Elegance in an oasis cradled by a park

Neighborhood profile : Waverly Woods

Amenities and access in Waverly Woods

February 03, 2002|By Erika Hobbs | Erika Hobbs,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Residents of Woodstock's Waverly Woods can walk to town for groceries, ice cream or their dry cleaning without breaking a sweat.

They can swim and play tennis or golf without leaving the neighborhood. Colonial homes - with soccer balls punctuating the front lawns - sleek condominiums and chic townhouses ring an 18-hole championship golf course. To top it off, this 680-acre neighborhood is cradled by Patapsco State Park, an herb farm and rolling meadow with white-picket fences.

Waverly Woods. Suburban Nirvana.

"We wanted a place where kids could grow up and repeat some of the things we could do as kids - get on a bike, go to the grocery store to get milk for mom and not get killed by traffic," said developer Don Reuwer, owner of Land Design and Development in Ellicott City. "We wanted a sense of community."

Reuwer, with three Howard County landowners, created the concept for Waverly Woods in the early 1980s. The landowners, who had been Reuwer's clients, each held large tracts of family land, nearly half of which had been deeded since the 1700s.

The historic Waverly Mansion, once home to Col. John Eager Howard, Revolutionary War hero and former Maryland governor, has been restored and still sits on the land. Woodstock itself was settled about 1689, Howard County records show, by Samuel Browne, whose 1713 will was one of the first to be registered with the county.

Reuwer said they wanted to develop the land into an elegant community without the blight of suburban sprawl. So the men - Bruce Taylor, John Gudelsky and Kennard Warfield - formed GTW Joint Ventures and knitted the tracts together to form the 680-acre swath just off Interstate 70 and Marriottsville Road.

The aim was to balance a suburban landscape, shield it with a rural setting and uphold the historical significance of the property.

The result was a planned community much like Howard County's Columbia. More than 1,000 single-family homes, condominiums and townhouses by seven builders were built around an 18-hole, championship golf course. The planners added a 15-acre, 125,000-square-foot shopping center to the concept, as well as a recreation center, tennis courts and a swimming pool.

Waverly Woods opened in 1997, and sales have never slowed, said Pat Hiban of Re/Max Advantage Realty in Columbia.

At least seven four-bedroom Colonial homes were sold last year, for an average price of $378,128. Reuwer said lots start "around 14,000 square feet."

"A lot of people in Waverly Woods want to live in a neighborhood where neighbors are close, on a sunny day out walking and jogging or pushing baby strollers - that sort of thing," Hiban said. "Yet it is far enough away from the hustle and bustle of a city like Columbia, and there is a lot of land surrounding it so it gives it a rural feeling."

Young urbanites starting families and empty-nesters seeking low-maintenance lifestyles have flocked to Waverly Woods, Hiban said.

"We chose this area because we thought the schools were better here than in Columbia," said Carol Graff, who more than two years ago moved with her family from Atlanta to a townhouse on Merion Pond. Her youngest son is a freshman at Mount Hebron High School in Ellicott City.

According to Reuwer, the gem of the neighborhood is the Waverly Woods Golf Club, designed by acclaimed architect Arthur Hills of Toledo, Ohio. The 26-foot townhouses - Waverly Woods' prime real estate - have been placed around the course to provide owners with a "dramatic view," Reuwer said.

"The course really is one of the best in the state."

Waverly Woods Village Center, the community strip mall, offers a Weis grocery store, an ice cream parlor, framing shop, several restaurants and a dry cleaner. The neighborhood is minutes from The Mall in Columbia, and restaurants along the Route 40 corridor. Baltimore is a half-hour drive from bucolic Waverly Woods.

"We've looked at a lot of other places and nothing else had amenities like this," said Sara Wolfsheimer, 28, who is moving with her husband from a townhouse to another home within the neighborhood. "There is easy access here to everything."

Waverly Woods' builders conformed to a set of strict architectural guidelines that held a historical theme, patterned off Waverly Mansion's Colonial style, Reuwer said.

A homeowners association regulates how residents can decorate the exteriors of their homes. They also must submit a plan for approval before landscaping work can begin.

That high-quality assurance makes some, such as Graff, feel right at home.

"People just can't come and paint their houses purple or park boats on the lawn," she said. "Some people like that freedom, but I like it this way because it keeps the community nice."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.