Open Thread Monday: June 20th Edition

These open threads provide a chance for us to chat with our neighbors. Ask questions, share news, or whatever you want. As long as it’s central to Frederick County and civil, anything goes.

Have at it in the comments!

 

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37 thoughts on “Open Thread Monday: June 20th Edition

  1. Grandchildren re coming for the first time to Frederick! We hope to be at Baker Park for the 4th of July. Having never been, I need to know if we have to “stake out” a spot early in the day, and/or if it is worth actually spending the entire day there. Granddaughters are 8 and 10. Thanks so much for any advice.

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    • I’ve found that it’s best to wait until about noon or maybe even a little later, before heading down to Baker Park. It’s absolutely the best place to be on the 4th. That way the kids aren’t ready to go before the fireworks! Parking is a pain, but it’s a pain all day! Getting there a little later has seemed to work out the best for my family. Hope they enjoy their visit!

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      • Speaking of parking being a pain, my brother is visiting from out of town over July 4. I know he’d love to go to the Frederick fireworks but he has somewhat limited mobility due to a health issue. Is there any such thing as handicapped parking near the park? If not, what would be the best bet for parking for someone unable to walk several blocks?

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    • We’ve really enjoyed watching the fireworks on top of one of the parking decks. There are tons of people who seem to camp up there all afternoon/evening, but we’ve just walked up and watched the show and left.

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  2. We like to head up to the FMH parking deck and watch from the roof. You can see all of the fireworks, except for the very low ones. There is always a crowd but it’s less crowded than the park. They have an elevator for wheelchair access and you won’t have to fight with downtown parking.

    Although, I never really understood the fuss about 4th of July fireworks in this town. The Frederick Keys do fireworks all the time during the baseball season. So really, you can go and see fireworks there anytime. And for free you can park at Costco across the street to watch. Don’t even have to sit through a game!

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  3. Does anyone else have a gnat problem in their neighborhood?? This is my third summer living in Frederick. We had this problem two years ago, but last year we did not (I think from the extreme winter we had). They swarm around your head as soon as you walk outside. It’s driving me crazy!!!!

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    • Chris –

      Just moved here with my family about three weeks ago from Texas and the gnats at our house are unbelievable! I am hoping this is just a short problem and that there is a solution for it somewhere. Our house is surrounded by nature areas on three sides, so I know that doesn’t help, but any sort of defense would be great.

      Cheers,
      Corey

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    • I did see a flock (is that what you would call them) of gnats so big that I was able to see them from my car as I was driving down the road. Massive.

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  4. The gnats are terrible this year. It’s getting so bad that we’ve stopped going to the playground. The kids don’t seem to notice because they never stand still long enough but for the parents who just want to relax in the shade….they are unbearable!

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  5. Here in Whittier it’s not gnats – it’s flies. Had landscapers doing some work and they said they were bothered by any gnats, just flies that clung and bit and wouldn’t stop.

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  6. Hi, my wife was offered a job in Gaithersburg starting in January 2012. We are strongly considering accepting the offer, and are going to be visiting the area next weekend. Yeah, July 4th weekend, not exactly how I imagined I’d be spending that weekend, but regardless, it’s the only time we can go before we have to make a decision. I have been trying to find out as much information that I can before we go. We are from Nashua, NH, a slightly larger city than Frederick, but we both commute about 40 – 50 minutes to work each way. I couldn’t see how the traffic patterns were for i270 south to Gaithersburg and was curious about that. Basically Frederick and surrounding areas seem more suitable for us, rather than closer to Gaithersburg, which I noticed the prices of living just go up substantially. Are there any areas that we should look at when we come down next weekend, or are there any areas that anyone would recommend staying away from? We have two small kids 2 and 3, and currently rent a house for about $1500 per month. Just looking for comments and any advice we can get.

    Also, we will not be in Frederick for the 4th, but are there any events going on next Friday/Saturday that you would recommend to check out.

    TIA,

    Chris

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    • I don’t know what to tell you as far as neighborhoods go, We don’t have kids so we’ve never looked into renting larger houses. The traffic on 270 can be bad during the normal commute times but from Frederick to Gaithersburg will be maybe 40-50 minutes depending on your exact time/route and the construction currently going on. When I was making the drive into Rockville I could leave Frederick exactly at 6am and be there by 6:30 but if I left any bit later I’d be almost 7am getting there. There is also the MARC trains which run from Frederick into Washington that makes stops two stops in Gaithersburg and one in Rockville. If her office would be near by it’s worth looking into. I know a lot of employers will offer a commuter plan which will help pay for mass transit.

