Welcome to OCDO, Chief.
You'll find we're a friendly bunch, even though we poke and jab at each other from time to time.
You'll also find that the area is OC friendly for the most part, but there are a few merchants who disallow carry in their facilities. Patrick Henry Mall is an OC No-No as is the Mariners Museum, Toys & Babies R-US (a corporate thing). The general public seems oblivious to it, but on occasion some will notice favorably. Law Enforcement is very aware of the right to OC in Virginia. Most restaurants are OK with it also. I've never been turned away.
I would strongly encourage you to join VCDL. (As an Executive Member, I'd be remiss if I didn't.) My wife & I worked the VCDL table at the show this past weekend. Sorry we didn't get to meet you.