Insiders' Guide To

Hampton

December 16, 2007|By Nancy Jones-Bonbrest | Nancy Jones-Bonbrest,special to the sun

With its vast lawns, old stone houses and rolling streets, Hampton offers residents the feel of the country only a stone's throw from the Baltimore Beltway.

Known for its parklike setting, Hampton is a neighborhood with unmatched convenience that's roomy enough to let residents stretch their legs. Annual neighborhood events like the July 4 parade and popular amenities such as the Hampton community pool make the area of 635 homes feel much smaller.

"There's a real sense of community," said Doug Ober, president of the Hampton Improvement Association. "There's a lot of open space, a lot of breathing room and yet there is a very close-knit community."

Tucked neatly between the Loch Raven Reservoir, Interstate 695, Dulaney Valley Road and Providence Road, Hampton provides a diversity of home styles, both old and new.

The neighborhood is best known as the home of the Hampton National Historic Site, a 60-acre park with a 1790s mansion that recently reopened to the public after a nearly three-year renovation.

Over the years, Hampton has retained a reputation as a comfortable location for those looking to start a family as well as empty nesters. "There's a mix of some very young families to our most senior residents who have lived here since the 1930s," said Ober.

Housing stock --Hampton encompasses a medley of housing styles, including ranchers, split-levels, Colonials and new construction. One thing they have in common: They're all single-family homes -- many sitting on oversized lots ranging from a half-acre up to a couple of acres. Most of the homes date back about 50 years.

"People buy in there for not only the convenience of getting to Towson, but also to downtown Baltimore," said Whistler Burch, a Realtor with Re/Max Greater Metro and a former Hampton resident. "It's always been a very stable neighborhood as far as resale."

Protective covenants prevent the lots from being subdivided. So over the past several years, new housing has sprung up as buyers purchase properties for the sizable yards, tearing down the existing houses and replacing them with new ones.

"It's one of those unique neighborhoods," said Burch. "It's very close to everything, but secluded as far as open space. It's almost country living just north of the Beltway."

Kids and schools --The public school choices for children in Hampton appeal to parents. These include Hampton Elementary, Ridgely Middle and Loch Raven High. Both Hampton Elementary and Ridgely Middle were recently recognized for academic achievement in the Maryland School Assessments. Notre Dame Preparatory School, a private school, is located in the neighborhood on Hampton Lane.

Crime --In the first six months of 2007, Hampton saw only three thefts as reported to the Baltimore County Police Department. "It's a remarkedly quiet and safe neighborhood," said Bill Toohey, spokesman for the department. "These are impressively very low numbers."

Shopping --Towson Town Center, Towson Commons and the downtown Towson business district offer a variety of retail options, including boutique shops, high-end specialty stores and big-box chains.

Dining in --The closest grocery store is a straight shot down Dulaney Valley Road to the Super Fresh Supermarket in Dulaney Plaza.

Dining out --Although restaurants are not located within Hampton's borders, there is no lack of eateries just outside the neighborhood. With the busy York Road corridor to the west and the Towson business district to the south, a full template of culinary options awaits.

Recreation --The Hampton National Historic Site offers mansion tours as well as self-guided tours of the gardens and grounds. Picnics are permitted and free public programs are also available on the second Sunday of each month. The Hampton Pool is the spot where many locals spend hot summer days. Residents must become members of the pool club to swim there, but perks include a swim team and special events such as the annual crab feast.

Hampton is bordered to the north by the Loch Raven Reservoir and offers a good array of hiking and biking trails accessible from within the neighborhood. The Pine Ridge Golf Course, located just north of Hampton on Dulaney Valley Road, offers an 18-hole public course and driving range.

HAMPTON BY THE NUMBERS

ZIP code:

21286

Homes on the market:

11

Average sale price:

$578,000*

Average days on market:

79

[*Information based on sales during the past 90 days, compiled by Allie Mitchell of Long and Foster Real Estate in Columbia and Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc.]

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