The couple moved away from Brookmont for about six months before they got married in 1996, but when it came time to buy a house, they found themselves gravitating to Brookmont again.
“You have easy access to everywhere, both by car and bike,” said Chris Weintrob, now 48, a certified holistic health counselor. “You have a young, active group of people living here. And it’s a great neighborhood for kids. That’s why a lot of kayakers in my husband’s generation eventually ended up buying homes here after living here in group houses. They liked it enough to buy a home and raise their family here as well.”
Brookmont, which a 2004 New York Times story described as “a neighborhood that to kayakers is akin to what the Hamptons is for aspiring social climbers,” is still a haven for athletes of all stripes. But its cohesive sense of community and hidden-gem location make it appeal to a wide variety of other residents, too.
Brookmont was developed in the 1920s, when a farm once owned by the Brooke family was subdivided into a few hundred lots, according to Clara “Tiggy” Green, who in 2008 co-wrote a book about the neighborhood, “Brookmont: A Neighborhood on the Potomac.” Developers targeted Brookmont for its proximity to a trolley line and to the Potomac River, according to the book.
Property in the neighborhood didn’t sell all at once, though, and the gradual development led to an eclectic mix of housing styles that includes Sears “kit” houses and modern architecture, said Green, 66, a retired teacher who moved to the neighborhood in 1975.
Brookmont sits just above the C&O Canal and the Potomac River, and is also a stone’s throw from the Feeder Canal, which George Washington originally built to skirt the rapids at Little Falls, Green said.
The canal eventually became a mechanism to let the Potomac River “feed” more water into the C&O Canal. In the 1970s, a kayaker hung racing gates in the feeder canal to make it a whitewater slalom practice course, and Brookmont’s reputation as “kayaking’s Camelot” was born.
“Little by little, Brookmont became known by kayakers as a great place to practice and a great place to live,” Green said. In the 1970s, that meant group rental houses full of kayakers, like the one Chris and Elliot Weintrob lived in.
“When we moved here in 1975, it wasn’t a chic place to be, but it was funky and great in its own way,” Green said. “When my children were growing up, there were young people waking up at 5 a.m. every morning to walk out their front doors and walk down to the canal with their kayaks.”