Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Richmond is for Locavores (and HIstory Buffs)

With street names like Confederacy Avenue and shops called Dixie Donuts there's no mistaking you're below the mason-dixon line (and that I'm a Yankee). Never mind that I swore off the South during the blazing hot summer months, a few weeks ago I found myself in Richmond, Virginia for the weekend, eating and touring the sites, with my stepdaughter. 

Susan of Real Richmond Food Tours (photo: Lexi Van de Walle)

Cammi, who is a bit of a history buff, and I visited two civil war cemeteries,  several confederate-related sites,  and chowed down quite a few locavore and not so locavore meals -- we crammed a lot into two days.

We stayed at the historic Jefferson Hotel, which is a grande dame hotel reminiscent of bygone days, and a huge bargain compared to similar properties in Europe and the US.

We ate at Lemaire Restaurant, Comfort, Dixie Donuts and the South of the James Saturday Farmers Market.

Lemaire Restaurant, which is a beautiful upscale restaurant at the Jefferson Hotel, was our main dining room for the trip. We had breakfast and lunch here, and a wonderful dinner with my good friend from New York's mom. Lemaire features many Virginia-grown and other menu items from the South, including lots of seafood from the Chesapeake, and has an urban vegetable garden called Bundy's and beehives on the roof.
 

Comfort -- a locavore restaurant near the Jefferson Hotel that serves treats such as fried green tomatoes, catfish and grits, mac and cheese, BBQ pulled pork, sautéed greens, Louisiana shrimp, and bread pudding.
 

Dixie Donuts -- not exactly locavore but an interesting locally-owned donut and coffee shop with a retro feel and trendy flavors for their cake donuts - sweet potato and pecan, lime coconut and ginger, cotton candy and watermelon just to name a few (and really good coffee).


South of the James Farmers Market - a huge farmers market with nearly 100 tents and lots of fruits and vegetables, meats, seafood from the Chesapeake, dairy, and packaged goods such as local peanut butter (Reginald's Homemade), honey, hot sauces (Pickled Silly), and granola (Atomic Bakery). There's live music, a great donut truck (Mrs. Yoder's Kitchen) and a pulled pork stand. 


When I was all done shopping and eating, I wished I could have signed up for a food tour with Real Richmond. The tours look great but, unfortunately, we ran out of time.

At the South of the James Farmers Market (Photo: Lexi Van de Walle)
Awesome Granola and Great Graphics from Atomic Bakery (Photo: Lexi Van de Walle)

Okra Infused Mixers from Pickled Silly (Lexi Van de Walle)

Reginald's Locavore Peanut Butter (Photo: Lexi Van de Walle)

The Very Best Virginia Donuts at South of the James Market (Photo: Lexi Van de Walle)

On our very brief trip we ware able to visit a bunch of sites, including:

Monument Avenue - a grand boulevard of stately homes with massive sculptures memorializing the Virginian Confederate participants. The most famous, of course, is General Robert E. Lee.

Cary Street - a trendy shopping street and home to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and Cammie's favorite place, Dixie Donuts.

Hollywood Cemetery - a sprawling park-like cemetery with winding roads and large number of Confederate graves. A 90-foot pyramid memorializes the 18,000 known and unknown Confederate soldiers (Union soldiers are buried at the National Cemetery) and a statue of Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States of America. 

Confederacy Area of Hollywood Cemetery and Pyramid Monument (Photo: Lexi Van de Walle)


Cold Harbor Cemetery (in Mechanicsville) a United States cemetery for Union soldiers who died in the civil war.

Cold Harbor National Cemetery for Union Soldiers (Photo: Lexi Van de Walle)

Museum of the Confederacy - a comprehensive museum that also has the White House of the Confederacy where Jefferson Davis lived

The Virginia Capital Building, a grand 18th century building.

The American Civil War Museum at the Tredegar (Iron Works) -- interesting exhibits and examples of iron works used throughout the war.


Travel
Amtrak on the Northeast Regional from Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington

Car Rental - Avis, Hertz and Enterprise are all near the train station.

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