Cheap Staycation: Walk My 'Hood

I love getting away, but sometimes it just isn't possible for health, money or other reasons (and sometimes I just like the comforts of home). So I've been exploring my suburban Washington, D.C., neighborhood. It's called Mantua and is in Fairfax County, in northern Virginia.

I know that the term staycation has fallen out of favor, but I can term my explorations as such because that word fits. Truly, I am lucky to live in wooded hills packed with wildlife. Last weekend while on a walk, a raccoon peeked out of a storm drain pipe. Red foxes walk through my yard every day, searching for squirrels too stupid to stay on trees. There are baby foxes, I suspect, in the yard in back of mine.

There's a Lotte Korean grocery store on one edge of the 'hood. I walk there to buy fresh inexpensive vegetables and fish. A Trader Joe's is at another end of the 'hood; that's where I go for cheap wine and wonderful cheeses. A post office is on the same road. My neighborhood has 1,550 houses (more households, if you count apartments within some and multi-family living situations), yet there is no blue mailbox to deposit mail. Even with online bill-paying and email correspondence, it would be nice to have a place to deposit a birthday card or sympathy card. (I hope that even the most social-media conscious among us dares not send email when someone loses a family member of friend. Then again, I fear I'm just a dinosaur for thinking that people like to actually talk to people.)

Mantua's boundaries roughly are between Route 236 (Little River Turnpike), Route 50 (Arlington Boulevard), Prosperity Avenue and Pickett Road. Each of these carries lots of cars. Usually I am the only one walking on them. My explorations will go as far as I can, now that this long winter with snow still on the ground on March 26 has turned to Spring.

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