U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Maryland > Washington, DC suburbs in Maryland
Washington, DC suburbs in Maryland Calvert County, Charles County, Montgomery County, and Prince George's County
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Old 07-29-2009, 12:28 PM
Location: Detroit Metro Area, Michigan
4 posts, read 12,069 times
Reputation: 10


I am currently mulling over a couple of offers to work in Woodlawn (suburban Baltimore) with a federal agency. I have only visited the Baltimore area once for a few days (in 2005) and stayed at a hotel in the Inner Harbor area. However, my only other exposure to Baltimore has been the research I am currently conducting online.

I am married with a 3-year old daughter who will soon be elementary school age, so finding a community/neighborhood with very good to excellent public schools is critically important to us. We currently reside in suburban Detroit and are leaving this area due to a variety of economic and social factors in this region.

I have identified four communities in the Baltimore area that seem - on the surface - to be viable candidates for relocation based on the information I have gathered. These communities are:

- Owings Mills
- Ellicott City
- Columbia
- Randallstown

Feel free to rank these communities in your preferred order, or even suggest other communities that I may not have mentioned. What I would like to know from anyone who currently lives in the Baltimore area and cares to offer their feedback is which of these communities is regarded perhaps more highly than others, which has the best schools, etc.

One of the features that we like is a community that has a relatively walkable downtown or town center with small shops, children's playscape areas (parks), a place to grab some ice cream on the weekends, a repertory theater, a couple of good locally-owned restaurants (not just national chains), maybe an arts or cultural festival or two during the year. We are open to considering planned, "New Urbanism" developments as well (similar to the traditionally-themed Kentlands development in Gaithersburg). The main point is that we would prefer a community with some character and history rather than a "cookie-cutter" suburban bedroom community that sprouted up next to a mall development or office complex. One of the things that excites us about possibly moving to the mid-Atlantic region of the US is the relative close proximity to so many of our nation's historical landmarks.

So, with those factors in mind (hopefully I have created a sense of the type of lifestyle we are looking for), which of the communities I listed above would best fit that bill? I will say that we do not want a community that is too rural or outlying. We are not looking for a farming community, but rather a fairly quaint yet modern, well-developed community that is only a short drive from some of the more pastoral settings on the outskirts of town. The New Town area of Owings Mills seems interesting and so does Columbia - though I have heard mixed reviews about Columbia becoming crowded, a bit over-priced and having Stepford-like Homeowner's Association restrictions (which may be OK, since we have no issue keeping a well-maintained home and lawn).

I am sure there will be different perspectives on this and there are no right or wrong answers. But I would appreicate any thoughtful feedback from those who care to offer it. I would like to focus on communities within a consistent 30 minute drive of Woodlawn - which I readily acknowledge may not equal a 30 mile radius from Woodlawn.


Last edited by MSUSpartanGrad; 07-29-2009 at 12:53 PM..
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

Old 07-29-2009, 01:16 PM
Location: East Coast
866 posts, read 2,468,574 times
Reputation: 549
MSUSpartanGrad - I highly recommend looking at Ellicott City. You could do the commute to Woodlawn easily with back roads and avoid all traffic. It's a very nice area, but it can be expensive. Maryland doesn't have too many walkable downtowns, but Ellicott City has a historic district with a main street, shops, restaurants, etc. It's not big, but it's not boring either.

Columbia might be worth a look, as it has little villages and playgrounds scattered about. However, it is very suburban. I know of two "new-urban" communities in the area: Shipley's Grant (which might technically be in Ellicott City) and Maple Lawn (in Fulton, MD, south of Columbia).

Owings Mills is within your commuting range, but I've always thought the problem with Owings Mills is that the only thing it's close to is itself. You'd have to rely on I-795 or Route 140 to leave the area, and both of these roads can get very congested during rush hour, especially as you approach I-695 (Baltimore's beltway).

Feel free to direct message me if you have any questions. I worked in Woodlawn for 5 years (possibly at the same agency you're looking at), and can advise you on other communities or commuting times. Good luck!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 07-29-2009, 01:44 PM
18 posts, read 50,183 times
Reputation: 15
If I only had one option I would also recommend Ellicott City for the reasons stated. If you're looking to rent an apartment there is one that feeds into the Centennial Schools that is reasonably priced. You don't get any bells or whistles but the units are a decent size, there is a pool, a nice play area for little ones, open grassy areas for older kids to play football, soccer, ect. You'll find lot's of walkers & joggers around the complex too.

If you're looking to buy, the prices in this area have dropped in recent years. We were looking to buy in Ellicott City about 4yrs ago and couldn't find anything under $600K, and most of those properties needed lot's of work. We were specifically looking to buy in areas that fed into the Centennial schools and they were very RARE. People typically move to this area and do not want to move! However recently I've been seeing listings in those areas, and some have even been listed in the high $400's.

If I had to choose a second option I'd choose Columbia but only due to it's proximity to Woodlawn. I'm not crazy about Columbia, it's changed a lot since I moved to MD almost 9yrs ago. There's too much going on there. It's certainly not the worst place you could live, but I worry about what it'll be like in 10yrs KWIM?

Hope this helps!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-01-2009, 12:49 AM
Location: Piney Flats
46 posts, read 101,370 times
Reputation: 48
1 Owings Mills
2 Ellicott City
3 Columbia
4 Randallstown

Thats my ranking. Good luck with the Social Security Administration.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-26-2009, 11:29 AM
Location: Pikesville, MD
5,229 posts, read 13,598,174 times
Reputation: 4846
I work in Woodlawn, and live in Pikesville. The commute is 15 minutes on all back roads (never touch the beltway). The schools here are some of the best in the area (and in fact, some of the best in the nation). From Millbrook Elementary to Sudbrook Middle Magnet, to Pikesville High (listed as one of the top 100 high schools in the US a couple years ago, and still a good school). I've been in the PTA here in Baltimore county, and have seen the parental involvement in the schools. Second to none.

Love the town and the smaller communities around it (from Sudbrook to Ralston). a short metro ride from downtown and the Science center and Aquarium or O's games, but yet safely ensconsed in the county, rather than the city.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-27-2009, 01:56 PM
8 posts, read 45,496 times
Reputation: 11

Originally Posted by chipperi View Post
Thats my ranking. Good luck with the Social Security Administration.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-27-2009, 04:26 PM
68 posts, read 203,514 times
Reputation: 55
I would say that Ellicott City is a very nice location and has a decent school system but I would also say that Catonsville is just as equally nice an area and has decent schools as well. Good luck with your move.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 08-28-2009, 11:43 AM
Location: Silver Spring,Maryland
884 posts, read 2,507,852 times
Reputation: 637
Welcome aboard!. If you decide to come to Woodlawn!
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.

Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply

Loading data...
Based on 2000-2020 data
Loading data...

Hide US histogram

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > Maryland > Washington, DC suburbs in Maryland
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:37 PM.

© 2005-2022, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top