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John Kelly: What's in a Name? | Real Estate Overview | Getting Around the Area | New Resident Checklist

Welcome to the Guide

Alexandria and Arlington, the region's innermost suburbs, offer a unique combination of suburban charm and urban amenities.

They also are steeped in history.

Take a walk along Alexandria's cobblestone streets and you can visit the Apothecary Museum, an 18th-century drugstore where Martha Washington bought castor oil and Robert E. Lee stopped in for lavender to relieve his headaches.

p>The city of 135,000 is home to Gadsby's Tavern, where Washington fired up Revolutionary War troops, and Lee's boyhood home. On Duke Street, you will find remnants of slave pens from what was once the largest slave-trading company in the South.

Lee and his family made their home at Arlington House. The residence was built by George Washington Parke Custis, Lee's father-in-law, and in addition to a home, it was designed to be a memorial to George Washington, his step-grandfather.

Today, Arlington County boasts a population of nearly 203,000. And it was from Arlington that Benjamin Banneker plotted the boundaries of the nation's capital and whose boundaries today mark the county's borders. The Wright brothers gave their first public demonstration at Fort Myer in Arlington.

The 2007 Guide is designed to help you navigate the city and county. It includes information on how to get around the area, where to shop, how to contact elected officials and where to go when you need help or want to help.

Alexandria and Arlington can be a little bewildering for newcomers, as well as for people who have lived here a long time. This special edition of the Alexandria-Arlington Extra, produced by a team of Washington Post editors, reporters, editorial aides, photographers and artists, provides a general guide to the area. We have included some special features, including an overview of the region's professional sports teams and historic sites, and ideas for things to do with kids and families. Columnist John Kelly writes about how the city and county got their names, and food writer Nancy Lewis surveys some of the best restaurants in the area.

As large as The Post may seem to readers, there is never enough space to print everything. For example, religion is a big part of our community, but we did not have the space to list every faith institution. Many features that regularly appear in the Extra can be found today at www.washingtonpost.com/arlington or www.washingtonpost.com/alexandria and will resume in their regular spots next week.

We hope you enjoy the Guide and find it helpful. We welcome your suggestions and comments. E-mail theguide@washpost.com or call 202-334-6005.

-- Victoria Benning, Editor, Alexandria-Arlington Extra

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Getting Around the Washington Area

Slug lines are a way to form impromptu carpools and help drivers meet passenger minimums.
Slug lines are a way to form impromptu carpools and help drivers meet passenger minimums. (By Marvin Joseph -- The Washington Post)
Local Transit Services
Traveling on Metro
Carpool, Vanpool and Commuter Information
Commuting 101: Becoming Fluent in Traffic Talk
Major Airports
Toll Roads
Commuter Rail
Transit Information On the Web
Up-to-Date Traffic Information

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New Resident Checklist

Cable TV

Comcast of Alexandria

Comcast of Arlington
For information, visit www.comcast.com.


Dominion Virginia Power
For service, call 888-667-3000 or visit www.dom.com.


Washington Gas
For service, call 703-750-1000 or visit www.washgas.com.

Pet Licenses

For information, call
703-838-4774 or visit www.alexandriaanimals.org/awla/license.cfm.

For information, call
703-228-3081 or visit www.arlingtonva.us/Departments/Treasurer/TreasurerDogLicensing.aspx.

Trash, Recycling, Sewer and Water Services

For water in Alexandria, call Virginia American Water at 703-549-7080 or 800-452-6863.
The city collects refuse and recyclable materials curbside. The city also collects white goods (stoves, washers, dryers,
refrigerators, hot water heaters, etc.) on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. To arrange a white-goods pickup, or to report a missed trash or recycling pickup, call 703-519-3486. For information, visit www.alexandriava.gov/tes/sw/overview.html.

In Arlington, call the County Utilities Services Office at 703-228-6570. Homeowners, and possibly renters, need to establish a county utilities account for services.

Public Schools

Parents should enroll school-age children as soon as they arrive in the city or county. Register at the school the child will attend. For information on attendance zones in Alexandria, call 703-824-6635. For more information, visit the Alexandria
City Public Schools at www.acps.k12.va.us.

To determine the appropriate school in Arlington, call 703-228-7660, then call the Intake Center at 703-228-7663 for an appointment. Information is available at the Arlington Public Schools Web site, www.arlington.k12.va.us/options.


For residential service, call 703-954-6222. For business service, call 800-826-2355. For information, visit www.verizon.com.

Vehicle Registration

New Virginia residents must register their vehicles within 30 days of becoming a resident. An emissions inspection is required before vehicle registration, and a vehicle safety inspection is required upon registration; there is no grace period. Residents are also required to purchase a city or county vehicle decal. The cost is $25 for an Alexandria decal and $24 for an Arlington County decal. Alexandria residents can visit www.alexandriava.gov/city/kyc/rights_responsibilities.html. If you live in Arlington, visit www.arlingtonva.us/Departments/Treasurer/TreasurerPersonalProperty.aspx. For information on registering vehicles and obtaining a Virginia driverís license, call the Department of Motor Vehicles at 866-368-5463 or visit www.dmv.state.va.us. There are DMV offices in Alexandria and Arlington.

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