As a realtor and resident of the Silver Spring area, I love to read about our local history and view historical photographs of the community. For this reason, I have really enjoyed reading Sean Emerson’s blog, “Around The Corners.” Sean’s blog is dedicated to current and historical events, including information related to the urban planning history and future of Four Corners. He has scoured websites and libraries and unearthed some amazing images and historical facts.

A Woodmoor native who attended St. Bernadette parochial school and Dematha High School, Sean is now a rising senior at Washington College studying political science. He aspires to pursue a Master’s degree in urban planning.

I am dating myself by telling you that I watched Sean and his friends from St. Bernadette build a “fort” in the patch of woods that lie between our Woodmoor homes around 2008. He and his buddies spent months securing the various, recycled, materials for their fort. The fort is no longer there but can be seen if you look for it on the internet. “The fort got so big, it can actually be seen in a 2008 satellite image on Google Earth, so I’m proud of that,” Sean told me.

His most recent blog entry gives great historical information about the Woodmoor neighborhood and, specifically, 100 Williamsburg Drive – a home I have driven past, now for 15 years. Having always wanted to know the history of that home, I was fascinated by Sean’s article. Enjoy reading his article after you read, a bit, about Sean, himself.

Here’s a Slice Of Life with Sean Emerson:

#1 – How did you land in this area?

My parents moved here in 1990, my mom grew up in New Carrollton and my dad grew up in Bethesda. They wanted a place that was close to both of those areas that had a strong community feel. A house came up for sale in Woodmoor and my grandmother encouraged my parents to check it out, and they ended up buying it. I was born in 1994 and have lived here since then.

#2 – What inspires you, locally?

Sounds cliche, but probably the community feel and spirit. There are many people here and in the broader Silver Spring area who are very active in civic matters. While this can cause conflict when it comes to controversial issues, it is nice to know that so many people care and get involved. In a way, I felt obliged to get involved in community matters simply because so many other people were.

#3 – What is the restaurant that makes you feel most “at home”?

Definitely the Corner Pub, or as it’s now called, “the 4 Corners Pub”. I’ve been going there since I was a kid.

#4 – What are you listening to “these days”?

It varies, I listen to a decent amount of popular songs on the radio today, but I also also listen to some older music from the 50’s and 60’s (such as Sam Cooke) and some underground hip-hop and go-go music. It’s an unusual mix.

#5 – What is your favorite type/genre of book to read?

I’ve read many books related to urban planning and the history of community development, both recent books and older books. I read those because they’re both interesting and educational, some notable authors being James Howard Kunstler, Andrew Duany, and Jane Jacobs. I’m also a fan of crime novels, George Pelecanos is my favorite author in that genre because his books are great and mostly take place in DC area in locations I know well, so that makes them fun for me to read.

#6 – Aside from food, water, and shelter, what is the one thing you would not be able to live without?

Some form of internet access. I wouldn’t mind not having it temporarily, but loosing it long term would not be fun. I use the internet for much of my research and obviously blogging, and there such a wealth of information to be found online (in a short amount of time) if you look in the right places. Many of the blog posts I’ve written were made possible because of information I found online.

#7 – What is your secret to having a successful business?

The first would be writing stuff that people actually want to read and find interesting, and the second would probably be networking and coordinating with other bloggers and community members to generate quality content. With blogging, you can write really good posts and have great content, but if you don’t do anything to publicize it, it will largely go unappreciated. Other local bloggers like Dan Reed of “Just Up The Pike” and Pete Tan of “Silver spring Inc” have really helped me reach a broader audience by sharing most of my posts on their blog’s Facebook pages. I’ve found that those in the blogging community around Silver Spring are very gracious in helping as well as promoting newer blogs, which is really great.

#8 – What is the best-kept local area secret that you want people to know about?

Not exactly secrets, but I would say Northwest Branch and the especially the Beltway bridge over the gorge. When compared to Sligo Creek Park, Northwest Branch is not as well known because it doesn’t have a paved trail running through it (at least not north of Oakview) and it can be difficult to access. However, I think it is one of the best assets of the community because it is a large, mostly unaltered, area of nature within walking distance of so many places. Northwest Branch Creek has no road or paved trail running alongside it, so it really feels like you’re in the wilderness when you’re down there, even though its a short distance from “civilization”. Also, the Beltway bridge over the creek is a very impressive structure from below, but it barely looks like anything from the road above. I’ve written a post about it before, but I encourage anyone who can to hike down there and check it out. It’s about 120′ above the creek and the trail goes right under it, and it’s a good turn-around point for those hiking from Burnt Mills.

#9. What’s your idea of the perfect day?

I’d probably go for a morning bike ride around Four Corners and get some doughnuts at the bakery afterwards. Then I’d go play some tennis at Pine Crest and have some lunch, then maybe go for a hike in the woods. In the evening, I’d go to the Corner Pub for pizza, and then watch a Nats game.

#10. What is your favorite flavor of pie?

Pumpkin pie!