I usually have mild success with popular choices like eat better, exercise more or be on time. My intentions are always the best, but the follow-through not so great. I refuse to set myself up for failure again in 2012, so I’m trying a new approach. Instead of focusing on myself, I’m going to focus on my surroundings.
My new year’s resolution is to explore the city I call home. Traveling somewhere exotic in the new year is usually favored to staying home, but then you just end up exploring other cities more than our own. It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day and forget to experience our neighborhood. That’s how it is for me and I’m going to change it with you as my witness. I’m setting the manageable goal of 1 RVA exploration per month. I’ll check them off and you check back to see my discoveries.
Goodbye guilt, hello victory! My 12 RVA destinations for 2012 (in no particular order):
01. “American Letterpress: The Art of Hatch Show Print” – So, maybe I should have said the list isn’t in order with the exception of number one because “American Letterpress: The Art of Hatch Show Print” is only on display for a few more weeks. I’ll go, you go, we’ll all go to the Library of Virginia to see traveling exhibition celebrating American graphic art tradition, presented by The Smithsonian Institution in partnership with the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Hatch Show Print, out of Nashville, TN, has been producing iconic pieces for more than 130 years keeping the tactile appeal of letterpress printing alive and well in this digital age. The Library of Virginia has a collection of more than 75 Hatch Show Print posters and prints on display through Saturday, February 4, 2012. See you there soon!
Through February 4, 2012 | Monday – Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Library of Virginia, 800 E. Broad St. | Richmond, VA 23219 | (804) 692-3500
Admission and parking are free
02. Virginia Wine Expo – I’ve been to wineries, I’ve been to wine country, but I’ve never been to a wine expo. Coming to the Greater Richmond Convention Center Friday, February 24 – Sunday, February 26, 2012 is Virginia’s premier wine event exclusively featuring Virginia wine. The Virginia Wine Expo showcases hundreds of bottles of wine from the Commonwealth, gourmet tasting menus from local chefs and educational seminars focusing on wine pairings. Ticket packages are available for single events, various combinations, as well as for groups on Saturday and Sunday.
03. Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k – This won’t be the first time I’ve participated in this race, but it’s an RVA event not to be missed. The Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k, organized by Sports Backers, has become one of the country’s premier 10k races. Participation continues to grow every year with a projection of 42,500 entries for 2012. All levels are welcome including a special run for the young ones. Even if you’re not running in race, you can’t avoid the contagious excitement it creates. There are costume contests, spectator spirit awards, and lots of local music. Sign up now before the entry fee increases!
March 31, 2012
Starts at Broad St. & Harrison St.
04. The Jazz Café – The newly renovated Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) has recently been making a name for itself in the art community with world-renowned special exhibitions and a remarkable permanent collection. Now with extended hours on Thursdays and Fridays, VMFA After Dark makes it even easier to experience the galleries, restaurants and museum gift shop as well as a calendar filled with music, films and poetry readings. I’ve taken advantage of the late closing several times, but I’ve yet to get lucky finding a table to sip my wine and enjoy The Jazz Café. Every Thursday night from 6-9 p.m.. in the Best Café, the VMFA, in conjunction with the Richmond Jazz Society, presents a sampling of original and standards from various jazz ensembles – free of charge. It’s always a packed house and I’m determined to find room in it.
Thursdays | 6-9 p.m.
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts – Best Café
200 N. Boulevard | Richmond, VA 23220 | (804) 340-1400
05. [Re-discover] Carytown – “A Mile of Style” is a long-time shopping destination with its eclectic mix of boutiques, antiques, restaurants, specialty shops and entertainment. As a teenager, Carytown was always a popular pick for a Saturday trip into the city, but since I’ve moved to the same side of the river my visits have become a lot less frequent. With the exception of a quick lunch or a matinee movie I’ve been keeping tabs on Carytown as I drive through it. From a car is no way to see this unique neighborhood. I’m getting out my most comfortable pair of fashionable boots for a good walk and window shop. Watch out Need Supply Co. and Plan Nine, here I come… they’re still there right?
W. Cary Street between Thompson St. and Boulevard
Free off-street parking
06. Chimborazo Medical History Museum – This National Parks Service Richmond Battlefield Site is a museum and visitor center. The Chimborazo Medical History Museum sits on what used to be the largest civil war hospital of the era. The museum’s exhibits focus mostly on the confederate medical story and the lives of the people who populated the Chimborazo Hospital. Chimborazo Park, which now surrounds the museum, is on my daily dog-walking route and every time I pass it I think the same thing, if I didn’t have Lou (dog) with me, I would stop today. I’m going to take a walk on my own or convince them to allow dogs so I can get a dose of history in my hood.
