In 1840, American journalist Francis Preston Blair and his daughter Elizabeth discovered a “mica-flecked” spring near Washington. He bought the surrounding land and created a summer home for his family and called it “Silver Spring.” Silver Spring, Md., adopted the name from the Blair’s estate.
By the 1950s, Silver Spring had developed into the second busiest retail market between Baltimore and Richmond. Silver Spring went through a bit of a decline in 1960, with the competition that came from the development of Wheaton Plaza.
The Washington Metro rail service to Washington, starting in 1978, caused a resurgence of interest and development. Discovery headquarters completed construction in 2003, which brought more retail, a wide variety of restaurants, new office buildings, condos and apartment communities. Silver Theatre reopened as AFI Silver Theatre.
Today, Silver Spring offers many entertainment choices, such as Silver Spring Stage, the Filmore and an outdoor ice-skating rink. There so many dining choices, including Crisfield Seafood, McGinty’s Public House and the Fire Station 1 Restaurant & Bar. Parkway Deli & Restaurant is an institution that must be experienced and enjoyed. It was named one of the 25 best delis in America by MSN.com.
Silver Spring also has the Public Art Walk with over 50 pieces of art. I recommend checking out the Penguin Rush Hour by artist Sally Callmer, which is a 100-foot mural depicting penguins at a Metro stop.
There are several rental properties in downtown Silver Spring, all within an easy walk to the Metro and shopping.
The Heritage offers a concierge, fitness center, a business center, an outdoor pool, a billiards and game room, and a clubhouse. One-bedroom apartments range from $1,600 to $1,700. Two-bedrooms range from $2,000 to $2,200.
The Cameron offers a rooftop sun deck, a clubroom with billiards, a 24-hour fitness center with a yoga room, and a business center. Studios start around $1,500. One-bedrooms start at $1,900, while two-bedrooms start around $2,800.
The Blairs building offers a 24-hour concierge, electric-car-charging stations, a multimedia clubhouse, a fitness center with a yoga room, a conference room, an on-site pet spa and a designated dog park. Studios range from $1,300 to $1,600. One-bedroom rentals range from $1,700 to $2,200. Two bedrooms range from $2,000 to $2,900. It also has one-, two- and three-bedroom townhouse-style apartments that range from $2,200 to $3,200.
There is a FreshFarm farmers market on Saturdays that offers fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, cheeses, fresh baked goods and many other homemade products from 45 farmers and producers from the District, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Whole Foods, Giant Food and Safeway offer easily accessible shopping options.
Parking spaces average from $100 to $225, monthly. This is a very walkable area with easy Metro access, so you may not need a car.
Nancy Simmons Starrs is founder and president of Apartment Detectives, a D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia apartment-search service.