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Capital BikeShare Rolls into Bethesda

Capital Bikeshare Bethesda

Capital Bikeshare Bethesda

It’s a new year and like many, you may have resolved to “get fit.”  Thankfully, in Bethesda it has now become just a litter easier to meet that goal with Capital Bikeshare.  Recently the company installed stations in many convenient locations around town.  Also, there are bike stations situated all over DC, Montgomery County and Virginia.  If you’re so inclined, you can virtually get around “car-free” almost anywhere in the greater DMV region.  Here is the station map of current Capital Bikeshare locations where you can grab a bike and go.

The price is pretty good too.  You have four payment options: rent for one day (or by the hour), for a 3-day period, for a month or even for a year.  The first thirty minutes of any rental is free.  As of  January, 2014, the 24-hour daily rate is $7, the 3-day rate is $15, monthly is $25 and the annual rental rate is $75 (or you can pay $7 per month with an annual agreement).  Here are the current Pricing Options.

For safety, I guess a little planning ahead is advisable though because they do not rent helmets.  However, there are many convenient shops around Bethesda where you can pick one up including Griffin Cycle Bethesda (4949 Bethesda Ave), Big Wheel Bikes (6917 Arlington Rd), Freshbikes Cycling (7626 Old Georgetown Rd), City Sports (7121 Arlington Rd), Modell’s Sporting Goods (7201 Wisconsin Ave) and RnJ Sports (4945 Elm St).  Also advisable, while planning ahead, consider skinny jeans vs. bell-bottoms – always a better bet while biking!  Happy Cycling Bethesda!

Bikeshare kiosk

Bikeshare kiosk

Day 327: Chase that Turkey!

Turkey Chase 10K Start

Several years ago a past real estate client of mine asked me if I’d be interested in running with him and his young children in the YMCA Bethesda-Chevy Chase Turkey Chase.  I had heard about the annual YMCA sponsored event but had never participated.  We arrived early in the morning at the YMCA Bethesda-Chevy Chase campus on Old Georgetown Road.  Our breath curled from our lips as we warmed up that frosty Thanksgiving morning in preparation for the race.  I was surprised by the large crowd of people, numbering in the thousands, that had turned out for the race.  We “competed” in the 10K that morning and although I finished the race I was embarrassed that my client’s 10 year old son not only finished the race, but also doubled back to catch up with his father and me after he finished and find us lagging more than a mile behind.  Ahhhh youth!  It was a great time (in spite of the uphill climbs along Wisconsin Avenue!) (see race route).

Tot Trot

This year’s 29th Annual Turkey Chase has over 8,000 already registered to run and has three events scheduled: a 10 kilometer race (10K or about 6.2 miles), a 2 miler, and a 50 Meter “Tot Trot” run for the really little ones ages 8 and under.  The kids get to chase a Turkey Mascot around the YMCA track and it’s a lot of fun with prizes for ALL the kids.  The USATF 10K is serious business with IPICO Tag System for scoring.  This is an electronic microchip you wear on your shoe that records your time from start to finish.  The race is run in “wave” style whereby the runners are grouped in waves.  The first Wave is runners who can complete the race in under a 7 min mile (are you kidding me?!) and the last wave is for runners who complete the race in an average of 10 minute miles or more – my kinda group – but at least keep pace with a 14 minute mile minimum.  This year you can wear headphones!  The start time is 8:30 a.m. at 9401 Old Georgetown Roadand you can register at the event (arrive early if that’s your plan).

Turkeys

The Turkeys!

The cost to enter the races is $48 for the 10K, $25 for the 2 mile, and $18 for the 50 Meter Trot.  Ticket proceeds fund the “signature charity event” sponsored by the Bethesda Rotary Club and the YMCA Bethesda-Chevy Chase.  The whole event is a lot of fun so lace up those sneakers and burn off that Thanksgiving meal you’ll be eating later in the day and get out to the Turkey Chase! (and try not to let too many 10 year olds lap you!) ~ Brian 

All photos courtesy of Bethesda Rotary.

Day 318: The Sights and Sounds of the Capital Crescent Trail

The approach to the Tunnel

The Ghost of the Last Train

“Ting!” goes the bell as the biker passes by and announces, “On your left.”  Thump, thump, thump, thump as the runner jogs past on the other side of the trail.  Shhhhhh…the wind whispers through the trees as the dry fall leaves rustle and float down to alight upon the path.  Crunch! as I step on a dry brown leaf that crumbles underfoot.

