First, brief update on Ryder: yes on print and yes on audio. We will provide links to you when they are available.
Second, at this particular time, we do not provide signed books.
I have a question for you: what is it like to live in Maryland? Also, why is it that with all that land no houses have masters on the first floor?
Carolyn W. posted these really interesting links in the comments and I am bumping them up so you don’t miss them.
“Just because your question made me curious. These may or may not be of any help, but the checking was fun.
The origin of the Master Bedroom https://www.trelora.com/blog/2018/07/master-bedroom-origin/
Baltimore Government; “Architectural History” Explores the architectural history of Baltimore County. First published in 2005. https://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/planning/historic_preservation/maps_and_research_links/historyofarchitecture.html
Colorado Builder, “First Floor Master Bedrooms, a trend with staying power.” Suggest that the first floor master bedroom evolved due to increased life expectancy and needs of an aging society.
Charles Corp says
My guess is that the NY Washington area tends to be more formal.
It really depends where in Maryland you’re looking. If you’re inside the DC Beltway (lived there for 9 years) you will spend your entire life stuck in traffic and it will take 30-40 minutes to drive 3 miles to the grocery store. The area was ranked 3rd worst in the country for traffic after LA and Atlanta. But the rest of the state isn’t that bad.
Maryland is lovely, but if you want a first floor master you need to find a new build. It just wasn’t done back in the day. Said by someone who lives in an apartment that is in a building that was originally a hotel built in 1887.
Maryland is great. Depending on where you live 2 hours from the beach and the mountains. Traffic can be bad around Baltimore and going to DC but where I live in the western part it’s fine.
Maria Z says
Maryland depends where you are. If in the city hectic and traffic is terrible. In the country can be very nice.
This area is weird for houses, I live in Northern Virginia and houses are geared for young families and all the homes are basically a center hall colonial. You can get a master on the ground floor but you are starting to look at a 3,000 sq foot home or greater and the housing here is expensive.
The worst thing about the area is the humidity. I moved here from Pennsylvania from Lake Erie. At first I thought the humidity was terrible. However now I am used to it. I once took a trip to Mexico in May to Cancun. I can’t complain about the humidity in this area after that.
Many people complain that their allergies got worst when they moved here as the area is considered a transitional area agriculturally between the northern climate and the southern climate. You get a lot of pollen. My allergies actually got better. Flonase and Zyrtec are your friend but I don’t think you really need it except when certain trees are pumping out pollen and the local news tracks that for folks.
What is great about the DMV (DC + Maryland + Virginia) area is the opportunity to experience some great cultural events, festivals, and just things to do. Also once the commuter traffic is done it is quiet easy to get around.
Hope that helps.
I can’t speak for Maryland. I can speak for other places where the “Reception area” for entertaining was on the ground floor and the private space of the family was on the other, higher floors. Particularly for houses built at a time when entertaining at home was a big part of being social.
Linguistic/intercultural question. I’m from the UK and I’m not sure what you mean by master. A master bedroom? If so why would it be on the first floor? (ie the ground floor along with the kitchen living room etc right)? Is that a thing in the U.S.?
A master in US stands for the master bedroom suite, which typically includes the main, usually largest, bedroom, attached private bathroom, and a closet. A master on the first floor is desirable because it saves you from going up the stairs as you age and provides a additional privacy.
Downstairs master is found often in US. Here is a typical upscale Texas house with a nice master. https://www.redfin.com/TX/San-Antonio/1730-Palmer-Vw-78260/home/48621279
One of my friends is considering moving to Maryland because of their excellent healthcare, and we talked this morning about how difficult it is to find a downstairs master in Maryland.
Hi Ilona, I wanted to chime in, about how things were impacted by the advent of a/c.
Texas typically has masters on the first floor, because we live in the Sunbelt: an area that would be miserable without air conditioning in summer. People either slept on sleeping porches in the summer and not indoors at all, early prairie houses had breezeways and the kitchen/living area was in one building, the sleeping in another, and masters were on the main floor because heat rises and it was cooler. The GRAND historic multi story homes, do tend to follow more of the colonial American influence with masters up stairs. But since most of our Texas architectural infrastructure came from a building and population boom that a/c enabled in the 1950s onward, we have newer homes, and buck the design trends of the architecture you see in other areas. A/C changed things ALOT, and it’s no surprise mid century modern design came into being when A/C was booming and took off in places like Nevada, Southern California, Texas, Florida, New Mexico.
These days we think more of our knees and aging in place as factors of the design, than we do having downstairs public places, and upstairs private places.
Jalissa W says
Was about to chime in with this same answer! Cheddar has a great short video about how a/c changed they way we build (they focus more on open planned houses).
That makes total sense.
Seconding a number of other comments. It really is based on age of the region and when a number of houses were built and the style. And it is not just MD…many of the southern states follow this trend for 2 story houses. Having lived in NC and VA, I can safely say this is very common…and we will not get into the fun that are split levels from the 60’s-80’s. Northern VA is FULL of those.
Also it is going back to the fact that if you are building a 2nd story to give more living space, you do not want your guests going UPSTAIRS to visit, so you have the upstairs more private areas. Some houses have the 2nd, 3rd, etc bedrooms upstairs, but if you are constrained by land space (common in more developed communities) you end up putting more on the other floors to give more yard. Or looking at newer houses, to reduce how much space you allocate per house instead (building UP instead of OUT).
I was always fascinated by the differences when I travel – Seattle and Portland houses have a totally different feel from coastal NC where I grew up…more and larger windows. Whereas NC (especially hurricane areas) go with fewer and smaller it feels like. Both for a heat AND for a danger aspect.
P de Langen says
Oh that makes sense now. I live in the Netherlands and I had no idea what masters are and had to googled it and got really iffy answers. heheheh 🙂
Laughing hysterically at the price of this texas mansion. It’s just – so much house! Seattle real estate is a whole different ballgame, trade off of space and opulence for walkability and robust neighborhood centers. And a whole lot of coffee shops.
And it’s on an acre. I don’t think people on the East or West coasts have the full understanding of a Texas sprawl. You can be driving to Houston from Houston at a decent speed and it will still take you an hour. San Antonio is a massive amoeba of a city that just stretches out.
J. M. says
I lived in Central Texas for a year and was a three-hour drive away from Dallas. Had to pick up a friend to stay with me for a weekend, then drove her back. No one blinked an eye. But in NYC, I’m three hours away from Albany and if I said I was going there for a day I’d be called crazy. Completely different mindset here. 😉 (Of course, there’s also the people who won’t travel from the Bronx to Brooklyn because they feel it’s on the other side of the moon…)
Baltimore area was developed early on and has many neighborhoods outside the city that have beautiful grand older homes. I think that you could find a home with a first floor master in the Annapolis area and surrounding towns.There is a lot of new developments by Frederick too.
I moved to Bethesda Maryland from NJ about 8 years ago.Bethesda and surrounding areas are expensive and the homes are older. Maryland does have excellent healthcare, between John Hopkins and Georgetown Medical and GW Medical plus U of MD you get a lot of research driven facilities and excellent doctors.Maryland has a very good public school system for the most part if that is important to your friend.
Here is a cultural difference between NJ/NY area and the DMV(district of Columbia Maryland Virginia)- so when you live in NYC metro area, people you meet tend to work in the conversation “What do you, where do you work?” That’s code for how much money do you make. I move to Bethesda, right outside of DC and people I meet work in the conversation are you Democrat or Republican?Remember this was 8 years ago before politics exploded and I was so discombobulated that people I hardly knew would even ask me that question.
I believe that fellow author, Grace Burrowes, lives in Maryland and perhaps could lend her knowledge regarding where or why the master bedroom would or wouldn’t be on the first floor. Just a thought.
My niece had a house somewhat like this in Florida, even had the pool. Her girl child loved to sail her dolls off that balcony onto the heads of unsuspecting visitors. “Watch out for that flying Barbie!”
I love that child.
I had the same reaction about wanting the master bedroom on the ground floor. Being from Australia, it’s very uncommon to see bedrooms on the same floor as the ‘entertaining area’. Maybe a guest bedroom would be? My parents are looking to downsize as they’re getting older and they’re having to look at one story houses to find a house with a master bedroom downstairs.
CJ, I’ve known people who have moved here from the UK and were surprised at the term “Master Bedroom with en suite bath”. They were used to one big family bathroom and thought our insistence on the private bath to be odd ????
I live in the Uk. We do have master bedrooms with an ensuite but they are only in new builds. The most common type of house in the UK are Victorian and Edwardian terraced houses built at the end of the 19th Century and beginning of the 20th Century. The Victorian houses originally would have had no bathroom so often the smallest bedroom, usually the one at the back has become the bathroom, or in the very small ones (ie with only two bedrooms upstairs), the bathroom is off the kitchen on the ground (ie First, for you) floor. Edwardian houses will have been built with a tiny sliver of a bathroom on the second floor to serve all 3 bedrooms on that floor with an outhouse in the garden for the loo . So in order to create an ensuite master, you have two choices : turn the middle bedroom into an ensuite to the biggest bedroom which is at the front or create a master ensuite in the loft (what would be a third floor in the US).
I have always lived either in a Victorian or Edwardian house. I just love the period details and high ceilings. I wouldn’t exchange them for a new build as these in the Uk tend to have very small bedrooms with tiny ensuites or bathrooms (unless you are a millionnaire of course).
Yes, it’s a thing in the U.S. Having a master bedroom on the ground floor is planning for the long-term, when retired and/or aging homeowners start having problems negotiating the stairs to the second or third floor. Especially if you anticipate having aging parents live with you. My brother solved this problem by including an in-home elevator in his three level, Victorian style home. Our mom can travel the entire house without risk of falling. At 88, this is very important to us!
Ooooo! Pretty house! ????
Martha Sherlock says
MD is a well-rounded state: plenty of parks, hiking, trails, nightlife if you want that, formal or casual dining, culture with all of the museums, art houses, and historic districts. There is also a wonderful mix of personalities – artists, dignitaries, snobs, high and low maintenance dramas, and everything in between. Oh, and Maryland blue crabs!
I’m from Maryland. It’s beautiful, humid in summer and occasional snow. Mountains on one end and the ocean at the other. I have no idea about the master not being on first floor. I grew up in a ranch house. The eastern shore is nice if you want land and not too much development. Annapolis is beautiful. Blue state politically. It is expensive and crowded around Baltimore/Washington corridor. Hope this helps. ☺️
I’ve lived in Maryland all my life and like it! But it really depends on the area you’re looking at (as with any place I’m sure). Also we’ve been getting way above average rainfall the past few years and places that didn’t used to flood, do now. So I would pay extra attention to elevation/how close to water you are, as it will probably only get worse.
Something I love about Maryland is we actually get all four seasons! Proper summer and at least a couple snows in the winter. Tornado’s/Hurricanes are very rare and don’t tend to do too much damage when we do get them. We don’t get a lot of extreme weather.
I live in Baltimore County, so I am right in the middle. It’s convenient! There’s plenty of good food, nice parks, etc. within 20min in any direction. If I want to go somewhere big, it’s a couple hours north to Phili, east to the beach or an hour south to DC, I could do a day trip to NYC etc. But there are still lots of quiet places to live, even with all that.
As for master’s being on the top floor, it’s strange to me that they’d be on the main floor? Living room, dining, etc would be the main floor and then bedrooms above? It’s interesting that it would be different in other places! But I’ve never lived in a big house with a true master so what do I know. I was house shopping recently though and I have seen some! Looked like they were done after a remodel.
Echoing that flooding concern, give extra scrutiny to any basements, because people flipping houses will often have a really nice, finished basement that gets some sort of moisture regularly (without disclosing, of course), and that’s a recipe for mold.
It depends strongly on where you live. The Baltimore area is radically unlike the Annapolis area is completely different from the DC area is absolutely no relation to Western Maryland is… running out of adjectives… DelMarVa. Where are you looking? I was born and raised in DC, vacationed in Western MD and at the beaches until about ten years ago, worked in Baltimore for four years while living in Northern MD (Hartford County). Dunno as much about the southern/Annapolis bits — I’ve only been there a handful of times, but old town is gorgeous.
It’s for a friend. She wants a little bit of land, like an acre or so, a blue state/neighborhood, and she says that delivery options are very important. Unlike us, she lives just outside of the delivery area for most of the restaurants and delivery services in her city. No kids, so schools are not a factor.
I would recommend Hartford or Cecil County. When I lived there from 2004-2008, it was an odd mix of very rural and soccer mom. There’s a town called Bel Air where, at the intersection of two highways, there are four shopping malls. This is a true story: one of those malls had been finished in 2003, after the other three had been around since 2000. The woman who owned the land waited for her cow to die before selling it.
