Lidl to Open in College Park on June 19

The long-awaited Lidl discount grocery store will open in College Park at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, June 19.

The German discount chain, recently ranked the No. 3 supermarket in the U.S. by Food and Wine magazine, will open its newest location at the intersection of Route 1 and Berwyn Road, at 8601 Baltimore Ave., on the former site of the Clarion Inn.

The first 100 customers will get a gift card ranging from $5 to $100 each. The first shoppers will be able to sample Lidl products and get a free reusable bag as well.

“The team and I in College Park can’t wait to open our doors to the local community in June,” said store manager Douglas Monson.

Lidl also announced some more details about the store, which will have a bakery at the entrance; fresh and frozen seafood certified by the Marine Stewardship Council, Best Aquaculture Practices or the Aquaculture Stewardship Council; and a rotating selection of other products including fitness gear, small kitchen appliances, toys and outdoor furniture.

The College Park store will be open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

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An Interview With Designer Elizabeth Hargrave

Wingspan was born and tested in College Park.

Elizabeth Hargrave came up with the idea of developing a board game based on her time birding in places like Lake Artemesia.

But when it came time to test it, she headed to nearby Board and Brew, a coffee shop where customers can play a variety of board games.

“Wingspan wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for countless hours in the back corner of the Board and Brew,” she told the Hyattsville Wire.

Hargrove, who lives in Silver Spring, spoke recently with the Hyattsville Wire about how she developed Wingspan.

How did you first come across the idea of making your own board game? 

I really enjoy board games and had been playing since 2005. About five years ago I was getting increasingly dissatisfied with the themes that board games were based on.

A lot of American games were coming out with zombies and other horror themes that don’t appeal to me, and a lot of European games had these dry, vaguely historical themes around trading goods and building castles.

I realized if I wanted a game to be about something I was actually interested in, I might have to make it myself. 

How hard was it to create a game? Which part took the most time?

I think most people don’t give a thought to how much work goes into making a game. In a sense you shouldn’t think about it, because a good game will come across as effortless. But designing a game is a long, iterative process.

I made something, I played it, I tried some things to make it better, I played it again. Repeat that literally hundreds of times, over several years.

There was a lot of work that went into the basic structure of the Wingspan, refining it so all the pieces work seamlessly together and present players with interesting decisions. And, once the structure was set, a lot of work went into developing the deck of 170 bird cards.

Did you test the game with friends?

Yes, but I quickly learned I couldn’t just rely on friends to test it enough to really make it a good game. Luckily there are quite a few game designers in the D.C.-Baltimore region so it’s possible to find people to trade playtests with rather than burning my friends out.

Once a month there’s an event at the Board and Brew in College Park that’s open to the public, called Break My Game. People come out and play unpublished games with the designers.  And I playtest almost weekly with Matthew O’Malley, who has several published games. 

Wingspan wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for countless hours in the back corner of the Board and Brew and at Matthew’s dining room table! There is no other way to refine a game other than getting it to the table and playing it. 

What are your favorite spots to go birding along the Route 1 corridor?

Lake Artemesia is a gem. In the winter, you get a great variety of duck species, and the layout of the lake makes them easy to see. And almost every time I go I see wood ducks and a bald eagle, which are both just stunning birds.

On the other end of the corridor, if you’ll let me stray a little further south than Brentwood, I also really like birding at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens and the trails along the Anacostia there. Especially when the lotuses are in bloom!

Do you have any tips for amateur birders just starting out?

Get the best pair of binoculars you can for under $100 and just start looking. You can learn a good set of birds in your backyard, and once you have those down everything gets easier because you have some birds to compare things to. 

Audubon and Merlin are both excellent free apps that you can get for bird ID, but I still find a hard copy of Sibley’s bird guide helpful to page through.

I also love keeping track of all the birds I see in the eBird app. It’s just fun to look at your list and to be able to know, for example, that I’ve seen 78 bird species so far this year in Prince George’s County.

But best is to get out with more experienced birders who can help you along. It’s a lot easier than having to look every single bird up!  Prince George’s Audubon Society has regular outings. 

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Lidl to Open in College Park in Mid to Late June

The long-awaited Lidl grocery store in College Park will open in mid to late June.

The German discount chain, pronounced leedle, which is making a major effort to move into East Coast markets this year, will open at the intersection of Route 1 and Berwyn Road, at 8601 Baltimore Ave., on the former site of the Clarion Inn.

As part of construction, the chain has added new streetlights, a wider sidewalk and a tile mural that says “Historic Berwyn” at the entrance.

A district manager at Lidl told the Hyattsville Wire that the interior of the store is mostly complete and staffers are stocking shelves and doing finishing touches, so the only delay would be permitting approval.

The grand opening, on a date that is not yet set, will include live music, opening day sales and all-ages activities.

