One of the first things I like to ask clients is “what do you like to do for fun?” On its face, it seems like a pretty simple getting-to know-you question that anyone would ask. But actually it serves an additional purpose for me. It’s a clinical question.
In many cases, those go-to activities can be the antidote to certain depressive symptoms, such as struggling to get out of bed or finding the motivation to complete tasks. I’ve heard interesting answers in the past: charcoal painting, tap dancing, writing music, and even simply watching the sunset.
These sorts of activities are part of your arsenal — your toolbox — to help you live a fulfilling life on a day-to-day basis. So, who wouldn’t want to add to that toolbox? Luckily, for our neighbors in Olney and the surrounding Montgomery County area, there is something for everyone, whether it’s individuals or families.
Here are five of my favorite things that Olney, MD has to offer!
1- Olney Manor Recreational Park
For some Olney residents, the park is a vital part of their daily routine. And yet there are many people who don’t even know it’s there! This park has something for everyone. There’s something very special that makes this location one of my favorite spots in Olney. It’s not the indoor pool. Or even the skate park or tennis courts (which I also love!). But it’s the HUGE dog park that takes the prize in my book. Dog owners: this is the perfect place to catch some sun, take a break from looking at social media, and just bask in the joy of furry friends running all around. It’s also a great place to socialize and bond over common interests. There are many communities that have a dog park, but the park we have in Olney is among the best of them.
2- Brookside Gardens
Sticking with the outdoor theme, Brookside Gardens is just a short drive away from Olney. It is truly a hidden gem. This free garden features thousands of plants! Yelp recently listed it among the top 25 gardens in North America. Yes, you read that right!
When I think of an activity that encapsulates the term “family friendly,” I think of Brookside Gardens. The entire 50-acre enclave is accessible and stroller friendly and can be enjoyed at your own pace or even across multiple visits. Officially located within Wheaton Recreational Park (which has so many other activities), it’s just miles away from the heart of Olney. It is just the perfect way to spend an hour or two. With a chorus of plants and flowers of every color, it’s no wonder that you’re bound to catch a glimpse of a couple taking wedding photos almost every time you go.
3- Olney Theater Center
Indoor events, outdoor events, field trips, classes, new shows, and classic shows! Need I say more!? The Olney Theater Center has been a bedrock of the Olney community since 1938! There are few places that can be the backdrop of a beautiful date night one day and then be the perfect family destination the next. There’s so much that can be said about the Olney Theater Center from the outstanding quality of the performers to the gorgeous facility. But it feels particularly meaningful to support a community staple that is committed to anti-racism, inclusion, diversity, accessibility, and equity. This is an organization that lives up to their commitment to community building with initiatives such as charity drives and collaborations with other local institutions.
4- Olney Public Library
I don’t know who thought of the idea of FREE BOOKS, but I’m here for it! Perhaps one of the locations I missed most during the pandemic was the Olney Library. Not only is it an absolutely stunning building, but this branch of the Montgomery County Public Library system has everything you need. It’s great regardless of if you’re visiting for work or pleasure.
Personally, I love that they cater to families through events for children and story time. But it’s also a great resource for students who are looking for a quiet place to study. The library is located so close to the heart of Olney that it’s always convenient to stop by and grab a new book for a plane ride or a trip to the beach.
5- Local Olney Restaurants
Part of what truly creates the spirit of a community are its local businesses and restaurants. We’re very lucky to have outlets throughout Olney that check all the boxes. Whether you’re looking for great food, somewhere to hang out with friends, or even a great summer job! The scene in Olney has evolved over the past decade and continues to do so. It’s impossible to list all that Olney has to offer. Here are some favorites:
- Brew Belly
- Royal Bagel Bakery
- Sardi’s Taphouse
- Corned Beef King
- CB Açaí
- Full On
- Big Greek Café
There are so many more! But if I keep listing them, my mouth won’t stop watering! Finally, we can round out the food topic by mentioning the weekly Olney Farmers and Artists Market located on Olney-Sandy Spring Road. Deliciousness awaits!
Olney, Maryland is a great location for therapy too!
Check out our new therapy office in Olney while you’re exploring all the goodies Olney has to offer. We now have an office in Olney Professional Park, located RIGHT behind Olney Village Center. Family members can run errands or grab food while waiting for clients in session or stop by any of these attractions before or after session!
To get started with therapy in our offices in Olney, Rockville, or online, contact us today!
About The Author
Alex Bleiweis, LMSW is a licensed social worker and Therapist at Montgomery County Counseling Center in Rockville and Olney, MD. He earned his Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Maryland School of Social Work in 2021, where he was named student of the Year. He training is rooted in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Among his many strengths, Alex specializes in treating young adults and professionals, career concerns, and process addictions such as gambling problems and technology addictions.