Hartford County is convenient to Baltimore, has a nice downtown, and the developments are much newer than in a lot of the rest of MD, giving more possibility for a ground-floor master. It WAS less expensive than Baltimore County by a lot at the time, which is why I lived there and commuted to Baltimore.
Cecil county has more pretty, small, old towns and is more rural. Again, this info is 15 years old, so there’s a good chance the developers have hit it. Both areas have FANTASTIC library systems. As in, quite a few branches were brand spanking new in 2006. New, big, up on the latest hits.
The further west you go — once you get past the DC & Frederick Metro areas, the more rural it gets. The further away from the big cities you get (and this applies to Hartford and Cecil counties as well), the less blue your neighbors are likely to be. I’d actually strongly recommend Frederick over the Baltimore suburbs if politics are a big factor. Frederick has more history, which includes a nifty arty atmosphere, but also means less new development, and the person up there who said that ground floor masters just weren’t a thing in the mid-Atlantic area was dead-on.
Thank you! I will pass it on.
And you are very welcome! I know Massachusetts almost as well, if she wants to look there (best public health care in the US), but for any of the other 48, well. You have a LOT of blog readers ????.
Shirley ONeill says
Harford, not Hartford. Cecil and Harford are semi rural Republican. I’m in a Howard County, which is blue in Columbia area and red in the rural sections. Maryland is a mixed bag. Born in Baltimore, live in Ellicott City now. 55plus housing is new and has first floor masters and double masters in some areas. Just over the PA line is much cheaper and still access to great healthcare.
Thanks! My autocorrect changed it the first couple of times, and I was too lazy to go look up the difference between the CT city and the MD county, so I let it guide me. Because of the new development, Harford was a strong purple when I was there — the rural bits being eaten up into exurbs. But I still stand by Frederick as the bluest part of the state.
k McStay says
I agree with you about Frederick. I have two kids in Maryland, one has been loving Crownsville.
Hartford county had a decent amount of restaurant delivery when I was there, but I have no idea how Covid hit it. I lived in Abingdon, which is a suburb of the above-mentioned Bel Air, but Aberdeen should offer more. And is bluer, or was. Supermarkets also delivered just fine where we were, and would probably be more so around Aberdeen.
Oh wow yeah delivery is important. I’ve lived in Montgomery county for about 15 years maybe. Our place in north Potomac has barely any delivery options. It sucked. Super beautiful to live but no delivery. 3 years ago we moved 10 minutes away (by Rios if your friend is familiar with popular areas) and I have ALL of the delivery options.
I live in Bel Air Maryland, which is in northern harford county about 30 minutes from the Pennsylvania line. There is a great mix like the above referenced between very rural and suburban. About thirty minutes from Baltimore if you need to commute for work. Plenty of shopping and other things to do. Much happier having relocated from Baltimore city!
Frederick and Carroll Counties are historic KKK strongholds. They’re more magenta than purple these days, compared to Howard, Baltimore, and Montgomery. Some Frederick County residents have joked about joining West Virginia because Maryland is too blue for them. I know a Moms Demand Action official from Frederick who won’t wear her logo gear anywhere in town.
That said, you can find all kinds of people anywhere you go. If you want a blue county government in MD, you’re really talking Howard, Montgomery, or Prince George’s; maybe Baltimore or Ann Arundel. All but Prince George’s are pricey, Montgomery the most so, and even PG is expensive compared to other regions of the state and country.
I didn’t properly appreciate Maryland when I was growing up. I’ve lived in this state since I was a toddler, almost sixty years now, and it’s a great place to live and raise kids. You have to do your homework like anywhere else though.
I didn’t think of the county. I was thinking of Frederick the city. It sounds like Pittsburgh — the city is strong blue, the county deep red.
Point taken, and the same is true a lot of places, even in the south.
I’m about 40 min from Frederick (we love visiting!) but live in Loudoun County. If MD doesn’t work out, there’s tons of big areas in VA and West VA close by. Similar weather. Delivery depends on how rural you go. If I drive 15 minutes West, I’m in farm and wine country- gorgeous views, fresh produce. If I drive 20 min East, I get more restaurants and urban benefits. DC is 50 minutes away.
I saw a house with dual master bedrooms but haven’t seen one in the ground floor unless you build. That said, there are many who are building.
Housing market is flying here. Places in my neighborhood are under contract the day they go up. We have been the fastest growing county in America for multiple years. Sprawl is heading West, though, so things will keep developing as people move away from cities especially with working from home options lately. Our county is working hard to preserve the agricultural and vinticultural areas.
Good luck to your friend!
Many good wishes to your friend during her house/downstairs master hunt! You should make sure she also has a guest room, for when friends who are talented with both words AND yarn visit once a year for the MD Sheep & Wool Festival. *wink wink nudge nudge*
Janice Bauer says
Oh yes! You have to visit your friend the first full weekend in May for Sheep and Wool! Last I checked, it was the largest such event on the East Coast.
Dianne Richarson says
Maryland is a beautiful state, that is where Nora Roberts Lives. I have visited her town of Boonesboro. The land is beautiful and full of history. I stepped on the Appalachian Trail there and bragged about it. Did not walk very far but could always say I had been there and done that. Every other state is very close up there. The master bedroom is upstairs because they are worried about sleeping on the ground floor…lol but mostly many of the houses are old and historic. If you move up there in the mountains the air is clear and the sky is awesome. Take care
Property taxes, closing costs are high. Traffic around the metro DC and Baltimore area is the stuff of nightmares. Depending on where they are looking makes a lot of difference financially.
Firmly in the plus column: blue crabs, access to ocean or mountains is a few hours drive. Crabs.
You just have to hunt for a house with a master on the first floor. I live in PA which is close to MD. The northeast is pretty and MD is far enough south that you only have to worry about the occasional snowstorm or northern reach of a hurricane. Right now it’s beautiful. Great temperature, fun places to visit by the water, fun historical places.
Yeah…1st floor Master Bedrooms are a modern concept and Maryland is really old. You probably won’t find a 1st floor master unless built after 1970.
Colonial homes tend to rule the landscape in Virginia and Maryland. Most of the homes in our neighborhood are two story colonials with bedrooms on the top level. We live in a rare ranch so we are on the main level since we have no second story. Just look to Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home in Virginia for why colonials are popular….
My parents, Northern Virginia, searched for over 5 years in the 1990s to find a builder that built one story homes. One story homes take up more land area and land here near DC is very pricey.
Don’t know if this helps at all….all I know is when we retire, one story home for us…(unless we are forced to go to Hawaii – haha)
Sylva T. says
Master bedrooms in older homes were built on the second floor to be away from the noise and activity of the first floor. When families “entertained” second story living space separated guests from private areas. Larger homes of wealthy families also had staff which would start activity in the downstairs areas prior to the family waking up.
Beautiful house. I haven’t lived in Maryland but i have lived in Charlottesville Va, it was beautiful. We mainly left for John’s work reasons. He had to check the hospital over Afton mountain. It snowed alot on that side of the mountain and he got worried about driving in the snow when a patient needed admitting.
My friend lives in one of those grand old houses. They converted the library into a bedroom.
I strongly dislie downstairs master bedrooms and it’s was darned difficult to find and upstairs master in certain parts of Texas. Many of the newer build just don’t think you want your bedroom upstairs. But I’d imagine because of all the old architecture it’s very difficult to find a matter bedroom downstairs.
Patricia Schlorke says
A lot of old houses out east will have the master bedroom upstairs instead of the first floor mainly to keep them warm in the winter (since heat rises). Also, a lot of entertaining was done on the first (or ground) floor. In Texas it would make sense to have the master bedroom on the first floor to keep the room cool in the summers.
I think a lot of municipalities have codes in place to have the bedrooms in old houses upstairs especially if the house is in a historical area.
Danielle Tobin says
The previous poster about the older stock of homes is right. I’m in Chicago, in the bungalow belt where the houses all originally had just one bath. So many families raised 12 kids in these houses with only one bath and sometimes an extra toilet in the basement. It’s normal here. If your house has a master suite it’s had extensive renovation in the last 20 years. If you look at houses in the Chicago suburbs you will find many first floor master suites. It just depends on when the house was built and how easy or difficult it is to renovate the older houses.
D Kussman says
Your friend should look in the North Potomac area — there are ranch or Cape style homes on anywhere from .5 to 2 acres, depending on the market (they’re not hugely common, but they’re there). Right now the market is very hot because a lot of people are moving out from DC to get bigger homes while everyone is working from home.
Debbie B. says
Might it be an avoidance to possible flooding or cold, moist air, in the low level?
Eleanor Konik says
I live in Maryland. My master bedroom is on the first floor, about 10 ft away from the washer and dryer. My house is fairly unusual though, it used to be a three bedroom rancher with only one level, but the previous owner added a garage and two bedrooms above it. I suspect that the reason that most new construction doesn’t have the master bedroom on the main floor is because most people want the living room and dining room and kitchen on the main floor for entertaining guests, and space is at a premium in such an urbanized area.
Our MBR is on the first floor, but it was a custom build. It’s starting to be more common for age-in-place purposes – I forget the term for it 😀 .
Maryland gets all four seasons. It can be hella humid. Also the farm land is stunning. We have unstoppable love of the blue crab and most marylanders love the ravens. The cities are fun and robust. They are fun, and the quite out of the way places that can take your breathe away. Especially on the eastern shore. It can be as frantic or as quite as you like. If you live mainland you have access to alot of the cities within 4 hours. New York, DC, Annapolis, Richmond, Norfolk/Virgina Beach. The traffic can be insane. Although on eastern shore it is less, as that has more rural and beach areas. The reasons the masters arnt on the first floor is because the houses with land tend to be older. That is just a guess from what I know. I live in Delaware but i am super close to Maryland ( about 5 miles from state line) Also the taxes in Maryland are heavy.
My guess is that northeast & midatlantic architecture tends towards multi-floor houses with the bedrooms upstairs because heat rises. Back in the day when fireplaces were the main source of heat, it was easier to stay warm at night upstairs.
Another thought is that houses in the area generally have basements as opposed to being built on a slab, so large footprint houses get pretty expensive to build.
Who knows, I’m just spitballing.
Duffi McDermott says
We live in Maryland. I’ve lived here for 30 years. (!!!!)
lots of different geography: “mountains” to the west, Chesapeake Bay to the east
excellent food availability: good grocery stores, lots of local farms & ranches
all 4 seasons — though winter is shrinking
if you garden, lots of stuff grows here
because of location close to DC, a really varied international population
if you live close to DC, Washington news can overwhelm
Kelly Walker says
There are a few that do have masters on the first floor, but they were customizations by previous owners.
Maryland is a wonderful place to live, but it has a bit of everything. It’s like squashing the bulk of the US into one tiny state.
The Eastern shore, and the Western shore are vastly different and should be two different states. The one thing they have in common is tourism, though different types.
The Eastern shore is very rural, with many counties only having one elementary, one middle, and one high school ( public schools, that is.) Very farm oriented, and lots of small towns where everyone knows everyone, and the biggest entertainment is driving your truck through loops of the downtown to be seen and wave to your friends. The beach area offers recreation and tourism. It’s not uncommon to have to drive an hour to get to the restaurant or store you prefer, though it is starting to get more stores in more rural locations.
The Western shore offers Annapolis, Baltimore, Washington DC, and all the tourism and big business that goes with it. Lots of folks commute–living on the Eastern shore, but traveling to the Western shore for work. It’s very rare for that to go the other direction. Traffic is only an issue on the Western shore, or on the beach routes of the Eastern shore, and locals know how to use backroads to bypass the jams. The Western shore is more northern, while the Eastern shore is more southern in culture.
Maryland offers gorgeous spring, humid but comfortable-ish summers, and mild winters. Fall offers beautiful foliage, especially if you go into the mountains in the western part of the state.
There are some small towns on the Western Shore as well.
I’ve lived in Maryland for my whole life (except for college by Philadelphia) and I love it. I live in Gaithersburg, which is outside of DC. What I love about my area is that there are always options. There are all of these little pockets of restaurants and stores and activities everywhere. No matter where you go, it’s easy to find good food and something to do. Pennsylvania was so different, even close to Philly. There were a few small restaurant groups near my college, but it was only food, no fun things. If I wanted a variety of options I had to go into Philly. Also everything closed so early!!! I’m not saying Maryland is like New York City, but things stayed open till a decent hour.
Oh also! Maryland is pretty. If New York is all urban and city and Pennsylvania is full of entirely too many trees, Maryland strikes a nice balance. All of those little activity pockets are full of trees and water and animals. There’s tons of nature and adorable woodland creatures everywhere. It’s great.
