Three Cool Cohousing Events This Saturday, 31 May

lv-logo-circle-textJoin Liberty Village on Saturday, May 31 2014 for their Phase II Building Open House, 12 noon – 5PM. Download the Open House flyer.

  • Meet their builder, Frank Dertzbaugh
  • Speak with a lender
  • See their house designs and prices
  • Tour the neighborhood and existing homes
  • Learn about: Cohousing; Consensus; Ground source heating
  • Locally grown/made food available
  • Hey Kids: come and moon‐bounce; swim in our portable pool; feed our chickens; enjoy our playground (so tell your parents to come by!)
  • Coming from out-of-town? You can stay there at no cost – just ask!

Liberty Village Cohousing
9130 Liberty Village Way, Union Bridge, MD 21791
Come home to a neighborhood where neighbors actually know their neighbors. Call 301-304‐0158, visit www.libertyvillage.com, or check them out on facebook.


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Heathcote Community Visitor Days
May 31, Aug 23 & Nov 1, 2014
21300 Heathcote Road, Freeland, MD 21053.
www.heathcote.org
Heathcote Visitor Days typically include gardening, music at the farmhouse, a community presentation, lunch, community tour, work projects, socializing, dinner and an evening activity such as a sing-a-long, bonfire, or game night. Register for Visitor Day here.


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Making Meetings Magic Workshop
May 31, 9AM – 5PM
at Blueberry Hill Cohousing
9701 Farmside Place, Vienna VA
Learn tools use can use for effective, fun and energizing meetings where decision are made with grade and flow. Register online at stormintegration.com/register.

It’s That Time of the Year: Get on the Mid-Atlantic Cohousing Annual Spring Bus Tour, May 17

Join Mid-Atlantic Cohousing‘s Annual Spring Bus Tour on Saturday, May 17, 12:30 – 6:30PM. Visit three well-established cohousing communities in DC, Maryland and Virginia: Takoma Village, Eastern Village and Blueberry Hill. You’ll get a guided tour, presentation and Q&A at each community. Snacks and transportation are provided.

This tour always sells out. Get your seat now!

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On the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Cohousing Bus Tour: Blueberry Hill

I know, I know: Blueberry Hill conjures up hip-gyrating images of Elvis. Or is it just me? This cohousing community is not a commune of worshipers of “The King” — at least they didn’t mention it — nor is it where Fats Domino retired from the proceeds of his biggest hit song. What may explain the name is Blueberry Hill’s location: it was built on 7 unfarmable acres of 23-acre Potomac Vegetable Farm, a certified organic farm in Vienna, VA. (A few of the owners even live in Blueberry Hill.)

It took six years of meeting two times every week to self-develop these 19 colorful homes clustered within a grove of mature trees. The houses are built around a walkable greenway made of grass block pavers that can support vehicles — like ambulances and moving trucks — that occasionally need closer access than the two peripheral parking lots afford. The houses range between 700 – 1100 square feet, but when walking through them, the open plan kitchen-dining-living room, the abundant light from numerous windows, and nine-foot ceilings give the homes a more expansive feeling. In addition, the wrap-around porches extend the living spaces outdoors. The geothermal HV/AC gives these modest units bills of no more than $75 a month.

A walkable greenway

One of Blueberry Hill’s many colorful homes.

Wrap-around porches invite neighbors to sit-n-chat.

Roomy open plan living spaces

A peek in the common house kitchen

While Chuck & Katie’s cohousing bible says build the common house first, Blueberry Hill’s common house was completed a couple of years after the last homes were finished in 2000. Even so, the common house seems to get the most use out of all the communities we visited that day, as the residents eat together 2 – 4 times a week. Not only do they eat together often, but the culinary magic happens in a relatively normal-sized kitchen. According to our guide, eating together often helps these neighbors develop good relationships so that there are less problems which can’t be quickly snuffed by a quick conversation.

The common house.

Common house dining room

A wall in the common house children’s area

Clustered mailboxes and a basketball hoop near a peripheral parking lot.

The residents include about 50 people: a little more than 30 adults from ages 20 – 70-something (including and handful of single heads of households), and a little less than 20 children. With all these people, Blueberry Hill has a pretty simple structure for getting things done around the community. There are three self-explanatory committees: indoor, outdoor, people and fun. It’s probably the fun committee that gives the necessary lubrication in the other committees.

The collection of homes — not the car — take center stage in this walkable community.

We visited many of the DC metro area’s cohousing communities on the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Cohousing Bus Tour. Up next is part four in this four-part series: Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington, DC.

Part 1: Eastern Village Cohousing, Silver Spring, MD
Part 2: Liberty Village Cohousing, Libertytown, MD
Part 3: Blueberry Hill Cohousing, Vienna VA
Part 4: Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington, DC

They say it’s work to get together after work, but not in cohousing. What do you do in your community to make it easy for neighbors to make stronger connections?