That was 22 years ago. They had two small children, and their house five miles away was bursting at the seams. They fell in love with the community and bought a house on the water’s edge. Today they are still thrilled with their choice.
There are no through roads or traffic lights and “you don’t drive by,” said Clauson, who is president of the Herald Harbor Citizens’ Association. “This has to be your destination.”
Scenic terrain: An unincorporated 2.3-square-mile rural community with a 2012 population of 2,600, Herald Harbor is a “quiet little dead-end community,” Clauson said during a slow drive on the winding roads one recent bright morning.
The topography is hilly, with steep dips into ravines. Beautiful water vistas are visible from many locations on the sharply curving roads, especially in winter when trees are bare. The land is heavily forested, with towering oaks, tulip poplars and black walnut trees that provide a thick canopy of shade and a dense understory of shrubs, which affords abundant privacy. Children can readily run in the woods and play hide-and-seek behind their homes. Foxes, raccoons and opossums are common, and ospreys are flying overhead now with branches in their beak for spring nests.
The community’s 975 houses are nestled in these woodlands. It’s an eclectic mix of bungalow cottages and traditional, classic and contemporary structures. There are even two log cabins.
Breezes off the water: Living close to the water’s edge is a big plus, and residents enjoy fresh-air breezes and the tangy smell of the sea all year. Everyone in the community has access to a small, sandy beach with wooden benches, picnic tables and gorgeous views. Boating, fishing, crabbing and swimming are popular.
Many waterfront homes have private docks. Clauson, 60, and her husband live in a traditional brick house. The back patio faces Round Bay, which is a round spot on the Severn River, and offers a spectacular panoramic view. Their two children, now 23 and 25, grew up there. She earned an MBA and worked at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, though she has been a homemaker since the children were little.
Boat ramp access is available for $25 a year to members of the citizens’ association, which in turn costs $10 a year for an individual and $16 a year for a couple. There are 450 members.
Live and let live: There are no rules to tell you what style of window to install or to prohibit you from planting vegetables in a sunny spot on the front lawn. “People respect their neighbors,” said Clauson, but “if you don’t want to live next to house with a purple door, this isn’t the place for you.”
It is a tight and quirky community with a mix of people including CEOs, artists and musicians, firefighters, and teachers. “Internet moguls live side by side with bikers,” said David Abrams, communications director for the county.