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Neighborhood: Del Ray July 11-18

Ahhh, The "Scents" of Del Ray!

Have you ever walked "The Avenue" from one end to the other on a sunny summer afternoon? You should…it’s a treat for the Senses!

While out this week, on the eve of First Thursday (just hours before, really!), I found myself strolling "The Avenue" with my friend, neighbor & Del Ray native, Stu Ellis, Jr.

We were on a mission from Jennifer Walker – stopping in every store that was open and posting fliers advertising Cinema Del Ray’s remaining movies of the summer.

* Take Note: that’s Curious George on Saturday, July 21st & Shrek on Saturday, August 18th. The fun starts up at 7 p.m. and the film rolls at dusk at the Mount Vernon Rec Center Fields! Join us – it’s a BLAST!

Anyway….along the way, it hit me….every store on "The Avenue" has its own distinct smell!

It all started with the salsa at Los Tios, followed by fresh bread being baked by Rhoda at The Caboose... then the smell of real Wisconsin cheese at the Cheesetique and fresh money at Virginia Commerce Bank. Blue Cheese and Green Backs!

After that it was the homemade blueberry cobbler at the Dairy Godmother quickly followed by exotic coffees at St. Elmo’s.

Shortly thereafter it was the relaxing aroma of lavender in Vital Day Spa quickly followed by the sweet smell of homemade handiwork in A Show Of Hands.

Our senses were reeling!!!

Who doesn’t love the smell of the Evening Star Café (especially now that they’re even more smoke-free!)? Then... the scent of new clean carpets at Arlandria Floors followed by more homemade treats at Mancini’s. Then, there’s always the irresistible Al’s Steakhouse aroma, but we skipped stoppin’ in so as to resist the temptation! Don’t forget that new car smell as we shopped in the showroom of the Alexandria Hyundai!

Breathe In. Breathe Out! Ahhh...

"The Avenue" serves as a summer treat to all of us and all of our senses.

I never thought I’d say this, but….seems now is a perfect time to stop and smell "The Avenue!"

Did everyone enjoy themselves at First Thursday? Seemed like another fantastic turnout. Thank you again to everyone who always makes that event happen without a hitch. Huge thanks to Gayle, Pat, Patty & of course, Carol & Ryan. Who could forget to thank RICKETT!?!? Max & Tracy, what would Del Ray do without your grill? Nice save! Thanks guys!

Next up is the Farmers’ Market this Saturday, Cinema Del Ray next Saturday and always something fun at Del Ray Artisans. This just in from Kathe Graham: "Pottery, jewelry, monoprints and encaustic painting are among the many art forms represented at the Del Ray Artisan’s August show "Mashup! Solos and Collaborations."

"The four of us work in very different media, and have always admired each other’s artwork," Juli R. Branson, Mashup! artist, said. "One day we decided it might be fun to dabble in each other’s art forms. So we got together and created a couple of crossover pieces we call ‘Mashups’."

Those cross-medium artworks will be raffled off throughout the month-long show. Raffle tickets will be available beginning at the opening reception of Mashup!, a four-artist show, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, August 3, 2007, at the Nicholas A. Colasanto Center, 2704 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria, VA.

Mashup!, which will be on display throughout August, will showcase each individual artist’s work. The gallery is open Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays noon to 4 p.m. The public is welcome to attend the reception or drop by during gallery hours. The artists will donate 20 percent of all sales proceeds to the Del Ray Artisans to support future programs.

See you there!

Keep enjoying summer & stop to take a sniff of all the scents that "The Ave" has to offer, next time you’re out and about in this, our fabulous neighborhood we call Del Ray, where Main Street still exists!!

Give us your take on "The Avenue" sometime by dropping a line to jen@jenwalker.com. We would love a good guest columnist!

~Lauren Smith

Assistant to Jen Walker