When Cory Upmeyer was transferred from Chicago to Bethesda for work, he and his wife looked at a dozen neighborhoods from Bethesda to Rockville.
Their criteria were simple: They wanted a family-friendly planned community in an excellent school district.
They moved into a rental house in the Potomac neighborhood of Potomac Glen in July. They said the Winston Churchill school district met their goals for their kids, ages 10 and 13, and said Potomac Glen offered lots of other benefits for young families like theirs, such as a tennis court, swimming pool, basketball court and playground.
“It was the excellent schools — that’s the bottom line,” said Upmeyer, 45, a contracting officer representative working in environmental-quality research for the Navy. “My kids love being outside, and it’s just totally ideal for them to be able to run around the neighborhood and play.”
For active kids: Like Upmeyer, Shashi Bellamkonda said he had his eye on the Churchill school district when he and his wife were searching for a home in 2002. They were happy to find a townhouse they could afford in Potomac Glen.
“You’ll find a lot of large mansions within this school district, but not a lot of townhouses,” Bellamkonda said. “It’s great for people who want to get into the school district but can’t afford a mansion.”
Bellamkonda and his wife liked the neighborhood so much, they bought a house in the same community last year rather than move elsewhere when they outgrew their townhouse.
Sanjay Jain, 44, a doctor and author, moved to Potomac Glen five years ago. He has two young boys, and he said the schools made the neighborhood “a no-brainer” for his family.
Jain said he also liked the fact that his sons, who both attend Wayside Elementary School, had easy access to playgrounds, athletic fields, a pool and other amenities.
“My boys are really thriving and active during the summer, and that’s really nice,” Jain said.
Bellamkonda said the pool serves as a gathering spot for the whole neighborhood.
“It’s where the community comes together,” he said. “The swim team is great for the kids. On July 4th, we have a small social gathering at the swimming pool. It’s a great way to meet people.”
Greenery and walkways: Jain said the neighborhood’s ample sidewalks make it extremely walkable, and he has met many of his neighbors while strolling along the tree-lined streets.
Bellamkonda said he frequently walks to the Giant Food store and restaurants in Traville Village Center about a mile away.
“The walkways are kind of the best-kept secret within the neighborhood,” Bellamkonda said. “You just feel really good walking around the community, with all the trees, greenery and well-laid-out roads.”
Upmeyer said the neighborhood’s diversity is another plus.
“From what I can tell, we’re kind of the minority, which is nice,” Upmeyer said. “My daughter’s best friends are Chinese. There are also several Korean and Vietnamese families, as well as Indian families. It’s really neat to know my kids will be friends with children from a diversity of cultures.”
There is less diversity in terms of age, with young families dominating.
“You don’t see a lot of young professionals, and you don’t see too many older people,” Jain said. “Once the kids go to college, houses go up for sale.”
“Like new” houses: Potomac Glen includes 412 detached houses and 257 townhouses, which are sprinkled throughout the neighborhood. Most of Potomac Glen was built 15 to 20 years ago, and Betsy Schuman Dodek, a real estate agent at Washington Fine Properties, said the “like new” houses are a draw for buyers.
“It’s probably one of the youngest neighborhoods in Potomac, so the houses have a lot of modern features people are looking for,” Schuman Dodek said. “There are open floor plans, hardwood floors and higher ceilings.”
Many of the houses — mostly traditional architecture, with brick or stone exteriors — have four or five bedrooms, and some also have finished basements, she said.
Jain said he likes the neighborhood’s unified appearance. He said that while the houses aren’t cookie-cutter, they do have a coherent design.
“There’s a consistency that’s really nice,” he said. “You can tell it was a planned community, and I like that. The houses are varied in terms of layout, but there aren’t tear-downs or other houses that don’t fit with the rest of the neighborhood.”
Living there: Potomac Glen is bordered roughly by Piney Meetinghouse Road to the west, Cavanaugh Drive to the north, the Piney Branch stream and Piney Knoll Lane to the east, and Boswell Lane to the south.
In the past 12 months, 25 homes sold in Potomac Glen, at prices ranging from $475,000 for a four-bedroom townhouse to $1.279 million for a four-bedroom Colonial, according to Schuman Dodek. One house is under contract, a 7,300-square-foot four-bedroom Colonial on a lot of a third of an acre, priced at $1.297 million.
Eight homes are on the market, from a three-bedroom townhouse priced at $494,000 to a 4,800-square-foot four-bedroom Colonial priced at $1.095 million.
Schools: Wayside Elementary, Herbert Hoover Middle and Winston Churchill High.
Transit: The Shady Grove and Rockville stations on Metro’s Red Line are each a roughly 15-minute drive away.
Potomac Glen offers easy access to several commuter roads, including the Capital Beltway and the Intercounty Connector.
Still, driving to and from the District during rush hour can be difficult with traffic, residents said.
“Getting from 270 to 495 can be a bear in the morning,” Jain said. “It’s challenging. My commute is flexible, so I just have to be mindful of when I leave and which routes I take depending on the time of day.”
Crime: There have been no homicides or assaults in Potomac Glen in the past 12 months, and very few incidents of robbery or residential burglary, according to the Montgomery County police, who could not provide specific numbers.
Amy Reinink is a freelance writer.