A network of trails winds through Carderock Springs, making it an ideal spot for walking and cycling. Photo by Skip Brown.



Nature is practically part of the blueprint of Carderock Springs. This Bethesda neighborhood of some 400 homes was constructed in the 1960s according to a modernist ideal: The built environment should meld seamlessly with the natural landscape. “Carderock Springs is for people who like clean lines and nature,” says Jonas Carnemark, an architect who moved to the neighborhood so he could live among modern homes tucked amid the trees. (The Carderock Springs National Historic District protects 275 modernist homes.) Streams meander through the neighborhood. A network of trails leads residents on easy strolls or adventurous rides on their mountain bikes. The C&O Canal is a few minutes away by bike. Still, residents don’t have to leave home to feel immersed in the outdoors—some don’t even have to look out their windows. Several houses have atriums with trees growing right up through the floor. Each home is situated so residents look out at nature, not at their neighbors.


When Andy Alderdice walks a quarter-mile from her home in Woodside Park to the Sligo Creek Trail, she can’t believe she’s just blocks away from downtown Silver Spring. “You get back in the woods there and you don’t know where you are,” says Alderdice, a real estate agent and fifth-generation Washingtonian who lived in Potomac for 35 years before downsizing in Woodside Park. Developed in the 1920s, Woodside Park was designed to have a parklike feel, with meandering streets and tall trees. Nowadays, popular spots such as the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center are close at hand. “We can walk to The Fillmore [music hall]. We can walk to fantastic restaurants. The Metro is two blocks away,” Alderdice says. When residents want to leave “city life” behind, she says, they head to one of several neighborhood parks. “Everybody’s out walking,” she says. “Everybody’s out running.”


The curving roads of Rollingwood in Chevy Chase nestle up against Rock Creek Park, making the iconic park an easy escape from the suburbs into nature. “You’re about as close to Rock Creek Park as anywhere you’re going to find in the Bethesda area,” says real estate agent Lise Howe. Since Rollingwood was built in the 1930s and ’40s, this neighborhood has matured into a quiet subdivision of more than 800 homes. Tall hardwoods along the streets and flowering fruit trees in yards give it shade and color. “It’s tucked away so people really don’t focus on it, but it’s just charming,” Howe says. Parts of Beach Drive close to traffic on weekends and cyclists and runners take over. Rock Creek Park follows its namesake waterway for miles. Horseback riding at Meadowbrook Stables is close at hand. So is Meadowbrook Local Park, which neighbors still remember as “Candy Cane City” for its old red-and-white-striped playground equipment.

“Carderock Springs is for people who like clean lines and nature.”
 —Jonas Carnemark, resident