I grew up riding horses in Brookeville, Maryland so, as you might imagine, I spent quite a lot of time there. The 20833 zip code is home to a number of equestrians, but there are also a number of quiet neighborhoods for those who like the idea of living in a community with a rural feel that also happens to be commuting distance to both D.C. and Baltimore.
History. The town was established in 1794 by the Quaker community and its claim to fame is having been the United States Capital for a Day on August 26, 1814. During the War of 1812, when D.C. was burning, President James Madison was on the run and sought refuge in Brookeville. The house where he sheltered still stands today. Later on, during the American Civil War, the town served as a stop on the Underground Railroad along with Sandy Spring—a nearby town and the religious center of the Quaker community.
Dining. Brookeville might not be the bastion of fine dining that some other D.C. suburbs purport to be, but there are a few gems in this little town. Sunshine General Store is the first place that comes to mind. It may be a cash only convenience store, but the grill in the back is where they cook up some of the best hamburgers I’ve ever had and despite changing hands a few times over the years, it remains a favorite spot among locals. Across the street you will find the Empire Market and Café, which is similar in concept and another popular spot serving breakfast, pizza, subs, gyros, and more.
Sadly, the Inn At Old Brookeville Farms closed recently. The Inn was a favorite for brunch and was the location for many a wedding, banquet, and party through the years. Fortunately, the community will not be deprived brunches and wedding venues as The Manor At Silo Falls opened in its place last year.
There are also two popular (and dog friendly) breweries nearby. The Brookeville Beer Farm is often packed on a summer evening with locals and non-locals alike enjoying the snacks, pizza, and live music. Just down the road from the Sunshine General Store, you will find Waredaca Brewing Company at Waredaca Horse Farm. It is technically in Laytonsville, but it is worth including anyway. As you might have guessed, this brewery is on a farm so you can enjoy a horse show and/or listen to live music while you try their brews. They serve light noshes, but often have food trucks on Saturdays. You can also stop and pick up a Sunshine burger on your way over!
Commute. Brookeville is just 20 minutes from Columbia and a 40-minute reverse commute from both Frederick and Baltimore. Getting into the District might only take 30 minutes on a weekend, but that commute will be tricky during the week. Luckily, the Shady Grove Metro is less than 20 minutes away and you have your choice of back roads allowing you to avoid I-270 during rush hour.
Schools. Brookeville is located in Montgomery County, which is home to some of the state’s best schools. Greenwood Elementary is the only school located within Brookeville town limits. Depending on their address, students may also be assigned to Belmont Elementary, which is just down the road. For middle school and high school, students will go to the neighboring town of Olney where Rosa M. Parks Middle, Farquhar Middle, and Sherwood High School are located. Click here to learn more about Montgomery County Public Schools.
If you prefer to send your children to private school, there are a number of options in the D.C. area and nearby you will find a number of private schools including a Montessori school (Julia Brown School), Good Counsel, and Sandy Spring Friends School.
Recreation. Given the rural nature of the town, there are plenty of parks with excellent trails for walking or horseback riding, boating, and fishing. Of note are the Rachel Carson Conservation Park, the Oakley Cabin African American Museum and Park, the Patuxent River State Park, and the Brighton Dam. If you are an equestrian, there are a number of stables in and around Brookeville to choose from for lessons and horse boarding.
As you might expect, you will need to venture outside Brookeville town limits for shopping and entertainment, but you needn’t go far. For those who want to live in a rural community with access to larger towns and cities, Brookeville really is the best of both worlds. Click here to visit the town website and learn more about Brookeville!
Sarah is a Realtor specializing in both residential and equestrian properties. She is based in Bethesda, Maryland and Wellington, Florida.