- The Washington Times - Friday, February 15, 2002

The way Jeffrey Meshinsky tells it, he never thought about his Fort Washington house as just a place to live. It's also a waterfront vacation retreat, he says, with its own small dock plus a swimming pool, sauna and built-in gas grill and wet bar out back.

Mostly, to Mr. Meshinsky, who has a new job in San Diego, it was about boating.

The custom Tudor house with a stone turret is in the subdivision called Tantallon on the Potomac. Its lot, about two-thirds of an acre, stretches down to a private cove off Swan Creek, a tributary of the Potomac River.

The people who live around the cove have private docks, too, and many keep boats moored there.

At their dock, Mr. Meshinsky says of himself and his wife, Anita, "We've kept a 45½-foot Hatteras tri-cabin motor yacht year-round with bubblers for winter freezing with no problems and absolute enjoyment. Our cove, jutting off of Swan Creek, offers the best and most protected waters most likely off the entire length of the Potomac. Tides, winds, storms do not affect those boats kept in the protected slips of our cove.

"All the boaters and owners of slips in our cove know each other well and look out for each other's boats," he adds. "We even formed a loose corporation that bought the land deeds to the 'out lots' near the water" to keep the cove private.

"The Potomac River boater's life" is what Mr. Meshinsky misses most about living in the Tudor on Firth of Tae Drive, although the property has many other selling points.

It has a walled courtyard at the front entry. Inside, the entry foyer is in the first floor of the turret. It has a Mexican tile floor.

There are formal living and dining rooms, a first-floor family room with a vaulted ceiling, a modern kitchen with adjacent breakfast room, and a first-floor powder room.

Upstairs are three bedrooms and two full baths, including a spacious master bedroom suite. The master bedroom has a large bay window and a walk-in closet. The master bath is in the second floor of the turret. Its ceiling is round and its walls vaulted in a curve that narrows to a point at the peak.

On the finished lower level are a recreation room and a paneled room that the Meshinskys equipped as an exercise room but that could serve as a fourth bedroom. There is a full bath on the lower level with a whirlpool tub.

Also on the lower level are a laundry room and two storage rooms, one with a workshop and a door to the yard.

The house has a two-car attached garage off the kitchen.

There are gleaming oak floors in the living room, dining room and powder room. There are oak cabinets in the kitchen and breakfast room and a built-in oak desk and wine rack.

The family room, which is carpeted, has a brick fireplace with raised hearth.

There are triple French doors leading from the dining room to a multilevel deck at the rear of the house overlooking the in-ground swimming pool. Sliding doors from the breakfast room also lead out to the deck. A wall of six windows looks out from the family room to the deck and pool.

The lower-level rec room has a wet bar and a brick hearth with a flue for installation of a wood stove.

Outside in the back is a shed with electricity. The dock has electricity and running water.

Mr. Meshinsky notes that at the point where Swan Creek leaves the Potomac River to become "the portal to the community of Tantallon on the Potomac," are "the stone ruins of the last great battle fort to protect the city of Washington." These are the ruins of the Civil War fort for which Fort Washington is named, and it stands now on a bluff in the Fort Washington National Park. The carefully maintained park, about two miles from the Meshinsky house on Firth of Tae Drive, contains 12 Civil War cannons and other points of interest in addition to the ruins of the fort.

Nearby is the Fort Washington Marina. Another marina, called Tantallon Marina, is about one mile from the house.

About eight miles inside the Beltway off Indian Head Highway, the house is about 20 to 30 minutes to Washington by car. "From the docks of our house, we were minutes from Washington [by boat] and only a five- to six-hour cruise to the Chesapeake Bay at 16 knots," Mr. Meshinsky says.

"Coming back from a weekend sojourn, to arrive at our dock, walk past the pool and enter through the kitchen door, I could always stop off at the refrigerator before climbing the stairs to bed. No locking down the boat. No loading up the car, and no driving back to home on a Sunday night. Our little retreat was all right there in one place and self-contained. I never did designate 12305 Firth of Tae Drive as a vacation getaway or a principal residence. In my heart, they will always be one and the same."

He adds, "I will never forget the change of the seasons along that Swan Creek cove."


Address: 12305 Firth of Tae Drive, Fort Washington, MD 20744

Community: Tantallon on the Potomac

Age: 16 years

Price: $585,000

Size: About 4,176 square feet on waterfront lot of .65 acre

Taxes: About $5,800

Exterior features: Tudor-style architecture with stone turret, two-car attached garage, private dock with water and electricity, in-ground swimming pool with spa, sauna, multilevel deck, walled courtyard, storage shed with electricity

Interior features: Entry foyer, formal living and dining rooms, first-floor family room, kitchen with breakfast room, 3 or 4 bedrooms, 3½ baths, lower-level recreation room, lower-level laundry, two lower-level storage rooms, one with a workshop and door to yard, electric heat pump and central air conditioning, humidifier

Amenities: Fireplace, oak flooring, Mexican tile floor in foyer, vaulted ceilings, French doors, bay window, walk-in pantry, built-in desk, built-in wine rack, rec room wet bar, whirlpool tub, outdoor entertainment center with built-in gas grill and wet bar

Schools: Potomac Landing Elementary, Eugene Burroughs Middle, Friendly High

Close by: Within 4 miles of three different shopping centers in Fort Washington, about 10 miles to regional mall at Waldorf, eight miles to Beltway interchange with Indian Head Highway, one mile to Tantallon Marina, one mile to Tantallon Golf and Country Club, two miles to Fort Washington National Park and Fort Washington Marina

Open house: Sunday, Feb. 17, 1-4 p.m.

Contact: Valerie Green, RE/MAX Colonial Homes, 301/292-2928 or 301/705-4330 (pager) or 240/508-7772.

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