Viewpoints: Sharing Vienna, Oakton Experiences with Newcomers

Viewpoints: Sharing Vienna, Oakton Experiences with Newcomers


The Carpenter Children: Gabrielle, 12, and Cate Carpenter, 5, enjoy life in Vienna, especially around Halloween time.

Grateful for Discovering Vienna

“Our family moved to Vienna five years ago from Louisville, Kentucky, with our seven-year-old daughter and a new baby girl on the way,” said Jeffrey Carpenter. "Both my wife and I had previously lived in Alexandria and in Washington, D.C. prior to starting a family, but in looking to move back to the D.C. area from Louisville with a growing family, our priorities had changed. We wanted to live in a city that was still close to D.C. and all of the economic vitality and cultural experiences it offers while also enjoying a safe, child-friendly neighborhood, excellent schools, and a home with a yard for the kid's first dog. We found all of that and more in Vienna. Vienna is great because it has a small town feel with accessibility to large city life, kids can still play outside, ride a bike, and walk to a friend's house in the neighborhood, neighbors come over for barbeques and host Halloween parties at their homes. The schools are committed to academic excellence while promoting citizenship and kindness. Our family is so grateful to have discovered Vienna and to have made it our home.”


Harrington family photo: Joy, Brian, Isabella, 6, and David Harrington, 4. Joy and Brian say they are enjoying raising their children in Vienna.

A Family Night in Town

Brian and Joy Harrington are Vienna’s Parks and Rec dream duo. ”We love living in Vienna,” said Joy Harrington. "The schools and sports programs, as well as the wealth of Community Center classes and events and beautiful parks for children, help to make Vienna a favorite spot for families. Everything we need is close and convenient to access. Brian and I have lived in Vienna our whole lives, 34 years, and are so grateful we could buy a home in Vienna and raise our children here. Both sets of our parents live in Vienna and my Grandmother decided to retire here too, to be near all of us. Vienna is our family tradition! Just last night we had a family night. We went swimming at Hunter Mill Pool and Tennis Club and then returned to see the Disney movie ‘Moana’ on the Town Green. It was so much fun seeing our friends and other families enjoying a great time right here in our hometown. Brian and I both work for Vienna Parks and Recreation, so we are near home and the children's schools during the day. Living and working in Vienna makes it simple to participate in special events at school and the children are comfortable knowing we are usually nearby."


The Heads: Dan, JJ, Abigail, 24, Emily, 22, Paxton, 21, and Brian Head, 27, love the events and amenities that Vienna has to offer.

Year-round Festival

The Head family are long-time residents of Vienna. After raising four kids in the area, JJ Head has a good handle on the town. “We have lived in Vienna for 22 years. It is a wonderful place to raise a family. We love the small town feel, the tight knit community, the wonderful schools, youth sports, and the events that bring everyone together. Among our favorites are the Halloween parade, Viva Vienna, Holiday Stroll and most recently Chillin’ on Church Street. A great family activity is biking along the W&OD trail heading to Great Harvest Bread, Freeman House or the Farmers Market. Fairfax County has some of the best schools in the country. As a former elementary school teacher, I am very impressed with the schools in Vienna and Oakton. It was very special when all my children were at Oakton Elementary at the same time,” said JJ Head.

Abigail Head, 24, said it was a great place to grow up. “It was really nice living in a big cul-de-sac near the woods right around our house where we could play games like cops and robbers, kick the can, kickball, basketball, explore in nature and build things like ice castles in the winter or little huts out of sticks with other kids our age in the neighborhood.”


Brad Swanson and Anne Stunz, President of Vienna’s own Historic Vienna Inc., are engaged in town events and activities involving the Freeman Store.

The Magic of Vienna

The Stunz family are somewhat icons in the Vienna community. “My grandad picked out Vienna as a great place to live after he graduated from college in Wisconsin in 1900 — he loved the easy commute to his job in D.C., he loved the people who lived here, and he loved the small town atmosphere; it really was a small town in the early 1900s,” said Anne Stunz. "I especially appreciate Vienna’s Department of Parks and Recreation. They create so many wonderful events and facilities for the community, and they really support history by working hard to keep the 1959 Freeman Store and 1897 Little Library in good repair and by helping Historic Vienna Inc with our programs. They are wonderful people. I love that Vienna keeps its unique identity through fun events all year that celebrate its sense of community — such as Viva Vienna, the Chillin’s on Church, Oktoberfest, Church Street Stroll, and all the events at the Town Green and elsewhere around town. I always think of the Freeman Store and Museum as the heart of Vienna. The town was brilliant to save this piece of its history back in the 1960s so that Vienna would never forget its small town roots.” Anne Stunz’s parents wrote a book titled “This Was Vienna” detailing Vienna from its birth. The book can be bought at the Freeman Store and Museum.

Brad Swanson, Stunz’s husband, added that, “When you fly over northern Virginia you see an undifferentiated mass of housing, roads and commerce. But somehow a part of that agglomeration, marked off by invisible lines, is a real community with an identity, a history and a continuing tradition that pulls people together whether they are longtime residents or new to the town. That, to me, is the magic of Vienna.”


Allie Jensen has lived most of her life in close proximity to both Oakton and Vienna.

Vienna, Oakton: A Small Town Next to City Life

Allie Jensen had the privilege of growing up between two great towns. “I think Oakton and Vienna is great because it's a small town with its own unique traditions and spaces but it's also in close proximity to such a big city (D.C.), so you can really get a combination of the small town and big city life. My family has lived in Oakton since 2001, so 18 years.”