Thursday, January 12, 2012

Virginia Is For Lovers

Southern in the City from Richmond, VA
These past few days in Richmond have been a whirlwind of museums, monuments, and meals.  My mom's been busy with meetings, and I've been looking to the AAA Tour Book for entertainment ideas. 
Yesterday had a late start time.  Momma didn't have to be at Virginia College until 3, so we looked to the hotel concierge for lunch options.  Our massive Marriot had a list of downtown favorites.  We decided to be adventurous and exchange the typical sandwich from Subway for a meal from Millie's.  Despite its limited seating, this cute, eclectic restaurant had delicious options.  I ordered a fresh vegetable wrap while my mom had a roast beef sandwich.  For dessert, we split a pumpkin roll slice drizzled with caramel. 

 After she dropped me back at the hotel, I grabbed an umbrella and hit up the Virginia Library.  According to my guide book, it was supposed to be a gem of the city, but I found it to be nothing special.  Now, I'm a girl who loves books, but their content was lacking.  The few titles they did have were so ordinary I quickly found myself leaving in search of a little more excitement. 

The Historic Shockoe District had great reviews too.  With its cobblestone streets and quaint, independent sellers, I discovered this was more my style.  Great jewelry and books penned by indie authors could be had; unfortunately, if you're on a college budget, their prices might be a little too high, or at least they were for me.

After an hour or so of roaming the streets with my flimsy umbrella, I took shelter in the Virginia State Capitol.  I'm sure with my rain-soaked jacket and matted hair I was quite a sight for the in-session senators, but I wanted to see where the oldest legislative body in the United States worked.  The rest of the day was spent in the hotel; I snacked at the lobby Starbucks and ate dinner from the Concierge Lounge.  Countless episodes of Toddlers and Tiaras played on my big screen TV.  It was a very good day.

I'm Not So Sure If This is What Margaret Mitchel Had in Mind
As for this morning, I knew exactly where I wanted to go...The Museum of the Confederacy.  With more than 15,000 artifacts, it houses some of the most unique pieces from the War Between the States.  There of course was your typical gray jackets and rivalry, but I was particularly interested in the unusual objects from the "Knickknackery Exhibition."  Here, they had children's dolls and women's dresses.  The real garments of the day don't quite match the Scarlett O'Hara vision I had in mind, but they were still pretty cool to see. 

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I also paid special attention to cards soldiers made.  Even though they were battling Yankees, these men scrounged together bits of lace and cardstock to make sure their loved ones knew they were thinking only of them...oh what Southern gentlemen they were! 
Antique Valentines
Around noon, I made my way next door for a guided tour of the White House of the Confederacy.  Here, Jefferson Davis with his wife and four children lived from August 1861 to the War's end.  The home was restored in the mid 1980s.  Original antiques from the time period as well as Davis family heirlooms decorate the home.  It was quite an opulent plantation, certainly fit for a president.  If you're a history nerd or just like Civil War trivia, I'd certainly suggest you stop by both places; for only $15, admission to the two attractions can be had. 

For lunch, I made the walk to Comfort.  Located at 200 West Broad Street, its name certainly wasn't misleading.  The food was delicious, and their cute waiters made sure my glass of sweet tea was always full.  Moderately priced, I'd suggest it for any Virginia tourist who's hungry for a scrumptious Southern meal.

After eating my mac-and-cheese, I walked back over to the Capitol Building.  When I was there yesterday, I'd noticed the square's ultra green front lawn.  The weather's absolutely beautiful, so I scoped out a shaded bench and opened up my book.  A few chapters latter, I looked up and noticed a statue of Edgar Allan Poe stared back at fitting. 

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