August 23, 2017 at 11:20 AM
The moment Emily Talaga stepped inside the house on Morrell Court in Montgomery County's Kensington neighborhood, images of her childhood came rushing back, she said.
The three-bedroom, two-bathroom split-level just "felt like home," said Talaga, who grew up in a similar house.
While the property nudged her toward putting down roots in Kensington, the fact that the house sat on "a quiet street, off of a quiet corner without a lot of hubbub" sealed the deal, she said.
"The neighborhood is just so beautiful," she said. "I like to look at the birds, squirrels and rabbits. It's just really nice to find a place that fits."
A short car ride from two Metro stations, Kensington also offers potential buyers easy access to nearby Rock Creek Park, proximity to downtown Washington via Connecticut Avenue, and an array of affordable Colonials, ramblers and Tudors, situated along tree-lined streets, said Gary Ditto, an agent with Long & Foster.
"Compared to nearby Bethesda and Chevy Chase, the prices in Kensington are much lower," Ditto said. "A lot of residents of Kensington work in D.C., but they enjoy coming home to a suburban neighborhood that places an emphasis on getting outdoors and enjoying nature."
Mature trees, gardens: For Julie O'Malley, the one-floor "tiny house" that she purchased in 1977 ceased meeting her needs thanks to an expanding family, and the idea of moving to a larger one became painfully obvious, she said.
But while O'Malley had come to terms with the need to move, leaving what had become an ideal neighborhood was out of the question.
So she and her family scoured her neighborhood and discovered an ideal house about five blocks away.
"Why would I want to leave?" she asked. "Everything was close by, and the neighborhood had lots of mature trees and plenty of residents who focused heavily on their gardens," said O'Malley, who purchased a three-bedroom, two-bathroom brick Cape Cod on Frederick Avenue in 1984.
Christian McBurney, who moved to Kensington in 1999, said that he loves the small-town friendliness of Kensington.
"When residents are out walking their dogs, people are quick to stop and chat," said McBurney, who lives in a split-level, 3,400-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bathroom house on Old Spring Road. "Just a few weeks ago, I spent an hour and a half chatting with retailers at the local farmers market."
Talaga, who has lived in Kensington for 20 years, is fond of noting that she visited the neighborhood in search of a house but instead found lifelong friendships that have kept her love of the community going strong through the years.
"You know that saying 'love thy neighbor'? " she said recently. "Well, I really feel like I know my neighbors and they watch after me. Some people think that that neighborly feeling is gone, but it's right here in Kensington."
Living there: The neighborhood is roughly bordered to the north by Veirs Mill Road, to the west by Rock Creek Park to Rockville Pike, to the south by the Capital Beltway and to the east by Capitol View Avenue to Westfield Shopping Center.
The Kensington neighborhood has 7,500 single-family homes. It includes the half-square-mile Town of Kensington, which contains the historic district.
In the past 12 months, 302 properties have sold in Kensington, ranging from a 722-square-foot, two-bedroom, one-bathroom rambler for $277,500 to a 3,899-square-foot, five-bedroom, five-bathroom Colonial for $1,850,000, Ditto said.
There are 45 houses for sale in Kensington, ranging from a 1,008-square-foot, three-bedroom, one-bathroom Cape Cod for $324,900 to a 4,329-square-foot, five-bedroom, six-bathroom Colonial for $2,150,000, Ditto said.
Schools: The broader Kensington community is zoned for three public school clusters. They include, Garrett, Kensington and Oakland Terrace Elementary; Tilden, North Bethesda and Newport Mill Middle; and Walter Johnson and Albert Einstein High.
Transit: Montgomery County Transit's Ride On routes 4, 5, 6, 7, 34 and 38 service Kensington. The neighborhood is also accessible on Metrobus's L8 line and is home to a station on MARC's Brunswick Line. Kensington is about a six-minute car ride to the Grosvenor-Strathmore Station on Metro's Red Line and a 12-minute car ride to the Wheaton Station, also on the Red Line.
Crime: In the past six months, there were three reports of theft, two burglaries and one stolen vehicle reported in the area that includes Kensington, according to Montgomery police.