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The Hidden Gems of Bethesda, MD

Maryland is a melting pot of attractions, from natural sights like mountains and oceans to historical and cultural destinations. The entertainment scene is also diverse and colorful. Living in Bethesda, MD, a small suburb northwest of the Washington, DC metro area, offers an abundance of surprises – places seldom explored but worth discovering all the same.

Go off the beaten path and explore the following hidden gems and unusual attractions in Bethesda, MD.

Glen Echo Amusement Park | 7300 MacArthur Boulevard, Glen Echo, MD

Not your ordinary amusement park, the Glen Echo Amusement Park holds a piece of American history. Before it became home to seven different roller coasters, it was once a site for the National Chautauqua Assembly, an American cultural and education movement popular at the turn of the 20th century. Founded in 1891, Glen Echo Amusement Park operated until 1968.

To this day, the park remains a historical landmark to Bethesda residents and visitors. The impressive entrance retains its original look, and the arcade and the Cuddle Up teacup ride are some of the remaining features that showcase the Art Deco architecture of the 1930s. The Glen Echo Amusement Park is also known for its custom wood-carved Dentzel Carousel that still currently operates.

Magruder’s Blacksmith Shop | 7835 River Road, Bethesda, Maryland

One of the oldest standing structures in Montgomery County, Magruder’s Blacksmith Shop, once known as Magruder’s Honesty, is a little cottage at the intersection of River Road and Seven Locks Road in Potomac.

The shop is believed to have been constructed by Ninian Magruder, Sr., whose initials are carved into the chimney. On site, hand-forged nails can be seen on the grounds outside the building as evidence of its history. The site is currently undergoing restoration and is closed behind a chain-link fence. However, passersby can see a glimpse of the structure on River Road when they head north beyond the I-495 exit.

Walter Reed National Military Medical Center | 8901 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD

Bethesda is known for being the location of some of the leading health and medical institutions in the state, including the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. This naval hospital was controversial due to its Art Deco tower designed by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Hospitals were not designed as towering edifices back in the day because they were deemed inefficient and hard to access. 

However, the hospital’s visually stunning facade served as a unique landmark in Bethesda. Sky-high window views were also favorable among patients as they let in more natural light.

Mushroom House of Bethesda | 4949 Allan Road,Bethesda, MD

Bethesda is not only dotted with luxury homes and large estates but also quirky structures, such as the Mushroom House. The house was built by architect Roy Mason who was famous for his futuristic Xanadu Houses

Due to its fantastical appearance, this private residence earned different nicknames from locals, including The Shroom, The Flintstone House, Smurf House, and Hobbit House.

See for yourself the unique and interesting landmarks and experiences in Bethesda, MD, as well as the suburban downtown charm it offers. If you’re looking for homes for sale in Bethesda, Heller Coley Reed of Long & Foster Real Estate is your award-winning team that will turn your luxury home buying dreams into a reality. Contact them here, call 240.800.5155, or send an email to hellercoleyreed(at)gmail(dotted)com. Act now to get started.