As I round the soft bend approaching Mile Marker 6.0, the Dalecarlia Tunnel comes into view in the distance.  A woman is walking her dog toward the tunnel.  It looks like a golden retriever perhaps as its tail swishes from side-to-side.  As they enter the tunnel with its yellowish light bulbs all in a row lining the ceiling like bread crumbs to lead the way out, an airplane rumbles overhead as it zips toward Reagan Airport in Washington, D.C.  As I soon enter the tunnel behind her, I can almost hear the echo of the last train to run through it in 1985.  “Whoo! Whoo!” goes the whistle and I hear the distant clack, clack, clack of the wheels that once rolled over the track where now only the ghost of it remains.

The Light at the end of the Tunnel

The last vestiges of fall color the landscape as I emerge from the Tunnel and take in this perfect autumn 73 degree day – a rare and wonderful treat!  It may perhaps be the last warm day of the year and I am so glad to be able to carve out some time to walk the Capital Crescent Trail - one of my favorite treasures of Bethesda.

For those who are not familiar with the trail, it was formerly known as the Georgetown Branch of the B&O Railroad, created in 1910 and then converted to a trail 78 years later thanks to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C.

The Capital Crescent Trail spans a 10-mile distance from Silver Spring, MD to Georgetown in Washington, D.C.  It’s a favorite of 2-wheeled commuters, athletes and people who just stay fit while enjoying the outdoors.  One of the spots I appreciate most on the trail is the Dalecarlia Tunnel which was constructed in 1910.  If you look closely when walking through it, you will notice 4 “duck ins” – carved areas that were made for people who were stuck in the tunnel when a train would come; the train was probably shipping coal from Cumberland, MD to Georgetown in D.C.  The Roman arch brick tunnel is 18′ wide and 341′ long.  You can find the Tunnel between mile marker and 6.0 and 6.5.  It sits almost right at the Bethesda-D.C. line.

Mile Marker 4.5 near River Rd

There are many places to access the Capital Crescent Trail.  A popular spot is on Bethesda Ave., across the street from Barnes and Noble.  Take some time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Trail.  At any time of year you will enjoy a beautiful and relaxing experience.  You may come across deer, a fox or even one of your neighbors also taking in this special place.  ~Amy

Day 160: Free Tickets to the U.S. Open Next Week!

The US Open June 13th - 19th

Have you heard the news?  The U.S. Open is coming to Bethesda June 13th – June 19th at The Congressional Country Club  located at 8500 River Rd.  I drove by today to get a photo and it’s locked down like Fort Knox so don’t plan on any sneak peeks from the road.

Looking for some tickets so you can really get to see some of the action?  Well, you can get them for FREE by volunteering to help at the event.  The volunteer spaces are almost filled but you can reserve one of the last spots by visiting the Eventbrite Volunteer Registration page.  However, if you just want to relax and enjoy the show without having to trade physical labor, try StubHub for tickets.

The Practice Rounds will be conducted June 13th – 15th followed by the Championship Rounds June 16th – 19th.  If there is a playoff, it will be held June 20th.

Congressional Country Club has been a golf destination in our area since the early 1920′s.  As the Congressional Country Club website recounts:

Congressman Oscar E. Bland and O.R. Lubring of Indiana, founders of the Club, set out to provide an informal common ground where politicians and businessmen could meet as peers, unconstrained by red tape. They took their idea to Herbert Hoover, then Secretary of Commerce, who agreed to serve as Founders’ Club President and, from 1922-1923, Honorary Founding President of a soon-to-be-built Congressional Country Club. Primarily because of the determination of these original two visionaries, the Club was incorporated in December 1921. Construction of the Club took two and one-half years from concept to completion. Its international recognition, intended for the world of politics, has been achieved instead in the world of golf.

It’s your chance to be a part of Congressional’s history and attend the U.S. Open.  Who’s your favorite for the win?     ~Amy

Day 155: Tennis Anyone?

Tennis at Cabin John Park

On a day like today, a beautiful June afternoon, you simply MUST get outside and enjoy the fresh warm air and sun before it gets so hot and humid that you feel like a big dog is breathing down your back.  The dog days of summer are coming but today was pretty perfect really.

One of the parks we enjoy most on a day like this is Cabin John Park at 7401 MacArthur Blvd.  This 6-acre park is a short drive from downtown Bethesda and offers a nice blend of facilities for ball games of all kinds – basketball, softball and of course, tennis.  For the little people, there is a little playground and grassy area with a couple of picnic tables too.  That’s where we enjoyed our sushi picnic last week.

