Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Cakery Reopens Under New Ownership

Freddy Trujillo, new owner of The Cakery in Bowie
Pastries are for sale once again in Bowie's Hilltop Plaza.  After being closed for two months, The Cakery is back in business.  According to the new owner, Freddy Trujillo, customers can expect to see the same treats that have been available at the store since the 1990s - cookies, cupcakes, danishes, croissants, tarts, pies, cakes and more.  Many items are available for immediate purchase, including pies and cakes, but Trujillo recommends ordering pies and cakes two or more days in advance.

The Cakery is open from 8am to 5pm, Tuesday through Friday, and 8am to 3pm on Saturdays.  Trujillio may expand the hours in the future.

The Cakery is located on the back side of Hilltop Plaza, 6776 Race Track Rd, Bowie, MD 20715.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Washington Outer Beltway Alters Belair at Bowie Plans

Many people from Bowie are aware that the Somerset neighborhood, informally known as the "S" section, was the first neighborhood to be built by Levitt & Sons on the former Woodward estate known as Belair.  What's not as commonly known is that Somerset was not intended to be the first neighborhood.

According to an article written by Don Wescott in 1974, an executive who worked for Levitt & Sons for years, Levitt planned on building the Glenridge neighborhood first.  In the Belair at Bowie lexicon, Glenridge is not a very familiar name.  It's certainly not as familiar as Somerset, Buckingham, Kenilworth or Tulip Grove.  So what is Glenridge?

Glenridge was originally a 72 acre parcel of land across from the end of Church Road at the intersection of what was then Route 450 (now Old Route 450).  It was bordered on the west by a property containing a telephone utility building, and it was bordered on the east by the railroad tracks in some spots, and Route 197 in others.  The red oval in the following image illustrates the approximate location of the proposed Glenridge at Belair subdivision (the "G" section).  Twenty-two houses were eventually developed in the northeast corner of the property on Galaxy Lane in 1969.  Those 22 houses make up what is today known as the Glenridge neighborhood, and the remaining undeveloped portion of the property is now owned by the City of Bowie.




So why did Levitt & Sons alter the plans to build the Glenridge section first?  After Levitt created the initial plan for Belair at Bowie, a plan was proposed to build the Washington Outer Beltway - a highway similar to the proposed Capital Beltway that would circle the D.C. area.  The Outer Beltway would be much longer than the Capital Beltway, and it would be located farther out in the suburbs.  Part of the Outer Beltway was going to run along the northern end of Church Road, and a highway interchange was going to be built at what was then the intersection of Church Road and Route 450.

The dark blue line on the following map shows the proposed path of the Outer Beltway, and the blue circles represent the proposed interchanges.  The red arrow on the map points to the proposed interchange at the intersection of Church Road and what was then Route 450.



Levitt decided that it wouldn't be a good idea to build a neighborhood in the path of a proposed highway, so the plans were changed, and Somerset became the first Belair at Bowie neighborhood to be built.

The Washington Outer Beltway was never built as originally proposed, although the Intercounty Connector and the Fairfax County Parkway are considered to be portions of the original proposal.

Several years after the original Glenridge plan was scrapped, another proposal was made that would affect the Glenridge parcel.  A proposal was made to relocate Route 450 so that it would bisect Glenridge into two sections.  It would take more than 35 years before that proposal came to fruition.





Links



Saturday, February 28, 2015

Simply Southern American Grille Opens in Bowie's Hilltop Plaza

February 27, 2015:  My family and I went to Simply Southern American Grille for dinner. Today was the first day the restaurant was open. Simply Southern is located in the Hilltop Shopping Center next to the Chesapeake Grille and Deli in the former Irie Café location (6840 Race Track Rd Bowie, MD 20715; (301) 262-4700).
Simply Southern is owned by Aaron and Uche Loney – the same people who own Irie Café. So it’s only natural to want to compare the two restaurants. Irie Café was very dark and uninviting. Simply Southern has a nice and bright décor. We saw a restaurant full of patrons before we even got to the front door – something we never saw with Irie Café.
Simply Southern American Grille is a sit-down restaurant with moderate prices. The wait staff is very friendly and attentive, and the restaurant is clean. The menu has a limited number of items. There’s no kids’ menu, but they will prepare things like grilled cheese and chicken nuggets on request. They have a bar area, and beer, wine and liquor are available. Entrees range in price from $14 to $21. Takeout orders are accepted.
The food was very good. I had the Jambalaya – and some of my son’s wings – and some of my daughter’s Pulled Pork Sliders – and some of my daughter’s fries. Don’t judge me. It was all good. We’ll be back for sure.

See menu below.