(I don’t really know why masters are only on the second floor, but I personally hate sleeping on the ground floor. I like having a few. It’s always so pretty outside of my window and I like to sit and admire. Maybe that’s the reason)
Jennifer Cui says
I’m tapping you for a Mawrter! 😉
I currently live in PA but was in DC (true DC but very close to Maryland) for two years after growing up in the midwest. Space is really at a premium on the east coast. Even the ‘burbs are smaller lots, unless you go really far out. The other thing is the travel time difference. I describe distance to my Missouri family via time not mileage because 15 PA miles is often an hour or more, 15 Missouri miles is potentially 15 minutes. But that also means it’s super easy to get from one area to another. I live outside Philly now and was able to literally drive to DC and back daily for a week long conference two years ago. While in DC half the time I flew out of BWI (Baltimore). The train system is also amazing for moving between the cities. Toll roads suck, if you move get an EZ-Pass, which thankfully work for all the east coast states and IL. Your wildlife will change as well, but you still get it. I have foxes, deer, groundhogs, raccoons, and who knows what else travel through my yard. Another thing they do here: gas rewards points. You earn points with all your grocery purchases and can get a reduction in your gas price per gallon. It’s based on total purchase and certain categories will earn extra points. My mom visited me once in DC and she eats Atkins frozen dinners which happened to be the special that week. The next time I filled up I had something like $1.70 off per gallon so it only cost me $0.20/gallon on that tank.
The first floor master thing probably has to do with the fact that the east coast doesn’t do as many tear downs as they do elsewhere. They work with what they have, and first floor masters weren’t as common in previous building eras, same issue with en suite and large closets. It depends on your budget, but to find a house with 2 full baths without one of them being in the basement took me 4+ months and almost took me out of my budget (200K). Ranch style houses also aren’t all that common, probably because of the space issue. I find it hilarious how often House Hunters episodes show people looking for ranch styles in this part of the country. You might want to search for ‘cape cod’ style houses, the house style varies a bit between regions, but they often have bedrooms on the main floor.
I liked Maryland a lot. The weather was a ‘little’ milder than where I’m originally from, NJ, and people were fairly friendly. A lot of horse country in the more rural parts. Reasonable cost of living. Most young professionals I knew who were locals owned their own house.
It is the best!!! Maryland born and raised ???? I love that we have all 4 seasons and I dont have far to drive for a taste of city or rural life. The people are pretty friendly and we (ME!) Would be super honored to have you live here!
Oh yeah, and Columbia, Maryland has a lot of great food.
Jessa N. says
I live in Havre de Grace, about halfway between Baltimore and the Delaware border. I absolutely love it. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, spent 4 years in PA and 6 years in Alexandria, VA for reference. Where I live, we have a ton of small local farms, people are super friendly, most stores are between 5-20 minutes away, and Amazon delivers in a day or two. We have 4 seasons, though with the exception of a few days on either end, they’re generally not brutal. There’s little to no rush hour or traffic to deal with. And as far as I can tell, Master bedrooms in the first floor is very much a southern thing! We do have basements though, and you can definitely find newer construction with first floor masters.
R Snodgrass says
I currently live in Brunswick MD, which is considered part of the greater metropolitan Washington area, but is about an hour from either DC, Baltimore, Annapolis. Maryland is amazingly diverse, so you need to really decide what features you have to have. Check a detailed map to see the geography, water access, mountains, infrastructure. We do have 4 seasons, usually with a bit of snow, sometimes a lot in the winter; spring and fall are generally the nicest times; summer tends to be hot and humid. Allergies can be a problem for a lot of people. As a lot of people have said, in order to get a 1st floor master, you would probably have to find a newer house, or custom build. There aren’t a lot of ranch style homes. If your friend can find a general area that she likes, it’s worth getting in touch with a real estate agent and let them help you look. Good luck
Born and raised in Maryland and still live here in Baltimore County.
In short, higher state taxes but you get great roads, infrastructure and schools. Central MD (around I-95) has everything you could ask for in an urban area while being in suburbia. Very diverse population in central MD.
We experience all 4 seasons, with very rare severe weather issues.
In general, cost of living is a bit more expensive.
I live in a house with master suite on first floor… if you’re looking for that, I’d focus on newer builds.
Better to have a car here, but closer to DC and Baltimore City, there’s public transport available.
Traffic is not the greatest around the cities but if you’re used to Houston, probably comparable.
You don’t find masters on first floors typically in that region, because of the architectural influence from early homes in colonial America. Where the downstairs were more public spaces, and the upstairs was for the family. That’s true for most multiple story buildings from the early Americas. Or in other areas, the public space would be a business, and he upper floor would be for the family.
For the wealthier families, it meant their servants (and yes also unfortunately slaves too in other cases) could rise early, do the work of the household, and the family could sleep on away from the hubbub for a bit longer.
The separation, also made it so they could focus their wealth in the public spaces too. And keep more space open for the downstairs when they entertained.
Depending on where in MD you are, there are mountains, ocean, rivers and wetlands. I live in Southern MD which is part of the DC metro area and is pretty close to VA as well. I’m not from here, but ended up here because my husband retired from the Air Force here and got a job in civil service. Stay away from Baltimore area at all costs. There is the Eastern shore which is beautiful, but has a bridge connecting it to the rest of MD and if there is an accident it can take 8 hours to cross it. It’s called the Bay Bridge, but it is beautiful on the Eastern Shore. You guys have a bit more leeway since you don’t need to worry about school systems. Route 95 (runs north and south) seems to be the dividing line for weather. West of 95 seems to get the most snow and summer storms. There is a lot of beauty here. People if you want and land if you want to be away from people. But it is expensive. Things are done by city/town, but also by county. Montgomery County is very expensive. We have a ton of hospitals and great doctors in the area as well as theaters and of course all kinds of history stuff!! There is so much more, but feel free to contact me if I can give you any more info!
I live in Maryland! I grew up here and came back a couple of years after I finished college. It’s really a very nice place to live 🙂 I’m close enough to DC and Baltimore to do city stuff when I feel like it, but I’m out in the country, on the side of a small mountain overlooking a dairy farm. It’s pretty awesome. It gets hot in the summer, but we have a lovely fall and spring, and the winter is pretty mild. We’ve got mountains in western MD and beaches on the eastern shore.
I have one friend who has a big fancy master in the basement of her split level, and I have friends who live in ranchers so there is no upstairs… but in general master bedrooms go on the 2nd floor here. I had no idea that wasn’t the way other places did it.
Lifetime Maryland resident. I love it here but what is it like will vary widely depending where in the state you pick. We have mountains, the Bay, and ocean side. Big cities and all that goes with them in the DC, Annapolis, Baltimore corridor. Small towns and rural ares, especially on the Eastern Shore.
Basically, whatever you want it to be like we have an area that will fit! And all the other stuff you might occasionally want to visit is only a couple hours away.
Depends on where in MD you are. If you are near DC it’s one thing. On the Shore is something else. And the mountains are different yet.
You can get 1st floor suites. Just have to look in the right city.
Chris K says
Living In southern Maryland : The allergies here are insane. The entire state is trying to kill people with its pollen. The fighter jets from the base are loud. Occasionally the blasts from the base in Virginia shake the house. All the farmland is slowly being turned into townhouses and subdivisions. The new houses have masters on the first floor but no land. There is a large Amish population. Everyone is obsessed with the state flag and old bay. Near the rivers is pretty but only a few public locations to access. The water is very polluted though since it is downstream and I don’t recommend swimming. The beaches are rocky and full of bugs. Somd is conservative (more Biden flags this year tho! )
Xoxo A New Yorker living in MD
I live in Gaithersburg, which is outside of DC and I love it! Montgomery County is has everything from urban areas to farms. We are close enough to DC for activites, but only about 15 minutes from the country areas. There are houses in my neighborhood that have ground floor master suites (bedroom, sitting room, and bath room) as well as master suites on the 2nd floor. The only thing missing is the land.
Just as an aside, “master bedroom” is a phrase that is slowly being eliminated due to its racist origins in the South. Which might be why you’re having trouble finding them in MD.
You haven’t shopped for a house recently. Just about every house listing in MD uses the words master bedroom. In fact, in 1995 the National Association of Realtors officially stated that it has lost its original roots, giving license to real estate agents to freely use it. Trying to change it is a very recent initiative that’s coming out of Houston, actually, not Maryland, so MD is not by any means a pioneer in this.
And now I had to delete my rant, because, surprise, surprise, the first use of master’s bedroom comes from 1926 Sears catalogue. So it is apparently not a slave South term. It was a good rant about the wealth gap and discrimination in housing, though. But regardless of origin, the term is at the very least gendered.
We’re shopping for a house in Maryland now and are seeing a lot of listings use the phrase “owner’s suite” instead of “master”. It might depend on the area of Maryland you’re looking; I think it’s changing more quickly in more liberal areas.
Heather Hanley says
My husband and I have lived in MD for the past 9 years and we love it. It definitely depends on which area of maryland you are living in, though. Where we are at is within an hour of both Baltimore and Philadelphia, but it’s still got plenty of woods and farmland nearby so it’s not overly urban. You can find a first floor master in some areas, but they’re usually for smaller houses.
Lived in md for two years, HATED IT. Terrible, terrible swamp land, everything outside of the major cities is a sodosopa. Fireflies are nice, Baltimore has some great food.
I think masters in the upper level is a very north east thing, I didn’t realize people put them on the first floor until I move out of New England the first time.
Just a thought but do you know anyone who could connect you with Nora Roberts to see if she’d be wiling to chat? She & family I think are based in Boonsboro, MD and I’d guess could therefore provide lots of insight about life in MD.
Heheh, Beth, the kind of house that my friend could buy and the kind of house that Nora Roberts owns are two very different things. And since I don;t know her at all, I wouldn’t feel comfortable reaching out.
Nora has the Inn Boonesboro. Sometimes she invites authors to stay and visit! Mariana Zapata went in Feb. 2018. Western Maryland is gorgeous.
Melissa Schweitzer says
I actually live in Havre de Grace MD and really like it! HdG has a small town feel, but it’s close enough to the city for an easy drive. It’s right on the Chesapeake Bay and is totally beautiful! We live in an area with a lot of first floor MBR, both my neighbors have it. I guess it all depends on your location!
Elizabeth Hamm says
I used to go see the fireworks in HDG! It’s so nice up there.
I used to live in HDG! It’s a really neat area. LOVED being 5 minutes away from the promenade and being able to go on a night walk along the water.
Elizabeth Hamm says
Hi I grew up in Maryland. A lot of the houses are old, especially those with that much land. And in keeping with historic home architecture, no masters on ground floor.
Real estate is VERY expensive in MD. some of the most expensive in the country. The drivers are insane especially on the beltways. The people are a bit more direct. Which I loved.
The weather is the same almost everywhere. Not a ton of snow in the wi yet, until there is, and then it’s a TON. Humid summers. Up and down temps year round.
No lizards, scorpions or crazy snakes. Lots of deer. Tons of hilly, tree filled land. Fall foliage is gorgeous.
Seafood is to die for.
What else? (I miss it everyday)
We lived in Southern Maryland near some Amish country, and loved it! It would snow maybe once or twice, summers were hot but short, and major cities were a fairly easy drive for day trips.
Sandy Hagman says
My son works at the NIH and has been exploring housing in Maryland. The Annapolis area is expensive and he was always outbid on housing. He is noe looking towards Frederick. More land and lots of building going on so his prospects look better. More square footage for the money. I would also recommend Virginia. We live in Blacksburg, Va. lovely mountains, college town. We have no problems with delivery orders.
Susan Reynolds says
Really really wonderful crab cake po’boy sandwiches. Annapolis floods due to being really low elevation. A friend lived in Delmarva peninsula years ago and had trouble finding bookstores. Hot and humid summers, cold and damp winters, high taxes, and lots of politics.
I’ve lived in Maryland my whole life and it’s a great place to live. Like many others have said, we get all 4 seasons, we’ve got mountains, beaches, state parks, etc.
I live in Frederick, Md. and we have very wide variety of restaurants (with delivery options). From Frederick we are within 1 hour of 3 international airports and 3 hours from the beaches in Maryland and Delaware.
I did a quick search on Zillow for homes for sale with first floor master bedrooms and there currently 14 available, however some of them are townhouses (row houses) and your friend would not like those.
I also used to live in Montgomery County and though it’s just as lovely as Frederick County is is more expensive, which is one of the reasons we moved to Frederick.
Sandra Lunsford says
It depends where you want to live in Maryland. We live in Washington county. A little rural but still too close to DC. Also it you want specifics please feel free to email me.
Kathleen Connor says
Look in the western part of the be state. Its colder, but gets you of the insanity of the I 95 corridor
Roxie Turner says
Maryland is pretty, but expensive.
