Worland is a tight-knit community in Potomac, Md., that is centered around children.
“We have a big, huge hill to slide down, and all the kids gather there,” said Arya Gupta, 7. “There’s a passageway from school” — the elementary, middle and high schools are all within walking distance — “to run down the hill to your house or just for fun. And my best friend lives across the next court.”
Several cul-de-sac courtyards, each circled by about 18 large single-family homes attached via their garages, are connected by meandering trails that beckon to the children. “I love that they can bike and run all around,” said Arya’s father, Shiv Gupta, who has another daughter, Anika, 11.
He and his wife, Tanu, moved into their newly purchased home in July after renting for two years. “We had no restrictions on where to live and chose to stay here,” said Tanu Gupta. “This is where I want to retire.”
Sabina Broadhead has lived in Worland for five years with her husband, Francis Freisinger, and their children, Leah, 10, and Julian, 8. “There are so many kids here,” she said. “They knock at the door. They play at someone’s house, and I can see them from my window. They play outside the old-fashioned way.”
“It’s like a village. Everyone knows everyone else’s kids and watches out for them,” Freisinger said.
“We know basically everybody in our court, and that gives me a sense of security,” Broadhead said. “If anyone needs help, I give it; if we need help, I get it. It really is like living in a village, and the design of Worland encourages that.”
Federal Williamsburg style: The community is framed by mature pines and hardwood trees. It is bounded by Democracy Lane on the east, Democracy Boulevard on the south, Gainsborough Road on the west and another subdivision on the north between Gainsborough Road and Democracy Lane. Large painted wooden signs point down the driveways into the courtyards. The courtyards are built in a slight depression of the landscape, which enhances the sense of privacy and and quiet.
Washington architect Wilfrid V. Worland designed the community in the early 1970s. His eponymous apartments at 2828 Wisconsin Ave. NW are among the notable buildings in “Best Addresses” by James M. Goode (1988).
“What’s unusual is that the houses are theoretically townhouses, so you have the psychology of a community where everyone lives next to each other, but they’re staggered,” Freisinger said.
“We don’t share walls or living space. These are single-family homes joined by the garages,” Shiv Gupta said.
“You really live separately,” said Freisinger. “Mr. Worland created a sense of community where you feel close to people but not on top of each other. If designed now, a developer would not provide a family with so much space. We get a real sense of being able to breathe.”
The houses are in the Federal Williamsburg style, with slight variations in each. “Worland is one of his little jewels, and we try to keep it that way,” said Broadhead, a member of the Architectural Preservation Committee. “We’re not fascist about it, but we love the aesthetics, and our committee tries to preserve the look because there’s a sense of architectural value. When someone wants to do something that isn’t right, we’ll very nicely say that the door doesn’t conform and could they please rethink their proposal.”
Build-A-Bear: “You don’t feel in the middle of the action, but you can get to the action pretty quickly and that’s priceless,” said Broadhead.
Montgomery Mall is five minutes away. “It’s really walking distance, but we drive,” said Tanu Gupta. There’s a new movie theater and dozens of shops and restaurants. “The mall is awesome, because it has Build-A-Bear [Workshop], and you get to stuff it and put a heart in,” Arya said.
Five minutes in the other direction is the Cabin John Shopping Center and Mall, with a Giant, a Home Depot and everything else a suburban family needs, Broadhead said. Another five minutes away is the Potomac Woods Shopping Center, with a Harris Teeter supermarket and Founding Farmers restaurant. Cabin John Regional Park is close and offers hiking trails, camping and spots to hold children’s birthday parties.
Living there: Worland houses are attached single families with a Potomac mailing address in the 20854 Zip code.
According to Meg Percesepe, a real estate agent with Washington Fine Properties, one five-bedroom, four-bath home is on the market for $799,000. One four-bedroom, three-bath home is under contract for $725,000, she said.
In the past year, four properties were sold, ranging from a four-bedroom, three-bath home for $760,000 to a five-bedroom, five-bath home for $875,000.
Transit: Driving via interstates 495 and 270 or out River Road through Bethesda are the most direct ways to Worland. It’s about nine miles from the District. Metrobuses run on Democracy Boulevard and from Montgomery Mall to the Bethesda Metro station on the Red Line. Ride On buses take commuters to Montgomery Mall.
Schools: Bells Mill Elementary, Cabin John Middle and Churchill High.
Crime: According to crimereports.com, there were no crimes in the past six months.
Audrey Hoffer is a freelance writer.