It was a cold Sunday afternoon in December. My friends and I had brunch in Silver Spring Maryland and once well fortified and caffeinated set out on an enchanted real estate adventure in Washington Grove Maryland. You can see winter sky in my photos. Imagine the smell of a wood burning fire in the air and the crunch of leaves underfoot as you set the scene in your mind.
These friends of mine are storybook-house enthusiasts, they love well-aged properties that have that "once upon a time" flair. We arrived in the town which is just outside Gaithersburg, parked our cars, and set out on foot. Most of the roads are too narrow for traffic. This is Washington Grove Maryland 20880, a town on the National Register of Historic Places.
Many of the houses in Washington Grove were built in the 19th century. These authentic Victorian houses often feature gingerbread trim which is the white ornamentation found on the gables (aka frieze boards). It's fanciful cut and pierced wood boards that are painted white. The term "gingerbread trim" refers to the fact the it looks like white sugar icing decoration .
The town measures roughly 250 acres with two forests; the East Woods and the West Woods, measuring about 50 acres each. With those type of resources, the town has its own forestry committee. I'm guessing these folks are responsible for this lovely Christmas Tree that was illuminated within a gazebo in a common area. This little tree pulled at my heartstrings, no ornaments, just lights. The pure spirit of Christmas.
Great information can be found on the town website such as notice that the holiday caroling / sing-a-long will happen Monday December 22. Dig a bit deeper into the town committees and you'll see this community has a philanthropic agenda. Trees, donating to folks in need, parks, these are all well represented concerns.
Washington Grove is an old rail-town, and it traces its history back to the origins of the Baltimore-and-Ohio Railroad. When it was founded in the 19th Century, the railroad was the main way to reach the town. The town roads were all designed for pedestrian traffic only. Today you'll find a MARC train station. If you are a DC commuter who would like to escape from it all when you go home at night, Washington Grove should be on your radar. The Shady Grove Metro station is also nearby. Thanks to I270 and the Intercounty Connector, access to Frederick and Baltimore Maryland are also within reach.
This property with its beautiful wood siding is the color of gingerbread. Real estate values in the town of Washington Grove over the past four years support that the smaller houses tend to trade in the $350,000 range while larger homes sell around $500,000.
Washington Grove Maryland Market Statistics
In 2011 three properties sold with an average price of $392,500.
In 2012 ten properties sold with an average price of $452,800.
In 2013 four properties sold with an average sold price of $508,000
In 2014 one property has sold with a price of $348,500
My read on these statistics, 2011 was a challenging year to sell in Maryland. I sold a few properties in Montgomery County that year, and there were mostly cash buyers in the marketplace. Momentum picked up in 2012 and because the market had been so slow the previous 4 years, many pent-up Sellers listed their homes at the same time. Buyers got in on the action concerned that prices would go up. The market continued to improve in 2013, but slowed in terms of volume. Presently the market supply for Washington Grove is in Sellers favor with less than three months of inventory on the market for Buyers consideration. As it is December, the inventory levels will likely become more balanced in the Spring.
Here's the house we previewed on 6th Ave; its a circa 1875 Victorian cottage and thought to be one of the older homes in town. Its just off the town "sacred" circle. This sweet property had pine floors, brick fireplaces, wooden shutters, and a warp-around porch. My first comment was "this house feels like it should be on Rachel Ashwell's Shaby Chic". It was evident this house would show a bit better in the Spring when all of the surrounding trees had green leaves.
A bonafide wishing well in the town of Washington Grove, Maryland.
It should come as no surprise that I was greeted by residents as we walked about the town.
"Did I know about Maple Lake?" (the nearby swimming hole)
Washington Grove, the town within a forest, was originally a 19th century camp ground for religious revivals. Present home sites were tent sites. Its easy to understand why people of faith would feel drawn to Washington Grove, it feels blessed.
As my friends and I piled in the car and headed out, I knew that our time had been well spent. We found real gingerbread houses in Washington Grove Maryland.
Happy Holidays Everyone!