Alley Miller grew up in Rockshire, moving to the Rockville neighborhood with her mother when she was 11 years old.
She returned to Rockshire from Montgomery Village when her own daughter, who’s now grown, was in second grade. She sought many of the same traits she recalled from her own childhood: good schools, lots of parks, trails and green space for kids to play.
“Everyone comes here for the schools, and that was a big part of why I came back, too,” said Miller, an executive assistant now in her 40s who returned to Rockshire in 1998. “You’ll actually find a lot of neighbors who have been here since the beginning, and a lot of kids who grew up here who have come back. People will say, ‘I remember when you lived over there with your parents.’ That’s Rockshire.”
Rockshire’s roughly 750 houses and townhomes were built in the 1970s on former farmland once owned by Thomas S. Wootton, according to a brief history of the neighborhood compiled by the Rockshire Homeowners Association’s board of directors. The neighborhood snakes around Wootton’s Mill Park and is accessed via Falls Road, Hurley Avenue, Watts Branch Parkway, Darnestown Road and Wootton Parkway.
The houses are mostly 1970s-style split-levels, along with some Colonials, said Rowena DeLeon of W.C. and A.N. Miller, who has lived in the neighborhood for 12 years.
“The homes here aren’t huge, but it’s a good price point for a single-family home in this school district,” DeLeon said. “And if you can’t afford a single-family home here, there are townhomes from the low $400s that give you the same benefits.”
Strong relationships: DeLeon said she moved to Rockshire when her son was 5 and he quickly made friends with several elementary-school classmates who lived in the neighborhood.
This year, those same families celebrated their kids’ high school graduation, DeLeon said.
“Some of the kids have grown apart and others have grown closer, but for 20 families and kids to celebrate 12 years of school together is pretty special,” DeLeon said.
Amenities such as a community pool and its swim team, the Rockshire Sharks, help create that bond, DeLeon said.
“Between swim meets and special events at the pool, families really do come together at the pool all summer long,” DeLeon said.
Miller said the Rockshire of her childhood was teeming with young kids but the neighborhood has changed as its original residents have become empty-nesters.
“I look at Rockshire as an aging community,” Miller said. “If you think you’re going to move into a starter townhouse and be surrounded by other families with small kids, that’s just not the case. That might be a pitfall or drawback for some people.”
The upside, though, is that the residents who have stayed put underscore the tightknit nature of the neighborhood, Miller said.
“These are people’s homes — it’s not just a place people live for X amount of time and then move on,” Miller said. “I like that about this community.”
Greenspace: In addition to the 106-acre Wootton’s Mill Park, which includes athletic courts, a walking trail, a forest preserve and a community garden, Rockshire is also close to the smaller Glenora Park and the 10.6-mile Carl Henn Millennium Trail.
“There’s a ton of green space here, and that’s a huge advantage for the community,” Miller said. “My townhouse backs up to the park, so there will never be anything behind my house except for open fields and acres of trees. That’s a big bonus.”
Boris Langer, 41, a sales engineer for a software company, said the tree-lined streets and well-kept yards helped attract his family to the neighborhood.
“The first time we looked at our home, there were tons of flowering trees growing everywhere and there were people out and about, taking care of their properties,” said Langer, now a board member for the homeowners association. “It just seemed like it would be a nice place to live, to raise kids and to go on walks as a family.”
Living there: Fourteen townhouses have sold in the past year, at prices ranging from $320,000 to $535,000, according to DeLeon. Nine single-family houses have sold, from a small split-level for from $591,000 to a 2,500-square-foot dwelling backing up to Lakewood Country Club for $780,000. Three houses are on the market, priced from $575,000 to $679,000, and one townhouse, priced at $485,000. Two townhouses are under contract, for $485,000 and $545,900.
DeLeon said there’s not much turnover in Rockshire — when residents move, it’s often because they’re leaving the region.
Miller said houses frequently change hands before they’re even for sale.
“My neighbor across the street had a yard sale, and a woman came to the yard sale and offered to buy her house,” Miller said. “The house wasn’t on the market, and it was a yard sale, not a moving sale.”
“If you want to live in Rockshire, you don’t have the luxury of looking at other homes and shopping around,” Miller said. “You can’t sleep on a decision to live here.”
Schools: Lakewood and Fallsmead Elementary, Robert Frost Middle and Thomas S. Wootton High. [Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story omitted Fallsmead Elementary.]
Transit: Montgomery County’s Ride On bus service connects to the Rockville station on Metro’s Red Line.
Crime: According to Rockville police, the only significant crime in Rockshire this year was a residential burglary.
Amy Reinink is a freelance writer.