It all comes down to expectations, I guess.
I moved out this way – into Loudoun, that is – in mid 2009. And for the longest time I searched for Brambleton Regional Park. Driving out along Rt. 50, there's a very large sign that points explicitly up Loudoun County Parkway/Old Ox Road. You can drive all the way to route 28, though, without ever seeing the park.
That's because it's not there. Knowing Brambleton quite well, in fact, several more directional signs would be necessary from that point to get you to the actual site.
You might see the sign on Old Ox pointing to Evergreen Mills Road ... you might not. If you miss it and turn around, there's another one on the southbound side. However, once on Evergreen Mills, there's no sign telling park seekers to turn right on Belmont Ridge Road, or to turn left on Ryan Road from Belmont Ridge.
Without knowing where it was, though, you probably never would find it. And you might not know it if you did because the only evidence of Brambleton Regional Park's existence is a large sign that says Brambleton Golf Course.
A golf course does not a park make, in my opinion. I have nothing against golf courses, but I don't play golf.
I do, however, constantly search for new recreational opportunities for my family and my kids because, while we absolutely love Loudoun County, it sometimes lacks for fun things to do. The thought that a large, beautiful regional park with meadows, trees, perhaps a swimming pool or playground, maybe a beach or carousel, and lots of people frolicking in the sun sounds just great.
Bull Run, for example, is a lovely regional park in Centreville with a water park, campground and yearly Festival of Lights display. Algonkian Regional Park in Sterling is a wonderful place for water recreation – golf, too, but not golf only. So, expecting a regional park and instead getting middle-aged men in silly pants is, to me anyway, a disappointing tradeoff.
I can live with it though.
What I can't live with is the thought that people from all over the region might, as I have done, go enthusiastically looking for a regional park and end up at a golf course – that is, if they make it that far – and, thanks to curious signage, never know that they're one and the same.
[Editor's note: The baseball fields next to the building also are not Brambleton Regional Park.