By Rachel Kohn
The trees are an explosion of green, the flowers are blooming, and school is almost out: all signs that summer is nigh in MoCo. Whether you are looking forward to kicking back with a cold craft beer after work, opportunities to contribute to your community through volunteering, or fun day trips for adults and kids alike, Montgomery Magazine’s 2022 Summer Fun Guide has you covered.
Enjoy a brew with a view at Lone Oak Brewery
Lone Oak Farm Brewing Co.
5000 Olney Laytonsville Rd.
Olney, MD 20832
Set on nearly 30 acres of picturesque Olney farmland just off of Maryland Route 108, Lone Oak Brewery invites its patrons to wander beyond the taproom and explore the surrounding fields, streams and pond. Everything that goes into Lone Oak’s beers is grown on the property, and by mid-May the 10 acres of barley fields have sprouted in advance of the June harvest.
Ralph Mollet, one of the partners behind Lone Oak, says he loves this time of year as a period of new growth.
Mollet has decades of experience in construction, and he and his son Ryan helped build Lone Oak Brewery from the ground up — as in they sourced the lumber locally and milled it on site.
When brothers Chris and Charlie Miller, who worked with the Mollets over the years as arborists on various construction projects, purchased the land for Lone Oak, they asked the Mollets to help them bring their vision of this farm-cum-brewery to life. The rest is history.
While spaces in the taproom, on the porch, and at the picnic tables are first-come, first-serve, advance reservations can secure a fire pit, VIP table, or “glamping” tent with its own private server. These luxe outdoor options were not a pandemic era add-on, Mollet says, but they have certainly come in handy.
Lone Oak’s family-friendliness is a major priority, says Mollet: “From our perspective, we thought that if you can’t entertain the kids, why entertain the parents, so to speak. So we thought that we wouldn’t even think about opening the farm without a playground.”
Guests can also learn more about the production process of Lone Oak’s beers, hard seltzers and hard sodas by taking a tour of the brewery. Tours run every Saturday and Sunday at 11:15 a.m.
To mark the brewery’s two-year anniversary on June 11, it will host six Maryland breweries, two wineries, a distillery, a cidery, 13 merchant vendors and country artist John King for a Farmers and Friends Festival. A $30 ticket buys access to the concert as well as five tastings from any one of the breweries, distilleries or wineries.
Go straight to the source at 7 Locks Brewing
7 Locks Brewing
12227 Wilkins Ave.
Rockville, MD 20852
Looking for a place to kick back with friends and watch a sports game on TV or listen to live music while drinking one of 7 Locks Brewing’s award-winning craft beers? The 7,200-square-foot warehouse space that houses the brewery also has a taproom where local musicians perform on Saturday nights and a rotation of food trucks keeps the daily food offerings dynamic. If it’s Growler Hour, customers get $5 off 64 ounce growler bottles filled with the beer of their choice.
Sample the variety at Elder Pine
Elder Pine Brewing and Blending Co.
4200 Sundown Road
Gaithersburg, MD 20882
This farm-based Gaithersburg brewery focuses on blends, taking classic styles giving them a twist. Elder Pine Brewing and Blending Co. serves up to 19 rotating beers on tap in its tasting room and outdoor seating area. The bar also features three nitro lines: Usually when a keg is put on a draft line, CO2 is used to push the beer out of the keg, through the line, and into a glass; but nitro lines replace CO2 with nitrogen, and the smaller bubbles produced give the beer a creamier texture and more persistent head.
FESTIVALS AND CULTURAL CELEBRATIONS
Travel the globe without leaving Maryland at the World Heritage Festival. Vendors and visitors converge on Veterans Plaza in downtown Silver Spring every year for the World Heritage Festival. On June 5 from 1-7 p.m., come sample diverse cuisines and treats, enjoy dances and musical performances, and shop for fine art, jewelry, ceramics, crafts and more from dozens of vendors.
Visit silverspringdowntown.com/do/world-heritage-festival for details.
The Sandy Spring 40th Annual Strawberry Festival: fun for kids, and the kid in you
On June 11 and 12, enjoy carnival games, pony rides, live performances, obstacle courses and, of course, strawberries — straight up, covered in chocolate and topping shortcakes.
