Housing is known to be “very eclectic,” said Susan Shipp, president of the Cabin John Citizens Association. Shipp and her husband moved to Cabin John in 2001. (Justin T. Gellerson/For The Washington Post)

If you want to live in a neighborhood where, arguably, no two houses are alike, Cabin John, Md., in Montgomery County might be worth checking out.

Situated near the Potomac River, Cabin John attracts a spectrum of people, including artists, musicians, architects and others. Cabin John has a vibe all its own.

Those who know and love the community — whether newcomers or longtime residents — enjoy its low-key atmosphere, proximity to the District, the C&O Canal and outdoor recreational attractions.

In September, neighbors and friends gathered for the Chicken and Crab Feast — and this year plans were in place to have enough food for 500 neighbors and guests. It’s been a tradition in the neighborhood since 1970.

It takes place outdoors at the Clara Barton Community Center, a Montgomery County neighborhood recreation center at 7425 MacArthur Blvd. A variety of classes and other activities are also held there.

Other association events include the annual canoe trip, which has been going on for the past 13 years. Cabin Johners, as residents call themselves, head to the Potomac, typically in mid-July, for a day-long expedition. As many as 60 participants launch canoes or kayaks and look forward to a mystery dessert from the association along the way.


History abounds: Stop at the U.S. Post Office on MacArthur Boulevard (Zip code 20818), and you'll learn about Cabin John's history by reading the information displayed there.

“We take our history very seriously here,” said Susan Shipp, president of the Cabin John Citizens Association, established in 1919. Shipp moved to Cabin John in July 2001 with her husband, Jeff, when she was pregnant.

Their daughter, Jackie, was born a month after they moved in, and Shipp, who worked as a journalist until 2009, became involved in the citizens association, among other activities in the neighborhood.

“The community likes the country feel,” she said. “You cross the bridge and you’re in another place.”

Known as the “one-lane bridge,” the Union Arch Bridge is a vehicle-stopping phenomenon with a traffic light at either end as the road narrows from two lanes to one. It is also known as the Cabin John Bridge.

According to history panels near the bridge, in the mid-19th century, Georgetown and Washington “lacked a plentiful and reliable source of safe drinking water and adequate water for fighting fires.”

In 1851, Congress commissioned studies to solve the problem. The plan for the Washington Aqueduct was born, credited to Lt. Montgomery C. Meigs, a U.S. Army engineer who ultimately became a general. Twelve years later, the completed project brought about 100 million gallons of water each day to the nation’s capital. The Cabin John Aqueduct is a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark; the American Water Works Association also named it an American Water Landmark.

The bridge separates the Town of Glen Echo and Cabin John, both in Montgomery County, and, for some, it represents the gateway to their special piece of the world.

Eclectic housing: Jordan Creed, 29, walking with her 10-month-old daughter and Rhodesian ridgeback along MacArthur Boulevard toward the farmers market at Glen Echo, said she and her husband had longed to live in the area.

Having lived in Arlington, Silver Spring and, most recently, Kensington, they used to park their car along MacArthur Boulevard and explore the area near the bridge. Avid hikers, they discovered the Cabin John Trail, and they ultimately moved to Cabin John in January.

The closest shopping for the neighborhood is MacArthur Plaza at 7945 MacArthur Boulevard. It includes the Bethesda Co-Op, a natural food store, along with three restaurants and a market where $3 muffins are among the selections. Otherwise, residents venture farther.

Housing is known to be “very eclectic,” Shipp said. Increasingly, smaller original homes have been torn down and replaced with larger ones.

“It’s been a lot of change,” she said. Streets tend to be winding, and many stem off either side of MacArthur Boulevard.

Cabin John residents have access to the Palisades Swim & Tennis Club on certain days at certain times.


The closest shopping for the neighborhood is MacArthur Plaza, which includes the Bethesda Co-Op, a natural food store, along with three restaurants. (Justin T. Gellerson/For The Washington Post)

Living there: Cabin John is roughly bordered by Interstate 495 on the north; Tomlinson Avenue, Endicott Court, Persimmon Tree Road and MacArthur Boulevard on the west; the Clara Barton Parkway on the south; and Cabin John Parkway on the east.

According to Eleanor Balaban, an agent with Long & Foster, 21 residential properties sold in the neighborhood, ranging from a two-bedroom, one-bath rambler in Cabin John Gardens for $463,000 to a five-bedroom, seven-bath French country-style home for $2.495 million. There are six properties on the market, ranging from a four-bedroom, four-bath contemporary home for $799,000 to a four-bedroom, four-bath traditional home for $1.385 million.

Transit: Cabin John is a car-oriented community. Still, the No. 32 Montgomery County Ride-On bus runs between the Bethesda Metro station and the Carderock Division of the Naval Surface Warfare Center during morning and evening rush hours. The No. 29 Montgomery Ride-On bus also runs between the Friendship Heights Metro station and the Bethesda Metro station, stopping in Glen Echo on MacArthur Boulevard.

Schools: Bannockburn Elementary, Pyle Middle and Whitman High.

Crime: According to the LexisNexis Community Crime map, in the past year there were two burglaries reported in the neighborhood.