Northern Virginia is home to several counties surrounding our nation's capital, Washington, DC. Companies like Fannie Mae and AOL live there, as well as much of the defense establishment, and GMU and GWU universities.

Generally considered to consist of Fairfax, the cities of Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, Manassas and Manassas Park, and Prince William and Loudoun counties on the outer edges. Virginia exurbs of Washington extend as far west as Winchester and as far south as Fredericksburg.

Most of the rest of the state does not consider NoVA to be part of Virginia. A favorite fact used as evidence for this point is that the first Virginia Welcome Center on Interstate 95 as you enter from the north is in Fredericksburg.

Late at night, the horrors and frustration of driving in Nova melt away as the commuters reach their homes and the clogged and choked arteries of the capital's sprawling southwestern suburbs open up. Windows down, air conditioning off, you appreciate the warm breeze that feels like a casual embrace instead of the daytime's suffocating headlock. After midnight, when most blocks have no more than one other car on the road, and the infuriatingly timed traffic lights are switched to flashing yellow, you can finally realize that it can be fun to drive here. You can finally enjoy the rolling hills and valleys, random twists and turns alternating with open expressways. It feels like a completely different place.

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