For years I drove up and down the I-95 corridor passing by the exits for Richmond, Virginia. One day I stopped and stayed a while and what I found was unexpected and delightful. In Richmond, more than 400 years of American history blends effortlessly with trendy shops, world-class museums, outdoor recreation and delicious food and drink. Here are some reasons why you should take that Richmond exit too.
Virginia’s capital city has emerged as a culinary destination demanding the attention of your taste buds. Nowhere is this more evident than in Richmond’s historic Church Hill neighborhood. This is the place where Patrick Henry gave his “Give me Liberty or Give me Death” speech. Today, this is THE place to eat.
Start your day at one of the Church Hill bakeries. Located in a turn-of-the-century building, WPA Bakery is co-owned by baker David Rohrer and restaurateur Kendra Feather. David was awarded the 2014 Elby Award for Best Pastry Chef. WPA Bakery serves all sorts of yummy treats including sticky buns, almond-glazed pretzels, cakes, pies and parquets.
Everything on the menu at nearby Sub Rosa Bakery is baked in a wood fired masonry oven. All fruits, meats and vegetables are sourced from Virginia farms and organic wheat, corn and rye grains are stone-milled in house.
For inventive hand crafted cocktails and scrumptious cuisine sourced from locally produced ingredients, check out the award winning Heritage RVA in downtown Richmond. I couldn’t resist trying the “Bitter About My Hot Friend” cocktail – a blend of Iunazul Reposado tequila, Campari, agave, lemon and spice. I’m no longer bitter.
Richmond isn’t just about the food; it is also the home of Blue Bee Cider – Virginia’s first and only urban cidery. Named for one of Virginia’s native bees, Blue Bee Cider is located in the heart of Richmond’s Old Manchester district at the fall line of the James River. They produce artisanal ciders on a seasonal basis. Try them out in a tasting and don’t miss the tiny apple orchard outside with a spectacular view of downtown Richmond.
Carytown is Richmond’s nine-block “Mile of Style” lined with unique boutiques, restaurants and specialty shops. The eclectic collection of award winning, locally owned businesses guarantees a one-of-a- kind experience. Check out vintage clothing shops like Bygones, Clementine and Ashby. Whatever you do, don’t miss the World of Mirth – quite possibly the funkiest fun store anywhere. Often described as the place where Dr. Seuss meets Pee Wee’s Playhouse, the World of Mirth began as a funky little vintage and novelty shop determined to provide a much needed alternative to the main stream shopping experience. They have succeeded. Stop in and play, you can’t help but be entertained.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Art has been bringing the arts to Richmond since its inception in 1936. The museum houses a permanent collection of 33,000 remarkable works of art from almost every major world culture. Noteworthy collections include the Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Modern and Contemporary American art, French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art and British sporting art and the Lillian Thomas Pratt Collection of Faberge jeweled objects.
One of the most fascinating displays is the museum’s collection of African art featuring figures, masks textiles, regalia, and ritual objects from more than 100 cultures throughout the continent. It is regarded as one of the most comprehensive in the United States.
A stroll along historic Monument Avenue brings you face to face with Confederate heroes from the Civil War with statues of Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee and more. Interestingly, Arthur Ashe – the city’s best-known native son – takes his place alongside the Confederate heroes. Ashe was the first African-American male to win a Grand Slam tennis event and an active civil rights supporter. The bronze statue of Arthur Ashe faces west with four children facing east. The statue shows him holding books in his left hand and a tennis racket in his right to illustrate the importance of sports and education. Monument Avenue is the only street in America listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
No need to leave the city when you are ready for a little active adventure, Richmond has whitewater rafting, kayaking and canoeing right in the middle of the city. In fact, Richmond is the only urban setting with Class III and Class IV rapids. Float, paddle or ride the rapids of the James River all in view of the downtown skyline. A suspended walkway above the river is the perfect place for a stroll to walk off all that delicious Richmond food.
Have you been to Richmond? What were your favorite experiences? Tell us in the comments below.
Whatever you do in Richmond, be sure to pack your RoamRight travel insurance when you go!
Your bag when backpacking is heavy enough. Here's how travel insurance can help take some weight off your shoulders.
Travel insurance comes at a price, but so could opting out of it.
Terri Marshall is a New York City based freelance writer whose work includes travel, spirits, and all things chocolate. Terri's work appears in several publications. She has been a featured guest on Peter Greenberg's Worldwide Travel radio program and Denver's KZKO Radio Morning Express show. Terri will not hesitate to go to the source for great chocolate - even if that means hiking through the jungle and picking cacao pods herself.
Happiest when she's globetrotting, Terri has covered destinations all over the United States, Europe, and into Central and South America. Favorite adventures include reindeer driving in Norway and fishing for piranhas in the Amazon jungle of Peru. You can keep up with Terri's adventures on her website www.TrippingwithTerri.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Travel smarter with travel insurance from RoamRight. Get your free, no-obligation quote online today.
View all Blog Authors
View Countries with Blogs
Sign up for RoamRight's FREE monthly email newsletter to get travel tips, tricks, news, ideas, and inspiration!
The RoamRight mark is used by Arch Insurance Company and owned by its parent company, Arch Capital Group (U.S.). All insurance products are offered and underwritten by Arch Insurance Company. The term "Partner", as used on this website refers to any unaffiliated third party entity that may offer or disseminate Arch RoamRight travel insurance. The term has no legal meaning whatsoever and Arch RoamRight hereby disclaims any such legal meaning that may be ascribed to it. Click here for privacy notice.
Copyright© 2019 Arch Insurance Company. All rights reserved.