The College Park location is one of one of 100 stores planned along the East Coast as part of an ambitious $1.6 billion expansion into the U.S. market.

beloved grocery chain in the vein of Trader Joe’s, Lidl is also expected to drive down prices in U.S. markets with its aggressive cost-cutting.

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A Sneak Peek of Denizens Before It Opens

Photo courtesy of Denizens Brewing Co.

The new Denizens Brewing Co. in Riverdale Park Station will sell six-packs and growlers of beer at a to-go fridge by the door. The goal? To complement nearby Whole Foods, which is dry due to county regulations.

“The fact grocery stores can’t sell beer and wine here is annoying to me as a consumer, but as a business owner I am not going to complain,” chief brand officer Julie Verratti told Eater D.C. “You can walk out of Whole Foods, grab a six-pack, and go home.”

The 12,000-square-foot production facility and taproom opens Saturday, May 25, at Riverdale Park Station.

And it’s simply huge, able to produce four times as much beer as the brewery’s original Silver Spring location, with a 30-barrel brewhouse and 60-barrel fermenters, compared to 15 of each at the other location.

There is also room to grow, with plans to add more tanks until capping out at 15,000 barrels a year in a decade or so.

The menu, available here, includes appetizers like crispy brussel sprouts with pickled apple and blue cheese; main courses like steamed mussels and a pulled pork sandwich; and desserts like panna cotta made with spent grain.

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Bo Diddley’s Route 1 Recording Studio

The Route 1 corridor has played a role in the lives of famous musicians ranging from John Fahey to Duke Ellington. Two others to add to the list: Bo Diddley and Marvin Gaye.

Born in Mississippi, Diddley moved to Washington in 1959 and stayed through the mid 1960s. One of his homes was a modest bungalow at 2614 Rhode Island Ave. NE in Woodridge, just south of Mount Rainier.

There, he built a studio in the basement, where he recorded the classic album “Bo Diddley Is a Gunslinger.” He also recorded D.C. girl group The Jewels and doo wop band The Marquees, which featured a young Marvin Gaye.

“It was not a big studio, but since we didn’t know anyone else who had a studio in their house, that was a big studio,” recalled Jewels’ singer Sandra Bears in a 2015 interview.

Diddley isn’t just one of the pioneers of rock ‘n’ roll; he’s also the progenitor of the “Bo Diddley beat” — a 3-2 rhythm with roots in West African drumming that can be heard on everything from his songs “Bo Diddley” and “Hey Bo Diddley” to those inspired by him, including Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away,” The Who’s “Magic Bus,” Tom Petty’s “American Girl” and U2’s “Desire.”

As with Ellington, the Route 1 corridor’s proximity to the landmark Howard Theater played a role.

“I just wanted to be in Washington, D.C., around the Howard Theater,” Diddley told the Washington Post in 2006. “I did everything from D.C. At that time, I was driving all the time — I didn’t start flying until 1968 — and it was close to New York and the South.”

Though his house on Rhode Island Avenue is not a registered landmark, Diddley’s time in D.C. is commemorated with an artsy call box in the Brookland neighborhood.

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A Big Change Is Coming to Route 1 Bikesharing

mBike Riverdale Park Station bike sharing Zagster
Photo courtesy of Len Carey

A popular bikesharing program in College Park and University Park is ending this summer, but its replacement will be even better.

The towns together with the University of Maryland prematurely ended their contract with Zagster, the Massachusetts-based company that ran the popular mBike program, after changes in its business model.

They are now looking for a new vendor — there’s no shortage of options — with the goal of shifting the program to include more dockless bikes, e-bikes and even some of those ubiquitous electric scooters.

“We will probably favor e-bikes with some pedal bikes, and go slowly on e-scooters,” University Park Mayor Len Carey told the Hyattsville Wire.

The change would be dramatic. Dockless bikes have their detractors, who complain about users who block sideways or leave them in inconvenient places. But as part of a system that includes plenty of racks around town, they can be helpful.

But the real shift is in e-bikes, which have proven vastly more popular than regular bikeshares. E-bikes come in different configurations, but the basic idea is a small motor that boosts the power of your pedaling. (To a point, that is. The speed is usually capped at 20 to 28 mph.)

For those who bike for exercise, that may seem like cheating. But it dramatically boosts how often users feel like biking while expanding the range that they can comfortably travel, an important consideration for commuters who don’t want to show up to work or class covered in sweat.

For many users, the choice isn’t between a regular bike and an e-bike, but between an e-bike and simply not biking. One recent survey of 1,800 e-bike owners in North America found that 55 percent rode daily or weekly before getting an e-bike; afterward, that number shot up to 91 percent.

With its leafy, spread-out campus, plenty of existing dock locations and students who are game to try new things, College Park is an ideal place to experiment with e-bikes.

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How Route 1’s Voting Age Is Ahead of the Curve

A growing number of municipalities are debating allowing 16-year-olds to vote, but along the Route 1 corridor the issue is already settled.