Sunday, February 22, 2015

When it snows, Bowie goes... sometimes

The snow and the ice from the latest winter storm caused multiple closures in the Bowie area this weekend.  The Bowie Race Course, however, once prided itself on staying open despite harsh winter weather.  "When it snows, Bowie goes," was the catch phrase that was used to indicate that horse racing would still take place during bad weather.  The reluctance of track official to cancel races at the track once caused hundreds of fans to be stranded at the track overnight.

Despite the reputation, the track did close on occasion, including the days following the "Blizzard of '66," but the track was impacted by more than just the storm that day. An early morning fire destroyed five barns and resulted in the deaths of more than 40 horses.Wind gusts in excess of 50 miles per hour fanned the flames, and caused the fire to spread quickly.

Firefighters took more than 30 minutes to navigate the snow covered roads along the way to the track. According to Robert Nelson of the Bowie Volunteer Fire Department, crews from the station had to push a stranded car from the roadway and shovel their way through three separate snow drifts in order to get their apparatus to the track.

Arriving personnel found a chaotic scene. Flames were shooting high into the air, and panicked horses and ice made for a hazardous situation.

Approximately 100 horses were let loose in an effort to save as many lives as possible. Some horses were later found roaming at the Belair Shopping Center and Glenn Dale Hospital.

This picture was taken on February 4th, 1966 during the first day in operation after the storm.  Some fans stood among the snow piles watching the final stretch of the fifth race of the day.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

#TBT - The tree-lined road leading to the Belair Mansion in 1936

The Belair Mansion, 1936


There were originally 78 tulip poplar trees that lined the entrance to the mansion, and many of those ended up in the backyards of homes in the Tulip Grove neighborhood.  The trees were originally planted in the 1750s by Colonel Benjamin Tasker, thus making these trees more than 255 years old today. After James Woodward purchased the property in 1898, he hired tree specialists from New York to administer first aid to the ailing trees.  When Levitt purchased Belair nearly 60 years later, the trees were in rough shape once again.  The trees were nursed back to health, and each tree was fitted with a lightning rod.

The photographer of this picture was most likely standing in a spot that today would be in the backyard of a home on either Tarragon Lane or Tapered Lane.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Alert Bowie 2.0 - Getting that 3am Call

 If you're like me, you received an automated phone call around 3:30 am this morning regarding a newly issued wind warning.  The call was part of the Alert Bowie 2.0 service available to all Bowie residents.  Although the wind warning goes into effect at 6pm today, the National Weather Service issued the warning shortly after 3:00 am this morning. The default behavior of the Alert Bowie 2.0 system is to send out alerts as they are issued, although those settings can be modified.

There are three possible changes to your settings that you can make to avoid alerts like this morning's wake-up call.

  1. Cancel the alerts all together, although this is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
  2. Remove the option to receive high wind alerts.
  3. Set an option to not receive alerts during certain hours of the day.  This setting applies to all alerts except for tornado warnings.  If a tornado is coming, expect a call!

All of this information is available on the Alert Bowie 2.0 web site, however, that leaves two unanswered questions, and I'll pose those questions the appropriate people.
  1. If you change your settings so that you do not receive alerts during certain times of day, what happens when that time period is up?  Do you receive the alerts at the end of the time period?
  2. For some warnings, text messages are sent. This morning people received both text messages and phone calls.  How does the alert system determine when a phone call is made as opposed to just sending a text?
I have included instructions below for adjusting your Alert Bowie 2.0 settings.

Step 1
Sign in to Alert Bowie 2.0 at the following web site.  There is an option for registering for the first time, and there is an option for you to reset your password if you've forgotten your password.  http://www.cityofbowie.org/index.aspx?nid=988



Step 2
Click on the "Edit" link in the top right corner of the screen.




Step 3
Click on the "+" icon to the left of the "Automated Weather Alerts" to see options related to your automated weather alerts.




Step 4
Click on the "Don't contact me between" checkbox, and specify the time of day when you don't wish to receive alerts.



Step 5
If you want to opt-out of wind alerts, click on the "+" icon to the left of the "Wind" option, and uncheck the checkbox.


Step 6
When you are finished with your changes, click on the "Save" button at the bottom of the screen.





Thursday, February 5, 2015

Rosa's Pizzeria

#‎TBT‬ - Someone anonymously sent Bowie Living pictures from Rosa’s Pizzeria last week. Most of the pictures are of customers and staff, and they appear to have been taken in the early 1980s. This is what the contributor had to say:

Rosa and Adriano (Breschi) were wonderful people and provided scores of Bowie kids their first experience in the workforce. Both are deceased now, but I'm sure they and their delicious pizzas are remembered fondly by many Bowieites. Given the recent renovation of the store, which I gather erased all traces of the surviving Rosa's decor, it seems fitting that the great times and wonderful food many of us recall from those days should not be forgotten.