It is “curtains” for the USS Barry

February 25th, 2015
USS Barry

The USS Barry docked at Washington Navy Yard

I was sad to see it reported in the Washington Post today that the USS Barry-a museum and training ship located at the Washington Navy Yard is going to be towed away and scrapped. I have written in the past about the Navy Yard and how it is one of my favorite, unknown places to visit in Washington DC  the Barry and old Forest Sherman class destroyer is a key feature. The Barry was a 1950s era DD that was docked permanently at the Navy Yard when it was put out of service. It has been there about 30 years and I have taken a number of friends, nieces and nephews down there over the years I would guess that I have been on the USS Barry at least a dozen times. It was fun to go on the old girl and explore the various compartments below decks. Destroyers are pretty cramped places to serve and work and was interesting to see how the Navy made to best use of such little space.

Washington Navy Yard

Washington Navy Yard

I would love to see the ship preserved and moved to another location but the problem with the Barry is that she really is of no historical importance. She did not serve in any major wars or conduct any historically significant missions. This does not mean she did not have an active service life. The USS Barry participated in the blockade of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis and earned two battle stars for service off the coast of Vietnam. The real issue is that there is going to be a new bridge over the Anacostia river. The Frederick Douglas Memorial Bridge will be a fixed structure of limited height. If the Barry is not moved now, she will become landlocked and present a real problem if she has to be moved or dismantled at a later date.  Steel museum ships that remain in the water are very difficult to maintain over the long run, and for a ship that only saw 9,000 visitors last year it is understandable why the Navy just wants to be rid of her. So she must go. Farewell USS Barry.

The Washington Navy Yard  and the US Naval Museum are still worthy of a visit, even with the USS Barry out of the picture. There is talk of finding some sort of replacement but it would have to a smaller ship that is able to pass under the new bridge.

Washington DC’s Best Kept Secret. The National Arboretum

February 11th, 2015
The National Arboretum

The US National Arboretum from gardenvisit.com

I am always a bit surprised to learn that very few area residents have ever visited The National Arboretum-one of Washington DC’s best kept secrets. A trip to The National Arboretum is a pure delight in any season. Located off New York Avenue and sited on a large rolling site along the Anacostia River I wonder if a lot of potential visitors have stayed away because they worry that it is in an “difficult” part of town. This is really nonsense as the area surrounding the arboretum consists of nice residential neighborhoods that are just beginning to get some recognition from the rest of the city. Last year it is estimated that 500,000 people visited the arboretum but considering the scope of the facility that is a fairly small number.

The National Arboretum

The National Arboretum

The National Arboretum was established in 1927 by and act of congress and is administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service. It has about 450 acres of land and is crossed with many roads and trails for  visitors to use. They have a permanent staff of about 80 with another 140 volunteers helping out. Most important is that it is a beautiful showcase of North American horticulture and a delight to visit. Every time that we have visited it seemed like we had the whole place to ourselves. There are plenty of quite, lovely spots where you can just get lost. The Gardens include special groupings of,  azalea, boxwood, daffodil, daylily, dogwood, holly, magnolia, and maple.  Major garden features include: aquatic plants, the Asian Collections, the Fern Valley Native Plant Collections, the Flowering Tree Collection, the Flowering Tree Walk, the Friendship Garden, the Gotelli Dwarf and Slow‑Growing Conifer Collection, the Introduction Garden, the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum, the National Capitol Columns, the National Grove of State Trees, and the National Herb Garden.  In addition, if you have the time to drive to Anacostia you can see the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.  A part of The National Arboretum. the Aquatic Gardens are unique and just as beautiful as the arboretum. However, we recommend a separate visit to the Aquatic Gardens as there is too much to see in one trip.

kenilworth aquatic gardens

Giant Water Lilies at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Image from the CIA government library

Our favorite thing to see are the National Capitol Columns which began their life  on the East Portico of the Capitol in 1828. The columns were eventually replaced in a major redesign of the capitol building and it was only a decade or so ago that they found their permanent home at The National Arboretum. The Corinthian columns are quite lovely and a popular spot for wedding photos these days. They stand alone, no longer supporting a roof which seems to us to give them the flavor of ancient Greek ruins. Make some plans to see the Arboretum this year. Like most Washington tourist spots, the best time to see it is in the off season. The gardens are lovely in the summer but the crowds tend to be larger. We have heard that in the wintertime after a snow is also an incredible time to visit. You can check out days and times of operation by visiting the Arboretum’s website. But make sure to go see it if you have not already. We promise that you will be delighted.

