Saturday, March 11, 2006

richmond for the day

as mentioned in a prior post, the in-laws are here and we are entertaining them. today we took them to richmond. it was our first time there too.

i had no expectations. or maybe i did. having lived in ann arbor for four years, i think i expected richmond to be somewhat like detroit. a depressed industrial wasteland with pockets of cool funk and danger. i was pleasantly surprised. richmond is chock full of amazing and well-kept old buildings and equally amazing old and quite-lively neighborhoods (i've since been told that there are some pretty rough pockets in richmond, but what city doesn't have its share of that. i've also been informed that it is ultra conservative).

we started out with the canal walk where we read historical markers, saw some locks and ducks and old boarded up warehouse buildings and the reynolds wrap distribution center (!). i loved all the old brick and paint.

we ended up in a neighborhood called shockoe bottom where we had lunch at a hip bookstore/cafe/eatery called cafe gutenberg. dan and i shared a huge house salad, a burger and homefries. tashi had an amazing waffle. and the inlaws shared some brats & sauerkraut. it was meaty and mighty. for $3 dan bought an interesting historical text on druids

the farmer's market pavilion looked really cool, but there was just one farmer there today, along with an antique seller. i also saw edgar allen poe's house from the outside. the train station is an incredible piece of architecture. while on our way to fetch the car dan and i discovered a cool cobbled road in the shockoe slip area. afterwards we checked out the capitol building under renovation.

the fan district was something to behold, an area full of incredible old houses and big monuments to notable men.

we ended our day in the carytown district, a busy-quaint-commercial shopping and dining district with vintage clothing shops, buskers, overpriced boutiques, magicians, antique shops, street peddlers, restaurants and cafes (and unfortunately some nasty chains like mcdonalds seem to have crept in).

it was mostly richmond's architecture that impressed me, and the liveliness of the place. i'm looking forward to further explorations of our nearest metropolis.

it was another gorgeous hot day today. the forsythia has sprung, as have the daffodils. the crocus bulbs suzanne gave me before she departed for nepal have sent forth their pretty little purple blossoms. thanks suzanne!

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