This morning I had the rare opportunity to take a Saturday morning off and enjoy the farmers market and a stroll through the streets of Del Ray in Alexandria VA. Not as famous as its neighbor, Old Town Alexandria, the neighborhood of Del Ray still exudes old style charm and grace.
Founded as a railroad community for workers at the nearby Potomac Rail Yard, Del Ray’s history can be tracked back to the mid 1800’s. With the Alexandria area being a major point for multiple train companies no longer in existence, Del Ray was crisscrossed by not only a significant number of train lines but streetcar tracks as well. As the train companies went out of business the fortunes of Del Ray turned as well.
Surprising enough in this day and age of flattening old blighted neighborhoods to the ground, Del Ray managed to survived due in part to a small group of citizens who decided to fight to protect the cottages that line the roads off of Commonwealth Avenue. Now Del Ray once again is a thriving community with a real small town feel.
Neighbors actually spend time on the porches of their bungalows talking to each other. Shop owners have water dishes out for the dogs and the work of local artists can be found in the shops fronting on Commonwealth. The Del Ray Artisans have classes for children that are booked solid every year. If you haven’t had breakfast at St. Elmos or dinner at Evening Star then you have missed a real treat. And of course in the summer the farmers market is the place to meet and greet.
Del Ray was recently featured in both Cottage Living and American Bungalow Magazine. Homes in Del Ray aren’t cheap. You pay for both the history and the location just outside of Washington DC. The owners of 3 Del Ray Avenue invited me in to take a look at their home which is currently on the market for $699,900. It is exquisite and was remodeled and expanded to reflect the original architecture. If you have an afternoon off and want to explore a great area then take the time to check on Del Ray.