Richmond, the state capital of Virginia, isn’t a stop that
most people consider when planning a trip to the USA, or even for most Americans travelling
within their own country. Yet this state capital isn’t without its charms, and
is well worth a visit if in nearby Washington D.C., or indeed neighboring
states like North Carolina or Maryland. So, if you do make it over to Richmond,
what should you do? Check out my four favorite activities in this charming town
that’s a beautiful blend of North and South.
The heart of downtown Richmond, the area known as Carytown
is situated on West Cary Street, and is the most happening part of the city.
Cute cafes and coffee shops rub shoulders with ethnic eateries and frozen yogurt
stores. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve wandered into New York’s
Greenwich Village, given the diversity of the people who go there, everyone
from families and students to the elderly and young couples of any orientation.
For some cute (and hilarious) souvenirs, make sure you head into World Of
Mirth, which is a veritable treasure trove of goodies.
The James River is the only river that flows through a city
in the United States that is also home to class 3 and class 4 rapids. The water
gushes over rocks with incredible force, making it an urban setting that
adventure lovers can really get to grips with. Those who aren’t wanting such a
jolt of adrenaline can opt for gentler activities on the river that avoid the
class 3 and class 4 rapids, which should only be tackled by experienced white
water rafters. While rafting, keen-eyed folk may want to multitask and see if
they can spot any of the wide array of bird life around the river, like blue
herons and bald eagles.
It’s also possible to enjoy the river without fear of
getting soaked, or being turned upside down in a raft. When the weather is
nice, the city’s residents flock over to Belle Isle, an island situated in the
middle of the James River, and accessible by a bridge suspended high over the
river. You can walk through the woodlands on the island, or find a rock to
sunbathe on, or chat with friends over a cold drinks.
Richmond is a city absolutely brimming with history, given
that it was the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War. You’ll find
lots of tours that recount the turbulent past of the city, but my personal favorite
way to see the streets of Richmond and learn about its history was through
Segways of Richmond, whose tours incorporate history, art and scenic views, all
with a knowledgeable guide, and with the added fun of whizzing around on a
(surprisingly easy to control) piece of motorized equipment.
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Tom has always had the travel bug and, after quitting his call centre job in the UK, he packed up and moved to South Korea to teach English for almost four years. Since moving on from South Korea, he's been travelling the world and loves exploring city streets, trying delicious new food, meeting great people and taking way too many selfies with his phone, although he'll disagree with you on that last point. Read about Tom's adventures on his blog, Waegook Tom, and follow him on Instagram and Twitter.
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