The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Maryland’s BeechTree has a village vibe

BeechTree in Upper Marlboro, Md., has single-family houses and townhouses. (Photos by Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)
5 min

A drive into the BeechTree community in Upper Marlboro, Md., is akin to entering a charming village. Beyond tree-lined Beech Tree Parkway is a community center surrounded by green space, walking trails, tennis courts and a swimming pool. Nearby is one of Maryland’s top-rated public golf courses, the Lake Presidential Golf Club.

The community includes almost 1,900 luxury single-family houses and townhouses — with stone and brick exteriors — and residents who say they enjoy the amenities and the many ways to get acquainted.

“This neighborhood just reminded me of home down South, and my neighbors here have been like my hometown people,” said Defloria Brown, who moved to BeechTree in 2016 from Charleston, S.C.

The travel nurse and her partner bought a five-bedroom, four-bath Colonial that backs up to a natural area. Residents, she said, “don’t just have our backyards. We also have parks, the golf course and walking trails.”

Beyond those amenities, it’s the people who give the neighborhood its village-like feel, she said. Three years ago, Brown’s partner was diagnosed with cancer, and Brown shared their struggles on the community Listserv. “When I tell you the community just rallied around us, it was like I had known them all my life,” she said. “When we needed them, they showed up.”

Her neighbors offered emotional support, food and rides, and they held fundraisers to assist the couple. Brown said she couldn’t have gotten through the ordeal without them.

Gary Jones, the BeechTree homeowners association president and a five-year resident, agreed with Brown about fellow community members. “The biggest thing that I found that made the community special is the interaction of the neighbors and the residents,” he said. From the day he moved in, he was invited to neighbors’ homes. Now he and his neighbors get together for birthdays and holidays, and in the evenings for a drink and a cigar, he said.

“We have a diverse mix of ages and occupations here,” Jones said. He likes the networking opportunities among the community’s entrepreneurs, executives and government workers.

But the biggest draw for him was the par-72, 7,230-yard golf course. “We’re a golf community, and it’s a challenging course.”

BeechTree broke ground in 2002 on farmland in Upper Marlboro. Layton Wilson, HOA secretary, said he toured the model homes in 2005 and decided to someday live in the community. “It was absolutely beautiful,” he said.

In November 2021, Wilson got his wish, and he and his husband, two boys and two dogs moved into a five-bedroom Colonial that they then renovated.

Like Brown and Jones, Wilson said he was attracted to the village atmosphere. “Once you pull into the community, it feels like you’re in your own Zip code,” he said. He likes how the green spaces surround the houses. “It’s like living in a pastoral utopia-like experience,” he said.

Wilson, a real estate agent and property manager, moved to BeechTree from Hyattsville, because he and his husband wanted to be in an area with more open space for their children. “When we moved in, within a day or two, I think maybe everyone that lived in the immediate area of our new home came over and introduced themselves,” he said. “It’s a very close-knit community.”

The HOA board and community groups, such as the Men of Beechtree and the Women of Beechtree, sponsor “countless” events, and, “in the summertime, we get a little overwhelmed, but in a good way,” Wilson said. The board puts on a summer concert series, game nights and community get-togethers. The men’s and women’s groups also host fundraisers for student scholarships and charities.

LaKeesha Washington, a real estate agent with Long & Foster in Largo, Md., who sells in the neighborhood, used to live in BeechTree and also appreciated the green space. “I like walking,” she said. “I can walk this neighborhood and get six miles in.”

Potential buyers are drawn to the community for its resort-like features and houses built by luxury builders, such as Mid-Atlantic, which built BeechTree’s Enclave section with larger, estate-size homes, she said. Washington, like Brown, also appreciated the closeness she felt with neighbors when she lived there.

Brown’s partner died last year, but the support network in the neighborhood persists. “Now that I’m widowed, I feel like I’m in a safe community and that my neighbors will always look out for me.”

“I can walk up and down the street at night and not have a fear of anything in the world,” she said.

Living there: In the past year, the average price for a townhouse was $540,000, and the average price for a single-family house was $775,000, Washington said. The lowest price was $500,000 for a townhouse with three bedrooms and four bathrooms. The highest was $1.2 million for a single-family home with six bedrooms and six bathrooms.

HOA fees are $100 a month for single-family homes and $125 a month for townhouses. The fees go toward community events and the maintenance of public areas. Townhouses fees also include snow removal.

Eight homes are on the market, Washington said: five single-family houses and three townhouses. The lowest-priced is a $515,000 townhouse with three bedrooms and four bathrooms. The highest-priced house on the market is a $775,000 single-family residence with four bedrooms and three bathrooms.

Transit: Largo Town Center Metro station is about nine miles from BeechTree. TheBus lines 21 and 53 run to the Largo station from Old Crain Highway at Village Drive West near BeechTree.

Schools: Patuxent Elementary, James Madison Middle, Dr. Henry A. Wise Jr. High.