Sit on the deck by the Whitehurst pool and you get two things: a view that stretches to Kent Island, and a good idea of why people who live in this Anne Arundel County community describe it as living in summer camp.
Whitehurst sits on the Magothy River, near where Cattail Creek enters it. The social center of the community is its outdoor waterfront pool - which couldn't be built under current waterfront protection laws - and a clubhouse with year-round parties and activities. Most people in the community are pool club members.
"We bought here for the community," said Jeffrey Jacobs, a resident of seven years, who wanted for his family the lifestyle he had growing up in a similar neighborhood nearby. When he and his wife Erin needed more space about two years ago, they joined the many homeowners here who choose remodeling over moving.
It's a community where neighbors socialize regularly, where people of all ages hang out around a pool club that's kept affordable (about $525 this year, plus several hundred for a boat slip) by everyone pitching in on chores, where you can fish off one pier, and where nobody minds if you yell at their kids.
"We built this deck," said Ed Nusbickel, who moved here in 1982. The "we" are neighborhood volunteers, who also maintain the piers and installed the huge and popular ice machine at the clubhouse.
Housing stockThe neighborhood has about 147 single-family homes - splits, ranchers and colonials that generally have three and four bedrooms, many on leafy lots of about one-third acre. Some date to the start of the community, about 40 years ago. With residents loath to move away, home improvements, from additions to modernizations, are frequently in the works.
CrimeStatistics compiled by Anne Arundel County police depict a community with very little crime. The pace of burglaries is less than one a month. Neighbors often recognize just about everyone who lives there - several families have siblings who bought homes here - and they tend to watch out for each other.
ShoppingRitchie Highway is a consumer culture, lined with stores, gas stations, banks, medical offices, nurseries and more. Some of the closer shopping centers include Severna Park Marketplace and Park Plaza, where big chain stores, such as Kohl's and Old Navy, share the scene with local shops, including Top Nails and Marc Todd Jewelers. Of area malls, Marley Station in Glen Burnie and Westfield Shoppingtown, also known as the Annapolis Mall, are closest.
Kids and schools Children attend some of the highest-performing public schools in the county: Folger McKinsey Elementary, Severna Park Middle - both blue-ribbon schools - and Severna Park High schools. The nonprofit Green Hornets (officially, the Greater Severna Park Athletic Association), runs youth sports programs. Whitehurst's pool has a swim team that competes against other neighborhood swim teams.
Transportation The neighborhood is automobile-oriented, convenient to Ritchie Highway, which has some commuter bus service. Commuters drive to the Odenton MARC train station, the New Carrollton Metro station, the light rail station in Glen Burnie. It's also comfortably flat for bicycling.
Dining in Several supermarkets are close by in the Ritchie Highway corridor, as are restaurants with takeout service.
Dining out Again, Ritchie Highway does not lack for places that sell food: fast food, national chains, local chains. For more local fare, restaurants include Cynthia's, Cafe Mezzanotte, Griffin's Grill, Bill Bateman's Bistro and Adam's Ribs.
Nightlife Glen Burnie and Annapolis, no more than 20 minutes away, offer the closest movies. The Back Room at the Woodfire, on Ritchie Highway, has live music.
Recreation Warm-weather recreation centers on the pool. "Every Friday night up here, it's mobbed," said Kathy Holland, president of the Whitehurst Club Resident Association.
Wednesday night is for boat races. Thursday night is for volleyball. A garden club is active. An adult Olympics takes place every couple of years with Whitehurst among communities participating in tennis, horseshoes and more. Quiet Waters and Lake Waterford are popular county parks within a short drive.
Web site whitehurst.editme.com
Whitehurst by the numbers ZIP code: 21146
Houses on the market: 1
Average sale price: $582,900*
Average days on market: 158*
*Listing information based on current listings. Sales information based on three home sales from the past 12 months from data of the Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc., compiled by Cindy Varholy of Champion Realty in Severna Park.