Deale, Md., is a bedroom community to Washington and Annapolis but stands apart from them in a lovely way. “It’s a little, sleepy, laid-back former fishing village,” said George G. Heine Jr. who started coming as a 5-year-old in 1949.
Deale is at the eastern edge of Anne Arundel County on the Chesapeake Bay, about 35 miles east of the District. It’s a peninsula-like land mass crenulated with many inlets from Rockhold Creek, Herring Bay and the Chesapeake.
All those inlets mean abundant waterfront properties, marinas for boats, overlooks for restaurants, bridges to peer over, piers to fish from, great views and abundant phragmites, a tall grass in wetlands and along shorelines.
As a child, Heine lived on Georgia Avenue in the District with his mother, Bertie Schwartz, and his stepfather, Max Schwartz, who started Schwartz Realty. They went to Deale for the summer and eventually moved there permanently.
“When I was a kid the first thing we did in the morning was run down to the pier and jump off. The water was clear,” said Heine, a broker with Schwartz Realty. “You could look down three to four feet and see crabs. I grabbed them and sold a dozen for a dollar. I caught three, four, five dozen a day. When I was a senior in high school I bought a ’59 Chevy Impala for $1,700 in cash with my crab money and I still had some left over.”
“Today you can still crab, but it’s not the same. Every weekend people are out with trotlines. They usually get a bushel a day,” he said.
Ray Mudd moved to Deale in 1965. “My parents bought a liquor store in town, and that’s what got me here,” he said. “I went to the local high school, and now my grandkids go there.”
“You come here and you’re away from all the stress going on in the world,” said Hamilton Chaney, operator of Herrington Harbour North Marina Resort and Yacht Center.
“You take off your work clothes, put on flip flops and a bathing suit, and enjoy fishing, boating and being by the water,” he said. “It’s relaxing, rejuvenating and safe.”
A slower pace: Deale is an unincorporated town in Anne Arundel County. It has many communities, including Mason’s Beach, Owings Beach, Drum Point, Tyler Point and Mimosa Cove. Waterfront neighborhoods offer water-access privileges to residents. Public water access is owned by the county and typically means walking out on a pier. You can’t dock your boat at public piers.
Houses are modest ranchers and two-story homes. New and refurbished homes mix with older homes. There are pockets of small developments with a few large houses.
“You can get a decent, nice house in a water-privilege community [not on the waterfront] for $275,000 to $300,000,” said Mudd, an agent with Schwartz Realty. “Waterfront properties can run from $400,000 to $2,000,000.”
A few lots are for sale in the range of $40,000 to $60,000 for 5,000 to 7,500 square feet, said Heine.
Its slower pace is one of Deale’s attractions. “There’s not the hustle and bustle like the city. That’s the way we like it. Makes you live longer,” said Mudd.
The 67th annual Firemen’s Carnival, sponsored by Deale Volunteer Fire Department Station No. 42, began Tuesday and runs through Saturday. The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Deale Circle and will end at the firehouse on Drum Point Road, said Mudd, the carnival chairman.
What’s nearby: The community’s library is bright and has a children’s section with tot-sized table, chairs and toys.
“There are no malls, and you don’t have big stores in your backyard,” said Heine. Christopher’s Fine Foods, two miles away, is where everyone does daily grocery shopping. Annapolis is a 25-minute drive north.
Stores include A Vintage Deale, Copper Bowl Spa & Holistic Studio, Deale Hardware & Home Center, Deale Pharmacy, Rockhold Creek Trading, Second Wind Consignments, Tri-State Marine and Tri-State Marine Tackle Shop.
Restaurants include South County Café, Deale Umai Sushi Shop, Happy Harbor Restaurant, Skipper’s Pier Restaurant & Dock Bar, Petie Greens Bar and Grill and Dockside Restaurant & Sports Bar, a bridge away from Deale proper.
Living there: Deale, Zip code 20751, is roughly bounded by Bay Front Road/Route 258 on the north, Deale Beach Road, Carrs Creek and Chesapeake Bay on the east, Herring Bay on the south and Tracys Creek west to Rockhold Creek Road on the west.
“Prices are reasonable, especially for first-time buyers and those who want to live close to the District and commute,” said Heine.
Heine said 36 single-family houses are for sale, ranging from a one-bedroom, one-bathroom home for $279,000 to a five-bedroom, four-bathroom waterfront property for $1,349,000.
Twelve single-family houses are under contract, ranging from a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home for $150,000 to a five-bedroom, four-bathroom waterfront property for $700,000.
In the past year, 41 single-family homes sold, ranging from a three-bedroom, one-bathroom home for $89,900 to a six-bedroom, five-bath waterfront home for $825,000.
Schools: Deale Elementary, Southern Middle, Southern High.
Transit: The District line and the Branch Avenue Metro station on the Green Line are a 30-minute drive from Deale. Maryland Route 258 runs into town and joins Deale Churchton Road/Maryland Route 256, also running through town. Weekend water taxi service operates from slip to slip and restaurant to restaurant.
Crime: According to Anne Arundel County Police Central Records, there were 16 thefts and 25 assaults in the past year.