A dirt road, layered with gravel, leads to the spot.

About 10 miles of northwest of Gaithersburg, Rte. 121 melts on both sides into great expanses of corn and grain. Turning off Rte. 121 and onto the dirt and gravel of Ten Mile Creek Road, the view greatly changes.

Down the road a bit, just past Georgia Lawson's farm, where the cattle lie in clusters under trees, lush vegetation rises on both sides. The trees overhead let only small spatters of sunlight through to the road.

Then, on the right, a small opening appears. Beyond this, a large clearing: the Staley Beauty Spot.

When Fleet and Mary Jane Staley bought this land in 1886, it was much the same as it is now. Time has done little to change the valley where the Ten Mile Creek, still clear and clean, runs through the woods at the edge of the clearing.

But, what time has failed to change might be changed dramatically during the next few years. If plans to build a 458-acre, multipurpose reservoir here are approved - as many expect they will be - the Beauty Spot is destined to lie under 300 feet of water.

The reservoir, part of a package proposed by the Bi-County Water Supply Task Force (WSTF), would be built to serve as an emergency water supply for Montgomery and Prince George's counties in the event of droughts.

The WSTF represents Montgomery and Prince George's counties, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.

Though plans are not yet final, Montgomery County officials have said that it is likely the reservoir will be built. Development plans are expected in nine months, according to Linda Fohs of the Montgomery County Office of Environmental Planning.

If the reservoir is built, the 21-room, stately gray structure that sits on the hill overlooking the Beauty Spot will no longer be there either.

The Staley Boarding House, the summer resort the Staleys ran, was a popular retreat for well-to-do Washingtonians around the turn of the century.

Vacationers would take the B&O Railroad out to the Boyds station where Ralph, the Staley's only son, would pick them up in a wagon and take them to the hotel.

The largest attraction was the grassy meadow that Fleet Staley cleared and affectionately named the Beauty Spot.

The boarding house, where Ralph Staley was born in 1895 and his son Hunter was born in 1936, will exist only in memory if the reservoir is built. Ten Mile Creek, Ten Mile Creek Road, most of Georgia Lawson's 162-acre farm, a number of houses and the Beauty Spot will also be gone.

So, last Saturday, the Boyds-Clarksburg Historical Society held a picnic at the Beauty Spot - an "old-fashioned picnic" similar to those the Staleys used to hold for their guests.

Montgomery County Council member John Menke was invited to "stand under the 'politician's tree' and say a few good old-fashioned words," by Boyds-Clarksburg Historical Society President Peg Coleman.

Menke told the 60 people who turned out for the occasion that "plans (for the reservoir) are not final" and that there will be "a lot of (Boyds) community involvement" as the plans are developed. "I have very mixed feelings about (building the reservoir)," he said.

Julius J. Cinque, president of the Boyds Civic Association, also spoke under the large old tree.

"It would be nice if we could turn this into an annual event," said Cinque, wistfully.

"I've got some scuba gear I can lend out," interjected Menke to much laughter.

"Well, hopefully we'll have one next year," Cinque, also laughing, concluded.

Georgia Lawson has lived here since 1937, when she and her husband Wilfrid moved from Nashville, Tenn., where he was the head of agriculture at A&I State University. They moved, Lawson said, because her husband wanted to have his own diary.

Lawson ran the farm by herself for 10 years, after her husband was killed in an accident on the farm in 1943. It was too much work for her, and since then she has contracted the land and facilities to others.

Her 14-year-old great-grand-daughter, Theresa Wheeler, who Lawson has raised, is now learning the diary business.

"I hate to see them destroy what we have here: a home in the country," said Lawson. "Giving (the land) over to progress is like a trauma that hurts more than any other kind," she told a visitor. Lawson said she has been assured that her house will not be affected by the reservoir, though it will sit very close to it.

Calvin Early's house and land, which abuts Lawson's farm, will be affected, however. It shares the probable fate of the Beauty Spot and Lawson's land: flooding.

"I am an energetic physician who works 60 to 70 hours a week. I don't have a lot of time to devote to fight this thing," said Early, who is chief neurosurgeon at Bethesda Navy Medical Center. But, he concluded, "whatever time I have, I'm gonna fight it."

And Hunter Staley? It makes him very sad, he said, to think that the house he was born in, that his father run as a resort, will be destroyed.

"The town itself hasn't changed at all in my lifetime," he said, [WORD ILLEGIBLE] "the true country atmosphere is disappearing."

The Staleys no longer live in the Staley Boarding House, but Hunter Staley's wife Lois says they had been entertaining thoughts of buying it back. Now, it seems, they will never get the chance.

At the picnic, children and grown-ups waded in the creek, listened to some old-fashioned, homemade music ("no radios please" the invitation had read), swung on swings suspended from tree limbs and ate food that was prepared according to recipes in Mary Jane Staley's cookbook.

Lemonade, potato salad, goats-milk ice cream which was hand-cranked by the Colemans, and baked beans ("baked for 16 hours," according to Lois Staley) were some of the attractions.

Then, at 4:30, a brisk wind suddenly blew through the trees and dark clouds gathered. Half of the people left, fearing their cars, which were parked in the field, would get stuck in mud.

At 5:30 the rain came - at first lightly and then harder.

The remaining people hastly packed their things and fled to their cars as the rain began to soak the Beauty-Spot, drenching the woods and filling Ten Mile Creek.