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Hello Hokie Nation

I hope you folks weren't as anxious as I was for the Post to name its new Virginia Tech beat writer, because I'm pretty sure I spent enough hours speculating about the decision for all of us. But if you were, the wait is over.

Hello, my name is Mark Giannotto and I will be guiding you through the ups-and-downs (and hopefully it's mostly ups) of Virginia Tech athletics over the next year.

To give you a little background, I'm a D.C. area native who grew up in Potomac, Maryland. I graduated from the University of Michigan in 2008, the first senior class in more than 40 years to never witness a football victory over Ohio State. As a college reporter, I was in the trenches covering Bo Schembechler's death, Tommy Amaker's firing, John Beilein's hiring, the Appalachian State debacle, Lloyd Carr's retirement, and the beginning of the Rich Rodriguez era.

I spent the summer after college working on the metro desk at the New York Sun in New York City before coming back home to cover high school sports in Northern Virginia. Last August I was hired by the Post, and over the past year I've mostly covered the preps scene while also dabbling in Washington Capitals coverage. I also freelanced for the Express, D.C.'s free metro daily and owned by the Post, where I wrote about the NHL and Georgetown basketball.

How does this relate to you, the loyal Virginia Tech fan? Well, if you're interested in finding out the strengths and weaknesses of D.C. products like freshmen Ricardo Young, Chase Williams, or Brian Laiti, I've got a pretty good idea about that since I've been to more high school games than I can count over the past two years. But mostly I just want you, the reader, to get to know me a little better. I want this blog to become a community of sorts, where your opinions are just as important as mine.

So with that in mind, feel free to email me at or leave a comment below with any suggestions you think would make the Post's Virginia Tech coverage even better than it has been in the past. And if you haven't done so already, follow our Hokies Journal twitter account, where I'll try to give you some 140-character takes on what I'm covering.

As Matt said in a previous post, we'll have plenty of Hokies coverage over the coming week from various Post reporters. You'll have to bear with me for a few days as I relocate from Washington, D.C. down to Blacksburg, but I should be up-and-running by next Monday, seven days before a certain nationally-televised season opener takes place at Fedex Field.

This is a really exciting opportunity for me and I'm looking forward to digging my claws into everything Hokies-related. Until then ... does anyone know a good place to find housing in Blacksburg on short notice?

By Mark Giannotto  |  August 24, 2010; 2:11 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: A note on our Hokies coverage
Next: Playing catchup before the final preseason scrimmage


Apt. Guide around VT

Worst case scnario, Foxridge always has open places, but is a little out there...

Posted by: SPEHokie | August 24, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Terrace View is a large complex and should have some vacants. Have everything from 1 BR to Townhouses.

Two other locals are Jared Gouveia-Winslow and David Wang(both of Stonebridge HS).

Posted by: falls_chuuch | August 24, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Terrace View is a large complex and should have some vacants. Have everything from 1 BR to Townhouses.

Two other locals are Jared Gouveia-Winslow and David Wang(both of Stonebridge HS).

Posted by: falls_chuuch | August 24, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Maybe you could get into the Legends of Blacksburg(once they become available):

Posted by: VTRichmond | August 24, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Oh, Foxridge. I still fondly recall your $484/mo rent.

Anyhow - welcome to the va tech beat! Hokie fans are a pretty talkative bunch, so any topic your raise that has discussion potential should generate some posts.

Posted by: saltydog75 | August 24, 2010 10:30 PM | Report abuse

Welcome to Hokie Nation!

Being in the print business, I'd go for Shawnee-subsidized housing, with three bedrooms for $240 a month (uh,hmm,25 years ago).

Suggestions? Cabo Fish Taco. Just there taking the oldest for her first year at Tech. Also, the frozen custard shop on business 460 in Christiansburg right before the interstate.

Posted by: RogerRamjet2 | August 24, 2010 10:41 PM | Report abuse

Avoid Townside Realty at all costs. There are some great small homes and townhouses to find on the cheap as the apartment complexes tend to rip you off a bit.

Hokie House always has a great deal during power hour with some decent beers in huge 32oz mugs. You also must not forget to try a rail at Top of the Stairs (just don't try to drink three; nothing good comes from that). I called Blacksburg my home for six years as an undergrad and grad student. I hope it treats you well.

