Bridging the Miles Between East and West

Silver Spring, Maryland, and Phoenix, Arizona, are practically on opposites sides of the country. Because Silver Spring is on the east coast and Phoenix is in the southwest desert, one would expect the climates to be completely different, and they are! But, other than that, the two cities share some commonalities. The fact that Silver Spring is a suburb of Washington D.C.–capital of the United States–and Phoenix is the capital of Arizona guarantees enriching cultural opportunities in both. Additionally, both happen to be surrounded by states brimming with diverse natural beauty. Although the distance and climactic differences between Silver Spring and Phoenix are great, the cultural similarities between the two cities manage to bridge the miles between them.

The climates of the two cities represent their greatest diversity. Maryland is a Mid-Atlantic state on the east coast where the weather is, as one would expect, cold in the winter and hot in the summer. It may snow in the winter, but not very often and not very deep. Summers are hot with humidity reaching 90% at times, creating a muggy atmosphere. It is in the spring and fall, however, that Maryland is at its best. In March, balmy weather starts rolling in, enticing tulips and crocuses out of their cold beds. Azaleas soon follow, punctuating yards with festive color. After the dog days of summer, fall with its dazzling leaf display is eagerly welcomed. Pulling on that sweater is similarly anticipated following the long torrid Phoenix summers.

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When the summer’s blaze reaches 115 degrees or more, the natives joke about frying eggs on sidewalks! But the heat is surprisingly sufferable because of low humidity. Although 90 degrees in Phoenix is comfortable, the same would be unbearable in Maryland’s mugginess. After hiding within refrigerated air throughout the summer, Phoenix residents finally emerge in the fall after the mercury begins to dip. There is no better way to spend the winter than lolling by the pool on a sunny 70-degree day while folks in Maryland, and other parts, scrape encrusted snow from windshields and shovel their driveways! Regardless of the weather, however, people from both cities strive to explore the cultural and outdoor activities available to them.

Because Washington D.C. and Phoenix are capital cities, there are many cultural activities available in both. As a suburb of Washington D.C., Silver Spring residents have easy access to sites such as the national museums–the Smithsonian Institute, the Air and Space Museum, and the National Gallery of Art. One can also visit the Capitol, the White House, the Vietnam Memorial and many other monuments. Phoenix similarly has many fascinating attractions. The Heard Museum houses exhibits reflecting Native American culture, and the Phoenix Art Museum–which has a remarkable collection-also hosts visiting exhibits. Other cultural attractions not to miss include the Arizona Science Museum and the Phoenix Zoo. But it isn’t only the cultural activities that Silver Spring and Phoenix have in common; both states offer plentiful sites of natural beauty as well. Washington D.C. is a beautiful city in itself with its key landmarks creating a memorable skyline, especially at night.

While Maryland also has a beautiful coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, the Chesapeake Bay offers its own charms. In western Maryland, the Appalachian Mountains provide ample beauty for its hikers and skiers. Even though Maryland has a variety of natural highlights, no state can compete with Arizona’s jewel, the Grand Canyon. Less than a day’s drive from Phoenix, the Grand Canyon is a majestic sight. Not only are the Canyon’s depth and width simply breathtaking, the layered colors lining its walls are even more stunning. Throw in the bright azure sky and the vista is almost overwhelming. Sedona is another beautiful site in Arizona, offering its own awesome red-rock canyons and scenic vistas. And for the outdoors types, there’s skiing in the mountains of Flagstaff and boating and fishing in the numerous lakes throughout the state.

There’s no question that Silver Spring and Phoenix are both diverse, yet similar. Maryland’s cold winter and hot summers are unpleasant, but the spring and fall make up for them. Yes, it is HOT in Phoenix in the summer, but the mild weather the rest of the year makes the three long summer months worth it. Both cities offer numerous cultural opportunities due to being near state capitals. Although they are a country apart, they have common qualities that make them similar. Both are fine places to live, and at the very least, intriguing places to visit.

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