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Tinkergarten

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My girls and I recently tried a Tinkergarten class for the first time and loved it! The Tinkergarten philosophy is that children learn through play. They offer outdoor classes all across the country for children ages 18 months to 8 years old.

Tinkergarten is on a mission to elevate childhood. We’re growing a technology-enabled network of leaders that bring families together in a natural place in their community for classes where kids learn through play. Each class becomes a tight-knit group of children and adults who learn together through well-designed, outdoor play-based activities. We help kids develop a host of important capabilities, including empathy, collaboration, creativity, persistence and problem solving. Our expert-designed classes and activities help kids ages 18 months—8 years develop core life skills while enjoying healthy, fun, engaging experiences in the physical freedom of local green spaces.

Our class location was at Falls Road Park in Potomac, Maryland and our instructor (who was wonderful) was Denise Reznik. You can find her class schedule here. There are many more classes and locations offered in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. To find one near your neighborhood, click here.

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At our class, the kids started out by picking up a small bucket with a rock inside of it with their name on it. Then they took magnifying glasses and other tools to go searching for nature treasures in the park. I loved watching my girls do this activity and get so excited about the little things they found like pine cones, wild flowers, seed pods, and even caterpillars!

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Next, we came back together as a group and met everyone and sang a cute “Come to Tinkergarten” song. Then Denise read the book, Stone Soup to the class. The story told an important lesson that by working together, with everyone contributing what they can, a greater good is achieved. So then after the story it was time for the kids to work together and make their own stone soup using things they found in nature! All the kids were really enthusiastic about this activity. They all found things in the park to add to the pot and by using their imagination they had created a delicious soup!

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The class was a great experience for both my girls and I! It was a fun learning and social environment. The Fall classes start in just two weeks. There are a couple of free trial classes offered at the beginning of September as well. I highly recommend trying a class!

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Day Trip to Chesapeake Beach, MD

We spent the 4th of July at one of our favorite little beaches on the bay. Brownie’s beach (also known as Bayfront beach) is just an hour away from D.C., so it’s much easier to travel to than the Atlantic. My girls especially love this beach because there are lots of fossilized shark teeth to hunt for and they are very easy to find.

Use our family guide to start planning your trip! Click here to read the article on Mommy Nearest.

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Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom – Giveaway + Discount Code for Teacher Gifts!

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I really can’t believe that the school year is almost over! Most local schools are all wrapping up within the next 3 weeks. I’m sure I’m not the only mom who feels like the year flew by! And this was just our first year with a Kindergartner, so I have a feeling it will only get faster from here on. Thankfully we were blessed with amazing teachers and I really want them to know how much we appreciate them. So for our end-of-year teacher gifts we went to Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom in North Bethesda, MD.

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Seasons Taproom is a small, family owned business located in the Pike & Rose neighborhood in Bethesda. If you haven’t been yet, I highly recommend a visit soon! They also have locations in Annapolis, Bethlehem, PA, Lancaster, PA, and Morristown, NJ. If you love cooking, then you will be in heaven at this store and if cooking isn’t your thing, you will still be able to pick out the perfect gifts for your kids teachers!

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The store is beautiful – sparkling clean and well organized. You are encouraged to sample all the many flavors of olive oils and vinegars. Some of the different flavors of olive oils are Blood Orange Fused, Cayenne Chili Fused, Lemon Fused, Rosemary Fused, and Garlic Infused. These are just a few – there are many, many more unique flavors. Seasons also carries whole fruit balsamic vinegars, dark balsamic vinegars, white balsamic vinegars, and wine vinegars.

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Seasons carefully selects the olive growers that they work with to ensure they are only selling a fresh, quality product. They also directly import their products to deliver a high quality product at a low price. I will never again buy my olive oil from the grocery store after tasting Seasons oils! There is such a huge difference in the taste and quality and the price is comparable to the local grocery store.

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The manager at the Bethesda store is Lamia and she is so incredibly knowledgeable about all the products they sell. If you have any questions at all, she will be able to answer them! When my girls and I visited the store to pick out their teacher gifts, Lamia first had us tell her about each of the teachers. Then she helped us select an appropriate gift for each of them. For the teachers who enjoy cooking, we selected a bottle of olive oil and a bottle of balsamic vinegar. For another teacher who doesn’t particularly like cooking but has kids to feed, we selected a gourmet pasta and a sauce to go along with it for a quick and easy meal. And for one of my daughters preschool teachers we chose an olive oil lotion and soap. We had 5 teachers to buy for this year and we were able to get each of them a nice gift without breaking the bank. My girls are so excited to give them to their teachers and I think they will love what we picked out!