 

Eating Well in Four Corners-The Red Maple Restaurant

January 14th, 2015

 

Colesville Dining

Red Maple Asia Restaurant

Eating well in Four Corners where University Blvd. and Colesville Rd. has not always been easy to do. There have been a number of unmemorable dining places there over the past two decades and to tell the truth, I am hard pressed to recall their names. We first visited The Red Maple restaurant about a year ago and have been going back frequently as of late. When we first went the menu and food seemed a bit average but return trips have revealed a much more organized menu and an ever increasing quality in the food. To the point where is quickly becoming one or our favorite places to eat.

The Red Maple Silver Spring MD

Sushi boat? image from Yelp.com

Call it world Asian cuisine with  some slick modern décor and presentation. Don’t be fooled by the tacky Colesville look from the outsides as the place is very nice and comfortable on the inside. Service can be slow when it is crowded but I suppose that has to do with the careful preparation of the food. There is a nice bar with all sorts of drinks and usually some sports programs running on the big screen TVs. But it is the food that we go for and it is the food that will make you come back. About half of the menu at The Red Maple Restaurant is traditions Asian-with a lot of Thai dishes. There are some crazy good salads (anything with avocado or mango) and everything we have tried so far was pretty tasty. However, the other half of the menu is dedicated to sushi items. We have never been big fans of sushi but have gotten into the habit of ordering some with each meal when we dine at The Red Maple. And, the stuff is pretty damn good. You can go to on Yelp to read the reviews and get an idea of the variety they offer.

Only problems that we noted is that the parking for the restaurant is very tight and as mentioned the service can be slow. We recommend going early or late both for better service and to avoid hunting for a parking spot.

Even an older home can have lower energy bills.

November 25th, 2014
Older home in the snow

Our home, built in 1940 was warm and cozy during the big snow storm of 2010.

In my business, I can’t count  the times I have heard home buyers tell me that they do not want to buy an old home because they do not have low energy bills. Well as an experienced Realtor it is my job to educate them to the benefits of purchasing an older home and disproving the myth of older homes having to cost more to heat and cool. This month with our utility bill from Pepco Electric we received an analysis of our electric use compared to 1oo similar sized homes that are nearby. We were pleased to see that not only was our home using half the electricity of similar homes in the area but our energy cost were actually less than homes that are rated energy efficient. You should look for this analysis in your own electric bill to see how you are measuring up. We have discovered over the course of time in our home that with a little work even an older home does not have to cost you a fortune in energy bills. Our home, located on Rodney Rd. in Hillandale, Maryland was built around 1940. When we purchased the home in 1989, I doubt that it was any more or less efficient than any other home in our neighborhood. However a series of small, low cost steps over the years has drastically reduced the energy costs our older home. We have taken the steps one at a time as we could afford them and I will try to list out some of the things that we have done over the years to make our older home more efficient and try to list them in order.

1. We made sure the windows did not leak air and that our storm doors and storm windows work. This does not mean replacement. If you follow this blog, you know that I think most replacement windows are a waste of money. Our original wood windows with their (sort of ugly but otherwise fine) aluminum storm windows do a good job of keeping our home from losing energy. I also made sure that we had good secure storm doors on all exterior doors.

2. We were early adopters of replacement florescent light bulbs for our incandescent lights. Twenty years ago they were quite expensive and only came in one or two varieties but they saved electricity and that was our purpose. Now we are moving towards LED lights but sometimes the fluorescents offer better variety of lighting.

3. We replaced out very old heating system (and added central air at the same time) with a high efficiency unit.

4. We hired an expert to do an energy audit which led to us doing about $1,800 in upgrades. Sealing walls and added insulation in the attic and then sealing and insulating our basement crawl space were perhaps the biggest energy saving steps that we could have taken.

5.  We installed a whole house window fan which allows us to use our central air system much less frequently in the summer time.

6. We have gradually replaced our appliances with more efficient ones.

7. We added a high efficiency wood stove fireplace insert. This is my personal favorite and it usually can heat the home alone in the winter as long as it is not too cold outside.

8. Throw in some low flow faucets and shower heads and a few power saving doo dads and there you have it!

Electrical use efficiency report

This is what the electrical efficiency report looks like that comes with your Pepco bill.

