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One year ago today, ARLnow reported on the Arlington County Board’s decision to loosen zoning regulations on accessory dwelling units — also known as backyard cottages.

Now that you can build separate dwellings in your backyard — to house grandma and grandpa, host an au pair, or generate rental income — the question is: who do you get to build it?

Luckily, there’s a local small business that specializes in doing just that, and they’re a new sponsor of ARLnow, helping us bring you local news at a crucial time.

Backyard Homes was founded by Michael Novotny, who traded a career in commercial real estate development for an opportunity to help local homeowners while doing his small part to help solve the area’s housing shortage.

The company offers a variety of models that are built to last and can be built fast once Backyard Homes pulls permits from the county on your behalf.

Needless to say, during a pandemic the utility of a separate dwelling on your property has become increasingly clear for those who work in health care, who have older family members living with them, or who want a steady source of supplemental income. If that describes you, give this homegrown business a look.

Thank you to Backyard Homes for supporting local news during this time.


It’s a new week, and we have lots of local news to cover already. We’re able to bring you that coverage, free of charge, thanks in large part to the support of our sponsors.

Continuing an ongoing series, ARLnow is giving special shoutouts today to the sponsors that are sticking with us during these tough times. Today we’re recognizing three legal practices that advertise with us:

Thank you to all of our sponsors for supporting ARLnow and helping to keep our readers informed.

Flickr photo by Joe Gratz


ARLnow keeps the lights on, and keeps our site free for readers, primarily thanks to our advertisers.

Today we’re specifically thanking a group of advertisers in a business category that is important to community news publications nationwide: real estate.

Yes, the men and women who help you tour, buy and sell homes are also helping to keep you informed. ARLnow, the Sun Gazette, Arlington Magazine — all have significant bases of business from residential real estate firms and agents. If you’re buying or selling a home an in the market for an agent, you might flip through the pages of ARLnow and other local publications to see who is investing in the community.

Today we’re thanking all of our current real estate sponsors, including:

Aaron Seekford / Arlington Realty

Aaron Seekford is Mr. Arlington. Literally, that’s the URL of his website. Aaron comes from a real estate family and graduated from Wakefield High School — he has deep knowledge of the county and the local market. Also, the brand new Arlington Realty office near Crystal City, from which he works, is very cool. Aaron and Arlington Realty sponsor Just Reduced and Open Houses.

Andors Real Estate Group

James Andors took over the Just Listed feature in February and has been providing useful market insights and compilations of interesting new listings since. Andors Real Estate Group is another family affair, with decades of local real estate experience.

Betsy Twigg

A top-selling real estate agent with nearly three decades of experience, Betsy is something of an Arlington real estate legend. She has continued selling and renting out homes over the past two months, providing reliable service to clients during uncertain times.

Buck and Associates

Buck and Associates has been helping clients buy and sell homes in Arlington since disco was still cool. The company is about as Arlington as it gets: founder William Buck was instrumental in the development of the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, current CEO Billy Buck is a third-generation Arlingtonian, and Buck and Association generously supports a number of local nonprofits.

Eli Residential Group

Eli Tucker has been writing the Ask Eli column on ARLnow since 2015, and since that time has grown his business into a full-fledged real estate team. Eli has more knowledge of the Arlington real estate market and its underlying trends than perhaps anyone around, something that’s on display each time he publishes another well-researched, data-filled article.

Keri Shull Team / Orange Line Living

Keri Shull and Dan Lesniak are a tireless real estate power couple whose Rosslyn-based company stakes the claim to being the top-producing team in the D.C. area. Also, they literally wrote a book that other real estate agents read when trying to get better at their jobs, which has to be a good sign. When she’s not busy being a local real estate star, serial entrepreneur, public speaker, and mother of three young children, Keri also produces the Neighborhood Spotlight videos that can be seen on ARLnow every other Saturday.

Thank you to all of our real estate sponsors for supporting ARLnow and helping to keep our readers informed.


The last time anyone was in the ARLnow offices in Ballston, there was an unusual sight across the street.

Though Ballston was a near ghost town, there was a fleet of Life Fitness trucks parked outside the new 4040 Wilson Blvd tower, delivering brand new fitness gear.

