A packed day in Richmond

4/20/22

Wow, today was full! My host Ronda took me all over town, and into some natural spaces too.

We started with a drive along the river near her neighborhood. It was a beautiful springtime drive, with the water to our right, and bright green trees all around, with lots of brilliant azaleas tucked into the canopy.

We had a surprising experience there next to the river, too: she pulled over so I could take a photo, and that’s when we saw that there were some city park workers who had just rescued a gentle but shivering chihuahua, who was sitting in their truck. The dog had been out on one of the logjams in the water.

Ronda sprang into community-member action, taking a photo of the dog and posting it in her neighborhood Facebook group. Someone there shared it elsewhere, and within about 15 minutes, the dog’s person (someone in Ronda’s neighborhood) was on her way to reunite with her canine companion!

After this good news, we hit up a local natural-foods market, and then went to see the Jefferson Hotel, a very fancy and historic building that still serves guests, near downtown. I noted the alligator sculpture in the fountain out front; there was another right near the entrance. And the interior of the building was beautiful.

Then we continued on to the Virginia state capitol, and took a self-guided tour. Of course the rotunda was beautiful, as well as the rest of the building and grounds.

We grabbed some lunch at a nearby Jewish deli, then went down near the north side of the river. We strolled along the riverfront for a while, and walked partway across a historic bridge with lots of haunting quotes and markers on it. It was the bridge that the confederates burned on their way out of Richmond (the capital of the confederacy) when they realized they had lost the city. It was kind of intense to read the timeline and quotes.

While on the bridge, we also enjoyed the views of the James River, including some Class 3 rapids that kayakers often enjoy navigating. We didn’t see any boats today, but the glassy dropoff looked dramatic to me, as well as the rocky rapids nearby.

Then it was time to visit the Maymont estate, because I had read that there was a Japanese garden there. In fact, it is the oldest public Japanese garden on the east coast. That garden was beautiful, but it was also only part of the former estate of the Maymont family. We also saw the manor house and many beautiful fields and forested areas.

We topped off the day with dinner at a local vegan place, Fresca on Addison, and then a fire in the backyard with a bicycling neighbor (who lived in Portland from 2000 to 2010) visiting for a chat.

Soon I’ll be turning in, and then tomorrow I’ll be cycling 37 miles, to a small town called Bumpass, Virginia, to get me closer to the intentional communities I’ll be visiting in Louisa County the next day. Looking forward to that new adventure!

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