Posts Tagged ‘Tour’

If you are anything like me, you love to drive down Monument Ave and dream what it would be like to live in one of those gorgeous big mansions, or at least to visit, or at least to get a glimpse in the window.  Well, for all the voyeurs out there, this is your (and my) chance.  This weekend, December 11-12 is the Annual Fan District Holiday House Tour.  Going one better than the Kitchen & Garden Tour in the Spring, this time you get to tour the entire house in all its holiday-decorated splendor. 

This year there are 8 beautiful homes all located around Meadow Park in easy walking distance to one another.  There will also be live music and antique cars on display around Meadow Park.  Expect to see historical architecture & antiques, but also modern art & contemporary styling.  Regardless of the style, the pictures suggest all of the homes will be amazing. 

Some logistics:  The tour requests that you wear flat or soft soled shoes so as not to damage any of the many hardwood floors you will be walking on.  Also, no eating, drinking, photography, backpacks, or strollers.  The tour runs from 1-5pm on both days.  Parking is available at Heartfield Assisted Living on N. Allen and Retreat Doctor’s Hospital on Grove.  There will be a shuttle from the parking deck at Retreat Doctor’s Hospital to shuttle people back and forth from the tour area.  Tickets are $30/person (cash or check only).  One ticket is good for both days.  Tickets are available at Strawberry Street Vineyard, Heartfield Assisted Living,  and Retreat Doctor’s Hospital.   


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If all the sun, sand, and barbecues just aren’t for you, but you still feel like you want to get away, then this is the perfect activity for you.  The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is hosting an exhibition called Tiffany: Color and Light starting on May 29-August 15.   This exhibition features the work of renowned designer and master of glass,  Louis Comfort Tiffany.  Think windows and glass lamps.  VMFA is the only American museum to show the exhibition (Go Richmond!).  To complement this exhibit, VMFA has put together a driving tour of Tiffany windows throughout Virginia.  Don’t worry if you don’t want to spend your weekend driving all over the state, a large portion of the windows are right here in Richmond.  Just download the audio off the website and you are set to go! 

The entire central Virginia tour is laid out here. I don’t think there is any set order to the sites and the interior access hours of each site are different so be sure to check before you go.  There are no entrance fees except where noted.  There are audio downloads for each site as well.  If you don’t have an iPod or some other fancy audio device to put it on, there are written transcripts you can print out and read to yourself. 

The first Richmond location is All Saints Episcopal Church which has 2 Tiffany windows.  Interior hours here are very limited, Tuesdays from 9-12pm.  Something tells me though that you can probably see the windows from the outside as well. 

Next head over to the Congregation Beth Ahabah Museum and Archives where you can see the Mount Sinai Tiffany window.  This isn’t the hospital, its a window featuring a large volcano and it is amazing. 

Now head over to the Historic Ginter Park neighborhood to visit Ginter Park Baptist Church where the ornamental windows from the former Grace Street Presbyterian Church are located.  If you want a tour you need to call ahead for an appointment, but roaming around on your own is free. 

Next go to N. Laurel, next to the Landmark Theater, and visit the Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church where you can see the Angel Gabriel window.  

From here, drive over to the Lewis Ginter Mausoleum at Hollywood Cemetary.  Here you will find 3 Tiffany windows that are incredible.  There is no audio for this portion of the tour, but that is probably because Hollywood Cemetary offers their own walking tours. 

Maymont Mansion  is your next stop, where you can see a 15 foot stained glass window over the mansion’s grand staircase.  The mansion also has many other pieces by Tiffany.  There is a suggested donation of $5/person for entrance into the mansion.  Maymont is also offering a a 1 hour guided tour every Friday that features Tiffany’s works throughout the mansion and is meant to compliment the VMFA exhibit.  There is a $10/person charge for this tour, but if you are a diehard, why not go for it, everything else has been free up to this point.  

Saint James Episcopal Church has 4 windows and free admission, but if you want to get in, you need to call ahead.  There is also no audio for this stop so you may want to try and view the windows from outside. 

Next is the biggie, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church where you will find 10 amazing Tiffany windows and an altar piece mosaic.  This is one of the largest displays of Tiffany pieces in the area.  The Church also put together an awesome online site where you can learn everything there is to know about the windows.  If you were going to go to just one place on the tour, this would be it.  There are good access hours here and free guided tours. 

