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With an abundance of trees, Potomac Woods lives up to its name

Residents describe the Rockville, Md., neighborhood as 'friendly, warm, incredibly convenient '

Though it’s just off Interstate 270 and minutes from downtown Rockville, Md., Potomac Woods’ streets are quiet and lined with mature growth. (Craig Hudson for The Washington Post)
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Bill Burwell doesn’t hesitate when you ask him what drew him to Rockville’s Potomac Woods neighborhood 15 years ago. It was the trees, he says.

Though it’s just off Interstate 270 and minutes from downtown Rockville, Md., Potomac Woods’ streets are quiet and lined with mature growth. Its sidewalks are shaded in the summertime by a tunnel of green, and residents treasure their easy access to two big, leafy parks.

“You can just walk out your front door and go for a walk in this really undisturbed woods and really not see anybody,” Burwell said. “And then you can drive five minutes and be on Rockville Pike and have all the humanity you want.”

Potomac Woods is a suburban community of 405 single-family homes just southwest of downtown Rockville. Robert Wilson, president of the neighborhood’s citizens association, said it’s mostly populated with younger families.

But there are also some “hangover” folks, Wilson said — people who, like himself, have remained in the neighborhood even though the children they raised there are long gone. Wilson doesn’t plan on leaving any time soon.

“They’ll carry me out of here in a box,” he said. “I love it here.”

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Like Burwell, Wilson was enamored with Potomac Woods’ abundant green space when he first toured the neighborhood more than two decades ago. He had a young daughter then, and he wanted her to have plenty of room to run.

Potomac Woods Park, a 42-acre space owned by the city of Rockville that includes basketball and tennis courts, grills, a playground and a gazebo, sits on the eastern edge of the community. On the west side, there’s the 20-acre Falls Road Local Park, operated by Montgomery County.

Residents gather for an annual Labor Day picnic at Potomac Woods Park and enjoy hamburgers, hotdogs and a potluck selection of side dishes and desserts. There’s also pumpkin decorating and a Halloween parade in October, a holiday light contest in December, and a pizza and bingo party each April.

The events give Potomac Woods a welcoming feel, said Laura Bach, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1997 and serves as the treasurer of its citizens association.

When Bach and her husband were shopping for their first home, they wanted an affordable option with easy access to their jobs in downtown Rockville and Washington.

“Potomac Woods ended up checking all the boxes,” she said. The neighborhood offers commuters easy access to the Capital Beltway and the Intercounty Connector.

It was December when Bach finalized her home purchase, she recalled, so she didn’t get a glimpse of the neighborhood in the springtime until months later.

“We couldn’t believe how beautiful it was,” recalled Bach, who also sells homes in the neighborhood as a real estate agent with the Carmen Fontecilla Group at Compass. “All the streets were lined with cherry blossoms, and it was just so vibrant.”

Many working families first start considering the neighborhood for the same reason Bach did, she said: location. But they’re often drawn in by its tree-lined streets or the solid reputation of the nearby public schools.

Despite the community’s proximity to the highway, the layout of its streets makes it a low-traffic place, Wilson said. In fact, visitors sometimes have trouble finding their way into the neighborhood, he added.

“If half a dozen cars a day from outside of the neighborhood travel past my house, that's probably a busy day,” Wilson said.

There are two swim clubs within easy walking distance and several shopping centers within a few minutes’ drive.

“It's just a very friendly, warm, incredibly convenient neighborhood,” Bach said.

Living there: Potomac Woods is bounded by Wootton Parkway to the northeast and Falls Road and Stratton Drive to the west. Lancashire Drive, Stratton Drive and Dunster Lane border the neighborhood to the east, and Derbyshire and Kimblewick roads border it to the south.

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Thirty-five homes sold in Potomac Woods in 2021 for an average price of $820,467, Bach said. The most expensive was a four-bedroom, four-bathroom home that listed at $875,000 but sold for just under $1.1 million. The least expensive home was a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home that sold for $690,000.

Seven homes have sold so far in the neighborhood in 2022, ranging from a four-bedroom, three-bathroom home that sold for $830,000 to a five-bedroom, four-bathroom home that sold for $1 million.

A six-bedroom, three-bathroom home is on the market for $830,000, down from $865,000, Bach said. A four-bedroom, four-bathroom home is under contract for $880,000.

Schools: Ritchie Park Elementary, Julius West Middle and Richard Montgomery High.

Transit: The T2 Metro bus stops along Falls Road. The Montgomery County Ride On bus stops along Wootton Parkway. The Rockville Metro station (Red Line) is a seven-minute drive away.