The Montgomery County (Maryland) Parks Department is having a severe ethical crisis. We all have the chance to help them do the right thing. Please read this astonishing story carefully and take action.
This is the home of Marilyn Boyd DeReggi in Boyds, Maryland. It is one of the most historic homes in Montgomery County, having been lived in by Colonel Boyd in the 19th century. Colonel Boyd built the the B&O Railroad – of Monopoly fame. The railroad is located right across the street.
Colonel James Alexander Boyd was born in Kilwinning, Ayrshire, Scotland, on December 22, 1823.
He bought 130 acres in what is now Boyds, Maryland as a camp for men working on the line, many of whom were former slaves.
Letters tell that Boyd so liked the area that he bought an additional 1100 acres for himself. When the Presbyterian Church was built in 1876, the community of Boyds was established.
He died in Boyds in 1896, a day short of his 73rd birthday. The Rockville Advocate in 1890 wrote: “Nothing could better illustrate the influence of one intelligent, enterprising and public-spirited man in a community than the complete revolution in the entire order of things wrought by Col. Boyd”
The property is owned by the people of Maryland, and managed by the Montgomery County Parks Department. During the 1980’s and early 1990’s they had employees living there, and had let the home fall desperately into disrepair – to the point that it was under threat of demolition. The pictures below were taken in the early 1990s, while the house was being occupied by Parks Department employees.
Someone at the Parks Department had the good sense to realize that they needed help, and put out a request for a curatorship. Marilyn Boyd DeReggi and her family answered the call. The DeReggis spent over a million dollars fixing up the house, and turned it into one of the finest properties in the county. Their agreement with the county was a 20 year renewable lease, where the DeReggis agreed to restore the house, and turn it into a guest house and cultural center.
Hundreds of people from all over the world have stayed at this home. Here is a letter received from a couple who stayed there last weekend.
“This was the most wonderful stay that my fiancé and I have had so far! The Boyds Farm is the most lovely location. The land and the lake nearby giving us the most beautiful view. The home is exquisite and is in pristine condition, even with the extremely cold weather outside, we were perfectly warm and comfortable. The beauty of the home, which was immaculate and warm and inviting, cannot compare to the beauty of this wonderful woman. Marilyn herself is a treasure, she sat down with us, made us breakfast, spent time with us, invited us out, and shared her beautiful story with us. If you get the opportunity, please book a stay in this beautiful home. Thank you Marilyn! You really made our Valentine’s weekend special!”
“I cannot thank you enough for your generosity in hosting us! Josh and I are both very grateful to have had the opportunity to meet you, and to stay in this incredible, historic home. We will most definitely be back the moment the warmer weather hits. Thank you so much! Bekah & Josh”
The 20 year lease has expired, and the County is trying to kick Marilyn out of the house. No one knows what their motivation is, but they have made absolutely nonsensical claims that she didn’t take care of the property – the exact opposite of reality. The county failed to maintain the property, and Marilyn’s stewardship has been nothing short of spectacular.
I have been here many times and am at the property right now. Everything here is museum quality – inside and out. Marilyn is an incredible woman, having survived many tragedies and illnesses, and always maintains good spirits and is a great hostess.
She is a long-time cultural icon in the region, and has been actively involved in the historical preservation of the county. Marilyn served as a commissioner on the Montgomery County Preservation Commission, served on the Boyds Master Plan Advisory Committee, and served on the advisory committee which led to the creation of Little Seneca Lake and Black Hills Regional Park.
The county has refused to renew the curatorship without justifiable cause, and instead offered Marilyn a short term lease which would not permit her to have guests or allow anyone else to live in the house. This lease is in direct violation to the spirit and intent of her original agreement, and her motivation for spending a million dollars to restore the property. It is also wildly unethical to try to force a 75 year old woman to live alone. Clearly the intent is to kick her off the property and possess all of the added value she has given to the property. Why would any rational person want to restore this property to possession by the same people who mismanaged it so badly in the first place?
Marilyn is willing to sign a lease which permits her to continue having guests and cultural events. It would be travesty to allow anything less. She is 75 years old and has earned the right to spend the rest of her years sharing her beautiful home with the world.
The County is attempting to evict her immediately, which is wrong and unethical.
