Archive for September, 2008
The Jewel of Montgomery County, can you guess what it is? It is located in on the Border of Rockville and Bethesda. It is very easy to get to, it even has it’s own Metro access. No one lives there, and everyone is welcome. You can sing, eat, learn and be amazed. Rich and poor alike flock to see the famous and maybe not so famous.
Have you already guessed? It is the Strathmore Hall Art Center and they are celebrating 25 years of Art. The Strathmore Art Center is located on the Grovsvenor Metro stop, perfect for anyone to get to!! You would think that an Art Center like this would be in the city directly but, we here in Montgomery County are so thrilled call it our own.
Originally the land was purchased by Captain James Frederick Oyster and his wife for their Summer Home in 1899. They bought 99 acres and built the mansion shortly thereafter. They Oysters sold the home to Charles Corby and his wife, Hattie who remained in the home until her death in 1941.
After Mrs Corby passed away the land was left to St Mary’s Academy in which the Nuns turned the mansion into a convent and a school called St Angela Hall. The Sisters then sold the mansion to The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association as their headquarters. They then gave the property to Montgomery County and it was named Strathmore Hall. Strathmore Hall would be renovated and used for the arts in 1983.
The Mansion has a 100 seat hall for concerts, tea rooms and many other rooms for education and art exhibits. It has hosted weddings, and celebrations of all kinds. It is set up on the lawn and is as beautiful and she is important to cultural events.
Fast forward to 2001. After 25 years of work and under the direction of President & CEO Eliot Pfanstiehl, there was a ground breaking for the Music Hall. The music hall was designed by Architect William Rawn Architects, Inc, Kirkegaard Associates who designed all of the acoustics, theater designers Theatre Project Consultants. It is a masterpiece of architecture. It is built of German limestone, it sets up on the knoll and has exquisite views. The concert hall is the most beautiful concert hall I have ever seen, it rivals halls I have seen in New York, Hamburg, Berlin, and Washington DC. It is as wonderful to see a show as to sit in awe of it’s beauty.
The Strathmore Art Center is partnered with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Washington Performing Arts Society, National Philharmonic, Levine School of Music, CityDance Ensemble, and Maryland Classic Youth Orchestra. These are major players in the music and art world.
The great thing about Strathmore is that there is something for everyone. In the Concert Hall you can see anyone from Neil Sedka to Tommy Tune to Bernadette Peters to Arlo Gutherie To Soweto Gospel Choir to Chanukah Feast in Concert to A Rockapella Holiday to the Musical Adventures of Flat Stanely for the kids. I mean there is something for everyone! I have seen plays, comedy tours, symphony concerts, the Beatle tour. Strathmore has not left anyone out.
Check out their website Strathmore.org for all the information. You can sign up for art classes, chorale classes, kids even have their own classes. The Mansion has art exhibits featuring different artists.
If you live in Montgomery County or in the Metro area, do yourself a favor and don’t miss out on this Gem, it is truly magic.
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Friday, September 26, 2008 and GCCAR Summit was held at the North Bethesda Marriot in Rockville, near White Flint. It was a meeting of agents from all companies and our board leaders to listen to reports on the economy , take continuing education classes for our licenses and discuss the impending use of the Sentrilock Keyboxes. It is also fun to see folks you have not seen in a long time.
I was most interested in what in what Ken Fears, Manager, Regional Economics, who speaks to NAR on housing trends had to say. Listening to an economist speak is not the most exciting thing in the world, but in today’s climate it does get my attention. This is what I took away from the lecture;
I was pleasantly surprised to hear what Mr Fears had to say. He talked about the obvious. Foreclosures, excessive inventory, and the negative climate we hear about everyday. One subject I was glad he touched on was the low use of FHA loans for first time homebuyers or buyers with lower credit scores during the housing boom is one of the problems we are now experiencing. This is because FHA, which is backed buy HUD, had guidelines for buyers that protected them and the bank in the event of foreclosure. There is mortgage insurance with an FHA loan. What mortgage insurance will do for the bank is insure them in case the buyer goes into foreclosure. The bank can collect their losses from this fund. This would have protected some of the banks from the troubles they are facing today.
