Eyeing a landscaper clearing brush from around the stumps of decayed trees, Beatriz Soler reflected on life at Winding Orchard, a community of single-family houses just off Randolph Road in Silver Spring, Md.
“I’ve lived here for close to 40 years,” she said. “The traffic never bothered me. They are doing more development. But I came from a city, so I love cities!” added Soler, a native of Bolivia. The home she bought in the 1970s cost just under $100,000. “When I lived in Rockville, I had a rambler. It took you straight into the living room. Here, you have a foyer.”
A few doors up from Soler, Bradley Ralph stood on his front sidewalk, framed by the rich hues of azaleas and rhododendrons. In 1989, he recalled, he and his wife, Gloria, paid $193,500 for their Dutch Colonial; today, he said he thinks he can get $450,000 for it. When compared with Potomac, the surrounding area, he said, has long been a haven for “undervalued” properties.
Ralph’s wife walks the block or so to her teaching job at Glenallan Elementary, while he works at home as a certified public accountant. “I don’t think I lack for anything,” he said.
Constructed in the late 1960s off what was then a dangerously curving, one-lane Randolph Road, Winding Orchard is a compact neighborhood of 11 different models of single-family homes, including Colonials and split-levels.
All houses feature either two-car and single-car garages or carports. A few of the carports are used to store boats. On a recent afternoon, neighbors were washing their vehicles, trimming hedges, reading in chairs on their front lawns and walking dogs down the gently sloping pavement that points directly to Glenallan Elementary and Brookside Gardens.
Winding Orchard lies in the thick of white oak, red oak, dogwoods, red maples and tulip trees, along with spice bushes, noted Glenn Rice, a naturalist at Brookside Nature Center. His colleague, Vivian Henderson, added: “It’s in a weird, in-between area. It’s still technically in the forest area. It’s not dense forestry. . . . There’s not too much city and not too much seclusion. It’s just right.”
Vintage train, butterfly wings: When Manny Hidalgo and his family were searching for a single-family house, they chose Winding Orchard. One of the big draws, he recalled, was the community’s proximity to Brookside Gardens and Brookside Nature Center. Both facilities are folded into the 536-acre Wheaton Regional Park. There are baseball fields, an indoor ice rink and dog park. In nice weather, the shrill of a train whistle pierces the thick woodland that loops around Pine Lake. The train is a replica of an 1863 C.P. Huntington engine train. Riders can also take a spin on a classic Herschell-Spillman carousel. “I take our large [Labrador] retriever to the park every chance I get.”
From now until September, Brookside Gardens is presenting its popular “Wings of Fancy,” a live butterfly and caterpillar exhibit. Meanwhile, Brookside Nature Center offers visitors a weekly program hosted by a naturalist who identifies animals living in the sprawling suburban green space.
You can enter the neighborhood via Garden Gate Road, off Randolph Road, or by using Glenallan Avenue off either Kemp Mill Road or Heurich Road. With utility lines buried underground, old-growth trees extend far into the roadway on either side of the street, nearly touching in midair, giving the sloping terrain a greenhouse-like appearance.
Climbing out of her SUV, Kasia Yongpradit said Winding Orchard is a good fit for her family. “What I love about my neighborhood is people care a lot,” said the 39-year-old mother of three young children. “This is a safe neighborhood. Some people are retirees.”
Sitting in the living room by his nearly 60-year-old Seeburg jukebox, Brian Canning, 61, said Winding Orchard “is quiet and very centrally located. The Inter-County Connector is nor far,” nor is the Beltway, Canning said. He also likes it that Pepco has spent time and money improving reliability in the event of a power outage. “Every time the wind blew,” his wife, Martha, 68, said, “we’d lose power for two days.”
Glenmont Shopping Center, a grab bag of nail salons, dry cleaners and Asian and Hispanic restaurants, went up after World War II. Wheaton Mall is a straight shot south on Georgia Avenue. Beyond that is downtown Silver Spring; Aspen Hill, Rockville and Olney also are within easy reach.
Living there: Winding Orchard is bordered on the north by Randolph Road, on the south by Old Randolph Road, on the west by Heurich Road and on the east by Kemp Mill Road.
In the past 12 months, 10 properties have sold in Winding Orchard, ranging from $385,000 for a three-bedroom, three bath to $495,000 for a single-family, 3,440-square-foot house with five bedrooms and four baths, said Martha Lopez Elkind, an agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties in Bethesda. The average sale price is $442,779, she added.
There is one 2,340-square-foot model on the market for $464,900. The Colonial-style, four-bedroom, three-bath house was recently reduced from $477,900, Lopez Elkind said. Another property, a “traditional single-family home,” measuring 2,340 square feet and featuring four bedrooms and three baths is under contract for $385,000, she added.
Schools: Glenallan Elementary, Colonel E. Brooke Lee, Argyle and A. Mario Loiederman Middle, and John F. Kennedy High.
Transit: The neighborhood is served by Montgomery County Ride On buses and Metrobus. The Glenmont Metro station, part of the Red Line, is near Randolph Road and Georgia Avenue.
Crime: In the last 12 months, the 20902 Zip code, which includes Winding Orchard, reported three aggravated assaults, five residential burglaries and one vehicle theft, according to the data Montgomery County website.