It's our weekly trip around the region. This week, we visit Cheverly, Md. and Forest Hills in Northwest D.C.
Forest Hills, D.C.
"The only people who know Forest Hills," jokes Virginia Adams Marentette "are real estate agents and tax assessors." She says that's because Forest Hills is wedged between two well-known neighborhoods, Chevy Chase and Cleveland Park.
Marentette, who recently joined the Board of the Friends of Forest Hill Playground, says sometimes people even "refer to the neighborhood as Van Ness, but Van Ness is not technically a neighborhood, it's just a metro stop."
Forest Hills is also technically the home to the much-loved bookstore, Politics and Prose, which is just on the border between Forest Hills and Chevy Chase. Marentette says residents consider this stretch of Connecticut Avenue to be their central business corridor.
Today, Forest Hills is home to a diverse group of residents. Marentette highlights the lawyers, diplomats and journalists in the neighborhood. "As such, it's a very engaged community. The Friends of Forest Hills Park does a fantastic job; we're lucky to have an e-magazine that keeps us up-to-date on the neighborhood."
People are very proud of Forest Hills and want it to maintain being a great neighborhood to raise families and also to retire in."
She also highlights a bit of history: "Harry Truman lived in Forest Hills when he was vice president to FDR, and when FDR passed away, Harry Truman was summoned to the White House."
In the spring of 1945, he was sworn in as president of the United States. He then returned to his condominium in Forest Hills, according to neighborhood historian, Margery Elfin.
Marentette loves how close she is to the park and the city's urban amenities. "Sometimes it feels like we're living a rural existence being so close to Rock Creek Park and all the wildlife that's there."
One mile northeast of the Washington, D.C. border, sits the town of Cheverly, Md., nestled between the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 50. Although hugged by cement freeways, the town's landscape is a lush green, and according to resident Dan Smith, the community of 6,000 residents "has a really small town feel. In this larger metropolitan area, we really have an identity and a community feeling."
Smith has lived in Cheverly for 26 years, and he says that small town feel is even evident in town's less glamorous efforts, like trash collection.
"All of those sort of administrative, community, public works kind of administrative things occur here," says Smith. "And so, when there's a problem, we know who to call, and we know there's people looking out for each other. That maybe wouldn't happen in a larger area."
Additionally, neighbors support each other with activity groups like the Cheverly Parent Resource Center and Babysitting Co-op, and with town traditions like a monthly, adults only potluck night. Each spring, the town comes out to celebrate Cheverly Day, which includes a community softball game, exhibits, kids' activities, a beer garden, and in the evening, the blast of fireworks.
Throughout the year, Cheverly maintains projects that support its environment including rainwater collection tanks, which irrigate the towns' landscape, a program to recycle residents' garden waste into free mulch, a free tree planting program for private properties, and most recently, the installation of a wind turbine. These efforts, along with others, are a part of the town's plan to continue to be what Smith calls, "an oasis."
[Music: "No, Girl" by John Davis from Title Tracks / "With a Little Help From My Friends" by Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass from Herb Alpert's Ninth]
Photos: Door to Door
Explore previously featured neighborhoods on our Door to Door map:
This map shows previous Door to Door segments, and includes links to photos and show audio. The yellow marker represents neighborhoods featured in Washington, D.C., the blue represents neighborhoods in Maryland, and the red represents neighborhoods in Virginia.
Virginia's attorney general Ken Cuccinelli will face former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe in November to become Virginia's 72nd governor.