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Archive for March, 2011

Unique, Cozy, Funky and Vintage – Silver Spring Books

exterior silver spring booksI’ve always liked this bookstore. The atmosphere, arrangement and smell remind me of the “bookmobile” that used to come to our neighborhood when I was a kid.  Remember them?  This place is exactly what you think of when you think of a great used book shop.  Long rows of tall bookshelves, cluttered, dusty, books piled almost to the ceiling.  It’s packed with books, hardbacks, paperbacks, periodicals, reference books, magazines and a huge selection of romance novels.  The organization here is a little crazy, but searching for a book is half the fun of visiting this shop.  Just browsing in here is a great relaxing escape and I could do it for hours.  Rooting through shelves and stacks of miscellaneous books is a experience you can’t put a price on.  The prices are decent, higher but sometimes much lower than online used bookstores but competitive if you consider that you don’t have to pay for shipping or wait for your books to silver spring books inside window displayarrive. 

Looking for a specific category or author?  You may need to look in two to four different places.  Because the store handles books for multiple used book dealers, and they each get their own area of the store, one book or author may exist in a different section for each of the sellers.

Co-owner, Cynthia Parker, is an expert in Romance Novels.   She has won an award for promoting romance novels and writers.   The award is proudly displayed at the front desk.   Cynthia was wearing a pink “Books – The Original Search Engine”  T Shirt when I visited.   She says they are struggling to stay in business right now.

Cynthia Parker @ SS BooksThere used to be a lot of these used bookstores, but they are mostly gone.  Remember Bonifant Books?  This one moved to Wheaton – then died.  I also remember a cool little used bookstore being on that strip of Sligo Avenue where Jackie’s Restaurant is now.  It is great to see this one still hanging on after 20 years in business.  

Shop this store, and support a local Silver Spring business.   It’s definitely a different experience than you will have around the corner at the huge Silver Spring Border’s Store. 

This perfect little independent book store is within walking distance of ss books outsideDowntown Silver Spring/METRO.  Located on the “eclectic” part of Bonifant Street, between Georgia Avenue and Fenton Street.  Don’t drive or walk down this street too fast, or you might miss it, the storefront is inset next to the Ambros Tattoo Parlor, just past the Atlantic Gun Shop.

Silver Spring Books
938 Bonifant Street
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
(301) 587-7484

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: 1 Comment »

Indian Spring – 1940’s Washington Suburban Dream Homes

Indian Spring Entrance Sign at Colesville and Hastings The Indian Spring Neighborhood is located just inside the Beltway in Silver Spring, Md 20901, east of Colesville Road (Route 29). The southern border is Franklin Avenue and the west, University Boulevard.

Originally built as a “bedroom community” for Washington DC Metro area workers, Indian Spring had a  Golf Course, Country Club, Parks,  plenty of open country space, Street in Indian Spring Terracewoodland, peace and quiet outside of the busy city.

Abraham Kay and others purchased the defunct Indian Spring Golf Club and the 150 surrounding acres in 1939.  It was revived into a functioning popular country club until  1960.  Indian Spring Country Club moved out to Layhill Road when the Capitol Beltway came through and sliced it in half.   After the country club left, the grounds and buildings that remained became the home of the Silver Spring YMCA.   Eventually, the vac

brick and stone colonial in Indian Spring

ant land leftover from the Country Club on the north side of the Beltway was used for the relocation of Montgomery Blair High School in the mid 1990’s.

The original Houses,  built closest to the golf course, are in the subdivision called “Indian Spring Club Estates” and were the homes built by Kay Development in 1940.  Radiating out from these original 212 houses are the smaller subdivisions of Indian Spring Terrace, Indian Spring Park, Indian Spring Manor and Indian Spring Hills.  These smaller subdivisions were built by different developers over the years.  There are 767 Single Family homes total in the 5 Indian Spring Subdivisions.

Indian Spring was listed in the Washingtonian one of the “Best Places to Live”   “This is the kind of inner-Beltway suburb that downtown Silver Spring was revitalized for.  The professionals living here may have families, but they’re not so suburbanized that they don’t enjoy the art films, live music, and trendy food that are trademarks of the new Silver Spring.” – Washingtonian Magazine.