7401 MacArthur Blvd

Parking is usually readily available here and it’s a great place to just lay out and relax or challenge your best bud to a tennis match before it’s just too darn hot this year.  There are some nice ball fields here as well but I must warn you not to bring your band of brothers out here to play without booking the field in advance.  The reservation/permit process is easy and it will save you the disappointment of losing out to some other baseball or softball bunch who was smarter than you and planned ahead.  To book the ball field, first open a ParkPASS account (click here for step-by-step instructions) at www.parkpass.org.  Then you’ll be able to go to the Montgomery County website and reserve your facility of choice at any of our local County Parks for a few bucks.

The good news is that you don’t have to do any of that to play tennis at little ‘ole Cabin John Local Park - just show up with your racquets and balls and hope for the best!  If you can’t find an open court, no worries.  There’s some good beer waiting for you down the road at The Irish Inn at Glen Echo!     ~Amy

Day 143: Save the Trail 5K Run May 28th

Photo from Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail website

The second annual Save the Trail 5K and Family Fun event is scheduled for May 28th.  There will be prizes, t-shirts, tote bags and children’s activities at Elm Street Park located at 4601 Willow Lane at 9am. The cost of the 5K run is $25 and registration is available on-line.  Proceeds will benefit the non-profit organization, Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail.  Registration is also available at packet pickup on Friday, May 27 from noon to 7 pm at Chevy Chase Running Company located at 4461 Willard Avenue in Friendship Heights or on race day at Elm Street Park, but sadly those who don’t register on-line won’t get a tee-shirt.

So, what’s this race all about?  It’s about saving a large portion of the Capital Crescent Trail from destruction due to the proposed Purple Line which would wipe out 20-acres of mature trees and habitat.  The highly controversial plan to add a new rail line has long been a source of debate for all and angst for some.  Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail has posted a link to many news articles, resources and information about why this plan may not be as much of a benefit as it is a detriment to our community.  In addition, the non-profit organization, Purple Line Now!, has a website dedicated to their arguments in favor of the construction of the new rail line.

Study the facts and comment with your opinion here on Bethesda365.   As a fan of the Capital Crescent Trail and a self-confessed tree hugger, I personally would hate to see the destruction of a such a pristine and wonderful natural resource in our community that, once changed, cannot be un-done.  While traffic snarls are apparent all over the greater DC area and there is a real need for better public transportation, it seems there should be a better option.  What do you think?      ~Amy

Day 142: The Wilds of Bethesda

The southern most point of the trail head

While on our recent sushi picnic at Cabin John Park, Brian and I noticed a trail head near our picnic bench.  Curious, we investigated further, as it was taunting us to just follow the little brown trail.  But thankfully, we did not blindly attempt a little afternoon walk in our work clothes and shoes.  This “Cabin John Trail” appeared from the map to be one heck of a hike!  Upon closer examination, we learned that this little nature walk through the woods and wilds of Bethesda followed a meandering and sometimes steep path through the Cabin John Stream Valley Park, up Seven Locks Rd – past Greentree Rd – past Democracy Blvd – past Tuckerman Ln – through Robert C. McDonnel Campground and ultimately up to Goya Rd near the intersection of Gainsborough and Seven Locks Rd.  The little ole’ hike is comprised of 8.8 miles of natural surface trail with some very picturesque views and sites (and some not-so-picturesque parts like a short walk next to River Rd).  Now don’t let me fool you into thinking I have hiked the thing.  I absolutely have not.  But I must admit, I want to!

If you, like me, want to explore all or part of this trail, there are several ways to skin this cat (that’s a terrible expression really).  You could take the 2.6 mile section from McArthur Blvd (Cabin John Park) to River Rd; the 1.2 mile section from River Rd to Bradley Blvd. or you could even bike the 1.8 mile section from Bradley Blvd to Democracy Blvd., among other options.  Please note that the first 1.2 mile section from Cabin John Park to its intersection with Seven Locks Rd is open only to hikers and presents some challenges in the form of very steep terrain.

The beginning of adventure

So when you tire of the big city and need some fresh air, exercise and a little adventure, you might fill your pack with water and some healthy snacks, don your sunglasses, bug spray and hiking boots, grab your walking stick and head on out to Cabin John Trail.  Please let us know if you do!  I would love some insider information on what to expect if I should dare go on this hike.  The last time I went on a hike ill prepared and unaware was at the Billy Goat Trail in Potomac and I nearly stepped on a snake and nearly slipped off a cliff!  Who knew I would have such high adventure just a short distance from our little quiet town of Bethesda?!  Perhaps Cabin John Trail will offer a little bit of the wild side of Bethesda.      ~Amy

P.S. Here is a link to the full map:  Cabin John Trail Map

Day 138: Bike to Work Bethesda, May 20th

Bethesda Let’s Bike to Work!

