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Bethesda is the Best in October

Capital Crescent Trail between mile marker 6.0 and 6.5

Capital Crescent Trail between mile marker 6.0 and 6.5

Bethesda is truly a wonderful place to be in the fall and there is no better time than the month of October.  The leaves begin to change color and the air cools off but remains warm enough to sport a light sweater or jacket and a comfy light scarf.  Take a walk on the ever-popular Capital Crescent Trail and perhaps you’ll spot a deer, a fox or an owl hovering in the trees.  Oh, and there’s always pumpkin this-and-that to grab at one of the 180+ area restaurants.  C’mon, you know you want that taste of fall no matter how cliche!

Looking for something to do besides eating and drinking in Bethesda?  For you more adventurous types, check out our concerts, classes, exhibits and events around town at the non-profit Bethesda Urban Partnership or “BUP”.  Established in 1994, the organization creates and promotes a variety of  events and festivals for the community.

Sculptures on Woodmont Ave.

Sculptures on Woodmont Ave.

One of our favorite events is the upcoming Bethesda Row Arts Festival scheduled this year for Saturday, October 15th, 2016 from 11 AM -6 PM and Sunday, October 16th, 2016 from 10 AM – 5 PM.  The event is FREE…. What’s not to love?!

Oh right, you won’t love the parking!  Perhaps try parking just outside of town at the Bethesda Pool and walking into town on the Capital Crescent Trail (about 1/2 mile).  At this time of year, it’s a perfect stroll and you’ll pop right out onto Bethesda Ave in the heart of the festival.  Enjoy!


Fine Fun at Bethesda Fine Arts Festival 2014

Bethesda Fine Arts Fest 2014

Bethesda Fine Arts Fest 2014

Calling all art enthusiasts!  Don’t miss the last day of the 11th Annual Bethesda Fine Arts Festival.  With over 120 booths featuring jewelry, fine art, hand-crafted furniture and more, this annual tradition is one of my personal favorites in our town.

This year the festival is located at Auburn & Norfolk Avenues at Woodmont Triangle.  It’s open Saturday, May 10th from 10 AM – 6 PM and Sunday, May 11th from 10 AM to 5 PM.  FREE parking everywhere – all meters and public garages on Sunday.  Live bands are featured throughout the day including one of our favorites, The 19th Street Band who is playing today from 12:30 – 2:30 PM.  The Fine Arts Festival is produced by Bethesda Urban Partnership and the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District.  

P.S. A little tip we can give you from our visit yesterday – the chili dog at the Hard Times Cafe booth is absolutely irresistible!  If you do not intend to eat a chili dog, don’t even go near there!  Even though we had just had lunch, we caved and HAD to indulge in a chili dog.  Frankly, I can’t say I regret it!

So take Mom out today and enjoy the art, the music and perhaps some mouth-watering fun at the Bethesda Fine Arts Festival!

Free Concerts Every Thursday This Summer

In need of a relaxing outing for your family this summer?  Enjoy the FREE concert series, produced by Bethesda Urban Partnership, happening each Thursday evening from 6 PM – 8 PM featuring a wide variety of music from swing to reggae.  The concerts are held at Veteran’s Park located at the corner of Woodmont and Norfolk Avenues. As the weather heats up this summer take advantage of a perfect excuse to get out and play!

On July 11th, Bethesda Urban Partnership will be featuring a favorite of Bethesda365, The 19th Street Band!  Check out our earlier post featuring The 19th Street Band here.  We won’t be missing the chance to get out and see a great show.

Here is a link to the summer line-up:

The concerts will begin Thursday, June 6th and continue through July 25th so rally your friends and family and head out to Veteran’s Park.

Photo courtesy of Bethesda Urban Partnership

Photo courtesy of Bethesda Urban Partnership

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.

Day 23: Two Great Reasons to Celebrate Food This Week in Bethesda!

It’s cold and dank outside but if you can brave the cruddy weather and plan a night out for dinner you will be rewarded!  This week happens to be Bethesda-Chevy Chase Restaurant week, my favorite excuse to enjoy a new restaurant in town! 

