Exploring Richmond – Episode 4

As we continue our intentional exploration of our new home I will, from time to time, offer these special posts.

I suddenly realized that we had done a whole bunch of exploring and I was falling behind.  Part of the challenge in living in the Richmond area is trying to choose among all the various activities.  The full photo album of all these is HERE.  This will take you to a slideshow of all the photos.

We kind of stumbled on the Octoberfest at St. Benedict’s church.  All of us agreed it reminds us of our beloved Yassou festival at St. Nicholas in Jamestown.  Good German food, lots of beer, dancing under the big tent and some pretty cool shopping.  Had a great talk with the guy who claims to be the last independent pewter artist in the region.  Really enjoyed ourselves and hung out with some friends of The Kid’s.

Octoberfest!

Staying with ethnic festivals we hit the Italian Festival at the 17th St Farmer’s Market down in Shockoe Bottom.  Once again, good food, a couple Italian beers (enjoyed both of them), some wine, shopping and some wandering musicians!  We really enjoyed ourselves here too PLUS discovered that there is an entire street of restaurants right there on 17th.  We are especially intrigued by the Ethiopian place.

Italianfest

Decided to mix things up and find some Jazz.  The Virginia Museum of Fine Art (VMFA) is not only a great museum but has some great events each week.  One of which is a regular Jazz cafe.  So we headed down to grab dinner and enjoy the music.  This is a very popular event so we ended up sitting out on the deck (which was fine, the volume was a little high inside.  It was easier to talk outside).  Good food, great music and wonderful conversation.  Really enjoyed ourselves.

Beautiful company at the VMFA

We were told that the Second Street Festival was one of the “don’t miss” festivals.  It is far and away the biggest festival we’ve been to!  Blocks of the city are shut down, there are something like five stages with music playing simultaneously, lots of food, amazing shopping, even some classic cars!  Got to hear some really great Jazz and more here.  Next time we will remember to bring along some folding chairs.

Jazz tent at the 2nd Street Festival

Another one of the “you can’t miss this” events is the South of the James Farmer’s Market.  100 vendors, at least 4 live musicians.  Wow.  And a Farmer’s Market that runs most of the year.  We got lunch and finished it off with an Amish donut.  Yum.

A tiny fraction of the Farmer’s Market

Finally, did some actual exploration of downtown Richmond in the Shockoe Slip/Shockoe Bottom area.  The Richmond train station is gorgeous!  Wandering up and down East Cary Street checking out the restaurants and book store.

Beautiful East Cary

Afterwards I went over to Belle Isle, which is this wonderful wooded refuge in the middle of the James.  You’re within walking distance of the city but are totally secluded in the woods and the beauty of the river.  Pretty cool.

Looking across the James from Belle Isle

Still so much more to explore!

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