Hooray for the single level home! Says the woman who has been having a disagreement with her husband about the style of home to retire too.
My advice is to maybe look for the area first then look into the homes there. Also she could look into the cost of building her own. It doesn’t have to be fancy plus if she is thinking about being older in the same home she could have things already in place like safety rails in the showers even a walk in shower versus climbing into a tub.
Carolyn W. says
Just because your question made me curious. These may or may not be of any help, but the checking was fun.
The origin of the Master Bedroom https://www.trelora.com/blog/2018/07/master-bedroom-origin/
Baltimore Government; “Architectural History” Explores the architectural history of Baltimore County. First published in 2005. https://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/Agencies/planning/historic_preservation/maps_and_research_links/historyofarchitecture.html
Colorado Builder, “First Floor Master Bedrooms, a trend with staying power.” Suggest that the first floor master bedroom evolved due to increased life expectancy and needs of an aging society.
Great articles. Really enjoyed reading all of them. Thanks.
Maryland is great – you have your choice from shore to mountains. The taxes are slightly higher than Virginia, so there is that consideration. Many of the older houses will not have a master on the first, unless you go colonial old. Is there a specific area of Maryland you (or whomever) were thinking about? I lived in Rockville, but now live across the Potomac in Leesburg. I have friends on the Eastern Shore/Southern Maryland if you need any details. And my brother/SIL are vacaying in Chestertown next weekend. No HEB, but Wegman’s and WaWas abound!
I can answer this!
As someone who has lived in various states, Maryland is one of the most unique (in terms of weather) I think. It’s incredibly humid during the summer (seriously, the air feels so thick it’s hard to breathe), we have a lot of rain and thunderstorms, and the the winter is just as intense! It doesn’t always get to single digit weather but it drops below freezing in the winter almost all the time (unless we’re having an unusually warm winter like last year). Fall and spring are here too but they go by so fast. One week it’s cold, the next it’s sweltering. Vise versa. Hurricane season is in the fall (like November specifically) but it’s not always so bad. When it is, though…. be prepared. Hurricanes have destroyed parts of the state in the past. My first year here, we were buried by a blizzard in March and then trapped in our houses with no electricity for a week in November because of a hurricane. But overall, I do enjoy the weather here because I get to experience a wide range unlike other places I have lived! It’s also a little confusing because it’s a mixture of urban and rural. Additionally, some places here REALLY think of themselves as southern and other places REALLY think of themselves as northern. And the Baltimore accent took me a little while to get used to lol!
As for the master bedroom…that is a good question. I never considered it! But you’re right, almost all the houses I have lived in here in MD, the master bedroom has been on the top floor with the rest of the bedrooms. My current house has the master bedroom on the main floor but people here find it very strange!
I could go on and on (about beaches and don’t even get me started on the “flag crabs” that are literally EVERYWHERE) but I don’t want to bore you ????
Ive only lived in Nj and Nc since moving to the U.S. but in NC we live in military base housing. However all houses have always had the master upstairs.
I am also reading these posts because MD is one of our possible choices when hubby retires from Active Duty in about 2 years. Taking notes!
I am a real estate photographer and most of the newer homes now have master suites on the first floor. Living in Maryland is wonderful. You can go from the Ocean City to the mountains of the Appalachia. One of the major joys of summer is eating Blue Crabs either right out of the shell or as crab cakes. We are surrounded by history here. George Washington resigned his commission in Annapolis. We held off the battle hardened British at the Battle of North Point and we kept back the British fleet in the Battle of Fort McHenry. The home where the Star Spangled Banner was made is preserved and is a lovely little museum. We had one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War at Antietam where brother fought brother. The weather is nice and the people friendly. I love it here. I have lived here for at least 58 of my 61 years.
As strange as this sounds, try to be driving distance to a Wegman’s grocery store. If you like food, it will bring a lot of happiness to your life.
I grew up in Baltimore. I used to think I hated humidity like everyone else. But then I moved away and realized that no place that where people say they’ve hated humidity is like the humidity in Baltimore. Now I don’t care what people are complaining about, if I can’t feel the weight of the air, then it’s not really humid to me.
That’s what it’s like to live in Maryland. I liked it fine for what it’s worth.
Kimberly Sluss says
Living in MD, you can basically choose your environmental feature depending on where you live- we’ve got mountains, farmland, and ocean.
Depending on the county, you can find 1st floor master. Harford Co. has some and I think Carrol Co. as well.
Also, allergy season can be horrendous :/
Kimberly Sluss says
And humidity can be atrocious…
The location of the owner’s bedroom generally depends on the type of floor plan. Each of these designs has its own specific appearance. If you Google these terms you’ll quickly see how they are arranged.
• In the Colonial style (which is probably the most common in this area), all bedrooms are on the upper floor. Occasionally you’ll find an addition with a bedroom suite on the main floor.
• Ranch houses are all on one floor. Some also have basements. Ranches have a big footprint, so they are more common where land prices are lower. The Ranches in my community are folded into an L-shape to fit on the lot, but that leaves very little back yard.
• Split Foyer houses (aka Raised Ranch) are like Ranch houses with a basement, but you enter half-way between the two floors. This floor plan gives one-level living but there are always a lot of stairs. Split Foyers often have 3 bedrooms on the main level and another 1-2 on the lower (half-in-ground) level. Split Foyers were especially popular in the 1960s and 1970s.
• The Split Level has three levels: one with the kitchen/dining/living rooms, one up a half-flight of stairs to bedrooms, and one down a half-flight to a family room and often another bedroom. The half-stories are off to one side of the main living level. There are Split Levels with four or five floors, too, where the owner’s suite is on its own intermediate level; these are sometimes called Stacked Split Levels.
• The Back Split is rare here but does exist. A Back Split also has three levels, like the Split Level, but the half-flights stretch across the back of the house instead of the side.
• Cape Cod floor plans often have 1-2 bedrooms on the main floor, with 1-3 more upstairs under a peaked roof.
Because so many owner’s bedrooms are on an upper floor around here, there is a thriving market for stairlifts and retrofitted elevators. Some new houses and townhouses are built with an elevator, but it isn’t common.
I’m from MD, born and raised. I live in the city/ suburbs of Baltimore. I highly suggest if your friend does decide to move here to move far away from that area. The traffic is terrible, the people are angry, and the crime is rising. If not for my job and insurance I would move out of state in a heartbeat. Yes there are beautiful parts of MD but you have to go a little farther out to find them.
J wharmby says
I can’t speak for Maryland specifically, but I live in Tennessee and most of the houses I’ve been in don’t have a master bedroom downstairs. I had one friend whose house has one and that was a newer expensive neighborhood that they moved into when both kids in the household were older.
Personally I can see why a lot of parents may want that especially with older children, but I talked about it with my mom once and she said she would never buy a house where the parent’s bedroom was on a different floor. That may have changed now that we’re older if we needed to move back in, but her reasons then were she wanted to know if one of us got sick in the middle of the night or were doing something we weren’t supposed to. She also worried about what would happen if there was an emergency like a fire or break in. She was a single parent by then, but even before my father died he was out of town for work regularly and she worried about trying to get 2 small children out of the house by herself and she didn’t want to have to start so far away.
Lee W. says
This is a really common concern for families with small kids – moms want to be close to the kids. But that changes as we age. I live in east Tennessee, and virtually everything here is a split-foyer. After my husband died, I spent two years searching for a single story home with a garage, that didn’t cost twice as much as my existing home. Two years! I wanted something where I could stay as long as possible while remaining independent. Having stairs, even in a split-foyer situation, makes it difficult and even dangerous for people as they age. My MIL who is 78, got pulled down her stairs by her dog, and even though it was only seven steps, she broke her leg in two places. So then she couldn’t navigate the stairs at all on crutches and needed to go stay with another relative until she healed. First floor “owners’ suites” NEED to become a trend!
OK now I’ll put my soapbox away 😉
Jennifer Cui says
I have a friend in MD who wanted a downstairs master to accommodate her aging mastiff. It was definitely a challenge, but she found one in an older community just off of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway in Laurel, MD. The big drawback is that type of real estate near the beltway can be pricey (in the half-million range). We actually built a single-level in rural Central Virginia (near Charlottesville) to escape DC and allow for retirement and the inevitable decrepitude. Regardless, as former residents of MD during several military tours, we love the state for all the reasons everyone else has stated. It’s blue, surprisingly rural in areas, diverse, four-season, and a hop, skip, and jump from major metropolitan areas if you need the occasional spice in your life. Good luck to your friend in his/her house search!
I love living in Maryland! I live in Baltimore city and I think its the best of all worlds. Fairly small as cities go, but big enough for lots of interesting entertainment and restaurants. Cost of living is low for cities, but if you don’t want to be near DC, you can find even cheaper suburbs. Its 20 minutes to hiking trails, and nice city parks are closer. Winter weather is pretty mild (I’m from Wisconsin). Summer is hotter and more humid than is comfortable, but fall is amazing and lasts forever. Maryland Sheep & Wool festival is just down the road 😉
After your friend moves (and we’re beyond covid), go visit her over the first weekend in May so you can take in the Maryland Sheep and Wool festival. Not as hefty as Rhinebeck, but still worth the trek. ????
My daughter just bought a house here in Georgia with the master bedroom on the ground floor. This is the first house I’ve ever seen that way. We suspect the owners wife may have used a wheel chair. All the light switches are low (think within a 2yr old’s reach). It does make sense for older people.
Lily Harris says
Used to live in Maryland and although every rabbit loves its own briar patch, I highly recommend at least looking there. Maryland is beautiful, lots of trees and parks, but horrible traffic in metro D.C.-Baltimore corridor. Washington has so many charms, including world class museums, and other attractions, much of which is free! Some of the homes built by Levitt in the early 1970’s, had models that included a master bedroom/bathroom downstairs. (More specifically, Bel Pre subdivision in Wheaton/Silver Spring, outside of Washington.) I was a teenager (many moons ago) in one. Master down is harder to find in many areas, unless one is looking in a retirement community. Look in western Maryland, if you like four seasons, and less congestion. Look in deep southern Maryland, if you like the water, and fairly flat landscape. It still has some tobacco farms and great seafood. The Eastern shore is great, too, but does suffer from occasional hurricanes.
I live in Maryland and there is tons to see and do. Beautiful mountains, lakes, beaches, and best of all Annapolis. Not the most economical place to live if retired. It’s true you will only find first floor master in newer construction.
Marylander here! I live in the suburbs outside D. C. and I love living here for many of the reasons already commented… all four seasons, beautiful land with beach and mountains, great food, and all the amenities of the capitol just a few miles away. Here are some of my takeaways about the day to day:
-State flag pride is strong
-Old Bay is classic MD flavor, but there is JO, too
-You need A. C and heat in your home
-Pollen is terrible
-Traffic is hellish around the beltway. I live 7 mi from my in laws, but if I’m driving in the worst of rush hour it can take up to an hour to get there.
-I’m very privileged to spend a lot of my summer on the Eastern shore. From my personal experience with people from different parts of MD, closer to D. C. votes blue and closer to the shore votes red. I don’t think the state as a whole is as blue as it looks on paper
-Everyone I know buying real estate with an acre+ right now is going north up 270 from Germantown and into Frederick. From what I hear, great place to live but missing some night life
-I’ve never had problems with delivery where I live, but nothing is open after 10pm. Late night options get better the closer to D. C. you go
Joe K. says
How would you like to live in an area where within a few minutes drive you can reach a major metropolitan area (or two with DC), the beach, the mountains, areas surrounded by farms, large wooded areas, and some of the best food options in the nation? The downside? We’re gonna tax you for all of it. 🙂
I’ve lived here my whole life and while the taxes do suck it’s not so bad.
Whether you intend to move here or write a novel with Maryland as the background please understand that I wholeheartedly welcome you.
As to having a master bedroom on the first floor… I would think if you’ve got money, land, and intend to build a large home on it you might consider having the master on the bottom floor. But if space is limited you’re gonna build up… and it’s nice considering your bedroom the penthouse suite.
