Amy writes a series of posts about her recent move to the Bethesda area. She is a blogger at Bethesdan.

Like most couples embarking on a house hunt, my husband and I frequently discussed both the needs and wants that would shape our search.

Our needs included three bedrooms, two bathrooms, great schools, a safe neighborhood and close proximity to family. Our wants included four bedrooms, three bathrooms, high ceilings, a finished basement and an attached garage. We had a well-defined upper- and lower-limit on the price of the home, and we decided to focus our search in Bethesda, where my husband’s family lives.

A real estate map in Carderock Springs showing few houses on the market. (Screenshot — Amy Moore; Map - Redfin)

After visiting several open houses, we realized rather quickly that we would have to renegotiate the terms of our search to get more for our money. We extended the parameters of our search area to west of Interstate 495, and as soon as we did, a house came up that caught our eye. It was lovely and unlike anything else we had seen, but it was at the very top of our budget.

As we were driving to the open house, we turned onto Lilly Stone Drive and into Carderock Springs, and it truly was love at first sight. The winding road led us through a neighborhood of beautifully mature trees and lovely mid-century modern homes. We noticed right away that Carderock Springs didn’t have the visual clutter of power lines that many other neighborhoods have — the builders had the foresight to bury power lines when they planned the community in the 1960s. Each lot seemed quite large, and each house seemed carefully built into the surrounding landscape.

We pulled up to the house, walked inside, and were immediately welcomed by a commanding floor-to-ceiling window that overlooked a lovely, wooded backyard. The house had high ceilings, large windows, an open layout, that tree-filled backyard, an attached garage and so much more than we ever thought we would be able to afford in Bethesda. The houses in Carderock Springs are all unique, yet they share many of these similar architectural details, and the neighborhood has succeeded in preserving the mid-century modern architecture throughout. In short, we were sold. As we circled the house, we were so excited as we mentally checked off every need and several wants that were on our list.

Before we put an offer on the house, we researched as much as we could about Carderock Springs. The neighborhood has some of the best schools in the D.C. area. The elementary school just completed a $22 million renovation. Carderock Springs has its own swim and tennis club, which includes a summer camp for neighborhood children where they can also work as counselors when they’re old enough. The community puts on holiday festivities, parades, home tours and BBQs. The location of Carderock Springs (River Road and Interstate 495) is just a few miles from George Washington Parkway, Clara Barton Parkway and many other major arteries, which makes commuting to either D.C. or Virginia a cinch. Many of the kids who grew up in Carderock Springs came back as adults and purchased a home to raise their own families, which is always a strong testament to the quality of the neighborhood. We’ve noticed very few homes seem to come on the market here, and we think it’s because nobody wants to leave.

Carderock Springs is truly a hidden gem in Bethesda, and although we’re still the new kids on the block, we plan on being here long enough to raise our children and hope to one day see our grandchildren running around this house. As homeowners, as parents and as new Bethesda residents, Carderock Springs has given us so much more than we hoped for. The house might have been at the top of our budget, but in Carderock Springs, your money buys you so much more than just a house.


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From urban Clarendon to suburban Bethesda

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