Tag Archives: virginia

Where To Order Thanksgiving To-Go in Richmond

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Photo via Whisk

While some of us prepare elaborate Thanksgiving meals with all the fixings, others prefer to forgo the chaos of cooking. There are plenty of Richmond restaurants open on Thanksgiving, but for those who are still looking to relax in the comfort of their homes, take-out is also a great option for Turkey Day. Consider these six spots if you are looking to grab something easy to warm up at home. Let someone else do the work this year. You’ll be thankful without the stress of meal prep. Be sure to call these eateries ASAP to place your orders. xo, marissa

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Q Barbecue

Tuffy Stone’s tasty Q Barbecue chain is serving up turkey, gravy, and signature side dishes for families to grab and go.  Brined and slow-smoked 16- to 20-pound turkeys, ready for pick up are $70. They are rubbed in an herb-butter that enhances flavor when you reheat the bird at home. Turkey gravy is $9 / quart and sides (mac n cheese, pineapple hot dish, corn pudding, greens, and side salad) start at $2 / person.

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Stella’s Grocery

Our Near West End neighborhood market Stella’s Grocery always offers take-out meals during the holidays. Mains include boneless leg of lamb and cornish game hens with sausage and apple stuffing. And sides galore! I’m eyeing the wild rice salad and potato fennel gratin. Greek casseroles, pastries and hors d’oeuvres also are available to order for your Turkey Day shindig.

Stroops Heroic Dogs

This gourmet hot dog eatery in Church Hill just launched its holiday catering menu. Stroops will be offering duck confit stuffing ($96, serves 16), sausage stuffing ($32, serves 16), cranberry sauce ($27 / quart), gravy ($20 / quart), smoked deviled eggs ($16 / dozen), ham biscuits ($24 / dozen, and six-packs of their homemade Heroic Soda ($15).

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Yellow Umbrella Provisions

Our neighborhood meat and seafood shop Yellow Umbrella has a lengthy list of options from your traditional turkey and sides to seafood dishes like a salmon platter and crab cakes. This place is a one-stop shop with everything you need for the day — white house rolls, cheese and charcuterie, even pies.

Pies from Whisk

Shockoe Bottom’s Whisk bakery is taking orders for Tuesday, Nov. 22 pick up. (Wednesday is already booked up, so hurry up and order a pie today!) Choose from silk chocolate ombre pie, sweet potato with marshmallow meringue, maple pecan tart, and salted caramel apple pie. All tarts are $25 plus tax.

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Vegan Side Dishes from Fresca On Addison

And for the vegans in the house, Fresca on Addison (one of my favorite lunch spots) is offering an array of sides . Make sure you have a few veg options on your table!

RVA Holiday Shopping + Events

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Photo by Sarah Walor

Last week I kicked off my holiday shopping, which is a huge feat, considering every year I wait until last minute. R•Home Magazine held its annual Embellish holiday party at Williams & Sherrill with local makers like Mother Shrub, Bear Ceramics, Drift / Riot and Tulip & Bear. I loaded up with all sorts of goodies for friends and family (and maybe for myself, too).

While shopping, it reminded me how special Richmond is because of its local artisans and businesses. With Amazon and other websites as my go-to, sometimes I forget to stop and support RVA during the holidays. After all, isn’t that what the holidays are about — giving back and showing love to our neighbors?

While in the holiday spirit, I compiled a little list of fun shopping and holiday events in and around Richmond. Mark your calendars and grab your friends and family for these fun yuletide happenings.

xo, marissa

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Photos by Nikki Santerre

Tart Event Co. Holiday Wrap Bash

WHAT: Tart Event Co.‘s giant gift wrapping party. (View photos of last year’s fun here.)
WHEN: Sunday, Dec. 11, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
WHERE: Paisley & Jade‘s warehouse in Scott’s Addition @ 3119 W. Moore St.
WHY GO: Because wrapping presents with your friends is fun and is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit! There will beautiful paper and craft supplies so you can personalize each gift.
RSVP: Tickets are on sale now!

