Bethesda Snow Shovels Sold for a Profit in Georgetown

We mentioned this here briefly over the weekend – 80 snow shovels reportedly purchased from Strosniders Hardware were sold on for a tidy profit on the streets of Georgetown that same day.  I must confess I was rather irritated at the time, trying to pick up a snow shovel at the last minute due to an impressive lack of forward planning earlier on, and finding I couldn’t get hold of one until the store re-stocked.  But after considering it for a few days, I think it’s fair to say that whoever was responsible showed a promising entrepreneurial flair, and some may even be sorry they didn’t think of it sooner.

Let me know what you think to this move.  Should the person be commended for their business acumen?  Or was it an unreasonable thing to do under the circumstances?  Better still, if the perpetrator is reading this, drop us a line and tell us how you did!

Shovel Out Fire Hydrants! Montgomery County Officials Urge Action

With another snow storm about to hit us we wanted to bring this important safety request to your attention. We saw this statement from Montgomery County and felt we should pass it on — please read it all the way through and if you have any questions or concerns reach out to the County or local emergency services.

Montgomery County Officials Urge Residents to Shovel Out Fire Hydrants

Montgomery County officials are urging residents to clear snow away from fire hydrants so that they are visible from the road and accessible to firefighters in the event of emergency.

Residents are also reminded to exercise caution when shoveling snow. Shovel snow into the yard rather than the street, to facilitate plowing. Cold weather puts an extra strain on the body. Individuals with heart disease or high blood pressure should follow their doctor’s advice about shoveling snow or performing other hard work in the cold. Avoid overexertion. Heart attacks from shoveling heavy snow are a leading cause of deaths during winter.

Property owners are responsible for clearing their public sidewalks, driveways and entrances within 24 hours of the end of a snowstorm. All residents are strongly encouraged to be good neighbors by clearing the sidewalks in front of their homes, as well as assisting those who may not be physically able to do so. 

Reflections on a Snowy Weekend

Here are five quick reflections on the Snow Bowl weekend:

1. Tastee Diner and its staff are AWESOME — we just knew they would be open on Saturday morning and the hot chocolate hit the spot.

2. Sometimes it takes a massive snow event to remind us to slow down, go for walks and chat to our neighbors.

3. The Bethesda Up and local road and rescue services do a wonderful job – thanks!

4. If you have a four wheel drive it does not give you license to speed when the road is covered in snow and ice!

5. There are a lot of good people in this area who are happy to pitch in and help their community get through challenging times.

Feel free to share your reflections on Snow Bowl weekend here.

“I’m Going to Get More Snow!”

was the way the 5 year old we overheard near Cosi proclaimed his love both for the winter wonderland and the prospect of ANOTHER snow storm hitting Bethesda and the surrounding area tomorrow and into Wednesday. His mother had a, well, how shall I put it, slightly different feeling about things and replied “Don’t talk to me about more snow!”

And in a nutshell we have the two views of the coming snow event — some of our fellow citizens want MORE snow and for others, well, let’s just say that 27 inches and counting is more than enough for one week!

Darcy’s Store: A Short History of Bethesda

Bethesda Meeting House

Bethesda Meeting House

(Image via Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

Like many hamlets since swallowed up in an burgeoning metropolitan area, Bethesda’s roots are rather humble.  A typical outlying settlement, Bethesda began life as a small collection of buildings alongside a busy road that had once been a Native American trail.

The town’s viabiliy was cemented in the early nineteenth century when the thoroughfare was converted into a toll road called the Washington and Rockville Turnpike, transporting tobacco and other commodities between Georgetown and Rockville, and up to Frederick.  Around the toll and a solitary store, a small settlement grew up that would one day become Bethesda.

Originally named “Darcy’s Store” after local business owner William E. Darcy, the growing town acquired its definitive name in 1871 when postmaster Robert Franck named it after the Bethesda Meeting House, a Presbyterian church built in 1820.  The church burned down in 1849 but was rebuilt the same year on an adjacent site, where it stands to this day.

The church in turn took its name from the biblical Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem, a place associated with healing.  In ancient Greek manuscripts, the name of the Pool is often mistaken for that of the New Testament town Bethsaida, described as a “desert place” and believed by scholars to be the possible location where Jesus fed the five thousand.  The origin of the church’s name has led to a common misconception that the town took its name directly from the Pool of Bethesda.

Many villages grew up around crossroads – mini hubs where travelers congregated before continuing in their various directions – and Bethesda was no different.  Straddling a crossroads for most of the nineteenth century, the town was little more than a blacksmith, post office, church, school, some houses and a few stores.  But that was set to change after the turn of the twentieth century, when the newly installed streetcar line connected Bethesda to the nearby District of Columbia.

This enabled suburbanization to take a hold, with the neighborhoods of Battery Park, Woodmont, Drummond and Edgemoor springing up on farmland adjacent to the turnpike.  Well-to-do men like Merle Thorpe built mansions in fine grounds and help found the Woodmont Country Club – now on land occupied by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  Thorpe’s home, Pook’s Hill, accomodated the exiled Norwegian Royal Family during World War Two.

Pook’s Hill was inspired by Rudyard Kipling’s 1906 story, Puck of Pook’s Hill.  Puck was the mischievous sprite of English folklore also known as Robin Goodfellow, who is thought to have lent his name to the popular outlaw Robin Hood – or Robin of the Greenwood.  Nevertheless, it is a fun pagan injection into Bethesda’s otherwise biblical heritage.

