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Votes

Best of Great Falls

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Diane Anderson

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Lisa Miles Jackson

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Pastor Paul Gysan

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Patricia G. Budwig

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Joan S. Pifer

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Jon Fisher

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Kathleen Murphy

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Jim Luce

<b>Caring Community</b>

<b>Diane Anderson, Executive Director, Kidz Clubhouse</b>

"Five things I like the most about Great Falls: 1) We love the small town feel even though we're minutes from the Nation's capital; 2) The community events that bring everyone out from July 4th, Lighting of the Christmas Tree, Farmer's Market and Spring Festival; 3) Being a part of a community that cares about its neighbors; 4) Having friends and neighbors that treat you like family; 5) Our schools are amazing — our kids have grown up with great friends and a great education."

<b>Great Place to Live</b>

<b>Lisa Miles Jackson, President, Optimist Club</b>

"Great Falls is truly a great place to live; it has a wonderful small town feel where the merchants and residents know and care about each other. I can go into the Brogue or Pizzarama and bump into my neighbors as well as the owners who know us by name. I can always get help finding something special from Cathy's Corner. Only in Great Falls do you have the ability to ride one of Dean Brundage's beautiful horses through miles of gorgeous trails. When something tragic happens to a neighbor, the whole community is engaged for support. This wonderful sense of community is truly felt while working with organizations such as the Optimist Club, The Newcomers group and the Great Falls Business and Professional Association.

<b>Celebrating Hometown</b>

<b>Pastor Paul Gysan, Christ the King Lutheran Church</b>

"The five things I like about Great Falls are: 1) Churches; 2) Easter Sunrise Service at GFNP; 3) Vacation Bible Schools; 4) Freedom Memorial;

5) Hometown July 4th Celebration.

<b> Boundless Beauty</b>

<b>Patricia G. Budwig, M.A., Creative Director, Starshine Children's Theater</b>

"I love the Great Falls area because it has managed to retain a great feeling of community and togetherness, while being geographically spread throughout one of the most beautiful natural wildlife regions remaining in this rapidly changing urban area. The forests, the river, the winding roads, the horse pastures, are irreplaceable as development (hopefully sprung from a plan of wisdom), surges forward all around us.

The folks that live here, seem ready to protect and cherish those aspects, yet ready to respect the privacy and "space" of their neighbors, which in turn gives us our peace of mind, and, therefore, supplies our energy to contribute back to the community. It is a healthy dynamic for such a growing, diverse group of people, and, as a result, our children possess an awareness, and are thankful for their surroundings.

This is heartening, as they will soon become the new guardians of this beautiful place.

Great Falls is also one of the most creatively exuberant places I've ever experienced. My husband and I were born and raised in this area (graduated from Langley High School way back when!), and then left for places like NYC and San Francisco to further our studies and work in Music, Dramatics and Dance.

When we returned here about 16 years ago (our daughter was 1), we discovered an amazingly large group of very enthusiastic families who, like us, wanted their children to learn and grow in the performing arts.

Our Starshine Theater’s children's workshops and performances began at that time, in the classrooms of Village Green Day School, and have grown to feature hundreds of talented students from the Great Falls area and beyond.

I am thankful to be in a place where neither beauty nor creativity knows any bounds.

<b>Stimulating Diversity</b>

<b>Joan S. Pifer, President, Newcomers of Great Falls</b>

"First and foremost, Great Falls is unusual because, due to our larger lots and areas of open land, it's a ‘suburb’ with the ambience of the country. You can turn onto a street and view a green pasture with grazing horses, or enjoy an afternoon at Great Falls or Riverbend Park. For those who like running and hiking, Great Falls offers beautifully serene trails along the Potomac River and throughout the entire area. And the majority of our citizens take advantage of this; you can see them walking, running, and riding in many a neighborhood and park.

