Archive for the ‘Henrico’ Category

This weekend is a busy weekend for holiday activities in the Richmond area.  You are probably best off doing the scheduled activities this weekend and saving the other ongoing favorites for during the week.  Just my humble opinion!  One of my family’s favorite activities, the James River Parade of Lights, will be held Saturday night, December 11, at 6pm.  The 18th annual parade begins in Richmond up by Libby Park and travels along the James River through Henrico and Chesterfield, ending at Henricus Historical Park.  There are several viewing sites along the route where you can find various fun activities to pass the time.  There are 5 main viewing sites:


Libby Hill Park (Corner of 28th and Franklin St)- 
Entertainment begins at 4:30 p.m.  There will be holiday music, hot cider and cocoa, hot dogs, roasting marshmallows, bonfire and a big count down to the lighting of the boats.  The actual parade doesn’t start until 6pm.

Intermediate Terminal Dock/Rockett’s Landing (Dock & Water St.)- You can also view the parade here at 6pm.


Osborne Park and Boat Landing – Entertainment begins at 5:30 and will include a bonfire, fire dancers (I have no idea what this is, but it sounds awesome), Jonathan Austin Juggling and Magic (if you have kids, you know him, he’s great and the kids love him), holiday music, and concessions.  Santa will also be there giving glow bracelets to the kids.  The parade is expected to arrive here between 7pm and 7:30pm. 


Dutch Gap Boat Landing – (441 Coxendale Rd) There are no planned activities at this location that I could find so if you are looking for a quick view this might be the place to go.  The parade is expected here between 7:30 and 7:45pm.  

Henricus Historical Park (251 Henricus Park Rd) – Entertainment here begins at 5:30pm with Zebo the Clown, face painting, arts & crafts for the kids, music and concessions.  There will also be complimentary cider and cookies. You can tour the 1611 Citie of Henricus and talk with the settlers about their lives and holidays in the 17th century.   The parade is expected here between 7:45 – 8:00 p.m.


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In case you haven’t seen this week’s weather, the 100 degree days are back.  Air conditioners are collapsing under the stress everywhere and forget the lawn and flowers you worked so hard on in the Spring.  While a trip to Alaska might not be in your budget, indoor ice skating surely is.  There are 2 indoor ice skating rinks in the Richmond area, Skatenation Plus in the Short Pump area and Richmond Ice Zone in Midlothian. 

Both ice rinks have public skate times, usually every day.  There is usually a public skate around lunch time and another in the evening after work.  You can get the schedule for both rinks here.  You are looking at about $10/person for admission and skate rentals.  However, Skatenation has been doing a lot of public free skates lately with the hot weather (usually when its 100 degrees or hotter).  You can find out about these deals and more on their Facebook page.  If you do decide to attend a free skate (and lets face it in this economy you may have no other choice) just remember to get there early.  Hundreds of people show up to these and rentals go fast.  Skatenation also has $10 all you can play and skate on Friday and Saturday nights throughout the summer.  Your $10 includes skate admission, rentals, and laser tag.   

Don’t worry if you have little ones that haven’t skated before.  They have big  buckets that the kids (ok, and you) can lean on as they skate around the rink.  My kids love this because they can let go of the wall and really get out there. 

 You can get food and drinks at both rinks for additional cost.  Skatenation Plus has a bunch of other activities available if ice skating isn’t your thing including an arcade, indoor laser tag, and a climbing wall.  Those have extra costs as well. 

It is actually pretty cold inside the rinks, so pull those jeans out of storage and enjoy the cool air, at least for a couple of hours!  Try to stay cool!

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There are a lot of great early celebrations today, but I rarely get to feature Powhatan so I chose their celebration for today. Most importantly, there is still plenty of time for more celebration on the 4th. Who doesn’t love a weekend of fireworks anyway?

Powhatan Independance Day Celebration & Fireworks

The Powhatan Independence Day Celebration is sponsored by the Hugenot Fire Department. It is held at the Flat Rock at the Gits Farm located at 2693 Rocky Oak Road just off US Route 60. There will be plenty of the traditional festival fare: live music, kid’s activities, facepainting, food, and a bounce house. The bands will include Union Pacific (classic rock)and Neon Moon Band (country). Food will be provided by Gregory’s Grill, Turner’s BBQ, Papa Johns and Hot Diggity Dog Wagon and Cherry Hill Ice Cream.

There will also be some unique activities including a mechanical bull, classic car and fire engine show, and tons of firefighters. This is a fundraising event, so there is an admission cost. The cost will be $15/car load $10/car load with a canned food donation. I’m overlooking the cost because it is a good cause and I’m a sucker for fundraisers. The gates open at 5 p.m. and the main event, the fireworks start at dusk.

I apologize for the lack of photos, but I’m blogging on the go this weekend!!

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Memorial Day is traditionally the weekend for the pools to open, unless you are in Richmond it seems.  If you aren’t lucky enough to have a neighborhood pool or be a member at a private pool (after 10 years on the wait list) that leaves the Richmond public pools, which, unfortunately, don’t open until mid-June.  So are there any other options?  A few.  But here is one I found recently that looks very intriguing.  I found this a few weeks ago and hesitated to post since I hadn’t been there myself.  But everything I have found seems to be positive and I just come back to the idea because it simply reminds me of the places we used go when I was young. 