Today Indian Spring has family-oriented social events for neighbors to meet and an email group for neighbors to keep up on the latest news, events, announcements and learn about local services.  Some of the Neighborhood events are:   “Taste of Indian Spring”, neighborhood clean up, yard sale, Fall Fest, July 4th Celebration, Holiday Celebrations a

White Brick Colonial in Indian Spring Club Estates

nd Holiday House Tours.  Find out more about the Indian Spring Community by visiting their website

Single Family Homes Currently for Sale in Indian Spring, Silver Spring, Md 20901

For More Information and or Details about Indian Spring Real Estate in Silver Spring Call or email me:
Debbie Cook – Silver Spring Real Estate (301) 587-3528

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

Purim Festival FREE Outdoor Event Sunday in Downtown Silver Spring

Come to Downtown Silver Spring this Sunday March 20th for a Purim Festival  This Family and kid friendly FREE event will be on Ellsworth Drive from 12:00 to 3:00 pm.  The event was such a big hit last year it’s back again this year!

HamentashenThe centerpiece of the festival will be Mordechai’s Royal Horse Parade with live horses and everyone in costume.

There will be Delicious Traditional Hamentashen

At 2:15 pm a performance of “Magic in Disguise” – A Purim magic show with Magician Benjamin Corey

Inflatable Moonbounce & Obstacle Course

Pony Rides

Games and Prizes
Eco Arts & Crafts

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

What’s the Age of Your House? Start by Looking in the Toilet

Yes, that’s right, I did say look in your toilet.  Look inside the tank of the toilet in your home, there is a date stamped in the tank somewhere either on the inside of the tank near the top over the water line (thank god) or on the underside of  the tank’s top.  This is the date your toilet was manufactured. 

Of course, this won’t work if the toilet has been replaced in your house.  If you have more than one toilet in the house, check them all for the oldest date.
Old Retro Colored Toilets 50's-60'sI’ll bet the powder room or basement mud room toilets that weren’t used as much may still have the original toilets installed.

When I was a new real estate agent, a home inspector told me that’s the first place he always looked when trying to date an old house.  Since most of the houses in Silver Spring and Takoma Park are of  older vintage, I was looking in the tanks of all the houses I previewed or showed,  just to see if the date was there and what that date was.   I remember doing this for awhile without regard for how icky or unsanitary it was to be looking inside a bunch of toilets. 

Now that we have ready online access to tax records, I can find out when a house was built without looking in the toilet.  Once in a while I will still look inside a tank or two just for fun.

Someone has started a blog about this called Toilet Birthdays.  This guy has gone far and wide including looking in a lot of  public bar, restaurant and hotel room toilets all over the US and beyond.  This is where I would draw the line, toilet tank checking in public restrooms?   I don’t think I would do that, that is, unless I had a pair of latex gloves and some hand sanitizer with me! 

You can get tips for toilet owners here ( they are serious good tips) and you can/add submit your toilet’s birthday here.

My toilet tank stamp says:  JUN 17 1933.    

What does yours say?

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: 1 Comment »

Gil’s Restaurant is Worth a Visit

There is a new and “improved” corner in Silver Spring.  Gil’s Restaurant has Gil's Restaurantopened @ the corner of Silver Spring Avenue and Piney Branch Road.  It’s the corner store at the end of  the old strip shopping center on Piney Branch Road near the  intersection of Dale and Piney Branch.   

I hardly recognized this place.   It’s was the site of Matchu Pitchu restaurant and then something like Lembada’s (not sure of either spelling), just remember the restaurants there before were “scruffy”, beat up looking, raucous at night and not very appetizing. 

The place has been painted, spruced up and there is new landscape in the front.  The inside feels cleaner than the places that were there before.

tortilla chips - Gil's Silver Spring, MdThe food was great.  It is Tex-Mex & Salvdorean.  I had a lunch special platter with cheese enchiladas.  The platter had the ususal beans, rice, guacamole and pico de gallo.  I won’t name names, but at most of the mexican places in the area, the beans, rice,  guac and pico de gallo are usually left on my plate after just a taste, especially the beans.   At other places the beans are usually so bland and greasy, I don’t bother eating them.  The beans at Gil’s are fantastic, I cleaned my plate.  The beans are seasoned to perfection and like none I have ever had before.  They are not greasy, bland, dry or hard, they are just right. 

