Blog Archives

Date Night at Summer House – Pike & Rose

Summer House
11825 Grand Park Avenue
North Bethesda, MD 20852

Date nights don’t happen often enough, so when my husband and I manage to free up time in our hectic schedules and line up the babysitter – we want to make it worth it! One of our favorite places to go is Summer House at Pike & Rose. When I’m not with my kids, I want to feel relaxed and Summer House has just that effect. The restaurant is designed with a laid back West Coast beach house feel – think hanging plants, white color scheme, and neutral colored furniture. There’s also a fabulous outdoor patio area that is perfect during the warmer months. It’s just the place I can sit back and enjoy a glass of wine (or two) and some great food!


The restaurant features a California-influenced American menu that emphasizes seasonal ingredients. There is something here for everyone – tacos, hamburgers, sushi, pasta, sandwiches, and salads. The wine list is great too!


Everything my husband and I have tried, we have loved! When we dined at Summer House last weekend we ordered the chips and guacamole as an appetizer and the prime rib french dip and the spice rubbed bigeye tuna. So, so good!


And the best part of all might just be the cookie counter at the front of the restaurant! Our favorite is the chocolate chip cookie with chunks of marshmallow bar on top. We normally grab a couple to take home to our girls and then they don’t really mind that we left them with a babysitter!


If for some reason your babysitter cancels at the last minute, go ahead and take the kids with you. They have a kids menu that is sure to please even the pickiest of eaters – spaghetti & meatballs, chicken fingers, grilled cheese, salmon fingers, and even breakfast for dinner.

Summer House also offers a weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 8am to 3pm (including a kids brunch menu). I haven’t tried it yet but I’ve heard great things, so that is next on my list! The menu features benedicts, pancakes, waffles, french toast, eggs and omelets. Plus the sunrise punch and passion fruit margarita sound pretty amazing!

So make sure to schedule the babysitter and enjoy an evening at Summer House, you won’t be disappointed! And if you have enough time, head over to iPic across the street for a movie after dinner!

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.


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.


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


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.


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!


Cabin John Eye Spy Train

Cabin John Train
7410 Tuckerman Lane
Rockville, MD 20852

The Cabin John miniature train has always been a big hit with my girls. In the summer, we usually ride it once a week since it is so convenient to where we live and such an inexpensive activity. It’s also nearby the sprawling playground that is definitely one of the best in the area.


Every October, the train runs its special Halloween themed “Eye Spy” train which makes the train ride even more thrilling for little ones. It is not scary at all, so you don’t have to worry about it giving your children nightmares. Its a fun and inexpensive activity (tickets are just $5/person, under 2 are free). The “Eye Spy” train is best enjoyed by children ages 8 and under.


Before boarding the train, children are given an “Eye Spy” card and a crayon to check off the familiar animals and friends that are hiding in the woods. Some of the characters to look for include Elmo, Clifford, Thomas the Train, candy corn, ghost, butterfly, Nemo, and a bunny. My 3 year old daughter was really into this year and would shriek with excitement when she found an item on the card.


In front of the train station is a small screen and projector where they show family-friendly Halloween movies. It’s a good way to entertain your kids if you have to wait for the train to depart.


The depot is also decorated festively for Halloween including a few of those painted boards that your child can peek his head through for a nice photo!



A visit to the nearby playground is a must after riding the train. There are various play structures scattered throughout the wooded area that are appropriate for a variety of ages. Children can swing, climb, slide, sit in a play train, and even play a couple of instruments in one section of the playground.


I highly recommend taking your little ones for a ride on the “Eye Spy” train for some Halloween fun!

Good to Know:

•Tickets for the “Eye Spy” train are $5/person and children 2 and under ride free with a paying adult.
•Costumes are encouraged!
•I recommend buying tickets in advance at to avoid waiting in lines. Many time slots also sell out.
•Bring canned food items to help neighbors in need. Donations go to Manna Food.
•Bathrooms are located near the top of the playground.
•Stroller parking available at the train station.
•Picnic tables located throughout the park.