Introduction to Gaithersburg, Maryland
The Maryland city of Gaithersburg, county seat of Montgomery County, is located 50 miles west of Baltimore and 27 miles northwest of the nation's capital of Washington, D.C. Surrounding communities include Germantown, Potomac, and Rockville. Maryland. The city is serviced by Interstate I-270, as well as Maryland State Highways 117 and 355.
Incorporated in 1878, Gaithersburg was named after Benjamin Gaither, an early resident of the area who built a house in 1802 at the site of the city's famous Forest Oak tree; a landmark which lived to be about 300 years old before its demise at the hands of a severe storm in 1997. In 1899 the Gaithersburg Latitude Observatory was built and along with five others like it around the world, was used to gather information for measuring the earth's polar motion and determining its size, shape, and physical properties. The year 1961 saw the move of the National Bureau of Standards (now known as the National Institute of Standards and Technology) into Gaithersburg, creating a complex which maintains standards for scientific research and houses the standard meter and kilogram to which all others are compared for accuracy. Other science-related firms soon followed suit, giving the city the nickname of "Science Capital of the United States". Today a suburb of Washington, D.C., Gaithersburg's major economic activities of biotechnology, telecommunications, and software development are largely related to Federal Government contracts.
Things to do in Gaithersburg
Throughout the year, Gaithersburg sponsors many events. Every fall, the city comes alive with its annual Celebrate Gaithersburg Street Festival, an event which includes food, live music, amusements, arts and crafts, and more. Kids can enjoy games, interactive theatre, and demonstrations including a Health and Fitness Area featuring karate and tumbling demonstrations with speed and agility drills. Winter Lights, which takes place in December, is an extraordinary light display featuring more than 380 illuminated vignettes and 65 animated displays along a 3.5 mile drive through beautiful Seneca Creek State Park. In August, the city hosts the annual Montgomery County Agricultural Fair, the largest county fair in the State of Maryland. The week-long event includes lots of carnival rides, food, entertainment, and fun activities for all ages. The Shaker Forest Festival, a two-weekend event held in September, features exhibitors costumed in 18th Century garb, plenty of food, and a variety of family entertainment.
Located between the Washington, D.C, and Baltimore metropolitan areas, Gaithersburg affords its residents and visitors easy access to attractions in both locales. Just a few of the many sights in Washington, D.C. are the Smithsonian Institution, the National Air and Space Museum, the White House and Capitol buildings, the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Capital Children's Museum. Maryland attractions include historic Fort McHenry, the Baltimore Maritime Museum, the Inner Harbor, and the Baltimore Aquarium, among many others.
Sports of both the professional and college varieties are prominent in the area. The Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. is home to three teams: hockey's Washington Capitals (NHL), and basketball's Washington Wizards (NBA) and Washington Mystics (WNBA). Also located in Washington are Major League Baseball's Washington Nationals and Major League Soccer's DC United, both tenants of the city's RFK Stadium. In nearby Landover, about 30 minutes away, the NFL's Washington Redskins play their football games. About an hour away is the city of Baltimore, home to the Baltimore Orioles (MLB baseball) and Baltimore Ravens (NFL football). The Orioles play in one of the most attractive ballparks in the majors (Oriole Park at Camden Yards) and the Ravens play at the adjacent M&T Bank Stadium. Also playing in Baltimore are the Blast (MISL soccer), Pearls (ABA basketball), and Bayhawks (MLL lacrosse), who will be relocating to Washington, D.C. in the 2007 season. Lacrosse fans will note that Baltimore is also home to the U.S. Lacrosse Museum and National Hall of Fame, located on the campus of Johns Hopkins University. For college sports fans, there are numerous NCAA Division 1 colleges and universities in the area offering dozens of sporting events. Two of the most notable are the University of Maryland in College Park, home of the Terrapins, and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., home of the Hoyas.