Tourism at Home

Last Friday and Saturday, Jonathan and I did something we wish we had done long before: we actually walked around parts of downtown Richmond. 

It was his birthday celebration (actual date, June 18 but harder for us to celebrate on Monday), and we began by checking in our room at the Linden Row Inn on Franklin at First Street. This historic row of houses is loving restored and filled with charm.

Then, we walked a couple of blocks to the Elegba Folklore Society on Broad Street–it was the beginning of Juneteenth celebrations, and we were privileged to hear most of a talk by noted Richmond (and nationally known) attorney and left wing social activist, Mary E. Blevins Cox. She was in rare form and we had a great time. I, of course, bought her book.

From there, we began a food-focused journey. For dinner, we walked downtown, passing by the front of Virginia’s beautiful capitol, and went to Addis Ethiopian Restaurant on 17th Street in Shockoe Bottom. We went there for several reasons. First, we truly enjoy Ethiopian food, especially using injera, the larger sourdough-like flatbread, as our fork and spoon. Second, the owner very kindly had furnished some of his excellent food for a program at church some weeks ago. He was a very sweet man then, and he greeted us warmly this night. It was an excellent meal and we had a grand time.

Jonathan had his heart set on a piece of chocolate cake at Captain Buzzy’s Beanery so we climbed Church Hill to 27th Street, only to learn that we had stayed so long at the folklore society and dinner that the good captain had called it a night. So, he had to settle for some chocolate ganache at the River City Diner, back on 17th Street. It was tough luck, but somehow he managed to eat it all (and I ate my blackberry cobbler a la mode, too).

Saturday morning brought the true dilemma. Where to eat the pancakes Jonathan wanted–without meat of course. Everywhere we turned–Strawberry Street and Can Can, for example–pancakes are linked with meat. It bothered him, so we kept looking. And lo and behold, the Galaxy Diner on Cary Street offered some “black hole pancakes” that fit the bill perfectly. What are these diet-busting creations? An Oreo is cooked in the center, and they are topped with strawberry “goo” (the waitress’ term) and whipped cream. Just what the doctor (Dr. Jonathan Lebolt, that is) ordered.

We then waddled home (by car) and picked up Cocoa to go for a hike around the old reservoir near Byrd Park, and took Cocoa to the “Dog Bark” there. While at the reservoir, we met locally famous city park ranger Ralph White and he arranged for us to receive a tour of the old hydroelectric power plant now being restored by volunteers (as a place to hold dances and parties).

Dinner? Chinese delivered from one of our favorites, on our side of the river, Cathay Chinese Gourmet.

A big celebration! And a demonstration of why we like Richmond so much, why Richmond is home for us. Truly a great city. Culture. Food. History. Beauty.

A great place to celebrate birthdays!

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