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      • Well that is helpful, I didn’t realize there was a train that ran from Frederick to Gaithersburg, that will help out on Gas by alot. Although it doesn’t appear that there is a train that runs after 7:10am, not sure if that is just a small schedule, but I’m sure I can find out more. My wife will have to be to Gaithersburg by 9am. Not sure if that makes the commute any more bearable, or if it is a little easier since it is just a tad bit later. Either way, I’m sure we will find out. I appreciate the help on the commute, can’t really find much of anything. How is the commute home? I read that it bottlenecks from 3 lanes to 2 lanes at night and can cause a mess. Not that I think it will matter because she probably won’t leave work until 6pm or later. GM of a restaurant… hours are crazy.

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      • There is a bit of a bottle neck at the lane drop but by 6pm it won’t be nearly as bad. The train does have a limited run because the tracks are owned by CSX and they refuse to lease them for longer to MARC. There is some talk of a new transit line down I270 that would connect Frederick to the Metro in Gaithersburg but who knows if it’ll ever get funded.

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    • Chris – you’ll love Frederick! And you’re coming to visit at a great time. Saturday July 2 is First Saturday in downtown (http://downtownfrederick.org) so I hope you’ll be able to experience that event…always a lot of fun. Have to admit my bias though…my husband and I own the toy store downtown. 🙂

      Re communities, we live in Woodsboro about 8 miles outside of the city. Nice area if you’re looking to be a bit removed from it all, beautiful surroundings but definitely the more country-side of Frederick County. Hope you’ll have time to explore this weekend. Enjoy your visit!

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    • I would suggest Lake Linganore in New Market. Its about a 45 / 50 minute drive to exit 9 – Gaithersburg on avg. It can also take 35 in no traffic or 2 hours if it snows (welcome to MD – no one here drives well in snow and really in rain either)

      The area is great for kids – I have a 3 year old and 3 month old. 2 lake beaches, 3 pools, countless playgrounds and parks and the schools are good.

      Good luck!

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  7. The commute is very trafficky- while Frederick to Gaithersburg isn’t considered much by DC standards, it’s challenging. There are days when you can make it in 20 minutes and others that will take over an hour. That’s absolutely correct about the bottleneck, except there are two of them: 1 where the local lanes end between Gaithersburg and Germantown, and another where the lanes go from 3 to 2 in Clarksburg. There are some alternative routes to 270 if needed. MARC train has very limited hours, and I always found it expensive, but I suppose it’s not so bad considering the gas prices now. It will probably be worth it for you to commute from Frederick, I have the feeling you may like it better than Gaithersburg/Germantown. It’s a real city with a sense of history, rather than just suburban sprawl.

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  8. My son drives to Westat in Rockville – not far from Shady Grove. He leaves here at 7:15 am (we live on the north side of town in Whittier) and gets there before 8 am. In the afternoon he leaves at 4 pm and usually gets home at 5 pm – sometimes not til 5:30 pm. He often gets off of 270 and goes up 355 if it’s starting to back up and he can get off the highway in time. Only once has it taken him 2 hours to get home since he started there in January. My husband used to work in Springfield VA. He’d leave the house by 4 am to get there by 5 am, and then leave the office by 3 pm to try to be home by 4 pm. But some days he still couldn’t get here before 6 pm because of accidents, truck fires (that seems to happen all too often) and just big traffic tie-ups.

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  9. Chris, first, I’m pretty confident that you and your family would be happier living in the Frederick area as opposed to Gaith/Germantown. Not only is the housing cost somewhat cheaper (though the gap is narrowing), but, like Noah said, Frederick is a small city with an identity and sense of history rather than an example of suburban sprawl. However, I also have to agree with Noah’s characterization of the commute on 270 south from Frederick as “very trafficky,” and it’s not getting any better. During my daily 20-mi. “reverse” commute on 270 from northern Montgomery Co. to the Crestwood Blvd. (southern) portion of Frederick, I have ample opportunity to observe the heavy traffic and periodic slowdowns heading south every day. Even a light shower or a slight distraction on the side of the highway usually adds to the slowdowns. Though it doesn’t change my favorable view of locating to Frederick, I’d say that you and your wife should be prepared for the longer of the commuting timeframes you’ve seen stated here by others.

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    • Welll 40 – 50 minute commute times are standard around here, we live about 30 miles north of Boston, so we are accustomed to our anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to go 30 miles. It all depends on what time you leave. I work 30 miles away, I changed my schedule to be in at 9:30am, because 8:30am would mean I would have to leave my house at 7am, but leaving at 9am, gets me there in 30 minutes. Traffic patterns are nuts.

