Old Town Alexandria. There are lots of romantic restaurants that you can use! It is right by the water, so you can go for a nice stroll after (or before) dinner. Washington DC has tons of delicious restaurants too and that’s only 20 miles away.
Best rainy day energy-busters for the kids?
Washington DC is so close by and the many different Smithsonian Museums are great ways to beat boredom! Make the most of being so close to the Nation’s Capital.
What do you LOVE about Ft Belvoir?
It’s amazing how much history is around Fort Belvoir! Just a couple miles down the road is Mount Vernon, where George Washington lived… not to mention everything else in Washington DC like the White House and Capital! Also, families that live on post are stationed all around the Metro DC area and you learn so much about the community around you. All branches are represented here.
What else would you tell your friend who has just received orders?
Be patient with the traffic and be sure to see as much as you can in the Washington DC area. There is so much to do, so utilize a duty station bucket list that way you don’t miss out. The military has a lot of history in the area too — learn more about it by visiting Arlington National Cemetery and other special locations/events. You and your family will enjoy the area with the right mindset!
Meet your contributor
Rachel Marston is the public relations and communications manager for RDG Marketing & IT and Army spouse currently enjoying all the Washington, DC has to offer!
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