New Mexico: a taste of the country in Carroll Panoramic views offer residents 'peace and quiet'

Neighbors; Neighborhood Profile: New Mexico

October 18, 1998|By Lisa Breslin | Lisa Breslin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Like many quiet neighborhoods in Carroll County, the New Mexico development is filled with ranchers and split-level homes on sizable secluded lots with scenic views.

The development is tucked in such a quiet corner of the county that many residents say it is worth a commute to Baltimore or beyond to spend their leisure time in a rural setting that has the ambience of a Norman Rockwell painting.

Patricia Cutchember, a music teacher in Baltimore, purchased a lot in New Mexico a few years ago and drives to the Carroll County spot as often as she can to bask in nature's serenity.

"I was looking for something that would cost about $47,000," said Cutchember. "I thought that property was little more than marsh until I walked up to the top of this hill. I saw an incredible view. I told my Realtor that I would work four jobs to pay for it."

Cutchember worked three jobs to pay for the 4-acre lot she calls "God's property." Whenever she or her friends want a retreat from the city, they pile into her 1977 Oldsmobile and go to the lot, often to mow.

"It takes a lot of lawn mowers and good friends to mow that lot, but we never mind it," Cutchember said. "In fact, it's so beautiful out there, I have to tell my friends to stop mowing when it gets dark. They always want to stay a little longer to smell the sweet spearmint, or put the frogs in a safe spot."

Original owners live in many of the approximately 45 homes; when their children were young and the community association was active there were Easter egg hunts and neighborhood block parties.

There are still families with young children, but social gatherings are limited to a few neighborhood parties and a women's walking group. The women gather each morning or night to lap the neighborhood and chat.

They walk three laps around the hilly neighborhood, approximately three miles, in 50 minutes.

"We fell in love with our house right away, and the wide open lots," said Theresa Burns, one of the walkers. "We moved here when our girls were young, knowing that they would have plenty of room to run. Plus, Carroll County schools are excellent."

Burns, her husband, Terry, and daughters Heather and Amber have lived in New Mexico for 16 years. Although Terry Burns commutes to McLean, Va., for work, he's never wanted to move.

"It's a peaceful drive in the morning for him," Theresa Burns said. "Plus, he loves to dig, and out here he can do lots of gardening and work on the flower beds."

"I really wanted a house in the country, and this is it. It will be forever and ever," said Sgt. Ed Dunlop, a Baltimore City Police detective. "There's no worry about more growth or crime, the neighbors are nice and I love the peace and quiet."

Quick sales of properties in the neighborhood confirm residents' accolades: Houses sold during the last year were on the market for an average of 50 days.

Though the average price of a single-family home -- based on four sales in the past year -- is $139,125, many of the houses have an appraised value of more than $170,000.

True to the New Mexico theme, the houses are on streets with names like Conquistador, Senorita, Martinez, Hacienda and Guadalupe.

"Whenever I tell people my name is Carmen Amedori on Guadalupe Drive, they think I'm nuts," said the wife of Jerry F. Barnes, Carroll County state's attorney, who has lived in the neighborhood for 11 years. "This is the kind of neighborhood where people like Karen and Tom Malehorn have chicken-corn soup parties."

On brisk nights, Tom Malehorn heats the soup in a cast-iron caldron he found at an antique store and welcomes his neighbors.

Said Imajane Weishaar: "The neighborhood is like a small village."

New Mexico

Population: 230

Commuting time to downtown Baltimore: 1 hour

Public Schools: William Winchester Elementary; East Middle; Westminster High

Shopping: Cranberry Mall; downtown Westminster

Points of interest: Westminster Antique Mall; Bennett Cerf Memorial Park

ZIP code: 21158

Average price of a single family home: $139,125*

* Based on four sales in the past 12 months as recored by the Metropolitan Regional Information System.

Pub Date: 10/18/98

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