Visit sandyspringmuseum.org/strawberryfestival for details.
Go out to the ballgame and celebrate diversity with the Bethesda Big Train
Founded in 1998, the Bethesda Community Baseball Club’s mission was to raise money to improve youth baseball and softball fields. The club entered a partnership with Montgomery Parks to construct Shirley Povich Field in Cabin John Regional Park, and entered the Bethesda Big Train team in the Clark C. Griffith Collegiate Baseball League. The team is composed of talented college players from across the country who come to Bethesda each June and July for a summer of highly competitive wooden bat baseball.
This year, the Bethesda Big Train will mark the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s Major League debut by celebrating the diversity that makes living in Montgomery County so special. Events will take place throughout the summer, including the first annual Clarence “Pint” Israel Juneteenth Classic on June 12; Big Train Pride Night on June 30; Jewish Baseball Heritage Night on July 7; and the first annual Roberto Community Service Day followed by a Tribute to Latin Baseball Night on July 9.
For information, visit bigtrain.org.
Pick your own produce at these farms
Nothing tastes quite like farm-to-table fruits and veggies, and there are several farms in Montgomery County where visitors can pick their own produce, for sale by the container, bag or pound. In Poolesville, for instance, FarmAtHome offers blueberry picking late-June through mid-July, and Homestead Farm opens in mid-June and sells already-picked and pick-your-own fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Butler’s Orchard in Germantown, popular for hayrides and its Pumpkin Festival weekends in October, is also a great place to pick sweet strawberries and luxurious leafy greens in the summer.
15350 Partnership Road
Poolesville, MD 20837
15604 Sugarland Road
Poolesville, MD 20837
22222 Davis Mill Road
Germantown, MD 20876
OFF THE BEATEN PATH
RIDE OR WALK A RUSTIC ROAD
Roads in Montgomery County can gain the status of “rustic roads” if they are historic and scenic one- or two-lane roads that wind through woodlands, alongside historical sites or past farms that reflect the agricultural origins of the county. As of 2020, there were 99 roads preserved under the Rustic Roads Program, which evaluates, protects and enhances these scenic roadways. Most of them are in the Poolesville area between the Potomac River and I-270, with others around Olney, Damascus and Clarksburg. Use the interactive map available at mcatlas.org/rusticroads/ to find a rustic road with features of interest such as mills, historic sites or high biodiversity.
Acts of service can be a meaningful addition to your summer fun to-do list, and volunteer opportunities abound in Montgomery County.
Guide, garden with Montgomery Parks
One-off or short-term volunteering opportunities include participating in park cleanups and trail workdays to help keep the county’s acres of parkland clean and accessible, or lending a green thumb as a gardener at the county’s beautiful nature centers. Those looking for a bigger commitment can receive training to serve as docents at the historic Kingsley School House, which served the farms of the Little Bennett Creek Valley from 1893 until 1935, or at Oakley Cabin in Brookeville, where visitors learn how African- American tenant farm families lived and worked from emancipation through the 20th century. People with ice skating skills can assist instructors during group lessons at the Cabin John and Wheaton Ice Areas. For information, visit montgomeryparks.org.
MCPS students: Use the county’s Volunteer Center website to find opportunities to earn SSL hours
Students in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) need to complete 75 Student Service Learning (SSL) hours to graduate, and they can start earning SSL hours as early as the summer after completing fifth grade.
On its website, the Montgomery County Volunteer Center identifies organizations and volunteer opportunities that meet guidelines for SSL hours with a special graduation cap icon. Tweens and teens can let their interests and schedule guide their choices: they can write letters to veterans; help organize birthday parties for residents at women’s shelters; provide academic mentoring for other students; bake banana bread and casseroles for seniors; and so much more. Use the search terms “MCPS SSL” to find one-time or ongoing volunteer opportunities on the Montgomery County Volunteer Center website at montgomerycountymd.gov/volunteercenter/.
Rachel Kohn is a freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter at @RachelKTweets and see more of her work at authory.com/rachelkohn.