Del Ray draws The Mayberry Crowd


As Del Ray celebrates its centennial, the rich history of what was a railroad town has developed into a neighbor-friendly enclave along both sides of the Avenue.

To highlight the historically significant landmarks, newly installed signs along with all else Del Ray is celebrating at a days of festivities on May 2nd, to honor both the history and cont-emporary character of its denizens.

Back in 1894 Del Ray and its sister neighborhood, St. Elmo, were incorporated as the Town of Potomac.  The newly recognized city bordering the west side of Alexandria City began to provide its own services, levied its own taxes, took responsibility for improving its own infrastructure and began to enforce its own laws.  Today, its home to residents that value a sense of neighborhood, punctuated by mature trees and plantings.

Jennifer Walker, a real estate agent with Mc-Enearney Associates and active in the area, said, its the kind of place where you may come home after a long day and find your neighbor has mowed your lawn.

Neighborhood pancake breakfasts and glasses of wine shared over fences embrace newcomers, as well as those who have established the Del Ray lifestyle, and are eager to share it with others.

Like its neighbor, Rose-mont and the historical district of Old Town, Del   Ray is appreciated for its walkability.

The May issue of the Washingtonian Magazine named Del Ray one of its 50 top golden neighborhoods in the DC metro area.  The neighborly ambience seems to be adding to its value, as well. Walker said she has recently experienced three multiple-contract offers in what is otherwise a slow real estate market.

Of the 58 homes listed for sale in Del Ray and its sister neighborhood, Rosemont, many are in the upper-price brackets.  A three bedroom house can be priced anywhere from the high $600,000 tArchitecturally, the homes lend themselves to contemporary expansion. Bobi Bomar of Weichert Realtors, also a resident of Del Ray, said the most popular home styles tend to be the bungalow, farmhouse and four squares or big, square house with a bedroom in each corner. 

dditionally, there are Cape Cods and arts and craft homes, most built in the 1920s and 1930s.

The diversity of home styles complements the diversity of the neighborhoods.  Events such as First Thursdays that occur from May through September honor the interests of neighbors.  Vendors set up in the streets, there are crafts for kids, as well as a K-9 and Kids evening.

You can walk in for a cup of coffee and know half the customers,  Bomar said. The same holds true for Friday and Saturday nights, as neighbors cue up with Mary-landers and District residents to compete for a seat at Los Tios Restaurant, serving popular Salvad-orian food.

Overall, Del Ray be-longs to its citizens, instead of tourists, Bomar said.  She is finding some influx from Alexandrias Old Town neig-hbors, as buyers seek gardens and quiet, tree-lined streets far fr-om the madding crowds.

While the City of Alexandria officially ann-exed Del Ray in 1930, modern day citizens have much to celebrate, including the spirit that established the quality of its lifestyle 100 years ago.