We are in no way fanatics about saving energy. We have a lot of computers and electronics running and I like a well lit home. Although we like to sleep with the thermostat set down, we do like a warm home and heat is all day since we both work at home. I personally take long hot showers and my wife has to do a laundry for her in-home dog care business. We do not have kids and the more people living in a household will add to the energy costs. But still we use enough energy to really appreciate the savings that came about from taking a few simple measures.  The heating system was expensive but had to be done as a matter of routine maintenance but the other expenses over the course of two decades were minimal. My suggest is to first have a full home energy audit done. Make sure the company you hire is not the same company that will want to sell you a lot of unneeded upgrades and repairs. And, then map out a plan based on your budget to slowly bring your old home up to efficiency. Below is a fairly long video covering the details of a home energy audit. It is well worth your time to watch it.

Is this a Sears Catalog home that is about to get demolished?

October 29th, 2014
Sear Catalog Crescent Model

Located near Suburban Hospital, Is this a Sears Catalog home?

Are you a fan of Sears Catalog homes? I have always been one and am very sad to discover that one of my long time favorites is about to be torn down. Yesterday, I paid a visit to a friend who is recovering in Bethesda’s Suburban Hospital. As a young man, I lived for many year in a rental home located in the neighborhood right behind Suburban Hospital. One of my favorite homes is Lincoln street and it sits directly across the street from the hospital. I thought that this home had unique appeal and charm long before I knew that about Sears Catalog homes. While walking down Lincoln Street I noticed that applications for demolition were posted on every house on the block facing the hospital.  I was shocked to see that my little Sears house is slated among those to be demolished.  At least I think it is a Sears catalog home. As far as I can tell it matches the Crescent model, typically built during the late 1920’s. However, it is not a perfect match to the one I found in the catalog. Although Sears homes were the most popular kit homes, there were many other mail other homes built by competitors such as Montgomery Wards (I could not find a similar home in the Ward’s catalog), and many local builders just mimicked the easily copied Sears homes.

Sears Crescent Model Kit Home

Sears Crescent Model. Catalog photo from www.searsarchives.com

I have not lived in Bethesda for 30 years and don’t follow local events as much but deep in my head I knew that there are big expansion plans for Suburban Hospital but really never thought of it in relationship to the effect it would have on the surrounding  neighborhood. Over the years the owners of Suburban have acquired all of the property in the adjacent block with plans for eventual expansion. Under the new plan Lincoln street is simply going to disappear. I have no big issue with this as the area is growing the need for the hospital to expand to serve the community is there. This expansion has been a hot issue for years and to give the folks who run the hospital some credit, they have gone to great lengths to plan this expansion well. They are giving some buffer for the surrounding community by leaving some of the existing homes on the perimeter. It is not perfect solution and many residents in the neighborhood are not too happy with the expansion but it is a hard fact that institutions in urban areas need to grow and adapt. The reality is that local hospitals tend to eat up the surrounding neighborhood.  this problem is not unique to Suburban Hospital.

Sears Catalog homes are all over the Metro area and perhaps the loss one home is not such a disaster when you look at the big picture. However,  I have always found this home exceptional. One reason is that it is a fairly rare model and not commonly found in the area. It seems like most Sears homes in the Washington area are bungalows with a smattering of their more expensive colonials. This home was fairly small and sold for an economical $1,700. The other unusual thing about this home is that it has been very well maintained in it’s near original condition over the years. That in itself is a very rare event.  I am sad that it has to go. In a perfect world somebody would buy the house and move it to a new lot. But economics in Bethesda pretty much dictate that this is impossible as the neighborhood already has already been greatly altered by builders tearing down the smaller homes for opulent larger ones. The tiny size of this home just works against it’s own survival.

The Great Baltimore Fire

October 13th, 2014
Great Baltimore Fire

Panoramic from the Great Baltimore Fire

 

Are you aware of the Great Baltimore fire  of 1904? I was not and I pride myself on my knowledge of Maryland history. I held an open house in the District yesterday and the owner has an old comic strip framed on the wall dating back to the turn of the century. The comic strip was from a newspaper called The Baltimore American. I was curious about the paper so I looked it up when I got home that afternoon. The article on the newspaper mentioned that the main office of the Baltimore American was destroyed in the Great Baltimore fire in 1904. And, of course that got me interested in the subject of the fire.

