Bethesda Magazine's 30 Great Neighborhoods to Live In
From big yards to new homes, the Bethesda area has neighborhoods for every preference
The Chevy Chase Section 5 neighborhood delights in Fourth of July revelry, with a parade and lots of red, white and blue. Photo by Ashley Kavanaugh
NEIGHBORHOODS WITH ORGANIZED EVENTS
CHEVY CHASE SECTION 5
Every Fourth of July, families in Chevy Chase’s Section 5 neighborhood gather for a parade straight out of small-town America. Participants dress in red, white and blue, decorate their bicycles and horses, and take their places behind a firetruck. As they march from one of the neighborhood’s historic farmhouses, they sing patriotic songs to neighbors’ applause. The parade ends on Underwood Street, with food, moon bounces and pony rides. “All the things you want when you’re 10 years old,” says resident Ashley Kavanaugh, who is also the Section 5 town manager. That family atmosphere lasts all year, says real estate agent Laura McCaffrey, a former resident. “I call it Mayberry,” she says. “The houses are close together, so it’s very neighborly. When you’re driving down the street, there are always kids outside on their bikes, or playing basketball or street hockey.” Neighbors gather at a fall block party in September for one last celebration before the temperatures drop.
How many neighborhoods in the country boast their own theater production? This year marks Bannockburn’s 60th consecutive Spring Show, when residents young and old take the stage for a musical spoof that is written and produced by locals. “The writing all comes from the neighborhood, and there are such brilliant artists there,” says resident Michelle Jaconi. “I love Bannockburn. It is absolutely everything I ever wanted in a place to raise a family. It has this artistic spirit and history where people love bucking authority.” The clubhouse is the soul of Bannockburn. It hosts an annual crafts fair, Halloween parties, ice cream socials, dinners for newcomers, dance classes, New Year’s potlucks and a cooperative nursery school. But for many residents, it’s the proximity to D.C. and the C&O Canal that they notice first. “The co-op, the clubhouse, the Spring Show and everything that goes along with it really seals the deal,” says real estate agent Greta Nicoletti.
When this neighborhood of about 300 homes in Chevy Chase was created in 1929, developers planted 1,200 Yoshino cherry trees, which still draw tens of thousands of visitors every April. But even though Kenwood is famous for its cherry blossoms, for many residents, the real entertainment comes in May, when neighbors take the stage in the annual talent show. Residents enjoy a seated dinner at the Kenwood Country Club before watching their neighbors sing, dance and play instruments. It’s one of many events the Kenwood Citizens Association organizes during the year for residents of this stately neighborhood, which, if not for the cherry trees, might be famous for its distinctive Georgian-style, brick colonial and wooden contemporary homes. Residents take part in Halloween haunted houses, Thanksgiving turkey trots and Christmas Eve caroling. To escape the crowds, they can take to the Capital Crescent Trail, just minutes away, and slip into nature.
— Laura McCaffrey, real estate agent
Bethesda: Bannockburn, Bradley Park, Carderock Springs, Crestview, Drumaldry, East Bethesda, Fort Sumner, Mohican Hills, Wildwood Manor, Wyngate
N. Bethesda: Luxmanor, Timberlawn
Chevy Chase: Chevy Chase Section 5, Chevy Chase Village, Kenwood, Rollingwood, Chevy Chase, D.C.
Kensington/Garrett Park: Chevy Chase View, Old Town Kensington, South Kensington, Garrett Park
Gaithersburg: Crown, Kentlands, Washington Grove
Potomac: Merry-Go-Round Farm, River Falls
Rockville: King Farm, Old Farm, Rockville's West End
Silver Spring: Woodside Park