Finish up back at the VMFA where in addition to the exhibit, there are 2 Tiffany windows on display.  If all of those stops weren’t  enough for you, there are plenty of stops in Charlottesville and Petersburg too so why not make a few days of it.  I’m not sure the kids will get a kick out of it, but what a wonderful and peaceful way to spend a day or two.

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There is a new event in town:  The Shockoe Wide Open.  This Friday (and every second Friday) you can enjoy an art and food walk through Shockoe Bottom and Shockoe Slip.  These walks will feature the area’s local art, local food & wines, antiques, locally crafted jewelry, and local music.  In other words, there is a little something for everyone. 

First the food.  Some of the best Shockoe restaurants will be opening their doors for this event:  Tobacco Company (of course), Kobe, Sine’ (incredible food and atmosphere), Havana 59, Lulu’s (fantastic food, sister to Millies), Sheba Ethiopian, and more.  The various restaurants will offer small plates and “cocktail artistry” (not sure what that means, but my mouth is watering already!)  created just for the walk.

You can find live music at City Dogs and The Urban Farmhouse.  More venues are signing up every day so check the website for updates.  There will also be a DJ and dancing at the Tobacco Co from 5-8pm. 

Here are some of the art events as well:

  • Cafe Gutenberg will host a Community Art Show featuring local artists (including “Life’s Journey” by Jenny Nunez) 
  • Eric Schindler Gallery will host “Complete Fiction” new paintings by Tim Harriss
  • The Urban Farmhouse will feature prized art by local high school seniors
  • The Gallery at Frame Nation will host an opening reception for Brett Busang’s show “Scenes from the River.”  The art will be framed in reclaimed wood from tobacco row which for a history freak like me, is very awesome

    "Complete Fiction" by Tim Harriss

  • Dora’s Brazillian Grill will feature paintings by Walter Ribiero
  • Historic 17th Street Marketplace will have many local artists
  • C’est La Vin & Wine Gallery will host an Art & Wine extravaganza featuring art by Dan Sheets
  • Dransfield Jewelers will feature art by the owner, Don Dransfield (an advocate for everything that is Shockoe and a frequent visitor to this page!)
  • Virginia Hair Salon & Spa will feature “Preview to Strawberry Hill 2010,” art by Gigi Brothers

The art events are listed here in no particular order, looking at the walking map may help you pick the best route.  The event suggests you start at Tobacco Company and end at the Eric Schindler Gallery.  Also, more artists are still being added so be sure to check the webpage for updates as well. 

"Scenes from the River" by Brett Busang

If walking on cobblestones is too much, or you have enjoyed too much cocktail artistry, or you just get plain tired, the To the Bottom and Back Bus will provide a transportation loop that covers all the events and safely take you to your next destination. The bus will run between Ellwood Thompson’s in Carytown (parking) and The Market at Tobacco Row at no cost, stopping anywhere along the route for a pick-up or drop-off.  To get the bus to stop, just flag them down by flashing the peace sign with your fingers (no, I’m not kidding).  There will also be low cost parking available at Main St. Station.   

The event runs Friday, May 14th from 5-9pm and , wait for it, is completely free!  Kids are welcome, although there are no kid-specific events at this time.  No word on whether the event is animal-friendly, but I’m guessing no unless you want to keep tying up the poor dog outside of every venue.  The next art walk is already well into the planning stages and will be on June 11th. 

I, for one, am very excited about all these new events coming to Richmond.  I thought I was going to have trouble coming up with 365 things to do, but now I am having trouble finding the time to cover the oldies but goodies, the mainstays of our awesome city!  Maybe there is another 365 on the horizon?  For now, I’ll just focus on Day 56.  Thanks everyone for your support in reading this blog!