Yes, when it’s safe to do so, VIDA Fitness is still planning to open its new Ballston location. (They’re also planning to open in Rosslyn next year.)

VIDA is a high-end, D.C.-born health and wellness club that prides itself on its state-of-the-art facilities and its connection to the local community. Plus, the company supports independent local journalism as a continued sponsor of ARLnow.

Want to see what VIDA is all about? Sign up to access their online home workout library, or become a virtual member for live fitness classes all day long.

Thank you, VIDA Fitness, for helping ARLnow continue to report local stories during these trying times.

ARLnow is continuing a series of articles to highlight the local businesses that advertise with us and help keep the community informed during these trying times.

Today we’re giving a big tip of the cap to The Sycamore School.

Based in Ballston, Sycamore School is “an independent secondary school helping students find their place… in the classroom, in the community, in the world.” It believes that conventional education focuses too much on standardized tests and rigid standards, and not enough on individuality, innovation, curiosity, emotional development and civic engagement.

If you’re considering education alternatives for grades 5-12, give Sycamore School a look and sign up for a (remote) school information session.

Thank you to The Sycamore School for its continued support of local journalism.


ARLnow is continuingseries of articles to highlight the local businesses that advertise with us and help keep the community informed during these trying times.

Today we’re recognizing our sponsor Classic Cottages. The company, which focuses on Northern Virginia, will celebrate its 10th anniversary in June.

Ask a real estate agent to compare and contrast local homebuilders, and they’ll probably tell you that Classic Cottages stands out for its commitment to quality. And that commitment has paid off: you don’t have to go too far in Arlington to encounter a home built by Classic Cottages.

“Classic Cottages is passionate about building high quality homes that meet modern lifestyle needs,” the company says on its website. “Our fully integrated in-house team of architects, designers, sales, marketing, and construction professionals consistently reinvent our beautiful models to adapt to industry trends and meet market demand. When you build with Classic Cottages, you can be confident you will receive a quality home that will last for generations. Build well. Live well.”

If you’re considering buying a new home, or just want to take a gander at some HGTV-worthy interiors, you can see some of Classic Cottages’ recently-completed homes, home models and photo galleries on its website.


ARLnow is continuing a series of articles to highlight the local businesses that advertise with us and help keep the community informed during these trying times.

Today we’re giving a shout out to Elite Dental in Clarendon.

Obviously during the pandemic you’re not going to be going in for a routine dental visit. But once it’s over, there is going to be a crush of people trying to get their teeth cleaned, so maybe consider booking an appointment for July or August now.

Why Elite Dental?

Elite Dental is the Cadillac of dental practices. It’s basically a comfy spa where you happen to get your teeth cleaned, x-rayed, whitened, straightened, and — well, you get the picture, they do dental things. Elite uses the latest techniques, technology and, as a bonus, they’re really friendly. The Yelp reviews don’t lie.

Need a dentist upgrade? Sign up as a new patient online or call them at 703-988-6963.

Thank you, Elite Dental, for keeping our teeth sparkling and for supporting local journalism.


ARLnow is continuing a series of articles to highlight the local businesses that advertise with us and help keep the community informed during these trying times.

Tonight we’re recognizing Dominion Floors, which remains open and serving customers, while taking all the proper precautions.

You know what you can’t shelter in place at home without? Floors. In fact, a house is not even habitable without some form of flooring. And it’s a bit less habitable without good flooring — the non-squeaking, non-worn-down kind.

The good news is that Dominion Floors knows floors. It’s in the name. It’s what they do.

So if you are spending every waking hour at home and are experiencing a dawning realization that your floors need to be replaced, they’re the people to call (at 703-536-4116) or email. They have a showroom at the Lee-Harrison Shopping Center that currently has very limited weekday hours, or you can just check out their website and request a free estimate.

Dominion Floors is an Arlington institution (since 1968) that supports your favorite Arlington local news website. Please give them a look if you’re in the market.


This morning we’re continuing a series of articles to highlight the local businesses that advertise with and help up keep the community informed during these trying times.

Our long-time sponsor Groff Landscape Design is a Clarendon-based business that takes a comprehensive, modern approach to landscape design. They help you design and build your dream backyard, and remove much of the stress usually associated with such a project.