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Wreath Workshop with Photosynthesis Florals

WHAT: DIY floral design class with Photosynthesis Floral Design
WHEN: Tuesday, Dec. 6, 6 to 9 p.m.
WHERE: Paisley & Jade‘s warehouse in Scott’s Addition @ 3119 W. Moore St.
WHY GO: I took this workshop last year and it was a blast. We made two kinds of wreaths — a lush wreath and a minimalist wreath. Make one for yourself and give the other to a friend. This is a good way to get in the holiday spirit, while creating something beautiful.
RSVP: Purchase your class via Photosynthesis’s site

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Dear Neighbor Grand Opening

WHAT: Dear Neighbor is a fabulous gift shop that will be opening its doors just in time for holiday shopping.
WHEN: BLACK FRIDAY! How perfect, right?!
WHERE: In Church Hill @ 2416 Jefferson Ave.
WHY: This new gift shop has a curated array of gifts from local jewelers to other makers from far off places.
STAY TUNED — Follow the shop on Instagram for updates on opening events.

andrea-donnelly-scarfCraft + Design Show

WHAT: Visual Art Center of Richmond‘s annual high-end craft show
WHEN: Friday, Nov. 18 – Sunday, Nov. 20
WHERE: Science Museum of Virginia @ 2500 W. Broad St.
WHY: In its 52nd year, this craft show is a one-stop shop for unique gifts made by artists from here in Richmond and around the country.
RSVP: Buy your tickets via VisArts

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Moore + Gile’s Holiday Pop-up Shop at Ledbury

WHAT: Ledbury will host Lynchburg-based luxury leather bag + accessory maker Moore & Giles for a holiday pop-up shop
WHEN: Wednesday, Nov. 16 kick-off party, 5 to 8 p.m. (w/ goods for sale through the end of November + Black Friday weekend)
WHERE: Ledbury’s brand-new flagship store in downtown Richmond @ 315 W. Broad St.
WHY GO: Because supporting local is important, and Moore + Gile’s is a badass company. Also, during the kick-off party, Mattias Hagglund will be mixing Bulleit cocktails. (YUM!)
RSVP: More info on their Facebook event page.

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And a few other things to keep on your radar this season . . .

QUIRK GALLERY trunk shows — A perfect opportunity for purchasing unique and beautiful gifts

PHARSALIA holiday workshops — From ornament-crafting to wreath-making, these workshops are ideal for those who like to embrace the holidays surrounded by crafts and nature.

STUDIO TWO THREE print workshops — Tis the season at Studio Two Three with fun classes like Holiday Photogram. The art center’s gift shop is a great option for cards and gifts too.

Richmond’s CURRENT Art Fair: Build Your Art Collection

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PREFACE: As a journalist I love transparency, so I must let you know that I have been helping out CURRENT Art Fair with its public relations, social media and marketing. So, in a sense, I am biased. But, I would totally write about the art fair even if I wasn’t involved, because it is THAT cool. 

Not going to lie: buying art is intimidating. As a semi-artistic person who has worked in the visual arts world and whose mother is a trained artist, I still feel nervous when purchasing art. Aesthetically I know what I like, and what pieces excite and inspire me. But something about the purchasing process has always scared me. Perhaps it’s because I’m not an artist; I feel like I can’t fully appreciate the piece since I don’t understand what went into creating it. Or, maybe I feel that as a young person I can’t have nice things. Who knows. Over the years I’ve unnecessarily made myself feel insecure about buying art, and as of late I’m realizing that is just silly.

Two years ago we bought our first house, and in those two years not much has been hung on the walls. I’ve blame this on our plaster walls (and attempting to be a minimalist). But, in reality, it might just be me holding out, waiting for a situation to present itself.

That situation has presented itself: next week Richmond will welcome its first contemporary art fair, CURRENT. For those of you who aren’t involved in the arts scene, successful national/international art fairs include the likes of Affordable Art Fair, Armory Show, Art Basel,  Art on Paper, Frieze Art Fair, and Pulse Art Fair. Compared to those art fairs, CURRENT is a baby, just entering into the big, bright art fair circuit. In its first year, CURRENT involves seven contemporary Richmond galleries — 1708, ADA, Candela, Glave Kocen, Page Bond, Reynolds and Quirk. The galleries all have a unique perspective, showing a variety of artists and works, which makes their unity so dynamic, giving CURRENT a strong synergy.

