A month later, and I’m finally posting about the second day of our Richmond trip. Sheesh. I’m a lousy blogger.
Day two found us waking to beautiful sunshine, and an only slightly chilly breeze as we left the hotel.
The view of Linden Row Inn, from the steps of the Richmond Public Library. That’s right, on vacation I went to the library. We ended up spending an hour there, while Dutchboy ohhed and ahhed over the microfilm of the New York Times from April 1912. We had to read all about the sinking of the Titanic. Along with a story about a teenage heiress who ran off with an old hotel clerk. She took her jewels and her beloved poodle. It seems some things never change!
ANYWAY. Back to Richmond. Leaving the library behind, we spent a lot of time roaming around the city, just soaking in the atmosphere. We specifically went into Carytown to wander the streets and the shops, including a stop for a snack at John Jacques bakery (lovely croissants and a mocha torte), chocolates at For The Love of Chocolate (the smell is heavenly and the sell Leonidas chocolate! And they have Dutch candy, too!!) and a final stop for a bottle of Port at River City Cellars. Like everything else in Richmond, the architecture in this area is old and beautiful. Even the slightly rundown areas have charm.
In the early afternoon, we stopped at St. John’s Episcopal Church, famous because it was here that Patrick Henry gave the “Give me liberty, or give me death" speech.
Dutchboy had never heard of Patrick Henry. And here he doesn’t look like he likes either option, liberty or death. Perhaps Cake or Death instead?!? Definitely cake.
Remember in the earlier post, I said we would visit Edgar Allan Poe and his beloved mother again?? Here we are. Edgar Allan Poe’s mother, Elizabeth Arnold Poe, is buried in the churchyard at St. John’s. The Raven Society erected a lovely marker in her memory.
In the second photo, you’ll notice the pennies left on her grave. I have no idea of the significance. Anyone have any clues?? I left a few, just in case. I didn’t want Ms. Elizabeth to come home with me!!
After leaving St. John’s, we drove around and ended up driving past a beautiful old building that had a National Park Service banner out front. Turned out to be the site of one of the largest Confederate Civil War hospitals, Chimborazo.
Inside is a small museum filled with medical implements and a video that describes Chimborazo and the role it played during the war. The scale was epic, and it was the most modern facility it could have been for the time and conditions. Now, nothing remains but the large empty field, overlooking the James River. In other words, there’s not a lot to see, but it’s a lovely walk! It gives you a chance to overlook the river, and survey your kindgom from a different point of view.
Behind me? That’s the view from the “hospital on the hill”. Nice, huh??
If you think that is nice, wait till you see the James River walk! A mile and half long trail that follows the James River. We did part of this walk last time, but decided to fight the cold and do it all this time. Glad we did! It’s beautiful!
“The doors of Heaven and Hell are adjacent and identical” – Nikos Kazantzakis
I guess that answers that question!!!
Our walk ended as we hurried back to the car before darkness fell and we had to use our cellphone as a flashlight. Besides, my croissant and chocolate had long since vanished and I was starving!!! Tonight, Cous Cous was open!!
I was having Middle Eastern food! A day later than I planned, but who cares about that!?!? Spicy, yummy food is always worth the wait!
Dutchboy, being boring, opted for falafel AGAIN. Remember—he had it the previous evening at The Belvidere on Broad?? (Of course you don’t remember. It’s been a month! That’s why I’m kindly reminding you!)
He was very happy with his choice. C’mon, look at it. Who wouldn’t be happy with that plate of crispy, fried loveliness?? And of course, he shared in mine, too.
I started my dinner with a lovely glass of red sangria--slightly bitter and tart but amazing with the food I chose to order. I opted to order meze, the middle-eastern version of Spanish tapas, or small plates. I started with Manchego fritters served with a mango coulis. Crispy, warm melted salty goodness, tempered with cool fruity, slightly sweet coulis. Fantastic! Delicious! (It was so dark, and I only had my point and shoot camera, so you’ll have to devour the description because the photo didn’t turn out. ) But nothing compared to what was to follow.
Chicken B’stilla. B’stilla my heart. It was mind-numbingly good. Moroccan pot pie with chicken mixed with almonds, onions, apricots, and mixed vegetables and seasoned with lovely warm spices like cumin, coriander, cinnamon and who knows what other loveliness. I was so stuffed, I couldn’t imagine eating another bite, though they did have Nutella bread pudding. This is definitely a place I would come back to in the future!!
Bellies full, tired but content, we headed back to the hotel, via a circuitous route through the city at night.
The last day, we drove out to Hollywood Cemetery, a huge very old cemetery filled with confederate soldiers graves, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and family and the tombs of two presidents, James Monroe and John Tyler. I have to admit, I have a thing for cemeteries. There’s such a connection to the past, a morbid curiosity. There’s a melancholy loveliness that fills you when you wander through a cemetery. I tend to romanticize the gravesites, giving the people buried there glorious or tragic lives. In this old glorious cemetery filled with monuments that are exquisitely carved, intricate angels, chiseled crosses, cast iron dogs (I don’t know why but there was an abundance of dog monuments in this place) and not to mention the lovely, crumbling, ivy-covered mausoleums and family crypts buried in the hillside facing the James River, it is easy to get lost in place and time. And I enjoyed it so much, I didn’t take one single solitary photograph. Which strikes me as odd, because I distinctly remember having the camera in my hands the entire time we were walking around the Presidents tombs. Oh, well, just another reason to return to my beloved Richmond again in the future!
Before leaving, we made one final food stop. This time, relying on Guy Fieri’s recommendation from Diners, Drive-ins and Dives—Dot’s Back Inn. We drove into a heavily residential area and I honestly thought our GPS was leading us astray. After all, it is a TomTom and therefore Dutch, and everyone knows a Dutch person cannot get to a place in a straight line but must take the long way round. But fail us, it did not. Dot’s Back Inn is a tiny diner on a residential side street. Very homey, and very very American. I had black beans with corn cakes. I was not disappointed! It was a perfect lunch treat. Creamy, smoky black beans with tender, corn cakes. Whatever Dutchboy opted to order has since been forgotten. I believe it was a veggie sub because, as I said earlier he’s boring. His idea of being adventurous is getting ketchup alongside the mayo with his French fries. Yes, he’s a real rebel with absolutely no taste buds. But that’s all right. I didn’t marry for his taste in food. I married him because he obviously has exquisite taste in women.
Stuffed to the gills with delicious food and even better memories, we headed for home and the pup we left behind. *cue gratuitous dog photo*
Richmond was a place that Dutchboy and I spoke of so often after our first visit, that we knew we had to return. It's an old town, a moderately sized city that manages to feel very very small, with a vaguely European vibe. Now, after a second look around, seeing more of the city than before, it has solidified its place in our hearts. See ya next year, Richmond dear.