When I was in the US this summer traveling around, I was was most excited to visit my hometown of Richmond, Virginia. You see, in Europe, I have to tell people I am from “near Washington D.C.”. No one knows of Richmond. It gives me great joy when those rare conversations happen where that person says, “Where near Washington D.C.?”
While I have immense pride for my hometown, I don’t know my hometown. I only realized how little I knew of the place when we arrived there July 27 and tried to drive around the city.. I felt mildly embarrassed. I wanted to cry. How could I live in a place for fourteen years and know nothing about it? Except that it is pretty in the fall, unbearably hot in the summers, and packed with more history than I can even wrap my head around?
A little background…I moved to an area south of Richmond when I was in grade school. I spent my many years living there traveling around the US for sports. I did travel the Richmond area frequently as a child… but it wasn’t to city parks and historical monuments. It was to gyms for basketball games. Or the mall. Shoot… I could name every single high school and middle school in the greater Richmond area. And of course I could name every mall or shopping street. But that was it. I knew nothing of the city I claimed I left a large piece of my heart in.
I didn’t have a lot of days, but, with a GPS in hand and a little internet research, I toured my ‘city’. I saw the many monuments of Presidents and prominent historical figures. I saw beautiful Maymont Park. I walked around the new(er) Canal District. I saw parts of the city that I didn’t even know existed. I don’t know if I had dug deep enough into Richmond’s culture, music, and food scene, but there is always a next time as long as my parents and friends are still residing there. I just couldn’t leave the place. No really… I extended our stay a few extra days.
And guess what? I fell in love with my hometown all over again. Except this time I knew what I fell in love with.
If you’re planning a visit to Virginia’s capital city (which you should be!), be sure to check out this site before you go.