Stoneleigh elementary covers most of the York Road corridor between Towson and the City line, and it's one of the most highly regarded elementary schools in Baltimore County.
Since you are only going to be in Baltimore for two or so years, and will likely be using the Montessori program, then you might want to consider Mount Washington. Quite a few young Hopkins families, that is, families with a parent still doing his/her residency or working on a postdoc, settle in Mount Washington. Zip code is 21209. Most of it is in the city, but Mount Washington Elementary is well-regarded, and it's a pretty neighborhood with a mix of housing stock on tree-lined streets, and has a village center with quaint shops and restaurants. It's also handy to Montessori.
Mount Washington is right off I-83, making for an easy commute to downtown, especially if he manages to avoid rush hour.
Can't you visit Baltimore for a weekend to check out the neighborhoods (and you'll then easily see what the pros and cons are)? Another bit of advice is that since you are only in Baltimore for two years with very young children, I wouldn't stress too much about being in a particular neighborhood or school district. Second, you also need to keep in mind that crime is more a matter of perception than reality for most people. Just the other day there was a shooting in Cockeysville, a "safe" neighborhood, where a son killed his entire family. Third, I also wouldn't rule out Cedarcroft, it's a very family-friendly neighborhood with an attractive housing stock.
Let me repeat: visit Baltimore. Once you have your travel arrangements, come back to this forum and we'll give you directions and pointers for neighborhoods to drive through.
Originally Posted by busymama
Thanks for the ideas. As I look further into some of the ideas mentioned, I'm wondering if anyone can suggest areas within each that are more vs. less desirable.
1) That is, are there particular elementary schools to seek vs. some to avoid within the communities listed below ? Are there particular zip codes to seek vs. some to avoid within the communities listed below ? Are there particular streets, subdivisions to see vs. some to avoid within the communities listed below ?
*Towson (definitely some differences of opinion on this one)!
2) Also, what is the distinction/difference between Lutherville and Timonium ? it seems like most people mention them together as if they are one thing ?
3) In terms of traffic, which is worse - 83 or 95 into the city ? Lutherville is on the light rail, and that seems like a bonus. My husband is generally very comfortable using public transportation as we are originally from Boston and used to do it all the time. In Atlanta, we hardly every do, since it doesn't go most places we want to go and since I once got mugged on the subway here.
I'm so far thinking that Cockeysville, Hunt Valley, and Kingsville might be a bit too far into the burbs for my husband's commute. He really wants to keep it to a minimum! For the time being, I've ruled out Cedar Croft because on the map it looked like it was still within the city limits....when it was just the two of us, I might have gone for it, but with 4 of us, we've succumbed to more town/suburban living!
Thanks again for all the insight! The help I'm getting here is leading me to think I should log in to the forums on Atlanta and Boston and help others who are moving to those areas since I can lend insights there !