Thursday, January 5, 2012

guest post: why I live in burtonsville

Tents at Praisner Center
Burtonsville Day, one of the many things we love about Burtonsville.

Burtonsville's been going through some tough times in recent years, and I admit I've been a little hard on the place lately. To provide some good news, Burtonsville resident and Boston native David offers this guest post explaining why he moved here. And for more things we love about living in East County, check out our crowdsourced list from 2009.

Burtonsville seems like a pretty insignificant place. Even while writing this, “Burtonsville” was the only town I mentioned here that was not found in spellcheck. Some of my friends describe it as the “boonies.” However, I have lived here for several years now and I been very happy with my decision. If it wasn't for the incessant buzzing in my ear about Burtonsville's bad crime rap, I'd never have known about it.

I am a single young professional living in Burtonsville. I bought a townhouse off of Greencastle Road in 2009. There are several reasons I originally ended up in this area. I discovered the beauty and excitement of D.C. when I was a college intern for a major insurance company. My love of the city is what brought me to the area, but I ended up landing a job in Columbia.

At first, I was a bit stuck on where to live. I wanted easy access to my job on weekdays and easy access to the city on weekends. Using the age-old trick of using push-pins and string on a map, I decided that Laurel, Burtonsville, and parts of Silver Spring were the best candidates. Silver Spring was a bit out of my price range and the further south I went, the longer my weekday commute would be.

I focused much of my search in Laurel. No offense Laurel, but the homes in my price range were either torn down to the studs by previous, foreclosed upon, owners or the construction of the home itself was of very poor quality. I visited more than one hundred properties when I finally stumbled across an ad for a foreclosed townhouse in Burtonsville. While I first moved here for its location, I have come up with a list of reasons I want to stay here:

Very easy access to Route 29 and 95. Both are obviously helpful when traveling to Columbia or D.C.. It's a 20 minute reverse commute to Columbia, 20 weekend minutes to Silver Spring Metro, or 15 weekend minutes to Greenbelt station.

My community has a good amount of well kept green space and my home is adjacent to several small ponds with walking paths. My community also offers a great outdoor pool.

The construction of the homes in my neighborhood are of simple design, but well built. I have taken advantages of this fact many times now with various home improvement projects. The homes in my community are excellent starter homes for singles, young couples, or small families.

I have great neighbors.

Fairland Park is less than a mile away. I use it for jogging, biking, tennis, hiking, and casual strolls. I often see adult recreational softball, and flag football leagues too.

The Fairland Sports and Aquatics Complex. The aquatics center includes the following facilities: a heated, 50-meter, indoor pool with moveable floor, a heated, indoor 25-yard leisure pool with a fountain, a heated whirlpool. If you swim there, you've probably seen me by now.

The Gardens Ice House in Laurel. The “Ice House” operates three sheets of ice - two NHL rinks, and one Olympic rink. I'm not much of a skater myself, but open-skate night can be a fun evening.

I have FIOS high-speed internet. This is a minor point, but few of my city friends have it.

It's close to the new Paint Branch High School.

There's a wonderful farm stand in Spicknall's Farm Market. I can get all the local, fresh vegetables I desire.

The new InterCounty Connector has a couple of entrances near Greencastle. Say what you want about the overall utility of the road, but it has a great bus system that stops at Burtonsville Town Center, once an hour, 365 days a year, and then drives directly to the airport. This is important for me as I travel somewhat frequently. As of writing, the fare for a one-way pass is $5 on bus 201 and the parking is free! It's simply the most economic and convenient way to get to the airport (and train station via free shuttle). If you want to take advantage of this, look for the signage at the parking lot for “BWI Bus” customers.

Cuba De Ayer and Chapala are two of my favorite restaurants.

I don't feel Burtonsville gets the respect it deserves. It's a relatively inexpensive place to live and with all the opportunities for exercise and a stress-free commute, it promotes a healthy life-style. I understand the many concerns and reservations people have about living in Burtonsville, but like I said in my introduction, I had to actually live here before I understood all of its perks.

Time for a swim,

Thanks, David! And if you'd like to send a guest post our way, feel free to e-mail me at justupthepike at gmail dot com.

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