A village that works ? Cross Keys

Local,Dan Collins
Baltimore City native Walter Collins, 84, nods knowingly when asked about Cross Keys.

“Very nice. They used to have this great delicatessen there. You could get a delicious corned beef sandwich. My boss in the insurance business, Mr. Bahlke, had a home at Cross Keys,” he said.

Located along Falls Road with Cold Spring Lane to the north and Northern Parkway to the south, Cross Keys has been a fixture in Baltimore since it was unveiled in 1965 as famed developer James Rouse’s first planned community.

Known as “The Village of Cross Keys,” it is just that, featuring homes, shops, banking and assorted services, all nestled among well-manicured hills and trees.

“Cross Keys is a diverse community with an abundance of amenities: gated community, security patrol, multiple outdoor swimming pools, walking trails, tennis courts, upscale boutiques; chain stores such as Chico’s and Talbots; Donna’s Cafe, doctors, dentists, attorneys and Realtors all in your community,” said Jennifer Bayne of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.  

According to Bayne, Cross Keys offers a variety of townhouses, garage townhomes and condominiums, including both mid-rise and high-rise, such as Harper House.

“Harper House has been here for 30 years, a full service building with valet parkers, a full maintenance and janitorial staff — it’s very unique,” said Gayle Parker, vice president for Wallace Campbell, managing agent for the condo complex. “You have a maintenance person who’s been there for 22 years; the building manager, for over 30 — you don’t find that very often. It’s like a family. They know the residents on a one-on-one basis. People here work together very harmoniously, more than any other condo complex I’ve ever seen.”

For Rod Petrick, a local resident and Associate Broker with Coldwell Banker’s Roland Park at Cross Keys office, the appeal of the region is multifaceted.

“My office is in the commercial cluster of Cross Keys’ Village Square — I can walk to work! I put less than 11,000 miles on my car a year and I love the variety of people in this urban location. Plus I have the trees I so miss from my youth. I was in Canton before moving here and so wanted more green,” Petrick said.

Roseann Glick recalls the deli mentioned by Collins, “The Village Cross Keys Market and Deli. It was a huge gathering spot, very casual, about 25 tables. That’s been gone for at least 10 years,” she said. With the deli’s departure, the need for food venues attracted Glick and her husband to explore opening a new restaurant at Cross Keys.

“It’s called the Village Square Café and we expect to open in the next 30 days. It is a breakfast and lunch café, open seven days a week, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., serving breakfast all day. Our philosophy is simple and fresh — omelets, bagels, pancakes, French toast, fruits and yogurts. For lunch, we’ll have sandwiches, soups, grilled panini sandwiches, daily specials,” Glick said.

Other amenities will include a “beautiful wooden bar, and a big farm table for communal seating. There will be soft leather sofas and seats along the window” where patrons can look out upon the village square.

“The square is really quite lovely. So many modern developments feel so contrived. There’s a nice, natural, organic flow to Cross Keys. It’s old enough that it was done right. It’s a little microcosm of a village that works,” Glick said.
10 Things Cross Keys

An emerald isle
  • Nestled away like an island in a sea of leafy trees and rolling hills, Cross Keys “is a remnant of past history as the Country Club Golf Course before they relocated. It’s a tribute to the Cross Keys Maintenance organization and the condo associations for their diligent grounds maintenance,” said Cross Keys resident and Realtor Rod Petrick.
Oh so close
  • Cross Keys is close to major thoroughfares like Cold Spring Lane, Northern Parkway, Falls Road and Roland Avenue in Baltimore City, a stone’s throw from Hampden, I-83 and the Light Rail.
Wide selection
  • For those in search of a home, Cross Keys offers a cornucopia of selections, including flats, bi-levels, elevator mid-rises, a high-rise and a variety of townhouse condominiums, all at affordable pricing.
 Oh natural!
  • For those who enjoy all things organic, check out the Farmer’s Market at Cross Keys, every Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., June through October.
  • Noted developed James Rouse conceived of Cross Keys as a self-contained community where everything one would want could be found in one place. Today, Cross Keys is home to local merchants as well as large chain stores. Women’s clothier Talbot’s and Williams-Sonoma, retail sellers of kitchen items, furniture, linens and other housewares, were among the first national stores to come to Cross Keys in the 1990s.
Tennis, anyone?
  • The Cross Keys Tennis Club Web site ( notes that they have provided fitness facilities and services for more than 40 years, including four indoor Deco II courts and a fully equipped fitness area with satellite TV, locker rooms and sauna towels. Experienced tennis pros, a pro shop with racket stringing, and an assortment of adult clinics and leagues are available.
 It’s totally rad
  • The Radisson at Cross Keys may seem a bit hard to find, squirreled away behind the shopping center and the abundant trees, but it’s there. With 147 guest rooms and junior suites, the Radisson’s fourth floor features cathedral ceilings. Other special touches include birdhouses, screened windows to let in a breeze, Eddie Bauer furnishings and complimentary high-speed Internet.
Safe and secure
  • A gated community, Cross Keys features 24-hour security, as one can tell by the ubiquitous silver Scions with their flashing amber emergency lights that are always on patrol.
Fine education
  • Cross Keys is close to some of the best schools, public and private, in Baltimore City, including Western High School on Falls Road and Baltimore Polytechnic Institute on Cold Spring Lane. Park School and Roland Park Country School are minutes away as is Loyola College and the College of Notre Dame.
The city life
  • Hampden, and its many shops and restaurants, are just 2 miles away, as are popular eateries like Petite Louis, the Carlisle Club, the Ambassador, Taste and Brasserie Tatin. There are three supermarkets located within blocks, as well as pharmacies, medical facilities, museums and more.
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