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I know I said I would never type the word “garden”‘ again, but in Richmond, that is just about impossible.  Besides, this is not another home and garden tour, and it’s not your daughter’s tea party either.  The Secret Garden Party is a progressive party that travels through five different urban garden sites downtown.  For those of you that have never been to a progressive dinner, a progressive party is basically a travelling party with different stops and features along the way.  This year the party will stop at the gardens of the Valentine Richmond History Center, the John Marshall House, the Museum and White House of the Confederacy, Monumental Church (Historic Richmond Foundation) and the VCU Massey Cancer Center’s Healing Garden.  At each “stop” you will be treated to different live music, cocktails, refreshments, and gallery/museum tours.   Each site will feature a different theme and food:

  • Monumental Church will host a “Very Virginia” themed night with Virginia’s signature foods and wines.  Food will be provided by Very Richmond Indeed Catering and live music will be Justin Smith’s Jazz Band Trio.  Wine samples will be from various Virginia vineyards.  
  • The Museum and White House of the Confederacy will feature BBQ from Double T’s (in Carytown) and more Virginia wines (come on, you can never have enough).  Live music will be provided by The John Conley Trio.  
  • The Historic John Marshall House and Garden will highlight the area’s “Federal” roots by featuring period dancers, traditional music, and Madeira (John Marshall’s favorite drink).  
  • The Healing Garden at VCU’s Massey Cancer Center  will feature champagne and desserts baked by Massey volunteers.  Live music will be provided by Classical Guitarist, Leah Kruszewski.  
  • The Wickham House Garden at the Valentine Richmond History Center will have a 1930’s theme featuring period food and vodka gimlets.  Live music will be provided by Campbell’s Ramblers and will focus on ballads, blues, and dance favorites from the 1920’s-1930s.  


Each location will also feature a piece of Richmond history including the Richmond theater fire, the Civil war, and John Marshall.  You can start at any of the five sites and walk from garden to garden, there is no required order.  There will also be a shuttle circulating among all the sites if needed, but all the sites are located within three square blocks. 

The party will be held Thursday, May 13th from 5:30-8pm.  Tickets are $30/Single and $50/Couple beforehand and $35/Single and $60/Couple at the door.  Your ticket price includes all your refreshments, live music, and admission to each museum garden.  No word on whether the cocktails and wine are included in that price, but it looks promising.  Tickets can be purchased online here.  This is the first year of this event, so please check back in with your reviews!

Here is an awesome map of all the gardens provided b RVA News:

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So today is Mother’s Day (not really but pretend your on Oprah or Dave Letterman or something where they film a day early because they won’t be around on the actual holiday) and as we have already discussed at length, moms love flowers.  That is probably why the Museum District Association holds their annual Home and Garden Tour every year (hence the “annual”) on Mother’s Day weekend. 

There are many beautiful homes on the tour this year, each with their own story:

  • 6 North Boulevard – Designed in 1921 by Marcellus Wright, a Virginia architect who also designed Richmond’s Landmark Theater.  
  • 16 South Boulevard Unit #3 – Condo featuring beautiful antiques in a building built in 1918. 
  • 3120 Floyd Avenue – A home built in 1915 that still has its original stair rail, wood paneling, moldings, fireplaces, doors and more.
  • 3124 Floyd Avenue – Arts and Crafts home  built in 1915 with original details
  • 3124 Patterson Avenue –  Home built in 1921.  Each room features work by a Virginia artist.
  • 3126 Patterson Avenue – Home built in 1921 featuring art and photography by local artists
  • 3317 Stuart Avenue – A home built in 1925 with historic details mixed with modern conveniences
  • 3400 Park Avenue – Classic American Foursquare  originally built on the corner of the W.S. Forbes estate. 

The tour runs from 1-5pm.  Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 on the day of the tour at Albert Hill Middle School (where the tour begins).  Advance tickets are available at several places around Richmond including Ellwood Thompsons, Strawberry Street Vineyard (for those of you going to the Strawberry Street festival today), Cocoanut Jewelry (Willow Lawn and Short Pump), and  Williams & Sherrill.  Don’t forget this is a walking tour so wear comfortable shoes.  Hope you enjoy and have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

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West Avenue is actually having 2 garden tours this week, one as part of historic garden week and one that is neighborhood based.  I’m covering them both here.

Today is the last day of Historic Garden Week activities in Richmond.  Today’s activities center on the tour down West Avenue in the Fan district.  You didn’t really think that garden week would go by without seeing anything in the Fan did you?  West Avenue, for those of you that haven’t seen it, is a smaller enclave neighborhood that consists of one street in the Fan.  To see a map click here.  The street is known today for its beautiful renovations, diversity of home styles, and fantastic gardens.  It is also known for its incredible community, which is reflected in its own neighborhood association, neighborhood crest, garden tours, activities, and residents.  The earliest known documentation of the street was in a Map of Richmond City dated 1873.  At the turn of the last century, West Avenue was on the cusp of Richmond’s westward expansion, and was called Stork Alley because it attracted young married couples beginning their families.  You will see storks in the neighborhood crest and throughout the neighborhood.  

