Not far from downtown D.C., an affordable and blooming inner suburb

Not far from downtown D.C., an affordable and blooming inner suburb

By Lester Davis January 18


Residents say the community has the charm and amenities of some tony suburbs without the sticker shock.

Beverly Perry’s reason for moving to Mount Rainier, a bedroom community in Prince George’s County outside the District, might not be dreamy and idyllic.

But in the 17 years since she moved to her house on 37th Street, Perry, a retired federal contractor with the General Services Administration, has grown quite fond of the community.

“I moved here because I couldn’t afford to live in Takoma Park,” said Perry, as she let out a belly laugh.

She didn’t realize it at the time, she said, but Mount Rainier has many of the qualities that attracted her to Takoma Park — trails and park space, established neighborhoods, and proximity to stores and businesses. And with real estate a fraction of the price of many houses in Takoma Park, Mount Rainier turned out to be a diamond in the rough that’s grown more valuable after nearly two decades, she said.

“I live on a street with six houses and when I look out my back yard I don’t see anything but woods,” Perry said. “I love it because since my neighborhood is historic, I won’t wake up one day and find myself staring at a massive development,” said Perry, who lives in a 925-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom Colonial that was built in 1923.

[In NW D.C., a neighborhood ‘like a cross between suburbia and urbanity’]


Artist community: Founded in the first years of the 20th century as a streetcar suburb of Washington, Mount Rainier has been transformed over the past dozen years from a sleepy community a short distance from downtown to a lively destination with an established arts scene and growing options for dining and shopping, said Christian Anderson, an agent with Exit Deluxe Realty.


The community has served as a magnet for artists, thanks to its designation as a Gateway Arts District, a distinction that provides housing incentives for artists who live and work there, Anderson said.

“Mount Rainier is perfect for people who want to be close to D.C. but prefer a little more land and space,” Anderson said. “A number of investments the city made, from a development standpoint, are beginning to pay off as more shops and restaurants open and help attract more people.”

The community is a historic area with a number of mail-order houses from the Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalogue and Craftsman-style homes, a designation that helps combat overdevelopment and high density, two things that can turn away potential buyers, Anderson added.


[In Arlington, a neighborhood lures back the people who grew up there]

Janet Thomas, who moved to the Washington area from Texas in 1986, said she discovered the town by chance during a drive. Mount Rainier’s small-town vibe reminded Thomas of her home town of Prairie View and she said she thought, “If I ever buy a house I want to live here.”

A few years later, when Thomas was ready to purchase a house, the first neighborhood she searched was Mount Rainier, she said.

“When I first moved here, we were kind of off the beaten path,” said Thomas, who lives in a 750-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bathroom 1920s Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalogue house on 37th Street.

Dawn Sims, 34, who’s lived in Mount Rainier since childhood, said she hasn’t considered living anyplace else and is attracted to the community’s diversity.

“The cultural diversity in Mount Rainier is a great asset,” said Sims, who lives in a 1,000-square-foot, three-bedroom, one-bathroom, two-level brick house on Wallace Road.

“Other neighborhoods in the area are just too segregated,” she said. “This is the perfect place to raise a family.”

Living there: Mount Rainier is bordered by Queens Chapel Road on the north, the town of Brentwood to the east, the CSX rail line to the south and Eastern Avenue at the D.C. line to the west.

Mount Rainier, founded as a streetcar suburb of the District, benefits from historic status and being an arts district. It has a number of Sears catalogue homes and Craftsman-style houses. (Justin T. Gellerson/For The Washington Post)

In the past 12 months, 40 properties have sold in Mount Rainier, ranging from a 1,388-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bathroom Cape Cod for $191,100 to a 1,548-square-foot, five-bedroom, three-bathroom Colonial for $545,000, said Anderson, the real estate agent with Exit Deluxe Realty.

There are seven homes on the market in Mount Rainier, Anderson said. They range from a 1,183-square-foot, four-bedroom, four-bathroom bungalow for $339,900 to a 1,560-square-foot, five-bedroom, four-bathroom Colonial for $539,000.