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association and Commuter Connections (WABA) will be hosting our local events for national Bike to Work Day tomorrow, May 20th.  Plan to connect with your neighbors and friends and share a 2-wheeled, ride-to-work experience!  There are four “pit stop” locations in Bethesda where you will pick up your event tee-shirt and begin your ride – one at Bethesda Naval Medical Center, two spots on the NIH campus and one spot in downtown Bethesda at the corner of Woodmont and Elm by Barnes and Noble.  The Downtown Bethesda pit stop is open from 6:30 AM – 8:30 AM.

If you’re interested in riding with a group, plan to join a convoy.  Convoy times, routes and information is available on the WABA website.  Check the starting time for your ideal pit stop location.

Although the event is absolutely FREE, you do need to register so get you should get on that now!  Here is the link: WABA Registration.

The event will also include entertainment, raffle prizes, food, drinks and more at all the pit stops throughout the region.  As a real estate agent, I am for once bummed that I don’t have to commute because I would love to participate in this event.  However, I encourage everyone to give this a try whether it would be your first time commuting to work by bike or one of many times.

In the words of John F. Kennedy, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.” 

~Amy

Day 128: This One Time at Band Camp….

Bethesda Day Camps

Remember going to camp when you were young?  The anticipation of the fun to be had and the nervousness you experienced wondering who you would bunk with or whether you would make new friends seemed almost overwhelming.  But when it was all said and done, you came home with lots of great experiences and stories to tell.  I remember this one time, at band camp…oh wait, perhaps I should save that story for another time.  Instead, let’s talk about Summer Camps in Bethesda for 2011!

It’s definitely time to make your final decisions about summer camps for the kids and get registered!  We hoped to make it easier for you to conduct your search by compiling our local camps here.  Bethesda is absolutely loaded with options for day camps for kids and some offer sleep away camps too.  But don’t delay, summer camps are filling up quickly!  Here is a list of some of the creative camps offered in Bethesda that we were able to dig up for you:

Adventure Theater at Glen Echo - Musical theatre world in a camp complete with choreography, acting and singing.

Artworks Classes - Ages 6-12.  Check out our blog “Drink and Draw”, artworks classes are for adults too!

Bach to Rock (B2R) – VERY COOL Band Camp!

Big Train Summer Baseball Camp - The fundamentals of the game and the opportunity to play every day.

Camp Olympia – Sports day camp including soccer, horseback riding, swimming, tennis and basketball.

The Center for Movement, Music and Art, Inc. - Ages 1 – 7+

Glen Echo Park Summer Camps - Something for everyone including fine arts, visual arts, dance, movement, writing and more!

The Harbor School Summer Camp - A little bit of everything.  June 20th – August 12th.

Imagination Stage Summer Camp - Performing Arts Camp.  For more information about Imagination Stage, check out our blog entry from Day 88.

Just Cakes Cooking Classes - For your budding culinary genius.  Check out our blog entry about Just Cakes.

Landon Grand Slam Tennis Camp – Boys ages 7 – 17.  More information about Landon School for Boys on our blog, Day 118.

Math Tree - Making math fun!

The Next Level Athletic Performance Center - Sports camp ages 6-12.

Summer at WES - Ages 4 – 14, day camps and sleep away camps.

Summer Camp at Norwood  - Ages 3 1/2 – 14 and something for everyone.  Our Norwood Park blog offers a quick look at the beautiful location.

TIC Summer Camp - Technology and Sports ages 7 – 14.

YMCA Bethesda-Chevy Chase - 29 different one and two-week camps at three local sites.

Whew.  That’s a LOT of camps - and that’s just here in Bethesda!  If this isn’t all of them, please feel free to add more by posting a comment.  We hope that your kids enjoy summer camp – we know YOU will Mom and Dad!  ;-)

So maybe now I could tell you about this one time at band camp….

~Amy

Day 80: Horses sweat and so do I. My introduction to Yoga.

Down Dog Yoga

“Hey Brian,” she said innocently enough.  “Wanna join my husband and me at a Yoga class tonight?” my friend Liz asked.  I had never taken a yoga class so I was intrigued, having heard a chorus of people tell me how good Yoga is for you.  I met my friends at Down Dog Yoga located at 4733 Elm Street and Woodmont Avenue, ironically above the Häagen-Dazs Ice Cream store (when I give directions all my landmarks tend to be places like this!).

