About a 15-minute drive from downtown Silver Spring is a neighborhood rich in history and wildlife. Its pastoral setting belies its metropolitan location. Residents of Quaint Acres are hard pressed to find a negative thing to say about their wooded paradise in Montgomery County.
“To me, Quaint Acres is an oasis of calm, a hidden gem with a country feel, yet it is close to everything,” says Abigail Tamakloe, a 58-year-old staff relations counselor at the World Bank. “Some refer to it as the best-kept secret in Montgomery County. I always look forward to coming home after a hectic day.”
After driving along heavily trafficked 16th Street, Colesville Road and New Hampshire Avenue from her job in the District, Tamakloe undergoes a transformation as soon as she reaches Quaint Acres.
“When I turn into the neighborhood, the sudden change in landscape, the manicured lawns and country feel suddenly give me a sense of calmness, and that’s a great feeling,” she says.
Tamakloe has lived in Quaint Acres with her husband and three children for almost 17 years. She recalls how much her now college-age children loved walking along the stream at the back of their house when they were younger and wondering at the nature at their fingertips. She sometimes drives through the neighborhood just to admire the landscape.
Another resident, Karen Riley, also values her access to nature. Her house is nestled in the woods overlooking the Northwest Branch Trail, where she often walks. She has a screened back porch for the days when she prefers watching the scenery as opposed to being a part of it.
“We drink coffee there every morning and watch the birds at our feeders and try to spot deer, fox, and other critters. Just this morning two young spotted fawns came crashing through the woods and across my backyard, running with sheer abandon,” Riley says.
Many of the residents know each other, thanks to an active neighborhood online discussion group and civic association. The email group helps connect neighbors and foster a shared desire for a better neighborhood.
“Whether it’s a neighbor looking to give away theater tickets, or someone looking for an extra car seat for a visiting relative or just alerting the neighbors of a blackout somewhere in the area, an alert is triggered, and within an instant, there is a response. That is wonderful,” Tamakloe says.
The civic association meets twice a year and every summer, the association gets everyone together for a picnic at a neighbor’s home. There is Christmas caroling every winter, organized by one of the residents. There’s also a neighborhood bridge club and a book club.
Despite the camaraderie between residents, there’s a sense of privacy. All but two of the 156 single-family homes are on one-acre lots, and many plots are larger. Despite the spacious, secluded properties, there aren’t any mansions. Most homes are ramblers and Cape Cods built in the 1950s. Lorin Culver is a real estate agent living in Quaint Acres. He says when people buy a home here, it’s for the long haul.
“The vast majority of residents tend to remain in Quaint Acres,” he said. “Once folks move in, they rarely move out.”
Residents are proud of their tiny neighborhood’s history. Rachel Carson, an early pioneer of the environmental movement, lived in Quaint Acres until she died in 1964. It’s where she wrote “Silent Spring.” The book, which called for banning the widely used insecticide DDT, was selected as one of the 25 greatest science books of all time by Discover magazine. Her house on Berwick Road is a historic landmark. Margaret Chase Smith was another important woman who lived in Quaint Acres. The first woman to serve in both houses of Congress, Smith was also the first woman to represent Maine in the House and Senate.
Living there: Quaint Acres is bounded by Milestone Drive and Apple Grove Road to the south, Quaint Acres Drive to the north and New Hampshire Avenue to the east. It extends to the Northwest Branch Trail on the west.
In the past year, seven houses sold in Quaint Acres, ranging from a three-bedroom, two-bathroom rambler for $483,000 to a five-bedroom, five-bathroom mid-century modern house that sold for $660,000. There are no current listings and no homes under contract.
The Bagelry is a popular bagel shop at Randolph Road and New Hampshire Avenue, while the nearby Noodle King serves up Hong Kong specialties. Two nearby farms serve the neighborhood. Heyser’s Farm is about a 10-minute drive away. It has Trickling Springs milk and ice cream, peaches, baked goods and fresh produce. J.R. Wright & Sons is a five-minute drive away and sells flowers, plants and Christmas trees.
Transit: Metrobuses run to the Silver Spring Metro Station on the Red Line. The Silver Spring Metro station is about five miles away. New Hampshire Avenue is a major artery leading to the Beltway and downtown Silver Spring. There are no bike lanes and most residents have cars.
Schools: Burnt Mills Elementary, Kemp Mill Elementary, White Oak Middle, Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle, and Springbrook High.
Crime: According to crimereports.com, there have been no crimes in Quaint Acres in the past year.