The Great Baltimore Fire

Anderson and Ireland Hardware Store.

 

The Great Baltimore Fire was one of the largest municipal disasters in American History. It began on the morning of February 7th 1904. Speculation was that the fire was stated by a discarded cigar butt falling through a hole in a glass deadlight (a sidewalk level glass thick enough to walk on) into the basement of the Hurst building near the corner of Liberty Street and Hopkins Place. Fierce winter winds moved the fire westward and over the course of the next 36 hours it consumed the greater part of the downtown business district. The fire swept away everything in its path and burned right up to the edge of the water basin that you know as the Inner Harbor today. According to the Maryland Historical Society the fire destroyed 86 blocks of downtown Baltimore with about 1500 structures lost-including some very substantial buildings. It was considered a miracle that only one life was lost to the fire.

Great Baltimore Fire

Article in the Detroit Free Press

Soon after starting, it became apparent that the various Baltimore fire fighting departments could not stop the blaze. Firefighting crews and equipment from all over the region (DC, Frederick, Hagerstown-even from out of state) were called to assist. However, in those days there was no standardization of fire equipment and it was discovered that most of the fire equipment hoses from other jurisdictions would not fit on the Baltimore fire hydrants, making the equipment all but useless. In any case the over 1200 firemen from all areas who answered the call were instrumental in fighting the blaze and bringing the fire under control.

The Great Baltimore fire.

Downtown in the aftermath

There are many photos on line  showing  the downtown afterf the fire. To me it looks likes some of the photos of bombed out European cities during World War II. Amazingly most of the area had been rebuilt within two years of the fire. It also explains to me why so many of the buildings in downtown Baltimore date back to around the turn of the century. Some good came out of the great fire. The disaster led to a flood of building regulations requiring the use of fire retardant material and safer construction practices. It was also led to the eventual standardization of fire fighting equipment nationwide which would prove to be a great step towards preventing fires like this in the future.

The best kept secret in White Oak Maryand

August 30th, 2014
Northwest Branch, White Oak Maryland

The lovely falls at the Northwest Branch Gorge in White Oak MD

I took a nice hike this week with my dog Ajax to White Oak’s Maryland’s best kept secret. It is the wonderful gorge and waterfalls located in the Northwest Branch Stream just south of where it goes under Colesville Road. I am amazed at how many of my neighbors and friends who have no idea that these falls exist.  Yet many of them drive by it every day.  Of course, not every body is unaware of the falls.

Mother and I had a most lovely ride the other day, way up beyond Sligo Creek to what is called North-west Branch, at Burnt Mills, where is a beautiful gorge, deep and narrow, with great boulders and even cliffs. Excepting Great Falls it is the most beautiful place around here. Mother scrambled among the cliffs in her riding habit, very pretty and most interesting. There roads were good and some of the scenery really beautiful.” (Theodore Roosevelt, June 21, 1904)

White Oak Maryland

Jax swims upstream at the falls.

Located on the same fall line that helped form the more famous Great Falls on the Potomac River, the gorge in the Northwest Branch runs for about 1/4 to 1/3 of a mile and offer many spectacular mini falls and rapids. To get there requires some good shoes and a bit of scrambling as the trail in is rocky and steep at time. Due to the terrain the area is not heavily visited which make it is a great place to walk with your dog and sit upon the same rocks that our 26th president did  back in 1004. The gorge located on the Northwest Branch Trail that runs both north and south of route 29. These trails are very popular with day hikers but you would never see the kind of crowds that you find at the more popular Great Falls. Just north of Route 29 is a fine old dam to see and the hiking in that direction is less challenging. However if you are up to the demands of a bit of rocky trail then the best thing is to go south and see the falls. Once you are below the falls, the trail and creek flatten out and the hiking is quite good from then on.

Log bridge, Northwest Branch

The Northwest Branch Train is popular with day hikers.

In normal conditions the falls are fairly tame and safe to visit. However during times of sustained or heavy rains the water flow over the falls jumps to a dangerous level. You need to exercise caution if you are visiting after a rain storm. It is said that the falls and rapids are considered a category 5 rapid run during very wet weather and some famous expert kayakers are rumored to sneak into the park to run these dangerous rapids when the conditions are right.

Burnt Mills Dam

Just north of the gorge is the lovely Burnt Mills Dam. Photo from Sierra Club Howard County Maryland

Another cheap date-The Baltimore Museum of Art.

