Pop-Up:  Rockville

July 19: The County Seat and a Seat at a Crème de la Crème Cafe

Our fantastic MCEDC summer interns are on the go again. They are exploring different parts of our fascinating county, and reporting back with first impressions, anecdotes and photos to help us tell the great story of Montgomery County.

Anna Wright is grad student studying Public Affairs at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and Claudia Elzey is a grad student at the University of Pennsylvania, studying City & Regional Planning. They join us through the Montgomery County Council’s new 10-week Summer Associates program, a collaboration among the Council, the Council’s Office of Legislative Oversight, and MCEDC. 

On July 19, they pop up for adventures in Rockville.

Pop-Up #5: Rockville, July 19, 2017

Five quick takes

  • Renaissance of the Public Realm. Rockville is the seat of the Montgomery County government, as evidenced by the businesses and county government buildings all around. In the shaded town center, children splash in the public fountain as their parents look on from Adirondack chairs scattered around the turf commons. Anna and I pop into the town’s mammoth public library, where anyone can access free wifi, meeting and study rooms -  not to mention shelves upon shelves of books in every language from Russian to Korean.

  • Environmentally-conscious epicures. Also abutting the Town Square is Dawson’s Market, a grocery for local and natural foods that has deep roots in the Rockville community. Anna picks out a poppy seed muffin and I slurp down a strawberry-kale concoction in the market cafe. From here we can see the farmers and other local vendors unfolding their tents in the courtyard. After sorting our trash into three different bins, we stroll back outside for a chat with Larissa Johnson, who has set up a booth informing residents of the county’s energy-saving programs.

  • Walkability. Rockville is a place meant for people, not for cars. Cobbled streets signal to drivers that they should slow down for the many pedestrians who are leisurely chatting or glancing into the storefronts of small boutiques, bakeries, hair salons, and restaurants. Street trees and potted hibiscus are excellent screens against the July sunshine.

  • All About the Arts. Anna and I peek into VisArts, a community arts center that began in a garage but now occupies a beautiful building with galleries, classrooms, and artist studios. Today tall canvases with blue, swimming figures decorate the gallery walls. But we learn that the arts have their true heyday during the May A-RTs Festival, when the whole Town Square comes alive with artists and artisans.

  • Creme de la Creme. Our last stop is CremCafe, a charming Italian espresso bar that also serves up Israeli salads and Bulgarian pastries. We really do feel like the creme de la creme when our drinks are brought out to the patio by a smartly aproned waiter - this is no Starbucks. Pleasantly full and foot sore, Anna and I promise ourselves we’ll be back in Rockville before too long.

      Where will they pop up next? Stay tuned to the next newsletter to find out.