Olney, Laytonsville, and Damascus
The towns of Olney, Laytonsville, and Damascus occupy the northeastern half of Montgomery County and represent a dividing line between suburban Washington and rural countryside. Olney is largely suburban bordering farmland while Laytonsville and Damascus have a distinctly small-town feel, with charming town centers and quiet roads and neighborhoods.
Olney, located north of Silver Spring, is ideally located just off of the Intercounty Connector, a highway linking Interstate 95 in Prince George’s County with Interstate 270 in Montgomery County. This highway provides easy access to both the DC region and Baltimore region and is typically traffic-free as it is toll-based. Olney is also bisected by Georgia Avenue, providing a direct route into Northwest DC.
Olney has frequently been named one of the best places to live in America and is home to 34,000 residents. The center of town is defined by a crossroads surrounded by numerous restaurants and shops, and just down the road is Medstar Montgomery Medical Center as well as a large field that hosts the Olney Farmers Market, a fantastic local market with tons of food, flowers, and artisan crafts every weekend. Home to numerous artisans, Olney also plays host to the Olney Theatre, one of two state theatres in Maryland that frequently puts on plays and performances for adults and children alike.
Olney is also a key beer and wine location in Maryland, with numerous breweries and wineries nearby – perfect for taking a weekend bike ride or car ride to enjoy nice weather, food, and drinks with friends and family. Brookeville Beer Farm is located north of town, just off Georgia Avenue, and features a large fenced-in yard with a quiet pond and many benches and seats. A little farther up the road lies Waredaca Brewing, which also features a rural farm environment and a fenced-in area for kids and dogs to explore while enjoying a beer. Nestled amongst pines off of Sundown Road lies Elder Pine Brewing Co. and on Olney Laytonsville Road lies Lone Oak Farm brewing Co. In the center of Olney lies Olney Winery, an indoor location with a large selection of wines for tasting.
Due to its proximity to rural areas, Olney also has great access to the outdoors. The area features numerous golf courses including Blue Mash, Norbeck Country Club, and Northwest Golf Course. It also features numerous athletic fields and parks including Olney Manor Recreational Park, Reddy Branch Stream Valley Park, and Northwest Branch Stream Valley Park, which features a number of natural surface trails that travel through fields and woods.
Olney is served by numerous high schools due to its location, with students attending Magruder High School, Sherwood High School, or James Blake High School. Additionally, Our Lady of Good Counsel High School provides a Catholic school option for students in the area.
To the northwest of Olney lies the beautiful small village of Laytonsville. Laytonsville is highly rural, and the center of town is a quiet main street lined with trees, flags on telephone poles, and colonial farmhouses. Surrounding Laytonsville are miles of rolling farmland, breweries, and lots
of golf clubs. Just outside of town there are three courses: Laytonsville Golf Course, Montgomery Country Club, and Blue Mash Golf Course.
Additionally, there are numerous recreational opportunities in Laytonsville as well – Great Seneca Stream Valley Park, which provides miles of trails that can be traversed from Laytonsville all the way through parts of Germantown and Montgomery Village. Lower and Upper Magruder Branch Parks offer more trails, both paved and natural surface, which are great for runs, hikes, and walking the dog.
The gorgeous landscape around Laytonsville can also be appreciated from the road, either in a car or on a bike. Miles of winding, rural country lanes lead through fields, forests, and past stream beds. Get on your bike or jump in the car and enjoy a relaxing trip through the countryside.
While the center of Laytonsville is a traditional small village with a single main street there are numerous small, suburban neighborhoods scattered through the countryside areas that are perfect for raising a family or downsizing after retirement. Laytonsville is located in close proximity to Gaithersburg, Germantown, Olney, and Clarksburg, providing numerous options for shopping and entertainment.
Continue north on Laytonsville Road for a couple of miles and you will run into Damascus Road, which leads uphill to the northwest, eventually arriving in the center of Damascus. Damascus town features a main street that is lined with brick storefronts and numerous restaurants featuring home-style cooking and delicious desserts.
Damascus is located in the highest part of Montgomery County, at ~900 feet above sea level. This is about 500 to 600 feet higher than surrounding locales such as Germantown and Gaithersburg, which makes a big difference in the winter as Damascus will often receive snow while areas in lower parts of Montgomery County receive rain. This higher location also means that many of the roads around Damascus feature sweeping views of the Potomac River valley, looking out towards Germantown, Sterling, Ashburn, and Tyson’s Corner.
It’s well worthwhile to park your car downtown and explore the center of Damascus. If you’re there in the summer, it’s worth the trip to visit Jimmie Cone, a famed soft serve ice cream stand in the center of town that always has long lines and delicious treats coated in sprinkles. Additionally, local hangout the Hornet’s Nest Grille, named after the high school sports team, offers a wide array of craft beers and delicious American entrees in an environment where football and hockey jerseys line the walls and everyone seems to know each other.
Damascus is served by Damascus High School, which is located right in the center of town. Damascus High is ranked #25 in all of Maryland and #9 in all of Montgomery County. In addition to featuring excellent academics, the school is famed throughout the state for its consistently excellent football program which recently produced the #1 overall college recruit in the entire nation. Damascus is fiercely proud and supportive of its high school and sports programs, and attending a game is a unique experience for everyone living in town.
Damascus is located a few miles south of Mt. Airy and Interstate 70 and a few miles north of Germantown and Interstate 270, providing easy access to both the DC and Baltimore corridors. Additionally, Damascus is located roughly 25 minutes from Frederick, providing easy access to the numerous attractions of that small city.
While the center of Damascus retains the feel of a small rural town, areas to the south of Damascus towards Germantown have a more suburban feel with numerous smaller neighborhoods tucked off main roads. If you decide to purchase a home in Damascus you can either have a truly rural location with sweeping farmland views and quiet tree-lined driveways or fully developed communities with paved sidewalks, shared public spaces, and parks.
Olney, Laytonsville, and Damascus truly represent the diverse nature of Montgomery County and highlight the effectiveness of Montgomery County’s decision to preserve rural landscapes via the Agricultural Reserve. They provide access to rural and suburban landscapes while being close to both major cities in the DMV.
If you are interested in moving to one of these towns, reach out to Darin as he has intimate knowledge of the real estate market in the area as well as the schools, parks, and other benefits of each town.
Available Listings In Olney
Sorry we are experiencing system issues. Please try again.