      I didn’t see anything about areas to look at for living, but that is the biggest thing we are trying to find now. But thank you so much for the insight into the traffic, it doesn’t seem like it will be any different than what we experience now. Arguably it might be a tad easier.

      So many things to consider.

      Thanks,

      Chris

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      • We live in the community of Whittier (in the Frederick city limits) on the north side of town. We’re very near Hwy 15 which leads you to I-270. We just had the fabulous huge and wonderful Wegmans grocery store open just a few minutes north on Hwy 15. We also have a brand new Lowes on this side of town as well as a Wal-Mart if you’re into them. We’re minutes from downtown, Baker Park, and Carroll Creek. There is an elementary school right here in Whittier. We are about 10 minutes from Gambrill State Park. Whittier has a great sidewalk system for neighborhood walks (very safe) and a wonderful lake with geese and ducks and fishing. There is a community pool, playground, soccer field, and picnic pavilion. We’ve also lived in Spring Ridge, the far east side of town very near I-70. They too have an elementary school in the neighborhood as well as a small shopping center with a grocery store, gas station, and other small shops, and system of paved walking paths, as well as community pool. Both neighborhoods are HOA controlled. Dues in Whittier are much lower than Spring Ridge because we pay city taxes and thus are provided with city services.

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    • Another possible area would be ballenger creek area or even adamstown. Lots of young families, some good neighborhoods like kingsbrook, and it is south of 70 so the commute to Gaithersburg is not as bad. You can also go down 85 to 28 to go the back way depending on where in Gaithersburg your wife is working. Also the big plus is no city taxes, so your taxes will be much less even though you are just as close or closer to downtown as you are in many places in the city limits. Only downside is a little farther from wegmans:)

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      • Chris, all the options stated thus far are good ones. I’ll also say that the Ballenger Creek area on the south side of town is close to the newish Westview Shopping Center that is continuing to expand and already has MOMs Organic Market, Regal Cinema (the only decent movie option in Fred.), and a variety of restaurants; a Giant Food is nearby too. (But no, these grocery stores don’t compare to Wegman’s!)

        If you felt you might want to be a few miles further south on 270 but still within lower-tax Frederick Co. (compared with Montgomery Co.) and still accessible to Frederick itself , Urbana might be worth a look, too. It is a developing community with a lot of new housing and new infrastructure, including a wonderful new library. It also seems to be attractive to young families, with housing prices still coming in a bit lower than you’d pay in Gaith/Germantown.

        Hope you’ll let us know later on where you finally decided to settle–and how you like it!

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      • I’ll plug Kingsbrook/Ballenger Creek as well, since that’s where I live. Property taxes are much lower than in the city, although I concede we don’t get the city services and the HOA fee is a little high. I was hoping the 85 to 28 route to Gaithersburg was my secret, I can’t afford for that route to get congested 🙂

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  10. I’ll make the customary plug of living in downtown Frederick. 🙂 Great place to live and own a home.

    I take the Marc train every morning to work. It’s so easy. You can either walk to the train station if you live downtown, or drive to the Monocacy station nearby and park for free. You can buy weekly and monthly passes that make it very affordable and most employers will pick up part of the commuting tab in this area. The ride from Frederick to Gaithersburg is less than an hour. There’s also the option of taking the Marc train from Point of Rocks or other stations out west. From there the train departs many more times than from Frederick. Check the schedule for more info. Depending on where you move in Frederick county, it might be easier to drive to the Point of Rocks or Barnesville stations and save you from that dreaded 270 drive.

    From Monocacy there is also a bus that takes commuters down 270 to Shady Grove metro station. It’s cheaper than the train and nice not having to drive 270 (although you still ride in it). Car pooling will help a lot more in the evening commute because the HOV lane doesn’t start until past Gaithersburg on the way South, but the HOV lasts much longer on the way North (for whatever silly reason!).

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  11. Well I appreciate all the advice and such. We’ll be down there tomorrow staying at the Holiday inn by the FSK mall. We’ll be headed all over the place looking at areas and such. So I appreciate it, any local restaurants you would recommend? Not a chain either, good local food.

    Look forward to really checking the area out. Happy 4th to all!!!