The rapid expansion of government during World War Two correlated to a rapid expansion of Bethesda, with the National Naval Medical Center (1939) and NIH (1953) built north of the downtown.  As a result, medical professionals, government contractors and business people have flocked to the area.

Bethesda has since become the core employment hub of southwestern Montgomery County, with many of its workers traveling from Washington, DC and vice versa.  Major companies headquartered here today include defense giant Lockheed Martin, Mariott International, Honest Tea and Ritz Carlton.

Darcy’s Store is a weekly feature article about the history of Bethesda

The Dig Out Begins!

Well the weekend’s over and I know many of you will be scrambling to dig your cars out this morning and trying to head to work.  There were vehicles on the road yesterday – increasingly by the evening – but nevertheless still very quiet compared to the normal hectic traffic.  My bet is that as the sun went down the clear skies will have brought on an icy chill, probably making the roads even more treacherous this morning, so be careful out there.

The federal government is closed today – always an ominous sign of inclement weather.  But for those of you who are trying to dig yourselves out this morning, here are some pictures of the “dig out” which began yesterday to hopefully offer a little inspiration:

dig out 1

dig out 2

dig out 3

dig out 4

dig out 5

dig out 6

dig out 8

dig out 9

dig out 10

dig out 11

dig out 14

dig out 15

dig out 17

dig out 18

Once again a big thank you to the good people of Bethesda for taking a few moments to pose for a picture next to their snow-covered vehicles!

Enjoying the Snow!

We’ve been wading through the snow around town this weekend, checking out the inclement weather’s effects on local businesses, doing our best to pelt each other with snowballs, and chatting to local people about how they were making the most of the winter wonderland.  Here are a few pics of people in the local community going out in the snow.

Allie and Bob

Allie and Bob (above) had a great time out in the snow with Allie’s sled, and decided to take some snow home with them for safe keeping!

Anu and Raja

Anu and Raja were expecting a visit from their daughter but first they had to clear her a space to park!  Here they are with their driveway almost cleared – just the monster pile of snow at the entrance to go…

Alan Gelb

Alan Gelb conquers the driveway – good work Alan!

Clearing Driveway

And finally, Rahul and Ujwala who’ve successfully managed to chase winter off their driveway with determination and some good old elbow grease.

Congrats on a job well done everyone, and thanks very much for letting the Bethesda Actually team grab a photo for this post.  I sense a nice hot cup of hot chocolate coming on!

Betheda Row Snowball Fight

Just wanted to say thanks to Charlie and Rosie for dropping us a line concerning this weekend’s snowball fight for kids of all ages on Bethesda Row!  Sorry this didn’t get posted in time (although hopefully those of you who wanted to participate saw Rosie’s comment!).  We’d just like to say we hope it was a fantastic event and we’ll definitely be there for the next one.  By the sounds of it, the next one could be on Tuesday if the snow forecast is anything to go by!  Great cause too, raising funds for Haiti.  There’s nothing quite like a good snowball fight to bring the community together!

Around Town On The First Big Day of Snowmageddon Bethesda

Well it’s been a day of deep snow out there in Bethesda and the wider area!  Your intrepid Bethesda Actually team decided to don the snow boots earlier today and check out what was happening around town, and whether or not shops were managing to open their doors in the midst of the big freeze, aka Snowmageddon.  Playing the part of the good old reporter on the beat, we found that some Bethesda workers had gone above and beyond the call of duty to meet the extreme weather head-on:

Bethesda streets

Giant

shelves

First of all let’s start with the staff at Giant grocery store.  Many of them slept in the store overnight to be sure they’d be able to open shop today.  Some of the essentials, including bottled water, had been completely depleted, but on the whole the shelves were fully stocked – great job there!

Tastee Diner

In true Tastee Diner fashion, the local landmark remained open and thanks to the blizzard outside, the already fantastic hot chocolate was even better than usual!  Bethesda Up road crews were doing and continue to do an incredible job, while the Bethesda Chevy Chase Fire and Rescue service were out and about lending a hand to anyone who needed it – great job and thanks for your efforts!

strosniders

Chatting to people we met while we were out and about, we also managed to shed some light on why Strosniders Hardware had a major shortage of snow shovels yesterday.  It turns out that on Friday, someone bought 80 shovels from the store, as well as a few sleds, and sold them on for a profit down the road on the streets of Georgetown.  So if you never got one, that’s where your snow shovel went!

sledding

sledding2

sledding3

One group who never tire of snow – and have a great time when everyone else is running around just trying to ensure the shelves are stocked up – are the local kids.  One group we stumbled across had been out for a few hours and were clearly having an absolutely great time.  Not that you ever grow out of sledding of course!

trail

parking lot

The Crescent Trail clearly needed blazing, but Raj was making the most of it!  Needless to say, the parking lot was empty.  We’ll have more on this tomorrow, but in the meantime we’d love to hear any of your snow stories from this weekend!  If you have any tales to tell do feel free to comment or drop us a message.  In the meantime here’s a few more pics from around town today:

Bethesda pics

Bethesda Actually to Launch Weekly Features From Monday

We’re pleased to announce that beginning Monday, Bethesda Actually will host a variety of feature articles (initially one per day Monday to Friday) on topics ranging from local history and real estate to sport, food & drink and fashion.

To find out more, be sure to check out the first feature article on Monday!