Richmond, VA - Lots of Questions.

Feb 19th, 2012, 10:25 AM
  #1  
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Richmond, VA - Lots of Questions.

We'll be in Norfolk, VA for 5 wks in mid April though mid May and are planning an excursion to Richmond. From my reading, it looks like Richmond has lots to offer and that a day trip is probably not enough to appreciate the city.

What would be a reasonable amount of time to spend there? Would two nights make sense? We are fairly leisured travelers and don't pack a great deal into a day. Any time of the week better, that is mid week vs the weekend?

Also, looking at the Linden Row Hotel as a place to stay, The price seems about right for our budget - under $200 a night. Is this a good location? Any other hotel suggestions? We prefer to park our car and either walk or take public transit.. Is the area safe?

Ideas on your favorite attractions? I love architecture, looking at bldgs and interesting museums.

Finally, we're into healthy eating, prefer vegan cooking if possible. Any suggestions there?

Thanks.
annetti is offline  
Feb 19th, 2012, 02:12 PM
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The area is safe but the public transportation in that area is fairly minimal. Psrking is extremely easy, free and/or cheap, so don't worry about driving.

Museum Row has the superb and FREE Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the United Daughters of the Confederacy museum, and Battle Abbey, the Museum of the Virginia Historical Society, which focuses mostly on social history.

Mid April through Mid May is the garden season in all of Virginia. You will see a lot driving or walking around, but the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Maymont Park (Japanese Garden)and Holywood Cemetery should be spectacular. Holywood is where Jefferson Davis and Jeb Stuart are buried.

Ipanema Cafe on West Grace seems to be everyone's favorite vegan place, but almost every place has serious vegetatian appetizers, small plates, and entrees on their menu.

I would spend two nights, but I might not stay Linden Row Hotel, more because I hate B&B's and Guest Houses, esp at $200 a pop, not because I know anythingnegative about it.
Ackislander is offline  
Feb 20th, 2012, 04:44 AM
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At that price point, I would stay at The Jefferson Hotel.

Public transportation is not a feasible option.

I agree with Ackislander on the sight-seeing options.

My Ex is a vegetarian and loves CousCous.
JanetKMR is offline  
Feb 20th, 2012, 09:18 AM
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Thank you, Ackislander and Janet. I'll check out both Ipanema and Couscous. Nice to know we will have vegan options.

I believe we can get a room at Linden Row for about about $120 a night whereas the Jefferson which looks lovely is about $250. Linden Row also includes breakfast, though not sure what that means. The Linden Row has 70 rooms so I think of it as a small hotel rather than a guest house. Correct me if I'm wrong. It was described to me by my Norfolk contacts as being a boutique hotel.

So, I think we'll go for two nights. It looks like we'll be driving in Richmond, too. Thanks very much.
annetti is offline  
Feb 21st, 2012, 03:58 AM
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At least stop by Lemaire at The Jefferson for a cocktail
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Feb 21st, 2012, 09:58 AM
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Hi, Annetti,

I'm so glad you're visiting Richmond! I'm the PR Assistant with the Richmond Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau and I wanted to provide with some additional information. First off, you're coming at a beautiful time of the year! There is a LOT to see in Richmond, I think two or three nights here would leave you with more time to leisurely explore than a day trip would. There's a lot going on midweek and on the weekend, so I think whatever time you choose will make for a wonderful visit!

As far as places to stay, Linden Row is great. I would also suggest looking in to The Berkeley Hotel. If you want to stay at a B&B, Maury Place (recently ranked as one of the top 25 B&B's in the U.S. on TripAdvisor) and the Museum District B&B are both terrific. As the commenters above mentioned, if you aren't planning to stay at The Jefferson, it's definitely worth a look - what a beautiful place.

As far as sites to see..all the mentions above are great. You mentioned that you enjoy architecture, and the Virginia Center for Architecture is located in Richmond! You can find more information about planning a visit there at this link: http://virginiaarchitecture.org/vca_plan.html. The Fan District is also a great spot for neat architecture - primarily a residential neighborhood consisting of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century homes, this striking neighborhood is home to several parks and tree-lined avenues. The Fan is also home to cobblestoned Monument Avenue, the only street in the country designated as a national historic site!

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and Maymont are beautiful anytime of year, but the time of year you mentioned visiting is particularly nice! The newly-renovated Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and Virginia Historical Society are must-sees too. Also, The American Civil War Center at Historic Tredegar is the first museum of it's kind to highlight the Civil War through three perspectives: Union, Confederate AND African-American.

Other sites that might appeal to you are Carytown and Richmond's Riverfront. Shopping and eating are abundant in Carytown. This picturesque section of town is earns it popularity from its eclectic vibe and independently-owned shops, boutiques, restaurants and specialty stores. Toy store World of Mirth, For the Love of Chocolate, gift shop Mongrel and ladies consignment shop Clementine are Carytown favorites. In Richmond, an abundance of outdoor/river activities are available side by side with our downtown. More information on the historic James River can be found here: http://www.visitrichmondva.com/Explo...on/James-River

I agree with the vegetarian options mentioned above, but have also heard good things about the wide array of dining options at Pescado's and the Empress. Balliceaux would be a good lunch option!