Here is how you can help :
Contact these people at the Montgomery County Parks Department (301-495-2500) and ask them to do the right thing and offer Marilyn an acceptable lease :
Michelle Grace – Assistant Division Chief Properties and Administration
James Poore – Chief Facilities Management Division
John Nissel – Deputy Director of Parks
Mike Riley – Director of Parks
Casey Anderson – Chair of Montgomery County Planning Board
Mike Riley, Director of Parks
John Nissel, Deputy Director of Parks
Casey Anderson, Chair of Montgomery County Planning Board
You can help Marilyn with her legal expenses here www.gofundme.com
Historic Tourism, Boyd-Maughlin House
Guest Reviews and Testimonials
Jenn Topper: Marilyn was a wonderful host! When we arrived, she sat with us on the front porch overlooking her beautiful property, and we shared stories and got to know one another. The room was just as described, a spacious, light-filled, pretty room with a huge bathroom just across the hall. One afternoon we explored the grounds which were lovely in the early fall, and while we didn’t get a chance to use them, there are kayaks and canoes for guests to take out on Little Seneca Lake. We really enjoyed our stay, and would definitely recommend Marilyn as a Host! (We had a wonderful time, and it was lovely meeting you! I can’t think of any areas for improvement.)
Rebekah Czajkowski: This was the most wonderful stay at an Airbnb that my fiancé and I have had so far. The land and the lake nearby provided us a beautiful view. The house itself, a late Victorian home, had fallen into disrepair years ago and Marilyn and her family took it upon themselves to restore it back to its intended purpose and beauty. The home is exquisite and is in pristine condition, even in the extremely cold weather outside, we were perfectly warm and comfortable. When they restored it, they valued the integrity of its history, as Marilyn can tell you herself. The beauty of the home, which was immaculate and warm and inviting, cannot compare to the beauty of this wonderful woman. Marilyn herself is a treasure, she sat down with us, made us breakfast, spent time with us, invited us out, and shared her beautiful story with us. If you get the opportunity, please book a stay in this beautiful home. (Thank you Marilyn! You really made our Valentine’s weekend special!)
Connie Volk: My daughter and I had a wonderful time staying with Marilyn in her historic home. The rooms were very spacious and quaint. I’ve so many memories of homes just like this with huge windows and chickens and roosters. Leah and I were here for a soccer tournament which was only 5 minutes away – so after a long morning of soccer we were able to come back “home” and go for a canoe ride around the lake at our leisure – great pics of orange and golden trees and my daughter navigating the waters. Marilyn was a very nice host and we enjoyed her fresh eggs (Leah loved gathering them) and interesting conversation. If you want to go back in time and feel a heavy weight lifted while away from home, stay at this bnb – you’ll get some rest and make some good memories, we did! (Marilyn, I hope this post finds you exceedingly well. Leah and I both are much closer due to our stay with you – we needed time away from home together with a laid back atmosphere and your kindness. My heart still aches for you and your family. I’ve shared with my friends your story and I know that this made an impact on Leah. Life is short for some and for reasons I believe only God knows, some of us get to stay around for a lot longer. Marilyn, keep doing what you are doing and stay healthy so that you can continue to bring light into many more lives. Michael, my husband, wants to spend a couple nights here now too. Thanks for having us as your guests – I wouldn’t change anything.)
Martha Pike: This place is just as described – wonderful! Everything was beautiful, but our favorite part was taking a boat out on the lake. Lovely! the heating pad on the mattress, the huge bathtub, the piano, the fancier than usual continental breakfast. Marilyn was a wonderful host.
Andreas Kassat: We had a great time staying at Marilyn’s place – just too short. The room and the bathroom were clean and beautiful. Marilyn is such a lovely host and we are happy that we met her and keep in touch.
Amanda Oliver: Marilyn was a wonderful host and her home is more beautiful than the photos show. I booked very last minute and she was extremely accommodating and there to great us warmly when I arrived. I loved taking the kayak out on the lake, reading on the beautiful front porch, and sharing conversation over coffee and breakfast. Highly recommended.
Giu Arcuri: Amazing host, thanks Marilyn and Guilhermo for the amazing stay in this magic and historic place.
Kelley Barclay: Such a wonderful, albeit quick, weekend away! Marilyn is the most incredible host, so warm and welcoming, and the house is breathtaking! We took a spin in the canoe, watched the stars on the porch, and got to know the hens. Felt like we were visiting family!
