"The garrison sleeps in the citadel, with the ghosts and ancient stones; High up on the parapet, a Scottish piper stands alone." - 'What It Is' by Mark Knopfler and Aubrey Haynie
Garrison, home to nearly 9000 people, is not actually an official town or city, but a census-designated place in Baltimore County, Maryland. Located between Owings Mills to the north and Pikesville to the south, Garrison is a semi-urban area that connects the two larger towns. Home to the Garrison Forest School, the Green Spring Valley Golf Course and the Israel Rabbinical College, Garrison is very unique in its rural cultural diversity!
Preparing to Move to Garrison
Apartments are not as plentiful as 1, 2 and 3 bedroom homes in this town, so if you are serious about moving here, consider extending your budget for a larger accommodation. In addition, remember that living in a rural environment is not the same as an urban one! You'll need a car, since long trips to the city will be necessary for certain things, like specialist appointments. You won't have access to certain amenities you may have become used to, like 24-hour pizza or the organic specialty shop. Take the time to get acquainted with Garrison's amenities before moving day!
Small Neighborhoods in Garrison, MD
Garrison is a small urban center with only a few notable neighborhoods: Fort Garrison, Valley Center, the Golf Course and Craddock. Depending on what you may or may not be looking for in rental properties and nearby amenities, each neighborhood has something different to offer.
Fort Garrison: This part of town is a 17th century military fort that has been preserved by the Maryland Historical Trust. Built to shelter European immigrants from Native American attacks, this simple rectangular fort features a single fireplace, stone walls and a wooden roof--although during the French and Indian wars, the roof was fireproof to protect from attack by flaming arrows. Located to the southwest of Garrison's small center, this fort sits amidst a sparse residential area called Garrison Farms Court.
Valley Center: Valley Center is the retail and business center of the Garrison community. Here you can find Sam's Club, TJ Maxx, Home Depot, Walmart and all the quintessential American commercial giants that populate small and large towns across the United States. Whether you live in a nearby farm or in a house or apartment in Garrison, this is where you you can come to restock your shelves, wardrobe and have a bite to eat. Homes here are considered "downtown" homes, within arm's reach of all important amenities.
Green Spring Valley Golf Course: Green Spring is actually a vast green space managed by the Green Spring Valley Hunt Club. The facility not only features an 18-hole golf course, but tennis courts, a pool and dining room. The Hunt Club holds regular fox hunts for its interested members, and has done since the turn of the 19th century. Housing in this area is quite sparse, surrounded by lush vegetation and immense yard space. Foxes not recommended as pets.
Craddock: Craddock is the most notable residential area in Garrison, located just to the south of Valley Center. A few commercial amenities are located in this neighborhood, such as medical offices and restaurants that can save residents a short drive or long walk into the town center from time to time. If you are hoping to move into the area, Craddock is your most likely bet for finding rental houses or apartments.
Living in Garrison - Rural With a Side of Rural
Pilgrims and their ancestors have been living in this area for hundreds of years, so the architecture really shows a wide range of historical styles. From Fort Garrison to Valley Center, you can see homes that suit Laura Ingalls Wilder to an anonymous 19th century Irish poet, with a long wooden pipe and a flat cap. If you're the type who always wanted to don a costume and pretend that your family relies on your ability to make cheese, this place could be right up your alley. From row houses to brick apartment buildings to colonial Georgian-style homes, Garrison may surprise you with its rich architectural displays.
As for the cost of living in Garrison, although the Goods and Services tax is lower than the national average, cost of living is still rated at 105, relative to the US average of 100. Groceries, utilities, transportation and housing all cost slightly more than the average US resident pays; however, these costs are quite a bit less expensive than in the rest of Maryland.
An apartment search in Garrison may prove a little complicated, since most rentals in this community are restricted to houses. Plenty of townhouses and larger homes are available, however! You'll be able to find beautiful rental homes with 2 or 3 bedrooms and 2 baths for a rent that is astonishing considering the excellent condition of these homes. As is the case with a lot of tiny communities throughout the United States, the rural lifestyle means incredibly low rental costs for homes that would be worth a fortune in a capital city! Come on down and make the system work for you.
As for larger 4 bedroom rental houses in Garrison, the cost is of course going to be rather higher--but the feeling that you've really made it in the world? Off the charts. The appearance and feel of this community is really quaint, as well--if you're into quaint--with a touch of modern fun and innovation. What's not to love?
Cool Stuff to Do in Garrison
First things first--go and check out Fort Garrison! It's a cool piece of history right in your own backyard. You'd be mad to pass up the opportunity to learn about the fascinating past of this place! You can also visit a variety of local parks and sign up for membership with the Green Spring Valley Hunt Club--and by all means, ignore the hunting aspect of the Club! Seriously though, you can come by for a round of golf, tennis lessons, swimming lessons or a casual pool session, and fine dining and drinks at the dining room. Have you always wanted to be a member of an elite golf club? Now's your chance!
The Valley Center neighborhood has everything you need to feed the odd shopping spree urge, as well as network with local business owners. Check out the various health and wellness centers to really get into the laid-back, all-natural spirit of rural life! Get to know your neighbors to learn about other community events that you can be a part of, like charity horseback riding, fresh vegetable sales and seasons, and even friendly BQQs. In a small town, the best resource you have is your love of local gossip!
As for food, there are plenty of great restaurants just a short drive away. Locals love the Mari Luna Mexican Grill, Hummus Corner and The Silk Road. I'll bet you didn't believe that so many amazing cuisines could find a comfortable home in such a little, rural community! If you live in Garrison, you'll never have to deal with a disappointing or bland meal again. For a great taste of traditional American soul food, check out Granny's Restaurant, or First Watch for breakfast, lunch and tasty mid-morning snacks with coffee.
The Bottom Line
MONEY Magazine voted Garrison one of the best places to live in 2007--and what's changed since then? Not a lot. It's still a beautiful little piece of America, complete with highly-rated and diverse restaurants, popular bars and public spaces, and gorgeous real estate that is underrated due to its rural location. If you want to simplify a little bit, and get back to basics, a rural community like this one is the right place to look. Maybe you're looking to get out of the rat race, or have just become tired of city life? Garrison can provide you with all the amenities you need, plus a beautiful house or apartment to call home. Stop by and take a look--you probably won't want to leave.