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Fairway to Heaven: Avenel

Avenel is one of Washington’s prestige addresses, a Potomac development from the 1980s that has been named one of the nation’s 100 best golf communities.

By Kerry White

Who Lives Here: Avenel draws heavy hitters—business execs, developers, diplomats, doctors, lawyers, and car dealers among them. Residents say it’s a family-friendly place: “We were welcomed by our neighbors with cookies and phone numbers of potential babysitters,” says Scott Becker, whose young family moved here in 2003.

Homefront: The brick, stone, and stucco homes include light-filled townhouses, Cape Cods and Colonials, and even some traditional-leaning contemporaries. Interiors often feature grand master suites and lavish media rooms. Two-acre-plus lots sit on the perimeter of the neighborhood.

For sale: Single-family homes range from about $1.5 million to $10 million, says real-estate agent and resident Nancy Shahin Itteilag. Townhouses start at about $1 million. Fifty small Cape Cods sell in the mid-$500,000s. A seven-bedroom Colonial with indoor and outdoor pools recently listed for $4 million.

Meet you at the club: TPC Avenel, a golf club that weaves through the neighborhood, invites new residents to join as golf ($45,000 initiation) or social ($1,500) members and come to happy hours and family dinners. Some residents gather for sports and socials at nearby Congressional Country Club.

Big events: Backyard barbecues during the Booz Allen Classic PGA golf tournament. With the golf club starting renovations that will close the course, no tournaments are planned until 2009.

Draws: The bucolic setting and the schools. Neighborhood kids attend highly touted Whitman and Churchill high schools and nearby private schools such as Norwood, Holy Child, and Bullis.

Drawbacks: Lack of parking on some of the denser streets. Homeowners association home-improvement guidelines have sparked disputes. But many residents say the rules maintain a unified and tidy look; satellite dishes are tucked away.

Why it beats Dominion Valley: Convenience. Without traffic, downtown DC is 25 minutes away, the Tysons area less.

On the Web: Avenel Community Association (www.avenel.net); TPC Avenel (www.tpcatavenel.com).

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