(Area code: 301)
Wheaton Regional Park, 2000 Shorefield Rd., 946-7033
Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave., 949-8230
Shorefield Picnic and Playground, 2000 Shorefield Rd.,
946-6396. Carousel and train rides $1; adult escorts on carousel free;
discount ticket book available.
Brookside Nature Center, 1400 Glenallan Ave., 946-9071
Wheaton Riding Stables, Kemp Mill Road and Glenallan
Avenue, 622-2424. Escorted trail rides Sundays at 1, 2 and 3 p.m., $20.
Theodore Fischer, Washington Sidewalk
allure of pιtanque, duckpins bowling and flattops notwithstanding, what's
truly exciting about the opening of the Glenmont Metro station is
that Wheaton Regional Park and its stellar attraction,
Brookside Gardens (top picture and below) now becomes accessible to
the automotively impaired.
Walk south from the station to Randolph Road, east to Glenallan Avenue and
then south to Brookside Gardens, the 50-acre display garden
operated by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. If
you haven't been by lately, note that there's something new: a spacious
visitors center with an information desk, classrooms, a library, a gift
shop and most valuable to those who don't walk from the Metro a
hundred or so additional parking spaces. The old visitors center, attached
to the conservatories, is used for offices and special exhibits.
Brookside's main attractions remain gloriously intact: the tripartite
Formal Gardens (Yew, Round and Perennial) linked by a flagstone path; the
Rose Garden, shaded by a leafy pergola; and the Azalea Garden, where 400
varieties of azaleas and rhododendrons bloom each spring. But the most
spectacular and popular feature is the Gude Garden, nine acres of rolling
hills, sculpted ponds and a serene, almost-perfect waterside Japanese
teahouse; unfortunately, tea is not served there food, drinks and
picnics are banned at Brookside.
Picnics and other rowdier amusements can be found in parts of Wheaton
Regional Park linked to Brookside by footpaths (although you may want a
map from the visitors center to find them). To the west, the area called Shorefield
Picnic and Playground (drivers should take Georgia Avenue to
Shorefield Road) has a spectacular array of playground equipment designed
for "adventurous play", a carousel that started its life on the
National Mall circa 1910 and a miniature train that chugs through
the Wheaton outback.
The interior of the Brookside Nature Center, east of the garden, is
actually a minizoo of Maryland fauna: You can see fish, turtles, snakes
and bees and, through picture windows, peep at birds at their feeders.
Outside, the 10 stations on the half-mile self-guided trail include a
creek; a rotting, insect-infested log; a meadow; and a re-created pioneer
cabin. Pick up a copy of Nutshell News for information on the many
events at Brookside and other Montgomery County nature centers.
Trot over to the Wheaton Riding Stables, where horses are kept,
trained, exercised and shown, and where children and adults can take
lessons. On Sunday afternoons, take an escorted trail ride (for ages 8 and
up; long pants are required) through the surprisingly deep forests along
the two-mile Northeast Branch Trail. Afterward, you can hoof it back to
See also: Glenmont the end of the (Red) line