Schools: Mount Rainier Elementary, Hyattsville Middle and Northwestern High.


Transit: Several routes on the Metrobus system and Prince George’s County’s The Bus serve Mount Rainier. The neighborhood is a short car ride to the West Hyattsville Station on Metro’s Green Line and the Rhode Island Avenue-Brentwood Station on the Red Line.



Crime: In the past six months, there have been 45 reports of stolen vehicles, 41 assaults, 27 burglaries and 17 robberies reported in the area that includes Mount Rainier, according to crime data provided by the police.

Vote for Sweet & Natural in Best of D.C. 2018 Poll

Our own Sweet & Natural won in the category of "Best Vegan Food" in the Washington City Paper 2017 Best of D.C. Reader Poll. Vote for them this year as well! Support our other businesses, too!


Best Vegan Food

Sweet & Natural

4009 34th St., Mt. Rainier, (301) 277-9338


You could eat a meal at Sweet & Natural every night of the week and never get sick of it. That’s a remarkable feat for any restaurant but even more so for Sweet & Natural, which boasts an entirely organic and vegan menu. The small restaurant, situated in the quaint neighborhood of Mount Rainier, just over the D.C. border in Maryland, specializes in vegan takes on soul food entrees like fried chicken, meatloaf, fried fish, BBQ drumsticks, collard greens, and mac and cheese. Sweet & Natural also folds in vegan food from other cuisines, including quesadillas, stuffed peppers, and tofu teriyaki. It doesn’t matter if you’re vegan or not—Sweet & Natural is just damn fine food, full stop.

—Matt Cohen

Local Bakers Compete in Mount Rainier Business Assoc. Bake-off at Mount Rainier Day

Thanks to all the bakers who entered the first-ever Mount Rainier Business Assoc. Bake-Off at Mount Rainier Day and congratulations to the winners! Despite the rainy weather, there were 22 entries competing for cash prizes and gift certificates donated by local businesses.   

1st Place Cake - Tomato Spice Cake by Rajni Sood Laurent

2nd Place Cake - Rainbow Cake by Gabby Ritter & Esther Malaney

1st Place Cookie - Brown Sugar Cookies by Chelsea Davidson

2nd Place Cookie - Lemon Bars by Rajni Sood Laurent

1st Place Pie - Apple Crumble Pie by Matina Boddie

2nd Place Pie - Pecan Pie by Garrett Hubbard

Best in Show - Rainbow Berry Cake by Ashley Jones

And special thanks to our judges Lenny Robinson from Bird Kitchen & Cocktails, Timothy Park, Mount Rainier City Council Member Shivali Shah, Maryland State Delegate Jimmy Tarlau,and Jodi Beder.

Menkiti Group to launch remake in Mount Rainier as first project in Prince George's

Daniel J. Sernovitz, Staff Reporter-Washington Business Journal

The Menkiti Group is gearing up to launch a mixed-use development in Mount Rainier, what's expected to be the first of many for the District-based firm in Prince George's County.

Full Article:

My Two Cents: Nostalgia and good food live at Glut

BY SHAUNTRICE MARTIN — Beyond the store’s sometimes dusty shelves and laid back staff beats the heart of Mount Rainier — Glut Food Co-op. Glut is the neighborhood’s lone grocery store, and it’s the place where artists, church folk, Metro drivers, executives, and families come to stock up on affordable herbs, bulk items, cheeses, and freshly ground nut butters.

Full article:

The Best Washington Neighborhoods to Buy a Home in 2015

Taking the plunge into Washington’s real-estate market? Consider these on-the-rise areas where it’s not too late to get a deal.

By Marisa M. Kashino


Hyattsville (20781):

This Zip code includes Hyattsville’s arts district—with new residences, retail, and restaurants from developer EYA—and the historic district. The result, says Ward, is “that walkable lifestyle and neighborhood feel that I don’t think most buyers picture in the suburbs.” Whole Foods—the ultimate sign that an area has arrived—will land about a mile away in late 2015 as the anchor of a development in nearby Riverdale Park by Calvin Cafritz Enterprises.