There are 33 participating establishments who will offer two and three-course lunches for $13 or $16 and dinners for $33 from today through January 29th, 2012.  It’s a great time to try something new or visit an old favorite.  For a complete list of participating restaurants and a link to their websites to make reservations, you can visit the Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) web page.

Happy Year of the Dragon!

Today also happens to be the first day of the Chinese (Lunar) New Year!  It’s the lucky Year of the Dragon, year 4710 on the Chinese calendar.  Perhaps some celebratory dumplings and fortune cookies are in order? 

No matter what tasty dish you choose this week – cheeseburgers, chow mein, chalupas or chicken, enjoy the opportunity to share some good eats with family and friends.  May this New Year be filled with good fortune and blessings for you all.     ~Amy

Day 337: Bethesda's Winter Wonderland – Dec 2-3, 2011

Student Concert 2010 Photo from Bethesda Urban Partnership

Black Friday is already a distant memory and winter is just around the corner!  It’s time again to get into the holiday spirit and if you’re looking for a great way to do just that, check out the Winter Wonderland Festival in downtown Bethesda today, Dec. 3rd, 2011.

Most of the activities will take place at Veteran’s Park located at the corner of Norfolk and Woodmont Avenues and at Imagination Stage located at 4908 Auburn Avenue.  All the events are FREE, including the concert performances held today.

The a capella and gospel performers will begin today at 1 PM and include the Capital Blend, American University Gospel Choir, The Capital Hearings and Vox Pop DC.

Icy guys from from BUP

Santa's grand entrance in 2010 - photo from BUP

From 1-2 PM there will be a live ice sculpture event at Veteran’s Park.  Using tools like picks and even chainsaws, the sculptor will craft his works of icy art right before your eyes!

Following the ice sculpting event, the afternoon will wrap up with a student choral concert from several local schools and a visit from Santa Claus!  Last year santa showed up in a cute red convertible.  I wonder how he will make his grand entrance this year!

So come on out and get into the holiday spirit.  Meet Santa, sing songs, and have a happy holiday!     ~Amy

Day 273: Taste of Rainy Bethesda!

Taste of Bethesda - Mussels

One of Bethesda’s most well-known events, Taste of Bethesda, was held today in the Woodmont Triangle.  In years past the event has drawn over 40,000 people and today, in spite of the raw, cold, rainy weather, the 22nd annual food fest was well attended.  The “tastes” did not disappoint as thousands enjoyed the smaller portioned sizes and offerings as the many vendors were out “rain or shine” to satisfy the throngs of people who braved unusually chilly weather (with the wind it felt like mid 40’s) to sample the best that Bethesda has to offer.

These girls huddled to brave the chilly weather!

Pan Seared Scallops

I of course sampled several of the vendors to ensure “quality control.”  I admit I had to repeatedly purchase more tickets!  My favorites included pan seared scallops with Risotto from Chef Tony (4926 St. Elmo) and petite Filet Mignon sandwiches from Morton’s for just 2 tickets (or about $2).  There was plenty to eat and some real delicacies being prepared at some of the vendor tents.  I’ll be sure not to miss this event next year.  Tonight’s dinner will definitely be a salad as the grilled items, desserts, and enticing entrees sang a siren song to me this afternoon! ~ Brian

Day 203: Bethesda Outdoor Movies

BUP logo 2011

Mark your calendars for Tuesday, July 26th to Saturday, July 30th to enjoy movies under the stars!  Bethesda Outdoor Movies, hosted by Bethesda Urban Partnership, has a terrific lineup for its 2011 summer movie series.  Here is the schedule for a this fun and FREE event:

Tuesday, July 26:  The Breakfast Club – This one is a true 80’s cult classic.  It’s rated R (sorry kids), but anyone who wore shoulder pads and big hair in the 80’s will appreciate this flick!  Too much fun!

