Christmas Please Don’t Go!
The holiday season offers so many opportunities to enjoy different events. It seems like every park and attraction doubles up on the decorations in order to attract more visitors. When looking for things to do in Richmond, I came across the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens Light Festival. I had done a quick search of events in the area and that had popped up several different times. After checking out the pictures that had been posted by different visitors, I made the decision to extend Christmas a little longer and head down to Richmond for a quick adventure!
But First… Food!
Since the Light Event didn’t start until the evening, I decided to head down to Richmond a little early, grab a bite, and explore a little. The food choices in my immediate area are limited, so I was DEFINITELY looking forward to one of the yummy Richmond eateries.
I was craving a good burger so I checked Yelp and settled on Beauvine Burger Concept. Cute little trendy restaurant near the VCU campus. If you’d like to read my reviews for any of the places that I visit, you can check them out on Yelp or on Trip Advisor. I won’t bore you with a complete breakdown this time, especially since there is a lot more to focus on. Not only that, but I’m sure there will be plenty more food adventures in the future.
Let’s discuss driving in Richmond for a minute…. Holy heck! You have to really be paying attention or else you will end up driving the wrong way down a one-way street. Streets change from two-way to one-way in the blink of an eye! It’s extremely difficult to try to navigate an unfamiliar city, while trying not to run people over (someone literally ran in front of my car without looking-thank goodness I was paying attention), locate the establishment that you’re looking for, and try to find parking. It’s exhausting.
Despite the crazy drivers, one of the really awesome things about Richmond is the amazing murals and street art. There is art everywhere! Of all the things to do in Richmond, this is the cheapest. It literally costs nothing to walk around and check out the art. It gives the city a very young and artsy vibe, I love it!
So Many Things, So Little Time
Because I know my tendency to bite off more than I can chew and spread myself too thin, I settled on only one area to explore: Maymont. I searched for interesting things to do in Richmond and Maymont was at the top of the list. Even though it probably would not be as beautiful in the winter, it was still worth a peek. I have explored other homes and gardens, so I assumed it would be a similar adventure.
The reviews had talked about how beautiful the area was, but they really did not talk about how huge the entire property was. I drove up preparing to see a turn-of-the-century home and gardens, but what I saw instead was a vast Nature Center and park. The park was so large that I couldn’t even see the house from the parking area in front of the Nature Center. Since I was Adventuring, I decided to take a look around.
I was not prepared for the enormity of the grounds, nor was I prepared for the beauty of it. Stepping onto the grounds, it was very easy to forget that you were in the middle of a major city. There was a large stream, rolling hills, trees, and so many buildings and exploration areas. I had mentioned earlier that I typically bite off more than I can chew; this time I really tried not to do that, but it happened unintentionally.
Although, there were several different areas that I could have visited, I narrowed my focus down to the Maymont Estate. Guided tours were offered for a suggested donation fee, but unfortunately all of the tours were booked through until the end of the day. So, I decided to explore the exterior of the house and the immediate area. The home was built for James and Sallie Dooley in 1893. I was unable to tour the home on this trip, which was a bummer. Since I didn’t get to tour, I can’t offer too much history. But, rest assured, I will be returning to Maymont! When I return, I will definitely write an article dedicated entirely to Maymont.
Since it was getting close to sunset, and the time for the Botanical Gardens Light Event, I decided to leave Maymont and head over to see the beautiful displays. I was looking forward to prolonging Christmas just a little bit longer.
Well…… Let me preface this by saying that I know that certain attractions will be crowded and that wait times are expected. I had not even turned down the street to the Gardens when the traffic already started to get congested.
As I got closer to the Gardens I realized that the parking was already full and the police department was setting up for crowd control. The Light Event had not even opened yet and there was already an insane level of congestion. I decided to make a U-Turn and chalk it up to lesson learned. The lesson? Do not wait until one of the last days of an event to try and attend.
My trip wasn’t a total loss; I found a good eatery, I found a future location for maximum Adventuring, and I spotted quite a few other places that have Adventuring potential. So, I definitely look at my trip as a win. Not everything always pans out the way I plan, and that’s OK. You have to roll with it or else you’ll be angry and frustrated 90% of the time. Some of my best adventures were found by accident. Luckily, I was able to add Maymont to my list of free things to do in Richmond!
Until next time,