Great Falls benefits greatly from its many local organizations; their presence demonstrates that our citizens have a true sense of commitment to our community. For a town with a relatively small population (over a large geographical area), we have an inordinate number of organizations. These include Newcomers of Great Falls, the Great Falls Citizens Association, Great Falls Friends, Great Falls Historical Society, Great Falls Trail Blazers, Great Falls Optimist Club, and several more. The challenge is not to mix these groups up! Joining these organizations gives citizens a wonderful opportunity to get involved and meet people of similar interests.

While I can't state that Great Falls is economically that diverse, our community does have an amazing variety of people with different interests and occupations. At any gathering you might run into a lobbyist, landscaper, stay-at-home parent, artist, government employee, lawyer, doctor, entrepreneur, telecommunications specialist ... This diversity makes for some stimulating and educational conversation! Our residents also are, in my opinion, more friendly than in many areas, perhaps in part because many of us have moved often and know the importance of reaching out.

Another great thing about Great Falls is our unique location, offering proximity to historical and natural attractions all within roughly a three-hour radius. Living here allows us to take wonderful day trips to places such as Harpers Ferry, Williamsburg, Gettysburg, Annapolis, Alexandria, Shenandoah National Park, the Chesapeake Bay, the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean ... and of course we can't forget the fabulous museums, cultural and political events, and restaurants in Washington D.C.!

<b>Artful Place</b>

<b>Jon Fisher, Board Member, Great Falls Studios</b>

"Five things I like most about Great Falls:

1. Hiking trails. I can walk nine miles from Great Falls Park up the river to my house in time for lunch and not see anyone else. And this is only a half-hour from the White House.

2. Fellow artists. More than 77 artists live or work in Great Falls (members of Great Falls Studios, of which I'm one). Our village really has become an artful place. In such a creative community, quality of life is enhanced.

3. Talented neighbors. Folks here run the gamut — from world-class chefs to world-class anti-terrorists. There's no stereotype, except that people here are not ordinary.

4. Bountiful wildlife. The other day a pileated woodpecker in my yard — a magnificent bird as big as a large parrot— took apart a stump in search for dinner. I also revel in my neighborhood red fox and a long list of other creatures that traipse across my property.

5. Bluebells on the Potomac. The river is our great natural asset and about mid-April, bluebells along its bank erupt in a blanket of shimmering color, making this one of the Seven Wonders of Great Falls.

<b>Protecting, Enhancing, Preserving</b>

<b>Kathleen Murphy, Co-Chairman of GFCA Long-Range Planning & Development Committee</b>

"Beholding the beauty of the nature that surrounds me every day, at any moment that I care to notice, has changed me from an analytic person absorbed in my head to a seeing person anchored in my heart. Living in a community of people who share a love of nature and discern nature's beauty is a very special bond we have with each other that requires little introduction. I appreciate the circle of protectors, the elder statesman of Great Falls, who sit on no board, chair no committee, but attend almost every meeting, and provide guidance and counsel to new volunteers. It is they who hold the vision and guide its continuity. If you do not know who I mean, it is time for you to volunteer and get to know who the vision-holders are and how they preserve and protect. I have been continuously surprised and moved by the random residents who ‘show up’ just when they are needed to participate in ‘protecting’ or ‘enhancing’ or ‘preserving’ of the semi-rural character of Great Falls. There is so much to do to accomplish our vision for 2020. Those who are so moved are welcome to participate in its unfolding through the committee work at the Great Falls Citizens Association."

<b>Jim Luce, President, Great Falls Citizens Association</b>

Great Falls is a great place to live because of:

1. Our Great Falls friends and business associates; 2. We have the best of both worlds — we live in the country but are close to an international city with airports, museums, colleges, sports — pro and college, restaurants, Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, etc; 3. Strong public school system — all my children graduated from Langley High School, well prepared for college and beyond; 4. Great Falls Swim & Tennis Club — the best value around; and, 5. Activism of the community evidenced by Great Falls Citizens Association, Business and Professional Association, Great Falls Charities, Optimists, Friends, Newcomers and more.