Of the four jurisdictions in the state of Maryland that allow 16-year-olds to vote in local elections, three are on the Route 1 corridor: Hyattsville, Riverdale Park and Greenbelt.

(The other is nearby Takoma Park, while a little farther out, Kensington is debating it.)

Just as the Vietnam War helped spur a movement to allow 18-year-olds to vote in national elections, the debate over climate change seems to be playing a role in the current discussion, especially since so many well-known activists on the issue are young people.

It’s also an issue of fairness for many advocates. Sixteen-year-olds can drive, be tried as adults if they commit a crime and pay taxes.

The change appears to help spur civic engagement among a group that often has low turnout in local elections — a problem exacerbated by the fact that those 18-year-olds who can vote are often headed to college in another city.

Data from the first two local elections in Takoma Park after it lowered its voting age to 16 in 2013 showed that turnout was quadruple the average among all voters.

Berkeley, Calif., allows 16-year-olds to vote in local school elections, although an effort to allow them to vote in all elections failed in San Francisco. In 2018, Washington, D.C., considered allowing 16-year-olds to vote for president as well, but the effort failed.

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Meet Local Artists at Gateway Open Studio Tour

The 15th annual open studio tour for the Gateway Arts District will take place on Saturday, May 11 and feature more than 200 local artists at studios, galleries and art spaces along Route 1 corridor.

A mainstay of the local arts scene, the open studio tour has more than doubled the number of places to visit. Notable spots include Red Dirt Studio, Joe’s Movement Emporium, the Washington Glass School, Portico Gallery, D.C. Glass Works and Pyramid Atlantic.

The Washington Post recently highlighted the studio tour, arguing that the arts community stretching from Mount Rainier to Hyattsville “boasts enough independent galleries, offbeat vintage shops and restaurants to rival its D.C. brethren.”

The studio tour will conclude with an after-party from 5 to 10 p.m. at Studio 3807 and the Brentwood Arts Exchange next door, at 3807 and 3901 Rhode Island Ave. in Brentwood.

There, you’ll be able to sample food from the vendors at the upcoming Savor artisanal food hall at Studio 3807 and enjoy an interactive public art installation using light projection from a group of artists from Vienna, Austria, known as Tag Tool Crew/OMAi.

The public, interactive light display, called “ARTS’TINATION,” was curated by Rhonda Dallas and sponsored by the Prince George’s Arts & Humanities Council.

The studio tours will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can find a schedule and a map of participating locations on the official website or at Tanglewood Works, Pyramid Atlantic, Studio 3807 or the Brentwood Arts Exchange.

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See the Art for Riverdale Park’s Purple Line Stop

Courtesy of Mikyoung Kim

Riverdale Park’s upcoming Purple Line stop will include some dynamic public art.

The Maryland Department of Transportation has selected Boston artist Mikyoung Kim to build a series of interactive sculptures at the stop, which will be at the intersection of Riverdale Road and Kenilworth Avenue.

Taking advantage of the overhead rail line — the only point in Route 1 corridor communities that the transit system will be this high — Kim envisioned a grove of trees enhanced by vertical folded columns that double as seats at ground level.

“These stainless steel kinetic sculptures are triggered by engagement: when people sit in the folded seats, the columns will sway and reflect a play of colored lights above them,” she wrote in a project description. “The columns will stretch up into the overpass and taper off into a reflective cap, lit by LED lights, which will mimic light filtering through surrounding grove of trees.”

The public art is part of the agency’s broader effort to put public art at most of the Purple Line stops.

Mount Rainier artist Valerie Theberge, who you may know for her “Great Wave Off Anacostia” mural at the Melrose Skatepark in South Hyattsville, was also chosen to do a mural at the Beacon Heights station.

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Denizens Opens May 25 in Riverdale Park

Denizens Brewing Co. will open Saturday, May 25, at Riverdale Park Station.

The Silver Spring-based brewery will open a 12,000-square-foot production house and taproom across from Whole Foods as its second location.

“This new location will allow us to maintain and even improve upon our standards of quality at a much larger scale, which means putting pints of Denizens beer into more hands,” said co-founder Jeff Ramirez, who serves as chief brewing officer.

The location will include a 150-seat taproom and a 9,000-square-foot production space, which will brew Denizens’ four core beers: Southside Rye APA, Born Bohemian Pilsner, Third Party Tripel and Lowest Lord ESB.

While the taproom will enhance Denizens’ reputation as a destination for beer-drinkers, the production space will allow it to build out its customer base, selling more wholesale to local distributors.

Co-founder Julie Verratti, who serves as chief brand officer, said the brewery matched out on its production capacity three years ago and has had to turn down retail customers at bars, restaurants and liquor stores.

Denizens’ beer can currently be found everywhere from Busboys and Poets and MOM’s Organic Market to Nationals Park.

Executive Chef James Marroquin has planned a menu featuring globally inspired dishes that have been designed with specific beer pairings in mind.

The taproom will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday, and to 1 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Lunch will be offered Monday through Friday and brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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