Richmond’s new art fair isn’t just for knowledgeable art collectors, but newbies too. CURRENT is a great opportunity for young people who are just starting their art collection to purchase exciting pieces. As someone who has just started a collection at home, the chance to view a range of pieces from local, national and international artists is such a gift. (And, honestly, it’s a great opportunity for not just Richmond, but our region.)

Art events like CURRENT are the perfect opportunity to throw yourself into a new environment and educate yourself. You can pepper gallery owners with questions about the artists and their processes without feeling silly. The gallery owners and managers behind CURRENT are very passionate and excited about spreading their knowledge, welcoming newcomers to the art world.

And now for a little background info about the event …

Local art philanthropists, collectors, and CURRENT advisory board members Pam and Bill Royall commissioned Shepard Fairey, renowned contemporary street artist, graphic designer, and activist to design the logo for CURRENT (see above image). Playing off the fair’s name — a nod to the nearby James River, the idea of the new, and the notion of an electric spark — Fairey created a graphic inspired by the landmark TV tower on Broad Street that is located mere blocks from the art fair.

CURRENT kicks off Thursday, Oct. 20 with a preview party at Hohman Design in Scott’s Addition. The party is an opportunity for collectors to get a sneak peek at artwork and purchase in advance. (If you have your eye on a piece, this is the time to mark your territory!) I’ll be there looking at pieces to buy / catching up with friends, so if you go, say, “hi!” The art fair runs Friday, Oct. 21 through Sunday, Oct. 23. For more details on the fair — times, food and beer info, extracurricular events, etc., click on over to currentartfair.com.

And now for the fun part of the blog post — a few pieces that will be featured at the event …

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“The inspiration of my work is an ever-ricocheting attention span, resulting in a worldview constructed with pop culture, public radio, punk rock, and conspiracy theories,” writes artist Andrew Kozlowski, of his work. “Often my works on paper engage in oblique conversations through their placement, utilizing the process of closure and the language of comics to generate narratives, as well as considering traditional print media and its relationship to the multiples that litter our landscapes.” • Monolith screen print, 13 x 10 inches via 1708 Gallery

bruce_wilhelm_trippels_blue_tape_72_l2Richmond native Bruce Wilhelm is known for exploring new ways of making art — from his animated paintings using homemade video players to his take on British sporting paintings. This particular piece from the series “Trippels” was created using layers on layers of paint and peeling away masking tape, revealing an entirely new, surprise painting underneath. Bruce received his MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design, his BFA at Virginia Commonwealth University, and has been exhibiting with ADA Gallery in Richmond since 2005. He’s received the VMFA Fellowship for Painting in both 2004 and 2006.  • Trippels: Blue Ribbon, acrylic on canvas, 26.25 x 21.25 inches, 2016

Alyssa SalomanANIMAL LAND is a new project by visual artist Alyssa C. Salomon in collaboration with Virginia Commonwealth University, and Anne Wright, director of Environmental Outreach at the Rice Rivers Center. The series shines light on the wildlife dwellings among tamed and untamed habitats threaded along the James River in Central Virginia. The images primarily draw on night-vision infrared stills collected in the James River Park System and are made using 19th century photographic printmaking processes. • EK000183 2015-11-30 JRP, by Alyssa Salomon, in collaboration with Anne Wright, Science in the Park, and VCU Rice Rivers Center. 16.75 x 16.75 inches, Van dyke photo emulsion on kozo-abaca paper, waxed via Candela Books & Gallery 

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“All my work is rooted in nature or in natural phenomena, like wind or *currents* or waves,” Sue Heatley says of her art. “For me, it’s really important that art doesn’t hit you in the face with its meaning. You have to come to it as a viewer and make your own sense out of it.” • Blue Creeper, Rust Ripple, Moss Grainrelief print on Sekishu paper, 18 1/4 x 17 3/4 inches, limited edition Monotype via Glave Kocen Gallery

