The neighborhood reminded his wife, Karen, a corporate compliance officer, of growing up in Westchester County, N.Y. Sold on the charm, space and location, the couple moved with their daughter, Rose, eight years ago to this upscale enclave of 262 houses with minimum lot sizes of two acres, wildlife included.
“We thought about how wonderful the deer were, until we realized they ate everything that’s green, so it wasn’t quite as exciting as we first thought,” Moore said.
The neighborhood was established in 1960 by W.C. & A.N. Miller Development, builder of many neighborhoods in Washington and its suburbs. It comprises 800 woodsy acres and is set behind white brick entrances along Falls Road. It is nestled along Great Falls Park, and the falls themselves are within walking distance of the neighborhood.
Moore, the unofficial neighborhood historian, notes that the area was home to a number of gold mines in the early part of the 20th century. Some of the old mining buildings are still visible in trails in Great Falls Park, and the oldest house in Potomac Falls, built in the late 1800s, was known as the assayer’s office.
Residents highlight the tranquility, the friendliness of their neighbors and the spaciousness that allows them breathing room, especially in the pandemic era. “You can be as involved as you want with your neighbors, and keep to yourself if you want,” said Fariba Tashayyod, a resident of 15 years. Tashayyod, a painter, moved to Potomac Falls with her husband, Davood, who works in the biomedical industry and two sons who are now grown. They were looking for good public schools and access to Washington. “I’ve met some wonderful people here,” she said. “What I love about it is, regardless of political differences, we all get along great. When we meet, we put our politics aside.”
Diverse cultures: Jennifer Hirshon, president of the Potomac Falls Homeowners Association, describes the neighborhood as one of “understated elegance,” with residents from different backgrounds and cultures. The association, with voluntary membership costing $750 per year, maintains the white brick entrances and landscaping in common areas, employs a private security firm and organizes social events (during normal times) such as a neighborhood Labor Day picnic and Halloween party. This year, the group got creative with a back-to-school drive-through event with doughnuts and coffee.
“It’s a dream to live here,” said Hirshon, who works for a boutique consulting firm in Washington. Her parents moved to the neighborhood in 1988, just before she entered college. She and her husband and two sons, now grown, moved back permanently eight years ago to live with her mother after her father died. “I know that sounds hokey, but it’s true. If you drive around, people out walking will always wave. It’s a friendly place.”
Living there: The borders of Potomac Falls are Falls Road to the southeast, River Road to the north, MacArthur Boulevard to the south and southwest and Great Falls Park to the west. Most homes are traditional brick with siding. The majority of homes were built in the 1960s and ’70s, with some in the ’80s. Tennis courts are often glimpsed on the neighborhood’s winding streets. The large lot sizes lend themselves to a variety of siting options, with some houses featuring smaller front yards and expansive backyards, while some have wide front porches and sloping front lawns.
Year to date, there have been 13 home sales, with an average price of $2.019 million, said Kari Wilner, a real estate agent with Washington Fine Properties. The lowest sale price was $900,000 for a six-bedroom, eight-bathroom house built in 1964. The highest sale price was $4.25 million for a six-bedroom, eight-bathroom house built in 2013. There are two listings in the neighborhood, a $3.495 million house with five bedrooms and eight bathrooms, built in 1966, and a $6.3 million listing of two homes being sold as one, a main house of four bedrooms and six bathrooms built in 1978 and a guesthouse with three bedrooms and three bathrooms built in 1977.
Public schools: Potomac Elementary, Herbert Hoover Middle, Winston Churchill High.
Transit: The nearest Metro stops are Friendship Heights and Bethesda on the Red Line, about a 20-minute drive from the neighborhood. The nearest MARC station is at Rockville, also a 20-minute drive. Metro bus transit is available on the T2 route along River Road and Falls Road.