Roomy houses, lots of amenities in the Prince George’s community of Perrywood

Geese walk in the parking lot of Perrywood Elementary School. Perrywood, in Upper Marlboro, Md., was developed in the mid-1990s. (Michael Blackshire/The Washington Post)


Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly said Perrywood has two pools. It has one. The article also misstated homeowners association fees. Fees are $268 per quarter for single-family houses, not $260, and townhouse fees are $348. The article has been corrected.

In approaching Perrywood, stretches of pasture and 150-foot trees give a glimpse of what it was like before development — “a 540-acre patch of corn and tobacco,” according to a Washington Post article from 1998. Developer Bill Chesley bought the land in the mid-’90s. Within a few years, he made it a residential subdivision, full of detached, single-family houses on one-fifth acre plots and townhouses with comparable square footage but less yard space.

Since then, the Upper Marlboro, Md., neighborhood hasn’t changed. Prince George’s County has grown, especially in nearby Largo, and more development is coming. But Perrywood remains pleasant for walks and bike rides on tree-lined byways. Between their lawns, recreational fields and nearby Watkins Regional Park, Perrywood residents have plenty of green space.

Residents say the amenities and the spacious homes were what first drew them to Perrywood. But many stay for its location and the sound design of the houses, and because they expect Prince George’s County to only get better.

The Perrywood logo, with its two geese, and street names such as Whistling Duck Drive and Merganser Court are a nod to the developer’s passion for hunting as well as the birds that visit the pond. (Michael Blackshire/The Washington Post)

Maryland Del. Marvin E. Holmes Jr. (D-Prince George’s), who lives nearby, helped build Perrywood. An engineer on local projects, including the Rock Creek Park FitzGerald Tennis Center, he’s proud of making Perrywood safe for pedestrians and accessible for drivers. He enjoys bike rides there.

“I really wanted to make sure we had the ingress, egress correct,” he says. “Make sure you have enough access in and out, so no one gets caught.”

It is the reason he designed the traffic circle at the intersection of Route 193 and Oak Grove Road; it also helps make the area pedestrian-friendly. It was the first traffic circle he designed.

The Perrywood logo, with its two geese, and street names such as Whistling Duck Drive and Merganser Court are a nod to Chesley’s passion for hunting as well as the birds that visit the pond. Chesley lived briefly at Perrywood Manor, and the neighborhood takes its name from the historic house. The house, which is listed in Maryland’s Inventory of Historic Sites and Districts, dates back to circa 1840 with updates in the mid-1900s.

State Sen. Melony G. Griffith (D-Prince George’s) moved to Perrywood from Suitland in 2002, soon after many of the homes were built.

“The [Suitland] house was small,” she says, “and I had two young sons who were getting to an age where more space would be helpful.”

Raising children in Perrywood was a “very positive experience,” Griffith says. “I felt safe with them going out to ride their bikes or walk to a playground.”

Community amenities include a pool, three sports fields, three basketball courts, six tennis courts and six tot-lots.

“Because of the size of the subdivision, we wanted to make sure we had a fair amount of amenities,” Holmes said. Homeowners association fees are $268 per quarter for single-family houses and $348 for townhouses.

Griffith has been enjoying Watkins Park, which offers programming for adults, such as live music and Shakespeare in the Park. The annual Watkins Winter Festival of the Lights is another draw.

“You don’t have to have your family or a group with you to feel a part of the community,” she says, “and that’s really important to me as my children get older and get their own lives, that I can still enjoy the community.”

Location is also important to Griffith, who is deputy director of the Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council.

“It’s a peaceful little community, but there’s enough access to what is becoming downtown Prince George’s [County] and Largo,” she says. “Anything that enhances Prince George’s County, whether it’s immediately in the vicinity of Perrywood or just in the county, makes Prince George’s County and Perrywood more attractive.”

Long & Foster real estate agent and two-year Perrywood resident Michelle Knox has noticed consistent 3 to 5 percent annual growth in home values over the past several years. She attributes that partly to the sound design of the homes, but she expects the new hospital at Largo Center and growth at nearby National Harbor to further that trend. Recent changes in zoning laws could fuel growth as well.

Griffith feels Prince George’s County is on the verge of something big.

“What I would say about the county and Perrywood,” she says, “is for all the wonderful things that I have described, there is potential and the right people are in place to try to help us realize it.”

Nuri Smith, 3, has her shoes tied by her grandmother, Donna Smith, at Watkins Park, a recreational space near Perrywood. (Michael Blackshire/The Washington Post)

Living there: Perrywood is roughly bounded by Oak Grove Road to the north, Nene Goose Court and Whistling Duck Drive to the east, Largo Road to the south, and Watkins Regional Park to the west.

In the past six months, 20 homes have sold in Perrywood, including nine townhouses and 11 detached houses, according to Knox. The highest price for a townhouse was $436,000 for a three-bedroom, three-bathroom residence. The lowest price was $380,000, for a three-bedroom, two-bathroom townhouse. The highest-priced single-family detached house was a seven-bedroom, five-bathroom home for $615,000. The lowest-priced single-family house was a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home for $389,550. The average sales price for a townhouse was $402,000; the average sales price for a single-family detached house was $563,000. There is one property for sale, a four-bedroom, three-bathroom single-family detached house for $560,000.

Knox has noticed twice as many offers on homes this year.

“Home sellers are getting more than they’re asking for right now,” she says.

Schools: Perrywood Elementary, Kettering Middle and Largo High.

Transit: Perrywood is a 10- to 15-minute drive from the Largo Town Center Metro station. The Prince George’s County Transit System offers bus service along Largo Road.