The Baby Name Buff: Places I’ve Lived–Maryland / D.C. Area

After I got my B.A. in English from Marywood, I went to graduate school at University of Maryland in College Park, MD (just outside of Washington, D.C). Getting my M.A. opened many doors for me and helped me get experience teaching college students, a job role I loved. And, on a personal level, my time at UMD led me to many of the dearest friends that I know I’ll have for a lifetime, including my wonderful husband, Kyle.

Even though I was only a student at UMD for two years, I spent six years in the MD / D.C. while Kyle completed his PhD. As such, I got to know this area really well and have so many great memories from a variety of locations in this region.

Here are some of my favorite names inspired by my time in Maryland.

Artemesia
For the majority of my time in MD, I lived in the city of Greenbelt. One of my favorite places to go there was Lake Artemesia, a park with a lovely lakeside walking trail. The girls’ name Artemesia (Art-uh-mee-shuh) is a long, beautiful name with lots of cute nickname options, like Artie, Emma, Mia, or Sia.

Bowie
As one of the world’s biggest David Bowie fans, I was so excited the first time I drove past a sign for the town of Bowie. Imagine my disappointment when I learned that the town is actually pronounced Boo-ee! But, for the purposes of using Bowie as a (boys’ or girls’) name, I’m going to pronounce it like the singer (Bow-ee).

Dupont
Dupont (Do-pont) Circle is one of the most hipster areas of D.C., as I already covered in my previous blog post about baby names inspired by beer.

Green
As noted above, I lived in Greenbelt for the majority of my time in MD. And while Green might seem like a stretch for a baby name, Blue has become pretty popular as a name, so why not Green? Green is also my favorite color, so perhaps I’m a little biased.

Hyatt
Hyattsville was one of the places I went often, particularly because it had a decent movie theater and several good restaurants. Hyatt (Hi-it) is kind of a fun alternative to the wildly-popular boys’ name Wyatt.

Lanham
During my first year in Maryland, I rented a room in a house in a town called Lanham. Stories of “the Lanham House” are notorious among me and my friends Matt (former roomie at Lanham House) and Erin, in large part because the landlords were kind of weird, lurky, racist and sexist old people who loved getting up in our business. As a baby name, Lanham (Lan-um) has a posh feel and could work well for a boy or girl.

Largo
In addition to teaching at UMD, I also got to teach at Prince George’s Community College (PGCC), located in Largo, MD. Another thing I loved that was also in Largo was my favorite grocery store of all time, Wegmans! I actually really love the name Largo (Lar-go), for a boy or a girl.

McKeldin
There were several libraries on the huge, sprawling UMD campus. But the main library was McKeldin Library (shown in the featured picture for this blog), a place I spent A LOT of time in during my time as a student and teacher at UMD. As a (gender-neutral) name, McKeldin (Muh-kell-din) joins a long line of Mc names. And I love so many of the nickname options, though Mickey and Kell are probably my favs.

Silver
I have many ties to Silver Spring, MD. First, I drove through it every day on my way to work for the three years I worked in D.C. Second, Kyle’s Buddhist temple in MD was in Silver Spring. And third, my friend Lauren and her family still reside there. Another great, gender-neutral name, Silver has both a peaceful / hippy feel and a tough, badass feel all at the same time.

Tawes
Tawes Hall was the really nice, brand-new building that the English Department moved to while I was a student at UMD. This new location was a major upgrade from the English Department’s previous home in Susquehanna Hall, where 70s-style decor was thriving and where all grad students who were teaching had their “offices” in a single, open space called “the bullpen.” Tawes (Toz) could work well for a boy or girl, though I tend to think of it as a boys’ name for some reason.

