Escape From the Rat Race: Writer’s Cottage With Grotto, On Stony Run

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Hot House: 4804 Wilmslow Road, Roland Park, 21210


Shingle cottage, circa 1925. Asphalt and slate roof, front porch and back patio with stone grotto. 2, 264 sq. ft. over 4 levels, w/unfinished basement. Four bedrooms, 2.5 baths, living room with fireplace, dining room, sun porch, family room, new kitchen. Single large third floor room. Terraced back yard, garden shed/garage, central a/c: $579,500


What: Jessica Blau, a popular Baltimore author — “The Summer of the Naked Swim Parties”, “Drinking Closer To Home” and “The Wonder Bread Summer” — has lived in this house since 1999. For many decades earlier in that century it was owned by an ‘unmarried gentleman’ who let vegetation overgrow the house for privacy and held nude sunbathing parties for young men in the grotto. Agent has more information. Interesting associations aside, this is a pretty cottage that feels airy, thanks to big windows, wood floors and 9′ ceilings. There are views of the  tree-lined stream bank from many of the front windows. The grotto is just outside the back door, a trickling fountain in a mysterious cave. It’s totally charming, and for some buyers will be the tipping point into deep house love.  The ramshackle shed in the far reaches of the garden leads to the alley. It could conceivably be re-graded and turned into a one car garage.


wilmslow bed:bath


Where: Far from the maddening crowd, but not too far from Eddie’s. Wilmslow is a one-way street that begins at Wyndhurst Station in Roland Park and heads south. It peters out in a patch of woods, only to continue on the other side — at Oakdale — ending finally at Cold Spring Lane. Number 4804 is on the front half, closer to Wyndhurst Station and the Roland Park schools (about a half mile). It’s a peaceful, winding lane, used mainly by dog walkers and people heading to the library, schools or the community pool. The Stony Run walking trail and stream are just across the way — stream is occasionally stocked. Petit Louis and Johnny’s restaurants are an easy walk, as is Miss Shirley’s on Cold Spring.

 Why: Living in successful writer’s former house may inspire you to write novel.

 Why Not: Living in successful writer’s former house may make it impossible to write novel.

 Would Suit: Romantics. A house guaranteed to stir any bohemian embers still burning in your soul.

NB: Old fashioned, unfinished basement may help harden your heart.




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  1. As always, a pithy yet intriguing take on a house. But please, Cynthia! You know that here in Roland Park we have “lanes”, not “alleys” !

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