He touched on the government backing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. He thought this was a good thing for them to be in receivership, it protects them from a corporate takeover.
One of the other things that Mr Fears talked about was that we, in the Washington DC metro area have relatively low unemployment compared to other areas of the country, so this may keep our market moving better than most. They feel we are through the biggest bulk of foreclosures to come on the market.
The reduction of new construction should help stablize our market conditions. It is predicted that the housing starts – new home construction – should be around 750,000 new home to be built in 2009. That will help the supply and demand of our real estate industry. Currently we have had too much supply. This with the Household formation trend on the upswing as a trend indicator should help stablize the real estate market in the next couple of years.
I found it interesting to listen to some of his reports. Actually, in spite of all you are hearing and reading these days, it was very positive for the most part. He felt that the key ingredient to getting the market back in shape was some consumer confidence, keeping the interest rates fairly steady because the core prices are staying steady. The rates are low and the inventory is high. It is a buyer’s market for sure.
As for the Bailout, it was not discussed. I am sure there are too many what ifs to have discussed it in a 30 minute lecture. As for me and my business, it is steady and it is good. I have been fortunate to build a large referral base and it has kept me steady in this market. Also, I don’t get so bogged down by what the television has to say. For me, I think bad news sells better for the media and they are going to make it as bad as they can. I have chosen not to make their reality mine, you should not either.
I always know the market will go up and down, that is why it is called a market. I always think it is so interesting how balanced we become when the market is down. We make sound, cautious decisions and watch our money. I wonder how far ahead of the game we all would be if we could take that good caution and use it during the upswing of a market?
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Remember Lucy and her wine making fun? Well, here is your chance to experience the same thing. The Sugarloaf Mountain Vinyard is hosting the GRAPE STOMP ‘08 Saturday and Sunday, October 18th and 19th. The fun will start at Noon until 5:00pm.
What a fine time to come out to the winery for the Fall Harvest. There will be food, music and vineyard tours!! How fun would that be? You don’t even have to go out to California!! The winery has a new tasting room and patio.
There will be wine tastings, music, fun for all. There will be a grape stomping contest, told ya you would get to try it. How fun does that sound?
If you are over 21 admission is $10.00, if you are under 21 admission is free. Sugarloaf Mountain Winery is located off of I-270, click here for directions.
Sugarloaf Mountain Winery 301-605-0130, hope to see you there!!
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It is getting to be that time of year again. Spider webs, cauldrons and spooky characters. Some like to go to Haunted houses, haunted forests, but my idea of fun is the Candlelight Ghost Tours in Frederick Maryland.
Did you know that Frederick is over 250 years old? Many of the major Civil War battles were fought around Frederick County. The Battle of Antietam, South Mountain and the Monocacy Battle. Frederick was the largest city during these battles and many of the wounded soldiers came to Frederick for medical help.
Downtown Frederick has been restored and updated over the years. Just think of the small quaint alley ways, wonder what is lurking there down the way? You can go antiquing down Patrick and Market streets. There are many restaurants for your dining pleasure. You can even live in a downtown loft.
All of this history and energy should conjure up some fun for Ghost walking in Frederick. You can arrange for a tour through Candlelight Ghost Tours of Frederick at 301-668-8922 or www.marylandghosttours.com
Happy Hunting to you. . . .
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I have always been blessed as an agent in my area in terms of being “successful” . Many REALTORS® have different ways of calculating success. Some will count how many homes they sold at the end of the year, others will use their income as the gage for their success. I gage my success in a different way. For me, it is the relationships that I establish that will hopefully last a lifetime.
Many of my clients are first time homebuyers. I am honored to be involved in a person or couple’s first home purchase. It is a milestone in their life that they will someday look back on with pride that they accomplished and I played a role in the transaction.
I have also been lucky enough to be invited to some of their weddings. As it turns out, I have been invited to 4 weddings this year. It is typical for me to be invited to 3 or 4 weddings a year that are clients that I have become friends with. This year I have had my clients, Ben and Amanda, get married. Unfortunately I was out of town for their wedding. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Wes and Rachel’s wedding last weekend.