And here are many more fantastic MD / DC-inspired names:
Adelphi
Anacostia
Arbor
Arlington
Attick
Benning
Berwyn
Bethesda
Braddock
Cardoza
Carrollton
Cheverly
Cleveland
Dorn
Fairfax
Franconia
Glenmont
Huntington
Landover
Langley
Laurel
Marlboro
Marlow
McPherson
Rainier
Takoma
Tenley
Testudo
Totten
Vienna
Wheaton

Photo credit: carmichaellibrary 











The Baby Name Buff: Places I’ve Lived–Oceanside, CA

After my semester of isolation at Kutztown, I decided I needed a drastic change. At the time, my Aunt Grace, Uncle Al, and cousins Brooklyn and Anthony lived in California. So, I dropped out of college, packed up my stuff, and moved to CA. One of the best parts of this move was actually the drive out. My Uncle Rich drove with me, and that road trip–especially our stop at the Grand Canyon–was one of the most fun, memorable times of my life!

In CA, I lived in Oceanside, a beach town a bit north of San Diego. I lived with my family for a couple of months before getting a job and my own apartment. I spent a ton of time at the beach, since I only lived a mile away from the ocean. (I mean, the town is called Oceanside for a reason!). And I reveled in the opportunity to spend some time getting to know my CA family better.

I was in Oceanside for a year, and my brother Johnny actually came and lived with me for the last few months of my time there. This was an interesting period in my life; by striking out on my own, I began to learn how to take care of myself and started understanding a bit more about who I am. I consider this year of my life to have been a time of great personal progress and discovery.

Please enjoy these names inspired by my year of life on the West coast!

Bonita
Spanish for “pretty,” Bonita (Bow-nee-tuh) has a lovely sound and several great nickname possibilities, like Bonnie, Ona, or Nita.

Carlsbad
While living in CA, I worked at a beautiful resort called La Costa Resort and Spa, located in Carlsbad. Carl or Arlin are possible nicknames.

Diego
I’ve been kind of obsessed with the name Diego (Dee-ay-go) lately. Not sure why, but there it is.

Encinitas
In Spanish, Encinitas (En-sih-nee-tiss) means “little oaks.” Encinitas was one of the most quaint little beach towns I’ve ever seen, and it has some of my favorite restaurants in the area. I really like Cini or Sidney as nickname choices.

Mesa
Meaning “plateau” or “table,” Mesa (May-suh) would be a really cute girls’ name, specially as a middle name.

Ocean
Inspired by the town I lived in, Oceanside, the name Ocean has long been popular with hippies and other nature-loving parents. Even so, this name has yet to break into the U.S. top 1,000.

Pendleton
Oceanside is a military town (Marines), and the base in Oceanside is called Camp Pendleton. I love any name that can have the nickname Penn.

Ramona
If I was being objective, I would have left Ramona (Ruh-mo-nuh) off this list, since it is far too well-known a name to be considered “truly unique.” But I just adore the name, so here it sits. (Ramona was high on my baby name list before we knew we were having a boy, but Kyle never liked it, so it would have gotten the axe eventually…)

Solana
This is probably my favorite name on this list. Not only does Solana (So-la-nuh) sound lovely, but I adore the meaning too: “sunshine.” Sola or Lana are great nickname options.

Vista
Vista (Vis-tuh) is another name with both a lovely sound and a pretty meaning (“view”). I like Vi as a nickname for Vista.


The Baby Name Buff: Places I’ve Lived–Kutztown, PA

My path to getting my undergraduate degree was pretty convoluted. I switched majors three times and transferred four times (between three schools). I’ve already written a bit about my time at University of Miami and Marywood University. The third college I attended–for a single semester–was Kutztown University in Kutztown, PA. This time in my life was a very lonely one. I didn’t make a single friend at Kutztown, and I didn’t get out much. As such, I don’t have any personal connections to the area. Nevertheless, the Kutztown region did produce some great possible baby names, listed below.

Albany
Bethel
Eastwick
Fleetwood
Kinsey
Kirby
Landis
Monterey
Orchard
Oreville
Pennwyn
Temple
Topton
Trexler

Photo credit: the_great_nanners