Wyatt Clark: We spent the summer in Boyds with Marilyn and her family. I can hardly express how kind, generous, fun and caring they all are. The DeReggis are deep in our hearts as lifelong friends after this summer. They are fabulous people and great hosts. (Marilyn, our hearts are broken for your family right now. We are incredibly sorry to hear about John John. He was such a bright, loving soul. We are praying both for John John and your whole family in this time. We love you. Wyatt and Ngoshali.)
Changhao Liu: It is really a nice house, located in a quiet, peaceful village. If you wanna get away from the noise in city, this place should be your first choice. The host, Marilyn, is definitely a nice person, who will offer you a lot of valuable information regarding your visit to places of interest, such as Harpers Ferry historic town, Sugarloaf Mountain and Black Hill state park. Also, Rosemary Room, the one you will be living in, is pretty cute, with white and light purple color, which reminds you of classical flavor. In one word, I would highly recommend you this site!
Brooke Birdsong: Gracious and lovingly restored old home and warm and welcoming host. We look forward to returning in the future.
Luis Angel: Marilyn’s historic house is extremely beautiful and charming. She is a delightful host who will make sure you have a pleasant visit. This was my second time at her place and I must say it was my best Airbnb experience so far. A truly wonderful stay in a historical house, beautifully renovated and surrounded by nature with a magnificent host.
Lisa Wickert: Wir hatten einen wunderbaren Aufenthalt bei Marylin fur 2 Nachte. Sie war eine aufmerksame Gatgeberin, die uns mit zahlreichen Geschicten uber ihre Familie und die Gegend bei Laune gehalten hat. Beim Fruhstuck mit Eiern von den eigenen Huhnern hat sie sich auch zu uns gesetzt un versorgt. Da wur Washington DC shon bei einer frheren Station unserer Rundreise besucht hatten, haben wir in Boyd nur die direkte Umgebung besxucht. Bei Marilyn waren wir auch auf dem See hinter dem Haus Kanu fahren und haben dort das gute Wetter genossen. Has Haus und die einzelnen Zimmer sing liebevoll eingerichtet und wir haben uns sehr wohigefult. Da wir die enzigen Gaste waren, haben wire s genossen, uns das Bad mit niemandem teilen zu mussen. Die Unter kunft Konnen wir allen weiterempfehlen, die ein paar Stunden oder Tage in dieser Gegend verbringen wollen.
Ashley Bichy: The house was beautiful and the hostess was lovely. I have already started recommending this bnb to people.
Catalin Colacel: Notre vacance a Boyd a ete une des experiences les plus interessantes, agreables et amusantes. L’environnement est magnifique, l’endroit est ideal pour retrouver la tranquillite d’esprit, la paix et le Bonheur d’une vie simple en accord avec la nature. Quant a Marylin, nous l’avons tout simplement adore des que nous l’avons rencontre. Sa disponibilite, son accueil chaleureux, son bon humeur, ses conseils sont remarquables. Tout vient naturellement de son grand coeur et, personnellement, je crois que le lux d’un grand resort 5 etoiles est battu par l’amitie et le bonheur que Marylin repand aux etres qui l’entourent. Merci pour tout et, si la vie nous remenera encore pres de Washington, on va renouveler notre experience a Boyds. Carmen et Catalln.
Lauren Cole: Marilyn welcomed me with open arms after a long day of traveling from Bucks County PA. Very nice accommodations, lovely room and shared bath. Only wish I could have stayed longer to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Marilyn was gracious and welcoming. I would love to go back and spend an evening rocking on the front porch and chatting with Marilyn about life and the history of the area. ( Thank you and I hope to come back one day to visit Boyds and your wonderful home.)
Hussain Dahodwala: Our stay was a wonderful and unique experience. It was living in the countryside which is just like next to the city. Marilyn was a sprightly host! Thank you for the beautiful conversations and the introduction to Boyds.
Sharon Ranftle Nakich: Very comfortable and welcoming place! I slept very well here – it was my second stay but I plan for many more. The host, the room, and the land are all beautiful. The room is so cozy and clean and conversation was fantastic! Loved hearing about your masterpiece productions. Beautiful, spacious room in a lovely home on gorgeous property. I felt very comfortable and safe, and very much like I was on vacation even though I was in the area on business. Marilyn was a very welcoming host. Next time I will make use of the canoe.
Danielle Loleng: This place was amazing! A countryside oasis but 10 minutes from Germantown and Gaithersburg. Marilyn was so nice and such a pleasure to converse with. The room was very clean and well decorated. It even had a TV in the room with Netflix. It was perfect for a weekend getaway. The best part was we were able to use Marilyn’s canoes to go fishing on the beautiful lake. We caught a couple of fishes even!
