Where We Live

A Part of the City, Apart From the City

By Andrea Rouda
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, April 5, 2008

In Barnaby Woods, tucked inside the District's northwest border, winding streets follow the natural curve of wooded creeks. Access to the neighborhood is limited to a few streets, and there's almost no traffic.

Rather than feeling isolated, most Barnaby Woods residents revel in the parklike setting, with its sense of peace and privacy.

Leslie Rod, an administrator at a long-term health-care facility, grew up in Barnaby Woods. After leaving Washington for college at 18, she lived in Maine and Seattle before returning in 1994 to help care for her ailing parents.

She said she likes living slightly off the radar screen and especially enjoys the woods outside her back door, with one spectacular oak tree right behind her house. "My parents bought this house so my brother and I could play out there," she said, recalling finding some crockery deep in the yard on a childhood archeological dig.

"I appreciate the neighborhood just as much as an adult," Rod said.

Between Rock Creek Park and Montgomery County, Barnaby Woods contains mostly 1950s-era brick Colonials on fairly large lots. Many streets do not have sidewalks, adding to the feeling of being away from the city. There is nothing commercial nearby.

"It's true, walking a mile to Connecticut Avenue is not something you do lightly, but the E6 bus gets you to Friendship Heights in 10 minutes," Rod said. That Metrobus line skirts the edges of the neighborhood.

Because Rod inherited her house from her parents, who paid $30,000 in 1963, she has made few modifications.

"I've updated the lighting and replaced a ceiling, but otherwise it's unchanged," she said.

In fact, the only change she sees is that the neighborhood is more affluent than when she was growing up.

Justin Glasgow moved to Barnaby Woods with his wife and children in mid-2006. "When we started looking, we had a list of five criteria for the house we wanted, but we found about 10 things we liked about this house," he said.

One obvious attraction is the dramatic back yard, which slopes down and ends at the Pinehurst Tributary, a spring-fed creek that runs behind the house and into Rock Creek.

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