I’m from Northern Virginia and that’s exactly how I put it when I answer people’s questions about where I’m from. Northern Virginia: Both words necessary. It’s a distinct region, albeit a broad, diverse, dynamic one. But we are not Virginia and we are not D.C. – though usually for geographic reference I toss out a standard “about 30 miles away from DC” when depicting my home and native land.
I know and joy the rest of Virginia and have friends and family throughout the Commonwealth, from the 757 to the Blue Ridge, and I accept begrudgingly that I am governed politically by a city (Richmond) which has more in common with Jacksonville, Florida, than it does with Alexandria or Reston or Tysons Freaking Corner. But NoVA is its own place, with its own culture and history, however recently developed – as so many of this area’s roads and buildings have been.
Northern Virginia has its own transportation council (thenovaauthority.org/about), its own economic development advocacy and many companies incorporate the phrase into their names. Northern Virginia’s impact on statewide politics is pivotal. The TV and radio stations in DC have Northern Virginia reporters (wtop.com/author/max-smith). There’s a magazine called Northern Virginia Magazine (example of locally oriented content at northernvirginiamag.com/style/insiders-guide/2017/08/16/insiders-guide-barry-beck-shares-his-favorite-hidden-gems/), catering specifically to connecting the people, businesses, restaurants and cultural opportunities found around Loudoun, Fairfax, Prince William and Arlington – from the young urban professionals of Wilson Boulevard to the newly opened wineries out on Route 9.
I’ve come to admire the depth and breadth of a place that is the District of Columbia and I know well the industrious combination of vitality and serenity that is the Commonwealth of Virginia, but my favoritism and chauvinism is nonnegotiable toward the economic, educational and technological juggernaut, a bright star they call NoVA.
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