The first thing I noticed when we entered the room was the warm temperature.  I had not even unfurled my mat before a bead of sweat had made a migratory path from my forehead down my cheek.  Vinyasa flow yoga is all about the heat.  The room temperature was 90+ degrees, designed to encourage sweat and movement.  In fact Vinyasa means “breath-synchronized movement.”  The class was $18 dollars and a few more dollars to rent a mat and the much, much, needed towel (you can also bring your own).  I strategically positioned myself at the back of the class so I had the benefit of my fellow classmates to emulate.  Even though I was a novice I could tell that the instructor was excellent.  She made everyone, even me “The World’s Most Inflexible Man” comfortable.  There was a dude in the class that would make a contortionist at a circus jealous and even he was benefiting from the instructor’s adjustments and suggestions.

About 10 minutes into the class I began to have doubts about finishing.  I’d never heard so many Hindu-Indian terms in my life or experienced a more difficult workout. I was an outside linebacker in high school.  We had struggled through three-a-day practices in August Washington heat and this was harder.    We stretched, we twisted, we lunged, and most of all I sweated, she sweated, he sweated, we sweated.  With each downward facing dog position (hence the name of the studio Down Dog) my body felt looser.  Drenched, exhausted, but surprisingly euphoric afterward, I emerged from Down Dog Yoga feeling very different.  I realize as a Yoga neophyte this blog entry does not come close to capturing the essence of Yoga – not the physical, mental or spiritual benefits.  What I hope you will do is experience this Yoga studio for yourself and begin the journey of self-discovery that I have. Young or old, athlete or couch potato, Down Dog Yoga is ready to help you find your path to greater enlightenment.  Thanks for the invite Liz. ~Brian

Day 49: So you think you can dance?

When I was a young girl, I would put on my favorite records (yes, I am showing my age when I admit to listening to records made of vinyl) and I would dance and dance for hours.  There was never an audience, never a mirror and never a purpose to it all.  I just loved to dance and how it made me feel.

I don’t do that anymore but maybe I should.  Somehow when we get older, it feels silly or something.  But when I watch people dance on stage, that little girl in me remembers how it felt to dance without inhibition. 

Photos and logo courtesy of Bethesda Urban Partnership web site

Beginning today, our town is celebrating the art and love of dance with Dance Bethesda, February 18 – 19th.  This annual event begins TONIGHT with free dance lessons and dance parties open to the public at local dance studios and wraps up Saturday evening with a dance concert that you don’t want to miss (more on that tomorrow!).  

So you think you can dance Bethesda?  If the answer is no, it’s never too late to learn!  Take some free lessons tonight.  If you answer yes, this is a great time to cut a rug at a local dance party.  So that means, whether you answer yes or no (that’s everyone!), Dance Bethesda has something for you.   FREE lessons (waltz, cha cha, tango, salsa and more) and dance parties are offered at the following studios from 7 PM – 10 PM (singles are welcome!):

There is also a Youth Dance Party (ages 10-17) courtesy of three local dance studios being hosted at Imagination Stage at 4908 Auburn Ave. from 7 – 9:30 PM.  Their party will include lessons on hip hop, modern and jazz styles of dance.  Get more details on the BUP website.

So let your hair down and Dance Bethesda!     ~Amy

DAY 1: Resolve to get fit in 2011? Check out our pick – Equinox!

Welcome to Day 1 of Bethesda 365! We are excited to share our favorite haunts, facts, tips and experiences we enjoy in our hometown of Bethesda, MD.  As two real estate professionals, we spend a lot of time helping clients get to know our area.  We figured that our blog, Bethesda 365, would be a great way to share some insights.

Equinox from Woodmont Ave

Today, January 1st, we feature our favorite gym – Equinox.  It is a premier fitness center that opened its doors in Bethesda in the fall of 2010.  If you join (or are already a member) we recommend trying out Tabata!  It’s a tough class that really works you hard!  One tip, Tabata classes are usually VERY full so get there early to stake out your spot.

Cool eucalyptus towels!

One of our favorite treats at Equinox is the cool eucalyptus towels they offer on the fitness floor.  Wow!  What a refreshment after a hard workout.

Equinox is a pleasure to visit for lots of reasons.  Brian highly recommends the showers!  And no, in case you’re wondering, we are not being paid to tout how great they are – heck, we just started this blog today.  We just genuinely enjoy the experience of a workout there and think it would be a great way to stick to your New Year’s resolution to GET FIT in 2011.  Check in tomorrow for more Bethesda 365…and please send us any suggestions for a future blog.  ~Amy

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