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January 25, 2010

“Let me count the ways…”

Michael Kurtianyk

Last week was my 10th anniversary as a Realtor® in Maryland. I realized this as I renewed my license with the state. It’s odd to think that in 1999, when my wife and I made the decision to move here, that we’d actually have accomplished so much in the short amount of time here in Frederick County. Herewith are some things I’ve learned:


…It’s amazing how close the citizens can get to our leaders and politicians. In Syracuse, NY, where I grew up, there was, and still may be, a distance between the citizens and the leaders. I think back to the time of my first spring here when I was at a picnic, and at our table were two of the county’s associate superintendents of schools and one of the county commissioners. Just eating pulled pork (no idea what that was before moving here) and talking to all of us. It was great to see. Everyone was civil – just hanging out like chums.


…Besides pulled pork, I’d never heard of red velvet cake; never tried it, and never recalled ever seeing one. Who knew that a baker could add red food coloring to the batter!


…This area is rich in Civil War history. You see, in Upstate New York, we’re steeped in Native American lore, what with areas such as Onondaga, Canandaigua, Oswego, and the like. Living near the Finger Lakes has its own stories, too.


…Speaking of stories, I am impressed by the number of ghost and mythological stories in this county. Where else can we have such a vibrant series of ghost tours each year, coupled with other stories like the Snallygaster in Middletown? I love hearing these stories, and I never get tired of listening to them.


…I can’t hide the fact that to me, the Weinberg Center for the Arts is a true gem here in Frederick. It’s been great for our local economy and a destination for many. I like the story that it was the first air-conditioned commercial building in Frederick County, thanks to a favor by Mr. Jack Warner (of Warner Brothers fame), who was advised to bet on a horse named Challedon in the Santa Anita Derby. When Challedon won, Mr. Warner, who owned the theater (then known as the Tivoli), contracted for the air conditioning to be installed.


…I like all that William and Teresa Cochran have done here in Frederick County. Everything he touches, like Midas, turns to gold: The Dreaming, the Community Bridge, etc. He is truly an alchemist in this modern world.


…So many crabs and crabcakes! At some crab feasts, the experienced ones can crack through a crab in less than a minute – and they bring their own tools! Also, many restaurants tout that their crabcakes are the best in town. I will say this: I never met a crab cake I didn’t like.


…I like the quality of education here in Frederick County. Though many are home-schooled, or go to private schools, the public schools here are great. Not sure about these two-hour delays or school closing sometimes, but that’s my north-of-the-Mason-Dixon-Line bias.


…I love the mountains here in Frederick County. I am happy to have a view of South Mountain from our house. Something majestic about that.


…I’ve learned that local politics (municipal and county) don’t run to party lines. The issues locally are affected by national politics, but not consumed by them.


…Not as many hockey players here as in New York.


…Not as many grapes produced here as in the Finger Lakes Region.


…The skies seem clearer at night here than in other places I’ve been.


…Washington and Baltimore are great sports towns, with loyal fans. Proximity to pro sports teams is great for the locals here.


…I love the museums here in Frederick, and in D.C. The Baltimore Aquarium is fantastic.


…Frederick County is the best place to live!


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