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“I am passionate about challenging preconceived notions of the shared human experience and eroding the conventionally assigned racial archetypes'” says artist S. Ross Browne. “To that end in [the Self Evident Truths] series I examine the possible in the perceived introspections and shared history of my subjects in classical pictorial representations using delineations of factual chronicles and imagined mythology. Using portraiture replete with persuasive imagery that defies the common visual library, I make conduit for communication and an instigator of discourse.” • Princess______ IV, 2016, oil on clapboard, 12 x 12 inches via Page Bond Gallery

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Suzanna Fields’ spring show at Quirk Gallery, titled “Inside Out”, had an amazing response and those who came to view her work were fascinated by her unique and complex processes of extruding, pouring, dripping, spraying, cutting, and drawing with paint and ink. “An intermingling of high and low, contemplation and spontaneity, my work mixes wonder with ebullience, persistence and unease,” she says. • Chasing The Feeling, detail, ink and acrylic on synthetic paper, 48 by 60 inches via Quirk Gallery

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“There is a modesty in Freed’s work — not of ambition but of presentation — that is like the spread of light in certain Renaissance paintings. One doesn’t know where it come from, but it is everywhere, enlightening, leaving us, somehow, more room to look in, a seduction of sorts that eschews excess,” writes Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Charles Wright, of Virginia artist David Freed’s work • Rain I; etching, woodblock, and pastel on paper; 9.5 x 12.5 inches via Reynolds Gallery

10 ways to enjoy Richmond for FREE this summer

richmond skylineGuest blog post by Kate Prunkl 

Summer is here, and if you’re anything like me, you gravitate towards the refreshing pool or air conditioning during the summer heat until boredom takes over and your brain begs you to do something else. This summer, forgo the tedious lounging by the pool and venture out into Richmond to explore the city by foot.

Ranked third on Travel & Leisure’s list of best places to travel to in 2016, Richmond is a well-known haven for history, architecture, biking, nature and art lovers. The city even topped National Geographic’s list for the top destinations to travel to for food in 2016. While the River City is certainly not lacking in things to do, it can be difficult to think of fun activities that work with a limited budget.

Most local, free activities are old classics for long-time Richmonders, but many of the city’s best free features often get overlooked. If you’re new to the city or just passing through, consider this as your an intro to just a few of the budget-friendly amenities Richmond has to offer.

1. CANAL WALK

Richmond’s Canal Walk stretches 1.25 peaceful miles along the Kanawha and Haxall canals and briefly, the James River. Along the way, walkers are presented with facts about the city’s rich history. If you decide you want to spend a few dollars, historic canal boat cruises are offered at the turning basin (intersection of 14th and Dock streets). The Canal Walk is accessible from almost every block between 5th and 17th streets. Handicapped-accessible entrances are available at 5th, 10th, 12th, 14th and 16th streets.

Map: Canal Walk

2. CARYTOWN

Carytown is the collective name for the approximately mile-long stretch of West Cary Street from Thompson Street to South Boulevard. Carytown’s brightly painted buildings, unique boutiques and specialty shops make it a prime location to stroll and window shop. Carytown also is packed with a wide variety of restaurants. While walking through Carytown is free, the delicious aromas wafting through the air may convince you to spend some money if the shop windows don’t tempt you first!

Map: Carytown

3. CITY HALL OBSERVATION DECK

Richmond’s current City Hall was built in 1972, and at 450 feet tall, the building was the tallest in Virginia at the time of completion. Take the elevator (or the stairs, if you’re feeling adventurous) up 18 stories and reward yourself with unparalleled 360-degree views of the city. The deck features slanted glass panes as protection from the weather, while allowing fresh air and unobstructed views. Bring a lunch or a snack to enjoy at one of the available picnic tables.

