More often than not, I overhear someone complaining about how boring Richmond is. How there's nothing to do. How the town sucks. I suspect these statements are made in direct correlation with Richmond's low number of dance clubs/decent music venues/after hours clubs. Seeing as I am married and a mom, I'm not really hitting the clubs all that much. Plus, having lived Williamsburg for four years, I can safely say to these people: Suck it; Richmond's got nothing on Williamsburg when it comes to the Snooze Factor.
Anyway, I happen to like living here. Richmond suits me. I grew up here and besides college, really haven't lived anywhere else. I've done my fair share of traveling and enjoyed many fine cities, but there are few places (Asheville, NC and Nice to name two) I'd could see myself living other than here in the RVA.
Here are five of my favorite things about Richmond, VA:
1. Maymont Park: I read where someone described Maymont and the surrounding parks as Richmond's Central Park. Lovely gardens, a sweet little children's farm, nature center, and some of the most awesome Magnolia trees ever. Plus, I think every child who grew up here has some story about slipping and falling in the Maymont creek. It's like a tradition.
2. Carytown: My mother and I shopped in Carytown years before it was The Hip place it is now. Back when Pink was called Pink Cadillac and sold more kitch than designer duds. When Cary Street was still considered a sketchy part of town. Now, of course, it's the alterna-mall. A shopping mecca for all those wishing to avoid the vulgarity that is Short Pump. You can pretty much buy anything you're looking for in a couple of miles, from music to furniture to mystery novels and European chocolate. From a swanky Marc Jacobs jacket to a vintage sundress to a Paul Frank hoodie. While I am envious of my friend Jamie for living in such close proximity to materialistic bliss, if I lived there I'd be in the same state I would if I worked at Betsey Johnson: broke-ass but fabulous.
3. Location, location, location: Richmond is sits approximately two hours from the beach, D.C., the mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Road trip city. If you live here and haven't taken advantage of this fact, shame on you. Shame. Shame.
4. Festivals: Richmonders will have a festival about anything and everything. Food, ethnic groups, music, art, holidays, even neighborhoods have their own festivals. Seems like there is at least one every weekend. My favorites are the Easter Parade and the Watermelon Festival (for great people watching), the Greek Festival and Festival of India (for the great food), and Arts in the Park (for, duh, great art). Sadly, this is the last year the National Folk Music Festival will be hosted in Richmond. Here's hoping the city can pull something together to take its place. We're darn good at these festival things, so no problem, right?
5. Hollywood Cemetery: Morbid, no? My very favorite place in all of Richmond is Hollywood Cemetery, and this dates all the way back to when I was hanging out in utero (Interesting story; perhaps sometime I'll share.). Hollywood Cemetery is a breathtakingly beautiful place. There's a gorgeous view of the James River. Some of the monuments and crypts are stunning works of art in an of themselves. Walking amongst the graves you find there's so much history, so much testament to the lives of the people buried there. It's a wonderful place to just simply wander and be alone with ones thoughts. I can't believe its been years since I was last there.