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Seasons has kindly offered all my readers 15% of your purchase (no minimum)! For online purchases, enter discount code CAPITOLMOMMA and if you visit the store, just mention “Capitol Momma” at the register to receive your discount. Happy shopping! (Offer Expires 6/16/2017. May not be combined with any prior or current discount or offer, and cannot be applied to gift cards, shipping, or prior purchases.)

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Good to Know:

• Free 2 hours of parking at Pike & Rose.
• Seasons ships FedEx ground flat fee of $9.95 up to 12 bottles. Continental US only. Orders can also be placed by phone (301.881.0410) and delivered free of charge in Montgomery county and the District.
• Seasons offers Olive Oil 101 classes and private tasting events.
Slow Food DC recently awarded Seasons Taproom with the Snail of Approval.
• Seasons supports other small, family businesses by carrying small-batch local products.

GIVEAWAY! – Readers who like Seasons and follow on Instagram and/or Facebook will be entered for a chance to win a $50 gift card! To enter, follow Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom on Instagram @seasonsbethesda and/or Facebook and comment to let them know that Capitol Momma sent you. You will be automatically added. That’s it!
The Rules: Limited to the DMV area. Up to two entries per person following the above specifications. Commenting will open Friday, May 26 and close on Wednesday, May 31 at 8:00 pm EST.  Entries that do not follow the entry requirements will not be considered.  Two winners will be selected at random and contacted via email later next week. Good luck!



JumpIt Pass + Giveaway!

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Parents in the DC area are lucky to have so many different types of classes to choose from for our children. But it can be hard to decide which ones are the best for our kids and also fit into our busy schedules. Well, that is where JumpIt Pass comes in!

What is JumpIt Pass?

JumpIt Pass is a monthly membership based service for access to the best kid’s classes in the DC Metro area. For a monthly membership fee, families can discover and schedule classes at 100+ venues offering classes for children ages 0-6+. This translates into hundreds of classes per week. Classes provide a wide range of opportunities for families: music, arts and crafts, dance, gymnastics, sports and much more. Activities even include Mommy-and-Me classes.

How does it work?

JumpIt Pass members can choose a plan that works best for them: The Starter Plan: $59/3 class mo, The Unlimited Plan: $99/unlimited classes mo, but not to exceed more than 3 classes at any given venue, The Family Plan: $169/unlimited plan for 2 kids ($70 per additional kid)

How do JumpIt Pass holders find and reserve a class?

Members can search for classes by class type, age of child, location, date and time. Once you find the class you want to attend you simply click “Reserve”.

How far in advance can members reserve a class?

Classes can be booked up to 14 days in advance.

Why are families excited about JumpIt Pass?

JumpIt Pass is the new way to approach children’s classes. Instead of spending money signing up for a variety of classes around town, a JumpIt Pass holder can search on the JumpIt website and find classes that work best with their changing schedules. Kids can try something new or “jump” around to their favorite spots. With a diverse offering of classes, kids are guaranteed to find what invigorates and interests

Our review of JumpIt Pass:

My daughters and I tried the JumpIt pass membership this past month and absolutely loved it! My girls are both busy bees who like to try new classes. They tend to get bored with the 8 or 12 week classes towards the end of the session, so jumping around to explore new places and classes is great for them. And it was so nice for me to be able to select classes that we could work into our busy schedule. There are so many different options for classes in Maryland, Virginia, and DC. With the Starter Plan, we got 3 classes for the month so we took a Music Together class, a mixed ages/siblings class at My Gym Potomac, and went to open play at Kid Junction. The flexibility is so nice for parents and it’s a great way to find the best classes for your child without committing to a full session. I definitely recommend giving JumpIt Pass a try!

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Would you like a chance to win a free 30 Day JumpIt Pass membership? Just leave a comment on the blog post to enter! I’ll be drawing and notifying a winner on June 1.



The Original Playhouse Museum

The Original Playhouse Museum
4 West Main Street
New Market, MD 21774
originalplayhouse.com
 

The Original Playhouse is a children’s museum that encourages children to use their imaginations and learn through play. It is designed primarily for children ages 3-10 and offers an opportunity for cognitive and social growth. It is located in a charming 2-story house in the quaint downtown area of New Market, MD. It’s about a 40 minute drive north of Washington, DC but we discovered it is well worth the trip!

The museum has six different rooms, each with a different theme to promote various areas of learning. Here is what you need to know about each room:

Wonders of Water

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This is the first area that my girls were immediately drawn to once we arrived at the playhouse. They loved the large water table where they could experiment with various water toys. There are mini nets and fishing poles and an assortment of toys to use with discovering what floats and what sinks.

