It was the Sunday of Labor Day weekend when neighbors from Potomac Woods gathered at Potomac Woods Park to visit with family and friends and eat hot dogs and hamburgers, pasta salad, cookies, cakes and pies. And there was beer and popcorn.
It's a once-a-year event, and this particular picnic drew more than 100 men, women, teenagers and children as temperatures hovered around 80 degrees. The deep green of summer in Maryland persisted.
Marianne Roth and her 5-year-old twins, carrying orange shaved-ice cones, strolled down the path to the park.
"Everyone here is so friendly and warm," she said, describing the neighborhood where she has lived since 2011. Her husband, now deceased, had lived in this neighborhood as a child and wanted to move back to it.
Mike Falk, who served on the Potomac Woods Citizens Association's board for 13 years, described his decision to move to Potomac Woods in 1994.
"We were living in Kensington, and I was working at Bethesda Naval Hospital and didn't want to commute late at night," Falk, 69, said. He wanted to be closer to work. "I interviewed people up and down the street, and they really cared about the neighborhood."
He and his wife, Taury Silver, raised two children — now 26 and 23 — in Potomac Woods. A science consultant, he still finds the neighborhood appealing. "It's a nice mix," he said.
Children playing outdoors, dogs walking: Young families, empty-nesters, families with teenagers and people who have moved to the area from overseas live in the 416 houses that constitute Potomac Woods. It is in the city of Rockville, Md., in Montgomery County, between Falls and Seven Locks roads.
Susanne and Thomas Seibert, who are both journalists from Germany, were drawn to Potomac Woods for the schools, and their daughter is now a senior at Richard Montgomery High. They didn't want her to attend a private school.
Leslie Cronkhite, 50, said she enjoys seeing children outside playing, people walking their dogs at night and speaking with one another, all part of the appeal of Potomac Woods. "We looked for a house for three years," she said. "We scoured the county. When we saw this neighborhood, we fell in love with it." She has two children of her own and works at the Environmental Protection Agency.
Donna Rae Smith, who is secretary of the homeowners association, said she enjoys the tranquility of the neighborhood. "I like that it's quiet and that's it's accessible to a lot of things," she said. A retired music teacher, she teaches piano and voice.
Potomac Woods is adjacent to Potomac Woods Park — a 42-acre city green space at 2276 Dunster Lane where picnic tables, a baseball/softball field, basketball and tennis courts, bleachers, and a gazebo are among the features.
Twenty-acre Falls Road Park, 12600 Falls Rd., on the west side of Falls Road across from Potomac Woods, provides more nearby green space. It was acquired by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission in 1986.
There are two swim clubs nearby: Potomac Woods Swim Club at 1520 Dunster Rd., a community, nonprofit club with no geographical boundary limitations for membership; and Montgomery Square Copenhaver Swim Club, 12300 Falls Rd., a membership community club.
Three shopping centers are within a few minutes' drive of Potomac Woods, including Potomac Woods Plaza at Fortune Terrace, the shops and restaurants at Park Potomac, and the Cabin John Shopping Center at 11325 Seven Locks Rd.
Living there: Potomac Woods is roughly bounded by Falls Road and Stratton Drive to the west; Wootton Parkway to the northeast; Lancashire Drive, Stratton Drive and Dunster Lane to the east; and Derbyshire and Kimblewick roads to the south.
According to Steve Schuck, an agent with Long and Foster Real Estate, 16 homes have been sold in the past 12 months, based on Bright MLS data. They range from a four-bedroom split-level built in 1966 for $580,000, to a four-bedroom, four-bath Colonial with a pool, built in 1970, for $855,000. There are two houses on the market — a five-bedroom, four-bath Colonial built in 1972 and listed for $719,919, and a five-bedroom, four-bath split-level built in 1965 listed for $829,000.
Schools: Ritchie Park Elementary, Julius West Middle, Richard Montgomery High.
Transit: Primarily a car-oriented suburban community, Potomac Woods can be reached by the T2 Metro (weekdays) or the Montgomery County Ride On bus (weekends) that runs along Falls Road. It runs between the Friendship Heights Station and the Rockville Station on Metro's Red Line.
Crime: In the past year, there was no crime reported in this neighborhood, according to the Lexis Nexis Community Crime Map.