Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Why I Love Richmond

Simply put, I love Richmond.  I loved growing up here, and I love living here as an adult.  Sure, there are other places I've thought would be great to live (NYC, Boston, Southern Cali, Denver, Portland, and many more).  But... Richmond is home.  Even if I moved to one of the amazing previously mentioned locales for awhile, I'd be back.  Partly because my family is here (I can't live too far from them... it just doesn't work for me), but also because I love it! 

When Centsational Girl announced her "Favorite Things in My Town Party", I thought it would be a fun excuse to write about my beloved RVA (RIC if that's your preference).  Technically, we actually live outside of Richmond.  We lived in a house in the north side of the city after we got married and I L.O.V.E.D it.

I really wanted to stay within the city limits when we decided to buy, but after realizing our options were realllly limited (by our budget) and we found this great deal on our house... it just made sense to be in the county.  Luckily, we are just 10-12 minutes from downtown so it is not a huge sacrifice!

 Main Street Station

The very best thing about Richmond is its proximity to the beach and the mountains.  We can spend a day in Virginia Beach or go snowboarding at Wintergreen after just an hour & a half or so of driving.  It cannot be beat.  There are also two theme parks within an hour, and Washington D.C. and Baltimore are just about 2 hours away.  So many great day trips!

July 4th in D.C.

Richmond is truly rich in history, too.  There are a bazillion historical landmarks, not to mention an infinite amount of Civil War battlefields and landmarks (if that's your thing).

We have amazing museums (from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to the Poe Museum, to the Science Museum and 2 Children's Museums) and art galleries, too.  My favorite gallery is also my favorite place to buy gifts in Richmond, Quirk

I could do an entire post on art galleries in town, most of which participate in our First Fridays Art Walk.  Who doesn't love an excuse to spend Friday night downtown admiring local artists' work?

Another amazingly awesome thing about Richmond is the James River.

The river means so much to us... from rafting trips to kayaking; from lounging on river rocks to fishing along the banks; from running along the flood wall to hiking on the islands... you get the idea.  The James gives us gorgeous scenery and more recreation than any one person could ever fully appreciate.  We love to hike, bike, and go to concerts and special events on one of our islands.  We had fireworks by the river this year and they were phenomenal.

You are likely to be able to find some kind of festival almost every weekend.  Some of the best times I've had are at big events that attract Richmonders of all ages & backgrounds.  Whether it is at a music festival (like our Folk Festival) or a food/wine festival (we have lots of those) or an athletic event (our Monument Ave. 10K is one of the biggest races in the country)... there is just nothing like being in a huge crowd of Richmonders just loving and enjoying our city.

my friend Courtney & I running the Richmond Marathon

Richmond is an ideal place to live if you are a runner (or biker).  I have discovered some of my favorite spots in the city during a long run.  We have training teams for all the big races, and it's great to learn new routes through the city.  Local races like the Monument Ave. 10K and Richmond Marathon are so much fun because they bring SO many people together in our city.  

Clearly I could go on and on.  We have amazing shopping (Carytown is a fav. of many Richmonders... lots of fun local shops and eateries along Cary Street, as well as an awesome old theater, The Byrd).  You could spend an entire day just admiring the architecture of various buildings and houses... from our gothic old City Hall to the new Virginia Museum of Fine Arts addition to the gorgeous houses in Ginter Park and along Monument Avenue.

Another fun place to spend time is in Shockoe Bottom or Shockoe Slip, smack in the middle of downtown and close to the river.  You can walk along the old cobblestone streets (seen above in a photo from our engagement shoot).  There are phenomenal restaurants, the most amazing modern furniture store (LaDiff), and access to the Canal Walk.  You can also take a tour on a canal boat, which provides some history and great views as it glides down the canal and alongside the Holocaust Museum and all the old warehouses, which are now lofts.

So, in the interest of time I think I'll stop here.  Like I said though, I could obviously keep going.  There are so many great things about Richmond!

If you're ever here for an extended period of time, I would certainly recommend taking in a festival or two, walking along the river (maybe along the Canal Walk, Flood Wall, or on Belle Isle), checking out the VCU campus and Hollywood Cemetery, going to the VMFA or Science Museum or other museums, taking an art class at the Visual Arts Center, going to Maymont Park or Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, driving along Monument Avenue, shopping in Carytown, eating in Shockoe, and (if you're lucky enough to be here in December), taking a limo or driving yourself through part of our Tacky Light Tour.  The fun just never stops. :)

skyline pic from here, Quirk collage from here, river from here, 10K from here, footbridge here

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