I currently live in Baltimore County Maryland. Maryland is a nice place to live. It’s not the cheapest, but it’s nice. We have a lot of hills. When we have driven to Florida it’s always remarkable to me how very flat it all is. We experience all four seasons very definitely. We get snow periodically in winter, but usually a heck of a lot less than what my coworkers who live in PA get. We obviously have a variety of house styles in every area of Maryland, but more often than not it is two stories, usually with a basement. Many of the houses in my particular area (I live just outside Baltimore City) were built in the early 50s. You get three bedrooms, one bathroom, all upstairs and the downstairs is living, dining, kitchen. Built well and with nice trims on the doors, but nothing fancy. Closets are tiny, apparently no one owned clothes in the 50s. And one parking space because no one envisioned a life where people had multiple cars. Ahaha. To me it feels like in Maryland there is no space between different jurisdictions/towns/cities. In some states, like Florida or Pennsylvania, you can drive between one town and the next and there is a definite zone between them with not much there. Maryland feels more like one giant community in some aspects as the line between localities is just a line on a map, when you are driving it’s just one continuous community with no space between. If you go to western Maryland, it’s likely more spread out with more farm area. The general I-95 corridor that goes between Washington DC and Baltimore is developed pretty much completely with houses and businesses in every direction. I’m not sure if that answers your question or not, but MD is nice. As with every state, there are nice neighbors and jerk neighbors but more nice than jerks. For the house question, I don’t know, but I’m guessing the idea of having a master bedroom downstairs is a newer theory. Possibly many of the houses in Maryland were built in the 80s or before. Some of the newly built houses may have that feature added, but most places I see new development going in it is usually townhomes so they can cram more houses/get more money into the small plot of land they have.
Not entirely sure if that answers your question but hopefully that helps.
Thanks for being so awesome and all that you do. Thank you for the never ending entertainment you provide. You all rock!
When my parents aged, we put chair lifts in for them to go up the stairs. Worked quite well. My grandmother had one too. Personally, I’d never want a bedroom on the main floor. I like to be away from the bustle of kitchen, family room, living room and their tvs and computers.
We live in Northern Virginia, in the Fairfax county portion of Alexandria. We built our house 10 years ago with a custom home builder at the tail end of the subprime mortgage crisis. Even though we were fortunate to sneak in to the market before real estate pricing swung back very high in the DC metro area again, we still built a two story (with basement), with bedrooms (including the master) up on the second floor because land is just so expensive and space is at such a premium. As native Midwesterners, our instinct would have been to build a home with a master on the main floor, but we sacrificed that in order to have a decent amount of main living area space for entertaining. Regardless, it turned out great and we love the area, Washington politics aside.
I will just insert, that though I’ve lived in CA, NY, DE and PA, I think MD has the super wonderful best skies and light ever ;). Written from Maryland…
I love living here! I’ve lived around the country, and this is one of my favorites. The summers aren’t as bad as the south, the winters aren’t as bad as the Midwest.
I live slightly north of Baltimore on I-95. I can be in downtown Baltimore in 30 min, Philly in an hour and fifteen, and DC in an hour and fifteen (depending on traffic). But, all that said, my area is a little more rural. Traffic isn’t bad. Slightly slower pace, but with plenty around if I want to do anything or something special! A quick overnight trip to NYC? Easy! I just drive to New Jersey and take the train. Only takes about 2.5 hours to get there! And the beach! On a few hours away to the Atlantic (I don’t recommend beaches in the Chesapeake Bay lol).
I love how green it is here in the summer. I missed that when I was living in Kansas. I adore trees! I also love all the clear rivers and streams around in the summer. My friends and I grab some drinks and sit in the river for a few hours (or tube, but sometimes we are cheap or lazy!) When I was in Louisiana, the water was always so dirty!
Housing prices are a bit high, but considering how close the metro areas are, my area isn’t bad in comparison.
I am lucky enough to have a first floor master in my townhouse. Someone commented above that you’re probably need to look for a newer build, and I would agree with that. The older houses in this area are very “vertical” and the bedrooms are all upstairs.
The house in which I grew up in Ohio was built in the 1890’s. It had a full bath upstairs, where the bedrooms were, and not so much as a washroom downstairs. If you had dirty hands, you had to wash them in the kitchen sink. My parents had five children. The house had 3 bedrooms. At some point, someone put hot water radiators in and got rid of the pot-bellied stove that heated the house from the center of the lower floor. My parents did the only thing they could to save sanity in that house and installed a half-bath downstairs, then moved their bedroom down there. Three houses in a row, built as mirror images of each other, smallest on one side, largest on the other, ours was in the middle. On both sides of us, people did exactly what my parents did. A little remodeling goes a long way to make a house livable. My grandparents next door had the largest house with their 7 children, and their bedroom was off the middle room downstairs, which is where my parents put theirs. It doesn’t take much to put a bathroom within reach, and closets can be built in or purchased as stand-alone items. We had a stand-alone closet in what had been the biggest bedroom upstairs, the other two rooms got built-ins between them because they were built as one room and divided as children got born. The middle room upstairs was just a lonely room with bookshelves and stuff all around. No one wanted to sleep where everybody had to walk through to get out of their bedrooms, so it was a wasted room. As children, we played with all our toys up there where company never saw our messes.
Find the house you like where you like it sitting on property you like enough to own, and remodel a little, and you have whatever you want in your home. As long as it’s not illegal to have a bedroom downstairs, there are very few issues with putting in a bathroom and some closets. No house is ever going to be perfect the day you buy it. Come close, get a name of someone who can change what you can’t live with, and buy the house of your dreams and make it your own.
I’ve lived in Maryland for the last 4o years and other than in a one-level home, the houses I’ve seen NEVER have a bedroom on the first floor. Many areas of Maryland get very hot in the summer and upstairs bedrooms are intolerably uncomfortable without air conditioning. Think it’s a plot by the HVAC guys who recommend getting a second AC unit for the second floor.
Hi Ilona. I have lived in MD for 11 years which is the longest amount of time I’ve lived anywhere. I live in a semi rural area in St. Mary’s county in a very small town called California. It is not a blue part of the state however. It took some years for me to like it here but now I love it. My husband loves it here too. We had our home built and yes there are few homes with a master on the first floor unless you have it built. Another option would be to own a ranch home or a home with only one floor, and there are some adorable ones here.
We get all 4 seasons and there’s plenty of coastline so you can live on the water or walking distance to water.
Before COVID there was absolutely no places that delivered food. We have a ton of local restaurants and a lot of chains as well. Now Almost everyone delivers because that’s what they have to do to stay in business. I also appreciate how our state handled the pandemic. It is mandatory to wear a mask in indoor public places. The St. Mary’s hospital was one of the first hospitals in the state to offer drive through COVID testing which I have done and it was hassle free in my opinion. I also appreciated how our local business handled the pandemic. Everyone wears masks that I’ve seen and the local businesses take a lot of precautions.
I can only speak to this area of Maryland that I live in. It will be different in places like Annapolis and Baltimore and even areas on the eastern shore and western Maryland.
Hope this helps!
I read what I posted to my husband and he was appalled I didn’t mention blue crabs and oysters, and insisted I immediately remedy that. So yeah, blue crabs and oysters. There is crab fest and beer fest in the summer and oyster fest in the fall at our St. Mary’s fairgrounds. We also have alpaca fest in the fall (beautiful yarns) but that is about an hour away from where we live but totally worth the drive. I get tons of yarn from local alpaca farms at that festival. There is also a beautiful high end yarn store 15 minutes from my house which I love.
I live in Baltimore. I dream of living in a rancher. It’s super-rare to see first floor bedrooms! Instead, elevators. Also, lots of senior living communities. We have a wonderful independent bookseller, The Ivy, about to re-open in their new location. For some reason, we do not have skunks. Our foxes are gorgeous!
Colleen Fisk says
I lived in Maryland for two years just outside of DC and did not like it. I grew up (and now live) in Alaska so part of it was just so. many. people. Related to that is the impersonal nature of moving about the community… most places in Alaska, you have the “small town” feel of knowing (almost) everyone, running into people at the store, etc. Another part of that was just a very different culture. People were much more formal in the professional world, and where I lived in Silver Springs it was my first time living somewhere where it wasn’t safe to walk outside at night. I was harassed when I walked down the street. And it was very jarring then visiting Smithsonians and monuments in DC. Very different communities from block to block within DC and suburbs of DC like Prince George county cities in Maryland.
I don’t know about Maryland but up here in B.C., Canada. Having a master bedroom on the first floor is just weird.
Living is Maryland is great but only if you like getting ALL the seasons! I have lived in MD for almost 20 years. The rural areas are especially peaceful and scenic. The trees in the fall are breathtaking! The only downside is the Trump signs is certain areas…
I also have lived in St.Mary’s county and second everything that Steph said!
Maryland sounds great. Now that my mother has past, I am thinking of moving somewhere that suits me better. I miss snow. I am thinking of Colorado Springs. I would have some desert and their wonderful zoo. The mountains. I think it might be Colorado for me.
I’ve lived in Maryland for close to 25 years now. Prior to that, about 3 years in Raleigh, NC, and my first 23-ish years in Michigan.
Scenically, Maryland is like MI, PA, NC in that it has a lot of trees and lots of hills and flat areas.
Weather wise, it is much milder than Michigan (of course, I was from the snow belt of MI, so everywhere is milder). Northern MD is more likely to see ice instead of snow. Have had a few snow events, but even Raleigh has had some snow events. (Or what they call events. Michiganders would call that a dusting.) More humid than MI (and definitely more humid than AZ), but less than FL and Houston, from what I’ve heard. Area got hit with that one derecho a few years ago, although my house didn’t get hit. One minor earthquake (the one that damaged the Washington monument). The occasional tornado. All in all, doesn’t have a lot of natural disasters.
Cost of living is probably higher than most parts of TX. When my brother moved here from GA and was building a house, he was surprised at how expensive it is, but he blamed it on the code requirements. He was also very surprised that I bought my small house for $290k when the same amount of money in GA would buy a much bigger house. So be prepared for a much higher cost of living.
I don’t think I’ve particularly heard mention of health care being better, per se, but the school districts in some areas are nationally ranked. Public schools, no less. That was one of the reasons why my brother wanted to move here as opposed to staying in GA.
Hope all that helps.
Kristian Holvoet says
It depends on where in Md. there is Baltimore. Yuck. The People’s Republics of Montgomery County and Prince Georges County (DC burbs, expensive and essentially 13 overlapping HOAs), southern md (beginning of Tobacco Road), western Md (Pennsytucky and WV) and the Eastern Shore. They all might as well be different countries. I’ve lived in the Baltimore burbs, the DC burbs, went to HS on the Eastern Shore and went to college in Southern Md. give me a county / town and I can give you the dirt.
Julie Ferm says
I’m in Delaware and could lob a ball over the Maryland line from my front yard. I think everyone has already covered it. Many of the houses out here are simply too old to have that design style. I had to look at 31 houses to find one I liked and could afford with a “real” master bedroom (room for a king size bed, large private bath, walk in closet, and the ability to get the bed up the stairwell). I didn’t even care what floor of the house it was on. The colonials are plentiful out here and lovely, but they are rarely going to have a modern floor plan. They have small bedrooms, small closets (assuming there are closets even – armoires and wardrobes used to be pieces of furniture, not “rooms”), small bathrooms and small kitchens. Everything will be broken into multiple rooms. My aunt lives in a house from the 1700s. My uncle has one in Old New Castle from the early 1800s. They are gorgeous to look at, but my aunt and my uncle have spent the past 30 years on various reconstruction projects (and coping with the historical committee in my uncle’s case). Your friend might need a good real estate agent. The more modern builds are out here, but they can be pesky to find. “Open floor plan” is used to describe everything because the words “open floor plan” out here are like a dragon saying “Spanish gold doubloon”. It’s usually not an actual open floor plan LOL. Avoid anything that has a historical committee is my other piece of unasked for advice. Unless your friend is passionate about saving historical architecture, they do not want that hassle.
I lived in Maryland when I was young – we moved in 1979. The house I lived in had a downstairs master. The basement was unfinished, and the upstairs at the time we lived in it housed two bedrooms but not properly done – it was a smaller area with dormer windows and no hallway. Stairs entered into one bedroom and you had to go through that one to get to the other one. It was probably more finished attic than proper bedrooms – those were downstairs (two). Most of the houses in my small town were that way, I believe. It was built in the late 50s.
I’m afraid I’m decades out of date to tell you what living in Maryland was like; but I can tell you the best steamed crabs can be found there; the autumn colors are beautiful, the snows are generally not terrible, and for me, every time I return there something in my soul is fed.
From relatives that still live there – land is EXPENSIVE, at least in the metro areas, and people can be, well, people. Some not so nice.
There are suburban sections that have 1st floor masters, but most of the housing won’t have masters on the first floor. We do have the ocean and the mountains.
I grew up in MD until I went away for college and my parents still live there. You get 4 seasons, snow, and occasionally ice. Just because of things that have happened in my life and because I’ve lived in AR and KS since, I can tell you it’s got amazing doctors and tons to choose from. No shortage of specialists. The beach is close. My parents owned a condo in Ocean City that was only sold this month. We went in the off season but even in season, the water is never warm. The sand is coarse too, but I grew up going and miss it all the same. It’s close to a lot of other states and historic sites. Traffic is heavy on the beltway and to DC. There’s no toll highways, except the bay bridge has a toll. The crab cakes are the best and access to fresh seafood is always great. I hope you find what you’re looking for.
