Edward Carter and his wife wanted a “sense of community” after moving from their smaller home on Dresden Drive.
Edward Carter and his wife wanted a “sense of community” after moving from their smaller home on Dresden Drive.

“People did the old-fashioned kind of thing of bringing brownies when we moved in,” Kathy Adams-Carter said about her neighborhood, Dunwoody North.

She and her husband wanted to move from their smaller house on Dresden Drive since 2003, when they married, but they didn’t settle on a home until they found the right one in August 2012, Adams-Carter said. She said they wanted a sense of community and a place that was not isolated.

“We are at heart an intowner, not a suburbanite,” she said.

Tucked away and shaded by trees, Dunwoody North provides cool cover and accessibility to nearby shopping and parks, including Brook Run Park, which Adams-Carter said she and her husband can walk to.

“We looked at Smoke Rise [in eastern DeKalb County] and farther out, and it, along with Avondale Estates, felt too isolated,” she said, noting the intown houses were older and more expensive than the house they found in Dunwoody.

“It’s outside the Perimeter, but it’s almost intown,” she said. “I actually grew up about a mile on the other side, and I remember riding the school bus into Dunwoody when it was gravel roads and it really seemed far out.”

When not entertaining their granddaughter, Adams-Carter said she enjoys watching the younger kids skateboarding and riding bikes in the neighborhood.

“We’re still in a diverse neighborhood age-wise,” she said.

Gerri Penn, president of the Dunwoody North Civic Association, said the 1,000-home community is a mature neighborhood with an active civic association, swim and tennis teams, proximity to two schools and Brook Run Park, and a neighborhood watch. “We have a good mix of seniors, middle age and young,” she said.

During the summer, swim team photographer and dad Rob Maxwell says the kids out of school “live at the pool.” He describes the swim meets as “controlled chaos.” His background in art and design allows him to take the pictures the parents can’t get with their iPhones, he said.

When his youngest daughter, Avery, was 5 years old, she climbed the high dive and teetered on the edge of the board, launching into the water before dad could say “No!” Maxwell said. “She’s just a little daredevil. I think she likes the feeling of flying off the board.”

The pool is “what summer is to them,” Maxwell said about his three children, ages 11, 13 and 15, and the 100 children in the swim team organization. “It’s very wholesome and Mayberry-esque,” he said.

Lisa Dierks-Unkefer said some of her fondest memories involved playing with her friends at the pool, which she said was built in 1966-67. In 1999, she said she bought the home her parents purchased in 1965, the home where she grew up.

“We were drawn back to this wonderful neighborhood not just because of the location, but because a few of my best friends had also come back,” she said, calling the moving back, “a testament that people who live here love it, and truly care about each other.”

John Heneghan, a member of Dunwoody City Council, said he started a blog as an alternative to a printed newsletter when he was the president of the neighborhood’s homeowner’s association in the early 2000s.

When citizens started seriously considering starting the city of Dunwoody, Heneghan said he worked to keep the Dunwoody North neighborhood united. “Some wanted to set the limit at Tilly Mill Road, which would have meant half the residents would be outside the city limits,” he said. “So, I got involved to help convince the powers that be to move the city to the county line.”

Sam Verniero also involves himself with neighborhood affairs, and though he has only been a resident for five years, he said he has been elected first vice president to the Dunwoody North Civic Association for the past four years, and appointed as a board member to the Dunwoody Community Council, the DeKalb Community Service Board and the Brighter DeKalb Foundation Board.

He said he moved to Dunwoody North for the love of people, neighbors, accessibility, community, civic responsibility, partnership, education, leadership and safety tied to affordability. “The American Dream can be found in the Dunwoody North neighborhood,” Verniero said.