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Street Smart: Westover in Arlington

This stretch of Arlington’s Westover real estate gives hope to those looking for the land that fro-yo shops and Starbucks forgot. But don’t let these Mayberry charms fool you.

No one’s thinking “sleepy” around here.

Lost Dog Cafe
5876 Washington Blvd.
Before sidewalks were dotted with water bowls and "yappy hour" was a thing, the original Lost Dog Cafe location was doing more than just giving lip service to Arlington's four-legged residents. Six years after opening the cafe, in 1985, Ross Underwood and Pam McAlwee founded the Lost Dog Rescue Foundation, which has rescued more than 18,000 animals. But good deeds in the kitchen and an impressive list of beer prove Lost Dog knows how to treats it two-legged guests.

Trade Roots
5852 Washington Blvd.
Before the shop's 2012 opening, owner Lisa Ostroff says, "there were no fair-trade stores in Arlington and not a lot of gift options in this stretch." She credits Westover's "small-town feel, good people and a landlord friendly to a new business owner without a brand name" to her locale choice. Among the goodies for those good people: Kenyan appetizer bowls, enough friendship bracelets for every wrist at the nearby middle school and fair-trade faves chocolate and coffee.

 The Forest Inn
5849 Washington Blvd.
This is one of Arlington's true and few dive bars. Customers greet one another by name, and bartender Sandy Lange, in her 20th year, fills orders before they are placed. "Everyone knows everyone and looks out for each other," says Sharon Overman, who tended Forest's bar from 1993 to 2012. "We'll notice if you're new. ... Soon enough, we'll get you in the conversation."

Westover Market and Beer Garden
5863 Washington Blvd.
To see how this neighborhood has hung onto its family-centric past and evolved to keep singles from straying to Clarendon, stand at the meat counter. To one side: six aisles of grocery essentials and beer, lots of it: The entire back wall and half of the produce section boast more than 1,000 brands. More flows in the indoor bar and garden, with 16 microbrews on rotation.

 Ayers Variety & Hardware
5853 Washington Blvd.
Here's the place you run into for contact paper and leave with a lava lamp, shower head and Squirrel Nut Zipper candies. "No matter what it is, you can find it at Ayers," says Elaine Guth, who needed a fake owl to scare birds and vermin. "I live in McLean, but didn't even think about going anywhere else."

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