Scenic Trails, Strong Community and Vibrant Diversity Equal Love for Montgomery

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Trails, Parks And Recreation

Finding Serenity Off the Road

I moved to Bethesda from Arlington in 1995. It took only a few weeks to discover the allure of downtown Bethesda and the Capital Crescent Trail. I was a novice to the world of running, and the trail beckoned me to run just one mile at first: to River Road and back. In the summertime, the emerald-green trees protected me from the hazy Washington sun.

In the fall, the trail was lined with deep orange, crimson-red and canary-yellow leaves that mysteriously led me to run to the Dalecarlia Tunnel, six miles away.

Soon I was training for a marathon, running round trip from downtown Bethesda to Georgetown every Saturday morning. I trained dutifully for the big race -- stretching my legs near the Barnes & Noble on Bethesda Avenue and faithfully grabbing my granola bagel from Bethesda Bagels after a long run.

Running in the first Montgomery County Marathon in the Parks was a phenomenal experience. My husband awaited my finish on the Capital Crescent Trail in downtown Bethesda. I picked up my pace when I saw him and felt so proud as I completed the final mile. The trail that saw me through one meager mile at the beginning of my journey had now led me to complete 26.2 miles. It was tremendously satisfying.

Running helped me find peace during hectic times at work and at home. The trail was a place to think, dream and find balance. But as life became more complicated, there was less time for running.

Several years later, we were blessed by the arrival of Benjamin, a beautiful baby boy. With his birth on a cold December afternoon, we spent our first few months in the cocoon of our home. I quickly found myself again drawn to long walks, pushing Benjamin in his stroller on our neighborhood trail. After a difficult winter with a new baby, the April cherry blossoms in the Kenwood neighborhood along the trail ushered in a wonderful new stage in our lives. Benjamin would gaze at the cherry blossom wonderland, and I once again found serenity on the trail. We greeted friends and neighbors on the streets of downtown Bethesda and felt embraced by our community.

The Capital Crescent Trail is like an old, faithful friend. It has encouraged me to take on new challenges, given me peace and tranquillity, and helped me deal with being a new mother.

Krysten Jenci


A Garden to Show Off, for Free

What I love most about living in Montgomery County is the park system. I particularly love Brookside Gardens.

I can walk there from my neighborhood, and I took the park for granted until I had out-of-town visitors who went to the gardens with me and asked, "How much is the entrance fee?" They were amazed when I told them it was free. I now show off the park to all my visitors.

Brookside is open year-round and offers special programs for each season. The displays and gardens are always changing, and there is a surprise no matter how often I go. The children's garden is especially delightful and is a learning experience for children and adults. Just go. You will see why I love Brookside Gardens.

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