N: Neighborhood, The

N is for Neighborhood (the).

Hey.. articles just get in the way, right?

I already discussed the things I remember about being a kid in the HoCo. Today, I figure I'll talk about where I grew up: Long Reach.

I'll post script some pictures when it's a nicer day for taking them (tomorrow).

Some background for those readers not familiar with Columbia. Columbia is made up of ten "villages", each with neighborhoods: 

  • Dorsey's Search - Dorsey Hall, Fairway Hills
  • Harpers Choice - Swansfield, Hobbit's Glen, Longfellow
  • Hickory Ridge - Clemens Crossing, Hawthorne, Clary's Forest
  • King's Contrivance - Macgill's Common, Dickinson, Huntington
  • Long Reach - Locust Park, Kendall Ridge, Phelps Luck, Jeffer's Hill
  • Oakland Mills - Steven's Forest, Talbott Springs, Thunder Hill
  • Owen Brown - Dasher Green, Hopewell, Elkhorn
  • River Hill - Pheasant Ridge, Pointer's Run
  • Town Center - Vantage Point, Banneker, Amesbury, Creighton's Run, Warfield Triangle
  • Wilde Lake - Running Brook, Bryant Woods, Faulkner Ridge, The Birches

Incidentally, the bolded entries represent pools (with Dorsey Hall and River HIll serving as the only pool for their respective village).

Each village is organized around a village center. Common to most of those are (or were) a grocery store, a handful of places to eat (pizza, takeout, and at least one restaurant), often a community center of sorts, a liquor store, and a dry cleaner. These village centers are... well... tucked in at the center (or near) of their villages. Which I suspect is one thing that trips people up when they're trying to get from point A to point B.

The village centers are also connected by Columbia's extensive bike path system - more than 80 miles according to Wikipedia, although I haven't used all of them. I'm not sure about River Hill... anyone?

But I digress. I was talking about Long Reach.

Long Reach is an older neighborhood. And, compared to shiny new ones like River HIll, it's showing it's age. (this is something that has been noted elsewhere and by other bloggers/commenters).  Still, it's one of my favorites. I love the old neighborhoods in Columbia. They have huge, tall trees that remind me that Columbia has history. They have houses that aren't cookie-cutter repeats (even with CA covenant restrictions). 

Summarized from the village's website... Long Reach was originally hundreds of acres of tobacco plantation, eventually patented by Edward Dorsey in 1695. In the early 1700s, with Edward's death, the land was divided between his three sons and passed through the hands of other families afterwards. In 1969, the area had become part of Jim Rouse's plans and the framework for Long Reach was in the works. 

"In June 1971, Howard Research & Development (HRD) announced that Long Reach would be "the first comprehensively planned village in Columbia." Other villages had been planned neighborhood by neighborhood, but the total concept of integrating open space and dwelling space was considered in planning Long Reach. Although the neighborhoods would be planned prior to construction, resident input was still a vital part of the planning process. Cluster housing was used to preserve as much open space as possible and unique measures were taken to protect the Little Patuxent River from collecting sedimentation during the construction phase. Construction of Long Reach began in Spring 1971, with the first residents moving in the Fall of 1971. "
---The Long Reach Village site, "History

One more interesting bit of trivia (from the same site): many of Long Reach's street names come from the work of Robinson Jeffers. I had a drivers' ed instructor who stretched a conversation about Long Reach's streets into a twenty minute ramble. If only I'd known...

Stone-cutters fighting time with marble, you fore-defeated 
Challengers of oblivion 
Eat cynical earnings, knowing rock splits, records fall down, 
The square-limbed Roman letters 
Scale in the thaws, wear in the rain. The poet as well 
Builds his monument mockingly: 
For man will be blotted out, the blithe earth dies, the brave sun 
Die blind, his heart blackening: 
Yet stones have stood for a thousand years, and pained thoughts found
The honey peace in old poems.

So what does Long Reach have going for it, besides history and poetry? Well, it's also got hidden gems. You know... the favorite haunts, the places people from elsewhere might miss, the details one figures out from running around the area for a while, etc. 

The hidden gems of Long Reach include...

  1. Chick 'n  Friends - best takeout chicken I've had in a really long time. Seriously. Drop everything and go there now.
  2. Locust Park Pool - a nice renovated bath house, a snackbar, and lap space... and it's not often mobbed. Masters has swum here in the summer as well, and there's an amazing view of the sunrise during practice. Also excellent shade when the sun hits the right points later in the day.
  3. Jackson Pond - a really beautiful spot accessible by path at many points. We used to catch fish here when I was a kid.
  4. Richburn Liquors - they expanded the store space and have a really nice selection of beer and wine at good prices. Also convenient hours on the holidays, which has saved me more than once when I needed to pick up a hostess gift.
  5. High Tor Hill/Eagle Beak Row/Phelps Luck Drive - There is some FANTASTIC hill-training on these roads, for you runner-ly types. I believe the Metric Marathon route runs through here.
  6. Stone House - I used to take dance classes in this community space. It's a nice building.

Pop Quiz: Name that Pool!

N is for Neighborhood, the place where I rode my bike, splashed in the pool, and ran around at dusk on summer days, playing street hockey or firing nerf guns or dodging water pistols.


This post is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge. (hocoblogs@@@) Click on The Link for more info and other participating blogs!


  1. We lived on majors lane when my son was born.there wasn't much there at the time other than the apartments. It has really been developed since that time.

  2. I bought a townhouse in Long Reach in the late '90s and lived there awhile. I like Long Reach for many of the reasons you state, too!

    One small tweak in your article: covenants come from the villages (each with their own definitions!). CA doesn't manage such considerations for homeowners and property managers. ... At least that's how I understand things to be.

  3. Jeff beat me to it but it does look like Jeffers Hill pool. We used to go there instead of Dasher Green because it was less crowded.

    Long Reach's Village Center has probably been most impacted by the big box shopping centers developed on the east side of Columbia. Wegman's will be another threat. I can't see how Safeway will be in the Village Center for long. As Wilde Lake has seen the loss of an anchor store has a significant impact on the viability of a village center.

  4. Long Reach sounds like a great place to grow up. nice meeting you through the a-z

  5. I haven't seen the red chairs in a long time, and the trees are a lot smaller. Must have been taken in the early/mid 90's.