Another walk back in time: National Park Seminary

Let’s take another walk back in time on second guided tour of the National Park Seminary!

Because the weather looks great for our first visit on Saturday, April 12th, we can use the scheduled rain day to make a second visit, at noon on April 27th!

The event opens for sign-up on April 12th, while the first event is in progress.

Once an exclusive finishing school for young women founded in 1894, the Seminary was taken over by the U.S. Army in 1942 for use by convalescing soldiers during World War Two. In 1972 the site was designated as a national historic district on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1988 the  Save Our Seminary at Forest Glen (SOS) was founded to preserve the Seminary, communicate its history, and guide its future. The Army transferred the property to Montgomery County in 2004, and the county selected The Alexander Company to restore the historic buildings and transform the site into a residential community.

The Seminary features sorority houses inspired by the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition: a Dutch windmill, a Swiss chalet, an English castle, an Italian villa and a Japanese Pagoda. Dotting the grounds like pepper specks on your breakfast eggs are statues of Greek goddesses, lions, and even a statue of Hiawatha!

The route: From the Forest Glen Kiss & Ride, we’ll hike about a mile west and southwest to the Seminary, along Forest Glen Road and Linden Lane. Along the way we’ll pass "The Castle," a unique landmark of uncertain origin at the intersection of Forest Glen and Seminary roads, which is also the site where the Forest Glen Station once stood. Arriving at the Seminary around 12:30, we’ll meet our tour guide near the old gymnasium and take a short break in case anyone needs to freshen up before the tour.

During the tour, our guide will show us the buildings, statues, and other Seminary landmarks and relate their historical and social background. A visit to the interior of some of the buildings is included. As a bonus last event in the tour, our guide will take us down into the glen itself, where we can get idea of what the grounds must have looked like when a raised boardwalk once enabled students and their visitors to reach the Seminary from the Forest Glen Station we passed earlier.

After the tour, we’ll head southwest from the Seminary grounds and descend through the woods into the Rock Creek Basin, where we’ll hike upstream and turn right on Forsythe Ave, to  ascend back to the high ground on Woodley and Linden Ave, to return to our meetup point at Forest Glen Metro Kiss & Ride parking lot.

This is a modified out and back hike of about 4 miles of smiles. The outbound leg is 1 mile, the return leg is 2.1 miles, and the tour itself is probably around a mile. The transit time to and from the seminary is about an hour, and the tour takes about 2 hours, so the total event should take at least around 3 hours.

The hike difficulty is easy to moderate. The surface is a mix of paved and gravel surfaces and is quite hilly. There are no scrambles, but some stair climbing is involved.

Google map: http://tinyurl.com/pp29ukd  

How to get there:  

• Metro: Forest Glen Metro Station is on the Red Line. Follow signs for the Kiss & Ride parking lot as you exit the station.

• Driving: From the I-495 Capital Beltway (either direction), take exit 31A to merge onto MD-97 N/​Georgia Ave toward Wheaton. After passing under I-495, turn left on Forest Glen Dr. The next right turn is the Kiss & Ride parking lot. If the lot is full, the next right turn after the Kiss & Ride (Darcy Forest Dr.) leads to the Park & Ride parking lot.

Where to meet: We'll meet in the Forest Glen Metro Kiss & Ride parking lot.

What to bring: Water and comfy shoes. (Sorry, our furry friends must stay behind for this event.) I’ll post a weather advisory as we get closer, but plan on the layered look.

Administrative stuff: Facilities are a bit limited, so please plan accordingly. The Seminary has a one-person restroom and a kitchenette to refill water bottles as needed. As a reminder, this is a kids-free zone, no one under 18 years of age is permitted.

Cost: $5 per person (cash only, exact change, please), payable to the organizer at the meetup point immediately before the hike.

Notes:

• Save Our Seminary at Forest Glen: http://www.saveourseminary.org/

• The Seminary at Forest Glen: http://tinyurl.com/cknctd9

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  • Rose

    It's always great to learn something new. Enjoyed the "walk and talk".

    1 · April 27, 2014

  • Chuck

    Thanks John, very interesting and a great day to be out. A real hidden gem.

    1 · April 27, 2014

  • John M

    Our tour guide did a much better job this time compared to last time -- a lot more walking around, especially going down into the glen where the normal tours don't go! A little long, but there's so much info to convey that it just can't be a fast hike. Wonderful day, fun folks, and I had a great time. Thanks!

    3 · April 27, 2014

  • kathy

    Was way down on the wait list and made other planes yesterday. I see I got off the wait this morning list but now cannot make it. Sorry (now someone else moved 'up').

    1 · April 27, 2014

    • John M

      Completely agree. We all have to remember that for an RSVP change to be truly considerate, it has to be timely!

      April 27, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I was on the wait list & did not get a notification from Meetup that I was put on the 'going' list, but now I see my pic up right under the '39 went'. I really wanted to do this hike; I've always wondered about those buildings. Any chance there'll be a repeat for people who didn't get to attend this one?

    April 27, 2014

    • John M

      We'll do it again, but probably in Fall when leaves are turning. Don't want to beat it to death!!

      April 27, 2014

  • Skysusan

    Thank you John for arranging this interesting, info-filled tour of grounds I don't think I've ever seen :) sky

    1 · April 27, 2014

  • Skysusan

    Quite the tour :) sky

    1 · April 27, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    I just saw a notification from 6:34 am this morning. I'm sorry I missed it; I'd have changed my RSVP to 'no' so someone else could use it. I always need to know by 4 pm the day BEFORE a trip in order to schedule my transportation.

    For future, if I'm on the wait list for a trip, I'll change my RSVP to 'no' if I haven't moved up by 4 pm the day before.

    April 27, 2014

  • Ellen C

    Ditto Kathy's comment.

    1 · April 27, 2014

  • Rose

    See you soon!

    April 27, 2014

  • lynn m.

    Once again a change of plans. Going for a last minute sail in on the Chesapeake. May have a open spot for one other person who s still on wait list. let me know if you are interested,

    April 26, 2014

    • John M

      Please change your RSVP to "not going" if your plans have changed. The next person of the 15 waiting in line should have the first chance take your place. Thank you!

      April 26, 2014

  • Rose

    Hi John,
    I'm on the wait list for tomorrow's walk to the Seminary. Will I receive notification or do I just show up?
    Thanks

    April 26, 2014

    • John M

      Hi Rose, If space opens up, Meetup will automatically add you, although to be honest, I'm not quite sure how Meetup handles waiting +1s when only one spot opens.

      April 26, 2014

  • Gregg

    I wanted to join the group on this hike, but I will not be able to go.

    April 26, 2014

  • Mary

    Looks like a great one!!

    1 · April 21, 2014

39 went

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