Insiders' Guide To

Mount Washington

December 02, 2007|By Brad Schleicher | Brad Schleicher,Sun reporter

Founded as a neighborhood for city commuters in the 1850s, Mount Washington offers a slower-paced suburban lifestyle in proximity to downtown Baltimore.

"We're one of the first suburbs ever created, and we're still as convenient to downtown ... as when they first envisioned this community 150 years ago," said Mac Nachlas, president of the Mount Washington Improvement Association.

Although Mount Washington straddles the Baltimore City and Baltimore County line and includes more than one ZIP code, a large portion of it is tucked nicely between the Pimlico Racetrack and Interstate 83, in an architecturally diverse area.

"There are streets in Mount Washington where you can find a house built 100 years ago, 50 years ago and 5 years ago -- and they're all on the same block," Nachlas said.

In addition to a variety of housing options, the community also has a woodsy feel, proximity to public transportation and a mix of professional and non-professional residents.

"It's a large community," Nachlas said. "We have an annual picnic and a 4th of July parade and annual holiday tree lighting."

Housing stock --Realtors in the area say Mount Washington's hodgepodge of architectural styles and various house and property sizes contribute to wide-ranging real estate prices.

"It's almost impossible to give a range," says Brendan Cooke of RE/MAX Firehouse Realty. "The price will really depend on the style of the home. If it's a condominium, that's another story."

Heather Powell of Long & Foster Realtors of Roland Park agrees.

"In that area, everything is different, even on the same street," she says. "Even for older homes, size of the home isn't necessarily the issue, it's the size and location of the property that the house is sitting on."

Rentals --A variety of rentals are available, including apartments, condos and some single-family houses. Myrna Siegel of Brooks Management Company, an agency specializing in Baltimore house and condominium rentals, estimates that a standard two-bedroom apartment rents for $850 to $1,100 per month.

Crime --Officer John Walter of the Baltimore City Police Northern District Community Relations Unit says most crimes occur in the vicinity of Mount Washington Village and shopping areas. "Property crimes, car break-ins and theft is most common in that area," says Walter. "Violent crime isn't as prevalent."

Kids and schools --The Baltimore City portion of Mount Washington is served by Mount Washington Elementary. From there, students feed into Roland Park Middle. Despite complaints of over-capacity by parents in the community, each school has scored above state proficiency levels for reading and mathematics for the Maryland State Assessments.

High school students attend Western High, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and City College. Nearby private schools in Roland Park also attract students.

Shopping --Mount Washington Village offers a variety of destination and specialty shops that cater to trends in clothing, consignments and furniture, including a pottery shop and wine merchant adjacent to Mount Washington Mill. The Village of Cross Keys is also a short drive away.

Transportation --Although most residents and visitors travel by car because of plentiful public parking, Mount Washington is accessible by bus, Metro and the light rail.

Recreation --Luckman Park, which is soon to be upgraded, provides playgrounds, tennis courts and walking paths. Playing fields are also nearby at Northwest Park, a new city-owned park. The neighborhood also has an active soccer league for kids.

The Mount Washington Swim Club and the Meadowbrook Aquatic and Fitness Club are two options for swimming, while the Northwest Ice Rink offers ice skating year-round.

The Cylburn Arboretum, a 207-acre urban park, offers walking trails, areas for picnicking and educational walking tours.

Dining in --The Whole Foods Market in Mt. Washington Mill is the closest grocery store.

Dining out --Despite having only a handful of restaurants, Mount Washington offers a diverse selection of food. Visitors and residents can enjoy upscale American fare, Cajun and Creole, authentic French, Japanese and sushi, Mediterranean or even a simple pizza or submarine sandwich.

Nightlife --With the exception of the Mount Washington Tavern, which is a popular happy hour spot for residents, the neighborhood is fairly quiet in the evenings. However, it is only a short drive to bars and clubs in downtown Baltimore.

brad.schleicher@baltsun.com

MOUNT WASHINGTON BY THE NUMBERS

ZIP code

-- 21209

Homes on the market

-- 46

Average sale price

-- $306,927

Average days on the market

-- 120 * Information based on sales during the past 90 days, compiled by Brendan Cooke of RE/MAX Firehouse Realty and Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc.

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