It was our third time visiting Richmond this year. This time we met up with Sly’s parents for a late birthday/mother’s/father’s day celebration. We stayed in turn-of-the-century-townhomes-now-turned-historic-hotel, drank lots of coffee, visited many parks and museums, and ate a lot. A typical family outing for us. I really enjoyed the white house of the confederacy where an extremely animated and enthusiastic tour guide had us hanging off his every word.
When the rain finally stopped, we had a chance to walk around the Hollywood cemetery, which I found beautifully melancholy. Lots of famous people were buried there, including Jefferson Davis and James Monroe. Afterward, we took a quick driving tour of Richmond, hitting up the Virginia State Capitol and St. John’s church, before settling in for dinner in Churchill at the Roosevelt. It rained like crazy during dinner, but inside the gloomy-romantic Roosevelt we were warm and dry, enjoying our Coca Cola cake.
We have a not-so-secret crush on Richmond, and every time we visit, the thought of buying a beautiful Victorian (or remodeling a crumbling ghost-filled sugar shack) and moving there permanently re-enters our minds. We are always amazed that such old beautiful buildings remain, practically untouched, as if left behind in a mass exodus. To us, Richmond exudes the aura of a Gothic fairy tale. Everywhere you look there are beautiful and heartbreaking reminders of a city that once-was; a mystical hidden city or a secret garden just waiting to be discovered.
Linden Row Inn: $90-$250 // Converted row houses, now a hotel. Check-in was slow and disorganized and the inn could probably use a little bit of tuning up to make it really sparkle. Great historic vibe, although not the most luxurious accommodations or amenities. Large rooms surround a beautiful courtyard, however the best (brighter rooms) face the street. Garden rooms in houses within the courtyard are also available. Continental breakfast is included.
Best Cafe (at the VMFA): $5-10 // gourmet pizza, sandwiches, coffee, happy hour. Opens late on Fri/Sat. Casually elegant indoor/outdoor space overlooking pond and sculpture garden. A wonderful and laid back way to spend an evening.
Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream: $5 // hand made ice cream available plain, with mix-ins, or as specialty sundaes. A good place to stop before or after seeing a movie at the Byrd Theatre, which is highly recommended.
Black Sheep: $7-15 // This is our go-to place when visiting Richmond. Eclectic comfort food and atmosphere and massively large sandwiches. There is usually a 20-30 min wait at peak times/hours. Seasonal menu.
Brunch at The Jefferson Hotel: $35/$42 (some dates and times are less expensive, check their website) // This is probably THE place to have brunch, especially on special occasions like Mother’s and Father’s day. Champagne is unlimited and served with brunch. Large selection of seafood. My favorite items (besides seafood) are the eggs jefferson, the spoon bread, and the waffles. Request to sit in the bar area since it’s more private yet still close to the food. Even if you don’t eat brunch here, the Jefferson hotel is worth a visit because of its beautiful interiors and Tiffany stained glass.
Croaker’s Spot: $15-$30 // Ultimate soul food/seafood restaurant that is a Richmond institution. Get there early on Fri/Sat evenings or expect a very long wait and nonexistent service. Contrary to many websites, the Jackson Ward location is closed, the restaurant is on Hull St.
Food Truck Court: $5-10 // Multiple food trucks that change location depending on the day. On Fridays (at least when we were there), the food trucks congregated in the parking lot of the Virginia Historical Society and featured live music. Great place to picnic.
Shockhoe Espresso and Roastery: <$5 // Independently owned coffee shop and roastery in lively Shockhoe area. Alcohol available at night.
The Roosevelt: $10-25 // Gastropub serving Southern style food in beautiful historic building with dark-romantic interior located in Churchill. We didn’t realize that you could make reservations, and given the popularity of this restaurant, they are highly recommended. Otherwise, walk-ins are accepted (we waited nearly 2 hours for a table, although we enjoyed drinks out on their tiny front porch area). The menu is eclectic with small plates of crispy pork skin sliders, pig’s head terrine, and coca cola cake. It took a really long time to get our food, but when we did, we were pleasantly surprised. For the amount that we ate, it was very reasonably priced.
17th Street Farmer’s market: Free // Sat/Sun – one of America’s oldest markets. Saturday seems busier/has more vendors than Sunday. Get there early for better selection.
Hollywood Cemetery: Free // Beautiful old Southern style cemetery with many elaborate statues and headstones and that is the resting place for Jefferson Davis and James Monroe. Tours available.
Museum and White House of the Confederacy: $15 admission for both // Confederate-focused museum with tons of original artifacts belonging to Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, etc. The tour of the nearby white house is separate, but highly recommended if only to learn more about Varina Davis.
St. John’s Church: $7 // Famed as the location where Patrick Henry said, “Give me Liberty or Give me Death.”
Virginia State Capitol: Free? // Designed by Thomas Jefferson and consists of a park, public square, executive house and several monuments.
VMFA: General Admission is Free // Eclectic collection housed among beautiful architecture (a mix of old and new). In addition to the art exhibits, there are many “after dark” events. One of my favorite places to visit.