2016 | Real Estate

Bethesda Magazine's 30 Great Neighborhoods to Live In

From big yards to new homes, the Bethesda area has neighborhoods for every preference

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The historic colonial and Victorian homes of Chevy Chase Village have made this an iconic neighborhood. Photo by Skip Brown

NEIGHBORHOODS WITH BEAUTIFUL HISTORIC HOMES
 

CHEVY CHASE VILLAGE

Eyeing the wooded hills beyond the District line, the founders of Chevy Chase Village envisioned an escape from city life: a village of stately colonial-style and Victorian homes on wide, tree-lined boulevards. That vision still shapes this iconic village, which was established in 1890 and is the oldest of the neighborhoods that make up Chevy Chase. Leafy streets are lined with an array of late-19th- and early-20th-century architectural styles, from colonial to Craftsman, Tudor to Italian Renaissance. “Our own house is about 100 years old,” says Sondra Geller, who has lived with her husband, Alan, in the same 1918 home for 44 years. One of the wealthiest communities in the country, Chevy Chase Village draws some of Washington’s most well-known figures—including congressional candidate and former TV news anchor Kathleen Matthews and her husband, Chris, host of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, and syndicated columnist George Will—and it’s also home to families who have lived in the village for decades (and sometimes generations). Residents say this village—which has its own police force and board of managers—maintains a strong sense of community. “I know everyone on the block,” Geller says. “I even know the names of their dogs.”

OLD TOWN KENSINGTON

Victorian and Craftsman homes dominate the core of Old Town Kensington, a national historic district where preservation codes help the neighborhood maintain its character. Houses with wraparound porches and stained-glass windows sit on large lots along leafy streets. Resident Deborah Eckert says she thinks of her family as stewards of their 1909 foursquare, located in a part of town known as the Pitchfork. “There’s a sense that you’re continuing something on,” Eckert says. “It’s almost like we’re taking care of the house and keeping it preserved for the next family.” Lots of shops and restaurants are close at hand, including Frankly…Pizza!, K Town Bistro and Gala Artisan Jewelry & Gifts. Though it’s not far from the District, Eckert says, Old Town Kensington feels like a different world from the high-stress nation’s capital, just as it did when it was built in the 1890s as a summer refuge from Washington’s heat.

ROCKVILLE'S WEST END

The elegant Victorian homes that line the West Montgomery Avenue Historic District are a testament to this neighborhood’s turn-of-the-century roots. In the 1890s, Washington lawyer Henry Copp made the most of the newly arrived B&O Railroad and established “Peerless Rockville” as a commuter haven away from the city. “I love the historic feel of the neighborhood,” says resident Karen Keigher-Wimer, who moved to Rockville’s West End with her husband in 2011. Since its founding, bungalows, Cape Cods and other styles have joined the streetscape, but it’s the Victorians—with their towers, turrets and distinctive bay windows—that still dominate the neighborhood. “It’s very walkable,” Keigher-Wimer says. “We walk into Rockville Town Center and go out to dinner. We shop or see a movie. That’s one of the draws of the West End—you have all that right there.”

 "I love the way the homes are built in Chevy Chase Village: the way light and lifestyle are incorporated. You get more of a feeling they were built for people rather than efficiency.” —Barbara Nalls, real estate agent