Hadad’s Lake is located on 40 acres in Henrico, East of 95, so why haven’t I ever heard of it?  For all of you 30 and 40 somethings, this is definitely going to remind you of your childhood.  It’s like a piece of summer camp right in our backyard!  There are 3 pools, a large lake, gazebos & pavilions, miniature golf, clubhouse, inside game room, concession stand, beach area, roaming clowns, crazy inflatables and yes, even more.  They seem to have thought of everything and everyone in the family.


First, the swimming.  There are 3 sand-bottom pool areas.  Two are shallow (up to 4 feet deep) and are open to everyone.  One of these sections has water volleyball and basketball while the other has giant inflatables in the water.  The largest pool section has a deep end and goes up to 16 ft deep.  This area has a water trampoline/bridge, rope swing, and inflatable water tower.  To swim in the deep end or play on the inflatables, you need to pass a swim test (just like camp!) or wear a life preserver.  They have some there, but definitely not enough so if you have one, bring it.  There is even a walk in beach area and smaller slide for the little kids. 

If you aren’t going to brave the water, there are plenty of other things to do.  There is an outdoor basketball court, horseshoes, volleyball court, paddleboats, miniature golf (not too fancy, but it’ll keep the kids busy), children’s playground (with a big pirate ship!), inflatables on land, and fishing (bring your own bait & tackle).  On weekends Bubbles the clown roams around and does face painting and balloons.  There is even a little train to ride.  If the heat gets to you there are places to cool off inside and a game room with pool and video games.  Are you tired yet?

Of course, this place would not make sense without a picnic.  Although there is a concession stand, picnicking is allowed here, just do not bring any glass.  Feel free to bring chairs, towels, blankets, coolers, and baskets.  Some people even bring grills I believe.  There are shuttles available in the parking area to help you lug all that stuff up to the picnic area. If you are going with a large group (we’re talking 35 or more) they have pavilions to rent at a reasonable price (esp. if everyone pitches in).  The pavilions have grills, electricity, and refrigeration which is really nice.  There are also several gazebos you can reserve.  There is no minimum number of people for these and they run $40.  Probably a good investment if you are planning on spending the entire day. 

Ok, so if you are anything like me, you’re asking “How much is all this throw back summer camp goodness going to cost me?”  Admission is $12/person (only ages 1 and under are free).  That price includes everything it seems, except for video games and the concession stand.  I think that is a good deal for a day trip.  If you are taking the kids to the museums in town, you are going to pay this much anyway.  Heck, even a meal for 4 these days runs about $40, unless you are eating at Cicis.  But I digress.  If you have larger groups the price per person goes down, and season passes are available. 

Starting this weekend the pools are open 7 days a week.  Sunday-Friday they are open  10am-8pm, Saturdays they are open 10-10.  So if you can’t get away to the beach, and you have no pools at your disposable, heck, even if you do, head out and enjoy a day here.  I am definitely going to try it out and I would love to hear from anyone that has already been there!

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I’m embarrassed to say that I did not know about the Lebanese Food Festival until all of you started making a point of it.  Maybe that is because back in the day Richmonder’s never left the city and definitely did not drive out to Short Pump because it didn’t exist.  Regardless, this very popular festival is now in its 26th year.  The festival started yesterday afternoon and runs through Sunday, May 15th. The festival usually gets about 20,000 visitors by the end of its three days and is the largest annual food festival in the West end.

If you are wondering what exactly Lebanese food is, think Middle Eastern food like stuffed grape leaves, hummus, kabobs, meat & spinich pies, baklava and more.  There will be tons of pastries and other desserts as well.  There are also vegetarian dishes including falafel, homus bi tahini, tabouli, baba ghanoush, and more.  If you have no idea what I just said, just trust us all when we say the food is delicious!!  Don’t worry about drinks, there will be plenty of Lebanese wine and beer to wash everything down.  Volunteers have been preparing these foods since February, but many of them will be prepared right in front of you.  You can dine ala carte outside in the covered pavilion or enjoy a sit-down dinner served inside (with air-conditioning).  You can even purchase complete dinners, boxed lunches, or fax/call in a take out order.  You can see the entire menu and prices here.         

In addition to the delicious food, there will, of course, be plenty of Lebanese culture.  At least twelve traditional Lebanese dances will be performed in addition to other folk dancing and lots of live music.  The Church campus is very large and includes a kid’s playground and shaded wooded areas.  The event is definitely family friendly, although I know I could never get my kids to sample the food. 

The Festival at held at St. Anthony Maronite Catholic Church, located at 4611 Sadler Rd., Glen Allen, VA, 23060.  Parking is free.  I hesitate to say the event is free, because the food costs money and would you really be going to skip the food?  But, there is no admission fee so, if you are going purely for the culture, you can leave your wallet at home (I wouldn’t recommend that, once you smell the food you probably won’t be able to resist).  There are a ton of activities going on in the city this weekend, but you definitely don’t want to miss this one.