I loved all the outdoor activities and sitting areas your property had. Chatting with you was also so great! Don’t change anything. Keep doing what you are doing.
Caroline Milot: Nous avons fait un sejour tres agreeable. Marilyn est une personne chaleureuse qui adore les gens et qui a le coeur sur la main. Si nous retournons a Boyd, c’est certain que nous recontacterons Marilyn. Nous avons apprecie la luminosite et le calme.
Jimbao Zong: A very beautiful beautiful house and backyard, deserving to remember every time. Leave a pity that I have not so free time staying there. So love Marilyn and their families. If I could, I’ll come here again absolutely.
David Hearn: This was my first Airbnb experience and we decided to try it because while we felt hotels/motels can be fun, they often don’t provide the opportunity to meet people from the area and experience it as your would if your were visiting a friend. We live in Japan and I really hoped my son would have a great cultural experience in addition to a nice soft bed to sleep in at night. Toward that end we got what we were hoping for and so much more! Marilyn is a wonderful host and the Lavender room was an ideal spot to stay. She is extremely warm, open, generous, and of course, could share so much with us about the area. Her house is an historic property that has much going on inside as it does outside and we enjoyed it all thoroughly. My son and I stayed there 4 nights and the highlight was a family barbecue that we joined in on the third night. My son had an absolute blast eating hamburgers, corn on the cob, fresh tomatoes and playing deep into the evening with all the children of Marilyn’s extended family who came over that night. I think the greatest compliment we could make about our experience came a couple days after we had returned to my parent’s house. My son, who joined me for the week in Boyds, was looking at some photos on my phone and asked me, “Dad, is Marilyn your mother’s sister or your father’s sister?” By the end of time in Boyds he was convinced that Marilyn was part of our family.
Hannes Rieger: Marlyin was great, what a super host. Beautiful old building in perfect shape, and she got up at 5 am to make us breakfast for an early flight. Highly recommend.
Mary Hetrick: I had a wonderful time in Boyds. The house was lovely and Marilyn was a wonderful host. I only wish that I could have stayed longer to enjoy the kayak on the lake. I hope to return in the future. The house is located close to the soccer complex and situated in a location that is superb for road biking. Chatting with Marilyn over breakfast made my stay all the more enjoyable.
Bart Dobers: Marilyn was one of the most delightful hostesses that we have ever had. She made us feel so welcome at the house and even served us icecream on the porch. She told us about the history of the house and the area. The room was very warm and welcoming. It was a shame that we only had a limited amount of time to spend there and with her. I truly hope that Marilyn can keep the house after all that she and her family have done to it. The Parks Department would be making a big mistake if they did not allow her to remain there and to allow the house to be what it was originally intended: a reminder of the history of the area.
Dahlia Shvets: Marilyn is a very sweet and happy woman. She is full of great stories and advice about life. I enjoyed getting to know her during our stay. The house and property is extremely beautiful and a peaceful place to stay.
Manman Hu: Marilyn is a great host! She made us feel at home immediately. She also introduced us to her lovely family. This historic house is very pretty, decorated with nice vintage furnitures.
Laken Shumate: It’s a quiet place in the country and very welcoming. I loved my room. It’s beautiful!
Lilia Fuquen: What a delightful experience! The Lavender Room was perfectly appointed and comfortable, with big windows letting in the fresh country air, the bathroom is huge and bright and clean too. Marilyn is the perfect hostess, always available and happy to sit for a cup of tea and share stories of the many adventures she’s lived. I felt so safe and comfortable there that I had no trouble sleeping the first night, which I often have trouble with. Marilyn is such a wonderful person. I’m so lucky to have stayed at her home and spent some time with her. The house is lovely, the property is beautiful, and the people are gems.
Christoph and Sabina Zosel: Perfect stay! The room looks like the pictures; it’s friendly and clean. All renting rooms and the bathroom are on the 1st floor with a beautiful view. Besides you can use the kitchen and freezer. Breakfast was included because of a stay under 2 weeks. The house is a beautiful old farmhouse with a big garden and direct access to the lake. Marilyn has a canoe and a kayak with safety jackets for your own trips. Also you can play badminton, use the grill or relax in/at the pool. Planning the day Marilyn will give you a bunch of tips. (Thanks Marilyn for your time, the interesting talks and tips.)
