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Top 5 Reasons to BowlMor Bethesda!

Bowlmor Bethesda is a great place to enjoy some family time or a ladies night out!  We recently brought our son (a kindergartener at the time) for his first bowling experience!   When he heard that we were going bowling, you would have thought he won the lottery!  He was so excited he nearly cried.

Bowlmor Bethesda

Bowlmor Bethesda

We rolled into the parking lot at 5353 Westbard Ave and embarked upon on an evening of lights and sounds like he could never have imagined.  And of course it didn’t hurt that Bowlmor offers tasty treats too – sliders, nachos, mozzarella sticks and more.  For the grown ups, they have some nice drinks options as well!  Bowlmor Bethesda was named “Best Place to Hold a Kid’s Birthday Party” by Bethesda Magazine.  With it’s glow-in-dark bowling and 12-foot flat screen TV’s you can see why the kiddos are enthralled!  We will be sure to return soon with our new little bowling fan.

Here are our TOP 5 reasons to Bowlmor Bethesda!

1. You can’t help but smile just putting those silly bowling shoes on and watching your friends and family act like a kid!

2. You can drink and eat to your hearts delight! Leave your calorie-counting friends at home!  (Just kidding of course – Bowlmor offers water too.)

3.  Parking is FREE!  Now that is refreshing in Bethesda!

4.  You can bowl (of course) but there are lots of other games to play too like air hockey and arcade games.

5.  It’s a great way to beat the heat in the summer!

Insiders Tip:

Thursday nights from 9 – Close get unlimited bowling and shoe rentals for $16, plus drink and appetizer specials.  Get your Bowl on Bethesda!

Bowlmor Bethesda can be reached at 301-652-0955.

Imagination Bethesda 2013

The 19th Annual Imagination Bethesda will be held this Saturday, June 1st, 2013 from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM.  Imagination Bethesda is designed especially for kids 12 and under with face painting, dancing, art stations and places to play music and hear stories.

June 1, 2013 - Bethesda Urban Partnership

June 1, 2013 – Bethesda Urban Partnership

Performances will include:

11am – The Funny Guy

12pm – Rockin’ Railroad

1pm – Silly Bus

2pm – The Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance

2:45pm – Dansez! Dansez!

3pm – The Diggity Dudes

Event tents will line the streets of Auburn & Norfolk Avenues and street performers will be roving around. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself dancing, singing and playing like a kid!  Imagination Bethesda is produced by Bethesda Urban Partnership and is sponsored by MIX 107.3 FMWashington Parent and Bethesda Magazine.

Certifikid! Bethesda’s Groupon Just for Kids

Summer will be here before you know it!  Have you signed your kids up for camp?  If not, where do you begin when so many Bethesda summer camps are already full?  What about entertainment for those hours outside of camp time?  Have you wanted to try something new with the kids this summer but you’re not sure what to do?  Your AFFORDABLE answer to all these questions lies at, a sort of local Groupon deal just for kids.

Certifikid Logo

Certifikid Logo

Certifikid  founder and CEO Jamie Ratner, a local area resident and Mom, was recently featured in the May/June 2013 issue of Bethesda Magazine as an “Up and Comer.”  She began the Certifikid website just a few years ago and it has really caught on!  Certifikid is essentially a website offering discounts like Groupon yet it is focused solely on family-oriented activities, services and interests in the local area.  The daily deals include all kinds of things to do see and experience with your little folk in the Greater DMV area, including summer camps.  Incidentally, Certifikid also operates in several other metropolitan areas including Los Angeles, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

Brian and I met Jamie and her family last year when they sold their home in Green Acres with us.  We drove up to their house and my interest was piqued right away by her eye-catching van parked outside with the Certifikid logo on its side.  When Jamie humbly shared with me her scope of business and how it works, I was truly impressed.  The word “genius” is actually what came to mind!

You don’t have to have kids to take advantage of Certifikid (although it helps).  All you need is to be a kid at heart.  You’ll find great gift ideas there as well!  I know that the future for Jamie and Certifikid is not only bright but the sky’s the limit!

See for yourself.   Sign up to receive your daily Certifikid e-mail or check it out on Facebook or Twitter .  Perhaps all hope is not yet lost and you will find cool things for the kids to do this summer after all!

Day 46: Calling All Writers…

Calling all Bethesda Writers!

Writing seems to be a lost art.  These days we all text, e-mail, Facebook or call on the good ole’ cell phone before we would dare sit down and craft a personal, handwritten letter to a friend or loved one.  But have you ever found an old letter from someone you cared about – perhaps a grandparent or your sweetheart?  As you read the pages, their personality is expressed not just by what they wrote but through the style of their handwriting and the feeling of the paper in your hands that they selected and once touched and perhaps carefully folded to send through the mail to you.  It’s a special gift.

