Denny, a real estate agent with Century 21 New Millennium, has lived in Eutaw Forest for 30 years. Her daughter moved into a house down the street. One day, while Denny was out of town visiting her son, torrential rains came through and flooded her daughter’s house.
“I felt horrible because we weren’t here to help her,” Denny said. “She had two little ones.”
But Denny needn’t have worried. Her neighbors banded together.
“It was like 25 or 30 people,” Denny said. “They all came to my daughter’s yard and helped move stuff. I’ll never forget that. I was just amazed.”
When asked why they live in Eutaw Forest, many residents will say convenience. The neighborhood is 40 minutes away from downtown Washington, 30 minutes from Northern Virginia and 25 minutes from National Harbor.
“We’re within 20 minutes of the water if someone has a boat and wants to go out on the Potomac [River],” Denny said.
Because it is near Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling and Joint Base Andrews as well as the Pentagon and the U.S. Naval Ordnance Station in Indian Head, Eutaw Forest attracts military service members and government workers.
Nature lovers point to the abundance of green space and trees. There’s a reason “forest” is in its name.
“There’s really only one section [of the neighborhood] that’s halfway down the hill [where the houses back] up to each other,” said Paige Quillin, who moved to Eutaw Forest in 2006 and became president of the homeowners association two years ago. “Otherwise, pretty much everybody else has a little forest behind their house.”
Katie Shelton is one of the newer residents. She and her husband moved to Eutaw Forest seven years ago. They have three children — a 15-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 7-month-old.
“Around the neighborhood is all woods and there’s creeks and everything,” she said. “People are always going hiking back there and the kids are playing.”
But the reason most residents say they stay in Eutaw Forest is because of how neighborly everyone is.
Jean Keppler, who spent 34 years as an emergency room nurse at Washington Hospital Center, has lived there since 1986.
“It’s a nice neighborhood,” she said. “It’s quiet. Everybody looks out for everybody, and I’ve just loved it.”
The homeowners association fosters a connection between neighbors with events that bring the community together. There’s typically a fall picnic and a holiday house decorating contest. At last year’s end-of-school and welcome-to-summer event, a truck was brought in to provide free ice cream.
For Easter this year, a resident wore an Easter Bunny costume and rode around the neighborhood on the back of a pickup truck.
“She wanted to spread Easter cheer to the kiddos,” Quillin said. “The kids were able to social distance while still seeing the Easter Bunny.”
The residents of Eutaw Forest, a mix of retirees and young families, are taking special care of one another during the pandemic.
“We have a neighborhood Facebook page, [and] people are constantly posting,” Shelton said. “Everybody seems to have really come together for everybody. Somebody will say, ‘I’m running to the grocery store. Who needs what?’ I just don’t think you get that in a lot of places anymore.”
Living there: Eutaw Forest is bounded by Bensville Road/Route 229 to the east, Eutaw Forest Drive to the north, the Mattawoman Creek watershed to the west and Captain Dement Drive to the south. The neighborhood was built in two phases starting in the early 1980s. Most of the houses, which average about 2,200 square feet, are along Eutaw Forest Drive or Captain Dement Drive, both of which end in a cul-de-sac.
“We’re not right on top of each other,” Quillin said. “Everybody has yards that their kids can play in, or they can do gardening. Our houses aren’t cookie-cutter, either. We still have some of what I call the ’80s flair.” She described the lots as having “a lot of grass,” saying it can be “a turnoff” for some people. “We all have to do a lot of yard work.”
The neighborhood takes its name not only from the trees but also the historic home of a Confederate Civil War leader, Capt. William Fendley Dement of the First Maryland Artillery. His 1850 Greek Revival house, known as Eutah, is at one end of Captain Dement Drive. How Eutah became Eutaw is a mystery.
With a shopping mall less than three miles away, Eutaw Forest feels like a suburban neighborhood. But it qualifies for the Agriculture Department’s Rural Development Guaranteed Housing Loan Program, which offers a no-money-down mortgage for first-time home buyers.
Last year, 21 houses sold in Eutaw Forest. The median sale price was $345,000. The most expensive house sold was a four-bedroom, four-bathroom, 2,200-square-foot Cape Cod for $385,000.
There are no houses for sale. Houses last on the market an average of 42 days. Homeowners association fees are $75 yearly.
Schools: William A. Diggs Elementary, Matthew Henson Middle, Maurice J. McDonough and North Point High.
Transit: Eutaw Forest is not near public transit. Maryland commuter buses pick up riders in Waldorf and Accokeek and drop them off in downtown Washington. The nearest major thoroughfares are Indian Head Highway/Route 210 and Route 301.