Rockville, Maryland seems too quiet for a vacation spot. Historic landmarks dating from the 1800s are on the same street as the suburban homes and the glass-tiled buildings of companies, and there are no beaches that make Florida and California hotspots. So, just what does Rockville have in store for visitors? Contrary to what R.E.M says in their song, “(Don’t Go Back to) Rockville,” please do go there. The city is an unexplored treasure. CNN Money agrees with me; Rockville was ranked 31 out of top 100 U.S cities in 2010. Rockville has many charming quirks, but the winning qualities are its attractions and citizens.
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The accommodations in Rockville are plentiful, enjoyable and mostly free. Rockville gives new meaning to the word “urban,” as it is just as much wildlife as buildings. Rock Creek Park can satisfy families looking for a getaway, with its trimmed, grassy fields ideal for a relaxing picnic in the park. The bikers and hikers have their fair share of dusty and scenic trails that slither around and through the 4.4 square mile park. The view of the gigantic sycamores, the vibrant Cardinal flowers, and ripe blueberries is second to none. The park’s 75-acre Lake Needwood, tranquil and surrounded by miles and miles of woods, is open to fishermen, swimmers and canoers expecting to have a fun afternoon. As for the daredevils, the Treetop Adventure and its zip-lining course through the green, deciduous trees guarantee an adrenaline-pumping experience. (To learn more about Rock Creek Park, click here: http://goape.com/zip-line/maryland-rock-creek-regional-park.) The thinkers will find themselves intrigued by the Beall-Dawson House, which provides a glimpse into the daily life of a wealthy family and their slaves during the 1800’s, located inside the bustling metropolis. (For more information, visit http://www.montgomeryhistory.org/beall-dawson-historic-park.)
After a long day of walking through legions of forestry or screaming until your voice is sore at Treetop Adventure, the restaurants at Rockville Town Center, the pinnacle of the action, are there to cater to your voracious appetites. The restaurant selection reflects Rockville's demographics; the options range from Mediterranean lamb to Japanese sushi, Southern cuisine to Italian noodles. The prices are low (between $6-8 for one meal) and the waiters/waitresses are very amicable (see full listing of restaurants here: http://rockvilletownsquare.com/restaurants-and-cafes/.) If the servers can tackle my demands (I am a big and particular eater, the worst combination for restaurants), then they will definitely tolerate any elaborate order.
There are also communal activities on the plaza to help you wind down. I recommend Movie Night, when recent movies are shown on an inflatable screen free of charge. Friends and strangers alike sit on blankets, eating frozen yogurt or sipping smoothies under starry skies – the perfect, therapeutic ending to a fulfilling day. (For more information on specific events, visit http://rockvilletownsquare.com/events/special-events/summer-on-the-square/.)
As tantalizing as the activities sound, the people is Rockville’s secret to an unforgettable experience. The welcoming nature, from the “hello’s” on the street to the warm smiles as the servers greet you in the restaurant, will make you grin. The citizens of Rockville are forthcoming, so do not be surprised when you become Facebook friends with a park ranger. Since Rockville is highly diverse (approximately 60% white, 20% Asian, 15% Hispanic and 5% African American), there are many ethnic exhibitions here, thus the perfect opportunity for exploring cultures without a passport. After all, a rewarding vacation does not only consist of visiting alluring sites, but also enlightening yourself to new customs.
There are few locations where the people and the places are so variant and entertaining. I am glad to say that Rockville, Maryland is one of them.
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