Address: 900 E. Broad Street Richmond, VA 23219
Open: Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

4. HOLLYWOOD CEMETERY

While meandering through a cemetery may sound like an odd thing to do, this beautiful 169-year-old graveyard was designed to be walkable. According to the official website, Hollywood Cemetery is the second most visited cemetery in the nation (Arlington National Cemetery is first) and is the final resting place for two American presidents (John Tyler and James Monroe), six Virginia governors, two Supreme Court justices, and 22 Confederate generals. Hollywood Cemetery also provides beautiful views of the river, downtown Richmond and Belle Isle.

Address: 412 South Cherry Street Richmond, VA 23220
Open: Daily 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

james river5. JAMES RIVER PARK SYSTEM 

Experience the natural beauty of the James River, marshland, forests and wildlife without leaving the city. Admittedly, this includes more than one place. The James River Park System identifies 14 distinct sections from the Huguenot Bridge on Richmond’s west end to the I-95 Bridge on the city’s east end.

Visitors are welcome to fish, canoe, kayak, paddleboard, swim, rock climb, tree climb, walk, run, and even whitewater raft or tube down the James. Guided recreation options are available (some fees may apply). If you’re in or on the river, life jackets are recommended. They are required by law when the river is more than 5 feet; no one is allowed in the James when it is is more than 9 feet. Look for posted signs.

Maps: Bike, Trail and Park Maps
Open: Daily Sunrise-Sundown (unless otherwise noted)

6. BELLE ISLE

While technically a part of the James River Park System, Belle Isle provides a noticeably different experience than other sections of the park. The former Confederate prison camp that is dotted with history markers is now a popular place for sunbathing on river rocks, swimming, hiking, running and biking (including a recently opened bike skills course). Enjoy one of the best views of the city skyline from the pedestrian bridge arcing from the edge of Tredegar Iron Works to Belle Isle.

Address: 300 Tredegar Street Richmond, VA 23219 (parking that leads to the pedestrian bridge)

7. MAYMONT 

Maymont, a 100-acre Victorian estate built by Major James Dooley and his wife Sallie May in 1893, was left to the city of Richmond in 1926. The property now serves as a museum, nature center, children’s farm and park. Wander the expansive grounds and admire the beauty of the Italian Garden, Japanese Garden, arboretum, rescued wildlife and stunning man-made waterfall. Guided tours of the mansion are available Tuesday through Sunday. While Maymont’s Mansion, grounds and Children’s Farm are free to the public, donations are suggested. Admission to the Nature and Visitor’s Center is $3.

Address: 1700 Hampton Street Richmond, VA 23220
Open:  Grounds and Gardens: Daily from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. during the summer
Mansion: Tuesday – Sunday 12 to 5 p.m.
Nature & Visitor Center: Tuesday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

8. MONUMENT AVENUE

This wide, tree-lined street is one of Richmond’s two National Historic Landmark districts. Monument Avenue is a beautiful promenade for a stroll, especially for lovers of history and architecture. Historic homes line the cobblestone street that ambles around the statues and monuments for which the street is named. According to the National Park System, Monument Avenue features a variety of Colonial Revival, Spanish Colonial, Tudor Revival, French Renaissance and Italian Renaissance style homes.

Map: Stuart Circle (where Monument Avenue begins)

9. VIRGINIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

The Virginia Historical Society is located in Battle Abbey, a 104-year-old Neoclassical building on Boulevard. VHS’ The Story of Virginia is a year-round, free interactive exhibit that interprets 16,000 years of Virginia history and features a collection of 500 artifacts. The building boasts a multitude of restored original features, including memorial military murals painted in 1913. The gallery housing these murals is currently closed for restoration of the original leaded glass skylights. Restoration is scheduled to be completed by July.

Address: 428 North Boulevard Richmond, VA 23220
Open: Daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

10. VIRGINIA MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts sits on land used to house Confederate soldiers after the Civil War. In 1936, Virginia legislators completed the English Renaissance-style headquarters of the VMFA on Boulevard. Since then, the campus has expanded to accommodate the Commonwealth’s growing collection and display temporary travelling exhibits. VMFA’s 435,000-square-foot facility currently features 10 exhibits with free admission and beautiful public garden space dotted with sculptures to enjoy.