When I’m house hunting, I visit the neighborhood Fire Station and ask the fire fighters “What kind of calls do you run in this neighborhood?” If they make a few medical calls for a diabetic but it’s otherwise quiet, then I’m researching the sex offender registry as part of my due diligence. If firefighters are running gunshot wounds, stabbings, and drug overdoses its a hard pass on the place.
I wish your friend an uneventful move and a healthy happy home.
(Speaking from the DC-adjacent area of Maryland): Maryland’s nice! You get the same sort of mild weather that you get being off the Chesapeake where you get four solid seasons, so you get some of the heat highs and snow but without the sustained heat/snow that makes the northeast and the south miserable.
The metro area is expensive but peters out a bit further from the cities (still higher real-estate wise than Texas- you’re looking at a smaller lot for the same price), but you also get the upside of an extremely diverse population shops etc. without it being overly urban (I moved from Birmingham to Rockville and now live within walking distance of two tea cafes with a third one five minutes down the road and no fewer than three hot pot places in a ten-minute drive). I’m also close enough to the city to enjoy the Smithsonian when there’s not an apocalypse.
You also get nice nature. You have mountains, you have the bay, you have great wineries, etc. If you enjoy the mountains you’re also close to West Virginia which I highly recommend for camping. There are also weird liquor laws depending on your county: Montgomory County doesn’t let 90% of grocery stores sell liquor and now I no longer have easy access to $5 Aldi’s wine.
Something to consider about living in MD: Income and property taxes are kind of high. No separate “school” tax, at least in Baltimore County.
I was born and raised in a blue-collar suburb of Baltimore. Returned there after my military service. Found the state government to be slightly more intrusive in daily living than other places I had been stationed.
On the plus side, health care, as you mentioned, is top rate. Wide variety of things to see and do close by.
Huh. I don’t see my second post. I can’t remember everything I said, but I remember pointing out the cost of living in MD is probably a lot higher than most places in TX. My brother said building a house here was a lot more expensive than building in GA. He just moved to TX (outside Austin) and built a house, so I asked him to compare MD to TX. He said TX is less than MD but higher than GA.
He also said to point out that MD has a state income tax. (Counties and Baltimore City do, too.)
My comments seem to be getting eaten.
In short… cost of living higher. Building house more expensive than TX, depending on location. And MD has state income tax (as do counties and Baltimore City).
We lived in a ranch house in Maryland and our master was on the first floor. In the older neighborhoods you will find them. You will also find a variety of styles depending on the age and location of the house. So there are a variety of styles and floor layouts. Maryland is beautiful state from the rolling hills and mountains to the beaches.
Rowan Worth says
Yeah…bedrooms on the first floor still seem weird to me. I’m in Virginia. It’s a recent trend in multi-story houses.
One of Maryland’s nicknames is “America in Miniature” because of the scope natural features, weather, and activities found in our state. That extends to the political make-up as well. While we are historically a blue state, there are areas of strong red as well, including both Harford and Cecil counties. We tend to have a fairly stable economy due to the extensive government and military jobs available so close by.
We generally have all four seasons (sometimes in one day), we have Old Bay, we have Chesapeake Bay blue crabs, we have Johns Hopkins. We have one of the wealthiest counties in the US (Howard) and also one of cities with the highest murder rate (Baltimore).
Regarding the whole master bedroom thing, when I was working in the housing industry some ten years ago, we did make an effort to refer to it as the “owner’s bedroom” because of the negative connotation of “master.” The owner’s being on the first floor is both fairly new and very old. I worked with new builds, and saw them increasing in the early 2000s. The very modest home I grew up in was built in the 50s with only two bedrooms and one bathroom, both on the first floor. The attic was offered unfinished at purchase to enable people to buy, and then most finished it and maybe added a second bathroom as their families grew. As houses get bigger and our population ages, first floor owner’s suites, sometimes called in-law suites, are definitely becoming more and more popular.
Sue Miller says
I lived in Maryland for 25 years and was very glad to leave. Taxes and crime were very high.
Sue Miller says
In Maryland, master bedroom suites on the first floor are common in “senior” (55 and older) communities.
I’m a Marylander through and through with my entire life here in MD. I have sooo much I could share!
There are places that most houses have master bedrooms on the first floor?! WHAT? This blew my mind. The only ones I’ve been that have that are all much older houses and/or rancher style. Land here in the DMV (Washington D.C. Metropolitan Area) is EXPENSIVE. The further you go out away from D.C. the cheaper the land is and you get so much more for your money. I live pretty close to D.C. and my land cost alone would get me a mansion if I drive 40 minutes up North which is away from D.C. We tend to follow the real estate market pretty closely in our neighborhood and houses in the 600-900k go very fast lately. Everyone’s looking at houses with yards due to COVID.
Maryland is very hilly. And we get all four seasons here (decades ago it was a full equal four seasons but now short fall and springs) and an easy drive to most hobbies for all four seasons. If I wanted to go to the ocean it’s a quick drive to the coastline. If I wanted to see the mountains I can easily drive to the Shenandoahs, if I wanted skiing then I have a couple different snow resorts, there’s Deep Creek for lake fishing, Smithsonian museums etc. Everything is just so easily drive-able.
The atmosphere really changes by what county you’re living in so it depends on what that person is looking for. I’ve lived in a couple different Maryland counties all in the DMV and most of it is really a suburban feel but within a 5-15 minute drive from major shopping centers. But I would say all of us who live here aren’t on the relaxed side but there’s a good mix of people who moved here from other places.
One thing I realized that someone not from MD told me wasn’t normal was to ask what people do for a living as one of the first couple questions when you get to know someone. When you meeting strangers the norm is usually exchanging your name and you talk about what you do for living. I found that pretty interesting. Not sure if that was just their point of view or if that’s really not the norm everywhere else but he pointed out everyone here does it and not the norm everywhere else he lived.
Other things to note that the seafood is great and allergies are pretty bad for some folks I know that moved here from drier areas. We don’t get much snow anymore so we tend to shut down with an inch of snow. Good thing because Marylanders DO NOT know how to drive in bad weather. Back way when, when I was in High School, we got a new superintendent from New York. He scoffed at the idea of closing school for two inches of snow and stubbornly opened schools on time and parents, PTA, the news were up in arms. School buses crashed and there were many car accidents and delays due to accidents around the entire county. The following week the same Superintendent closed schools when it was freezing rain with no chance of snow.
My parents came from Texas. I remember when I was young and wanted to visit Texas for the first time I mentioned maybe I could do a day trip and visit Houston and Dallas and they laughed. I did not realize cities there are like a 4 hour drive apart whilst here I could drive through 3-4 cities within five minutes or drive half the East Coast and drive through 4 states in 4 hours.
To add, I see the term master’s bedroom most of the time. I do see owners ensuite or owners suite but I’d say that it’s rare so surprised to see that 60% of home builders use that in the DMV. Every realtor I’ve met uses the term masters bedroom so maybe the term is more frequently used for new builds.
Tiffany Crystal says
lol, I read your response and had to wonder how many people were confused by your “DMV” reference. For those of you curious, DMV = the DelMarVa (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) peninsula.
On another note, I live in Texas now, and mannnn, do I sympathize with you about the distance x_x It’s a whole ‘nother world down here, and I can’t wait to escape, lol.
Weeeeell, just to be picky…
• “The DelMarVa peninsula” is the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. That large oval of land has parts of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. It’s sandwiched between the Chesapeake Bay to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.
• “The DMV” is a local term for the greater sprawl of the District of Columbia, Maryland suburbs, and Virginia suburbs.
• Going a little further afield would be “BaltiWashMond” since the urban/suburban/exurban area stretches roughly through Baltimore, Washington, and Richmond.
Cheryl Chapnick says
I loved Delaware which is one state north of Maryland. 🙂
Maryland has moderate weather most of the time in that we don’t usually get hurricanes. We can get some wind and rain from them, but usually not the massive destruction. Occasional tornados are sighted, but these are fairly few. The summers are hot and humid. Fall and spring are pretty, and our winters are moderate. I think we had only two really cold days last year. It felt like we didn’t really have a winter, but other years it can get quite cold. We have Washington and Baltimore for theater and museums. We have good hospitals. I do think the state taxes are high, so that a consideration. I’m from Maryland and like living here.
Tiffany Crystal says
Living in Maryland is like living any other place. Your mileage is going to vary. Personally, I miss it. I grew up in Baltimore, and I can tell you it’s definitely not for everyone.
One of my favorite things though, if you get to go visit, are the painted screens. I never knew they were considered “unique” until long after I had moved away.
In my eventual dream home, I WILL have painted screens on my windows, dammit.
David Donahoe says
Maryland runs a really wide gamut of lifestyles. A decent portion are in the sticks as some would say. I do not recommend Baltimore. In Baltimore, a good area and a bad area are often only separated by a single block. Annapolis area is nice. If you like to garden, “Eastern Shore” Maryland has a very sandy soil. Also, closely check the house you wish to buy. Really cheaply made McMansions were all the rage 20-30 years ago. They may look fine on the outside but major flaws are often hidden in the roof and around windows.
Born in Maryland, spent most of my life there and left when I retired because of the taxes. Several other posters mentioned the high taxes, but here are some details. Think Texas city-level property taxes + State income tax + county piggyback tax. Maryland is also one of the few states that has both an inheritance tax and an estate tax. Oddly enough, Maryland does not tax your vehicle every year as many other states do, but you pay a substantial one-time tax when you register the vehicle.
Several other posters have mentioned your friend might want to build a home. That might depend on your friend’s schedule for finding housing. The good builders are always busy. Custom-built homes in Maryland can be much more expensive than a similar size existing home or a subdivision home and it can be time-consuming to get all the proper zoning and building approvals. Depending on the local water/sewer utility, the hook-up cost could also be high if lines have to be extended into a large lot. Some counties might allow a well/septic tank instead – if the lot is large enough, and passes a perc test.
Maryland has some exceptional medical facilities, like Johns Hopkins University Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical Center. Many regional medical facilities will refer patients to JHUH or UMMC for specialty care. However, both of those facilities are in downtown Baltimore so be prepared to deal with city traffic. Baltimore has a lot of one-way major streets complicating navigation.
I was really confused about the whole master bedroom on the first floor, until I remembered that in England we call the first floor the ground floor and what you call the second floor is our first floor!
Gorgeous house though and, given the aging population and the challenges of stairs, I can see why a master bedroom on the ground (first) floor with doors out to the garden would be a real plus point.
How about putting in an elevator? That’s what we did when we designed our home. I knew that as I aged I wouldn’t be able to handle the stairs. We live in northern PA on a small mountain so the house is built on a slope and we live in what would be considered the second floor. Most elevator companies have designs that can work in existing homes.
I live in Western Australia and most homes when I was young where single stories. Homes in WA are double brick. Only very old homes are made of wood. Double stories homes are being build now but mainly single stories. We use the term Master Bedroom in Australia, so I knew what you where talking about.
OK so, I know we talked about some of this last fall… but here’s what I like about living in Maryland.
1. Access to great healthcare. Hopkins draws a lot of talent, and because they are also a teaching hospital, a lot of talent stays here after they graduate. We both have health issues and there are plenty of specialists in the area for us, and getting tests and procedures done doesn’t get delayed for a long time here because they have a backlog.
2. You get all 4 seasons here. (Sometimes in one week!) To compare this to living in Georgia, overall the temps are really colder in my opinion, but it sure felt a lot colder the first two years I lived here. Spring is about a month later than the Atlanta area, and if gardening is your thing, overall the growing season is shorter.
3. Job opportities are better here for women than in the south. I realize this doesn’t particularly apply to you as writiers but it might apply for your girls if they are moving with you. The IT/Cybersecurity industry is big here, and there’s a lot of opportunitiy for everyone, but as someone who has worked both here and in Georgia in tech, I feel say the pay disparity is less here, and it’s just a better environment to work in over all as a woman.
4. I’m close to everything, but also still distanced enough that I don’t feel crowded. I grew up in the boonies where you had to drive 30 minutes to get to the one grocery store in the area, and food delivery was just not an option. In my neighborhood here, I’m about 5 minutes from groceries, gas, and the pharmacy, as well having many food delivery options. We can be in DC or in Baltimore in about 20 minutes (very traffic dependent though!), and I still have lots of deer, foxes, and bunnies in my yard. Our neighborhood is fairly quiet, and isn’t hugely expensive to live in either. The housing here isn’t lux or anything, but it’s nice, and we’re very happy here.
5. You’re within 2 hours of the mountains and 3 hours of the ocean. And chances are very strong, you’re within an hour of the Chesapeake Bay in almost all locations you might choose to live.
