After fifteen weeks of teaching about King Arthur, reading about King Arthur, gabbing about King Arthur, and drumming into my students that King Arthur is omnipresent in modern culture, I shouldn’t find it weird when the creaky old king makes a cameo—but honestly, I hadn’t expected that a wrong turn in suburban Virginia would land me in the Camelot subdivision of Annandale, where the streets are named after Arthurian characters and motifs.
Unlike the occasional cul-de-sac dubbed “King Arthur’s Ct.” by some card of a developer, the Camelot neighborhood along the Beltway appears to have been mapped out around 1966 by someone whose knowledge of Arthurian legend wasn’t entirely facile. Lancelot, Merlin, Guenevere, and Arthur are all here, but characters who rarely surface in popular Arthuriana are also represented by such stately addresses as Balin Court, Bedivere Court, and (my favorite) Pellinore Place. Charmingly, Lancelot Way meets Guenevere Drive while King Arthur Road does not—although King Arthur Road does cross Saxony Drive before turning into something else.
There’s no Mordred Avenue, but the residents of this particular Camelot probably hope their neighborhood leans toward Lerner and Loewe rather than Tennyson. Mortgages and foreclosure are mundane subjects for Arthurian legend, but nowadays “my house hath been my doom” might hit too close to home.