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Also, located in this room is a fun bubble station where the child can create a giant bubble surrounding their whole body. This was a big hit with Clara!

Engineerium Room

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This room is full of hands on equipment and toys designed to encourage the children to build, experiment, and solve problems. There are tools, legos, marble ramps, blocks, and magnetic toys all to help children discover how things work. My girls spent a lot of time building their own little city with wooden blocks.

Art Room

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Children can use their creativity and make their own masterpiece in the art studio. It is stocked with all kinds of art supplies including feathers, beads, tissue paper, googly eyes, markers, paint, and lots more. Each child receives tokens that are used to “pay” for their crafting materials and supplies. If your kids need a little guidance on where to start, there are ideas of projects to make hanging on the wall. Or they are free to come up with their own design. My girls loved making their craft and were excited to have something to take home with them.

Reader’s Theater

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The Reader’s Theater is a fun room where children can act out stories that are provided to them or make up their own. There is a wall full of costume and accessory options for both boys and girls – from princesses, to clowns, to superheroes. And lots of different props are available to help the children tell their story. In the corner of the room is a small stage where the children can perform. Clara and Mae are in the midst of the dress-up and imaginative play stage so we spent a lot of time in this room trying on costumes and acting out various characters.

Nature Nook

This room is filled with animal-centered activities. There are lots of stuffed animals and a veterinarian station where children can role play. In one corner of the room is a pet hamster that the kids enjoy observing.

Village Market and Home

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Children are transported to a foreign land in the Village Market and Home. The exhibits change regularly and are designed to teach children about different areas of our world. My girls loved shopping at the market and taking the food back to the village home next door to cook and eat.

Backyard Garden

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The last area to explore is the backyard garden. Children will enjoy the castle where they can continue their imaginary play. There is also a small bridge they can walk over and stop to look for the Koi fish in the pond below. There are a few other fun things to do in the backyard area: go down the slide next to the bridge, play in the sand box, explore the fairy garden, and try walking across the tight rope.

Good to Know:

• Admission: Adult $5, Toddlers 18 months – 2 years $5, Children ages 3 and up $10
• Hours: Sunday 11am-5pm, Closed Monday, Tuesday-Friday 8:30am – 4:00pm* (Wednesdays they close at 3:30), Saturday Open Only for Birthday Parties
• There is limited street parking in front of the museum. Additional parking is located behind the playhouse in the neighboring restaurant’s (Vintage) lot.
• It is a shoes-off playhouse, so bring your socks.
• Food and drinks are not allowed in the building.
• The playhouse strongly encourages a maximum ratio of 3 children per 1 adult.
• There is no reentry once you exit the playhouse, so save the backyard garden play area for last.



Monster Jam at Royal Farms Arena + Giveaway!

MJATwestThumbnail-ResizedMonster Jam featuring the AMSOIL Series Returning to Royal Farms Arena 

I am giving away a family 4 pack of tickets for the opening night show on Friday, February 26th at 7:30pm. Leave a comment below to enter. Winner will be chosen by random on 2/16/16 and notified by email. Must be 18 or older to enter.

Official show blurb:

Baltimore, MD (January 27, 2015) – The widely popular Monster Jam featuring the AMSOIL Series tour is returning to Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, MD on February 26-28 with the tantalizing points-paying endurance showdown, featuring more of what the Monster Jam® fans have been asking to see Monster Jam featuring the AMSOIL Series!

Experience the energy and excitement with this exclusive showcase of endurance featuring the best lineup of Monster Jam trucks highlighted by more racing, more freestyle, more donuts, more wheelies and more action. Fans will once again be treated to competition vehicles such as the Monster Jam Speedsters and Monster Jam ATVs as they rip through the arenas during combative head-to-head racing action.

Headlining the tour this year will be eight more of Monster Jam’s fiercest athletes, which will represent each Monster Jam race team of Monster Jam trucks, Monster Jam Speedsters, and Monster Jam ATV’s, competing against one another to earn valuable points during each new event discipline. These athletes will be competing for a bid to the prestigious Monster Jam World Finals® held at Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium on March 17-19.

Monster Jam Teams

Grave Digger®
Max-D®
ZombieSM
Monster Mutt® Dalmatian
El Toro Loco®
Scooby-DooTM
Monster Mutt® Rottweiler
New Earth AuthoritySM

Show Time

  • Friday, February 26 @ 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, February 27 @ 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, February 28 @ 2:00 p.m.

