Glenelg is a compromise.
Situated in western Howard County, the area is ideal for couples who commute to Baltimore or Washington. And it is in the country without the in-the-middle-of-nowhere isolation.
"It offers a rural lifestyle within minutes of suburban amenities," says Sharon Keeny, a Realtor who lives in Dayton and is a former president of the Glenelg High School Parent-Teacher-Student Association.
Glenelg takes its name from a village in western Scotland. The name is also a language quirk known as a palindrome, meaning it is spelled the same forward and backward.
Many of what were once fields of wheat and rolling hills with grazing cattle are now affluent housing developments, named after the farming families who once owned the land.
Schools are often the gathering point for the family-oriented residents. The bull roast in March sponsored by the Glenelg High School Booster Club is a big community event.
In the fall, residents rally at the school's old-fashioned homecoming parade, Keeny says.
"It really does give you a hometown feel," she says. "This is truly a community with nostalgic, old-town values."
Two of the newer elementary schools in the county, Dayton Oaks and the rebuilt Bushy Park, are in the Glenelg area.
"There's a lot of interest going to these newer facilities," Keeny says, adding that Bushy Park was rebuilt to accommodate more students. "It's an indication of the interest in growth in that area."
Housing stock : Because public water and sewer lines don't extend to the rural, western portions of Howard County, most houses are on at least 1 acre. All are single-family homes, generally clustered in established neighborhoods.
"There's older and brand new and not much in between," Keeny says.
Older neighborhoods like The Heritage and Crystal Clear date to the 1960s and 1970s. Newer developments include Triadelphia Crossing, Clarks Meadow, Hopkins Choice and The Reserve at Triadelphia Crossing.
Because of the recent downturn in the real estate market, builders are not constructing houses without sales contracts. About half of the 27 houses listed for sale in Glenelg are not built, according to Metropolitan Regional Information Systems data.
Houses in Glenelg are $415,000 to $2.2 million.
Schools: Test scores at Bushy Park, Dayton Oaks and Triadelphia Ridge elementary schools exceed the already high Howard County averages.
Glenwood Middle School, a recognized green school, and Folly Quarter Middle School, also score very high on state assessments.
Glenelg High School, where test scores are high and 93 percent of graduates attend college, is an important part of the community. Sporting events and school performances are well-attended by residents and students' families. Glenelg Country School, a private school, is in Ellicott City.
Crime: According to Howard County police, crime is low in the Glenelg area.
"Typically, we have not seen significant crimes, such as violence, robbery, or even drug cases," says county police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn. "When we do see crime there, it usually involves cases of theft and sometimes burglary. Even those we see to a lesser degree than many other areas."
Transportation: Glenelg is between routes 97 and 32. Driving to downtown Baltimore takes about 30 minutes; to downtown Washington takes less than a hour; and to Columbia takes about 15 minutes. A new interchange at Route 32 and Burntwoods Road is under construction.
The charter and tour bus service, Eyre Bus Service, is based in Glenelg. (It is also contractor for the Maryland Transit Administration providing bus service along the Shady Grove-Frederick route, but commuters do not board in Glenelg.)
Dining in : The Casual Gourmet in Glenwood offers coffee and tea, crepes and sandwiches, in addition to table linens, kitchenware and cooking gadgets.
Major supermarkets are in Clarksville, Olney and Ellicott City, all within 15 minutes.
Dining out : M.D.'s Country Pub is a carryout pizza joint and sit-down family restaurant with sandwiches and dinners.
Bistro Blanc offers fine dining and an extensive wine list. Crossroads Pub in nearby Dayton is known for hard-shell crabs and its cream of crab soup.
Night life: If you don't count the Glenelg High School plays, musicals and jazz band concerts, there is no night life in Glenelg, says Anne Douglas, a Realtor who works with Keeny and has lived in western Howard County for 15 years.
"Night life is the party on your neighbor's deck," she says.
Recreation: The 160-acre Western Regional Park has baseball fields, basketball courts, multipurpose turf fields with bleachers, a playground and walking paths. The Glenwood Community Center, Senior Center and Library are also at the park.
Warfield's Pond Park, a smaller community park, is in nearby Glenwood.
glenelg by the numbers
ZIP code: 21737
Houses currently on the market: 27
Average listing price: $1.03 million*
Average sales price: $690,574*
Average days on the market: 161*
*Information based on sales in the past 12 months as compiled by Sharon Keeny and Anne Douglas of Long & Foster Real Estate in Columbia.