I wonder if many young people these days (I sound very old) have ever written a letter or created story just for the fun of it?  If you or your young adult have a love of the written word, please consider participating in Bethesda’s essay and short story contest for our local Literary Festival.  Although the festival will be held April 15-17th the deadline for writing submissions is in exactly 10 days, February 25th. So you still have time!  Bethesda Magazine and Bethesda Urban Partnership are sponsoring this wonderful event and the winners of the contest will be published in Bethesda magazine and win a $500 cash prize.  There are prizes for second and third place and honorable mention too.  You can write either a short story or an essay.  Young adults in grades 9-12 are judged separately from adults (ages 18+).  All the details are available on the BUP website – just click here.  I have encouraged my daughter, a Senior at Walt Whitman High School, to participate.  Whether or not she wins is not so important to me but I will  certainly forever cherish her thoughts expressed through her written words.    ~Amy

Day 27: From GE to "Gee that's good food!"

Redwood Restaurant and Wine Bar

I have a love affair with the American Dream.  When I see kids at a lemonade stand I have to stop and buy anything they have for sale.  I love to read stories about people who abandon what they’ve always done to pursue a dream and re-invent themselves.  Today’s blog is about Redwood Restaurant and Bar but it’s also a story about the owner, a Maryland native, Jared Rager.  Jared spent years in the corporate world behind a desk at General Electric but something else was building inside of Jared, a desire to open a chain of restaurants. 

Just six years ago Jared and a partner opened their first restaurant from scratch, calling their first community-based restaurant Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar, located on Pennsylvania Ave.  Two years later Sonoma won “Best Restaurant of the Year” by the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington and the dream began to burn bright.  Now along comes Redwood Restaurant and Bar located on Bethesda Lane (the pedestrian walkway that connects Bethesda Avenue and Elm Streets).  The restaurant features a large fully stocked bar at one end and an elegant dining area on the other end of the establishment.  In the late spring and summer the outer wall of the restaurant (really large folding doors) cleverly opens to Bethesda Lane with additional outdoor seating.  The menu features expertly prepared salads, seafood, steaks, burgers, pasta and a nice selection of artisanal cheeses.  The food is really good and Bethesda Magazine readers voted Redwood “Best New Restaurant” in 2009.  All the restaurants in the growing group strive to be more than just culinary trend-setters, but are also committed to integrating sustainable practices into their operations.  They source local organic foods and use renewable energy sources to fuel their operations.

The bar lounge has live music on Tuesday and Wednesdays and Live Jazz on Sunday.  Rising artist now available on iTunes, Taylor Carson, has been spotted at Redwood on Tuesday nights entertaining the Bethesda crowd with his folksy-pop music.   On Valentine’s Day they will be offering a 3-course special meal with champagne toast, chocolate treats and roses!  After the meal you can enjoy music and dancing in the bar until 11:00 p.m.  After 11:00 p.m.?  Well it will be Valentines Day! 🙂 So the next time you see a lemonade stand support your local budding entrepreneur, they just might be preparing you a beautiful meal one day in their own restaurant!        ~Brian

Day 20: Uncork the Experience

 Have you ever been on the hunt for a good bottle of something for a gift, special occasion or simply to accompany a nice meal and could use some advice?  We recommend Cork57 Beer and Wine located at 4910 Bethesda Avenue.  Whether you’re looking for beer, wine or a good cigar, their shop offers a warm, friendly experience and helpful advice on every visit.   We once needed a bottle of wine on the spur of the moment to take to an outdoor picnic and Cork 57 even provided us with plastic wine glasses and a bottle opener to go with it – no extra charge! 

Amy with the owner Fred Namin

 Fred Namin, the owner, has always had a passion for wine and specialty beer.  He opened the shop in 2008 as an expression of that passion and it shows. (Fred is the co-owner of another one of our popular haunts the Red Tomato Cafe.)  The entrance to the stone-front store (how often do you see that?) leads you inside to a nicely appointed showcase of some of the most interesting, and certainly award-winning, wines and beers of the world.

Cork57 Beer & Wine

Fred is often in the store and on our recent visit he humbly described how he secures some of the best rated selections from all over the world.  He is a true wine connoisseur and aptly supplies his helpful advice for your specific needs.   On this visit, Amy was seeking a good sauvingnon blanc from New Zealand and Fred was most helpful, providing a description of the options available and some helpful insights so that the selection was not only easy and inexpensive but it also proved to be perfectly delicious! 

Rows and rows of wine

Cork57 hosts periodic wine tastings on Thursdays from 5-8 and in the summer they host beer tastings as well.   Check on their web site for events and details – or contact them for your own private tasting event.  

The beer selection alone is a great reason to visit.  Amy surprisingly found her favorite English beer called Old Speckled Hen there – a truly rare beer to find anywhere in the States.  Plus, they have a section of beers which you can choose from to assemble your own mix-and-match 12-pack or case.

Whether you are looking for the obscure, the unique or simply a best-selling favorite, we recommend you visit Cork 57 Beer and Wine.  Don’t just take our word for it, they were also voted “Best of Bethesda” in 2010 by the readers of Bethesda Magazine.  They offer call-ahead service for pick up, delivery options and corporate discounts.  So Bethesda, uncork some fun this weekend while you watch the division championship football games with a special treat from Cork 57 Beer and Wine!      ~Brian and Amy            P.S.  Amy says GO STEELERS!