Where

Royal Farms Arena
201 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

Tickets are available now at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets may also be purchased at Ticketmaster Retail Locations or by purchasing them at the arena’s box office.  All seats are reserved.  Tickets start at $20.  For Group Sales, call 800-745-3000.

For more information on Monster Jam, please log onto www.MonsterJam.com.  To follow Monster Jam on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram log on to www.facebook.com/MJOnline and www.twitter.com/MonsterJam and www.instagram.com/MonsterJamLive. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel at www.youtube.com/MonsterJamLive.

About Feld Motor Sports®

Feld Motor Sports, Inc. is the world leader in specialized arena and stadium-based motor sports entertainment.  Feld Motor Sports productions include Monster Jam®, Monster Energy Supercross, AMSOIL Arenacross and Nuclear Cowboyz®.  Feld Motor Sports is a division of Feld Entertainment, the world’s largest producer of live family entertainment. Official Monster Truck Series only at Monster Jam. For more information on Feld Entertainment, visit www.feldentertainment.com.



Marvel Universe LIVE! + Giveaway

MUL-062514-1539_combine_fnlMarvel Universe Live! Arrives in Baltimore Dec. 10 – 13. Local premiere features your favorite Marvel characters at Royal Farms Arena.

I am giving away 4 tickets to one of my readers to see the show on Thursday, December 10th at 7:30pm! Please scroll to the bottom of this blog post to enter via the Rafflecopter widget.

Baltimore, MD – November 12, 2015 –After much anticipation, Marvel Universe LIVE!, featuring the most Marvel characters ever assembled in one production, will be flying into Baltimore with performances at Royal Farms Arena starting December 10.

Marvel Universe LIVE! is an action-packed, live entertainment experience for the entire family. Children and adults alike will enjoy watching their favorite Marvel Super Heroes including Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Wolverine and many more during a comic extravaganza that brings both heroes and villains to life. Audiences will enjoy special effects, stunts and a never before seen story in this family-friendly, live action adventure. Join Marvel fans of all ages for this once-in-a-lifetime, monumental performance. The fate of the universe depends on it!

Marvel Universe LIVE! is the newest and largest show ever produced by Feld Entertainment. See Marvel Universe Live! December 10-13 at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore.

Please note that this will be the only performances of Marvel Universe Live! in the D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia area. Tickets for Marvel Universe LIVE! start at $20 and are on sale now at www.marveluniverselive.com, Ticketmaster.com and at the Royal Farms Arena box office.

BALTIMORE, MD

Royal Farms Arena | December 10-13

Show times:

  • Thursday, December 10 at 7:30 PM *opening night 50% off
  • Friday, December 11 at 7:30 PM
  • Saturday, December 12 at 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM and 7:30 PM
  • Sunday, December 13 at 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM

Ticket Information: All seats are reserved. Tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000, via www.ticketmaster.com, and at the Royal Farms Arena box offices.

All Ticket prices start at $20.00. Ticket pricing is subject to change based on market demand.

Stay current on the latest from Marvel Universe LIVE! through social media on Facebook (www.facebook.com/MarvelOnTour) Twitter (@MarvelOnTour/@Juliette Feld) and Instagram (@MarvelOnTour), and YouTube (www.youtube.com/MarvelOnTable).

a Rafflecopter giveaway



August – Monthly Roundup

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August – summer’s grand finale, was such a good month. I genuinely had so much fun with my girls this summer and am sad that preschool is starting this week. Thinking about how much these little people change in a year and how each summer with them is going to be so different, just makes me want to savor it more. Even though I will miss all the free time for adventures, I will love having a little bit more time for my own projects.

Here is a recap of what we were up to this past month. The BEACH at the National Building Museum was quite a unique experience and is still open through September 7. We also had a fun day trip to Baltimore where we visited the National Aquarium and Pierce’s Park. And another summer tradition of ours in August is the Montgomery County Fair.

Places we visited:

The “Beach” at the National Building Museum
Georgetown Waterfront Park
National Aquarium in Baltimore
Theodore Roosevelt Island
Larriland Farm
Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens
Carousel at Glen Echo Park
Rehoboth Beach, DE

 Events we attended:

Garfield the Musical at Adventure Theater - no longer showing but next up is Caps for Sale The Musical Sep 11-27 – Blog post here about attending a previous show at Adventure Theatre
Fairfax County 4H Fair and Carnival at Frying Pan Park
Montgomery County Fair

Classes and camps we attended:

Geneva Day School Summer Camp
My Gym Potomac
Ballet Petite

Parks we played at:

Pierce’s Park - Baltimore, MD
Palisade’s PlaygroundBlog post here about the hidden glass forest at this park
Hadley’s Playground – Potomac, MD - #41 in a list of the top 50 playgrounds in the US
North Farm Park – Rockville, MD
Cabin John Park – Bethesda, MD
Potomac Woods Park – Rockville, MD

Hope you found some good ideas for your family in this month’s list. We are looking forward the fall! Cooler temps means spending time at the farms picking apples and pumpkins and going for hikes through the fall colors. Happy September!