The tour includes four homes on West Ave, one on Park and one on W. Franklin.  Home styles on this tour include Georgian Revival, Victorian, Dutch Colonial, 20th Century Rowhouse, and more.  Inside you will see antiques, various types of artwork, contemporary styling, and salvaged architectural pieces restored and used in renovations. 

The tour is held Thursday from 10-4:30.  Again, it is a walking tour so wear comfortable shoes.  Ticket prices remain the same.  Refreshments are supposed to be served from 2:30-4, although the location remains a mystery.  Perhaps you will be told when you purchase your tickets. 

Other Garden Week activities today are being held at Tuckahoe Plantation and Lewis Ginter.  Tuckahoe Plantation, which was featured in an earlier post, will have the gardens and house open for tours today.  Although the gardens are almost always open for self-guided tours, the home only opens for special occasions or by reservation.  The cost for the tours is $10. 

In honor of Historic Garden Week, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens will have extended hours on Thursday night, until 9pm.  Food will be available in the Garden Cafe until 7pm and can be “carried out” to eat at Bloemendaal House where there will also be wine-tasting and live music.  Seating is first come first served, but lawn chairs and blankets are ok.  The interior of the Bloemendaal House will be open until 8pm.  There will also be special tours and exhibits available.  You can get all the details here.    

If you can’t make it to the West Ave. Garden tour today, after all it is a work day, then you are in luck because this weekend is the 70th annual West Ave. Garden Tour (not related to Historic Garden Week).  This is the neighborhood’s premier event ot the year and includes all homes on West Ave. and a few on the bordering streets.  Back in 1966, famed landscape designer, Charles Gillette worked with some West Ave. residents to develop garden judging criteria and awards were added as part of the annual event. 

The tour is on Sunday, April 25th and is free (a much better deal than garden week prices) and open to the public.  There will be children’s parade at 12pm where the children present garden tour flags to the winning gardens.  The gardens for all homes will be open from 1-5pm.  This is just gardens, no homes are open.  You can get more information on this event here.

So, no offense intended, but I am thrilled Historic Garden Week is over for the most part in Richmond.  I am all gardened-out, at least for a while.  I look forward to the day that I don’t have to type “Garden” a million times!  Stay tuned for more fun non-garden related activities later this week (I know, I typed it again, now I can’t stop!).

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Wednesday is Day 2 of the Richmond Home and Garden tours being held as part of Historic Garden Week.  This tour will give you a glimpse of one of the most historic neighborhoods in Richmond — Church Hill.  Homes in this neighborhood date back to the early 1800’s.  Church Hill experienced a serious physical decline during the 1950s, due mostly to absentee landlords. As a result, the Historic Richmond Foundation was established in 1956 out of concern for “saving and enhancing the setting for St. John’s Church.”  In 1957, the City Council created a historic district ordinance.  The preservation of Church Hill marked the formal beginning of the preservation movement in Richmond. 

The Church Hill tour includes the famous “Carrington Row”, the St. John Mews, and other historic homes and gardens dating back to the early 1800’s.  Among other things, visitors will see French, American, Asian, and Latin American paintings and artifacts, a framed collection of early American documents, antiques, a letter dating from the War of 1812, and a piano previously owned by Supreme Court Justice Powell.  It sounds like this tour is going to focus more on homes, than gardens, unless the targeted homes have fantastic gardens as well.      

In addition to the Home and Garden tour, there will be complimentary refreshments available in the back gardens, 2300 Club, 2300 East Grace St. from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will also be a free reenactment at St. John’s Church of Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech.   You do need to show proof of a paid Garden Week ticket.  The reenactment starts at 12:30 p.m. and runs for about 40 minutes in duration.  Finally, the White House of the Confederacy (1201 E. Clay St.) is also offering free admission all week with proof of paid ticket from any Garden Week tour in the state.   

The tour runs from 10am-4:30 and ticket prices are the same as yesterday.  A complete schedule is available here.  This is a walking tour so make sure you wear comfortable shoes.  There is also no pre-determined “route” for the tour, you can visit the houses and gardens in any order.

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