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    • Good question on the restaurants. It definitely depends on what you like, but I’ll mention a few non-chain favorites:

      – Mexicali Cantina, East Patrick Street- very good Tex-Mex/Salvadoran
      – Tajitu, Patrick Street downtown- a very nice little Ethiopian place
      – Viet Gourmet, Rosemont Avenue- excellent Vietnamese
      – AKA Frisco’s, Wedgewood Avenue (industrial park southwest of city)- very hidden gem – sandwiches and salads with a great, inexpensive wine shop attached. You can buy the wine and drink with your meal, too.
      – Isabella’s, Market Street downtown, great Spanish Tapas, lots of fun
      – Barley & Hops, Urbana Pike in front of Target just outside FSK Mall, microbrewery with some very good beer- food is not universally good (avoid pasta dishes), but ribs are possibly best in town
      – Tasting Room and Volt, both Market Street downtown, rather expensive and you will need a reservation, but world class food- generally considered best in city and stand out even by DC area standards (Volt is the restaurant of Bryan Voltaggio, a finalist on Bravo’s “Top Chef”)
      – Clay Oven, Rt 40 (aka Golden Mile), good Indian food- not much on ambience
      – Il Porto, Market Street- south end of downtown, good Italian
      – Sardi’s, McCain Ave off of Golden Mile, scary outside, but once you’re in, very worthwhile Peruvian food
      – Greek Aroma, Thomas Johnson Drive, if you want a quick lunch of especially good gyros
      – Brewers Alley, Market Street downtown, another brewpub, beer is good but ambience is dreary and food varies widely, most people will call it a local favorite

      I know I’m forgetting some, but these are some thoughts. If you want sushi or Thai, Frederick is not your town. If you venture down to Rockville or Gaithersburg, I can list dozens of fantastic places.

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      • Even after living in Frederick for three years, there are a few places on Noah’s list we have not yet tried. This weekend, we set out to remedy that, starting with Sardi’s.

        Oh. My. Goodness!

        Not QUITE as amazing as Crisp & Juicy in the Gaithersburg/Montgomery Village area, but still superb, and they deliver! I finally have someplace to get my fried plantain and Peruvian Chicken fix.

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  12. I would put a plug in for Firestones downtown- excellent cheese plate with truffle honey and also Sunday Brunch is great with an understated, but excellent jazz band playing. Also if you’re down by Urbana, Monocacy Crossing off of rte 355 south of Frederick is a very nice place and if it isn’t too hot, you can even sit outside! Nestled in the trees, it’s very pleasant.

    As for where to live, I live in the Waterside Community North of Frederick, just a stones throw from the aforementioned Wegmans/Lowes. This community is a small bubble of non-city properties (not sure how we have avoided getting absorbed) so the taxes are not so high, and the community is very quiet, safe and family friendly. We have a pool and I believe there are several townhomes for rent which are quite large (3 bedrooms, 2 full/2 half baths, three floors) for under what you were paying in NH.

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  13. There’s a ton of good restaurants downtown. You can always park and walk around until you find something that looks good. To add to the ones already listed, Cafe Nola is good for sandwhiches and salads, Acaia is asian fusion, and Brewer’s Alley for some micro brew and burgers. There’s a little place near the movie theater called Mediterranean Grill. We ended up eating there one time after a movie and it was surprisingly nice for a strip mall restaurant.

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  14. Chris, you’ve got an overflow of great restaurant ideas already, but I’ll mention one more– Dutch’s Daughter, on Himes Ave. Not a Volt or Tasting Room, and not recommended for more adventurous eaters, but considered a nice place to go for “American” food by plenty of folks I know. I personally like how Dutch’s prepares Crab Imperial and other crab dishes (crab dip’s good, too) , if you’d like to sample some MD crabmeat but aren’t up for the pick-your-own, brown-papered table thing right now.

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    • I was thinking of mentioning Dutch’s Daughter, too. I agree their crab imperial and other crab dishes are awesome. I also discovered their tuna steak is out of this world. If you go, allow for lots of time spent there (it’s a *very* leisurely meal) and bring lots of money, since it’s easily as expensive as Volt or Tasting Room.

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      • You’re right Noah, Dutch’s pretty much falls within the same pricing category as Volt or Tasting Room. IMHO Dutch’s does well in what it’s trying to do food-wise, but they don’t aspire to be a Volt or Tasting Room in terms of culinary ambition.

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  15. I appreciate all the Feedback. My wife and i went down the weekend of the 4th. Frederick is really nice, I like downtown, it’s got a great historic feel to it. We didn’t stop anywhere local to eat but there were a ton of restaurants that we liked. It looks like we will be moving down, sometime in january. We will be looking for places to rent initially. Not sure if there are any agents on this site that would be willing to help us out, but we will be going down again in November time frame to secure a place to live. We appreciate the help and the area is beautiful!! I could definitely live in Frederick, or surrounding areas, of course price is important.

    Thanks,

    Chris

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