Address: 200 North Boulevard Richmond, VA 23220
Open: Daily, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., with extended hours until 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays

BONUS! RICHMOND TOUR GUYS

When I heard about the Richmond Tour Guys, I knew I couldn’t leave them off this list.  Richmond Tour Guys are a group of history lovers that give historically themed walking tours of the city free of charge! They offer three tours: a downtown Civil War and Civil Rights tour, a Church Hill Revolutionary War tour, and a Shockoe Bottom tour.  Each tour is offered once a week, and they fill up fast! So, be sure to reserve your spot in advance.

Tour Times:
Downtown Civil War and Civil Rights: Saturday 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Church Hill Revolutionary War: Saturday 3:30 – 5:30 p.m.
Shockoe Bottom: Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Phone: 804-263-7914

The above listed free activities are just a small snapshot of the wealth of experiences Richmond has to offer. The City of Richmond is home to more than 25 museums and innumerable historical sites. Whatever your interests, the River City has something waiting for you.

kpKate Prunkl moved to Richmond in 2007 and has been exploring in and around the city ever since. Kate is an animal lover who enjoys symmetry, writing, collecting a wide variety of knowledge, RVA history, finding beauty in everyday things, exploring nature with camera in hand, and creating art. You can follow her on Twitter at @kapRVA.

Brew Ridge Trail expedition

11054309_10102331632032589_4085895469217508781_oA few years ago, when breweries were popping up along Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, people started affectionately referring to the adventure from brew pub to brew pub as the Brew Ridge Trail. While the beer is plentiful along the Blue Ridge, there also is an abundance of wineries, handful of cideries and now a distillery (Silverback Distillery).

With the gorgeous backdrop of the mountains and lush, verdant Nelson County, spending a spring day on the Brew Ridge Trail is an excellent idea. Corral your friends, rent a party bus and drink responsibly.

A few weekends ago two dozen friends and I made our way to the Blue Ridge Mountains. On a Saturday morning we all met at a friend’s farm in Palmyra, boarded a bus, armed with coolers of mimosas and beers, and headed to King Family Vineyards. Rather than doing our wine sipping in the tasting room, we all purchased a bottle of wine and had our own private tasting on King Family’s patio and lawn. Gorgeous mountain views and a lush polo lawn were the perfect backdrop.

After an hour or so at King Family, we squeezed back on the party bus and departed for Devils Backbone Brewing Company, down the road in Roseland, Virginia. Sunny Saturdays are bustling at Devils Backbone. Expect long lines at the bar and slower service. We grabbed a bite to eat — the fried pickles and a burger. Both delicious. We spent our time waiting for food marveling at the taxidermy throughout the restaurant. By the time we got our food, it was just about time to go, so we didn’t get to enjoy the brewery’s patio and scenic views.

  From Devils Backbone, we drove down the road to Bold Rock Cidery, a gorgeous, brand-spankin-new tasting room overlooking a creek and rolling hills. Grab a six pack of their new pear cider or the Crimson Ridge Vintage Dry (my two personal favorites) and have a picnic with friends down by the creek.           We had plans to visit Silverback Distillery, and unfortunately didn’t have enough time. I’m longing to try their Strange Monkey Gin.

We drove back to Palmyra and settled in to watch a gorgeous sunset over the mountains and spent the night under the stars. It was the perfect ending to a beautiful day in Central Virginia.  

Bath County – Heaven on Earth

IMG_1712 Nature is my church. There is something spiritual about being in the presence of Mother Nature. And, when I think of all the places where I want to commune with plants and animals, Bath County, Virginia, comes to mind right away.

Truly, Bath County is heaven on earth. Fresh air, breathtaking views and glorious nature. Being in Bath fills my heart with happiness and makes me feel at peace. One day, maybe, I’ll be lucky enough to have a little writing cabin tucked in the Allegheny Mountains. For now, weekend trips will suffice.

The other weekend, I planned a surprise getaway for a certain someone’s birthday. We packed up the car, and in a short three hours we were driving through the lush, rolling hills of bucolic Bath County. From Richmond, hop on I-64 West, and right after Staunton you take the backroads (US-60 West) the rest of the way there. Or, if you’re not a backroads traveler, you can take I-64 West to Covington, and from Covington drive 220 North 30 minutes to Hot Springs. If you go the Richmond-Covington-Hot Springs route, you’ll be blessed with the Falling Spring Falls overlook. It’s just a few miles north of Covington. 

