correction: An earlier version of the story incorrectly listed the two closest Metro stations to the neighborhood. They are Friendship Heights and Tenleytown-AU, not Friendship Heights and Bethesda. In addition, the neighborhood boundaries are not clearly defined. The boundaries used in the story are the ones provided by Montgomery Planning.
In 1982, Barbara Boyle Torrey and her husband were living in Westgate, a Bethesda neighborhood just over the District line. Their house didn’t get much direct sunlight, something Barbara knew she needed to feel happy in her home.
During their walks along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath, they discovered Brookmont, a neighborhood two miles away from Westgate. Only one house was for sale at the time, and they bought it.
“It was the only one we looked at because of this wonderful exposure, the canal and the [Potomac] river and the western exposure,” she said. “That was really why we moved here.”
Today, Torrey is still happy to call that sunny Brookmont house her home. She loves the neighborhood so much she co-wrote a book called “Brookmont: A Neighborhood on the Potomac” with Clara Myrick “Tiggy” Green, another longtime resident, in 2008.
“This is a strong multi-generational community that has bonded more over proximity than over philosophy,” Torrey wrote in an email. “The strong divisions in the larger American society are muted when our houses are close together and we see each other every day.”
Brookmont is composed of 204 homes, Carolyn Sappenfield, a real estate agent and owner of Carolyn Homes in Bethesda, wrote in an email. The neighborhood appeals to buyers who seek out homes that are not “cookie-cutter.”
“All the homes were originally built with a very charming cottage or farmhouse feel,” Sappenfield said. “And then, of course, over the years, they’ve been renovated and expanded. You’ll find Cape Cod style, farmhouse, Craftsman and other styles. There’s a pretty decent variety in there.”
She added that the Montgomery County school system and easy access to the District are also draws.
Brookmont’s proximity to the Potomac River and the C&O Canal make it a great place for outdoor enthusiasts.
Michael Corcoran, a slalom canoeist who represented Ireland in the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics, moved to Brookmont from Ireland to train with members of the U.S. team in 1988. He was 23 at the time and rented a room in a Brookmont home with four other paddlers in the neighborhood.
“In Dublin, I had to ride a bicycle seven miles to the river, but here I could just walk down and in 10 minutes I was on the white water,” he said. “It was convenience. That was another thing. It was so easy to go train.”
He then went off to Northwestern University but moved back to Brookmont in 2003 to start Medical Center Orthotics and Prosthetics.
While Corcoran considers Ireland home, he calls Brookmont his home away from home.
“It’s a fantastic neighborhood,” he said. “The proximity to the Potomac River and the Feeder Canal is what makes it really special. It’s the only neighborhood along the Potomac that you can actually walk down to the C&O Canal safely across a bridge or across the parkway.”
Corcoran said there’s still a contingent of paddlers in the neighborhood, some of whom are on the U.S. national junior team, including his twin daughters and neighbors’ son.
“Competitive canoeing has been part of Brookmont for half a century, essentially,” he said.
Jody Bolz, a nationally acclaimed poet and former creative writing professor at George Washington University, moved to Brookmont 34 years ago, two weeks shy of giving birth to her eldest son, Eli.
“I think the fact that it has this lost-in-time village feeling attracts a certain kind of householder,” she said. “And there’s so much green space around it. . . . There’s just all this open country, even though you’re very close to downtown.”
Bolz, a block captain in the neighborhood, said an online bulletin board lets neighbors know about community events at Brookmont Church, the nondenominational church near the neighborhood. Some of the community events include the Wednesday afternoon market on the Village Green, holiday gatherings for the Fourth of July, Halloween, Earth Day tree planting, yard sales, Brookmont Arts Alliance meetings, occasional readings and talks and Brookmont Civic League meetings.
Living there: Brookmont is roughly bounded to the north by Goldsboro Road, to the east by Massachusetts Avenue, Sangamore Road and MacArthur Boulevard, and to the west and south by the Clara Barton Parkway, according to Montgomery Planning.
Six properties in Brookmont sold in 2018, Sappenfield said. The average price was just under $1.3 million. The lowest-priced house was a four-bedroom, four-bathroom property for $950,000. The highest-priced home, which had seven bedrooms and eight bathrooms, sold for just under $1.8 million.
This year, one home is on the market and one has been sold. The active listing is a six-bedroom, three-bath Craftsman-style home for $1.475 million. The home that sold is a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath Craftsman home that went for $1.1 million.
Schools: Wood Acres Elementary, Walt Whitman High, Bannockburn Elementary, Westland Middle, Westbrook Elementary, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High.
Transportation: The closest Metro stations are Friendship Heights and Tenleytown-AU, which are about four miles away. Two Ride-On bus routes, 23 and 29, serve the neighborhood. The Capital Crescent Trail, a shared-use rail trail, runs through the neighborhood to Georgetown. The Clara Barton Parkway and Massachusetts Avenue are the nearest thoroughfares.
Crime: There was one reported incident of assault and one of arson in 2018, according to the Montgomery County Police Department.