Posted by: SKfromDCtoNC | August 24, 2010 11:25 PM | Report abuse

Four hours from DC and the Post pretends to be the local paper! I'm hearing the Post is planning to send beat reporters to Rutgers, Duke, and the London School of Economics, too!

Posted by: Nemo24601 | August 25, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Nemo24601 <---

Evidently you don't know anything about demographics so please keep your business acumen to yourself.

A couple of tips Mark:

Foxridge is the best apartment complex with nice rooms, excellent customer services, 24hr maintenance, well manicured lawns and wide open fields to chillax and enjoy the cool evening breezes, picnick or play football. The rent is little steep but believe me it's cheaper than any place in NOVA, DC & MD. The campus food is incredible with great variety especially West End Dinning Hall. The Kabuki restaurant in Christiansburg is awesome. TOTS (Top of the stairs) and HOHOS ( Hokie House) are decent places for drinks/nightlife on weekends. And whatever you do, don't drive to campus during the week especially when it is game night, too time consuming.

Posted by: PlzGodCome | August 25, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Nemo- there are probably more Hokie Alums in the DC area than almost any other school- it makes sense.

Mark- are you staying long-term- or just looking for weekends? I'd check out Fox Ridge Apartments and Tech Terrace. Food- Sharkey's wing buffet, Macados, Buffalo Wild Wings, Mike's grill for burgers, PK's pizza, and Boudreaux's for brunch

Posted by: novahokie2004 | August 25, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Welcome to the beat. Just want to throw in a mention of Erick Green of the tech basketball team. Keep an eye on him. And his sister (still in High School) is a force herself.

Posted by: tojo45 | August 25, 2010 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Rogerramjet: I'm paying $260 this semester :) Yes, its glorified temporary housing, but for a whole semester I'm paying what one month cost me in DC this summer.

As for housing on short notice, I would suggest looking at the Lofts above Moe's on Main St, or call TNT Fincham (sp?) which owns the building of The Rivermill, Bollo's, Gillie's; They are really nice places, very rustic feel.

Looking forward to your posts.

Posted by: dolan83 | August 25, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Welcome Aboard Mark.. I am a Hokie grad who lives in Ann Arbor and have been watching the Michigan debacle. I used to call into WTKA to talk about the Hokies with Fithian before he left. I know Hokies do not have the history of the Wolverines, but I hope you can see past that and note that we have been a dominant team in the past 10-15 years. Hopefully, you'll not be like my Michigan collegues here that don't want to accept that. Above all, I hope that you have fun at Lane and soak in all that energy.. It ain't the Big House, but it rocks... Looking forward to your stories..

Terrace view is the best place.. In a bind my host family may have a room for you to crash!

Posted by: Hokie_MI | August 25, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Welcome Mark! Hope you enjoy covering our team this year.

Posted by: RapmasterAC | August 25, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Collegiate Suites is also a good apartment complex along with all of the other places listed here. Really there are so many apartment complexes in Blacksburg that housing should not be a problem.

Other things you need to do:
Learn Enter Sandman
Get a rail at TOTS
Visit the memorial

I wish i was going back to tech instead of being in this damn cubicle

Posted by: jwalte04 | August 25, 2010 12:44 PM | Report abuse

i miss carol lee's donuts. even if the downtown shop isnt there anymore, you can still get the donuts across from food line on N. Main. that's the first thing i would do if i visited blacksburg.

Posted by: joe_hill | August 25, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

Mark- Welcome- glad to see the Washington Post has someone back on the job. I look forward to your stuff.

Nemo is wrong, of course. VT fans outnumber and out-shout every other school in the Washington area. Not covering them would not make much sense from a business standpoint.

Posted by: peter777 | August 25, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Here is link to the Virginia Tech Off Campus Housing service. You can search for what you need. Good Luck!

Posted by: 77hokie | August 26, 2010 8:04 AM | Report abuse


Welcome! We've noticed that this space has been blank for way too long!

You're here just in time for football, and I'm hoping it's going to be a great year for Hokie football!

Posted by: postfan1 | August 29, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

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