Welcome to the last regularly-scheduled Where We Live. We’ve had a great run over the past year and a half, profiling dozens of neighborhoods in the District, Maryland, and Virginia. But all good things must come to an end (especially when we’re running out of neighborhoods to profile!). So while Where We Live won’t disappear, and you can still expect more neighborhood profiles on occasion in the future, this will be the last regularly-scheduled one you’ll see for a little while.
And we’re wrapping things up with the lovely suburb of Cheverly. Cheverly, known as “the hidden jewel of Prince George’s County”, is an idyllic little town right outside of the District. It sounds too good to be true– tree lined streets, a small-town atmosphere, and beautiful, affordable housing close to a Metro station. As it turns out, it’s all true. So let Where We Live fill you in on one of the Washington region’s best kept secrets: Cheverly.
History: Cheverly was founded in 1918 as a planned suburb, built to take advantage of nearby rail access. But the town’s history begins earlier than that– back in August 1814, British troops stopped by Cheverly’s two springs for water on their way to the Burning of Washington. Anyway, fast forward 100 years and the area was ready for development, as there wasn’t much there except for the beautiful Mt. Hope, a farmhouse from the 1830s. According to the town’s official history, Robert Marshall, an investor from Ohio, came to the area with a vision, “years ahead of his time, of creating a restricted, carefully planned residential community, convenient to the city by rail and road, but retaining the beauty of its natural surroundings through saving as many of its trees as possible, and designing its streets to follow the rolling contours of the land.” Cheverly was officially incorporated in 1931, and today over 6,000 residents call Cheverly home.
Neighborhood Character: Imagine small town America, and you’ve got Cheverly. Brian, a lifelong Cheverly resident and photographer of the great images in this post, has this to say about it: “The great thing about Cheverly is its diversity of people. The town’s population is fairly evenly split between black and white. This has added greatly to the community, and is a great source of pride for all the town’s residents. Cheverly is also a family town. In some ways, the town is a time warp to the 1950s, where you see parents walking their kids home from school.” This is a place where neighbors really get to know one another, and there’s a great deal of community activism.
It’s also a place that feels a lot further from city than the few miles that separate it from the District. Brian says, “Love of nature is another big part of Cheverly. From the Bellmay House (or Belmar), a private garden cultivated over 40 years (1927 to 1967) by one of the first residents of Cheverly; to the great parks that dot the town; to those wonderful tree lined streets again (it’s hard to live in Cheverly if you don’t like trees). The town is so close to DC but you would never feel it.”
Transportation: Cheverly has its own Metro station on the orange line, and there’s good bus service connecting to Takoma, New Carrollton, Avondale, and Landover. While there aren’t Capital Bikeshare stations in Cheverly, there are plenty of cyclists in the area. And the residential neighborhoods are perfect for a stroll. That being said, many Cheverly residents do use cars to get around. Route 50 and the Baltimore Washington Parkway are nearby, and the Beltway isn’t too far either.
What to See: There’s lots you’ll want to see in Cheverly:
- Go outside! Cheverly features many fantastic parks, including the Cheverly Swim and Racquet Club (which is something of a community institution– Brian says, “Every kid who grows up in town ends up spending their summers here, and it tends to be where every Cheverly kid gets their first job.”).
- More proof that Cheverly actually still exists in the 1950s: The American Legion Post 108. Brian says, “It is something out of a 1950s tv show: old brick building sitting on a hill, where adults went for dinner and a beer, and where the kids went to watch Redskins games on the big screen.”
- The Cheverly Publick Playhouse is a great performing arts venue that has been serving the area for over 60 years. Check out their schedule of events to see their music, dance, and movie offerings.
- Hungry? Brian recommends stopping by Fratelli for great Italian food. ”It’s a great family owned Italian restaurant that overlooks Landover Road and some of the wonderfully tree covered hills of the town.”
- The Cheverly Community Market is the place to be on Saturdays from 8 AM to noon at the Cheverly Community Center. This market features fresh produce from local farms, and as an added bonus they also feature local wines!
- Mark your calendar now for Cheverly Day, a May event that you won’t want to miss. The 2010 event featured an east-west softball game, a beer garden, lots of live music, and even a Cicada Crunch 5K! And that’s not to mention the fantastic fireworks show.
Why We Love Cheverly: Brian summed up Cheverly in just one sentence, saying, “Cheverly is where you live to raise a family and where you have all the benefits of the suburbs and the nearby city.” It’s a balance of rural and urban, with big city access and small town charm. For young families in the area, Cheverly has it all– neighborhood parks, beautiful tree-lined streets, affordable places to live, and a great sense of community all in one place.