I love love love my little suburb. Located about 15 miles from Washington, DC (and only seven from Dulles International Airport), Reston, Virginia is a planned community that has so many attractive extras - 15 community pools, a nature center with acres of untouched foliage and classes for the kids, streams and lakes and open fields, and 55 miles of paved trails to walk, jog or bike on (that are sometimes cleared well before our roads are when a snowstorm hits). I love the feeling of being surrounded by nature even though we're in one of the busiest, most trafficky metropolitan areas in the entire country. I also love that we have a lovely town center with awesome shopping and restaurant options as well as a zoo and a water park for the kids.
In 2013 we'll even be able to boast a Metro stop - meaning that you'll be able to climb aboard a subway train and be taken directly into the heart of Washington, DC without having to set foot in a bus or a car first - which is pretty freaking exciting in all manner of ways except for the one small thing about how our house is 1/4 mile from the station and I think traffic may simply EXPLODE right outside my door.
But back in 1990, Reston was probably most famous for hosting an outbreak of the Ebola virus in a monkey house (that has since been torn down, though I find it a little creepy that they built a daycare on the site a few years later). It turned out that the virus - though very deadly to macaques (a widespread primate species) - was pretty much asymptomatic in humans, which was a big PHEW to everyone living within 15 miles of the place... you know, except for the 500 or so primates that were infected or suspected of infection and had to be euthanized.
In 1994, Richard Preston wrote The Hot Zone, which profiled the Reston monkey house and outbreak. The virus has no known treatment and is classified as a Biosafety Level 4; not to mention it is highly infectious - in other words, there's a reason STEVEN KING, of all people, called it "one of the most horrifying things I've ever read." A few years later, the movie Outbreak came along and Ebola REALLY became a household word. GAH, you guys remember how TERRIFYING that movie was?
I mean, granted, it isn't the BEST thing about living here, but I do find it to be an interesting historical tidbit about where I live. I love knowing a bit of interesting history about my town (and I have a penchant for interesting medical trivia, too) - Reston is a wonderful place, but it wouldn't necessarily stand out against other suburbs like it. We don't have a lot of unique boutiques or independent restaurants or what vacationers and out of towners would classify as "charm" but we DO have a creepy story about a monkey house, and that feels like character to me.
(No seriously, come visit us! It's awesome here, I promise.)
(photo credit: wikipedia.org)