Saturday, March 3, 2012

TOP TEN TOTALLY FREE THINGS TO DO IN THE SILVER SPRING REGIONAL AREA

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OK. Let the debate begin.

Of course this is a totally biased list, highlighting the unapologetic preferences of the author. But, if your "thing" is not on the list, or you disagree with the ranking, chime in by leaving a post!

[1] Walk Around Everyone that lives and/or works in the Silver Spring Regional Area is no more than a mile from either Sligo Creek Trail or Rock Creek Park. Taking a walk in these nature-rich environments remains “numero uno” in my book. It is also very cool that walking to these trails is in itself (more often than not) a very pleasant experience.

[2] Bike Around (I admit that on this one it is ‘do as I say’, not ‘as I do’!) My bicyclist friends fanatics are on me to get that bike and ‘just do it’! I will. I promise. While we have a long way to go to be totally bike-friendly, it is still possible with - care and caution – to “bike around” the area, even with young ones.

[3] Visit a museum, gallery, permanent exhibit or display Running the risk of leaving out some of our great spots, here’s a nod to some that are tops in my book today (tomorrow it is probably a different list!): The new Medicine Museum at the Forrest Glen Annex; the NOAA Exhibit; Discovery’s Lobby Exhibit; the Meditation Museum; the art galleries at the College, the Civic Building, and Pyramid Atlantic… You can spend a day – or two! – just visiting these excellent free offering! So next time you have guests from out of town wanting to go to downtown DC, consider sightseeing local first!

[4] Soak in public (and private) art and historic structures I guess this one goes with 1 & 2 above, but it merits a separate mention. Did you know that our downtown area is also an Arts & Entertainment District? Have you noticed all the public art (mostly sculptures) around? And, do you realize how many historic structures we have? Open your eyes and look around!... (And, find the hidden ones outside of downtown: Have you seen the mural of chickens wearing different world flags over by Pollo Campero on University Boulevard? Or Maryland’s largest mural at the corner of New Hampshire and University?)

[5] Enjoy our premier public square Have you visited Veterans Plaza lately? Have you noticed that some of the tables have checker boards? Have you lazed on the rocking chairs? This beautiful public square was recently dignified by the addition of the three see-through panes depicting an ode to the Maryland Veterans. Take the time to read the letters and stories so beautifully engraved in these panes – very moving indeed!

[6] People watch on Ellsworth Soon the Fountain will be going again and children from all walks of life will gather to enjoy this space. Then there are the many free music, performances, and such that routinely take place in this space in the Spring, Summer, and Fall. Even when there is no ‘programmed activity’, Ellsworth is a great place to simply ‘people watch’ and enjoy the wonderful diversity that is Silver Spring.

[7] Have a picnic at a park Have you recently taken a ‘fresh look’ at the number of picnic tables that are sitting in our parks? Next time you have guests and/or family over, maybe that Saturday lunch gathering can be best enjoyed in one of these park picnic tables.

[8] Check out a book at a library I love my wife’s Kindle. Yet, nothing will ever replace that ‘feel’ on your hands of a book that has been read by others. Our three libraries in the Silver Spring Regional Area are truly a community asset worth using over and over again. Of course, families with children are probably most aware of this, but for even us empty nesters the libraries offer a wonderful place to be community.

[9] Shoot some hoop I love it when I go by some of these open basketball courts and see pick-up games going on. While my (hard) playing days may be over, it is good to know that if I ever decided to pick up the ball again I can walk down the street and play some good ol’ fashion basketball. (In my case, it just happens that the neighborhood kids have set up their goal in a front yard and play on the street. That works too – just be very careful!)

[10] Soak in a free performance, program, or festival If what you like is live performances, there’s plenty of free ones going on around the Silver Spring Regional Area. While finding when and where these performances occur can be challenging, once you find them you realize you’ve struck gold! We’ve currently identified over 10 festivals that will be going on somewhere in the Area the balance of this year. The City of Takoma Park has its own performance series (many of which are free.) And, of course, come the Holiday Season, many faith communities welcome everyone to their musical concerts and such.

[Honorable Mention] Attend a Civic Meeting Ok. I hear your laugh. But, stay with me: If you have an inquiring mind and care about what is going on in your neighborhood and community, attending a civic meeting can be literally “fun” – and they are certainly free!... So, don’t discount this activity on your list. Indeed, maybe if we approach our civic engagement as a ‘fun & free’ activity, we’d actually ‘lighten up’ some and discuss the very many serious issue we customarily consider at these meetings with a new collaborative and constructive mind-set… And, who knows: Maybe some of our friends and neighbors will join us in the fun! (Remember: Your comments, whether serious, jaded, cynical – or fun! – are welcome on this blog!)

There’s the – no, a – list. Now it is your turn. Please leave a comment on this blog so we can continue the conversation.

2 comments:

Katelyn said...

Just a heads up - the Medical museum at the Forest Glen Annex is closed until May. They keep posting updates about it on their facebook page, but it is not open yet!

Anonymous said...

What about the flea market area I've heard so much about. Whereabouts is that?

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