Today I made my first foray into Alexandria territory. Except, instead of hitting the “must-see” boutiques and brunch destinations in Old Town (King Street), I explored the more residential neighborhood of Alexandria — Del Ray.
Del Ray was originally called “The Town of Potomac” from 1908 to 1921 — likely because of it’s proximity to the river of the same name.
I brunched at a fairly forgettable place (I’ve genuinely forgotten the name) – though it was trendy establishment filled with twenty- and thirty-something couples sipping mimosas and devouring cinnamon pancakes.
We made our way to the featured “Living Legends” photo gallery at Del Ray Artisans. Photos of Alexandria’s honored citizens lined the one-room community center. However, I appreciated the quaintness that it represented – portraits of community citizens who have contributed to the betterment of Alexandria. I noted one was Alice Merill, a young woman who started SOHO (Space of Her Own), which pairs at-risk girls with adult mentors and culminates in the re-decoration of the girl’s bedroom (ala Extreme Makover Home Edition). In a time where traditional community ties are changing, it’s still crucial to maintain a sense of community history. This gallery did a great job of that.
The gallery’s docent, an older woman, seemed ecstatic that we, three women well under 60, had entered the photo gallery. She enthusiastically handed us nomination forms – so we could suggest the next “living legend” of Alexandria (even though none us had ties to the town). Cute.
I would recommend Del Ray as a neighbhorhood to visit once you’ve mastered Old Town – located on King Street. Del Ray is certainly off the “beaten path” of traditional DC tourism. And of course, our visit would not have been complete without one of DC’s classic summer torrential downpours. 20 soaked-minutes later, we found refuge in the ecletic St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub.