News & Politics

Away From It All: Sherwood Forest

Sherwood Forest, a gated community along the Severn River, got its start as a summer retreat.

By Kerry White 

Who lives here: Washington and Baltimore families have summered here for decades, but more than half of residents now stay year-round. Brian Wood, who grew up in Sherwood, is raising his kids in his great-grandparents’ renovated summer cottage. “I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else,” he says.

On the water: The Severn provides great views, sandy beaches, and fishing and boating. There’s also a pool.

Meet and greet: In addition to countless informal get-togethers for drinks and dinner, the community hosts dances, cocktail parties, Fourth of July fireworks, and an annual corn roast that doubles as a neighborhood fundraiser and draws nearly 2,000 revelers to the community beach.

Sporting life: Activities include pickup lacrosse, tennis, and tournaments on the nine-hole golf course. Nearly 400 kids go to the storied summer camp, a tradition since the 1920s.

Parade of homes: Sherwood has 341 cottages, most of them upgraded, expanded, or rebuilt and many with water views. The mostly Craftsman-style homes are painted the “Sherwood green” required by the community, although houses originally painted brown or white can remain so. Close neighbors must sign off on exterior improvements.

For sale: Prices start in the $600,000s and go up to about $2 million—about 30 to 40 percent higher than comparable waterfront property in the area, says real-estate agent Charella Marx. Few homes are listed; most are inherited or snapped up by family or friends.

Why it beats Reston: Sherwood’s cottages and small-town atmosphere render it something out of central casting.

Drawbacks: “It’s too insular down there for me” to live year-round, says Chevy Chase resident Helen Collins, whose five grown children attended the Sherwood camp and who, with her husband, Francis, spends summers in the cottage her parents bought in 1926. A convenience store and clubhouse are the only amenities of “downtown Sherwood.”

On the Web: Sherwood Forest Boys & Girls Summer Camp, The neighborhood is protective of its privacy; guests are permitted only by arrangement with a resident.