Possible Cons to living here:
1. It does snow many inches almost every year. Sometimes more than once. Owning a snowblower is generally recommended.
2. There’s also just less sun in general compared to Georgia and probably Texas. Definitely more sun than Oregon however. There are plenty of sunny days here, but I didn’t even realize I could be affected by SAD until moving here, so there is a difference compared to a more southern lattitude.
3. The housing market here is expensive compared to most other areas. You can choose to live further out in western MD or Eastern Shore area however and it goes down some, but you do lose the ease of being close to pretty much everything at that point, but generally even moving further out you wouldn’t be more than an 60-90 minutes from most population centers.
Renee Auger says
Lived in Falls Church Virginia for 7 years just outside of Washington DC and Maryland. Beautiful country there. Most of the houses had “studies” that I remember – usually at the front of the house. Remember you will get “all the seasons” there. Winters can be intense. Not like Canada but lots of snow.
Born in Maryland, spent most of my life there and left when I retired because of the taxes. Spent some time in CA, TX, and NC along the way.
Several other posters mentioned the high taxes, but here are some specifics. Think Texas city-level property taxes + State income tax + county piggyback tax. Maryland is also one of the few states that has both an inheritance tax and an estate tax. Oddly enough, Maryland does not tax your vehicle every year as many other states do, but you pay a substantial one-time tax when you register the vehicle.
There have also been several suggestions that your friend might want to build a home. That might depend on your friend’s schedule for finding housing. The good builders are always busy. Currently, Covid has created some building materials shortages driving the costs up. There are also lots of building and zoning hoops to jump through and some are much stricter than you might expect.
Politics are generally very blue in the suburban swath between DC and Baltimore and outvote the red fringes in western Maryland and the eastern shore. Gerrymandering election districts should probably replace jousting as the Maryland state sport. Redistricting made the ballot in 2016 and Benisek v Lamone almost made it to the Supreme Court in 2019.
Maryland has some exceptional medical facilities, like Johns Hopkins University Hospital and the University of Maryland Medical Center. Many regional medical facilities will refer patients to JHUH or UMMC for specialty care. However, both of those facilities are in downtown Baltimore so be prepared to deal with city traffic. Baltimore has a lot of one-way major streets complicating navigation. My family also found less-prestigious hospitals like Frederick Memorial and Shady Grove Adventist to provide good care.
Michelle Wyatt says
I lived in Maryland since I graduated from college in 1996. I just moved to Florida a year ago. Why the move? The biggest reason is the taxes. Maryland is the fourth most expensive state from a tax perspective in the United States. Yes, its in a perfect “seasonal weather” location and fairly secure from an economic perspective because the government will always spend money and its geographic position makes it in prime real estate for that bonanza. If you are thinking of moving to Maryland, I would carefully evaluate how your taxes will be affected. Like all states, different areas and counties have different tax requirements and if you are in a rural area, the cost of housing may help offset the taxes. If you are looking to live along the I-95 corridor, however, good luck with finding affordable housing. I’ve been in Florida just over a year, and wish I had moved here a long time ago.
Maria Schneider says
I know in Texas, many of the two-story houses have all the bedrooms upstairs EXCEPT for homes that were built in the last 5 to 7 years or so. I know this because an elderly neighbor was trying to buy a house and could not find a one-story (they are not as prevalent) and all the two-stories had the bedrooms upstairs. It’s taken builders a while to figure out that people don’t want to climb stairs–especially if they are older. They want the laundry, bathroom and master at least on the first floor. We have always held out until we could find a one story house–and this started in our thirties. One stories hold their value, easier maintenance when it comes to roof, painting, decorations, etc.
Maryland sounds cold. But beautiful in the summer.
Maryland is my home state, and it is awesome! From coastal, to rolling Piedmont, to mountains, “America in Miniature” has it all 🙂
Many existing homes in the DMV have been renovated to add a first-floor master. Very expensive homes are still being built without one. Redfin includes # of bedrooms on the “main level” in the property details, even if it doesn’t include it as a search term.
As a MD resident my whole life, I enjoy it as there is a lot of variety relatively close together. I lived in rural areas, suburbs and urban areas. New builds or those with new additions are the most likely to have first floor master bedrooms in most areas. One thing to know, however, is property taxes in MD are no joke from a state and county level, so make sure you look at that when you are looking.
Nikki B. says
If you ate thinking about moving more north, look into coming up a bit more! Would love to have you in Upstate NY- If nothing else this picture speaks a 1000 words!!
Helenmary Cody says
We have lived in Maryland since 2001 and both of our houses have had first floor masters. The first was custom built for a wealthy and traditional older couple in 1960. It actually had 2 bedrooms and baths in the first floor master suite because, traditional. We built our current house in 2014 and included a first floor master because we aren’t getting any younger. I don’t know for sure, but I think you might find them more in newer construction than in older homes.
For its size, Maryland is very diverse. Eastern Maryland, both the Eastern Shore and the parts on the west side of the Chesapeake Bay, are very water focused, as would be expected. Also, pricey. Part of why we moved from our old house (which had a “winter water view”) to our current place is that we now have 48 acres and fewer annoying neighbors. Though this being a rural area, we get a lot more gunshots from hunters. And it is very conservative, as is most of the western part of the state. The areas close to DC are very much focused towards the capital and tend to be more liberal.
Beth Steiner says
Living in Maryland is wonderful – except for the gigantic cicada Brood X that’s coming in summer 2021 😉
I live in Maryland. I like how close it is to jobs in DC and VA and Baltimore, but traffic sucks (before COVID) all the time, and it’s super expensive the closer you get to DC (I’m talking 1 BR tiny apartment in a “nice” neighborhood for upwards of $1200, and my 3 BR 30 y/o unrenovated townhome was a “steal” at $320K). Idk the master on the top floor reason, but the only houses I’ve seen with them on the first floor are houses with only one floor anyway (or one floor and a basement). There’s also the fact that some people don’t want to sleep on a different floor from their kids, because there was a scare going around a couple years ago where someone’s upstairs floors got too hot and the parents didn’t know and the oldest kid came down and climbed into their bed but their younger baby died. Idk If I can buy a home with my bedroom on a different floor now b/c of that, at least not until my kids are older
I lived in various parts of MD over a 15 year period. I just left 6 months ago because I did not like living there. Especially the closer you get to DC, the variety of food and fashion becomes more limited, the traffic gets significantly worse, the cost of living goes up exponentially, and the friendliness goes down. Public transportation is limited, expensive, and breaks down a lot.
I couldn’t tell you about the master bedroom thing, but I lived in Maryland for 4 years in college. I grew up in Southern California, which was great, and I include that tidbit because it informed my opinion about Maryland.
Things that I liked: The Chesapeake Bay is amazing if you are a water person. If you like boats, it is fantastic. I like four distinct seasons, with winter not being ridiculous. That being said, summers are muggy! Bleh. One of the reasons I am further north now. Annapolis is a wonderful small city. Baltimore is kind of cool. Proximity to DC without actually having to live there is great for all the stuff there is to do. A lot of the land is beautiful. BWI is a great smaller airport to get in and out of. Nothing on the Eastern seaboard is too far away from Maryland.
Things I liked less: The north south cultural divide meets about here. Plusses and minuses to that, but it felt odd at times. Muggy, and I do mean MUGGY summers. Although not deep south muggy. DC traffic is ridonculous. Are they still raising tobacco to the extent they were 25 years ago? Ew. Beaches, eh. I got spoiled by Hawaii.
Overall, I think Maryland is great. Lots of nice people, lots of great stuff to do.
I grew up in Maryland and went to college in Baltimore. It’s not a bad place to live, although taxes are high and the cost of living can be high. Lots to do and see with all the museums and sports teams and cities nearby. Travel is also cheaper with so many major airports close! Ground floor masters in 2 story homes are a newer trend, and as many homes in MD are 2 stories and older no ground floor masters. My dad owned a roofing company for many years and loved to visit open houses, etc. Our homes definitely did not have ground floor masters. I think it’s also less popular in more population dense areas for safety reasons, people feel safer sleeping up higher where it is harder to break in through a window, etc. We did have basements though! I live in NC now and miss basements.
Karen Stewart says
Why are we talking about Maryland? I thought y’all were “ down the road” from me here in Texas?
“Master” bedrooms have their origin in slavery, literally masters of enslaved peoples. Some home and architecture orgs no longer use this term, instead say Main bedroom. You can read more about this here: https://www.remodelista.com/posts/racist-terms-master-bedroom-master-bathroom/
Diana Lee says
I’m glad you specified that it was your friend moving to Maryland because I was about to have a heart attack imagining future events where I didn’t have to travel so far.
It really depends on where in Maryland your friend is looking at living. My house in Prince George’s County doesn’t even have a standard master bedroom, it is just a slightly larger room than the others in the house. A lot of the houses in our neighborhood are built with the idea that the ground floor is the “public” floor and the second floor is the “private” one, where all the bedrooms are. It will probably take some digging and be more expensive, but there are definitely some newer houses in the area that have the master bedroom setup on the ground floor that’s workable.
Wishing your friend the best of luck out here!
Well, if Maryland is anything like Pa, the first floor gets pretty cold in the winter. Heat rises. My grandmother used to hang a curtain in her stairwell to try to keep some of the heat downstairs…
Liz Lerner Maclay says
This is very interesting – are you guys possibly moving to Maryland? I just moved from there 4 years ago, having worked/lived there for 17 years. Part of the answer to your question depends on where in Maryland. There’s very rural parts of Maryland which are conservative, beautiful, affordable. There’s very urban parts of Maryland which are progressive, multicultural, racially integrated and expensive (three of the nation’s top 10 most multicultural, multiracial towns are there: Silver Spring, Rockville and Gaithersburg). Because of proximity to DC, there’s a much larger international population than you might expect, which also means amazing religious diversity and great ethnic food options all over. Baltimore is a fun city and something of a mess. Annapolis, the capital, is tiny and beautiful and very historic. You can be out in the hills, on the bay, near water or far from it, but if you want any land around your house, the closer you get to DC, the more it will cost you. The traffic can be atrocious, especially if you are near DC/using the beltway on a regular basis – DC has risen to the top of worst-traffic-in-the-country lists, and it deserves it. The weather is pretty good – spring comes when you’re ready and is long and luscious. Winters are real but not terrible. Summer is lush and humid. Fall is pretty and pretty gentle. Lastly, again because of the proximity to DC, the nation’s politics are also local, and very dominant in the lives of lots of people there, many of whom work in (and believe in) government.
Susan A says
I live in Maryland and every house I have owed has had the Master Bedroom on the first floor. Probably because I tend to buy Cape Cods. The colonial homes tend to put the master bedroom on the 2nd floor.
Maryland is a pretty state with decent weather. June is wracked with thunderstorms and intense heat. It gets muggy. We don’t get much snow, but we always get sleet and ice. There are lots of parks and hiking and Frederick MD has a fabulous food scene!
Just wanted to say how interesting these answers are. Growing up in Scotland the first house I lived in had bedrooms on the ground floor and I have strong memories of it being referred to as an “upside-down house”, because “normal” houses have bedrooms upstairs. Although in a similar vein I remember my kiwi husband being gobsmacked when we visited Orkney and stayed in a wooden house there and the owner described how she had struggled to get insurance for the house when it was first built because it was wooden rather than made of brick or stone.
My parents moved to MD 2 years ago. They wanted a house where they wouldn’t need to use the basement if it got difficult when they got older. We’re in Joppa in Harford county, just north of Baltimore (for my work) and a slightly more expensive area (for the schools). There were a few ranchers available when I bought my house and again when they were looking, so it only took a few weeks to find something. They have a few steps to get into the house and an unfinished basement for storage. Strangest to me is the fact that none of the garages seem to enter into the house; both of our houses have attached garages with no interior door.
There are several delivery options, though less and less as you get farther into the country (where you can get find cheaper houses and more land). Most local pizza shops sell sandwiches and diner foods as well. The more rural areas, even where I live, are fun because everything started as farmland, so the lots are often different sizes because they were sold and subdivided at different times and every so often, there’s an actual farm or original farmhouse in the middle of a bunch of larger, newer houses. A lot of the local businesses are in old houses.
If you like hiking and parks, there are a lot of state parks and several smaller areas just randomly in the middle of neighborhoods. And if you like to get into a city, there’s the MARC train that goes from Perryville (north of Baltimore) through Baltimore to the BWI airport and DC and Amtrak for a trip NYC or Florida, though I haven’t tried either this year.