Median sold price: $260,000 (up 23.8%).

Average sold price: $265,733 (up 20.4%).

$287,500 buys: A three-bedroom, three-bath Cape Cod in the historic district.

$480,825 buys: A new three-bedroom, four-bath townhouse.


Or try Mount Rainier (20712):

Though closer to the District, this Prince George’s neighborhood is less developed than Hyattsville. “The housing stock is more degraded, but it has lots of Arts and Crafts homes and bungalows,” says agent Kevin Wood of William Sawyer & Co. “And it’s right on the DC border.” In November, Menkiti Group announced plans for a development with Joe Englert as a tenant—he’s the guy whose hip bars helped revitalize Northwest DC’s U Street and Northeast’s H Street.

Median sold price: $260,000 (up 16.9%).

Average sold price: $254,514 (up 8.7%).

$220,000 buys: A two-bedroom, one-bath bungalow that needs work.

$339,900 buys: A renovated five-bedroom, three-bath bungalow.

Click to read full article

You're invited! MRBA Annual Meeting & Holiday Party

Mount Rainier Business Association

Annual Meeting & Holiday Party

December 10, 2014 from 6:30-8:30pm

FREE: Enjoy a taste of Mount Rainier food and beverages from local establishments.  Join local businesses to elect our board of directors and review our plans for 2015.

Mount Rainier City Hall Plaza
1 Municipal Pl, Mt Rainier, MD 20712



MRBA Welcomes The Waterhole

The Mount Rainier Business Association welcomes their newest member, The Waterhole, a brand new juice and smoothie shop located at 4004 34th St. Mt. Rainier, MD 20712. The Waterhole is a "healing space for like minds and people who are interested in health and creating a healthy lifestyle". They offer event catering and food educational services.

The Waterhole is owned and operated by Lisa Harris, an artist living at Mount Rainier Artist Lofts. She's been in Mount Rainier for the past 6 years and seeks to "heal the community through natural resources" and create "a space that supports good health." The Waterhole began when her father passed away from cancer in 2013, and she became inspired to pursue her dreams and passions around finding holistic natural health through the power of good food.

The Waterhole's menu includes organic juices and smoothies. The cafe location has wi-fi. The Waterhole is a rentable venue that offers Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-Free, and Raw Catering, hosts small receptions, gallery showings and community events. More information can be found online:

Gateway Arts District breathes new life in Prince George's County

A portion of the Prince George’s County Route 1 Corridor is breathing new life thanks to the arts.

A unique community known as the Gateway Arts District formed in 2002 and now county leaders want to see even more growth. The Arts District includes the Mount Rainier, Brentwood, North Brentwood and Hyattsville neighborhoods. Together they offer shopping, entertainment and restaurants capped off with art studios and galleries.

County leaders want developers to take notice and begin investing.

Read More

After more than a decade, some in Prince George’s still waiting for arts district boost

Survey under way to find out what is hindering business growth

     by       Staff writer Timothy Sandoval/ The Gazette

Carole Bernard, executive director of the Gateway Community Development Corp., said her nonprofit group has added more studio space for artists in the Gateway Arts and Entertainment District. Now her organization is looking to survey businesses to determine how to encourage business growth in the district .

When the Gateway Arts and Entertainment District was formed in 2001, officials hoped it would spark business growth in the four municipalities it encompassed.

Twelve years later, only one city in the district, Hyattsville, has experienced growth in retail, Gateway officials said, while the other three — Brentwood, North Brentwood and Mount Rainier — lag behind.

For more, please see full article:

Mount Rainier businesses to get an artistic makeover

Intisar Haamid, owner of Circle Deli in Mount Rainier, wants her business to stand out, but she said the building’s beige exterior and small storefront sign make that difficult.

“It is extremely plain,” Haamid said. “I need something to focus attention on the building.”

