What to Do in Richmondflickr/Ron Cogswell
Explore Maymont (2201 Shields Lake Dr.), a dairy farm-turned-Gilded Age showstopper that has been enjoyed as a public park and museum since 1925. The 100-acre destination on the James River, once the home of business leader James H. Dooley and his wife, has got it all: a luxurious 33-room mansion, zoological exhibits, historical carriages, meticulously groomed gardens and more than a few captivated guests.
Study the lead up to the Civil War and the creation of The White House of the Confederacy with an informative visit to the site. During 40-minute guided tours, docents lead visitors through this gray-stuccoed Court End mansion, which Confederate President Jefferson Davis and his family inhabited 1861-65.
Take in Grace Arents' gift to the city, the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (1800 Lakeside Ave.). In her will, the green-thumbed philanthropist stipulated that a botanical garden be established on the property in honor of her uncle Lewis Ginter, a businessman who bought the site in 1884. Today, the year-round site attracts both locals and out-of-towners with more than a dozen themed gardens and a striking conservatory crowned by a 63-foot-tall dome.
Catch a second-run flick at The Byrd Theatre (2908 W. Cary St.), a restored 1920s movie palace in the funky Carytown shopping district. Go on a Saturday, when an organist puts on a rocking pre-show recital on a “Mighty Wurlitzer,” a pipe organ originally designed to accompany silent films.
Conserve your souvenir shopping fund at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (200 N. Boulevard), where admission to the permanent collection of more than 23,000 works—from French Impressionist paintings to glittering Fabergé eggs—is always free.
Revel in all things touristy in Capitol Square , between 9th, Governor, Broad and Bank streets. Ask a passerby to snap a vacation pic of you with the Washington Monument as your backdrop. Pick up brochures at the state visitor center in the 1825 Bell Tower. Take a guided tour of the neoclassical Virginia State Capitol (1000 Bank St.), then hit up the gift shop for “Virginia is for Lovers” shot glasses and a wide selection of presidential bobbleheads.
Enjoy a hair-raising day o' fun at Kings Dominion (16000 Theme Park Dr. in Doswell), where coasters with names like Dominator and Intimidator 305 attract would-be daredevils.
Walk along tree-shaded Monument Avenue. Located in the heart of the historic Fan District, the architecturally noteworthy residential street contains statues of well-known Confederates, including generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson; the “Pathfinder of the Seas,” Matthew Fontaine Maury. Richmond-born tennis champ Arthur Ashe also is represented.
Riddle me this: What do a pair of 19th-century boot hooks, a lock of hair glued to the back of an envelope, and a stuffed raven (come on, this one's a dead giveaway) have in common? All are exhibits at the Poe Museum (1914 E. Main St.), which relates the life of onetime Richmond resident Edgar Allan Poe.
Tour Richmond National Battlefield Park . Headquartered in Richmond, the park offers plenty of things to do and encompasses Civil War battlefields in Hanover, Henrico and Chesterfield counties. Get out and stretch your legs during the 60-mile drive at the Fort Harrison Visitor Center (8621 Battlefield Park Rd.), the Civil War Visitor Center at Tredegar Iron Works (470 Tredegar St.), the Chimborazo Medical Museum (3215 E. Broad St.) and The American Civil War Museum at Historic Tredegar (500 Tredegar St.).
AAA’s in-person hotel evaluations are unscheduled to ensure the inspector has an experience similar to that of members. To pass inspection, all hotels must meet the same rigorous standards for cleanliness, comfort and hospitality. These hotels receive a AAA Diamond designation that tells members what type of experience to expect.
Virginia levies a 5.3 percent sales tax, which includes a 1 percent tax levied by city or county governments. The Richmond area has a lodging tax of 8 percent.
Bon Secours-St. Mary's Hospital, (804) 285-2011; Henrico Doctors' Hospital, (804) 289-4500; VCU Medical Center, (804) 828-9000.
405 N. Third St. Richmond, VA 23219. Phone:(804)783-7450 or (800)370-9004
Richmond International Airport
Hertz, at Richmond International Airport, offers discounts to AAA members; phone (804) 222-7228 or (800) 654-3080.
Amtrak train service is available at 7519 Staples Mill Rd., (800) 872-7245, and at historic Main Street Station at 500 E. Main St., (804) 646-2041.
The Greyhound Lines Inc. bus terminal is at 2910 N. Boulevard St. across from The Diamond baseball field; phone (804) 254-5910.
Some of the larger cab companies include Galaxy, (804) 560-4408; Yellow, (804) 222-7300; and Richmond Taxi, (804) 439-0009. Base fare is $2.50 for the first one-fifth mile, 50c for each additional one-fifth mile and 50c for each 80-second period of delay, including traffic. Base fare rises $1 for each additional passenger over age 6 and for rides between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. A $2 access fee is added to fares originating at the airport.
The Greater Richmond Transit Co. (GRTC) operates buses throughout most of the city and parts of Henrico County. The base fare for local routes is $1.50. Transfers cost 25c. Transfers must be purchased at the time your initial fare is paid. Reduced rates are available for senior citizens and the physically impaired. Go Cards, used in lieu of cash by customers boarding GRTC vehicles, are available for advance purchase at retail locations throughout the Richmond area for $10. Phone (804) 358-4782.