Take a day trip to this quaint and colorful corner of Northern Virginia.
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Nobody knows a place better than the people who live there, sun after sun, moon after moon. So, too, for the folks of Alexandria’s quirky Del Ray neighborhood. Dotted with Craftsman bungalows and mom-and-pop shops, and located northwest of Old Town, Del Ray’s official slogan is “Where Main Street still exists.” How would Del Ray neighbors spend a day on their town? We asked and got some great tips.
Start the day with a mocha at St. Elmo’s Coffee Pub. This isn’t your standard espresso-hot milk-chocolate concoction—St. Elmo’s cup is distinctively rich and thick. The espresso beans come from the green-minded Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company, and the chocolate is Ghirardelli—yum. StElmosCoffeePub.com
Del Ray Artisans is a community art center that showcases local pieces juried by Washington fine arts professionals. The center has exhibited just about every medium, from oil paintings to digitally manipulated art to handcrafted jewelry. DRA will open a show June 6 titled SUITES (Scandalous Uproarious Intriguing Titillating Entanglements & Seductions), which will feature works by members. Don’t miss recurring programs and workshops, such as drop-in life drawing sessions. TheDelRayArtisans.org
Cheesetique, a cheese and wine bar and specialty cheese shop, is also a full-service restaurant serving cheese-centric dishes like Lobster Mac—a toss of pennette pasta, Fontina Fontal, tarragon and tender lobster meat with a touch of sherry. When you’ve finished eating, stop by the shop to buy more for later. Cheesetique.com
Spend an evening at The Birchmere Music Hall to catch nationally and regionally known bluegrass, country, folk and jazz acts. Mary Chapin Carpenter, Dave Matthews, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt and many other artists have performed at this intimate venue since it opened in 1966. Birchmere.com
Post-concert, treat yourself to any of the Divas (milkshakes) at Artfully Chocolate. Take the Judy Garland: milk chocolate, a shot of hazelnut, whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles. If you can’t decide from among the 15 Divas, try the Golden Girls Diva Sampler for a taste of three, each served up in a 4-ounce cup with a dainty rosette of whipped cream. TheCocoaGallery.com