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The area to the Northwest of Old Town, which had been in the separate town of Potomac, is popularly known as Del Ray, although that name properly belongs to one of many communities (including Hume, Mount Ida and Saint Elmo's) in that area.
The communities of Del Ray and St. Elmo's originated in early 1894 when developer Charles Wood organized them in a grid pattern of streets running north–south and east–west. Del Ray originally contained six east–west streets and five north–south. All were identical in width, except Mount Vernon Avenue, which was approximately 20 feet wider. St. Elmo's, a smaller tract, was laid out in a similar pattern, but with only four east–west streets and one running north–south.
By 1900, Del Ray contained approximately 130 people, and St. Elmo's 55. In 1908, the tracts of Del Ray, St. Elmo's, Mount Ida, and Hume were incorporated into the town of Potomac, which by 1910 had a population of 599; by 1920 it contained 1,000; by 1928 it had 2,355 residents; now more than 20,000 people live in Del Ray.
Del Ray is considered to be a local neighborhood of a much greater city – the City of Alexandria. If you head west from the strip of Jefferson Davis Highway that is littered with 21st-century strip malls and a big-box grocery store, you’ll find this little pocket town.
Alexandria, and by proxy, Del Ray, Virginia, gets 44 inches of rain per year. The U.S. average is 37. Snowfall is 7 inches. The average US city gets 25 inches of snow per year. The number of days with any measurable precipitation is 116.
On average, there are 201 sunny days per year in Alexandria, Virginia. The July high is around 89 degrees. The January low is 24. The comfort index, which is based on humidity during the hot months, is a 41 out of 100, where higher is more comfortable. The U.S. average on the comfort index is 44.
Being surrounded by Alexandria on all four sides, you don’t have to go far to bear witness to everything the larger city has to offer, but there are a few local destinations that you’ll only find in Del Ray.
St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub – 2300 Mount Vernon Ave. – (703) 739-9268
Del Ray Artisans – 2704 Mount Vernon Ave. – (703) 838-4827
Del Ray Farmers Market – 203 East Oxford Ave.
Market 2 Market – 116 E. Del Ray Ave. – (517) 312-3010
These restaurants have cemented themselves firmly in the community of Del Ray, and you would be well-served to check them out for yourself!
Holy Cow – 2312 Mt Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301 – (703) 666-8616
The Sushi Bar – 2312 Mt Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301 – (571) 257-3232
Pork Barrel BBQ – 2312 Mt Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301 – (703) 822-5699
Bon Vivant Cafe + Farm Market – 2016 Mt Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301 – (571) 290-3820
With the City of Alexandria, as well as Old Town Alexandria not more than a short walk away, the night lift in Del Ray is enjoyed by a lot more than just the locals! Whether you’re a night owl or you just want to be surrounded by cold ones, friends, and good music for a little while, Del Ray is everywhere you wish to be!
Murphy's Grand Irish Pub – 713 King St, Alexandria, VA 22314 – (703) 548-1717
No. 9 Lounge – 2000 Mt Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301 – (703) 549-5051
Southside 815 – 815 S Washington St, Alexandria, VA 22314 – (703) 836-6222
T.J. Stone's – 608 Montgomery St, Alexandria, VA 22314 – 703) 548-1004
The school system in Del Ray is governed by the same public school system that you can find in Alexandria, and since Del Ray is a subdivision of Alexandria, you won’t have to look far. You’ll find Fairfax County public schools here mixed in with Alexandria Public Schools.
Cameron Elementary School – 3434 Campbell Dr, Alexandria, VA 22303 – (703) 329-2100
Bishop Ireton High School – 201 Cambridge Rd, Alexandria, VA 22301 – (703) 751-7606
George Washington Middle School – 1005 Mt Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA 22301 – (703) 706-4500
Maury Elementary School – 600 Russell Rd, Alexandria, VA 22301 – (703) 706-4440
Alexandria is an important city to our nation’s history, culture and very way of life. If you’re in the area, don’t just pass through. Make Del Ray one of your destinations!
Torpedo Factory Art Center – 105 N Union St, Alexandria, VA 22314 – (703) 838-4565
George Washinton’s Mount Vernon – 3200 Mount Vernon Hwy, Mt Vernon, VA 22121 – (703) 780-2000
Gadsby's Tavern – 138 N Royal St, Alexandria, VA 22314 – (703) 548-1288
Carlyle House – 121 N Fairfax St, Alexandria, VA 22314 – (703) 549-2997
Del Ray may appear to be a little pocket of Alexandria, but this is the place that many call home. There are far too many “secrets” that are only known to the locals, like restaurants, bits and pieces of our nation’s history, and more. Make some time to put Del Ray on your destination list before you kick yourself for forgetting!
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