The tortilla chips were also excellent, served warm with “warm” salsa, you could tell they were made there and made at least “very recently”.   The guacamole and pico de gallo were really FRESH and like the beans, seasoned better than Gil's Restaurant PlatterI’ve found in other mexican places.  The enchilladas were very light, not a hint of  heaviness and not greasy.

This is a place that I will go back to again just to try more dishes. 

NOTE:   They are just getting started in business and don’t have their credit system set up quite yet,  so don’t be surprised if your credit card reciept say’s “Gil’s Painting”.   The manager came to my table to give me my reciept and explained the situation.   They probably do painting too?  I’ll bet they did the great paint job on the outside and inside of the restaurant.

8200 Piney Branch Road
Silver Spring, Md 20910   

Seems Gil’s had a hard time opening the place because of this location’s “seedy” “problematic” past and nearby Sligo Park Hills neighborhood complaints.   They were only able to open by nixing pool tables, hard liquor and closing earlier than they wanted to.

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: 4 Comments »

Paczki Day Today at the Woodmoor Pastry Shop in Silver Spring.

Today is Paczki Day!

Woodmoor BakeryThe tradition is the Tuesday before Lent is a time to indulge or Fatten up before tightening belts and giving up things for Lent, which starts on Ash Wednesday.
I know of no better excuse to make a visit to the 
Woodmoor Pastry Shop.
The best, or maybe the only place to get Paczki in Silver Spring, is at the Woodmoor Bakery/Pastry Shop in the Woodmoor Shopping Center.  They make the most divine, decadent Paczki anywhere in the area.

Check out reviews of the Bakery and the Paczki at the Woodmoor Pastry Shop

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: 1 Comment »

Elegant Old Country Estate Homes on 1-2 Acre+ Lots in Burnt Mills Hills Silver Spring

bmh1One of Silver Spring’s best kept secrets is this sylvan setting off of Route 29 (Colesville Road) just 3 miles north of the the traffic light at Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road in Downtown Silver Spring.  It’s hard to believe this subdivision is so close to the Urban area of Downtown Silver Spring, the Capitol Beltway and just 4 miles from the District of Columbia – Washington DC line.

Lush Majestic Settings in a coveted hidden community of only 60 estate homes. Burnt Mills Hills is a quiet pastoral neighborhood of rolling hills, lush indigenous and mature landscaping with Acre+ lots.

Burnt Mills Hills was developed by the R. E. Latimer Land Company in the early 1930’s after purchasing a large tract of farm land from the McCeney McCeney Farmhouse 1850'sFamily and others.  The first and main road through the Burnt Mills Hills subdivision is McCeney Avenue.  The oldest house is a 1856 Farmhouse, that predates the development.

Silver Spring’s best kept secret is this sylvan setting off of Route 29 (Colesville Road).  It’s hard to believe this subdivision is so close to the new Urban area of Downtown Silver Spring, the Capitol Beltway and just 4 miles from the District of Columbia – Washington DC line.

Boundaries: The neighborhood is a small group of streets tucked between Lockwood Drive and New Hampshire Avenue, with Northwest Branch Park to the south.

williamsburg colonial in Burnt MillsSchools: Cresthaven Elementary, Francis Scott Key Middle and Springbrook High schools.

Within Walking distance: Private community swimming pool, Northwest Branch Park, two synagogues, Seventh Day Adventist church, the New Burnt Mills Shopping Center with a Trader Joes Grocery.  Medical and Professional offices at Lockwood and New Hampshire and at Lockwood Drive and Colesville Road and The White Oak Shopping Center with a Giant Food Store and Sears Store.

Within minutes by car: The US Food and Drug Administration, Hillandale and Four Corners shopping centers, downtown Silver Spring and Metro, Silver Spring YMCA, Capital Beltway, Wheaton Mall, restaurants, shops.

Very Close by is the White Oak Library, and the 95 Acre Martin Luther King Recreational Park including an outdoor and indoor swimming pool operated by the Montgomery Recreation Department, tennis courts, ball fields, a playground, and small lake.

Call or email Debbie Cook – Silver Spring Real Estate Expert for info on any current homes for sale in Burnt Mills Hills.  (301) 587-3528

Posted by Debbie Cook | Discussion: No Comments »

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