August 14th, 2014

 

BMA

Baltimore Museum of Art from artinfo.com

Ever been to the Baltimore Museum of Art? If you live in the DC Metro area chances are that the answer is no. It just drives me crazy that so many Washingtonians do not pay regular visits to Baltimore. No, I don’t mean a trip up to the Inner Harbor or to see the Orioles play. Baltimore is such a cool city and has so many things to offer that DC does not. (Great inexpensive food tops my list.)  Baltimore is only about a 50 minute drive from the Washington Beltway and it is ‘so” anti-DC and that is was makes it so interesting. You could not possibly have two dissimilar cities so near to each other, and both are just wonderful places to hang out. So today, I am going to go outside my normal box and encourage you to get to Baltimore for a visit.

Roman mosiac

Mosaic Lion from the BMA’s Antioch collection.

Where to start? Well, something free is always the best idea as far as I am concerned and the Baltimore Museum of Art fits that bill. Celebrating it’s 100 year anniversary in 2014 The BMA has seen it’s collection grow for one piece to over 90,000 pieces of art today. General admission is free for the public but they do charge for some special exhibits. The museum is located downtown next to Johns Hopkins University in an area of fine parks and green space. It very easy to get to from Route 95. Unlike DC Baltimore is laid out in a grid patter and it is generally much easier to get around by car.

Baltimror Museum of Art

BMA sculpture garden from blog.hopkins.interactive.com

What to see at the museum. Well anything. The collection is not as grand as the National Museum of Art located on the Mall in Washington DC but big enough to rival most large city art museums. My absolute favorites are the collection of Roman and Byzantine mosaics that came from the ancient city of Antioch (now part of Turkey). The mosaics are hung around a beautiful atrium-a very fine place to go hang out with a good book. The sculpture garden is also very nice when the weather is decent and feature many modern works.  The museum is currently undergoing a massive 28 million dollar renovation so make sure to call ahead if there is a specific exhibit that you want to see.  Just do it! Break the chains that tie you to DC and go pay some attention to Baltimore and the Baltimore Museum of Art.

Washington vs Baltimore-a tale of two stadiums

August 4th, 2014
Nationals Park Washington DC

Panoramic View of National Park, Washington DC

Last week my co-workers and I took in a Washington Nationals baseball game at Nationals Park in DC. We had a great time with over 200 Keller Williams agents meeting up before hand for some free food provided by our friends at First Home Mortgage. I am a big fan of baseball going way back to when I was a kid and my dad would take me to see the old Washington Senators play at RFK Stadium. (DC Stadium at the time). Nationals Park is located right on the Anacostia River in an area of Washington DC that has undergone radical change in the past decade. The area around the old Navy Yard was once pretty blighted but now is full of new condos and office buildings supporting a nice array of restaurants.  I could easily see my self living there.  One of my fantasies is to retire in a place near a stadium where I could walk to ball games.

Nationals Park from above

Sky high view of Nationals Park in Washington DC

Most of the ball games that I go to are in Baltimore. There is no particular reason for this. I am a big fan of the Nationals ball club but I just find the Baltimore stadium at Camden Yards so much easier to get to and so much more relaxing than the stadium in DC. The Nationals ballpark is newer by a decade and has many fine features. It is a thoroughly modern facility that is major league baseball’s first fully LEEDs certified for energy efficiency. I love how bike friendly they are with a large valet area for patrons to safely leave their bikes. And, from what I could see there were lots of bikes there. Nationals Park is on the subway line which I think is important for any sports venue these days.  But there are also many ways in which the Nationals Park to my eyes falls short Baltimore’s Camden Yards. Once you get past the glitz, Nationals Park is kind of sterile and really not that pretty. One gets the feeling that it is designed one purpose- to milk money, lots of money, out of its patrons. For this reason the focus in the park in inwards on the concession stands and expensive bars rather than outwards on the beautiful scenery of Washington DC and the Anacostia River. From most seats in the stadium, you see nothing but the stadium and parking garages. You would never know you were in Washington based on what you could see from the stadium.

