Roland Park

One of the first planned communities in the nation, Roland Park was laid out in 1892 as a summer retreat for affluent city-dwellers looking for a cool, laid-back alternative to the bustling downtown. Today, it serves much the same purpose -- its picturesque setting and convenient access to the rest of the city make Roland Park one of the most desirable addresses in all of Baltimore.

The difference is that the neighborhood is not just for the social elite any longer. Residents range from retired senior citizens to up-and-coming young professionals -- although it's certainly not by any means a "blue-collar" neighborhood. Aside from the beautiful landscape (done by the son of the designer of New York's Central Park, Frederick Law Olmstead Jr.), Roland Park is also sought for its low crime rate and proximity to what are considered some of the best schools in the state.

The public schools in Roland Park far exceed the reputation that "city schools" tend to have, and their private schools -- Roland Park Country, Gilman, Bryn Mawr and Friends among them -- are some of the most well-known in the area. Several colleges are also nearby, including the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University and Loyola College.

Aside from the schools, Roland Park has a lot to offer both residents and visitors. Shopping is abundant in the Roland Park Shopping Center (the first strip shopping center in the nation), stretches of Cold Spring Lane and the Village of Cross Keys (a gated community with many retail outlets). The area is also home to a number of well-known religious institutions, including the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, the St. Mary's Seminary and the Maryland Jesuit Provincial Residence.

If the shopping, recreation and history aren't enough for you, Roland Park is just off the Jones Falls Expressway, giving it convenient access to the rest of the city.
Location: North Baltimore City

Boundaries: Tuscany Road, Canterbury Road and Wilmslow Road to the east; University Parkway and Cold Spring Lane to the south; Jones Falls Expressway to the west; and Northern Parkway to the north

Schools: College of Notre Dame of Maryland, Loyola College, Baltimore Polytechnic High School, Western High School, Roland Park Country School, Gilman School, Friends School of Baltimore, Bryn Mawr School, Roland Park Middle School, Roland Park Elementary School, Medfield Heights Elementary School

Highlights/Landmarks: Roland Park Shopping Center, Village of Cross Keys, Water Tower

Trivia: Reclusive author Anne Tyler sets many of her books in Roland Park. Poet Ogden Nash lived in a Cross Keys townhouse from 1965 until his death in 1971.