Bluegrass jamming 2nd and 4th Sunday

Finally, we are back open for jamming.
However, things are a bit different now, so there are a few expectations we would like to share:
1.  If you are able, please bring your own folding chair or stool if you plan to sit. The seats are limited, and we should leave them open for customers if at all possible.  (Also, because of space limitations, try to keep stands, books etc., to a minimum–leave them at home if you can or keep it small).
2. Because we cannot ensure musicians stay socially distanced, if you plan to play and/or sing, you must be vaccinated. 
Sunday, June 13 (THIS SUNDAY) is the first jam.  The time is now 1-6pm.  
Come anytime during that time, stay the whole time if you want, or come and go as you please. 
Do plan on buying something to give Beans in the Belfry some business in return for the jam space.   
Your contact for Bluegrass Jamming at Beans in the Belfry is
Sue Neff  
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C&O Canal celebratory menu additions

Dear Friends,

This summer, when celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the C&O Canal and Towpath, Beans in the Belfry is also celebrating some new summer and towpath specials.

Our new C&O sandwich conjures up a Mediterranean summer trip on the canal.  It combines juicy gyro slices of lamb and beef, fresh Feta cheese and the sundrenched goodness of chopped olives, fire roasted red peppers, onions, spinach and artichoke hearts served on fragrant Flat bread.  So when you ride or hike along the canal towpath and get this empty feeling in need to refuel, stop by Beans in the Belfry on Mile 55 and reward yourself with an order of our C&O sandwich.  Sit in our eclectic indoors in air conditioned coolness and glimpse into the history of Brunswick on the Potomac.  Our brick church building was erected in 1908 at the then outskirts of Brunswick.  Or find a seat on our front sidewalk or in the new garden area in the sun or shade.

Do you enjoy a Keto or Gluten free lifestyle?  We’ll prepare an amazing GF Margherita pizza for you this summer to sustain you on your towpath trip.  Starting with a thin cauliflower or sweet potato crust we smother it with mozzarella, tomato slices, fresh basil, a sprinkling of virgin olive oil and bake it till the cheese melts.  The fresh taste, aromas and colors will make fond memories of your C&O Canal adventure.  However, there is no reason why you can’t just arrive on four wheels – we’ll welcome you all the same.

Our large selection of iced and frozen drinks offers lasting refreshment.  A special place on our summer drink menu will include cold brew coffee made with organic fair trade coffee beans from Honduras.  It produces a pleasant profile different from conventionally brewed coffee.   Give it a try – we think you will like it.

Look for  our C&O Canal summer specialties to launch on or around June 15!


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Happy Mother’s Day

Our heart goes out to all mothers, grandmothers, mothers-in-law, adoptive mothers, foster mothers –  we wish you a wonderful Mothers’ Day weekend.  Congratulations to you for your achievements.  Be good to yourselves. 

Come on in to Beans in the Belfry for a treat and let us know how you are doing.

Warm wishes from the ownership of Beans in the Belfry, 

Hanna, Melanie, Nina, owners of Beans in the Belfry (Jim, not shown), 2005 Railroad Days

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The Spring Sun


the arrival of Spring gives us bright early mornings when the sun wakes us earlier every day. At ‘Beans’ we are sprucing up our

spring daffodil flowers in a cumbria woodland

outdoor seating so we all can enjoy our breakfast latte and croissant in the warm sun outside. Or on chilly mornings, sit in our comfy room and watch the sunlight dancing in colorful patterns as it floods through our stained glass windows. A silver lining of COVID-19 is our increased appreciation of the outdoors and of the special times when we can see our friends and make new ones.

Come on in and see us for friendship, for breakfast, lunch, coffee with cake, and early dinner, in our cozy room or outdoors in the sun. Thank you for your recent visit and we look forward to seeing you again soon.
A light exists in Spring
Not present in the Year at any other time –
When March is scarcely here.
by Emily Dickinson
We still observe Covid Hours for the time being: 
Sun to Thu 8am to 6pm, Fri and Sat 8am to 7pm
Wishing you a wonderful Spring,
Melanie, Proprietor
and the ‘Beans’ team with Dan, Nick, Cory, Abigail, Jim and Hanna
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C&O Canal Winter Walk

What to do in a “Big Town, Small City” on a sunny but chilly Winter afternoon?


In a town I know, you go to “Beans” for a latte and a muffin served by Anthony who has been there for ever, or Melanie herself, founder and owner, who has been there even longer.

