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Posted by on Jan 23, 2015 | 0 comments

Parks and Rec: Jones Point Park

Parks and Rec: Jones Point Park

Even in the middle of winter, Jones Point Park is a local destination we love to visit. Historic buildings, nature and bike trails, playgrounds, open green space and water views — what’s not to love? Located at the south eastern tip of Old Town, you can access the park by car near the intersection of S. Royal St. and Green St. next to St. Mary’s School. Or, you can enter the park from the Mount Vernon Bike Trail. The parking lot connects you to two playground areas, jogging trails, the Mount Vernon Bike Trail and the basketball hoops with magnificent views underneath the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. It leads you straight out to the water’s edge to the fishing piers, picnic tables and benches. Wide dirt and gravel trails take you along the river to explore native plants, informational plaques and historic boundary markers designating where Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C. intersect. My favorite part of the park is the historic Jones Point Lighthouse, built in 1855 to guide ships...

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Posted by on Aug 4, 2014 | 1 comment

Del Ray Parks and Rec: Monticello Park

Del Ray Parks and Rec: Monticello Park

Tucked in a wooded area of the Beverley Hills neighborhood next to Del Ray is yet another one of our favorite local outdoor destinations, Monticello Park, located at 320 Beverley Dr. It’s well-known in the birding community as an ideal spot to view the numerous species of migrant birds which visit during the year (I’ve heard there are at least 20 species of Warblers). In fact, the only other person who was in the park when we visited was a birder, binoculars in hand. We didn’t bring binoculars or a zoom lens on our visit though, we were here for a walking adventure. After crossing the bridge over the shallow stream, my kids took off, running up and down the hilly terrain, winding through twisted branches and over fallen trees and looping back to the picnic area at the middle of the park. The park does have its downsides though — some of the pathways are blocked by invasive plants and uneven roots and an unsightly stormwater drain empties...

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Posted by on Aug 1, 2014 | 1 comment

Del Ray’s New Walking Labyrinth

Del Ray’s New Walking Labyrinth

We have a new feature, a labyrinth, at the Del Ray pocket park at the corner of Commonwealth and Del Ray Avenue. The labyrinth is designed to be is a single path leading to the center for meditative walking. Although the term maze and labyrinth are sometimes used synonymously, I’ve read that they are two separate things. A labyrinth has a single path and a maze is more complex, with more pathways and branches. The new labyrinth is not only lovely to look at, but is also a nice activity for both kids and adults. Dana, who lives close by, can see it from her kitchen window. At first, she admits, “I was skeptical that I’d find the spot meditative given the exposed location at the corner of a heavily-used intersection, but I was really excited to give it a try.” And she’s now quite taken with it. “What I found on my first walk through,” she says, “was a very serene experience. It forces you to move slowly and...

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Posted by on Jul 21, 2014 | 0 comments

Del Ray Parks and Rec: Mount Jefferson Greenway

Del Ray Parks and Rec: Mount Jefferson Greenway

When I told a friend I was going to walk the Mount Jefferson Greenway this past weekend, she asked, “What’s the Greenway?” If you’re into Del Ray history or you live near the Greenway, you’re probably very familiar with it. But for those who have never heard of it, the Greenway is a long thin plot of land about 1/2 mile in length on the east side of Del Ray, tracing the former route of the Bluemont Line of the defunct W&OD Railroad. There’s essentially two sides of the Greenway. On the north side, there’s a park with benches, a playground for kids and a paved path favored by joggers and dog walkers. We started our walk on this side where you enter the Greenway at Commonwealth Avenue between Manning and Ashby Street. The park crosses Clifford and Hume Avenues before it opens to benches and a playground. There’s a marker at Raymond Avenue telling the history of the Bluemont Line — it carried goods, mail and passengers from...

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Posted by on Jun 9, 2014 | 1 comment

Del Ray Parks and Rec: Frank Mann Field

Del Ray Parks and Rec: Frank Mann Field

We love our parks and outdoor recreation areas in Del Ray and its surrounding neighborhoods. In this first in a series of posts about our local “parks and rec,” we’re visiting Frank Mann Field over at Four Mile Run Park. Frank Mann Field, located at 3700 Commonwealth Ave., is home to the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League team the Alexandria Aces, Bishop Ireton High School’s baseball team and various Alexandria Little League teams. But who is Frank Mann and why is the field named after him? I just recently learned that Frank Mann served in Alexandria public office from 1952-1979 in various roles: As mayor (three terms), as a member of the city council and as a delegate in the Virginia General Assembly. In 1978 he played an important role bringing the minor league team called the Alexandria Dukes to our city. They played for a few years at Four Mile Run Park before relocating to Prince William County. That team is now the Potomac Nationals. After Frank Mann...

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