I've been to Richmond many times--regular jaunts to the Science and Children's museums when the kids were little, and hanging around in the Fan or Carytown since Brigid started school there, but I've never visited with "getaway" in mind and there is a lot we haven't seen. We booked a room at the Linden House Inn, near downtown.
|Our hotel on E. Franklin St.|
Friday night, we went to Bistro 27 on Broad St. for dinner. When we arrived, they seemed a little nervous and told us it was the first night with their new menu, and to please be patient, but everything was lovely. If it was chaotic in the kitchen, you couldn't tell in the dining room. We started with a mackerel pate. I ordered a vegetarian entree; lentils and seasonal vegetables with feta, wrapped in naan bread. I loved this! I would definitely order it again if we were to return. We finished the evening visiting with Brigid (now safely home from Cape Town) and her boyfriend, Ryan.
Hotel dining rooms at breakfast are interesting places. Everyone is from somewhere else and has a different story. Most people are cheerful at the prospect of a "free" breakfast that someone else prepared for them. Over my coffee and book, I eavesdropped a little. A table of chemistry professors were mocking their students' obtuseness. One of them said, "I told them, 'One mole ten to the 27th power times six tons of grass clippings' and what answer did they choose on the exam? Eight." She sat back in her chair, triumphant, amid sympathetic clucking from her companions. At another table, a woman was gushing on the phone about the hotel, "My room is bigger than my house. It's GRACIOUS. LIVING."
After breakfast on Saturday morning, we went to Caravati's architectural salvage. I have been dying to visit for years. You can find all kinds of old house parts: claw foot tubs, stained glass windows, fencing, mantles, door knobs, hinges, lighting etc. We spent a happy hour browsing and taking stock for future projects.
|A forest of columns|
|Perhaps you need stair bannisters|
|Or an antique stove|
The track takes you to this ladder. (I took this picture after we were finished and were ready to climb back up.) We met a guy at the top of the ladder who was planning to carry his dog down it. We didn't stay to gawk at him, but I know he made it because we saw him later. His dog probably weighed close to 100 pounds.
Anyway, you walk on the top of the pipeline, under the railroad bridge and along the James River. I was hoping a train would go over while we were there, but it didn't happen.
The walk back was a little scary. First of all, I had trouble climbing back up to the pipe. Standing on the very top of the pile of stones, I just managed to drag myself onto it. The pipe isn't really wide enough for two people, but now lots of people were heading toward us with their picnic coolers. You had to turn sideways and edge past each other, and on the part with no railings, this was scary. We made it to the end fine, though.
Later in the afternoon, we went to St. John's Church, where Patrick Henry famously ranted, "Give me liberty or give me death!" I took my father their years ago, but I wanted to return to see the view.
|This is St. John's|
|This is the neighborhood around St. John's|
We talked about how we need to familiarize ourselves more with Virginia. We have lived here for fifteen years, and we have never been to Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chincoteague, or even northern Virginia, except for field trips to Wegmans and Ikea. We're hoping to be able to do some more local vacations.
After a siesta, we went out for dinner with Brigid and her boyfriend and after that to a place called Wonderland in Shockhoe Bottom, to hear some music. It turns out the show had been cancelled, but we stayed to have a beer. Sunday morning, we left early to return to Charlottesville for our usual weekend chores.
What about you? Do you tend to ignore your region when traveling, or do you do local trips?