It was a beautiful cermony, perfect weather and they were surrounded by so much love and happiness. It was a really great day. I am honored to have been included in yet another milestone in their lives. I know both couples will have many years of happiness and love.
The best part about real estate is that we get to participate in the real life stories of our clients. That is what I call success.
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One of my favorite memories from my childhood was setting up the card table at the end of the driveway and sellin’ lemonade. I would be in charge of the sign. One paper cup of our best stuff would run ya a nickel. My mom would make the lemonade, or Kool-Aid if we had a special request and we would go out front and wait for the mad run on our lemonade stand. Strangers would stop by and get a cup or so and we had our regulars that would have a cup or so and visit with us. When we were all out, we were in charge of bringing in the pitcher and cups to Mom for clean up and Mom would get the card table for us. When the clean up was done, we would divy up the loot and run to the store and buy gum, candy, comics or the like. It was our money and we could do with it what we wanted.
As an adult I have always supported the local lemonade stand trade in my area. I have been out showing houses a few times to drive past kids selling lemonade. I ALWAYS pull over and treat my clients to a cup of the good stuff. It does two things, Gives us a little break and refreshment and thrills the kids. I think that those are the kinds of things that help build kid’s self esteem to know they can succeed.
Today, after I came home, I did my usual routine of getting Hutch, my dog, and going for our afternoon walk. We walked our normal trek and came back to find the kids that live across the street had set up shop while Hutch and I were out. The had the card table, sign, cups the entire deal. Jordan and Zander out there working their lemonade stand.
Now, I tell you, inflation is a tough thing but I think Jordan and Zander’s prices were fair. They charged .25 cents for one cup or two cups for .40 cents. Please note the sign, the bowl is for the money. I thought that was a pretty good deal. Jordan told my that one cup was one quarter and two cups were four quarters? Jordan also instructed me to make sure Hutch did not poop anywhere near the stand, it wouldn’t be good for business. I told her I understood and we would refrain from such things.
They were cute and so excited to sell their lemonade. They told me they would only be there as long they still had cups for customers and that they were not going to drink any of the lemonade, they had to save it for the customers.
Next time you are in Darnestown Maryland, be sure to stop off at Jordan and Zander’s Lemonade Stand. They are sure to please.
Hhmmm. . . . I think we might have a little agent in the making?
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Back when I was a kid I didn’t really like Fall. I guess it was the end of the Summer vacation and the start of school . Now, it is my favorite time of the year. The weather is cooler, holidays are on the way and the turning of the leaves make this time of the year something I look forward to.
During the Fall, one of the best things you can do is visit Butler’s Orchard in Germantown Maryland. Butler’s Orchard has been a working farm for 50 years. It is also a country store and entertainment for any and everyone. There are several different fruits and vegetables that you can pick yourself. You should check the schedule to see when your favorites are in season.
I talked to Bob, from Butler’s Orchard, yesterday when I was picking up some fresh fruit and he told me he grills fresh vegetables the second weekend every month during the Summer season. Bob said that they play music, dance, sample his veggies and have a good old time. If that sounds like fun to you, September 13th and 14th will be the last weekend for Bob’s Grilling for the season.
Even if you miss Bob’s fun, you won’t want to miss the Annual Pumpkin Harvest. There are Hay rides where you go out into the pumpkin patch and pick your own pumpkins. There will be a pumpkin party every weekend from September 27th to the End of October.
There is something for each season. They have a Christmas Tree Farm. You can go and pick out your own Christmas Tree and take it home. The Thursday before Easter, there is a big Easter egg hunt and hay ride. Make sure you bring your Easter basket. You can even have Birthday parties at Butler’s Orchard..
If you have never been, you have to check out Butler’s Orchard. Fall is the perfect season to start having fun at Butler‘s Orchard. Calendar of Events Here.
Now, Fall is one of my favorite seasons. Butler’s Orchard is a Montgomery County Gem not to be missed.
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