Richmond, Virginia is VERY easy to love.
We are often pleasantly surprised and rarely disappointed by places in the world where we travel. However, our return to the historic Richmond, Virginia area completely overwhelmed us all. Our team enthusiasm was echoed by the group who had accompanied us.
For four days, we witnessed first hand the vibrant vibe that is the renaissance of Richmond first hand for over a week. It was only enough time to know that we cannot wait to return to experience more history, art, food and wine.
We all were fortunate to participate in a private tour of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (it will reopen in the spring of 2010). The Special Collections area at the Library of Virginia provided us a rare look at some of George Washington’s original documents, along with original works by Patrick Henry. As the curator captivated us with numerous original works of our Founding Fathers, he provided a sense of their lives and their commitment to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. You can make arrangements to see items in the Special Collections with an advance appointment.
A catered luncheon at the Edgar Allen Poe Museum and tour was interesting-especially with 2009 being the 200th year celebration of his life. We also visited St. Paul’s Church, famous for Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death” speech in 1775.
These are only a few places in Richmond’s history.
We also found time to drink wine at Can Can, dine at the Hanover Tavern and experience the farmers market in Shockoe Bottom. We enjoyed a cooking class at DoubleTree, where there was a focuses on local Virginia favorites and local wine. Next, a special dinner at the cooking school, Mise en Place, with local purveyors and farmers, was a special treats for our culinary team. Everything Misen en Place presented was fresh, easy and delicious and so was the company.
We even met Buz, of Buz and Ned’s fame, by his real, green-wood smoke pit. The flamboyant Buz had slayed Bobby Flay in the barbecue competition, the Food Network’s Throw-down.
A big delight to many to wine writers was the many new and state-of the-art vineyards and wineries popping up in the greater Richmond region. One taste of the sparkling, whites and reds and we understood the reasons for the local wine popularity.
Even after a whirl wind time of l5 hour days our team did not want to leave. We even called airlines in hopes that we were bumped.
We were fortunate to have stayed in two of Richmond’s historic properties. First, we loved the quaint, old world feeling of the Linden Row Inn, a true inn in the heart of town. This establishment was like being at home with a tea and coffee room in the parlor, spacious rooms, topped of by a warm and friendly staff. Its amiable manager welcomed us in person with hot tea in the secluded court yard terrace. The next day, he gave us a behind the scenes peak at the renovated suites and fascinating history of the Linden Row Inn.
The historic Jefferson Inn, an American Landmark since l895, was without any doubt one of the finest hotels we have experienced anywhere in the world. This 5 star and 5 diamond hotel’s renowned true southern hospitality will be featured in depth in several upcoming articles.
On our last evening, we enjoyed the ambiance of the historic river district. We sadly bid a fine farewell, not good by, to the Richmond area at a very special spot called Julep’s, noted for 40 years of old fashioned warmth and new southern cuisine.
One of the beauties of the Richmond historic triangle is ease of transportation. It is a short hop off route 95 when driving, and then picturesque and easy roads help you find your way.
We came by train, plane and rented car. We loved the train, the airport was a modern joy, and Enterprise picked us up with a few minutes notice, on time, at our hotel. Yet, no car was needed to get around in Richmond. Some rode the self balancing Segways all over town one afternoon, while others walked miles to discover vintage shops and other hidden treasures in Carytown. Others visited the Virginia Historical Society. By all of us going different directions, we discovered why we need to return.
Our whirlwind and behind the scenes tours were thanks to the Richmond Visitors Bureau at http://www.VisitRichmon.com