Catching Up: Weekend Exploration in Richmond (Part I)

Confession: I have missed blogging tremendously.

The last (almost) two weeks have been a whirlwind, each night gobbled up with activities centered around the area of preparing: preparing the house for photos, preparing the house to be listed, preparing for other pursuits. By the time 9:00pm rolls around (let’s be honest – 8:30pm!), I’m tapped out. I have missed connecting with family and friends through our channels of communications. So, this morning, I said – No run. It’s time to do some self-fulfillment: read, write, and drink coffee slowly.

In between the stress and chaos of job, house, and weather-related events, Aaron and I were able to visit Richmond over Valentine’s Day weekend. The historical city had been on our “must see” list, in large part due to its craft beer scene, but we are both drawn to American history, and the role Richmond has played in shaping our country, in particular during the Civil War, tantalized our taste buds.

We left on Friday morning after our 36 hour lockdown due to snowpocalypse 2014. On Thursday, we did venture out for a walk in the snow, and I even helped to build my first North Carolina snowman.1800318_10102021270010585_635750179_n(1)He did fall over soon after his photo shoot. RIP, snowman.

It took us a good 20 minutes on Friday morning to warm the car and ease the car out of the parking space. Initially, the roads made our trip look grim: cars still lined the streets from their Wednesday afternoon abandonment. Yet, we pressed on, called by the Sirens of Richmond and minds put somewhat at ease by the sight of the sun.

IMAG1315It’s not an official AT/KT road trip until we take a selfie.

Once hitting Interstate 85, the 2.5 hour trip was smooth sailing. Our first stop in the RVA: the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. Not only is it a highly-regarded art museum based on its gallery collection, it was currently exhibiting Hollywood costumes [sadly, a exhibit with no photos allowed] minus this initial gem before entering:

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It was fascinating to learn more about the world of costume design. I’ll admit: I was one of those movie watchers that never thought about the vast amount of research, production, and time dedicated to the art of creating clothing for characters. The exhibit featured interactive interviews with several iconic designers, including Edith Head, the Oscar-winning costume guru behind Alfred Hitchcock’s films, including The Birds.

After spending the late morning exploring French Impressionists, Civil Rights photographs, and 21st Century Art, it was time for grub, and based on some initial findings, we sought out 821 Cafe near VCU’s campus.

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Based on Yelp reviews, the vegan curry chicken salad sandwich was slated as a winner, so I did indulge:

IMAG1326With Aaron’s extra tomatoes stuffed into my sandwich, no doubt.

Complemented with a side of vegan chili, this meal set a high bar for the remainder of our weekend eats. Aaron ordered the Buffalo Tofu Sandwich (stole a bit of the tofu – the sauce is outstanding!) With our energy level restored, we set off again with no true destination in mind. Shortly into our walk, we saw a sign indicating the Hollywood Cemetery was nearby. Checking out Google Maps, the sign was not lying:

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It was a beautiful day to wander through a cemetery, if that doesn’t sound too weird. I was filled with awe, reflecting on the headstone dates, the epitaphs, and the recognition of seeing two U.S. Presidents (Monroe and Tyler) along with the President of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, buried here.

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Our next stop: Strangeways Brewing, one of the newer in the area. While their current draft list was intriguing to the eye, it was also shocking: $5 for a 5.5 ounce beer? Prices like that are usually reserved for the most coveted, highly-regarded in the industry, not for an entire fleet of beer within its own tap room.

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We tried the sour and the bock: the bock took the cake (and those peanuts were REALLY tasty!)

IMAG1337Gotta love breweries in industrial parks

It was time to get to the hotel, relax (aka fall asleep for an hour), wake up, and continue our pursuits with the much anticipated trip to Mekong Restaurant. Mekong, while offering delicious Vietnamese fare, is also one of the top beer bars in the country [its website is: mekongisforbeerlovers – I mean, you can’t make it more clear than that].

My two favorite beers of the trip were enjoyed here, and another delicious meal: I tried the Ca Tim Xao Rau Que [sauteed eggplant, sweet cabbage, mushrooms in a spicy basil sauce with brown rice; yes, I ate it sans photo – too good!]. I enjoyed a Troegs Nugget Nectar and Perennial’s Aria: both just incredible, fresh beers.

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I promise I’m holding Aaron’s beer – or am I?

It was an – to use a now cliched word – epic first day in Richmond. Huffing on the treadmill Saturday morning, I would recall these beers as I sweated them out.  The second half of our journey shall be posted soon.

One thought on “Catching Up: Weekend Exploration in Richmond (Part I)

  1. Jon and I were intrigued by your trip. I’ve only driven through Richmond on our way to DC.

    I spent a semester in college earning extra credits sewing suit jackets for a theater performance, and gained more appreciation for costume design after being fitted more than once for dance performances. Ah theater life, how I miss it so.

    Eagerly awaiting your next post on Richmond.

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