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It wouldn’t be summer in Richmond without outdoor concerts and most of them start this week.  One of the most popular series is Innsbrook After Hours.  These concerts offer music by famous bands (for the most part), outside on the lawn, with a family friendly atmosphere.  All concerts are held at the Snagajob.com pavilion at Innsbrook and the schedule starts on Wednesday, May 5th.

This year there are some pretty good bands on the schedule including Counting Crows, Chicago, Barenaked Ladies, and Heart.  You can see the whole Schedule here.    

There are two seating areas available.  The “Gold Circle” area is a roped off seating area of 400-600 seats (depending on how they set it up) close to the stage.  There are no assigned seats, the ticket just guarantees you’ll get into that area.  In this area everyone ages 2 years and up needs a ticket.  The other option is sitting on the lawn.  Again, no spaces are assigned, its first come first serve.  You can bring blankets and/or lawn chairs, but no outside food or drinks (so no baskets, coolers, or anything else you would carry food in).  If you plan on picnicking, you’ll have to buy your food once you get in.  Alcohol is sold inside as well so don’t plan on bringing that either.  Although you will be sitting outside, no pets are allowed.  Tip:  Concerts are held rain or shine and the lawn is uncovered, so keep your eye on the weather report — there are no refunds.   

Ticket prices are fairly reasonable.  General admission tickets (lawn seating) range from $12.50-$27.00 in advance and $15.00-$35.00 at the gate.  Kids 10 years and younger do not need tickets to sit on the lawn.  Gold Circle tickets range from $30.00-$50.00.  Remember, kids ages 2 years and up DO need a ticket to sit in this area.  Tip:  These concerts rarely sell out and tickets are available to buy at the door.  Sometimes its worth it to wait and buy at the door.  That way you know the weather for sure and you avoid the service charges.  If you do want to buy tickets in advance, you can purchase them here

Gates for all concerts open at 6pm.  There is usually an opening act at 6:30 and the main act at 8pm.  Most of the concerts are on Wednesdays and Sundays.  Although this is definitely a family friendly event, an 8pm concert on a school night might not work for you, so be sure to check the date of the concert.  Parking for the most part is free, although you can pay $3 to get a spot up front.  Innsbrook does not allow tailgating so don’t plan on eating by the car before the concert.

All in all, these concerts are a great family activity, reasonably priced, and a fun Richmond tradition!

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I know you are thinking that it costs way too much money to shop at Short Pump Town Center in this economy, but I’m here to tell you that you can still go and enjoy an afternoon at Short Pump without breaking the bank.

Short Pump, for those of you that don’t already know, is a 2-story outdoor mall located in the far West End on Broad Street.  Anchor stores are upscale department stores like Macy’s and Nordstroms.  You will also find Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Janie & Jack, Godiva, and more.  If window-shopping isn’t your thing, don’t worry, there is plenty more to do. 

The mall has several very large fountains that both adults and kids love.  Most have benches or seating nearby so you can relax, people watch, and listen to the water.  If you have young children, keep an eye on them.  They will most likely get wet even if they don’t fall in, and some do end up falling in (no, I’m not talking from experience, yet).   In the main courtyard area, there are large patches of grass where the kids can run and play.  Next to this area is an outdoor seating area for Starbucks so you can enjoy a nice cup of coffee while the kids play. 

If your kids need more than their imagination, Pottery Barn Kids usually has some pretty good toys out for the kids to play with.  Or, you can walk up a little further to the Short Pump Express play area.  These little play houses are adorable and have some cute details but they are located right on the “train tracks” so you have to keep an eye on your child!  The Short Pump Express is so fun.  It is a little train that drives around the mall.  It costs $2/person which goes to St. Mary’s Hospital for kids.  Yes, an adult can fit in those train cars and if you don’t mind a few bumps, it could be fun (just be careful what train driver you get!). 

The kids (and you) should be hungry by now so head up to the food court.  There are some awesome restaurants at Short Pump (Maggiano’s, Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza, Firebirds) but remember, we are doing this on a budget, so off to the food court we go.  The food court is very family friendly.  There is a play area, mini-tables and chairs for the little ones, booths next to the play area so you don’t actually have to go in there, and even a “family” bathroom and nursing area. 

When lunch is over take a stroll down toward the Cheesecake Factory to enjoy the fish ponds.  The kids will love jumping from rock to rock searching for the goldfish (which are usually all the way down at the end, near the Cheesecake Factory – but don’t tell them, it keeps them occupied longer).  Again, if you prepare yourself for them to fall in, then you won’t be disappointed when it happens. 

Short Pump has many events throughout the year including visits with the Easter Bunny, Santa, birthday parties, spring festivals, concerts, and more.  It is especially beautiful during the holidays.  You can check the event calendar here.  All in all, whether you are shopping or not, Short Pump can be a fun place to spend an afternoon.  I apologize for not having more pictures!  But mall security did not take kindly to me taking pictures or video.  At least we know security is tight there as well.

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