Wednesday, July 27:  Bye, Bye Birdie – All I know of this one is that it’s a 60’s era film.  An oldie but a goodie.  NR

Thursday, July 28:  The King’s Speech – One of my favorite modern movies!  If you didn’t see it in the theater earlier this year, it would be a great choice for your Bethesda Outdoor Movie selection!  (Rated R)

Friday: July 29:  Rocky – A feel-good boxing classic.  The theme music is ringing in my head now!  Rated PG

Saturday, July 30:  The Social Network – Surprisingly a really great film in my opinion.  Who knew that Justin Timberlake could act?!  And quite well, I might add.  The movie is entertaining, interesting and fun.  Rated PG-13.

So bring your lawn chairs and your honey to Woodmont Triangle at the corner of Norfolk & Auburn Aves. The shows begin at 9 PM sharp and I have no idea what they do if it’s raining.  Might be fun to find out though.  The seating area is actually on the street so a blanket won’t do much for you on the ground.   Chairs are definitely recommended.  You might also think about some bug spray too.  There are quite a few restaurants around so food and drinks are all taken care of.  Enjoy a romantic night under the stars at the 7th annual Bethesda Outdoor Movie Series.   ~Amy

Day 158: Summer Concert Series – Swingtopia


Veterans Park - Bethesda

The Summer Concert Series hosted by Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) on the corner of Woodmont and Norfolk Aves. (Veterans Park) from 6 PM – 8 PM every Thursday evening continues through July 21st.  The full concert series 2011 calendar is available at the BUP website.

This week, enjoy the octet Swingtopia featuring music from Glenn Miller, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Count Basie, Woody Herman, Duke Ellington, and many others during the 1930s through the 1950s.   Many of the Swingtopia musicians are also past or present members of the premier service bands in DC, including the Airmen of Note, the Army Blues, and the Navy Commodores, according to their website.  Come on out this warm Thursday evening and enjoy their cool sounds.     ~Amy


Day 151: Bethesda Painting Awards – And the winner is….

June 1st - 25th

After careful consideration, the finalists have been selected and their work is now on display at the Bethesda Painting Awards – Exhibition from June 1st -25th at the Artery Plaza Gallery at 7200 Wisconsin Ave.  The exhibition is open from 12 PM – 6 PM Wednesday – Saturday.

And don’t miss your opportunity to meet the artists!  A public reception will be offered on June 10th from 6 PM – 9 PM during Bethesda Art Walk. The finalists, all local artists from Maryland, Virginia and DC, will be available to discuss their work at the reception.  More information about each finalist is available on the Bethesda Urban Partnership website.

And the winners are…

               Alison Hall, Roanoke, VA- $10,000 award
James Adkins, Ellicot City, MD – $2000 award

              Emma Steinkraus, Washington, D.C.- $1,000 award
Lisa Gostev, Reisterstown, MD – $1,000 Young Artist award 

It a great excuse to get dressed up and go out for a nice evening while you support the arts!  This event is free, so it’s the cheapest date around and sure to be a good time!     ~Amy   

Day 146: Bethesda Fresh Farm Market

The event logo from BUP

Located on Norfolk Avenue at Veteran’s Park between Fairmont and St. Elmo Avenues, the Bethesda Freshfarm Market is open every Saturday from 9 AM – 1 PM through October 29, 2011 – rain or shine!  The first Freshfarm Market was begun in 1997 at Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. as a non-profit organization dedicated to sustainable agriculture in our local area. Their slogan is Promoting Food with a face, a place and a taste in the Chesapeake Bay region

According to the Freshfarm Market website, “all markets open and close with the ringing of a market bell and feature Chef at Market demos by renowned chefs, cookbook authors and passionate home cooks, who celebrate cooking with the seasonal foods in our region.”  Demonstrations tastings and book signings are common.

Chef from Freshfarm website

There are currently 11 markets in the region.  This year marks the second season for the Bethesda Freshfarm Market.  The market offers wonderful opportunities to get the freshest and best veggies, fruits, herbs, baked goods, meats, eggs, flowers and plants all grown or produced by the farmers within a 150 mile radius of the area.  Enjoy the opportunity to sample the seasonal varieties available within our region at their best.  When you want to check out specifically what’s available at the market at different times of year, visit the Freshfarm website or download the attached brochure.

