Lots allow for wide lawns and big, beautiful homes in Potomac’s Merry-Go-Round Farm neighborhood. Photo by Skip Brown
NEIGHBORHOODS WITH BIG YARDS
The Merry-Go-Round Farm neighborhood in Potomac was developed in the early 1990s with the idea of creating a place of tastefully designed homes on spacious lots. Many of the houses on this historic farm reflect the architecture of a century ago, and in some cases, these Victorians and Arts and Crafts-style homes back up against 140 acres of communal green space, giving residents a sense of spaciousness that extends well past their property lines. “You’re in your own little wonderland,” says Erin Buckingham, who lives there with her husband, Tom, and their 14-year-old triplets, Summer, Brooke and Cameron. “When you turn into the farm on weekends, it’s kind of like you’re on your own little vacation.” Winding lanes are popular for cycling. Trails meander through the forest. Many residents board horses at the historic farm. “You would never think you’re 15 miles out of D.C.,” Buckingham says.
CHEVY CHASE VIEW
When Chevy Chase View was established as a special taxing district in 1924, its founders vowed in the charter to preserve the wide open spaces that drew them to this spot in Kensington. Today, those open spaces remain, thanks to big lots and town requirements that houses sit back farther than usual from the lot line. “It was meant to have these open vistas,” says Jana Coe, Chevy Chase View’s town manager and its only paid employee. “You drive through and get this incredible vista of big trees,” she says. “The homes are in your peripheral vision at first. As you pass them, you look and see how different they are.” The big yards fill up with kids playing in the summer. When neighbors gather for the annual street picnic and kids flock to the nearby swim-and-tennis club, Chevy Chase View has a small-town feel. Getting to downtown D.C. is easy, though—the closest ramp to the Beltway is just a mile away.
Every October, Stephen Vaccarezza fills his sprawling Luxmanor front lawn with so many Halloween decorations that people drive by just to see them. “Having a big lot is great because my husband uses the whole front area,” his wife, Donna, says. Tucked away off Old Georgetown Road, the North Bethesda neighborhood is full of spacious yards, perfect for ballgames and outdoor birthday parties, and popular with wandering deer. Since Morton and Ernestine Luchs bought the Riley farm in 1926 and later subdivided it as Luxmanor, housing styles have come and gone. Today, many of the old ramblers are being torn down and replaced by large homes inspired by colonial and Victorian designs that capitalize on the large lots. “There are some real hidden treasures here, with tennis courts and swimming pools in the backyard,” Donna Vaccarezza says. Residents enjoy easy access to the Beltway and I-270, and can walk to the restaurants, shops and iPic Theaters at nearby Pike & Rose, where there’s a farmers market on Saturday mornings.
you’re 15 miles out of D.C.”
—Erin Buckingham, Merry-Go-Round Farm resident
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