I don’t take the subway often and getting to the game on the subway is not so easy for us. We have to drive to the Greenbelt station from our home and then ride the green line for about 45 minutes to get to the park. Once the subway gets downtown, it starts to get crowded, and I mean really crowded. The real crowding only lasts for about four stations so it is not the end of the world. What is the end of the world is the cost to ride the subway. When you consider that is costs only $2.50 to ride the subway anywhere in New York City, the $11.00 round trip cost for the DC subway seems really high. Combine that with the costs of parking at Greenbelt and you can see that taking a family of four down to the game cost money even before you get there.  Pile on the costs of entering the stadium with the overly priced food and drink, a trip to Nationals Park is not something that your average working class family is going to do often.

Then there is the noise. This is a loud stadium, very loud. I don’t know where it comes from but there seems to be an idea floating around that people are unable to enjoy an evening at the park without a lot of very high volume head banging music. Not only was the music bad by any standard (Ok, I tapped my feet a bit when they played a Stones tune) but it just never stops. Every moment when there is not an actually play going on out in the field seemed to be taken up with very loud annoying music. This noise was a problem in Baltimore for a few years but they seemed to have scaled it back  as of late.  My wife was sitting next to me and we could not carry on a conversation.  Due to the racket it was very hard to get engaged with the game going on down on the field.  In fact with the music, visual distractions and numerous open air bars it seems as if they have built the perfect stadium for people who like to go to ball game but are not interested in watching the game.  And watch the game they did not. In our section is seemed as if they youngish crowd spent more times fiddling with their smartphones than watching baseball.

I will give them credit. The Nationals organization has found their target audience and seems to have made the most of it. The park is drawing lots of fans many of them young and affluent, and there is no doubt they all seem to be having a great time at the ballpark. (And who does not love the racing presidents) so who am I to be critical. The whole thing seems to work and it looks like Nationals Stadium and the  Nationals Baseball Team will be an asset to Washington DC for many years to come. In my next blog, I will talk a little more about Camden Yards and why I think it is the finest ballpark in the nation.

 

Historic Fort Stevens in the Brightwood community of DC

July 17th, 2014
Fort Stevens, Washington DC

This point represents the high water mark of the famous Confederate army raid on Washington DC in 1864.

 

Last week we drove down to historic Fort Stevens where the Park Service hosted some events in celebration of the 150 year anniversary of the Confederate General Jubal Early’s famous raid on Maryland and Washington. General Early launched his raid out of the Shenandoah Mountains late in the war as a diversion to help relieve the pressure being exerted by the Union army on Richmond. While many try to make a big deal out of the raid and claim that the potential capture of Washington DC might have changed the course of the war, the truth is that it was really just a raid. Without heavy artillery and little in the way of supply, it is doubtful if Early could have sustained his offensive. Still, he raises quite a scare while he rampaged around Frederick and as he pushed towards the District of Columbia.

Commemorative marker at Fort Stevens.

This marker commemorates the area where Abraham Lincoln stood to watch the fighting.

He got as far as Fort Stevens which was a small redoubt covering the approaches to Washington, DC. The fort is located in the Brightwood neighborhood of  DC just between 13th Street and Georgia Ave and there actually was a small battle there. A skirmish really. that represented the high water mark of the raid on Washington.  After some hours of trading gunfire with the Union forces defending the fort, the Confederate force beat a retreat back to Virginia. It would be the last time during the war that the Rebs would march into Maryland. It is stated in many accounts that President Lincoln rode out to Fort Stevens and exposed himself (top hat and all) to Confederate sharpshooters for a short period. much to the consternation of his staff and the soldiers defending the fort. It is also noted that Oliver Wendell Holmes was present as a Union Captain during the battle. It was only a small fight but not to be discounted as a few more brave men died in a war that was to claim hundreds of thousands. There are some Confederate soldiers buried at the historic Grace Church in the Woodside neighborhood in Silver Spring.

Fort Stevens, Washington DC

A round table discussion held under the tent at Fort Stevens.

Anyhow, it was a fun night as the weather was fine and the Park Service put on a round table discussion under a big tent located on the grounds.  There were three speakers and I would say about 100 people attending. It was such a beautiful sunset that I slipped away to take some photos of the little fort. If you are looking for a good place to have a picnic this summer then I recommend a trip to Fort Stevens. The surrounding Brightwood neighborhood features older homes usually built before World War II. The housing market is strong in Brightwood these days and prices are rising, but compared to the rest of DC the community is quite affordable. If you are interested in looking at home values in the area you can simply check out my IDX search engine to get a list of current homes on the market.

Civil War period costume at Fort Stevens

Some folks in period costume visit the round table discussion.