“We’re always thinking of ways to draw the community together the way neighborhoods were 70 years ago,” Waters said. The aim is to be “a community of friends and neighbors, not just houses — and have fun along the way.”
The glue that holds everything together now is an active Listserv. “Even people who have very busy lives and aren’t able to participate in social activities are still able to be connected,” she said.
Have extra day lilies to give away? Lose a dog? Have an extra ticket to the Nats? Just need an extra hand for an afternoon? Assistance is just a few keystrokes away.
Rather than organizing holiday parties when everyone is busy, the civic association sponsors other events to help residents feel connected, drawing on the talents of those who aren’t usually involved in traditional ways.
Newcomers are welcomed with a green fabric tote bag bearing the Luxmanor logo and including an association directory, a copy of the latest newsletter and some munchies. Once a year, new residents are honored at a cocktail buffet hosted by veterans of the community.
In the late summer and early fall, residents round up school supplies to be distributed to social workers for the foster children in their networks.
A “books and brunch” exchange offers residents a free, fun way to clear out their bookshelves and find new tomes. Waters tells residents, “Bring as many books as you can, take as many as you want. No one’s counting.”
The annual Sunday afternoon event lasts four or five hours as residents munch on finger food, peruse selections and catch up with each other. “We don’t have a community center, so people volunteer by opening their homes,” Stolsworth said.
In spring, Luxmanor hosted its first art show. Varda Avnisan, a 15-year resident and glass sculptor, said, “We discovered a whole community of artists here.”
Luxmanor’s spring garden tours reveal hidden backyard gems. Carefully sculpted rock gardens, poolside settings, and an Oriental-style garden with statuary and a moon gate are often-mentioned highlights.
It was the community’s propensity for children to put up lemonade stands that spawned an additional event last year — a charitable tie-in with the garden tour. She encouraged children to set up lemonade stands and donate the proceeds to their favorite charities. “There was no bureaucracy. I just trusted them to send off their money, and they did,” she said.
During the anniversary’s progressive dinner, in which appetizers and desserts were each hosted by a different family, and dinner was held at eight other houses, Waters researched foods popular in the 1930s. One couple hosted swing dance lessons.
excerpts from Md.’s Luxmanor Uses Ways of the Past and Present to Maintain the Ties That Bind – washingtonpost.com