Where We Live | West Laurel in Prince George’s County, Md.

Newcomers are drawn to the green space, neighborliness and convenient commutes in West Laurel in Prince George’s County, Md. (Bonnie Jo Mount/The Washington Post)

When Barbara Sollner-Webb looked on a map nearly three decades ago at the community of West Laurel in Prince George’s County, Md., the first thing that came to her mind, she said, was how convenient the location was.

Nothing else, she’d determined, really mattered.

With her husband working in the District and Sollner-Webb traveling to a job in Baltimore, she said, West Laurel looked like a good middle ground for the commuting couple.

So they decided to take a visit and Sollner-Webb said she was shocked to discover scenery more reminiscent of “Colorado than Maryland,” she said.

“I was really struck by the irony of it all, where my husband and I could work in large metropolitan areas and then come home and be in a rural setting on a horse farm and let our dog run free,” said Sollner-Webb, who owns three horses on a seven-acre plot.

“Because of the seclusion, when we built our house we never bothered to put up curtains. We’re so far from our neighbors that the only eyes I have to worry about peering in are from Bambi,” she said with a chuckle.

Water sports on the Patuxent: Newcomer Carol Jenkins, who’s lived in West Laurel for three years, said she found the neighborhood by accident, albeit a very “happy accident.”


She had put an offer on a house in Silver Spring, but when the bid fell through, her agent suggested she look at a 2,100-square-foot, five-bedroom, three-bathroom split-level in West Laurel.

“There’s just a peaceful feeling about the neighborhood that’s hard to describe. My house backs up to a wooded area, and that gives you a lot of comfort. You’re not so much surrounded by everybody,” Jenkins said.

She said she was pleased to find that the distance didn’t hamper neighborliness. She recalled moving in three years ago during a snowstorm. As she lugged furniture into her new home from a moving van, her neighbors broke out shovels and began to clear her driveway.


Rob Foy, a real estate agent with Re/Max, said that, in addition to offering residents a tranquil setting and access to neighbors who are more like friends, West Laurel sits just a short drive to nearby shopping centers and restaurants in Columbia and a town center in Laurel.


“West Laurel has a kind of mystique about it,” Foy said. “It’s an established community where it’s not uncommon to see horses and cattle during your drive home.”

Foy said that easy access to nearby interstates is another big draw for potential buyers.

“You’re just a few turns from Interstate 95 and Route 29.”

Melissa Daston, who’s lived in West Laurel for 31 years, said that she purposely scouted the neighborhood in the evenings and was happy to see young children out playing and adults walking their dogs or going for a jog.


The friendliness of the community drew her in and made West Laurel feel like home even before she put a contract on a house, Daston said.

On warm days, she said, neighbors enjoy nonmotorized water sports on the Patuxent River or scouting for wildlife.

“I have these beautiful hundreds-of-years-old oaks in my backyard,” said Daston, who lives in a 2,388-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bathroom, split level-style house.

“We’ve recently seen bald eagles. It’s hard to believe that this exists in the middle of a densely populated area.”

Living there: According to the West Laurel Civic Association, the community is bordered by the Patuxent River to the north, the Laurel city limits to the east, Route 198 to the south and the Prince George’s County line and Riding Stable Road to the west.


In the past 12 months, 45 properties have sold in West Laurel, ranging from a 1,448-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom rambler for $300,000 to a 2,135-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom contemporary-style house for $675,000, said Foy, the real estate agent with Re/Max.

There are nine homes for sale in West Laurel, ranging from a 1,680-square-foot, four-bedroom, three-bathroom Colonial for $349,900 to a 4,316-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom Colonial for $794,999.

Schools: Bond Mill Elementary, Martin Luther King Jr. Middle and Laurel High.

Transit: A bus line serving Route 198, just outside of West Laurel, provides access to nearby rail stations, according to Foy, the real estate agent.

Crime: There have been no violent crimes reported in West Laurel in the past six months, according to Prince George’s County police.