Chimborazo Medical Museum | 3215 East Broad Street | Richmond, VA 23223 | (804) 226-1981
Open daily| 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
07. Ronnie’s Ribs, Wings & Other Things – You’re familiar with a food cart and you know what a food truck is, but Ronnie’s Ribs is more like a food trailer. The semi-permanent rib joint, situated at the far east end of Main Street, is nationally recognized from the Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”. This is the kind of place you eat BBQ and all the fixin’s off your lap in a casual, cookout atmosphere that makes finger licking commonplace. When you don’t want to stand in line at Millie’s Diner, walk across the street to Ronnie’s Ribs for pitmaster perfection.
Ronnie’s Ribs, Wings & Other Things, 2512 East Main Street Richmond, VA 23223 | (804) 308-7524
08. St. John’s Church Reenactment – Giving name to the Church Hill neighborhood where it is located, St. John’s Church is both an active Episcopal Church and a National Historic Landmark. Made famous as the site of Patrick Henry’s 1775 “Give me liberty or give me death” speech, the church is a living memorial to American liberty. There are regular public reenactments of the Second Virginia Convention of March 1775 with debating delegates that culminates in Henry’s immortal delivery. The summer series is the most regular schedule with a performance every Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day (full calendar online), so I’m shooting for warm weather visit.
St. John’s Church
2319 East Broad Street | Richmond, VA 23223 | (804) 648-5015
09. New Food Festival – The Richmond Region has a rich food culture with LOTS of food festivals to choose from… and I like food of any variety. I’ve had reoccurring success attending the Italian, Irish, Greek and, the relatively new, Broad Appétit festivals, but there are so many more to check out. The Korean Food Festival was a first for me last year and now I have my sights on adding the Lebanese or Indian food festivals to my repertoire.
Some people call them cultural festivals but they’re not fooling me. You can get a good cross section of local food festivals from the Cultural Festivals Sampler online at http://www.visitrichmondva.com.
10. The Poe Museum – I honestly can’t tell you why I have never visited The Museum of Edgar Allan Poe. I’ve lived in several cities that take claim to him – Baltimore, Providence, Philadelphia, and, of course, Richmond, but I’ve never ventured farther than the museum gift shop. The Poe Museum boasts it is “The World’s Finest Edgar Allan Poe Collection,” focusing on his many years in Richmond, VA, and The Old Stone House, where the museum lives, is in Poe’s original Richmond neighborhood. I’ve gotta go and what could be a more appropriate day than Halloween to learn about the master of horror and dark? I’m penciling this in for October.
Edgar Allan Poe Museum
1914 East Main Street Richmond, VA 23223-6964 | (804) 648-5523
Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
11. Sunday Champagne Brunch at the Jefferson – Ever want to wow an out-of-town guest? I’m thinking Sunday Champagne Brunch at The Jefferson is the way to do it. The Jefferson Hotel is well known as the finest hotel in Richmond and their brunch has become local tradition. Every week offers a different menu with dishes made from Virginia’s best seasonal ingredients. A suggestion the experience will be one to remember and a warning to make reservations early say special occasion to me.
101 West Franklin St | Richmond, Virginia 23220 | (804) 649-4677
Sunday Reservation times: 10:30, 11:00, 1:00 and 1:30
12. RVA on Ice – This will be the second year in a row RVA on Ice has appeared on my list of new year’s resolutions and, fingers-crossed, the third year it will be in operation. With only a seasonal window to take advantage of the outdoor ice skating rink it can easily slip by in the holiday bustle. The rink is located in the heart of Downtown at Richmond Centerstage with a season usually starting the day after Thanksgiving and lasting through the first weekend in January. Even though my husband is a talented ice hockey player I’ve only been skating once. So, I’ve been dying to experience RVA on Ice because I can’t think of a better place to learn. How long to January 2013?
RVA on Ice
6th & Broad Streets | (804) 592-3400
Here’s to a great 2012!
Susan Wolfe is a native of Chesterfield County
A graduate of the Corcoran College of Art & Design, Washington, DC
Marketing and Design Manager for the Greater Richmond Chamber
A Church Hill resident