If I had my way I would do everything by foot, bicycle, or public transportation and never set foot in a car again, but I realize that if I ever want to go outside the Beltway again I need to suck it up and get into the car. And although I am perfectly capable of living on a field lunch of cheese and crackers and sliced apples with a jar of iced coffee, sometimes it’s nice to stop. So along those lines, I’ve managed to find some nice little local places here and there. I figure you might as well go out of your way a tiny bit and stop at a nice little local place, since you’re driving anyway.
So here’s the first in what I intend to be a series: Places to Stop and Get Coffee or Lunch While You’re on a Nature Excursion Since You’re Driving Anyway.
My criteria are:
someplace that’s reasonably fast. These will pretty much be places to grab a coffee, snack, or quick sandwich to go. However, I’ll also list sit-down lunch places, since sometimes that’s a thing. And despite my generally bad attitude about cars, as noted above we have to deal with the fact that if you’re looking at nature, you’re probably in a car… so it’ll be a place with convenient parking.
someplace where you won’t feel weird going in there wearing a baseball cap and field pants that are at least partly covered with mud. If the mud factor is exceptionally favorable — i.e., if you can go in there even if you’ve been looking for damselflies in a suburban industrial park pond and you smell like a sewer — I’ll tell you.
Vol. 1: When You Need Coffee and You’re in Sligo Creek Park
Sure you could go to Starbucks, but here are some nice local alternatives for a cup of coffee and a snack if you’re headed to see those Yellow-crowned Night Herons. And despite my guilt-ridden rigmarole about driving in the introductory section above, these two places are metro accessible (as is Sligo Creek Park itself, if you don’t mind a bit of a walk).
Silver Spring: Bump n’ Grind is a nice addition to the neighborhood. This is a larger place with interesting music where you can camp with a laptop, if that becomes the agenda. It has nice sandwiches. Address: 1200 East West Highway.
Takoma Park: La Mano is a tiny place with lovely folks. Breakfast biscuits, cardamom muffins, shortbread cookies, a large assortment of tasty little items. Address: 304 Carroll St NW.