Marlena Maziarz: Marilyn is an excellent host. She’s warm and kind, she made me feel right at home from the moment we met. The accommodations were as I imagined they would be, beautifully decorated, clean and comfortable. On top of that I was welcome to use anything else in the house and garden. I took a stroll in the back yard one evening and saw several deer and a beaver! I was also welcome to use the canoe – I took it out for only an hour and managed to see fish, turtles, and several species of birds. I was more than happy with my stay. Oh, and Marilyn serves excellent breakfast, just the way you like it. I loved the company, the stories, the beautiful home and the wildlife right in the back yard.
Clare Wardwell: Beautiful room in a beautiful home in a beautiful area. We had a great time staying at Marilyn’s. She was a kind and friendly host and had many great stories to tell. She provided us a delicious breakfast spread both mornings of our stay – it was a great way to start each morning. We would definitely stay here again next time we’re in town. (Thank you for being such a great host. We had a great time staying in your home and it was a pleasure to meet you!)
Liz Weyer: I had a lovely time visiting Marilyn’s lovely home in Boyds. Comfy beds, cozy home. Marilyn is a delight!! I feel everything is as described. A lovely country home.
Laura Young: Marilyn is one of the most welcoming people I have ever met. She will go out of her way to make you feel comfortable. The room itself is beautifully furnished and you have a prime spot to watch birds, red foxes and other wildlife as the sun rises. A lovely and special country experience.
Ernest Williams: My week spent in Boyds was very comfortable and pleasant. Marilyn was most gracious and hospitable. The accommodations were historic, but very comfortable. The electric mattress warmer came in very handy when the white snow covered the landscape! Marilyn shared her love of the community with me, even introducing me to a local artist whose pictures I had admired. I came and went through the back door and kitchen, just as I would have at home, and brewed my own coffee any time of the day I felt that need. The train running through the quiet little historic town seemed to turn up the volume of its whistle at night, which awakened me the first night. But from then on, it was never an issue. The grounds are expansive and beautiful with snow. Marilyn said the lake behind her home has lots of fish, but I did not try my luck. (Your friendliness and accommodation of my granddaughter and daughter was very genuine and heartfelt.)
Christina Johnson: Marilyn was absolutely delightful. She is so proud of her beautiful and historic home, and set up a beautiful breakfast each morning which I had not expected. She looked to make me comfortable in every way. She is so knowledgeable, not just about her area, but about many topics. The house was filled with so many interesting books, antiques, and artistic touches. Her surrounding land and gardens are lovely. My bed was comfortable, with a heated mattress pad! She even put up blinds for me, as I need to be in a dark room. I had a great smart TV in my room, so I could download Netflix movies! What a luxury. I will stay here again!
Louis Abelman: Meeting Marilyn was a highlight of a too brief trip to Montgomery county to attend a wedding. She went above and beyond to ensure a pleasant stay. Over the course of a few fascinating conversations, she shared with us the heritage of a special home which has been in her family for many years. I felt like I had known her a long time and I hope to see her again. (Marilyn, have a wonderful summer in your country paradise!)
Tom Herrick: Marilyn is an engaging and gracious host. She made us feel very welcome and accommodated our gluten-free needs. We shared good conversation on a variety of topics ranging from gardening to music and visual arts. Our activities had us coming and going at odd hours; Marilyn made it possible for us to get into the house at late hours. Her home is a lovely restored country house on several acres that backs up to a lake. We enjoyed large rooms with high ceilings, including the large shared bathroom. The bedroom is upstairs offering nice views of the surrounding countryside. I would stay there again when we come back to the area.
Virginia Rogers: We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in this lovely 19th century home in the quiet town of Boyds. My room was charming and the bed very comfortable. My teenage granddaughter was given a small adjoining room which met her needs perfectly. Breakfast was elegantly served. The house is an easy walk to the MARC station where we could take the short ride into DC on the day we didn’t need a car there. Our hostess welcomed us warmly and gladly shared her vast amount of knowledge of the area, including our nation’s capital and particularly cultural activities. The home boasts both a grand piano and a player piano, and guests are invited to play either or both (the only time I’ve been successful at making beautiful music come from an instrument was on the player piano). Marilyn’s 3 children, spouses, and 8 grandchildren all live within a mile of her, and all appear to be musically talented. We were encouraged to participate in her family’s activities, and it was delightful. This was a home I will look forward to returning to on subsequent trips to Washington. Thank you so much for making me feel like a part of the family.