Exploring the 240/301: Welcome to Bethesda, MD

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You’ve finally gotten your orders, and surprise: you’re PCS'ing to Bethesda, MD!

Oh no…Bethesda, MD? Is there anything up there besides the hospital? I'm not medical personnel!

Here at PCSMoves.com, we're continuing a series of posts about potential new duty stations and how to get your family situated. We’re covering different areas, served by the nationwide network of real estate professionals that make up PCSMoves.com. Be sure to check out our last post about Fayetteville, NC.

Located north of Washington, D.C., Bethesda’s population was 63,374, according to the 2013 census. In 2014, it placed first on both Forbes' list of America's most educated small towns and Time's list of top-earning towns. It’s home to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Naval Surface Warfare Center Carderock Division, and other military medical and research institutions.

If you’re moving here without a place to live, check out Navy Lodge Bethesda. Staying at the lodge can take off some of the pressure you might be feeling while looking for a place to live. Located 10 miles from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Navy Lodge Bethesda offers rooms with private kitchenettes as well as cribs, rollaway beds and complimentary breakfasts.

The Navy Gateway Inns & Suites may also have some rooms available for active-duty military, Department of Defense (DoD) civilian travelers, reservists, retirees, and their sponsored guests. For reservations, call 1-877-NAVY-BED (628-9233).

If you’ve got a family pet with you, check with the lodge before you arrive to find out if their pet-friendly rooms are available. If they aren't, the staff may be able to give you some local kennel information. Be sure to ask if there will be any pet fees due at check-in.

The closest military veterinary clinic is the Fort Belvoir Army Base Veterinary Clinic, located in Silver Spring. They offer routine veterinary care, vaccinations, minor sick calls, and a variety of preventative products. The clinic doesn’t board animals. If boarding your pet is required for any reason, call the clinic and ask whom they would recommend.

If you’re on the lookout for housing, as opposed to temporary lodging, the Naval Support Activity Bethesda’s Family Housing office is located in Building 17, 3rd floor in Suite 3D at WRNMMC. This housing office maintains extensive lists of properties for rent.

The Rental Partnership Program also allows active duty service members to move into participating apartment communities without paying a security deposit and application fee. Rent is provided at a discounted price. Contact the housing office at (301) 295-1138 or (301) 295-0798 for additional information and a list of participating communities. Housing information can also be obtained at www.housing.navy.mil, www.ahrn.com and www.pcsamaerica.net.

Should you decide to buy a home, the average price of a home in Bethesda, as of August 2017, was $830,900, according to Zillow. If you rent a home, the median rent price in Bethesda is $3,200, which is higher than the Washington Metro median rent of $2,150.

If you’ve made a PCS move with a military pack out, a bonus is not worrying about storing your personal belongings while you’re looking for a place to live. Your household belongings may take longer to get to you, but your items can be stored for you if they arrive while you’re still looking for housing.

You might have made this as a personal move, so chances are you didn’t bring everything with you that you owned in your previous home. If you need to pick up some items, the Navy Exchange is located on Wisconsin Avenue, less than a mile south from Walter Reed. And if you’re a fan of thrift stores, be sure to check Yelp’s list of, “The Best 10 Thrift Stores,” in Bethesda.

If you have young children that may need daycare because of your work schedule, be sure to look into Walter Reed's Child Development Center. This facility is open to children of active-duty service members, active reservists, DoD employees, and contractors. The sponsor must provide proof of eligibility and employment.

Walter Reed also has a web page dedicated to civilian careers at the center. If you’re a milspouse looking for a job once you’ve settled in Bethesda, it might be a page to check out.

Or, if the time isn’t right for you to start working, you can think about volunteering at the medical center. Walter Reed’s Red Cross Office has more than 550 volunteers, contributing more than 5,000 hours monthly, supporting a variety of activities specifically for patients, family members and healthcare providers.

But your new life in Bethesda can’t revolve around what’s at the medical center. Get out and live like a local! Take a little trip northeast to Baltimore and visit Chaps Pit Beef Restaurant. Located about an hour from Bethesda, Chaps Pit Beef was featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” with Guy Fieri. If you're looking for a family-run diner that continues to serve traditional and wholesome meals, this diner is your best choice!

If you’re still looking for more of what Bethesda is like, follow PCSMoves on Pinterest to check out our “How To PCS Like A Pro” and our “Life in Bethesda, MD” boards.

Where has been your favorite place to live? Share with us in the comments! Thinking about looking for a new home because of a PCS move? Start your search with us!

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