Haamid said she would like to see some small murals and perhaps a larger landscape painting on the building. She might get her wish in the coming months as her building was chosen to be beautified by an artist as part of the third annual Better Block Project, an initiative spearheaded by nonprofit arts center Joe’s Movement Emporium to improve the look of the city.

The initiative is funded through a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for Joe’s Movement Emporium to run its Art Lives Here campaign, which includes the Better Block Project and other initiatives that pair artists with businesses in the city to reduce blight.

To read the rest of the article, please see:  Mount Rainier businesses to get an artistic makeover

Mount Rainier sees lowest number of crimes in a decade

Mount Rainier’s reported crimes have dropped to their lowest point in 10 years, according to data released earlier this month by the city’s police department.

From January through September of this year, the number of reported crimes in the city was 228 — the lowest total in nearly a decade. At its highest point in 2003, the total number of crimes was 475 at the end of September, with the number jumping to 648 by the end of the year, according to the police department.

Larceny, burglary and auto theft are the crimes that have decreased the most since last year, according to the data. Crimes such as assault and robbery were up slightly compared to the same time period last year.

The next lowest total was 272 at the end of September in 2009, with the number at 370 by the end of the year, according to police.

The figure is below the 10-year average of 357 crimes committed from January to September, police said.

“People should know that Mount Rainier is a safe city and they should not worry about relocating here and starting businesses here,” said Police Chief Michael Scott. “I am very proud of that.”

To read more, please see:  Mount Rainier sees lowest number of crimes in a decade

Vacant funeral home to get facelift as Mount Rainier revives gateway

Mount Rainier officials are hoping to brighten up a funeral home in the city — literally.

The former Dudley Funeral Home, at 3200 Rhode Island Ave., is part of a 33,000-square-foot property the city purchased in 2009. Officials say the vacant three-story building is the first structure commuters from Washington, D.C., see when they enter the city, and they say it doesn’t reflect the energy of the arts-focused community.

As a result, officials announced Feb. 29 a request for development proposals for the site. In the best-case scenario, officials say groundbreaking on the selected proposal would not start until 2014 at the earliest.

“We want to transform it from vacancy to vibrancy,” said Brooke Kidd, executive director of Joe’s Movement Emporium, a performing arts center that has been involved in community beautification programs.

The city plans to renovate all of the vacant properties from 3200 to 3208 Rhode Island Avenue.

As part of the city’s second Better Block Project to revitalize the area, Mount Rainier would provide $4,000 that would go toward painting the funeral home building white and adding an artistic, multicultural design, which has been selected, on the sides that face Eastern and Rhode Island avenues.

To read the full article, please see: Vacant funeral home to get facelift as Mount Rainier revives gateway


Mount Rainier group hopes residents buy into local currency program

In today’s global economy it may be easy for consumers to choose corporate giants when purchasing goods or services, said Mount Rainier resident Nick Williams, who hopes his organization breaks that mindset by keeping local dollars local.

Anacostia Hours is a local currency servicing Mount Rainier, Brentwood, Riverdale and parts of Hyattsville created in 2006 to encourage local bartering and boost small business.

Williams, president of Anacostia Hours, Inc., said the organization is trying to expand its membership of 74 — comprised of residents and businesses — that currently has 650 Hours in circulation.

To use the currency, participants must pay a $5 fee to become Anacostia Hours members. Members are given two Anacostia Hours valued at $10 each, upon registering and their services or goods are listed in an online directory.

“We’re trying to reorient people’s thinking. Think local first,” he said. “We’re trying to keep the money in town.”

To read the full article, please see:  Mount Rainier group hopes residents buy into local currency program


A glimpse of a thriving downtown - Better Block Project offered a revitalized Mount Rainier for a day

A temporarily revitalized area of downtown Mount Rainier was the centerpiece of a street festival Saturday that used art galleries, music and dance performances to create the impression of a thriving downtown for an afternoon.

The Better Block Project modernized a section of 34th Street, mostly between Bunker Hill Road and Rhode Island Avenue, by decorating empty storefronts with art and setting up outdoor, café-style seating at restaurants.

For the full article, please see:   A glimpse of a thriving downtown