When he first moved from Silver Spring to this community just southeast of Annapolis, Outerbridge said, “a frontier spirit” permeated the area.
“People here were not wealthy, for the most part, and they did their own work,” he said. “They were do-it-yourselfers. Over time, the Potomac crowd — ‘high rollers’ — discovered the community.” Their arrival changed the culture of the private oasis, wedged serenely between Lake Ogleton to the west and the bay to the east. The well-heeled newcomers can afford to hire landscapers and construction crews to improve their properties, he said.
Many of Bay Ridge’s newer residents are transplants from the Washington area. They’ve traded the roar of inside-the-Beltway life for a more measured, relaxed vibe that opens their vistas to the wind, waves and tide.
People in this pocket-size community pride themselves on giving each other ample space. And although they might fall into an upper-income bracket, there seems to be more competition among neighbors when it comes to sailboat racing than to comparing price tags on properties. Within the wide mix of styles and sizes, not every home is magazine-cover beautiful, but a striking number of them are. The common thread is villagelike living tucked away on a vast, inland arm of the Atlantic described by author H.L. Mencken as “an immense protein factory.”
In their book “Bay Ridge on the Chesapeake,” co-authors Carol Patterson and Jane McWilliams wrote that the community evolved in 1879 as a summer resort. It was showcased by a “large Victorian hotel at Tolly Point,” where the Severn River shakes hands with the bay. “For the next 17 years,” they wrote, “thousands of people came by rail and water to enjoy the ‘Queen Resort of the Chesapeake.’ ”
Today, Bay Ridge is one of the most prestigious waterfront communities in Anne Arundel County, said Rod Irving, an agent with Long & Foster in Annapolis. Property values range from $400,000 to $3 million. The neighborhood, he said, “kind of has a little bit of stuffiness about it.”
One of the unique aspects of Bay Ridge is the absence of commercial enterprises within its borders. Stores such as CVS, Giant Food and 7-Eleven are about two miles away. Downtown Annapolis and City Dock, the state capital’s social and economic hub, are about a 10-minute drive. Many residents travel into town to shop, dine or take in one of the many large-scale events, such as the United States Sailboat Show.