There is another wonderful feature on the Freshfarm Market website that you may want to check out – a recipe finder.  You check off the ingredients you like and then click “search” and the site will respond with recipes using those ingredients.  But not only do you get the recipe, you also get information about the name and background of the chef who created it!  Very cool!  Try it on-line right here.

Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) is the sponsor of the Freshfarm Market in our town.  If BUP is involved, you can rest assured that no detail is missed.  They have put together a terrific group of vendors for our local market including:

Atwaters Bakery

Black Rock Orchard

Four Seasons Nursery

Garden Path Farm

Gunpowder Bison

Knouse Fruitlands

Mock’s Greenhouse

Praline Bakery

Spiral Path Farm

Sunset Valley Farm

Zahradka Farm and others.

The best part about the market is the cost – it’s FREE.  Well, at least until you find that special somethin’ that you can’t resist taking home with you!      ~Amy

Day 130: Play that Funky Music Thursdays

Photo courtesy of BUP website

The arts are an integral part of the Bethesda city scene and as we are now beginning to enjoy warmer weather, we also have the opportunity to enjoy outdoor music at our FREE Summer Concert Series courtesy of Bethesda Urban Partnership.  Every Thursday evening a new band and music genre is featured.  This Thursday, May 12th, enjoy the big band sounds of the 18-piece Swing Shift Big Band.  Their rich, full sound is sure to please and to get you up and dancing!

The Summer Concert Series is hosted at Veteran’s Park on the corner of Woodmont and Norfolk Aves. from 6 PM – 8 PM every Thursday evening through July 21st.  Check out our recent blog about Veteran’s Park on Day 109.  The concert series is held there each week and organized by BUP (Bethesda Urban Partnership).  The full 2011 concert series calendar is available at their website

In the coming weeks, Bethesda can look forward to hearing the sounds of rock, blues, West African funk, reggae, dance variety, soul and jazz.  The price is right for this wonderful local event.  It’s a great way to enjoy a nice warm spring or summer evening in our town.  You can grab an awesome burger right there next to Veteran’s Park at The Burger Joint or a coffee at Starbuck’s right at the corner and relax while enjoying the free concert.  I hope to see you there!     ~Amy

Day 109: Veteran's Park

Veterans Park

Veteran’s Park is located in the center of the area they call the “Woodmont Triangle” at the apex of Norfolk Avenue and Woodmont Avenue.  It’s coincidentally a triangular-shaped park.  I like this little park for a couple of reasons.  First, parks in downtown settings are always a nice respite.  This particular one has a nice fountain in the middle when the weather permits. The kids like the fountain because it splashes over the brick side and they can get a little wet.  Second, at the base of the fountain is a flag pole with the American flag waving high above the park.  A granite memorial is “dedicated to the men and women of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase area who gave their lives in the defense of our country.”  Each of the wars that have been fought since WWI are listed.  Hence the name Veteran’s Park.

Veterans Park

There’s not a lot of green foliage in this park but the herringbone brick patterned walk and low flagstone walls are nice.  There are beautiful flowering cherry trees here this time of year and planters full of blooming tulips.  I also like the chair and tables nearby especially so close to The Burger Joint (see our blog post on BGR).  This is a great place to chow down a burger and enjoy some sunshine.  Bethesda Urban Partnership has an information stand at the corner as well as a recycling bin for cans and bottles.  There’s also a Bethesda Cares meter here if you’re inclined to help the homeless.  The bus stop for the Bethesda Circulator is also here as well.

Starting May 5 the park is the location for Bethesda’s Summer Concert Series brought to you by Bethesda Urban Partnership.   On Thursday evenings through July the area is treated to free concerts performed by local artists from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.  Last December the Bethesda Winter Wonderland activities here included an amazing ice-sculptor, a concert and a visit from Santa Claus.

This spring stop by the park, pull up a chair, and enjoy some sunshine.  A Bethesda Korean War veteran, Jim Trawick, helped rededicate the park in 2003 through a generous donation.  He passed away in 2008.  I ask you to reflect on the lives of the area residents that were sacrificed in the defense of our country, in order that we can now enjoy all the wonderful amenities our hometown of Bethesda has to offer.   ~ Brian