Okay, here's the good/bad, good/bad news, depending upon your perspective.
Starting April 26, the midyear closing of upper Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park to motorized traffic during weekend hours will resume -- good news for those who like to bike or jog, bad news for those who like to drive and enjoy the scenery.
And the second good/bad? It's that the National Park Service said the closures will be permanent, to remain effect year-round from 7 a.m. Saturday through 7 p.m. Sunday every week, with extensions to 7 p.m. Monday when a Monday holiday occurs.
The weekend closures have been done for four years, part of a Park Service plan to serve recreation users when Beach Drive is not being used by weekday commuters. For information, call 426-6832. You Can't Get There
Two of the nuttiest lapses in our so-called metropolitan -- trade-named Metro -- transit system are the total absence of service to the county seat of our region's most populous governmental jurisdiction, Upper Marlboro in Prince George's County, and the utter lack of Sunday and holiday service to one of the biggest communities in Fairfax County, Franconia-Springfield.
Apparently no one is dealing with Springfield, but Prince George's is doing something about weekday service that will permit inner-county residents to get to and from the courthouse and the county administration building.
Starting April 21, four bus trips will leave the Landover Metro station -- at 7 and 9 a.m. and 2 and 4 p.m. -- for the 50-minute trip to Upper Marlboro, stopping along the way at Metro's Addison Road station, the Penn-Mar shopping center and something called the DWI Facility. Return buses will leave Marlboro at 8 and 10 a.m. and 1, 3 and 5 p.m. The fare is $1 each way, with no Metro transfers. Official Va. Arboretum
Virginia now has an official arboretum, or botanical garden, and it sounds like a great place to go on a Sunday drive. It's in Clarke County, near the upper end of the Shenandoah Valley and not far from Winchester.
State arboretum status for the Orland E. White Arboretum on the grounds of the University of Virginia's Blandy Experimental Farm was voted this year by the General Assembly. The grounds contain such holdings as the Franklin tree, now extinct in nature, the largest stand of ginkgo trees in the country, and dawn redwoods, ancestors of the great California redwoods, found in China in the early 1940s.
A self-guided tour is available. The arboretum is at Boyce, on Rte. 723 (a branch of Rte. 50) about six miles east of Winchester. Sick Children Benefit
A worthwhile cause: Tourmobile Sightseeing is sponsoring its fourth annual benefit for Washington's Hospital for Sick Children, with a $50,000 goal to buy equipment for the hospital's respiratory care unit.
All ticket sales -- $7 for an 18-stop trip through central Washington for yourself or out-of-town guests -- will go, with no administrative fee, to the charity. The tickets will be valid through Dec. 31.
Mail-in coupons to buy tickets will be available at National Bank of Washington and participating Waxie Maxie record stores, Giant Food, 7-Eleven and Pizza Hut outlets, and by mail from Help the Children, Box 24079, Washington, D.C. 20024.