Credit: Illustration by Gel Jamlang

When I was 11, at the crossroads of awkward and embarrassed, the summer my family moved from Maryland to Georgia, I authored my first advice column. It was a pity project offered by the librarian at sleepaway camp, and I invented all the questions but one. An entire cabin wrote in to complain about one sorry bunkmate, and I answered with my best advice, never realizing the girl in question was me. That became evident when I proudly shared the printed page.

My next stab at offering guidance was better received—as a single 30-something in Atlanta, I doled out dating tips for a local paper, highlighting the humor and hope of it all. Since there’s nothing like writing what you know—whether it’s the particular cruelty of adolescent girls or the harrowing highs and lows of looking for love—I’m now assuming my next advisory post: Ms. MoCo.

As a Bethesda mom with kids and stepkids (ages 3 to 18) in four schools in Montgomery County, I’m deeply ensconced in my roots (shout-out to Farmland Elementary in Rockville, ahem, “North Bethesda”) and ready to tackle your questions about life in our neighborhood.

For starters …

How do I make friends around here?

If you’re over 50, pickleball. If you’re under 50, still pickleball. But you have more options. 

“I took it up about a year ago, and I’ve made about 100 new friends,” says longtime Bethesdan Michelle Jacoby, 57, who has played with people ages 12 to 92. “To me, it’s the No. 1 way to meet friends.” Jacoby owns DC Matchmaking and once ran a friend-matching service in the DMV. 


D.C.’s transient nature lends itself to finding friends. “You’re not an outsider when you come [to this area],” says Jacoby, who hosts a Meetup for singles 35 and older with more than 2,000 members. She recommends Meetup for its friendly culture and range of activities and the fact that most go solo. (For anyone looking for a good time, “Let’s Get Organized” meets at the Cleveland Park Library; “Geeks and Nerds” meets in Arlington, confirming what we long suspected about Virginia.) Jacoby also suggests art classes at Glen Echo, book clubs at Politics and Prose and a D.C. kickball league if you’re under 40. 

What’s the best view from the ground in Bethesda?

If you’re not overlooking the Potomac on the Billy Goat Trail or taking in Kenwood’s canopy of heaven during cherry blossom season, you might try the corner of Chase and Wisconsin avenues. At 358 feet above sea level, it’s the highest elevation in relatively flat Bethesda, according to Montgomery County’s planning department. You could even host a Meetup there for people with a point of view. That shouldn’t be too hard to find around here. 

Got a question about life in Montgomery County? Ask Ms. MoCo by emailing


This story appears in the May/June issue of Bethesda Magazine.