When we arrived to Bath County, we swung into Warm Springs’ Milk House Market to grab sandwiches for an afternoon picnic at Lake Moomaw. The large  lake is a less than a 30-minute drive from the town of Warm Springs, which was our home base. Warning: State Route 603, the road that leads to Moomaw, is a long grave road that cuts through the woods and runs along the Jackson River. So, make sure your car is equipped for what feels like an off-road adventure.

After Lake Moomaw, we headed to the Jefferson Pools back in Warm Springs. For $17/hour you can soak in the warm mineral springs. Although everything is grand in Bath County, the pools were by far our favorite experience.

We stayed two nights at the Inn at Gristmill Square in downtown Warm Springs. At $145/night the price is a far cry from what it costs to stay down the road at Homestead in Hot Springs. And, the accommodations are adorable. Our large suite included a giant fire place (that we used!), sprawling bathroom with shower and tub, mini fridge, and beautiful decor. In the morning, staff delivers a picnic basket filled with coffee, juice and baked goods. Indeed, it is well-priced.

The Gristmill has a wonderful restaurant, called The Waterwheel. We ate dinner there our first night. We started the evening in the restaurant’s tiny bar, the Simon Kenton Pub. I swear, this has to be the smallest bar in Virginia. Four barstools and two tiny tables are nested in the cozy watering hole. After a few drinks, we moseyed over to the restaurant and enjoyed a delicious meal. I highly recommend the trout. Fresh trout is plentiful in Bath County with the Jackson River flowing through it. Dinner was pricy, but worth it. Fresh, quality ingredients, well-balanced and perfect portions.

The following day we hiked Hidden Valley, which was named for the ranch dressing. (Just kidding! Wanted to make sure you were still paying attention.) I found the hike via Hiking Upward, an excellent site I use to find fun day and overnight hikes. The trailhead is a quick 10-minute drive from Warm Springs, down VA-30 West. We walked through a lush meadow and then trekked along the Jackson River. An enjoyable rest next to the river was spent watching fly fishers and reflecting on life.

We drove to Hot Springs to eat lunch at the Country Cafe, an affordable greasy spoon. Burgers and pull pork sandwiches reign supreme here. And, the cafe also is known for their big Southern breakfasts.

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Early evening we drove to The Homestead to wander around and have drinks at the Lobby Bar before our dinner reservation at Sam Snead’s Tavern. Compared to the fine dining experience we had at The Waterwheel, Sam Snead’s is casual, family-friendly and less expensive. Next time we are in town, I want to eat at Les Cochon d’Or, a French restaurant that was recommended to us.


IMG_1712 The next day, on our way out of town, we drove down US-220 South so we could take a gander at Falling Spring Falls. What a perfect end note to our weekend getaway.

VisArts’ annual Craft + Design Show

The Good Life_Craft + Design Show For the past few months my colleagues and I have been organizing the Visual Arts Center of Richmond’s annual Craft + Design Show, which will take place at the Science Museum of Virginia on the weekend of Nov. 22 and 23. The dynamic two-day craft show will showcase the works of 50+ talented artists from around the country, who will be selling their one-of-a-kind wares.

Another fun component of the craft show will be the 10 local craft breweries that will be pouring beer throughout the weekeend. Also, Tap26 will be pouring wine and Alamo BBQ and The Savory Grain will be serving food.

The Craft + Design Show is the perfect opportunity to jump-start your holiday shopping. The event is the weekend before Black Friday! More details on pricing and times below and on VisArts’ website. You also can RSVP on Facebook here. We hope to see you there!

What: Craft + Design Show
When: Saturday, Nov. 22nd 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 23 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Where: Science Museum of Virginia, 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond, VA

Pricing:
$20 admission + tasting ticket with commemorative glass
$10 general public admission
$5 younger than 21 admission
Free for children younger than 12 years old
Free parking