As Housing Prices Rise, Will Takoma Park Change?

If we all make granola, we’ll stay crunchy.

It’s astonishing to me what has happened to housing prices here. My home was a bit of stretch when I bought it in 2000 and is now unthinkably expensive for a single woman journalist to buy here. (Which is what I was when I moved in.)

Small homes in Takoma Park go for the price of Midwestern mansions and larger homes go for the price of New York City condos.

My fear is that as prices rise that the iconoclasts, hell-raisers and oddballs who make Takoma what it is will be priced out of the market. It’s NICE to live in a place where you don’t feel like a freak if you try to ensure that your kids never see a Disney movie. I really want Takoma to stay Takoma.

So, I herein will try to let the newcomers and our potential new neighbors know a little about the Takoma culture.

First, we have this liberal, environmentally concerned, human rights oriented reputation. But, in fact, we’re a mass of contradictions. We’re as likely as Bethesda-ites to forget our reusable bags at home when we drive our minivans to the grocery store.

We don’t much care for soulless corporations but it’s hard to throw a rock in Takoma without hitting someone decked out from head to toe in duds from REI. (REI says it’s not  soulless but I’m a skeptic.)

But, despite these and other contradictions, we are Takoma.

To solidify my personal reputation as crunchy, and perhaps even odd, I am hereby sharing my granola recipe adapted from a recipe from a bed and breakfast I once stayed at.


  •        ½ cup canola oil
  •        4 cups oatmeal
  •        ½ cup nuts (your choice)
  •        ½ cup sunflower nuts
  •        ½ cup wheat germ
  •        1 cup dried fruit (your choice) 

Note: the fruit/nut pairing I usually go for is walnuts and raisins but you can do as you will. Almonds and dried apples are another good option. Spices like cinnamon and nutmeg can also be nice. Add these at the end.

Set oven at 300 degrees. Pour the canola oil in a 9 by 13 inch cake pan or similar. Put it in the oven and let it heat for 12 minutes. Then pour in the oatmeal. Stir. Roast for 20 minutes, stirring every five minutes or so. Then put in the nuts, sunflower nuts and wheat germ. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the fruit when it cools.

The kids like the granola. The husband likes it. Even the cats and ants – unfortunately – like it.

Newcomers take note. Takoma is also a place where we are serious about trees and Pepco supplies our power. This means that there’s plenty of blame when the power goes out but no coffee. Here’s a way to make coffee without electricity or gas. It’s not fast and it’s not warm but we’re addicts. The only downside of this is that it’s extremely strong, and that’s easy to get used to.

Fabulous Power’s Out Again Coffee

Take one cup of rather finely ground good coffee and put it in a quart jar or something similar. Pour two cups of water over it and let it sit for 12 hours or more. Filter twice through coffee filters or cheesecloth to make an amazing coffee syrup.

Pour over ice cubes on a hot day or weaken with water. (I never thin it out but then I’ve been slightly jittery – but very cheery – since 1987.)

Jay Levy May 17, 2011 at 01:15 AM
If you think Takoma Park has changed that much over the past decade, think again. When we moved here in 1975, the town was full of artists, poets, musicians, college students, hippies and assorted types, most of whome lived in apartments and rooms in large subdivided houses. There was a head shop Maggy's Farm, at the corner of Carroll and Elm Avenues. In the 1970s and 80s people came out, sometimes more than 100 strong, to city council meetings, to County Board of Education meetings and to protest demonstrations. Residents sat down in the streets to block Montgomery College bulldozers from razing Victorian era homes. On several occasions mayor Sammie Abbott lead his constituents to to Rockville to protest proposed school closings and even across the Potomac into Virginia to rally against the riduclousness of civil defense evacuation plans which required Takoma Park inhabitants to move to the hinterlands of the Shenandoah Valleyin case of nuclear war. Our City Council had the several Seventh Day Adventist types on it, the city was dry and there was a 1959 pink Cadillac parked in the empty store which today houses Old Town's hardware store. What a time that was.
Steve Davies July 14, 2011 at 03:33 AM
I have to agree with Jay. I started living here in 1992 and I don't think there's been all that much change since then. Back in Sammie's day, there were hell-raisers. Today, most folks have important jobs saving "the world" but feel worrying about local issues is beneath them (Let's face it; they don't have the time, and it can be frustrating). I spoke with a homeowner before the elections in 2009 who had lived here for more than a decade and did not know we had a mayor and city council who allocated tax revenue. She worked for a federal agency on deforestation issues. Deforestation in SE Asia, however -- not here, of course.


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