I hope this was helpful! I'll check back here to see if you have any additional questions. You can also connect with the Visit Richmond Facebook page for additional suggestions:

https://www.facebook.com/#!/VisitRichmondVA

Megan
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Feb 21st, 2012, 10:35 AM
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A friend has stayed at the Linden in the past so I asked him about it. He felt that it has gone downhill in recent years. How are the reviews on Trip Advisor? My friend had stayed at the Berkeley this past weekend and said it was fabulous.
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Feb 21st, 2012, 12:41 PM
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Haven't been to Richmond, but my research suggests one could easily spend three full days sightseeing there. One list of attractions is found here:

http://www.frommers.com/destinations...4_indattr.html
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 10:04 AM
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Thank you, Megan. Lots of good information. I'll check out the websites you suggested for both B&Bs and restaurants.

Janet, will definitely look in at the Jefferson if only to appreciate a beautiful old hotel.

Birdie, Thanks for reminding me to check out Trip Advisor. My home exchanger recommended the Linden Row, so it sounded like an easy choice, but the reviews have not been very favorable and when we telephoned today, they were not very friendly. So we are thinking other hotels might be a better option. The Berkley sounds nice, but a bit over budget. . . There's so much to do in Virgina, that we will probably be staying in a few more hotels than anticipated. Will probably post about Charlottesville, too, hence we need to think more closely about hotel costs.

Bachslunch, thanks for the link. We have Frommers' book for Virginia, but I think there is more info included on your link.

It would have been so easy to go with the Linden, now have to look a bit more. Anyone else with some other suggestions for a hotel, etc.?

BTW, can anyone tell us how far Norfolk is from Richmond??
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 10:33 AM
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Norfolk is about an hour and a half up I-64, with Williamsburg in between.
Ackislander is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2012, 11:34 AM
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Thank you, Ackislander. Wonder how bad the traffic is. Have been reading a lot about traffic gridlocking around Norfolk.
annetti is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2012, 04:24 PM
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Birdie: I called the Berkley Hotel direct. The telephone price was substantially lower than the on-line price, so we went with the Berkley. Sometimes, not always, we get a better price telephoning than using the hotel's website.This was one of those times. The Trip Advisor reports were mostly positive; the negatives seemed to concentrate on the dining room. So, thanks for the recommendation.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 06:39 PM
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Hooray! Yes, that is what my friend's comments were too. Great room, not so great dining experience. There are too many good restaurants in Richmond to worry about a bad hotel dining room.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 06:58 PM
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The biggest problems with traffic in Norfolk are: the tunnels, the Naval base, and around Virginia Beach during rush hours.

Learn the alternatives and avoid rush hours if you can. I will tell you to figure out the approach for the Mid-town tunnel outside of rush hour. You have to be in the correct lane fairly early or you'll get blocked out. You'll see what I mean the first time you take it.
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Feb 22nd, 2012, 07:09 PM
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Birdie: This sounds formidable, but I'm a Los Angeleno, so I should be able to handle traffic, though not too sure about tunnels. That may prove difficult.

So, what are rush hours? Here they can start at 6am until about 8:30am or 9:00am and then begin again around 2:15pm or so until 6:30pm. Actually, with LA, you never know, there can be a traffic jam at 10am or at 3am!! One just needs to leave early to assure arrival on time.
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Feb 23rd, 2012, 01:56 AM
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Once you are out of Norfolk, traffic is trivial on I-64. I have a suspicion that if you are used to the 5 or the 10, you won't find it daunting. Even in Washington,DC, the worst traffic in the area, rush hour is pretty much over by 9 and runs from 3 until 7.
Ackislander is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2012, 04:31 AM
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Yes....you do not want to eat at the Berkley. The good news is there are great places near the Berkley.
JanetKMR is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2012, 12:36 PM
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Thank you, Ackislander. I guess if one can drive to the 5 or 10, I can manage the Norfolk traffic.

What is the ride like from Richmond to Charlottesville? I goggled it and it does not seem far, but I'm wondering how I would fare car sickness-wise. Will that be a problem for me? I have problems with roads that twist and turn. The countryside sounds beautiful and I'd hate to miss it and Monticello, too.

Also, thanks to JanetKMR.
annetti is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2012, 01:10 PM
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Richmond to Charlottesville is an extremely boring tunnel between trees. Few hills, no mountains, few curves -- and not much gas along the highway.

You can pretty much say the same thing about the road from Norfolk to Richmond. Trees, swamps, trees, swamps. But it doesn't take long.

You are not likely to get carsick on either unless you get carsick in the movies The mountains begin just west of Charlottesville, and there are short but twisty roads crossing the mountains, but if you stay on the interstate, you will hardly know it.

There are roads in Virginia like Coldwater Canyon in LA, but you have to look for them, they are rural and there isn't much traffic.
Ackislander is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2012, 03:21 PM
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>>Once you are out of Norfolk, traffic is trivial on I-64.<

Not entirely. The Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel is the single access out of Norfolk on I64. Traffic jams on either side of the tunnel in the morning and afternoon are common and can add 15-60 minutes to your trip. It doesn't begin to compare with LA but avoiding rush hour is something to think about when planning your trip out of and returning to Norfolk.

>>Even in Washington,DC, the worst traffic in the area, rush hour is pretty much over by 9 and runs from 3 until 7.<<

DC traffic competes with LA for congestion and frustration. Rush hour in DC extends well beyond 9am depending on where you are in the area. If the OP is planning on visiting DC by car the stretch of I95 from Fredericksburg to DC is pretty unpredictable all hours of the day and night.

I agree Richmond to Charlottesville is uneventful.
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