February 10 – Burtonsville

            Why do I live in Burtonsville?  Honestly, I have no clue except it was an inexpensive place to live, we got a lot of house and land for the money, and there was no homeowners association, a requirement for us.  

            Burtonsville is named after some person I assume.  I have no idea who and I am not sure I care.  They have a parade every year for Burtonsville Day.  This puzzles me.  I have never been to the parade since it takes place on a Saturday morning, and I am not getting up for it.  But what is it for?  There is nothing here that makes Burtonsville worthy of a parade as far as I can tell.  I’d like to say it has its charms but honestly, there is nothing charming about it.  There is barely a town.  It is just a strip of restaurants and businesses along a highway and then houses, some in subdivisions, some not  

            When we lived in Wheaton, which had its charms, Burtonsville seemed like it was a million miles away.  It is on the very northern border of the county, midway between D.C. and Baltimore.  From that perspective it is the center of the universe.  Although it is only about 15 miles from downtown D.C. it takes a good hour to get there given traffic.  Virginia is reachable, but we never really go there.  

            Burtonsville used to be known for its Dutch Country Farmer’s Market where you could buy Amish food and crafts.  But developers came along and forced the Market to move.  The store it occupied had to be torn down and replaced with a new strip mall anchored by a Giant Food.  Why would we ever put up with Amish folk, the one charming thing about the place, when we could have a Giant?  

             My plumber grew up here.  The farmhouse he grew up in is just up the street from our house.  He now lives in West Virginia and commutes here every day.  I guess that gives you an idea of the attraction of Burtonsville.  He tells me that when he lived here there were mostly farms.  It was country, not the suburbs.  You can still see old farmhouses along the roads today.  But we are now an outer suburb and the farm fields have long since been turned into housing.

            A long, long time ago, when I was in my first job, I worked with a guy who lived in Burtonsville.  His wife worked in Baltimore and this was the best place for them to commute.  He was actually ashamed of that fact and tried to hide it.  I remember being puzzled about the town.  I did not know where it was but he did not like to talk about it.  As I look back, I think that was a little harsh.  This place is nothing to be ashamed of.  It is just no place to write home about.  

             Don’t get me wrong.  I love where my house is located from a flora and fauna perspective.  We have land, lots of trees and wildlife, it is quiet and peaceful.  It is great fun watching hawks and foxes. There is a forest preserve next to us that prevents development and there is a lake not too far away.  But I have no relationship to the town itself to the extent there actually is one.  

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