Also, I use instagram as my everyday blog and share a lot of photos from our adventures in my gallery. I’d love to have you follow along!

Instagram: capitol.momma

And I share more information and photos from our field trips and outings on facebook.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/capitolmommablog



Day Out with Thomas – B&O Railroad Museum

B&O Railroad Museum
901 W Pratt Street
Baltimore, MD 21223
www.borail.org

This was our first trip to the B&O Railroad Museum and also our first time attending the Day Out with Thomas event so we didn’t know what to expect. It turned out we were pleasantly surprised by the museum and my girls were thoroughly entertained with all the activities offered at the event.

BOsignWe first entered the Roundhouse which is a really striking building with all the American flags hanging above the historic trains.

BOroundhouse1We walked through the interactive train exhibits and then my girls spotted the Thomas themed train tables. There were lots of different train and lego tables set up for the children to enjoy. In this area, there is also a Choo-Choo Blue Train Depot that my girls had fun playing in and dressing up as train conductors.

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It was then time to board the train for our ride behind Thomas the Tank Engine.

BOThomasThis ended up being my girls least favorite part of the event. We waited on the train for about 10-15 minutes while everyone boarded. Then the train went on a very slow and not-so-scenic ride that lasted 25 minutes. It was just a little too long for them. They were anxious to get off the train and check out all the other activities.

BOclaraThe next thing that caught their eye was the carousel and another carnival type ride. It was nice that the lines for the rides were not long at all and did not cost extra.

BOride There were so many other fun things to do here including a train themed playground, crafts and tattoo stations, hay maze, and moon bounce. My girls especially loved the petting zoo that had 18 different types of animals.

The performance by Junk Rock was also a big hit with my girls. They were fascinated with watching them drum and dance and even joined in on the fun!

We spent three hours at the event, so my girls were pretty tired. There are so many fun activities that any younger child is sure to have a great time. My girls aren’t even huge fans of Thomas and loved it. I would definitely recommend this event to parents of toddlers and preschoolers.

On our way out, we stopped in the gift shop that was full of Thomas the Tank Engine merchandise. I let each girl pick out a toy and they were as happy as can be!

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Good to Know:

•Admission $21 per ticket for ages 2 and up.
•A few activities require an additional fee.
•Parking is free and secure.
•Food concessions offered throughout the event.
•Designated stroller parking available. Strollers are not permitted inside the train.
•Bathrooms with changing tables available in the museum.



Exploring Lake Frank

Lake Frank – Rock Creek Regional Park
15211 Avery Road
Derwood, MD 20855
 

A few weeks ago, I took the girls to explore Lake Needwood for the first time. I had driven past it several times before and finally decided we needed to check it out. At the time we visited, the lake was still frozen and strikingly beautiful. Clara and Mae had a great time looking for “treasures” and had quite the collection of sticks, leaves, and acorns.

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After posting this photo on Instagram, the author of Hiking Along recommended I visit nearby Lake Frank. So, when when Mother Nature gave us a gorgeous day last week I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to take the girls for a picnic and hike.

I pulled into the parking lot and noticed there was a paved path leading into the wooded area so I decided to let Clara ride her bike. We started out on the path and it got very steep so I helped her walk her bike down the hill where the path became level. Then we came to an incredible view and decided this was a perfect picnic spot. It is about 1/4 of a mile from the parking lot to the lake.

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After the picnic we continued along the path and the girls wanted to feed the ducks, so we walked down closer to the lake.

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It is really a quiet and peaceful area; such a nice haven from suburbia. Many Montgomery County residents don’t even realize it exists. We only walked about a quarter of the way around the 54 acre lake before Clara got tired, so we turned around and headed back to the parking lot. The pathway is paved for first section of the trail but is unpaved for the remaining 2/3 of the trail. The trails can also be accessed from Meadowside Nature Center, which is another great place to take kids.

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The best part about Lake Frank is that its so close and easy to get to! It’s located in Derwood, just east of Rockville, so it is only a 15-20 minute drive from Bethesda/Potomac. Sometimes it’s just nice to escape traffic and crowds and find a peaceful spot like Lake Frank. There is a lot more here to explore. So we will definitely return for more hiking, bike riding and picnicking this summer!

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