Be VERY CAREFUL when purchasing a house in Maryland, at least in the Baltimore área. They have a lovely trick they play on people, where you find out almost when it’s too late (for us, the day we were going to sign paperwork to buy) that you are purchasing the house, not the land. You basically pay rent on the land. No idea how far across Maryland that particular realty legal quirk extends, but between that and Maryland taxes, my husband and I count ourselves lucky that we decided NOT to buy there.
Michelle Vogelsang says
Remembrances from MD: We moved to Frederick, MD in 2001 and left in 2005.
– We were warned by co-workers to expect a $300 “welcome to MD” fee to register each car…each car needed ~$300 of remedial repairs before we could register them.
– We had to drive to VA to buy wine because alcohol can only be sold in liquor shops, which are closed on Sunday and pricey.
– When we moved out of MD, there was also a “leaving the state” type of extra tax.
– The new-build houses were constructed of 2x4s & laminated cardboard with vinyl siding, so anyone with a craft knife could cut a hole in your wall to break in (Ryan Homes and NVR are the builders I remember). Nothing came with a ground floor master or crown moldings (fairly standard offerings in TX).
– The town was so quaint and cute, and the air was clean and sweet-smelling. This was a huge change for us coming from Phoenix and Houston.
– I loved the close access to DC and Baltimore for those times when I wanted a cultural experience. The proximity to great places to visit was fantastic.
– For a spooky vibe: The Blair Witch Project was filmed in Seneca Creek State Park.
I hope this gives you some useful info and inspires questions to ask of your realtor. We decided that if our employer ever sent us back to MD, that we would live in VA instead and make the commute. All the cuteness and culture, and their Costco carries wine. 🙂
Karen Maas says
Where you live in MD can make a difference. Developers have been taking former agricultural land and building beautiful, expensive homes that probably have 1st floor MB. My family home was built during the depression when many people grew up using outhouses (my folks).
We’re just getting around to adding the 2nd bathroom. LOL
Star B says
Proud to be born and raised in Maryland. I currently live in Columbia, MD and was raised in Ellicott City. These towns combined have been listed in the best places to live in the United States several times and is currently ranked number 5 in 2020. This is due to it being a planned development with great socioeconomic and racial diversity.
I love that we have neighborhood mailboxes which allow you to chat with friends when picking up the mail. The school system is amazing and we usually have a line up of unique musical guests at our outdoor amphitheater, which hosted the VirginFest for a couple of years.
Marylanders are diehard sports fans for the Washington Football Team, Ravens, Orioles, Nations, or Capitals and LOVE wearing our loud flag on all types of clothing and or putting on random objects just to show off our state pride.
I grew up in a house that was built in 1867 and it had the master bedroom upstairs with no en-suite bathroom, but it did have a tiny sink in the quarter. A trend that I found out was popular in farm houses in the early 1900s.
We have a lot of transient people who live in Maryland since we are so close to Washington, DC and it is more affordable to live outside the city. Also, we have 11 military bases or military schools, so I’m often looking at licenses plates to see where people are from originally.
The weather is great with all 4 seasons, but the humidity in the summer can be unbearable. We have a saying if is you don’t have allergies when you are born here, you will develop them in 5 years or less since the pollen count is dreadful in the spring.
Hope this information has been helpful.
I have lived In Maryland for almost 12 years, not a fan of the traffic, but I guess there’s traffic wherever you go and whatever city you live in of course has the worst traffic…I currently live in Annapolis and have a master on the first floor (house was built in the early 80s)…I love Annapolis and the location we are at is close enough to walk to downtown but far enough away to still have a yard for the dogs…I have also lived in Bowie Maryland which I’m not so much a fan of because me and my husband weren’t quite ready for the suburbs at the time we lived there…I’m originally from the West Coast so I have a biased against the East coast for that reason 😛 but I do love Annapolis!
I live in Baltimore. It’s rainy and very green in my area. I love my community but the poverty is pretty bad in other parts of this city. It can be depressing. At the same time, there are some amazing community programs that are available (i think) in part because land is so cheap.
We have a townhome — no first floor master, but I think most townhomes in my area of Baltimore are over 50 years old.
I’m from Maryland, raised in Columbia (15 miles south of Baltimore, 20 miles north of D.C.), work in Annapolis, and currently live on the Eastern Shore. What do you want to know? Many traditional colonial houses just don’t have ground floor masters – you can find them, but they are more common in newer houses.
Maryland housing is as different as its geography. Beach and bay houses sometimes have a bedroom on the ground floor. We also have a lot of split levels – think 1950/60s with a bottom bedroom. The farm houses/colonials are much more traditional. Depending on where your friend wants to live, she should find options.
Random fact: in Australia, traditionally, two storey houses were associated with the ruling English. It was a point of pride to only have a single storey house, to show you weren’t part of that class. Even today (in Perth, anyway) most houses are built single storey.
Liz Greene says
I have lived in Maryland twice, once in Baltimore City, once in Prince George’s county. I liked both places but they were very different. I think the houses and the experience would really depend on where in the state you lived. Maryland has a lot of variety. You can live on the Eastern Shore near the Atlantic and it is a lor or rural farmland until you get very close to the beach. You can live near Annapolis which has the US Naval Academy and a sailing oriented culture. In the western part of the state it is rural with mountains and gorgeous scenery. You can live in suburbs which I think are pretty much like suburbs anywhere. Baltimore city is quirky and fun with some cool cultural opportunities. If you live anywhere near the corridor between Baltimore and Washington DC (along I95) the traffic is dreadful. You kind of get used to that part but it is truly horrid and a lot of people who move from other areas are shocked and upset by it. Unless they came from LA, NY City, Boston or Chicago.
Susan B says
I moved to Maryland from Houston back in 1997 and I love it here. Our house is what they call a “raised rancher” which means we walk upstairs from the front door to the living area since the house is built on the side of a hill. It’s great having 4 seasons; cool fronts actually do get to us during the summer and fall starts in September. Have had very little snow the last 2 or 3 years and haven’t needed to use the snow blower. The Chesapeake Bay is almost like the beach; there are places on the Eastern Shore with really nice water-front homes. Bethany Beach & Rehobeth are nice areas on the Atlantic Ocean, though they are across the border in Delaware.
I really like it here; the only downside is there are no good Tex-Mex restaurants around Baltimore, but the DC suburbs do have good Mexican food. I usually make my own when I get a craving for enchiladas or chalupas.
Actually, if you are not disabled I have come to learn a 2nd floor bedroom is a good idea. I am an extremely messy person. I usually manage to keep my living room, kitchen and loo in an acceptable state – not so my bedroom and office.
I used to live in a flat in the city and it turns out all my friends are like puppies. You tell them “Give me a sec, I’ll get that from my bedroom” and they will toddle along right behind you into the mess. Nothing helps, no “please stay here” no trying to shut doors behind you. I even briefly considered getting the vegan alternative to liver treats and start training them.
However, ever since we moved to a house with office and bedrooms on different floors from the living room, they manage to stay behind and I can leave my socks lying on the bedroom floor 😀
Olga Dominguez says
Living in Maryland is good. We have mountains, oceans, and estuaries. It’s very green with lots of parks. We also have all 4 seasons. Fall and spring color is amazing. Politically the state is moderate to liberal. We currently have a republican governor, he is very much a moderate. The downsides are the real estate and income taxes. They are on the high side! We enjoy living here. We’ve looked to retire in lower tax states but have not found anywhere else we want to live!
I’ve lived in maryland on and off for 30 year. And after stints on the west coast and in the mid west, coming back felt like home:) yes, to the four seasons and being able to be in Philly in 2 hrs or NYC in 4….also yes to taking 90 minutes to go 12 miles on the beltway. We moved back because my mom was having health issues. We ended up renovating our house to give her a first floor master (in-law) suite:)
Anjuli BhaduriHauck says
It wasn’t until I moved out of Maryland that I realized bedrooms on the first floor were a thing (unless you lived in a ranch style house). I think this delineation was partly because the first floor was for entertaining and living, with the second floor for more individual/private space, and partly heat rises. It is easier to keep the first floor cool in the summer, then sleep with your windows open at night to let the heat out. In the winter, having this set up makes it easier to keep the second floor warm. But this is a very old style of building houses.
I grew up in rural Maryland north of Baltimore. It was beautiful with gentle rolling hills and mainly deciduous forests with lots of deer. Where we grew up we had a lot of crab feasts, bonfires, pig roasts, apple picking, and even drive your tractor to school day (very rural). Baltimore is a very odd place, known as Charm City but also ranked 3rd for murders in the country for most of my life. It has a weird obsession with Poe, and the Inner Harbor/Baltimore Aquarium. The gentrification of certain areas has created a strange progression of very nice one street, but the next street over you see drug deals and might get mugged. It is not all the Wire, but there is some.
Washington DC, while not technically MD, does influence southern Maryland quite a bit socioeconomically. Prince George’s pure Northeast DC run off that tends to be poorer, higher crime, and where the main campus of University of Maryland is. Montgomery County, on the other hand, is one of the most affluent areas in the country.
Maryland, as a whole, has a lot of different parts for such a small state. You can start in western Maryland with the mountains, skiing, Deep Creek Lake, and camping. Then you move east to your rural small towns (lots of antiquing), farmland (Dairy, corn, soybeans, sheep, wheat, barley, etc) until you hit the suburbs of DC and Baltimore and of course the cities themselves. This I-95 corridor is heavy with traffic and spread out suburbs (less picturesque, but still a nice place if you can get over the congestion). The closer you get to DC or the tunnels the worse the driving gets. Both cities are bustling with vastly different feels. Move further east, you hit Annapolis, the often overlooked and surprisingly quaint capital city. Then it is the glorious Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the country and the birthplace of our very reasonable obsession with Maryland blue crabs. Across the Bay is the Eastern Shore, our flat sandbar of farmland (chickens, pigs, corn, soybean, etc) that leads to the beaches and Ocean City.
Characteristic of the middle of the mid -Atlantic region, it has hot, humid summers, crisp autumn with lovely foliage changes, cold (usually not too bitter) winters with at least one good snowfall (>6 inches), then a wet spring with lots of flowers to temper out into summer. Of course, occasionally all of these temperature fluctuations can happen within a week. Once in January, we had snow on Monday, 70 degree weather on Wednesday, freezing rain on Saturday.
I hope this helps!
Many folks have commented on urban vs. rural Maryland, but a lot also depends on the region. The mountains of western Maryland are nothing like the Eastern Shore (Delmarva Peninsula). Both are beautiful but are different in climate, cuisine, and culture.
I live in Baltimore City and work on Baltimore County. Work in media and know most of central Maryland well. Feel free to share my email with your friend if she would like to talk with a native.
Warmer upstairs during the winter. Just saying….
Amanda an Bauer says
I live near Frederick Maryland and love it. Easy to get to DC or Baltjmore, but firmly in farmland. Everything grows with little effort. Fresh lical priduce is in bountiful supply and air quality is fabulous. I did end up using my own builder to get the house design I wanted.
Wow! The history off how homes and master bedrooms had evolved is fascinating! 🙂
What an interesting post! (And I love looking at houses!)
However, the Australian in me is freaking out about the pool with no pool fence.
Hope your friend finds what they are looking for! With the BDH on the job, who knows what may happen!
Bigmama Battillo says
Not to deal with the Maryland but with the master bedroom question: we in Florida live in an area where we get a lot of guests-especially in the hot summer months. Master bedrooms on the first floor are also built so that you can have guest rooms upstairs and close them off when they are not in use. Thus saving electrical cost when not in use.
Beth Hoefer says
I may be late responding, but I moved to Baltimore after 6 years in Little Rock, Arkansas. Everyone says “humidity” but the first summer day when a coworker said “hot enough for ya?” I thought they were making a joke. It’s nothing compared to what I was used to. The allergies are amazingly bad and I’m on meds for the first time in my life. The city can be nice, the food is great, and the obsession with Old Bay (it’s a spice blend) is something you begin to embrace.
I hope your friend finds what she is looking for. I am a Australian, and the healthcare issues, you have to think of when moving from state to state is unreal. We have free healthcare, that all Australians can use and subsidised prescriptions, yes you can have private health insurance but it is mainly for optical, dental or if you want to go to a private hospital. Maybe she should think of moving to Austalia.
As a long time (former) resident of Montgomery County,I have to say that the answer to all your questions is “East meets West.” I was amazed at the different housing styles when we moved from Germantown MD to Dallas TX and then, amazed all over again at the houses that I could find in Phoenix AZ. East is all about “Colonial” and West is all about being Western.
As for what is it like to live there, my allergies about killed me, starting in about February and lasting until November. I grew up in Montana and I have never seen overnight snow accumulations equal to what I lived with in Maryland and not just once. It happened every several years. The people are great and the cultural attractions are plentiful.
And the best part? The spring time floral display is just dazzling. The autumn leaf change is impressive.