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November 16, 2009

Hidden gem: Ashburton


First up on the hidden-gem list: Ashburton.

Location: Northwest Baltimore.

Average sales price: $141,000 (January-June).

Notable features: Beautiful single-family homes -- some brick -- and lots of mature trees. An old-money feel without the price tag. Directly to the south is Hanlon Park, with Lake Ashburton.

A 2002 study of city neighborhoods, prepared by Johns Hopkins University graduate students, called Ashburton "a well-defined enclave in northwest Baltimore that has established itself as the home of Baltimore's black elite." In fact, I almost disqualified Ashburton from this list because I thought it was an unhidden gem, a place most people know about. Until I started asking around and got puzzled looks, that is.

Here's the view down Ellamont Road:




And more Ashburton greenery:


Wonk reader Alonzo LaMont Jr. said in his nomination of the neighborhood, "There are PLENTY of big old homes in this area, and it's very close to Loyola, Hopkins, Notre Dame (even Morgan [State University] is a stone's throw away). People are paying all those big bucks to live in Charles Village (upper and lower), Homewood, and Hampden when they could have alot more house in Ashburton."

When I visited to get photos, I chatted with resident Alfred Nkere and heard how he came to live in Ashburton seven years ago: "One day I was driving in this area and it just struck me," said Nkere, who owns an import-export business. He moved to a street lined with big trees, a place so green and suburban that "we have this idea that we're not in the city."

Nkere, a father of six, said the neighborhood is a good place to raise a family. "We can have the kids play in the back without worrying," he said.

Here he mows his lawn while 6-year-old daughter Amini rolls by:


Another thing Nkere likes about the neighborhood: It's just north of Hilton Street, and thus much quicker by car to Interstate 95 than it might appear.

The Johns Hopkins study notes Ashburton's "architecturally diverse houses," and you've probably gotten some idea of that from the pictures. Here's another example:


Do you have personal experiences with Ashburton? Please share.

Want to see all the photos I took? Check out the hidden-gem gallery.

(All photos: Jamie Smith Hopkins / Baltimore Sun)

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 7:00 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Hidden-gem neighborhoods


I absolutely love Ashburton. I lived there in the 80s as a child and moved there as an adult 2 years ago. It was high on my home tour list and I found a place that was a stones throw from everything. I'd love to keep it a secret but I guess it's out now.

"(even Morgan [State University] is a stone's throw away)"

About 7 miles, provided you can throw a stone that far.

Hee, MC! It's funny how "a stone's throw" has come to be used in the sense of "a relatively short commute."

I live in Ashburton now and love it! The neighbors are very classy, and take pride in their property. On any given weekend, you will see several neighbors out mowing their lawns and tending to their properties. Ashburton is also convenient. I work in Columbia and get to work in about 20 minutes in the AM. In addition, I can also walk two blocks over to the Subway on day that I have to commute to downtown Baltimore.

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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
Baltimore Sun articles by Jamie

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