Residents say the Gaithersburg, Md., neighborhood’s sense of community and pleasant ambiance have remained
“We like to see our neighbors,” Bennett said. “We’ve always attended if we were in town.”
While a lot of things have changed since 1989 when Bennett first moved to what was then brand-new Saybrooke — he calls himself an “original settler” — residents say the neighborhood’s sense of community and pleasant ambiance have remained.
“It certainly hasn’t gone downhill in any way,” Bennett said.
Located in the eastern part of Gaithersburg, Saybrooke has 478 single-family homes, said Rick Riley of Re/Max Realty Group. Jutting off the main thoroughfare of Saybrooke Oaks Boulevard are quieter, tree-lined streets, many of them laid out in concentric loops.
Paved walking paths, communal green spaces and a small playground — as well as tennis and pickleball courts — are scattered throughout the neighborhood.
When Saybrooke was first built in the late 1980s, Riley said, young families like Bennett’s flooded in. Over time, as the parents of those families became empty nesters, some chose to downsize, and the demographics of the community became more mixed.
Marc Gordon, the neighborhood’s homeowners association president, was enamored by Saybrooke’s array of house colors and architecture when he was shopping for a home. There are brick and vinyl-sided houses, homes with neutral tones and bright red or blue accents, and some with wide front porches and compact front stoops.
Gordon also noted that, unlike nearby Montgomery Village neighborhoods, the community gets access to municipal services from Gaithersburg, like recycling collection and snowplowing.
Residents said they appreciated the neighborhood’s prices, which tend to be lower than communities farther south along the Interstate 270 corridor.
“We looked out in Virginia, we looked closer in along the Red Line,” Bennett said. “A comparable house in Chevy Chase, Bethesda or Potomac would have been twice as much as what we paid for our house.”
But most of all, Saybrooke residents spoke about the social connection that pervades the neighborhood and the pride they feel in its upkeep. The HOA is always working on renewal projects, said former president Rob Krebs — from a new slide for the pool to painstaking repairs on the three miles of fencing that run along Saybrooke Oaks Boulevard. HOA fees are $220 per quarter or $880 annually.
Jeff Krzywon, a young father who moved to Saybrooke in 2010, smiled as he described a “reverse trick-or-treating” his family helped organize for Halloween in 2020. The neighborhood kids all dressed up and sat in their front yards, he said, and the adults dropped treats off for them while keeping a safe social distance.
He’s enjoyed taking his kids to Easter egg hunts and community parades over the years. There’s a book club that meets outdoors, he added, sitting in a circle on the “village green” while children and dogs play nearby.
That spirit was a help to Kerri Baker and her family, who moved into the neighborhood the same weekend that coronavirus-related shutdowns began in earnest.
While it took a while for Baker to really meet her neighbors, she said people dropped off cards and gifts at her door. She decorated the large evergreen in her front yard with Easter decorations — then St. Patrick’s Day ones, then Fourth of July, then Thanksgiving, and finally Christmas — and watched happily from her window as families would walk by to admire it.
“It’s so cozy in here,” Baker said.
Living there: Saybrooke is bordered by the Midcounty Highway portion of Route 124 to the northeast, Lower County Drive to the north and Bookham Lane to the southeast. The southern boundary of the neighborhood is marked by the intersection of Victory Farm Drive and Grandchester Place. A handful of homes along Cottage Hill Court — which is separated from the neighborhood by Route 124 — are also part of the community.
Twenty-three homes were sold in Saybrooke in the past year, Riley said. The average price was $557,000. The lowest-priced home over that period sold for $510,000. It was a three-bedroom, three-bathroom, 1,880-square-foot Dutch Colonial built in 1988 with a finished basement. The highest-priced home sold for $656,000. The 1988 Colonial had five bedrooms, four bathrooms and a finished basement. It was 2,420 square feet. No homes are on the market.
“They sell as quickly as they are listed,” Riley said.
Schools: The school boundaries are in flux because of redistricting. Children in the main neighborhood have been attending Gaithersburg elementary, middle and high schools. Children on Cottage Hill Court have been attending Resnik Elementary, Redland Middle and Magruder High. Those schools may change after redistricting.
Transit: Residents have access to paved walking paths throughout the neighborhood. The Montgomery County transportation department operates several Ride On bus routes serving Saybrooke, and stops are within walking distance. The Shady Grove Metro Station is a 10-minute drive away, and the Gaithersburg MARC station is a five-minute drive.