There’s a reason why almost 75% of Groff business is either repeat clients or direct client referrals, and why they keep winning Houzz, Angie’s List, and Best of Arlington awards — they’re good.

Groff is continuing to serve clients and stay safe during the coronavirus outbreak, so if you wanted to take advantage of some extra time at home and start designing the landscaping of your dream, now is a good time to do it. Many of the consultations can be conducted via web-based video conferencing, and — of course — the work is done outside.

Thank you to Robert Groff and the team for your support of ARLnow.

Photo via Facebook


Today we’re continuing a series of articles to highlight the local businesses that advertise with

The coronavirus outbreak will bring significant hardship to many local businesses in Arlington, so we wanted to take an opportunity to recognize the advertisers who support us, in hopes that our readers support them.

Today we’re highlighting Cook Bros., Arlington’s No. 1 home remodeling firm and a long-time ARLnow advertiser.

Based in Arlington, on Lee Highway, and specializing in Arlington projects, Cook Bros. brings a wealth of local experience to those seeking to upgrade their homes. And renovating existing homes, when possible, can be a greener alternative to tearing down homes.

If you were thinking of a future remodeling project, now would be a great time to give Cook Bros. a call at 703-536-0900 or email at [email protected] and discuss the options.


This morning we’re kicking off a series of articles to highlight the local businesses that advertise with

The coronavirus outbreak will bring significant hardship to many local businesses in Arlington, so we wanted to take an opportunity to recognize the advertisers who support us, in hopes that our readers support them.

Arrowine (4508 Lee Highway) is one of ARLnow’s longest-running advertisers. It recently renovated, expanding its cheese selection and adding a deli counter and a growler fill station.

It is considered by some to be the best wine shop in Virginia. It is certainly one of those community-serving businesses that make Arlington a better place.

Social distancing is important to help slow the spread of disease, and we hope that those who want to stock up on wine and beer ahead of an extended stay at home might a) do so now, rather than later, and b) choose to do so at Arrowine rather than a more crowded, chain grocery store.

Arrowine said in a social media post over the weekend that it is “exploring how to best implement [delivery] service.” In the meantime, if you’d like to place a wine order or pickup, or to buy a gift card, you can do so online. Arrowine is open from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday.

Thank you, Arrowine, for your support of our news coverage.

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To our Arrowine Community,⠀ ⠀ In light of the recent global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, we are sharing the actions we are taking to protect the health and well being of our guests and our team, who are of the utmost importance to us, and to do our part in supporting the containment and resolution of this crisis:⠀ Over the last few weeks, we have implemented additional measures to thoroughly and regularly deep clean all areas of our business. All members of our deli staff are ServSafe certified and we use a commercial sanitizing dishwasher.⠀ Employees who feel in any way sick are required to stay home. We are taking care to support all employees’ wellbeing and stability.⠀ ⠀ We work closely with the health department and local officials in Arlington and follow all best practices through this rapidly evolving situation⠀ ⠀ While we continue to take every precaution, as of right now, our doors remain open and operations are running as normal. In the event that any of this changes, we will let you know immediately. If you have any questions about an existing order or pickup, please email us at [email protected] or [email protected] or give us a call at 703-525-0990.⠀ ⠀ The Friday and Saturday tastings will still take place. The Saturday Virginia winemakers tasting has been scaled back to only one winery, Early Mountain Vineyards.⠀ ⠀ We also understand that in these times, you might prefer to find little moments of joy in the comfort of your home. We’re currently live via our online shop and welcome taking orders over the phone. We currently do not offer deliveries, but are exploring how to best implement the service and will notify you when operations are running. ⠀ ⠀ Our store is prepared to respond rapidly to any emerging situation with modified operations, either at our own discretion or as directed by authorities. No matter what happens, these disruptions are temporary.⠀ ⠀ We are so grateful to call you our guests. You are the beating heart of Arrowine, and it gives us so much joy to serve you. ⠀ ⠀ Our thoughts are with all those who have been affected by this illness, all over the world.⠀ ⠀ Thank you for your understanding and support — today and every day.

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