Tuesday, June 9, 2009

68 things I love about east county (part two)

part TWO of a series adapted from Bethesda Magazine's "67 Things We Love About Bethesda" list. Got something you love about the east side? Help me get to 68 things by leaving a comment or shooting an e-mail to justupthepike at gmail dot com.

The Montgomery Cinema 'N' Drafthouse. It barely lasted two months, but its promise of movies, beer AND dinner definitely one-upped the AFI Silver for art-house glory.

Dumb kids on Ellsworth. Two of my favorite Just Up The Pike photos of all time are of kids doing stupid things on Ellsworth, whether it's losing your pants while stealing a shopping cart or tripping on a curb when you're about to show off your latest skate trick.

Tale of Two Summers. It's a coming-of-age story . . . with a gay protagonist . . . set in Wheaton. Improbable as it sounds, this young adult novel could put the east side on the map for, like, sixteen-year-olds.

Merriweather Post Pavilion. Some of the biggest names in music/comedy/whatever have performed just ten minutes away from home - and, unlike those suckers in Howard County, we don't have to deal with the traffic from it.

Columbia Pike/Colesville Road/Route 29. Dr. Gridlock joked that it's becoming "95-Lite" because of the new interchanges on it, but says it's still a better bet than 95 if you're heading downtown.

York Castle Ice Cream. Legend has it that the owners stole their recipes from Gifford's (another Silver Spring original) while employed there in the 1960's, but the truth is they bought it fair and square.

The Quarry House Tavern. I hope I am one day as well-traveled as their beer list, better known as the Beericulum Vitae. I also enjoy watching the hipster kids behind the bar - Ellsworth's finest, all grown up.

Ceviche. You can get empanadas for much, much less than $3 a piece in Wheaton or Long Branch, but it's the ambience - Adams Morgan without the Metro ride and long walk in heels - you're paying for.

The Blair Park Giant, ca. 1995. Nothing is more confusing than trying to reconcile a grocery store with how you remember it as a little kid, especially after they renovated it, like, eight times. At least show me where the 35-cent soda machine went.

Those little self-checkout scanner things at Giant, ca. 2009. So cool.

The Red Line tracks in Silver Spring. Graffiti and cranes: it's everything that makes Silver Spring a city, not to mention the joys of flying over rush-hour traffic on the Georgia Avenue overpass, which turns sixty this year.

IKEA in College Park. You could spend a day just trying to find your way through this gigantic Swedish emporium, but the short drive there makes up for it.

Eric Robbins from Thayer Avenue. The Other Other Other Silver Spring blog. He hasn't gotten the level of press that the Singular, the Penguin or this blog have gotten, but I'm looking forward to seeing how he shakes up the aging establishment in the East Silver Spring Civic Association.

The Metrobus Z line. It's the only major line serving East County, but it's one of the most-ridden lines in the region. With multiple express routes and service to six East County high schools, it's an easy way for anyone to get around.

The Dutch Country Farmers Market. It goes without saying that the so-called "Amish Market" in Burtonsville - and its sublime lemon squares - is one of the best things about living on the east side. While they've been waiting to move to Laurel for nearly a year, here's hoping they're delayed for a while longer.

The East County skyline. You won't see it on any postcards, but the apartment and office towers marching up Route 29 show that there's a life to be lived above the treetops. I'd personally like to see something painted on the side of the water tower in Calverton - "JUST UP THE PIKE" would be nice, though I'd settle for "Calverton."


Santa Fe Writers Project said...

York Castle is as close as you can get to the original Gifford's. And, yes, they got the recipes fair and square when Gifford's went under in the 80's. Glad to see them mentioned -- they're well worth a visit.

--Andrew Gifford

Silver Spring: Then and Again said...


The Silver Spring Historical Society is still looking for a photo of your grandfather, John Gifford, as well as an interior photo of the Silver Spring Gifford's to place on a historic marker that will go in front of that location on Georgia Avenue. Could you please help us?

Jerry A. McCoy

WashingtonGardener said...

Maybe I'm just stubborn but I REFUSE to believe the Cinema Drafthouses is dead and gone -- is there NO WAY we can work together to revive it? Any stimulus funds they can throw our way? We need a cheap 2nd run movie place in the county!

BTW Why no parks? - Brookside Gardens, the Trolley Museum, the Wheaton Carousel - is where it is at.

Dan Reed said...

That's why I'm asking for submissions! I want to make these 68 things as well-rounded as possible.

Cyndy said...

That Bethesda list is just slightly outdated - #2 and #3 are no longer in the picture.

I was going to limit my nominations to my two previously mentioned favorite items, Brookside Gardens and Pho Real, but what the heck, here are some more:

The AFI - it's pretty cool, especially if you are into the old movies they show in the big auditorium.

Mrs. K's Tollhouse (and wine bar), a Silver Spring tradition.

Mizell Lumber in Kensington - that's still far enough east right?

Han An Reum grocery store on Georgia Avenue near Glenmont. THE place to go for cheap and fresh (and sometimes weird) produce and seafood.

The Royal Mile in Wheaton.

The Sandy Spring Museum
Sandy Spring Museum just west of Ashton.

And I second York Castle!

Dr. F. said...

I've got three for starters:

Fairland Park, Fairland Aquatic Center, and Gunpowder Golf Course.

Fairland Park is a magnificent example of Northeastern Forest bounded by 198 on the North, Greencastle Road on the South, 29 on the West and Gunpowder Road on the East (with housing and construction and the ICC mercifully kept at bay). Its our East MOCO version of Rock Creek Park.

The park is crisscrossed by paths paved and unpaved so it is extremely accessible for hikers, bikers, joggers, wheelchairs, and strollers. The Paint Branch High School Cross Country teams train and compete on its wooded trails in the Fall.The South edge has abundant parking and recreation areas for soccer, softball, tennis, and playgrounds for the children. The park is home to the beautiful Fairland creek, which I believe feeds into the Anacostia rather than the nearby Patuxent river.

On the Northeast is the Fairland Aquatic center with olympic-size pools, pools for children, and a pool for aqua aerobics. Kayakers use it to learn and practice their 'Eskimo rolls.' And there is a well-equipped, affordably-priced exercise room. One can exercise and swim laps as early as 6 in the morning. There's also an Ice Rink next door where you can skate, play ice hockey, and curl.

East of Fairland Park is the Old Gunpowder Golf Course, our tattered, funky, East County golf course for the rest of us: 18 affordable holes of wooded links.

Dr. F. said...

Here's two more, newbies this time to East MOCO:

Trader Joe's on 29 at Burnt Mill. I've become a regular after finding to my surprise that a number of items are routinely less costly than at Giant Foods. Guess I thought TJs would be 'Whole Paycheck' expensive. I just wish they carried wine the way they do in DC (I've heard great things about their Trader Joe's 'two-buck Chuck' wine. BTW, Why does the Briggs-Chaney Safeway sell beer and wine but none of the other Silver Spring/Burtonsville supermarkets do?

The other newbie is Chee Burger Chee Burger in the Burtonsville Crossing shopping center. The fries are great, the onion rings even better, and as a vegetarian, the veggie burgers and Portabello melts are great too.

Chuck said...

Sligo Creek Parkway. What a great drive from Silver Spring to Wheaton without all the hassles of traffic and driving fast. Just a relaxing cruise thru the park. I burnt many a gallon of gas driving this road when life just needed to be figured out.

Here's something from the archives that I miss about east county. The graduating class from the old Blair High School painting 'Class of ....' on the roof of C building. it was something I always looked forward to. I still don't know how they did it.