The Hansens are originally from Long Island, N.Y., and were able to draw some parallels.

"Our gut feeling when we moved here was that it was a good place to be and where we belonged. Eldersburg is a lot like Long Island was 30 years ago when we were growing up, and that's where a lot of the appeal is," Susan Hansen said.

The area has nearly 5,000 acres of open public space and features such recreational facilities as Piney Run Park, Patapsco State Park, Morgan Run Natural Environmental Area and Liberty Reservoir.

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The many parks provide recreational access to hiking trails, fishing and biking.

The outdoor activities are one reason why Bryan and Jackie Foreman moved from Federal Hill to Eldersburg nearly four years ago.

"We take the dog to Piney Run all the time. And Bryan does a lot of fishing and off-road biking. It's certainly a reason why we moved out here," said Jackie Foreman. "We wanted the best of both worlds -- we wanted a neighborhood but we also wanted to be close to nature. And Eldersburg has all of those things."

Despite the continuing development, Foreman said, the area has retained much of its beauty.

"It still has that feeling of being untouched, and it's just so beautiful out here. We couldn't wait to have some land and sit out back to watch the sunset and listen to the crickets. Even though so much is starting to grow on the main road, the neighborhoods themselves, still have that feeling," she said.


Commuting time to downtown Baltimore: 35 minutes

Public schools: Carrolltowne Elementary, Eldersburg Elementary, Piney Ridge Elementary, Oklahoma Middle, Liberty High

Shopping: Carrolltowne Center, Freedom Village Shopping Center, Eldersburg Plaza

ZIP code: 21784