Originally Posted by trala1
What is the difference in the atmosphere of Potomac, MD vs. McLean and which schools are better?
I wish I had the experience of having lived in both areas, but both are way above my budget. I have visited friends in Potomac and find it lovely but a bit too isolating for me. I see huge houses on big lots and wonder if the neighbors ever talk to each other. I would probably choose Potomac over McLean because it's a probably a bit larger area and has more housing choices. Potomac also has a village that is somewhat walkable and has a more friendly scale, also some nice parkland along the river. I have also been involved with community and historic associations in Maryland, so I feel more comfortable there. If you lived in McLean, I imagine you would never leave your air-conditioned car.
The public schools seem to be a toss-up on Greatschools.org, with both getting 9 and 10's.
The commute is probably similar, but you have to cross a bridge from Virginia to get downtown, and that can be a bottle-neck.
Have you considered the other option of living in upper North West DC? The commute would be shorter. There are lovely old homes with character, but most people would send their children to private schools.