Yes, that’s my idea of a really nice afternoon, hot beverage in pleasing café with a fresh, warm muffin and a conversation with my wife.  That could consume most of the limited daylight hours we get in January.

My dear spouse is made of more ambitious stuff:  “Dear, you know the C&O Canal Towpath is just about a block (two actually) from Beans.” 

I’m not really the type of guy who goes out for a cup of coffee and ends up taking an hour-an-a-half hike.  On the other hand, I can read the handwriting on the wall so we took a nice little walk.  And it actually was quite nice.

I’m not a Brunswick Insider but I am a fan of the town and of my favorite Café, Beans in the Belfry. I know a few shortcuts.  There are two ways to get to the Towpath from Beans, one goes through town, down West Potomac Street to Maple Avenue, turn right, across both sets of railroad tracks, turn right again and follow the signs.  Taking my short cut, you get to see some of Brunswick’s less heralded attractions.  You cross the parking area behind Beans along the New Hope United Methodist Church and take the pedestrian passageway (narrow little alley) to South Maryland Avenue.  Across the street and a little downhill is Railroad Square (looks like a parking area) with a relatively recently acquired caboose, donated to the city by CSX.  It is, as tradition demands, bright red and it’s magnificently restored.  Kids love it and so do railroad buffs.

A few steps further, just before the Railroad Station, brings you to a sad but fascinating memorial, a locomotive bell and a marker stone to three Brunswick Railroaders, “heroes of the P#286”, an engineer, a conductor and an assistant conductor, who died in a terrible railroad crash in 1996, not so long ago, while running the Brunswick to Washington DC commuter train.

Right next to the Station you will surely notice something familiar yet somewhat strange.  Truly, a God send for a velocipedist with tire or gear problems.  An air pump and a very clever set of wrenches and other “bike tools” available for emergency repair or adjustments, each on a steel tether long enough to be useful but short enough to keep them from “walking away”.  All this just a short walk (even by my standards) from my latte and muffin and a shorter distance yet from the towpath.

Not on the towpath, but close and probably familiar to many or most residents of Brunswick, is a spacious picnic area, right next to the boat landing area along the Potomac River.  It was not getting much use as we walked by in late January.  But the actual towpath is simplicity itself, a long, straight level, wooded free place to walk, talk (through your mask) and to breath fresh, non-urban air. 

On a wintery walk, look to your left and you can see the skeletons behind the trees whose lush foliage block the view in the summer. Broken tree casualties, giant trees felled by storms years past that recycle on the ground.  Your gaze reaches all the way to the Potomac River, obscured in the summer, a silvery band that has its origin in the Pennsylvania mountains and crosses the land all the way to the Chesapeake Bay. On the right side, the winter bleakness exposes invasive climbers with a few leaves still hanging on, drawing nourishment from the stagnant waters in the remnants of the canal.  My lady wishes we could clip them, tear them out, releasing their strangle hold on the trees and allow them to breath as we do, reaching out in Spring, unobstructed by the invasive vines.  It’s a bleak yet fascinating winter scape out there, fallen dormant and awaiting an enchanted prince’s kiss to awaken it back to life. 

There is a café in Paris of which it is said if you sit there long enough you’ll meet everyone you know.  I think the towpath is like that.  You walk long enough, you’ll meet everyone from Brunswick. 

Even when your Towpath sejour is over, there are yet sights to see and things to ponder, like the brick remnants of the old Lock that was used to adjust the water level on the Canal.

As one returns to climb Maple Avenue, there is the uncertainty factor.  Not the Heissenberg principle from nuclear physics, but the one imposed by the undisputable fact that Brunswick is a railroad town.  Trains; long trains; long slow trains; may command and demand your route.  No one I know messes with or has any way around a CSX freight train with a hundred cars.  You just stand and wait, or sit and wait for the train to go through, unless you are a five-year old.  In that case, you hold on to the hand of your grandfather for security and gaze in wonder at the behemoth, and try to decipher the cryptic artwork on the cars created by a street artist maybe from far away, California, Chicago?

The last thing we noticed on our hurry-up and wait excursion were the smart, maintained with military precision, grounds and building of the American Legion on Maple Avenue.  On its retaining walls is the exhortation not to loiter in  fairly standard language.  But this property adds the incentive to obey with a 50 caliber machine gun to its warning! 

These are some of the things you can do on a sunny but chilly winter day in a historic railroad town like Brunswick, a ”Big Town, Small City”.

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